Step-KLUMP. Step-KLUMP.

So the first day I missed posting it was because I got super angry at The Bean and stomped off to bed. I didn’t realize I’d skipped a post until I woke up the next morning. Whoops. Yaaaay, marriage.

The next day I missed was because I pulled something in my back. I tweaked my back by sleeping wrong, and then as I was twisting the Kraken around to do a back carry with my new TwinGo baby carrier, I felt whatever muscle I had tweaked actually cramp up…. and by the time I was done with my shopping trip it had gone from cramping to flat-out HURTING.  I managed to get home and survive the rest of the day with the help of my friends Tylenol and ibuprofen…. but by 9pm I was hurting so bad I broke out some of the pain meds I have leftover from my 2013 appendectomy.  By 9:30 I was still hurting, but it didn’t bother me quite as bad, so I floated off to sleep.

I didn’t realize I skipped a day until the next day at 8pm at night.  Wait a second…. hadn’t I committed to writing 31 days in a row?  Oh my gosh.  I’d skipped two days!  I really had to sit down and… I really had to…. I really had

I really…..

Man, I really wanted a drink of water.  Oooh, I should get a drink of water and go to bed early.  That was a great idea. I bet I could get 3 solid hours before the twins woke up for their first nightly feed.  Water, then bed.  What a solid plan.  G’night, Bean.

….. in case you are wondering, yes.  Yes, I really do miss my ADHD meds.  Someone really needs to come out with an ADHD med that’s safe to take while breastfeeding.  Pretty please?

The next day I realized I had skipped WAY too many days in a row, and no matter what happened I needed to sit down and post, even if I had already ruined the “31 days in a row” portion of it.

Since my back was still really sore I decided I would take a quick bath before I sat in my chair to write.  It was still early enough that I could soak my back, write a post, and still get to bed at a decent hour.

I started the tub running and dumped in a healthy amount of my favorite soap in the world:

 

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Nicole, you’re the bomb-diggity for turning me on to this. It rocks.

While the bath filled up I threw on a robe and went out to get the most critical part of any bath:  a Ziploc baggie.

Ziploc baggies are a girl’s best friend, and I’ll tell you why:  I like to read in the tub, and all of my books are e-books.  Now, normally reading in the tub on an expensive e-reader would be a dumb idea, but awhile back I discovered they sell these expensive little bags that you can put your Nook into so you can read in a tub.  I was considering buying one for a while, when all of a sudden it dawned on me…. couldn’t I just stick my cell phone in a Ziploc baggie and read on my Nook cell phone app?

The answer to that is: yes.  Yes, you can.  I’ve been reading in the tub in this style for years.  Back in the beginning I used to put my cell phone in a sandwich-sized Ziploc baggie and then put that baggie in a bigger, gallon-size baggie, just in case…. but over the years I’ve relaxed my standards to the point that I only use a sandwich baggie.

So, that’s what I did this time:  I went and got my Ziploc baggie, and toddled off to the bathtub, looking forward to my nice, back-relaxing bath.  As I kicked off my clothes and prepared to get in, I opened the baggie and dropped my phone into the Ziploc baggie from about 6 inches above. I mean, if you’re a mom of four and you’re about to get into an Epsom salt bath and read a book, shouldn’t you do everything with a little flourish?

Aaaand the answer to that is: No. No, you should not.

What I hadn’t banked on this time is that this particular shopping trip I had decided to save a little money and I had forgotten that I’d picked up some discount, no-name baggies from Grocery Outlet instead of name brand Ziploc baggies.  When I dropped the cell phone into the baggie with a flourish, the cell phone dropped into the bag…. and then dropped straight through the seam at the bottom of the bag and bounced onto the bathroom rug.

It all happened so seamlessly (pun intended) that I couldn’t figure out what had just happened.

I stood there and stared at my yellow iPhone on the floor for a moment, and then at the baggie in my hand, and then back at the phone.

Me:  “What?  I’m so confused.”

Brain:  “That’s your phone on the floor, stupid.”

Me:  “Why is it on the floor?”

Brain:  “How the heck should I know?  You think I was paying attention?”

Me:  “Well, I certainly wasn’t.  Why didn’t it go in the baggie?  Why is it on the floor right now?”

Brain:  “Well, neither of us was paying attention, so I bet you just missed the bag.  I bet you went to go drop it in, and you dropped it beside the bag and it fell on the floor.”

Me:  “I do have bad depth perception, so that’s certainly possible…. But isn’t it possible that the bag ripped?”

Brain:  “Shhhhh.  I swear, you get so caught up on stupid details.  Just put it back in the bag and get in the tub.  I am gonna release so many endorphins when that hot water hits your skin.”

Me:  “Shouldn’t I check if the bag is ripped?”

Brain: “SHUT UP AND GET IN THE TUB.  That hot water is getting getting colder by the second, and if you don’t get in while it’s still hot enough to sting your skin, you’re not gonna be able to pretend you’re Daenerys Targaryen and whisper ‘I am the Blood of the Dragon‘ to yourself.”

Me:  “OMG, you’re totally right.  But…. but what if the cell phone…”

Brain: “Quit being a worry wart.  Just put it into the bag carefully.  You’ll be fine.”

And so I did.  I very, very carefully slipped the phone into the bag as I stepped into the tub… and my iPhone very, very carefully slipped through the torn bag and plopped right into the tub, disappearing beneath the bubbles.

