Green's Hill-Amy Lane's Home - News

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Did I mention it was hot?

I was expecting the heating and air guy to show up sometime today. I was NOT expecting him when I was sans bra at 8:15 in the morning. I mean, not that I BLAME him-- all the better to crawl around up on top of our roof without getting cooked like a bug on a car hood, right?

But it did put off my morning walk a little, and by the time I got out at 10:30, it was 92 degrees at 30% humidity. By this afternoon, it was 104 degrees, same humidity.

I recognize that there are hotter places-- that meme of Florida being like the surface of the sun has been passed around a lot, and I seem to recall New York being a bit swampy in August but none of that changes the fact that sometimes, some days, it's just better to hunker down in the air conditioning and do all that stuff on your desk that you were fleeing the fuck away from during vacation last week.

Today was one of those day, and thank heavens the Air Conditioning was working.  We had to replace a part--I didn't even have to ask Mate. See, I was raised with tough people. Country people. I visit my parents and it's 90 degrees in their house and the kids whine and I whine and they laugh at us for being soft and stupid and weak.

Mate doesn't. 

Mate is the opposite.

I used to have this regimen, right?

Where every night I would turn off the AC and run around and turn on all the fans so that we would get a cross breeze and we would save money, and I would be the daughter of tough, hardworking people.

And it was sort of like the thing where I didn't dry my laundry I hung it up on clotheslines.  

I did that too. 

And one day, Mate came home and said, "I will work any amount of overtime just could I please not have fucking stickers in my underwear?"

Same thing with air conditioning.  "For the love of God, I will do anything, plant trees, give to charity, just please, for sweet fuck's sake turn on the fucking AC. And while you're at it, turn it down."

So when it comes to forking over a part to make the AC better, I know it's not a problem.

Just as I know he doesn't think I"m a bad mother when, at one in the afternoon, our son turns to me and says, "Yay! I'm creating Carbon Dioxide!"

Because really, that's all he's done all day, and we like to celebrate our accomplishments.

Now tomorrow, we're going to the pool, and there will be dance, and some movement and industry will be expressed.

But for tonight, the air conditioning is on, and we're all hibernating like the useless mammals we are.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

California Girls

So, we have hit the 104 degree days, with about 30% humidity. It's not Texas or the Imperial Valley, but it ain't bad.

I went to my aqua class today, and the instructor's speaker went out right before the end of the class.  The pool was full, of course, and the instructor (who is a lovely, chipper girl in her late twenties) said, "You can do it! If you need to, sing!"

So, if you will, picture a pool full of chubby middle-aged and elderly ladies, doing synchronized moves with big floaty tubes-- singing this:




Yeah.

So in addition to editing (so boring), and a  grocery story date with Mate, that song was a lot of my day.

*toddles off to bed singing* I wish they all could be...

Monday, June 27, 2016

Just Keep Swimming...

Okay, so I saw Finding Dory today and loved it.  Damned fish-- they made me cry. Also, the voice talent is just so awesome-- Ellen DeGeneres, Ed O'Neil, Ty Burrell. I loved them all.  *happy sigh* I love animated story telling--it's a magical gestalt where all of the best of human talent comes to play.

Hmm...

And other than that, I posted "The picture blog" from the last couple of days-- I really love the aquarium shot at the top, by the way. Is why we like going. And it's funny-- I just CAME from the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and I was looking at the way Pixar had imagined the "Morro Bay Aquarium" thinking, "Wow, that place would be nice--we should visit it!"

Oh, yeah.

And I finished a book called Bonfires. Which I really sort of love.  And that's exciting--but also exhausting, if you think about going from recital to vacation to finishing a book with two edits on your desk.

*yawn*

So given that the last two weeks have been mostly about fish, I'm going to leave you with a teaser for Fish Out of Water-- where we meet Jackson the PI and Ellery the defense attorney--in a less than perfect moment:

Jackson let out a reluctant chuckle. “You all have been schooled by a man in a suit,” he said with cheerful rancor. “And he’s right. I’ve been humoring you bozos, but you’ve got my official statement—several times. Now either take me in or let me go—but I need some water, and a Band-Aid, and a fucking chair. If you’re not willing to offer me any of that shit, you’ve met my lawyer. He just made you all look like assholes.”
Jackson turned his back on them, damned near kicking the grass backward like a cat pleased with the dump he’d just taken.
“You ready to go, Mr. Cramer?” he asked, heading for Ellery’s car.
“I am indeed. Which towing service do you use?”
Jackson looked at him with a truly ferocious grin. “Don’t need one. Saunders over there”—he jerked his chin toward Dead-eyes—“ran my plates and realized they were obligated to tow the thing anyway, on account of too many parking tickets.”
Ellery groaned. Of course. Of course Jackson would land on his feet.
Except he really wasn’t walking too well.
Ellery clicked his remote so Jackson could get in and then swung into the driver’s seat while Jackson orgasmed over the all-leather interior.
“Oh man,” the guy purred. “This is… mmmm….” He made kneading motions with his fingers and everything. “Is this sort of thing even legal?”
“You should feel it in the winter, when the seats heat,” Ellery said dryly. “Do you need medical attention for your knee?”
That opened Jackson’s eyes right up. “Do you got any ibuprofen, Princess? I don’t want a doctor, but I could seriously use a painkiller and some ice.” His voice sank to a grumble. “Of course I have both a bottle of Motrin and an ice pack in the damned car, but was I allowed to touch it? No-ooo!”
“Part of the evidence too?” Ellery asked, not without sympathy.
“Yeah—all sorts of stuff from my car that they decided they needed. My sports jacket, water, my painkillers, my fuckin’ Taser….”
Jackson was starting to sound loopy, and Ellery asked, “Your insulin?”
He got a grunt in return. “I’m not diabetic,” he muttered.
“Hypoglycemic?”
“Not diagnosed,” he admitted grudgingly. “I just need a fuckin’ granola bar or something. God, that would be awesome. And some ice. And some Motrin. And some—”
“Jack in the Box,” Ellery muttered with distaste. “We’ll have to settle for that.”
Jackson grunted and threw himself back against the seat. “Chipotle?” he asked plaintively. “I’ll buy.”
“If you walked into a Chipotle right now, you’d scare the customers,” Ellery said. “I’ll buy. Where do you live, and where’s the one nearest your house?”
Jackson groaned. “Ugh…. Okay, where the fuck are we again?”
“Well, we just passed a junior high—”
Fuck—can you find Northgate? Take a right on San Juan and a right on Truxel. There’s probably one closer to my house, but—”
“Yeah, thinking’s a problem right now.”
“It’s been a day!” Jackson snapped. He took a breath. “How’s K?”
“A lot calmer than I would be,” Ellery admitted. “His sister got a chance to visit. They’re sweet together.”
Jackson gave a half laugh and tilted his head back. “Yeah. J and K—always had each other’s backs. Good people.”
“How long—”
“Grade school,” Jackson said, his voice going sour. “We just passed it. I’m going to close my eyes for the rest of the tour if that’s okay.”
Ellery swallowed. He should just stay quiet. He and Jackson had a lot of business to take care of that night. Once Jackson got some food and some first aid, Ellery needed to run a lot of shit by him, because his conversation with Arizona made no goddamned sense and Jackson might have some insight. So yeah. Long night. Leave the guy a—
“This is sort of a rough neighborhood.” Apparently keeping your mouth shut was not the hallmark of a great defense attorney.
“This is a garden spot right here,” Jackson snorted, eyes still closed. “You should have seen it in the nineties.”
“Tell me.” Because the neighborhood had shaped them, hadn’t it? Jade, Kaden, and Jackson. Had made them the tight-knit little band of musketeers they were.
“What’s to tell? Bad neighborhood is bad. The nineties were… well, drugs, gangs, guns—that was the nineties. I mean, they’ve cleaned it up some. The schools started working with the parents who started working with their kids—there’s a whole new thing going on. But back then the good parents were just, you know, good parents. Jade and Kaden’s mom was one of the best. Me and Kaden had each other’s six all through school, so she was good for me too.”
“What about your own—”
Jackson grunted. “Cramer, you know, I got shit for sleep last night, okay? Do I have to tell you about my day? And you and me got shit to sort. I have basic needs right now. I’ve got to fucking eat or I’m going to fucking kill you right fucking now. Some water would be perfect. Motrin would be better. Ice would be icing. And I need to feed my fucking cat, because he got left inside this morning, and if he hasn’t crapped on my bed, he’s probably eaten something I cherish.”
“You have a cat?”
Arrrrggghhhhh!”
“I’m turning right—are we a grown-up now?”
“Fuck you.”
And that, apparently, was that.
Ellery left him to bleed in the car while he got them food, sodas, and a couple of bottles of water. When he stopped at the gas station for painkillers, Jackson handed him his takeout wrappers, neatly and psychotically rolled into the little round balls, and asked him nicely to put them in the trash.
He came out with a cup of ice, a towel, and Motrin, and was greeted with a genuine—if tired—smile. One that had teeth and made the little crinkles in the corners of those green eyes bunch up. It was just wide enough to show off a slightly crooked front tooth and a quirk to Jackson’s upper lip.
“Thank you,” Jackson breathed, downing about six painkillers before wrapping the ice in a napkin and resting it on his knee. “This is amazing—you’re a totally decent human being and I owe you.”
“You’re very welcome,” Ellery said dryly, starting his car and trying not to fuss too much about the blood and water stains on the gray leather upholstery. “Where to now?”
Jackson grunted. “Do you have a creature or anything? Dog? Cat? Fish? Plant?”
“I have a fish tank with a fake fish and plastic plants. It looks lovely.”

