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

Friday, December 19, 2014

She's Dead, Jim

I texted Mate yesterday morning, when I was dropping the kids off for school

 I think someone's been fucking with my car. The steering wheel position was off, and it's making really bad noises.

He texted me back.  Ha ha! No-- I took it last night. Sorry about the noise. That just started on the way back from dance lessons.

To which I responded:  It's getting worse.

It was, too.  I was actually embarrassed in the McDonald's drive-thru-- and so was the girl helping me.  She didn't even fawn over Geoff and Johnnie like she usually does, just sort of went about her business, wincing in reaction to the loud "brap brap brap brap" issuing from under the car's hood.

But still, the car had been making noise for a long time.  The guys at Car Czar said "Well, your engine's going.  Could be in fifty miles, could by five-thousand, could be fifty thousand-- but it's going. And, you know, old car…"

It wouldn't be worth it to replace the engine.

So we planned to get a new one in January, with my next big check.

I was picking the kids up from school early, so we could go see The Hobbit with Mate and his friends in El Dorado Hills.  For those not from the area, El Dorado Hills is sort of a swank suburb, and the Palladio is a vast, outdoor mall, that is really nice. When Mate wants a real nice date--like, when I've done makeup and worn some of my con-clothes just for him-- he takes me to the Palladio, and we hope my car doesn't attract the nearest traffic cop.  (There seems to be an unspoken "no driving while white trash" rule in Folsom and El Dorado Hills, because if my registration even smells close to expired, I get pulled up when I'm there getting Mate.)

By the time I got to the Palladio, my car sounded like Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang.  But it wasn't gonna fly.  In fact, it lost power with every acceleration. By the time I'd finished the 12 mile drive to Folsom, it topped out at 25 miles an hour, and every time I stepped on the gas it got slower.

And I don't know the mall that well, so, because it was me, and because my car was echoing off the hills it was so loud, I took a long, embarrassing tour, around the bronze horse-statues and the fountain, and the stores with names like "Apricot Lane" and "Pink", while my car was screaming "BRAP-BRAP-BRAP-BRAP-BRAP, BRAP-BRAP-BRAP-BRAP-BRAP" and the kids tried to talk over it.

By the time I got to the parking lot by the theatre, I was nearly in tears.  Mate was standing by the entrance, his eyes wide.

"It didn't sound that bad last night," he said numbly.

"You heard me drive up, did you?" I asked, feeling surly.


"Well so did the rest of Folsom!" I snarled, and he winced.  He watched me find a parking spot--in front of his friends from work and his boss, mind you-- and pull in.

The car sputtered to a stop and coasted the last three feet.

After the movie (which, by the way, I really loved, in spite of its flaws and the way it strayed from canon) we went back out and faced the problem.

The problem was, the car was dead.  I'm pretty sure it threw a piston rod, which his bad.  It means you have to take the engine block apart in order to reattach the rod, and the cylinder is probably too damaged to compress the fuel-vapor mixture effectively, and it will have to be rebored.  There's probably damage to the camshaft and the timing gears too.

In short, the cost of repairing this engine is probably more than we could get for this car if we sold every workable piece of it on e-bay at top dollar.

She's dead, Jim.

And she died the week before Christmas.  Now, we had just enough money for Christmas and a little left over.  We weren't tapped out--but…

We don't have a down payment in the bank.  Not right now, after Disneyland and the new washer and Christmas.

And as much as I talk about maybe getting a big sedan instead of a minivan, the fact remains, we've got eight or nine more years of soccer ahead of us.  A minivan would be the smart choice at this point, because we'd get the same amount of use out of it as we got out of my poor, poor, dead companion of the last thirteen years.