I yelped out a curse word and with one leg in the tub and one leg still out, I began fishing around for the phone.  It took longer than I wanted to find it, but finally I pulled it out.  All I could think was “I need to get turn it off and get this thing in rice… STAT.”  I don’t care if the new recommendation is to keep wet cell phones away from rice, I’ve dropped plenty of phones in water (please don’t judge me), and rice has saved them every time.

Feeling the urgency of the moment, I bounced up from my crouch, trying to lunge at my bath towel so I could dry off my phone and dash into the kitchen…..

Except I forgot that I was halfway in a tub….a tub full of water, and lots of soap.  Do you know what happens when you try to bounce up from a crouch when one of your feet is in a tub full of soapy water?

The splits.  The splits is what happens.

And you know, the splits are awesome if you are 15 and flexible and a cheerleader and stuff like that.

But do you know when the splits aren’t awesome?  The splits aren’t awesome when you’re 35, and fat, and your back hurts, and you’ve never been flexible a day in your life to begin with.

One foot went one way, one foot went another, and both of my arms sprang upwards in a desperate attempt to…. I dunno.  Cry out hallelujah?  I have no idea what my stupid arms were trying to do, but I do know that my iPhone was SO EXCITED by the whole fiasco that it jumped out of my hand (I swear I heard it say”Wheeee!!!!”) and it plunged back in the tub again.

Okay, let me do a little bit of explaining before I launch into the next part of this story.  Back when I was young and spry and single, I did imagine being naked in front of my husband.  Oh, whatever.  Every teenager daydreams about it.  I could totally picture it.  I’d be posed in a doorway, with my arms over my head or something, because that always makes your boobs look GREAT and your stomach look flat.  Anyways, I’d be standing there, all taut and sexy, with the light playing juuuust right over my skin, and I’d say something like, “Hey there, sailor.  Wanna dock your ship?”

Yes, I know that’s a terrible sex metaphor.  I’m not very good at sexy talk, okay?  My inept sex talk is not the point of this.  Stay with me, okay?

The point is, I did picture being naked in front of my husband, and in these daydreams I was always really in shape, and posing, and totally sexy.

What I did not picture was the way I was naked in front of my husband last week, as I dragged my angry, tired carcass through the living room with my sopping went iPhone wrapped in a towel.

In my daydreams I pranced about, nymph-like.

In my daydreams I did not limp heavily by my husband on legs that were not working quite right after being forced into unnatural positions.

Step-THUMP.  Step-THUMP.  Step-THUMP.  Not only was I not prancing, but I could feel things…. swinging.  Ponderously.  There are many things that make you feel sexy as a woman.  Feeling your belly and thighs and other jiggly bits flapping about in the wind from the force of your limping?  That is not one of them.

Honestly, it looked exactly like this, only I was more hunched over, and there was an iPhone in my hand instead of an arm:

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I’d like to say I was saying sweet, wifely, Christian things under my breath as I limped my way through the living room…. but I know I wasn’t.  I don’t remember exactly what I was saying, but it wasn’t nice, and it wasn’t repeatable.

Step-THUMP. Quiet spewing of profanity.  

Step-THUMP.  More profanity.
And that’s when I heard it, from over near the couch.

“OOOH.  Heeey, sexy.”

I ignored it.  I was NOT in the mood for teasing.  Step-THUMP.  STUPID &!&@! PHONE.  Stupid phone with its bleepity-bleep bag WITH ITS STUPID BLEEPITY-BLEEP RIPPING…

“Heeey, sexy.  Do I see boobies?”

Wait a second….was he…. was he flirting with me?  No.  No, there was no way possible he could be flirting with me.  I’m pretty sure that this was, hands down, the least sexy I’ve ever looked.

Step-THUMP.  Where was a clean @(*@&#*! bowl?  Step-THUMP.  Where was the bleeping bag of rice?

“Heeeey, sexy.”

Holy crap.  He was.  The Bean was honestly flirting with me.  The only thing propelling me forward and keeping me from collapsing in a puddle in frustrated tears was one good leg and stubborn anger….. and he was flirting with me.  Couldn’t he see me limping? Couldn’t he see my deflated stomach flapping in the wind? Couldn’t he see the pure, unadulterated rage oozing out of my very pores?  I limped over to grab my phone and shove it in the rice bowl.

Step-THUMP.  Step-THUMP. Flap-flap. Step-THUMP.

“Whoo-whoo.  I seee your boobies…. Hey, sexy!”

And that’s when it hits me, and that’s where we come to the whole point of this post:    I always thought The Bean was lying, or just saying stuff to make me feel better….

But I think he’s telling the truth.

I honestly don’t think he notices the weight gain, at least not when I’m, errrr, “en deshabille”.

 

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So while my iPhone’s SIM card is now damaged beyond repair and I can only use it to go on Facebook or other apps, and then only when connected with WIFI,  and while I didn’t get the satisfying bath I’d daydreamed of, and even though I step-thumped my way into pajamas and straight to bed and spent the next few days sulking instead of writing…..

I dunno.  It’s a small price to pay for realizing that The Bean still loves me, and that he’s not nearly as hard on me as I am on myself.

Love ya, Bean.

Also… do you have any idea where we put your old cell phone?  I need to activate it tomorrow.

Do You Want to Make a Baaaaby?