“Well it can feed its goddamned self and it won’t crap on the rug. My place, then—don’t worry, it’s not a shithole. Anyway—get on 80, take 5 to J Street, and I’ll walk you from there.”


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Just pictures

The Zen of the Monterey Bay Aquarium-- we went twice.
Zenning at the aquarium. Literally AT it. These pix were taken while I stood in the same place.

Our kids in their dive jammies, paying close attention to
instructions. Squish's "no bullshit line" is firmly in place, and
Zoobmoy has his blank "processing" look on.

A happy pair of divers!

He is proud for one with feet so large they almost couldn't
fit him with gear.

Our kids together, having fun doing
stupid stuff, like stamping their hands.


Stunning day.

Seriously. Stunning.

Our kids walking down to the water.

Can you tell which one is Squish?
The next day, after the aquarium, we drove to Pebble Beach.


We were tickled the whole trip by ZB's willingness to show off his
toenails along with his sister's. They were blue to match his fipflops.

Mostly, my family had fun being together. We talked and told stories (some of which I've told already.) But in the end, we missed the Big T and the dogs, and Chicken missed her home in San Diego, along with her vocal, bitchy, wonderful cat and her good friends, and we were all happy for the road home.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Sorry about that...

So, yesterday I attempted to send a truckload of photos to my computer and the internet crashed like a train without brakes.

Today, I have endeavored to save the pictures until I'm home and have some real internet, but I thought I could share a few moments from the vacation thus far:

*  The kids went on the drysuit dive at the aquarium and had a very good time! They were also really tired at the end and we came back to the hotel room a little early. Don't know what to tell you about that-- they were tuckered!

*  Cute things about the dive-- ZoomBoy's feet. Seriously, they were so big they slowed everything down. Squish's hair-- it was a bright red rope leading us to her.  Like I said, cute.

*  Chicken has had a very good time with her siblings. Today, as Mate and I were getting out of the car to go check out an overlook we heard her tell her brother and sister, "You were awful, awful people as small children. You have no idea."

* We were walking down Cannery Row today at the end of our stay, when the kids ran into an arcade. "I'm noping out of this," I said, and Chicken and I went and got cookies while I told her about the last time they'd been to one of those places and Squish had won 500 tickets.

"So your dad texts me about wtf are you, and Squish is just watching mounds of mounds of tickets print out. And then they had to buy their prize, and they chose the classic Disney Channel ploy of combining their tickets for one big prize, and of course that ended in bloodshed, pain, and recriminations that continue on to this day."

She laughed.

We went to join the kids and ZoomBoy walked by the exact same game from Santa Cruz. "Look! This is the same game Squish won before she betrayed me with a knife in the back."

And then Chicken really laughed.

*  Of course, at some point I had to pee. I ended up in a Starbucks line, in front of their one working bathroom, while a bunch of us stared yearningly at the bathroom that was out of order.  Three young people, two girls and a young man were in line behind me.

"I can't wait," said one of the girls.

"Please let me go first!" begged the boy.

"No!" said the other girl. "I'm a very fast pee-er, you told me that once. You said I was a freak of nature."

"You'd better be!" the young man practically wept.

"Hey!" the first girl said. "I just have to pee. I'm not laying a deuce. And--" She ripped off the sign.  "It's not like I saw a sign or--" she pushed at the trash can in front of the door, "anything that said this bathroom wouldn't work!"  And then she disappeared, leaving her two friends doing the pee pee dance behind me.