Oh hell.  I wasn't going to get maudlin about the fucking car.  It wasn't our first new car.  It didn't even stay pristine for longer than two weeks after I got it.  (I practically peeled the door off a brand new car after two weeks of ownership.  Oi.)  It's been to Disneyland three times (so we didn't feel too bad for not taking it a fourth) and it was my buddy for the interminable trip down the I-80 corridor for nine of the years I worked a really painful job. We've had that car longer than two of my children, and the two older children have both practiced driving it.  We've camped in that car, when we were still camping, and we used to pull the seats out of the back at the drive-in theatre and watch the movie in style. As I got fatter, it expanded to accommodate me, and that should be mechanically impossible.  Yeah, sure, she's been looking a little weathered lately-- her last coat of paint/protective vinyl coating just came off in a big sheet the other day as I was driving, but I didn't think that meant anything permanent, you know?

But this… this is permanent.

And it would be one thing if we took it to the car lot and traded her in and had her all cleaned up and looking her best.  We could say, "It's been a good run. She's served us well, but we're ready to move on."  She'd get a wax job and a pedicure, and some kid with less money than sense would drive her for her last few thousand miles and that would be okay.

But now, she's just dead in the rain, her inside full of trash and my gym bag and the soccer chairs and the wheat thins that have lived under the seat since early summer when ZB got addicted to them.  It's just not right.

We're also a six person family with a car that seats five in a pinch, and that's not doing us much good either.

So there you go.  She's dead, Jim.  And all I can do is sit inside and watch it rain.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Dear animals...

Dear animals--

I understand you have the need to dominate my time every single waking moment of the day.

I mean, who could blame you?

I am fat and warm, and fun to sleep on-- I see that now.

When I am not sitting still, you know, trying to work, I am doing entertaining things like trying to cook, or clean the kitchen, or pack my gym bag so that I might go work out someplace that does not involve me picking up your crap.  It is way too fun for you to run in and out of my feet when I am doing these things for you to stop because of pesky details like me making the humans food, or not getting the dishes done, ever, or, hello, I might step on you because you are made of busy and my own feet are made of slow.

So I understand that I can be fun.

I do take you on walks, and this is great. I admit that often I go too fast or too slow-- often at the same time, and I shall try to adjust my speed.  I also admit, it would help if one of my walkable creatures did not have absurdly deer-like legs while the other is like a bread-roll on legos, but that is not your fault. You did not choose to be so tall or so short, and I'm the one who put the halter on you and said, "Walkies!" so, yes, I'm the one who shall have to deal.

I understand.

I understand that for one of you my time would be better spent on the potty, so that we might commune spiritually, as opposed to in my computer chair, where you can glare at the world as though you own the place. I understand that you would also prefer my ass be smaller, so that we could share space, but I am loathe to stop eating cookies just so you can own my chair, so deal with it.

I totally get that it might be difficult to go find another part of the couch, or a bed, or one of five dog beds, or even another one of the other four humans to sleep on when we're all gathered in front of the television. I understand that my repetitive movement with sticks and string might possibly disturb you while you are snoring in and among my clothes and that perhaps I might want to just fling my hobby of 17 years to the four winds and blow off any possible chance of using even 1/10th of the yarn I've accrued over that time, because, you know, what's money or a perishable consumable, or even, you know, a criminal waste of beautiful fiber?

The Christmas tree was cruel of us, I know. Silly, really, to bring a tree from the outside to the inside, and then hang it with toys for you, and not expect you to completely destroy it as often as possible.  That was, in fact, our bad.  Completely. Can't argue.

So, yes, animals, I understand completely.  You own us for companionship and to dispense food and water at appropriate intervals, and it is our job to comply.

I only have one little, itty bitty, teeny tiny, minuscule little consideration.  One completely unobjectionable bit of maintenance I wish you all would attempt, just to make my life so much easier.

Could you try not to be so frickin' cute?

Love you all so much, my fur babies-- thank you for celebrating the holidays with me and my hairless kittens.


Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Bells of Times Square

 Okay-- I'll be honest.  I spent four days writing up the posts and choosing the excerpts for the blog tour for this one, and *whew* I'm exhausted. Part of the reason I left Whiskey and Patrick up for the extra day was that I was all blogged out.  Between the tour, a blog I wrote for the Script Chics about Sidecar, and a couple of interviews, I honestly couldn't talk about myself, my life, or my connection to my books for one more post--not to keep my blog posts current, and barely to explain to Mate why I was sort of taciturn and unresponsive.