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Uterus: Do you want to make a baaaaby?

 

Me: What?  You’re mumbling again.  What’d you say?

 

Uterus: Do you want to build a baby?

 

Me:  Oh, holy heck.  No.  Not again.  Please don’t.  I hate that song. Shut up.

 

Uterus:  Do you want to build a baaaaby?

 

Me: Stop it. Please don’t sing that song again.  NO SONGS FROM FROZEN, AND NO BABIES.

 

Uterus: Come on let’s go and plaaaaay

 

Me: Seriously.  Stop it.

 

Uterus: I never have fun anymore…

 

Me:  Good.

 

Uterus: I get a little bored…

 

Me: Shut up.

 

Uterus: Now that the babies inside me have gone awaaaaaaay.

 

Me:  …… are you done yet?

 

Uterus: You used to keep me busy, now there’s just empty wallls, watching the uterus lining flow byyyyyyyyyy……

 

Me:  …… Now are you done?

 

Uterus:  Do you want to build a baaaby?

 

Me:  NO.

 

Uterus: Okay, byyyeeee 🙁

 

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A couple weeks later

 

Me:  Hello?

 

Uterus:

 

Me:  Hello?  Uterus?

 

Uterus:

 

Me:  Hey, sweetie, I’m sorry I didn’t let you build a baby, but, you know, I have a say in these things, too.

 

Uterus:

 

Me:  Look, you can’t ignore me forever.  We’ve got a timeline for our conversations. Remember?  That thing that happens once a month?

 

Uterus (mumbling):  Don’t wanna.

 

Me:  You don’t wanna? Huh?  What’s that supposed to mean?  Look, it’s time for you to do your thing.

 

Uterus.  No.

 

Me:  Hey, trust me.  I wish it wasn’t an option, but it is.  it’s time to clean house, so let’s just get it over with, okay?

 

Uterus:  No.  I made a nursery for the baby. It’s lovely. I wanna keep it.

 

Me:  What?  Why would you make a nursery?

 

Uterus:  For the baby. It’s beautiful, and the baby is going to love it.

 

Me:  You do realize how stupid that is, right?  Why would you make a nursery for a baby that was never gonna happen? I specifically told you we weren’t going to have one. What a waste of time.

 

Uterus:  No it’s not. I’m keeping this nursery.

 

Me:  That’s…. that’s just gross.  It’s already past due.  Just get rid of it.   You don’t even need it.

 

Uterus:  YES I DO.

 

Me: What?  Explain yourself.

 

Uterus:  I’M KEEPING THE NURSERY.  I NEED IT.  BECAUSE…. BECAUSE REASONS, THAT’S WHY.

 

Me:  ….. now you’re scaring me.  Why do you need it?

 

Uterus:  None of your business.

 

Me:  Actually, it’s totally my business. What do you mean you need the nursery?  I mean it.  Tell me.

 

Uterus:  I’m not telling you.

 

Me:  Yes, you will.  I’m going to force you to tell me the truth by using my magic wand, otherwise known as ClearBlue Pregnancy Stick.  Now.  Speak clearly into the wand, and tell me the truth:  Did you smuggle in a baby while I wasn’t looking?

 

Uterus:  No.

 

Me:  Oh, thank heavens.  You had me worrie–

 

Uterus:  But I could be lying.

 

Me:  WHAT?

 

Uterus:  Oooh, ooh, I’m feeling weird.  Is it because it’s a cramp?  Or am I stretching the walls to make more room for the beautiful infant I’m housing?  You’ll never know, because I’m NEVER TELLING YOU AND I’M NEVER GIVING YOU THIS NURSERY.

 

Me:  I hate you.  I’m going to make you speak into the wand of truth again tomorrow morning.  You can’t lie as well first thing in the morning.

 

 

[Later that night]

 

Uterus:  Hey, Becky, you awake?

 

Me:  <snore>

 

Uterus:  Are you really asleep?

 

Me:  <SNORE>

 

Uterus:  Good.  Because you totally deserve this.

 

Me:  What the…. WHAT IS ALL OF THIS?

 

Uterus:  It’s what you wanted, you selfish waste of a human being!

 

Me:  What is going on?  Did somebody slaughter a rabbit in the bed?  WHAT IS THIS HORRIBLE MESS?

 

Uterus:  I HATE YOU.  I made a delightful nursery for the baby, and you’re forcing me to get rid of it, SO I’M GOING TO GET RID OF IT ALL AT ONCE BECAUSE YOU’RE A HORRIBLE PERSON AND THAT’S WHAT YOU DESERVE.

 

Me:  This is not what I wanted at all!   I don’t make these rules, you know.  I just live by them!  Oh, gross.  Nasty.  It’s everywhere.  Why?  Why would you do this to me?  It’s not even six in the morning!

