We’re Almost Going to the Chapel

We’re one step closer to the courthouse as the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals rules the gay marriage ban in Virginia unconstitutional. 

You guys.

Can you imagine what it will be like when we finally stand on the steps of the courthouse? It’s this close.

It’s a BED for Pete’s Sake.

Ages ago, back in the time of the Eternal Occupation, we offered my parents the beautiful iron bed from our spare room. We did this so that they would move out since the stated barrier to the move was that they didn’t have anything to sleep on. They didn’t move (obviously) since the stated reason was not the real reason at all (that may never be known).

But they still are taking the bed.

Indeed, they announced that they needed to pick it up so that they could furnish their spare room. I quickly calculated in my head the degree of emotional upheaval vs bed possession and decided that I was happy to let the bed go. This has been a sore point with my wife who, despite complaining about the bed since we got it, wishes to keep it. My new calculations have resulted in a heap of shit, despite desperate attempts to fudge the math.

This morning I suggested they might try to find a bed nearer to them so that they didn’t need to drive to us to pick it up and then to drive back. I thought this was a good solution, considering that it’s an hour each way. This was a grave error, my friends, and has transformed into not only the gift of a bed, but three days with them since they are inexplicably coming tonight in order to watch RR tomorrow afternoon and then staying until Sunday at which point we will drive with them to set the bed back up again. That’s our entire weekend.

This is a flagrant abuse of the internet, to complain about a bed.

For me, it’s a horrible glimpse into the creature I’ll probably become. Not one visit has passed without my mother reminding me that everything we do for each other has some kind of accounting. Redirecting her from something she wants or expects can result in disaster…or not. I see our similarities and wonder if it has already happened, this becoming. And in my worse moments, I’m certain it has. There are more of those than not lately.

It’s just a bed. To be honest, the sooner it’s gone, the better.

It Isn’t My Fault At All, Apparently!

Having my parents live nearby has been more rewarding than not. I also get to catch a glimpse of my unmedicated self in my mother – just in case I was falling into the familial trap of thinking all pills are the devil.

Sanity. It’s worth it.

One of her skills is to turn everything in such a way that it has been directly influenced by or is related to her own actions. This takes extraordinary talent and is especially notable when she manages to extend it generationally.

Case in point: she is sure that the reason RR is taking so long to toilet train is because she wished this on me when I was small. And not just small. She spent a lot of time wishing I would get all of the things I challenged her with back – threefold. “At least.” She truly feels bad only not, she says, because I had it coming.







I thought I had surely mentioned to you that a visit to the doctor, for me, is torture (and not the good kind). In fact, I have a whole tag devoted to it. I can trace this back to childhood pediatrician Dr. Downey although we can scatter blame around liberally if you want. There’s plenty.

You can imagine my delight (which, in this case, is equal parts relief and terror that she might retire despite being my age) in finding a doctor who not only sees the whole family, but is nice, approachable, doesn’t wear doctory clothes, and often gets us in on the day we call. She manages the family’s health without being condescending or judgmental, things you would hope are a given in one’s doctor but, in my experience, are not. We treasure her. And she took our insurance.


Used to.

Past tense.

A month ago we got a pleasant but frank letter about a change in her solo practice. She is moving to a new model of care that more closely mirrors the golden age of house-calls except she can’t be paid in chickens or fresh bread. Nope. She can’t be paid in anything except actual money that is not, to be clear, the money already deducted for our health insurance. In exchange for old-timey, part-of-the-family, care, each person pays a monthly fee instead of a copay.

There were tears, my friends.

Without some serious tightening elsewhere, we can’t afford to pay monthly above and beyond our insurance. Legislation is pending to allow payments like these via a flexible spending plan but pending is not actual. My bank account doesn’t actually get the ideas of pending, patience, or eventually. My credit card does but he’s a wily bastard and not to be trusted.

And so here we are. We’ve a month left to decide whether we’re staying or going and while all signs point to staying, we haven’t yet figured out how to manage the costs. I think I’m a bit paralyzed about it all, especially about the idea of finding a new doctor and starting over. My medical history is a smorgasbord of awesome (if you consider awesome to be both baffling and predictably catastrophic).

This is the second doctor I’ve had stop taking insurance. Are lots of other doctors doing this? Is this some sort of medical industry trend? Is Aetna (our only choice) so horribly awful (we don’t think so) that providers run for the hills? And the million dollar question, how worth it is it to pay, essentially, twice for a really great doctor?

The decision is mostly made but, jesus, I wish it weren’t so complicated.



Frozen Solid

What is the CRACK that is Frozen?

Is this because we never watched movies before Frozen? I feel like we need a B.F. and A.F. notation to denote which part of our lives happened before they were accompanied by Let It Go and the parts after which involve a lot of serenading.

Also a lot of braiding – LIKE ELSA MAMA! – and dress-wearing – LIKE ELSA MAMA! – and towel cape wearing – LIKE ELSA MAMA! – and long, involved conversations wherein Debra and I are are some combination of Anna, Sped (or Swed), Olaf, and Hans. There is also lots of “Hans Kissing” while RR holds your chin, ever-so-gently, and kisses you. You mustn’t kiss back and, if you keep your eyes open, you can watch her go cross-eyed as she zooms in on you.

This child, who has never touched a doll, suddenly discovered the two she has and christened them Elsa and Anna. They appear suddenly together in odd places although only Anna (my old doll with has clouded over eyes*) goes to sleep with her.

photo 2

Last night she asked me to sing Let It Go to her and Anna but, since I’m not a talented singer, she had to sing it all. the. way. through. twice before I could try again. Spoiler alert: I failed and the ensuing meltdown reached epic proportions.