"Here," I said, putting away my phone.  "I can go really fast. See? Old-lady stretch jeans. I'll blow your mind, I swear."  The next person left the bathroom and I took my turn, coming out while drying my hands.  "There you go!" I said brightly.

The girl "eeped" and disappeared into the bathroom, while her young male friend said, "Oh my God, that was amazing. I'm so impressed."

"Four kids," I said calmly. "Do you think I don't know how to put a rush on it?"

*  Mate is once again impressed with the aquarium. We saw the Vive Baja exhibit, and they had fighting garden eels and a couple of very fat and friendly lizards who apparently loved us enough to stalk Squish from one end of the enclosure to another.

So there you go-- we get home tomorrow and I promise some pictures then!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Secret Life of Pets

So I got a text last night from Big T:

Mom, where's Steve?

I don't know. She's a cat and we're 100 miles away.

I haven't seen her all day.

She was in the bathroom this morning. We communed.

I looked. She wasn't in there.

I spend a moment of horror to think of T in my bathroom, and then move on:

So here's what you do:
You open the sliding glass door and sit down to watch television. Then when you're ready to go to sleep, stand up and stretch. The dogs should run out and the cat should run in.

Fine.

This morning, I texted him:

So, did it work?

No. 

Did you find my cat?

Yes. She was in the closet.

Which closet?
The linen one.


Fucking cat.

Why did she do that, mom. Why?

Because she's a cat. I bet the dogs were going apeshit.

Grrrrr...

So, that's what happened at home while I was gone.

What happened at the amusement park was sweet. For starters, Tuesday in the summer is THE time for a 6Flags park. Hardly anyone was there, and Mate and the kids got to ride roller coasters until they were TIRED of roller coasters. I sat in the shade with my buddy the elephant and knitted, and then when we got to see shows together, or walk together from one thing to the next, I wasn't tired or too much in pain, or too irritated. I think giving myself permission to not be there for every waking moment of vacation paid off. I was a much happier mommy, and the kids had a great time.

Today we drove down to Monterey-- much banter ensued in the car, including the following tweet from me (right before I got too carsick to phone surf):

Mate, as we pass a motorcycle with a passenger and saddlebags: That'll never be us. Me: Why? Mate: Cause you could NEVER pack that small!

And I shall mangle MacBeth here with a "Too nice, and yet too true."  I filled the big suitcase because I felt like it. So there.

Mate is as Target as I blog, btw-- went to get ZoomBoy an air mattress, because we forgot the other one at home.  Me and the girls are chillin', and I'm fine with that. Vacation for me is not HAVING to do anything. Today, that includes shopping at Target. (Believe me, last two weeks, me and Target were best buds.)

So, not bungee jumping but not bad either--tomorrow, there shall be the aquarium and hopefully some beach. YAYAYAYAY!




Tuesday, June 21, 2016

It happens every night...

About five minutes ago, I stood up and stretched.

The dogs, seeing that my nightly work time is nearing its end, haul ass out the barely open back door, bark at the cat, and chase her back inside.

She comes inside with a wounded dignity, and they prance in after her, proud that they have done her job.

"See!" I burst out.

Mate--who was working on the couch next to me--said, "Sure. I saw."

"I told you!"

"I know."

"They do that every night!" Every damned night. No lie.

"So you've said."

"They herd her in-- they don't want her outside when the door's closed."  I mean, aww!!

"It's very cute."

"Yes, yes it is."

"They can go to bed now."

"I"m saying." Because it's like the last thing on their to-do list, like closing the door and turning off the lights.

"Can we?"

So, yeah-- going to bed.  We have a big day tomorrow-- we're driving to Vallejo, playing at 6 Flags, staying the night and driving to Monterey.  Blogging may get a bit spotty, but I'll try to check in on FB and Twitter-- wish us luck! We're taking Chicken, Squish, and Zoomboy-- and I'm looking forward to it.

*waves*

Bye!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Father's Day for Mate



I wrote a post on FB about how much Mate--and good parents in general, and people trying to be parents--mean to the world, and about how much good they do. We tried to tell Mate today how much he meant to us, in ways both great and small.




These ways included--


* Letting him pick the restaurant.

* Giving him the most time with the video controller.

* Letting him pick dessert. (Baskin Robbins--whole family approved.)