 

Uterus:  BEHOLD THE WRATH OF MY RUINED BABY NURSERY! I WILL RAIN DOWN BLOOD UPON THEE LIKE YOU’RE CARRIE AT THE PROM.  PLAGUE AND PESTILENCE AND GROSSNESS UPON THEE AND THY MATTRESS…

~~~~~~

And now you all know why I wish I was a man.

 

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Quit shoving books down your pants, Becky

Dear 19-year-old Becky,

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Hey, that’s a great tan on your legs.  It totally matches your shoulders.  You don’t look at all like someone grabbed two different Lego people and forced their mismatched halves together.

Okay, quit shooting me dirty looks.  Whatever, you’re me.  I get to pick on you all I want. That said, there is a point to this, you know. I didn’t just come here to make fun of you. I wanted to let you know that I see you.  Yes, you.  You are on your first cruise, and you’re in the prime of your youth.  I’m looking back through the photos today, and I assure you:  YOU ARE NOT FAT.

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As far as I can tell, you are composed of about 90% legs and 10% flat belly, but eh.  I’m not gonna argue with you, because we both know you’ll never hear me, so I might as well get down to business.

Dude.  You are on a cruise, you’re single, you’re totally hot, you’re laying in a gorgeous little black bathing suit on the sands of a Mexican beach…….

And you’ve got your nose stuffed in a book.

Here’s the thing:  I know what book you’re reading.  That’s Outlander, isn’t it?  No, don’t even bother trying to hide it under the towel – we both know you stole it out of the ship’s library.  Yes, yes, I know you didn’t “steal” it – I know you’re going to “give it right back”, so it’s not “technically stealing”. Although, now that we’re on the subject….

DUDE.  You have got to quit shoving books down your pants to steal them, even if you’ve rationalized the theft in your mind.  I mean, really. Think about it for a second.  Do you realize how socially inept you’re being?    Let’s not even talk about the fact that yes, it is stealing.  No, this point is non-negotiable.  If you’re not supposed to take it and you do, then it’s stealing.  It doesn’t matter if you do give it right back to the library, which is the only place you steal books from.  It’s still stealing.  It’s going to take you three or four more years before you realize what a jerk thing that is to do to your favorite place in the entire world and you leave your life of crime behind.

It’s just… morality issue aside, how do you even consider all the possibilities of how to steal something, and then decide that cramming it down your pants is the way to go?  Are you for real?

Look, I’m older than you and I’ve learned a few things over the past few years so let me  tell you something: just tuck the book under your arm and walk off like the badass mofo you are.  Nobody cares.  Everyone’s as caught up in their own lives as you are with yours, and they really. Don’t. Care.

So quit jamming books down your pants and waddling off with them like a gimpy penguin.  It’s not cool, man. Books don’t deserve that.  The person who reads that book next doesn’t deserve it either.

Alright, back to my main point.  Where was I?

Ah, yes.

So you’re 19, single, hot, and on a Mexican beach.  You’re taking a break from a cruise filled with other single, hot young guys…. and you have your nose stuffed in a book? I know you’re feeling guilty about that – like you’re wasting this cruise  by spending the whole time reading, and let me tell you something….

DUDE, YOU’RE TOTALLY NOT.

Holy crap, isn’t that, like, the most amazing book ever?

Right?!

It’s still your most-favoritest-book-ever, even though it’s almost 15 years later!  I know you’re worried that you’re not gonna finish it in time and that you’ll actually have to consider for-real, legitimately stealing the book because you don’t have a job and your library card has a bunch of fines on it again, but dont’ worry.   You actually creep back to the library and pull an all nighter and finish it somewhere around 6 or 7 the next evening.  Also, you’re doing the right thing in not speed-reading through it.  Keep savoring those words.  There’s only one “first time”, you know?

Here’s the super cool part.  Brace yourself, because this is really good.  In about 15 years… YOU’RE GOING TO MEET THE AUTHOR, AND TAKE A PICTURE WITH HER BUTT, AND IT WILL BE AMAZING.

RIGHT?!  You live in Oregon, you own a 16.2 Andalusian cross, you’re becoming a for-real writer, and YOU ACTUALLY MEET DIANA GABALDON’S BUTT.

I know.  Life turns out pretty awesome for us, doesn’t it?

Okay, I can see that you’re actually really busy making awesome decisions so I’ll let you get back to reading, just…. Look, 19-year-old-Becky, even if you won’t believe me that you’re not fat, please believe me that you’re totally making the right decision.  You’re not “wasting” your cruise time at all.  That is such an awesome book.

Love your horse. Just don’t LOVE your horse.

The barn at night is my favorite place in the world.  The horses are quiet, the wind is soft, and the world seems to slow to a peaceful crawl.

I’ve taken on a part time job doing in-home care for an elderly gentleman. It’s rewarding work and I love it…. but it doesn’t leave me a lot of extra time between that, taking care of the boys, taking care of the pets, and trying to cram in writing time so maybe one day I can actually publish a book.