Anyway, I took a day just writing fiction and running errands, and we're about to go out to dinner and get a Christmas tree, and I might actually clean off my table and put my Christmas cards up on the cupboard like I do every year.  Sweet!  Mate and I are finally feeling like Christmas!  (Last weekend we were like, "Do you wanna get a big tree?  And get out the pretty lights? I think the time is overdue, to… oh hell… I'm hearing "Do you want to build a snow man?" simultaneously with "Do you want to hide a body?" as I write that.  Maybe stop. I'll do that for another blog post, kk?  The upshot was, no, we were not ready for Christmas. We were, in fact, ready to sleep extra long.)

I also, during that day, helped celebrate Big T's birthday. He wanted two of his friends--a couple-- to come with him and his dad to the movies (they were seeing something his dad would like, but that the little kids and I would not) and Mate ended up giving them a ride, because they'd just moved into a shitty apartment and their car had been stolen.

"Oh my God!" I said to Mate. "He's got friends that were just like us when we were his age!"

"I know," Mate said in wonder.  "I sprang for their movie ticket."

So good to know that young, together, and desperately broke hasn't changed.  It was nice to be on the benefactor side of that-- I remember those "real" adults who would buy us dinner and such when we were that broke. Am still grateful.

And I've been taking the dogs for a walk around the block in the last couple of days.  Today, Squish came with me, and I put the following perspective on Johnnie, peeing every three seconds.  (I posted this on FB too, so you're not imaging it if it feels like you read it twice.)

Squish, as we're walking the dogs: Johnnie, you don't have to smell EVERYTHING!
Me: Actually, taking a walk for Johnnie is like surfing Facebook. He puts his nose to the ground and gets a feeling for who's doing what and what's doing who. 'Oh, the Great Dane was here. No, he hasn't eaten the Pomeranian yet-- must be biding his time.'
Squish: So when he stops to lift his leg…
Me: That's just him, pushing "Like".
Squish: And when he took a poop?
Me: He was COMMENTING on their ass.
Squish--watching as both dogs stop completely and start sniffing a guy-wire post springing up on the side of a yard: And what are they doing there?
Me (grimly): Man, watch out for Buzzfeed-- I'm telling you, that place will stop you dead every time.

And there you go-- That's why the dog has to lift his leg every house or so.

So, on to the other things here.  

Wait-- wait-- let me give you the blurb:

Every New Year’s Eve since 1946, Nate Meyer has ventured alone to Times Square to listen for the ghostly church bells he and his long-lost wartime lover vowed to hear together. This year, however, his grandson Blaine is pushing Nate through the Manhattan streets, revealing his secrets to his silent, stroke-stricken grandfather.
When Blaine introduces his boyfriend to his beloved grandfather, he has no idea that Nate holds a similar secret. As they endure the chilly death of the old year, Nate is drawn back in memory to a much earlier time . . . and to Walter.
Long before, in a peace carefully crafted in the heart of wartime tumult, Nate and Walter forged a loving home in the midst of violence and chaos. But nothing in war is permanent, and now all Nate has is memories of a man his family never knew existed. And a hope that he’ll finally hear the church bells that will unite everybody—including the lovers who hid the best and most sacred parts of their hearts.
- See more at Riptide! 
Or purchase at Amazon :-)

Pretty good blurb, right? Hints at tragedy? The "Titanic" ending as I've been calling it.  Or, you know, instead of HEA or HFN, the HAE! Happy After Ever!  (I want that to catch on-- everybody with me?)

Anyway-- so this book, that's gotten so much critical acclaim (Publishers Weekly, Romantic Times, Library Journal-- no lie!) is finally coming out!

And now I'm sort of really frickin' nervous. 