* Seeing his mom for lunch.

* Letting him watch the last game of the NBA finals when we got home.

* Serving him dinner while he was watching.

* Watching his favorite movie-- The Thin Man-- with him.

* Sending the kids to bed so he could have the video games again.

And, of course, loving him with all of our hearts.

As I said on FB:

I wish a Mate or a Pete (my dad) for everyone. I wish healing and kindness for those who were not so fortunate. I wish flowers and sweetness for those whose mom or moms did a dad's job and did it damned well.

I wish a beautiful Sunday with rest and love and a favorite food and maybe a movie for everyone who has ever loved a parent or tried to parent and knows that it's a big deal and nothing to take for granted.

-- For the record, that beautiful Sunday is exactly what my family and I got and gave. Hope it was awesome for you guys too.



Saturday, June 18, 2016

Recital Day

The following things may or may not have happened during recital and rehearsal during the last two days...

*  I may have possibly gotten lost going to a place I've been a zillion times because I followed my phone for a freeway interchange instead of my own damned common sense.

*  It is possibly that, when told I needed to fix the costumes of 10 little girls before I got them completely dressed, my response was, "Oh no, that's not going to happen if there's still only one of me tomorrow."

*  I most definitely put two little girls in jeans that did not at all belong to them today, because they did not arrive with their own jeans for their costumes.

* After getting the little girls undressed, dressed, in proper shoes, with tutus, feather cummerbunds, and feather crowns ALL IMMEDIATELY, AS INSTRUCTED, AFTER THEY ARRIVED, after five of them got taken to the bathroom, it is possible-- possible, mind you--that when the costume director returned with an armload of tutus and cummerbunds, I may have cried.

* I'm pretty sure I did yell at grown women to stop standing in front of the closed circuit TV set so that I might watch my OWN KIDS dance, because I wasn't going to make it back to the stage in time, and they weren't moving.

*  Mate, the kids and I may have gotten there just by the skin of our teeth today because, well, moving earlier was just not going to happen.

* Squish may have needed to cry because she was so tired at the end.

*  We all DEFINITELY got to my parents' house after recital just in time for Big T to get a marvelous cake and darling chocolate decorations in celebration of his graduation. None of us were expecting it, but I was so glad to see my parents make a big deal out of him.

*  Chicken may have laughed until she couldn't breathe because her little brother's costumes were just not fitting AT ALL.

*  By the end of my two weeks with the ten little girls known only as "Backstage Mom", it's entirely possible that I had them so in fear of my deep-voiced "NO!" that they would stop any wrong, huddle on their blanket and look at me plaintively as though I had kicked their puppies.

*  It is definitely the truth that by the end of today, I totally would have kicked their puppies to get them to NOT GO THE WRONG DAMNED WAY when they were needed to follow the other ducklings in a row.

*  I think--I suspect--that falling asleep on my keyboard is distinctly probably.

*  Other than that? Tomorrow is Father's Day. My one necessity is that I get out of bed early enough to sign his cards so we can give him his gift when he wakes up.

Night all!  Happy Father's Day!  May we all live to recital next year!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Mani-pedis and Texts





So this morning, I got a text from my stepmom. My cousin's wife, who is a few years younger than me--but not much--just had a baby. They'd tried for a lot of years, and so the baby is sort of a miracle, and it looks a lot like my late uncle. I called my cousin, and we spoke for the first time in... a decade and a half. I was just so happy for him. Funny how someone you haven't spoken to in a long time can still hold such a sway over your thoughts and prayers, right?

Anyway, I took a picture of Big T to show him that our big guy looks like a dead ringer for my own father, fifty years ago. My cousin was duly impressed.




Then I took Chicken, Squish, and Zoomboy for the ultimate footbath, as ZB calls his yearly pedicure. They had a good time.

I have to admit, though-- pedicures, though awesome--especially with my feet and my knee and my IT band--are a little bit boring.

Sometimes I knit, but today, the kids were there and I didn't want to just zone out, so I surfed my phone a bit.

And I ended up finding this meme on my feed:




I sent it to Mate--and had the following conversation.

Mate: Does it have to be spiders?

Me: Would you at least walk through snakes? Bugs? Rats?

Mate: Bunnies?

And then Mate posted this picture at the same time I texted Watch out, that rabbit's dynamite!



And I figured we'd survive, because we were obviously made for each other, critters or no critters. We might even survive slugs.