One of the best parts about Pacific Northwest summers are how long the days are.  As I finished my evening shift, I looked outside and decided to take an impromptu trip to the barn. Why not?  Even though it was nine at night the sun had barely set and there was probably almost an hour left of that endless summer twilight that I appreciate but will probably never get used to.

Caspian moved barns a couple of weeks ago, and it’s been great.  The new barn has acres upon hundreds of acres of trails that start about 10 feet outside of the arena, and the horses get regular turnout on individual paddocks of green grass.

Needless to say, we’re both happy.

Since the new barn is full-care I no longer have to drive out to the barn daily, and I have to admit it’s been kind of nice.

Still – I feel guilty having someone else do all the work for my horse, which is why it was so gratifying to pull up and see Caspian hang his head out of his window and watch me pull up with pricked ears and a pleasant expression.  He seemed genuinely happy to see me, but that’s probably because I’m stacking the odds in my favor – I try to end every visit with at least 5 minutes of hand grazing.  My theory is that no matter how hard we work on a new concept, or how much we butt heads (it’s rare, but it happens), five minutes of peaceful hand grazing can erase it and leave him with a good taste in his mouth, both literally and figuratively.

I slipped the halter onto his waiting nose and we walked in darkness to the arena, waiting as the large overhead lights slowly turned on.  I let him run around for awhile, mentally cursing my lack of camera.  He’s looking great lately, and I really want to document his weight gain.  Besides – he’s just gorgeous when he’s flinging his head around and striking out mid-gallop, and I really  need to get a good picture of it.

I only had about 30 minutes before I needed to head for home, as I’d promised the barn owner I’d be out of there by 10 so she could lock up.  I took him outside and let him graze in the knee-deep grass beneath a violet sky and a waxing moon.  I tried to take a picture, but all you see is an amorphous shadow beneath a tiny white dot…

Technology?  Are you hearing me?  One of these days you’re going to have to figure out how to let normal people take better pictures of night time.  Let’s have a few less Facebook cell phone updates and pay a little more attention to that, mmkay?

Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny and I have plans to bathe Caspian, so after I led him back to his stall I decided to take out his mane braids.  I’ve been doing my best to follow the “grow your horse’s mane like a Friesian” method of mane care, and so far it’s really working.  The only time the hair is down from its braids is when I am washing it with lots of conditioner and finger-combing, working out any knots carefully.  After it dries, I french braid it into about 8 sections that hang down his neck, and then I don’t touch it until the next time I’m ready to wash it.  Occasionally I have to rebraid sections, but it seems to hold up just fine.

I’ve owned Caspian less than a year, but in that time period his mane has probably tripled in thickness and it has grown about four inches.  That may not be impressive compared to some horses,  but considering how wispy his mane was when I got him, it’s an unbelievable improvement.

I decided to give him the evening with his braids down – he hated being braided in the beginning but has grown used to it, and now there is no grooming he likes better than the feel of me taking out his braids.  I slipped off his halter and he stood without moving as I worked my way up his neck slowly, carefully picking around potential knots and doing my best not to pull out any more hair than was necessary as threaded my fingers through his salt and pepper strands.

His eyelids sank slowly, his neck dropped with each passing moment, and at one point he actually fell asleep with his muzzle resting on my shoe.

Eventually we were done, so I grabbed a brush and decided to give him a once over before saying goodbye for the night.  I intended it to be a quick, but as I brushed him I realized he was in an unusually affectionate mood, so I slowed down and began to really groom him.

He leaned into each brush stroke ever-so-slightly, eyes glazed and upper lip twitching with pleasure.  I started at his head and worked my way back, even going so far as to stand up on tiptoe so I could see the top of his hindquarters as I brushed them, making sure I didn’t miss a spot.  I’m used to his size now, but it still gets me that I can’t see the top of his hindquarter without going on tiptoes – I’m 5’8, so it’s not like I’m exactly petite.

I turned my back to his head, leaning my shoulder against him as I worked on a particularly stubborn green stain on the inside of his hock… but as I did the hair on the back of my neck began to prickle in warning.

Was… was someone looking at me?

I stood up slowly, resting a hand on Caspian’s hip as I turned around…. and that’s when I saw him.

Gone was the sleepy, glazed look he’d been wearing for the past ten minutes.  Instead, Caspian had his head craned completely around, his neck nearly doubled on itself, and he was staring at me with a bright eyes.  His ears were pricked and his nostrils flared slightly as he stretched his nose toward me.

It looked for all the world like the look a mother horse gives her foal when she sees it for the first time.

(Just like that – except we were both standing, and there was less placenta.)
“Hey, buddy.”  I smiled at him, trying to figure out where this unusual surge of emotion was coming from.