People think you get over that, but some projects are so very personal.  I've said before--a lot--that my grandparents inspired this one, and if you read the afterward, you'll see how.  But I also put some of that connection into the blog posts for my tour, and by all means show up and sign up for the Rafflecopter (which Andrea is setting up for me. God, I'm dumb. I seriously can't deal.)  There will be a prize. Some sort of prize.  (I was going to offer something from my backlist, but I've gotten a lot of LOVELY reviews lately, and between that and writing this many blog posts, I think I just totally blew out my capacity for self involvement for a while. Seriously. I felt incredibly douchey-- and don't get me started on looking at my Twitter feed. I'm like, "I am a self-pimping HO-BAG!" So I'm going to try to change that to Riptide credit, because it will let me feel less like a douchey, self-pimping ho-bag.) 

So, if you want to read some of the stuff that went into this book-- which I am still SO AMAZINGLY proud of-- here are the stops on the blog tour!  I'll probably post this again, as the blogs are posted, but one of the things to keep in mind is that (usually) the ones labeled "Spotlight stop" are mostly just the blurb and the contest.  The ones without the label "Spotlight stop" will have an original blog post, or an excerpt with some exclusive commentary from yours truly.  So, I'm gonna be everybody's favorite slutty internet surfer next week-- feel free to join me and surf!

December 15, 2014 Cup O' Porn
December 15, 2014 The Jeep Diva - Spotlight Stop
December 15, 2014 Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
December 16, 2014 The Novel Approach
December 16, 2014 The Blogger Girls
December 17, 2014 TTC Books and More
December 17, 2014 Butterfly-o-Meter Books
December 18, 2014 Book Reviews and More by Kathy
December 18, 2014 Love Bytes
December 19, 2014 Joyfully Jay
December 19, 2014 Prism Book Alliance
December 19, 2014 Creative Deeds - Spotlight Stop
December 20, 2014 Smoocher's Voice
December 20, 2014 Crystal's Many Reviewers

And with that, I'm signing off for dinner and a tree!  

But first-- please-- if you read it, and especially if you love it-- be sure to review it--, Riptide, GoodReads-- it's always good to see people loving the work.


Off to eat! Ciou!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Cheap Sunglasses-- A Whiskey and Patrick fic, for RJ Scott's Christmas Bash

So, folks, a bunch of us are posting fics for RJ Scott's blog for a holiday celebration.  Now, I met RJ at GRL this year, and she's charming and bubbly and I read her book, The Christmas Throwaway, and I'm so excited to be a part of her shindig!

Part of the prompt was that we pick an established couple, and, well…

These guys have been on my mind a lot.


Sunglass Hut

A Whiskey and Patrick Fic

By Amy Lane

“I’m going down to work on the boat—you want to come with?”
To his credit, Whiskey’s voice didn’t have a note of recrimination in it, even though it was sort of Patrick’s fault that the boat had sprung a leak and needed repairs right before Christmas.  All things considered, though, it was probably better that Patrick had other plans, so he looked up from his bed and smiled guilelessly but regretfully.

He hoped it was a guileless smile. He was trying for “innocent” and “inoffensive” and “not planning to buy your boyfriend’s Christmas present while he went to work on the boat.”

“Uhm, no,” he said, as casually as possible. “I hope it’s okay—I’ve got some homework to do. I, uh, need to study for finals.”

Whiskey had shaved recently, and the brown scruff on his cheeks wasn’t as deep as usual. Which meant when he rubbed it, the rasping sound filled the room. 

Patrick smiled winningly and looked right past his left temple, avoiding all contact with his gold-brown eyes. 

“Study, huh?”


“Your dad wants us to stay until after the New Year—Lori Ann even asked if that’s okay.”  Well, Dad’s girlfriend was pretty awesome. And she was afraid Patrick and Whiskey would catch cold, which made sense since he’d been trying to install a space heater when he’d accidentally popped a hole in the boat—but that’s not what was on Whiskey’s mind right now.  “I don’t have to go do repairs right now.  Did you want to go ‘study’ at the mall together?”