Friends, I am not alone. Youtube is riddled with other children serenading the camera. Pearl Jam covered it at a concert in Italy. The Boston Globe tries to capture why it’s so popular. It’s not just the 4-yr-olds. It’s catchy, even Jimmy Fallon thinks so.

We’re a little late on the Frozen train but it appears there are no stops to get off. I don’t mind much (she’s super cute when she sings the word fractals) but I’m amazed at her capacity to remember every single word in the script as well as every single move that accompanies it. It all makes sense though. Clearly the reason she hasn’t mastered the potty is that there is physically NO SPACE in her brain for anything else.

Glad we’ve figured that out.

* Mine at 4. Cloudy eyes courtesy of that time she spent the night under the yews on a wad of Big League Chew:

photo 1


The Neighborhood

New neighbors, again. How is it that none of you rushed over here and bought the house next door (not that one*, the other one) saving me from the sword of damocles that every queer person nestled snug into a right-wing state fears? I sometimes wonder if any of you remember that I’m flagrantly living in sin with my wife. But is it living in sin if you can’t get married? Every time I see an new follower alert I wonder how quickly they will unfollow once they realize I’m not straight. Way to go, Mer, marginalize yourself so they don’t have to!

Back to the neighbors. We’ll miss this particular lot more than the last ones. But she’s newly pregnant and once that happens the timer starts ticking on our little houses. Three bedrooms and one itsy-bitsy bath seem a little snug (first-world problems) for a three person family and live-in relatives. Having just done this for an agonizing five months, I know. They are the sort that let our dog out when we’ll be home late and call if there is a strange person skulking around (not to worry, this happens infrequently). Their principal downfall is not being as concerned about zombies as the other neighbors are. We’re all in this together, folks.

We ran into their realtor at the grocery who, over her kombucha filled cart, which, to be honest, left me in an uncertain awe, told us that the incoming family was young and also expecting. I suppose one man’s three bedroom shack is another’s palace. While I was glad to hear this, there’s no automatic young=open-minded pass and so I’ve got my fingers crossed while we wait for them to move in.

The other side of the street is also in peril (and not just from zombies and hosta-munching deer). Of the three directly over, one pair permanently moved to the dementia unit after a winter mishap involving the fire department and an axe, another is facing increasing home care needs from her daughter with worsening MS, and the third couple was just recently hit by a semi after going the wrong way on a highway ramp (they are fine, miraculously, though after his stroke, he has dwindled alarmingly fast). They are all closing in on 80 which means we do a lot more Christmas tree installing and lightbulb changes.

We are astoundingly lucky, aren’t we? I think so. I’d like the luck to hold out for this next family, too. Cross your fingers!


*also, that turned out totally fine. I’m not a worrier. At all. Ever.



Perhaps my expectations are too high. I don’t think it’s unreasonable that my four year old would consistently use the toilet but perhaps it is. Perhaps it’s tantamount to my mother putting trash in the can and NOT in the sink. Physically impossible.

I realize that after almost two years of lamenting about this to you, I neglected to share the pay off, the really exciting news, the actual pee in the potty. You deserved it and I’m sorry I cheated you. On the other hand, I’ve probably saved you the letdown I’m experiencing which, when I say letdown, is more of a catastrophic deflation.



Now that you know that, I feel like I can share the excitement without the disappointment because you will be reading and thinking aha, I know this does not end well and I will have saved at least one of us from wondering if I’m a terrible mother, an inept caretaker, or both, probably both.

After a marathon weekend attempting to potty train her, employing our friends (and our friends’ children) as back-up, we finally achieved one incidence of pee IN the potty on Memorial Day weekend. We took her to school that Tuesday, armed with panties and the promise of a reward (specifically a DVD. Specifically Frozen. And I have plenty to say about that.) if she managed a repeat. She did not. In fact, she simply wet her pants all day. I kept her home the next two days in a boot-camp style effort which…worked. By Friday, she was reliably peeing in the potty.

Mind, this required reminders. How do you do foreshadowing in a blog? Doom noises? This?



And so we have continued on in panties, rarely making it a whole day without a change, although I can’t tell if that’s because of a long nap (which I understand), or poop (which, I can’t even figure out how to train), or because she just…doesn’t manage it. Even at home, where we have some more control over the situation, she sometimes just wets her pants. And it’s not as though she tells us, she just carries on as if nothing has happened. I could belabor this point but, suffice to say, after spending a weekend with her, I’m not sure she’d go if we weren’t reminding her.

This is not potty-trained.


Montessori, while working for her wonderfully in every other aspect, isn’t into reminders. So if she’s wet, they send her to change and, since that’s often, she comes home reeking of urine every other day. At least. I want to unequivocally love them but I am getting increasingly frustrated by the combination of my inattentive child and the hands-free staff.

A month in and I’m not convinced she’s getting it. I don’t think it’s oppositional although she sometimes gets belligerent if you ask her to try and she’s already wet. It is definitely not making a point or being on purpose. I think it falls more into the category of forgetfulness. She is, and has always been, so committed to any task she undertakes that she simply doesn’t notice the world around her. It is no surprise that she isn’t listening to her own body either.

Which begs the question, if the solution to an intensely focused kid is timers and reminders AND she is in school all week where there are no timers or reminders, how long will it take for her to get it? I can tell you, it’s longer than a month. Which then begs the questions, am I a terrible mother for allowing it to continue, a terrible mother for not being a stay-at-home mom who can magically manage all things potty-training, a terrible mother for not being aggressive with the school, a terrible mother for not taking her to a new school, a terrible mother for dwelling too much, a terrible mother for not taking her to the doctor (more on THAT gem later, my friends), a terrible mother for letting her smell like urine, or a terrible mother for being frustrated? Tell you what, I’ll bet the answer is simply a terrible mother.

So no, there is nothing to celebrate around here.



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