He stared at me harder, willing me to understand.

“Hey… hey handsome.  I love you, too.”

His nostrils quivered – the barest hint of the beginnings of a silent nicker.

“Does it feel good, Caspers?”  I ran the brush down his hip again, and he stared at me harder.  “Does it feel good?  I bet you were itchy, weren’t you, Caspian?  I bet you were totally itchy, and it just feels so good.  You like it?  Do you like…..”

I trailed off as I stepped forward to brush his side, and that’s when I saw it.

IT.

All of IT– nearly a foot and a half of erect glory, proudly announcing that oh, yes.  Caspian liked it.  He definitely liked it, thank you very much.

“GROSS.”  I took a step back and grimaced.  “Gross.  Put it away, Caspian.”
Content that I had seen him in all his turgid magnificence, Caspian’s intent expression relaxed and he quit staring at me, swinging his head back around to face the front of his stall with a satisfied expression.  Do you like it, Becky?  It’s for you. You make me feel good.
“No, I do NOT like it.  Put it away.”  I knew I needed to correct him, and hard – but I was loathe to break the peacefulness of the evening.  This was supposed to be my quiet time, dangit.  If I’d wanted to train I would have ridden him.  Also, if I’d wanted to deal with a foot and a half of reproductive equipment, I would have bought a stallion, not a stupid gelding.  Still – I couldn’t just ignore it.  I slapped his flank with a flat palm, hoping the sound would startle him out of his exhibition.

He ignored me.  That was very surprising, considering he’s usually a little overly sensitive to correction.  He stared resolutely forward, refusing to acknowledge me.  Go ahead and look, Becky.  I don’t mind.  It’s not awkward, so long as we don’t make eye contact.

IT twitched.

“GROSS,” I said.  “Put it AWAY.” Even if it wasn’t weird and gross, Caspian was gelded late and there are certain lines you just don’t let an ex stallion cross… this was definitely one of them.  I deliberately created a little bit of a growl in my voice – which normally made him throw his head up in the air dramatically – and accompanied it with a hard THWAP on his side with the brush. The brush I was using had a solid wooden handle, and there was no doubt that it hurt.

He jumped slightly, but refused to turn around.  Becky, shhh. There’s no need to raise your voice and get all violent.  Just keep brushing me.  We’ll keep this between us.  I’ll just avoid your eyes to give you a moment to take it all in….. but really.  Look at it.  He shifted his weight infinitesimally,   somehow managing to give off the impression that he was pointing at it, without any hands.

Enough was enough.  “Put it AWAY!” I said, and this time I reached out and thwacked IT hard with the prickly, bristly side of the brush, although I may have squeezed my eyes shut in sympathy at the moment of impact.
That got his attention.

He jumped vertically about three feet, and swung his hindquarters away from me.  What the hell was that?!  You don’t do that to a stallion.  OW.  Why did you do that?  We were having a moment, and you just lash out at me like that? What is wrong with you?

“No.  No, no, no, no, NO.  You are not a stallion – that thing is for peeing, and peeing only.  PERIOD.  You keep that away, you hear me?  I mean it,” I said, pointing at IT with the brush.  “You finish putting that away, right now, or so help me I’ll hit it again.”

He avoided my eyes again, but this time with a chastised expression.  IT went back to where it belonged, and I went back to brushing him – me businesslike and curt, him staring straight ahead with a hurt expression and no hint of affection.  Apparently our intimate moment was over.

But that’s okay – I mean, I want my horse to like me, but I don’t want him to like me, you know?

Use Your Imagination….. Just Not Like That

I cracked my eyes open to find a pair of green eyes staring intently at me from only a few inches away.

It wasn’t the first time the DragonMonkey had decided to wake me up by staring at me silently, without blinking, but it didn’t make it any less creepy.

“Hey, DragonMonkey.”

“Look, Mama.”  He stared at me hard, willing me to notice.  And how could I not?

Sometime after waking up he’d sneaked down to the basement and found the two balloons I’d tossed down there the day before. Yes, blowing up two balloons had helped him and The Squid burn off some energy on a cold, rainy afternoon, but after an hour of them playing “Let’s Hit Everything in Sight, Including Each Pets and Breakable Items, All While Laughing Hysterically“, I’d had enough. When toys are used for evil they get banished to the basement.

Apparently the fate of those poor, banished balloons had been on his mind all night, because the second DragonMonkey woke up he crept down to rescue them.

And rescue them he did.  He stood in front of me, clutching them proudly to his chest, back arched as he showed them off.

I blinked a couple of times as I stared at the way they pressed together, forming an impressive red and green cleavage, and cleared my throat before answering.  “I… I see. You have the balloons.”

“No, LOOK, Mama.”  His back arched even more, and I found myself flashing back to Orange County and all its plastic glory.

“Yes.  Two balloons.  DragonMonkey, can you give me a moment to finish waking up?”

“No, LOOK.  I’m like you.”

Like me?

“Like you, Mama.  See?  They’re like what you have!”  He jerked his chin in the direction of my own chest.