Patrick flailed his long-fingered hands and then covered his eyes.  “No! Because you’ll know what I’m getting you! Because I suck at surprises! So… you know. I’ll go by myself and get your Christmas gifts and hide them.” His grin felt much more sincere now.

Whiskey grimaced.  “You, uhm, know we’re spending most of my money on our leaky home, right?  I mean, at this point my present for you is—“

Patrick launched himself off the queen-sized bed they were sharing in his father’s house until the houseboat was livable in the winter.  You!” he finished, excited.  You’re my present this year!” His melted into Whiskey’s arms, shorter, but strong and lithe.  “This is our first Christmas together, really,” Patrick whispered against his ear. “So I need to get you something really awesome.” Whiskey had been gone the year before, researching in the arctic, and their relationship had survived until he'd returned. Patrick wanted it to be special--even if they weren't celebrating in their home.

Whiskey laughed into the hollow of Patrick’s neck, tickling him. “You’re awesome. Don’t worry about the present—I told you, we’ll keep it small this year so I can take you with me in the summer.”

Patrick beamed at him. “Okay.”

Whiskey shook his head and sighed.  “Yeah, well, don’t break your bank, okay?”

“Don’t worry, Whiskey—I’ve got it nailed.”

He pretended not to see Whiskey grimace. He had plans.

Whiskey missed Patrick’s company when he was working on the boat, but he didn’t mind missing the “help”. Patrick tended to forget what they were doing in the middle when they were doing it—which is sort of how the hole in the hull had happened in the first place.  Whiskey, in fact, spent the bright December day squinting against a headache because his last pair of sunglasses had been knocked off his nose and into the river by Patrick’s elbow when they’d been pulling the winterizing tarp over the deck so, yeah—he’d made progress and nothing had been broken. He was calling it a win.

However, he was glad to get back to Patrick’s father’s house, up in the rich part of Orangevale, and he was even happier when he walked in and smelled two of Patrick’s favorite things: cookies and pizza.  Yes, he was getting too old to eat them both but after the day of gluing indoor/outdoor carpeting to the inner hull in an effort to insulate, he would eat anything as long as it was warm.

“Pizza?” he asked hopefully.  “And cookies!”

The cookies were, in fact, purchased from the Otis Spunkmeyer (the name cracked him up every time) store at the mall, and Patrick had bought a truckload of them.

“Hrm, ‘arf mm,” Patrick offered, from the kitchen table, waving his current victim in a shower of crumbs.  The table itself was covered in wrapping paper, tape, and scissors. The wrapping paper was cut, torn, and shredded into tiny pieces, the tape was strewn from one part of the table to the other in big, tangled strips, and the scissors were wide open and in the dead center of the table.

The cookies sat in a big red box on top of all of that other stuff, in front of Patrick himself.  To Patrick’s immediate left, in danger of being knocked over with every wave of his cookie, sat three perfectly wrapped packages, tied together with gold ribbon, and topped with one big, purchased, glittering bow.

Whiskey stared at the mess in a daze and took a cookie from the red box.  “Has, uhm, your father seen this?” he asked.  Please God, no, please God, let me have time to clean this up…

Patrick nodded and swallowed. “Uh-huh.  That was when he went to order pizza, since Lori Ann is going shopping tonight.  He’s showering right now.”

Whiskey stepped forward and began to pick up big handfuls of wrapping paper. God, if he hadn’t seen Patrick in action before, he would never have guessed such a skinny man could create such a giant fat mess.  “So, you couldn’t resist Otis, huh?”

Patrick smiled before his next bite of cookie.  “Yeah, well, it’s right by J.C. Penny’s, that radio control booth, and Sunglass Hut – it was pretty hard to miss.”

Patrick kept gnawing on his cookie, apparently thrilled with a mission well accomplished, and Whiskey looked at the three packages—one the size of a sweater and jeans, one the size of a radio control toy, and the other the size of sunglasses—before he continued to sweep the remains of the gift-wrapping frenzy off the table.