Oh, oh, please let it just be my dirty mind.  Please, please don’t let him be saying what I think he’s saying.  “I… I don’t want to jump to any conclusions when it’s still six in the morning..  DragonMonkey, what do you mean?  What are those supposed to be?”

“They’re like you’re, uh…. Uh… My words not good, I don’t know…. They’re like yours.  Like what have, on you.  Your private area – that you gave milk to the Squid with, in Huntington Beach.  Like those!”  He squeezed his hands, causing the giant plastic globes to wiggle obscenely.

I mean, I’m all for kids using their imagination, but why?  Why couldn’t I have given birth to someone who woke up early and decided to just go watch some cartoons like a normal kid?  Did he really have to come in and wake me up so I could admire his brand new, imaginary, red and green giant boobies?

“DragonMonkey… just… just go watch cartoons and let me make some coffee.  Then we’ll deal with this.”

Motherhood.

It ain’t for the faint of heart.

Kids or Self-Esteem: You Can Only Choose One

“What’s this?”

“That’s my eyebrow, Squid.”

“What’s this?”

“What?  You’re three now.  You know what those are.”

“No, you tell me.  Please?”

“Fine.  Those are lips.”

“What’s this?”

“Cheekbones.”

“What’s this?”

“That’s my neck.”

“What’s this?”

“Clavicle.”

“What’s this, Ma?”

“Squid, you know that one.  Chin.”

“What’s this?”

“…. Uh, that’s my chin.”

“No, this your chin.  What’s this?”

“Uh… my neck?”

“No, Ma.  This your neck.  What’s THIS?”

“Uh….”

“Ma, tell me.  What’s this?  WHAT’S THIS?”

“….. that’s my double chin.  Go away.  I’m done playing.”

Can I eat my kids yet?

“DON’T GO PEE OUT THERE NAKED.  Squid, you don’t go pee naked.  Everyone see you.  what you were thinking ’bout, peeing in the front yard?”

“Nuthin’. I just pee. DragonMonkey, Let me in.”

**************
 “Boys, your mom is out running errands.  I’ll be watching you while she’s gone.  You can play with any of my sons’ toys that you want, but all I ask is that you pick them up when you’re done.  Understand, Dragonmonkey?

“Yes, Mrs. D.”

“Squid?”

“Yes, Mrs. D.”

“Okay have fun.”

“Boys – I need you to clean this up.  You’ve scattered toys all over the hall, and in the living room.  Come put them away.”

“Yes, Mrs. D.”

“Yes, Mrs. D.”

“DragonMonkey, Squid, both of you come here, right now.  Look what you did – when I said you needed to put the toys away, I meant you needed to actually put them away, not just throw them in my son’s room and shut the door.  Do you understand?”

“Yes.  I sowwy, Mrs. D.”

“That’s fine, Squid.  Thank you for apologizing.  Just clean them up and you’ll be fine…. DragonMonkey?”

“…….”

“DragonMonkey?”

“…….”

“DragonMonkey, you can either answer me and go clean up those toys, or you can go on the timeout chair.”

“Awww, shit.  SHIT.  Fine, Mrs. D.”

*****

At five and three years old, they’re probably too big to eat, right?

How to Feel Sorry For Yourself

“Artemis Bean, you get your butt back in this yard, right now!”

Artemis broke off playing with our neighbors’ dogs, wiggling her butt excitedly as she romped back to the fence dividing our properties. 

OMG HI!  HI!  I LOVE YOU!  HI!  I’M PLAYING!

“I’m not in the mood, Artemis.  We’ve fixed this fence THREE TIMES.  How are you even getting over there?”

OMG!  I LOVE YOU!  I’M GONNA GO PLAY NOW! I LOVE YOU!  BYE!

“NO.  Artemis, COME.  You’re a bad dog.”

OMG.  YOU HATE ME.  I’M SORRY.  YOU HATE ME. I’LL LEAVE.  I’LL LEAVE FOREVER. I’M SO SORRY….. LOOK!  A DOG!  TWO DOGS!  I LOVE THEM!  I LOVE YOU!  I’M GONNA GO PLAY NOW!  BYE!

“NO.  I said COME.  COME, Artemis.”

OK!!!  I’LL COME!  OMG!  THERE’S A FENCE HERE.  DID YOU KNOW THERE’S A FENCE HERE?  I LOVE YOU!!!  I’D COME OVER THERE, BUT THERE’S A FENCE.  I LOVE YOU!”

“You got in there somehow, so you can get out.  Artemis, COME.  Show me how you got in their danged yard again.  COME.”

OK!!!  I’M COMING!  WAIT.  THERE’S A FENCE.  DID YOU KNOW THERE’S A FENCE?  I CAN’T… OH, LOOK!  LOOK!  I FOUND A HOLE!  WELL, NOT A HOLE, BUT I BET I CAN MAKE ONE IF I SLAM INTO THE FENCE HARD ENOUGH AND FORCE IT TO GIVE….. YAAAY!  I’M HERE! I LOVE YOU!!!  I LOVE YOU!!!! YAAAY!!!!!!”

Sigh.  “Good come, Artemis.  At least I know how you’re getting through.”

OMG!  I’M A GOOD DOG, AREN’T I?  I LOVE YOU!!!  …… OMG.  LOOK!  THERE ARE DOGS OVER THERE!  I WANT TO PLAY!  BUT THERE’S A FENCE.  DID YOU KNOW THERE’S A FENCE HERE?  HI, FRIENDS!  LET’S PLAY!”

“Artemis, NO.  NO, NO, NO.  You may NOT go through that fence.  Bad dog.  BAD dog.”

OH NO!  YOU HATE ME.  I’M HATEFUL.  I DESERVE TO BE HATED.  I LOVE YOU.  I DON’T DESERVE TO LOVE YOU.  I’LL LEAVE NOW.  I’LL JUST GO… GO OVER HERE?  OMG, LOOK!  THERE ARE DOGS OVER THERE!”

“Oh, for crying out loud. Artemis, NO.  No fence.  No.  Just… go inside.”

YAY!  INSIDE!  I LOVE INSIDE!  IT’S MY FAVORITE!!! I LOVE YOU! I LOVE EVERYTHING!

I stomped my way back to the laundry room and proceeded to change the loads.  I popped the dry clothes into a hamper, popped the wet clothes into the dryer, and filled the washer with a load of colors. At the last second I decided to wash the jeans I was wearing, so I stripped out of them and put them into the wash, too.  Sure, all my other pants were dirty, but I didn’t have anywhere to go.

Besides… I was just going to sit on the couch and fold laundry while I watched Malcolm in the Middle.  You didn’t exactly need pants for that.   I hefted the laundry hamper onto my hip and walked into the living room to begin folding.

YOU HATE ME.  I’M SORRY.  I DON’T KNOW WHY, BUT I’M SORRY.

“Artemis, you don’t have to give me that look.  I’m not mad about the fence thing.  Just don’t go out there anymore.  You might get out of their yard and get hit by a car.”

I LOVE YOU.  I DON’T DESERVE YOU.  I LOVE YOU SO MUCH, EVEN THOUGH I DON’T DESERVE YOU.  I NEED TO BE WITH YOU.

“Ooof.  Artemis, no.  Down.  You’re too big to crawl in my lap.”

I NEED TO BE NEAR YOU.  PLEASE.  COMFORT ME.  COMFORT ME BY LETTING ME BE NEAR YOU.  PLEASE LET ME CRAWL ONTO YOUR LAP AND INTO YOUR SOUL.  I LOVE YOU.

“No, Artemis. Off.  Here – you can just lean against me while I fold laundry.”

I NEED TO BE NEAR YOU.  I’M GOING TO PLACE MY HEAD ON YOUR LAP AND LEAN INTO YOU, AND MAYBE IF I PRESS HARD ENOUGH I CAN MERGE SOULS WITH YOU.  PLEASE.  CLOSE ISN’T CLOSE ENOUGH.  I LOVE YOU.

“You can put your head in my lap.  Fine.  Just don’t lean on me so much.  You’re heavy.”

And so we stayed for nearly thirty minutes- the dog leaning her head in my lap with all her might, the laundry slowly getting folded on the couch, and Malcolm in the Middle quietly blaring on the tv.

Only…….

Did you know that a dog’s fur is very effective at transporting the oil from poison oak?  Dogs aren’t allergic to it, but they can bring it into your house.

I learned this the hard way last summer, trying to hunt down how I kept getting infected by poison oak.  It took several weeks before we eradicated most of it in our yard.

Here’s another interesting fact:

Did you know my neighbor’s back yard has poison oak? 

Yeah, I didn’t either.

I think you can see where I’m going with this.  Guess who has poison oak rash all over the inside of her thighs?

It gets better.

Do you know how they say you can’t spread poison oak by scratching?

I have found that to be a lie.  Maybe the blisters contain some kind of an oil, but I seem to have an unusually strong reaction to poison oak, and each time I’m exposed it is a little more severe, and it lasts a little longer.  Two months ago I had some on my wrists that lasted almost 5 weeks and left a little light scarring.  It spread a little bit each day for the first week, until it traveled almost to my elbow. 

The problem is that it usually takes a few days before my poison oak rash blooms into something recognizable – it starts off as a series of small bumps that look almost like mosquito or flea bites.  Unfortunately (and this may just be for me, and not everyone) while it’s at this innocent-looking stage it’s still able to be spread – it’s only when it slowly progresses into the stereotypical welts that ooze that I tend to recognize it, but by then it’s too late.

Anyways, here’s another fun little fact.

Do you know what else is located near your inner thighs?

Oh, yes.  That’s right.

Call it what you want – the love canal.  Cooter.   Muffin.  Honey Pot.  Cooch.  Mommy Parts.  Hoohah.

There are many different names for it, but it all boils down to one fact: 

Life is very, very sad when you have poison oak of the vajayjay.

Bad dog.

VERY bad dog.

    That’s Some Loud Underwear You’ve Got There

    Yay! I got another article published at The Shake.

    I should post it on my blog.

    But wait.  I just posted yesterday.  I should wait a day or two before posting this one.  I’m bad enough about updating regularly – I should spread the love out.  If I start posting twice in one day, they’ll think I’m on some kind of writing spree, and get all spoiled.

    I’ll wait a day.  Yeah, that’s a good idea.

    And then I’ll write a really interesting intro, so it doesn’t feel like I’m just sending them a link and shooing them away.

    Except…. Oh, geez.  SQUID!  THE YOGURT IS NOT FOR FINGERPAINTING THE DOG.  GROSS.  You either eat it or you put it on the counter….NO.  I MEANT EAT THE YOGURT IN THE CONTAINER, NOT LICK IT OFF THE DOG.  STOP.  I’m not joking, little man.  STOP, RIGHT NOW, OR YOU’RE GONNA PUT YOUR NOSE IN THE CORNER UNTIL YOU’RE 20.

    Has he stopped?

    Nope.

    If you’ll excuse me, I’m off to put a kid in the corner.

    Edit:

    I did a little more research and discovered that the undies I wrote on was a marketing prank done by a feminist group to raise awareness of how sexist Victoria’s Secret underwear is…. which, the more I think about it, just makes it seem even sillier.

    I actu
    ally researched it before I wrote about it, but I didn’t do a good enough job. BAD, Becky. Bad. Go get the Cone of Shame.

    Also, I’m bummed, because I missed the chance to make fun of the angry feminists instead of Victoria’s Secret. Boo.

    Ah, well.  It was a good lesson to learn.

    Neat!

    The Shake (an online Australian magazine) published one of my articles.

    COOL.

    It makes me feel like a legit writer, or something.

    Anyways, you can go read it here:

    Click here to read about animal sex, because I’m classy like that.

    Also, in the spirit of “it’s my blog and I feel like bragging on myself”:

    Guess who had a bright red face and cried when she crossed the finish line of her first 10k last Saturday?

    I didn’t even puke afterwards, although there were a few minutes where it was touch and go. 

    I said as much to the bake sale lady while I was sipping water, trying to calm down, and the look on her face reminded me that I really need to find a way to get better at small talk.

    Anyways, I went for a nice, slow run today (and by slow I mean that the DragonMonkey leaned his head back at one point and asked if he could get out and walk beside the stroller) and realized that one day I may even be crazy enough to try a half marathon… or at the very least a Ride and Tie event.

    Maybe I’ll even learn how to cross the finish line without bursting into happy tears.