He very carefully didn’t meet Patrick’s eyes.


“Oh fuck!” Patrick moaned.  He shoved the box of cookies away so he could thunk his head on the kitchen table. Repeatedly.

Whiskey sighed and squatted next to him, kissing him gently on the shoulder.

“You, Patrick,” he said, meaning it.

“I wanted to--”

“You’re my best present.”

“—surprise you!”

“I couldn’t ask for a better man in my life.”

“I was trying so hard—“

“I love you more than sunglasses. You know that right?”

Patrick turned to him and blinked, his blue eyes shiny with embarrassment. “I hope so,” he said with a little sigh. “But just in case, you’d better not trust me with state secrets or anything.”

“Just my heart.  I swear.”

Patrick smiled a little, and Whisky had to kiss him. It was imperative.  That’s what they were doing when Patrick’s father walked into the kitchen. Whiskey barely heard him as he loaded up his plate with pizza and then walked out. 

“When you two are done in there, bring the cookies to the living room! We’re watching Christmas specials because I said so!” he hollered.

Patrick grunted and pulled back.  “Christmas specials?”

Santa Clause is Coming to Town,” Whiskey said, because they could hear the music through the doorway.

“Good. Let’s go eat cookies, I mean dinner there.  Here—I’ll clean up, you can put your stuff under the tree.”

Whiskey did as ordered, wishing he could open his present right now.  Man, those sunglasses would come in handy the next time he took Patrick out on the boat.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Letters to the World

Okay-- I've had one of those "sleep catch up" days that only happen when you don't get enough sleep for, like, a month. I'm not sure if I'm capable of holding a single thought through a whole blog post, not to mention a cheery disposition.  (If you're wondering why I posted the picture of the crazy transformed minion? It's because that's me on the inside. Now you know.)

Therefore, be ready for some snark, some general bitchiness, and some general information.  It's time for Letters To The World (world… world… world…)

Dear New Puppy--

You are not only adorable, you are also exhausting.  I'm begging you, give poor Johnnie a break. For fucks sake, he's getting bald.

You're still hella frickin' cute.


That human you pillowed on all afternoon.

Dear Rainbow Awards--

Thank you so much for the 5th and 6th place in the Best Gay Romance category, and the 3rd place in the Best Rom-Com category.  As always, I am so incredibly honored. I know my fellow finalists and the winners are outstanding, and it's awesome to be included among them.



Dear Penguins of Madagascar Movie--

Well done.  That's all I got. Fantastic way to spend an afternoon.  Thanks!


The Whole Family

Dear Family--

Thank you so much for letting me go out and get us something sweet for dessert.  I needed that parfait so damned bad.

P.S.  I expect the good old age home for doing that by the way. You all totally owe me for not just raiding the chocolate chips for the baking and blaming it on Big T.



Dear Big T--

You put a gallon of milk in the freezer two weeks ago. It's now a lethal weapon. I don't… I mean… I can't… I mean, I don't even… God, son, what in the holy fuck were you thinking?

And if ZB is the one who did this? Why? Just…Why????

Puzzled and out of words,

The woman who birthed you.  Either of you, you ungrateful spawn.


Dear World at Large--

I have just written my first threesome with girl parts in almost six years.  (Alas, not for Quickening, but I consider it a warm-up.)  May I just say, that as a straight woman, I know more about the boy parts. I don't actually look the girl parts in the face, per se. If I am in the head of someone with a male lover, I don't see why it would be assumed I'd write that POV better if I was writing het sex.  I mean, in a way, it's like an airplane dashboard-- some bells, buttons, and whistles.  Just got to figure out which order to push them in to coordinate with weather conditions and the projected flight plan, right? And, you know, if you want that thing to achieve lift-off, you've got to be careful what you touch.



Dear Gymnastics Teacher--

Mate had a plan for us waking up early on Saturday, taking the dogs to the vet appointment for their flea medication, and then taking the kids to gymnastics before meeting his mother for lunch and then attending a movie before going shopping.

Upon waking up at nine-thirty in the morning, he asked me, "What the hell was I smoking?" whence I responded rather sleepily, "I don't know, but if you wanted to do all that, I wasn't going to get in your way."

So if it's convenient, blame me for not getting the kids back into gymnastics until January.  But seriously-- we haven't slept in on a Saturday for five months. We had one coming.


Squish and ZB's mom

Dear Cat--

The computer is not for sits. The kitchen table is not for sleeps.  And six thirty a.m. is not a suitable time to be awakened on a weekend.

You're not too small to be an area rug.

Cranky Mommy

Dear People to People parents--

Well, you asked. We were supposed to get into groups and talk about the question the leader gave us. The question in this case was, "What was the last book you read."

I read Armed and Dangerous by Josh Lanyon.

That was fun to explain.



Dear Mate--

Earlier today, at precisely 12:30, I'd laid down for a nice little Sunday nap with the expectation of waking in an hour and leaving the house at 4:30, so we could get ZB to his People-to-People meeting. I had just drifted off when you came bounding out of the bathroom screaming, "Oh my God! It's from 1:00-3:00! Get ready! Get him ready! We gotta go now!"

We were only fifteen minutes late, although the meeting is across town.

I assume my medal will be in the mail.  I just wanted to make sure you'd ordered it, that's all.


Your Wife

Dear McDonalds--

The person who developed the jalapeƱo burger was sheer genius.

Just saying.


A very, very, unhappy large woman

Dear Parents at the Middle School Enrollment Meeting I Attended on Tuesday--

As highly entertaining as it was to listen to you pin the poor principal against the wall with the infamous, "If we're trying to enroll twins, and one gets accepted and the other one doesn't, what do you expect us to do?" question, I really needed his attention for something that was answerable.

To my relief, "Do you put kids in an honors program if they have an open 504 for having the attention span of a dizzy sparrow?" was answered with a quick, "Yes, in fact we've got a lot of those kids!", and I could be on my merry way.  Good luck with that twin thing, though. I understand there were three sets of parents in there with the same question. I'm sure I'll hear about the riot in the news.


I'm still boggled by that.  I mean, sincerely boggled.

Sincerely again,

Mother of the Dizzy Sparrow


And that's all-- I am still on the work-catchup hamster wheel, thanks you.  Mate and I were thinking about going to get a Christmas tree this weekend, but honestly, we couldn't make ourselves move enough to go get one.  As Mate pointed out (just now, as he was yawning his way to bed) part of it is the puppy. She keeps waking up to sleep with us, and we're afraid we're gonna squash her and hence not sleeping well.

Part of it is the busy.  Both of us are catching up from work in huge quantities as well as doing all the other stuff

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Geoffie Home

We told the kids before we left for the trip that they'd better enjoy Thanksgiving, because Christmas was going to be A. Thin, and B. Anticlimactic after eating dinner in Disneyland and coming home to a puppy. 

They totally appreciated the warning.

And they totally appreciated the trip.

I'm not sure if I mentioned it, but Universal Studios was pretty funny.  See, the kids arrived in a game frame of mind--but highly dubious.
"Universal Studios. How exciting could this be? Are these going to be movies like Mom and Dad like? Jaws, Ocean's 11, The Italian Job, Super 8? Because we can see how that's Mom and Dad's cup of tea, but we, however, have a more discriminating palate that requires more roller coasters and special effects than boring old Mom & Dad!"

Boy, when they discovered everything from Despicable Me to The Simpsons to Jurassic Park, they were so excited.  The best part was the studio tour, which was great--not only because there was a lot of stuff Mate and I didn't remember, but because they had just watched Big Fat Liar which was filmed practically on the set.  It was like they bonded to Mate and I and our favorite hobby for real and for ever, right in that one ride.
That, and I almost wet myself when I found out that the episode of Castle I'd just seen had been filmed on the Wild West set. Seriously-- I totally did the happy dance.  Even made the tour guide crack a smile. 

So anyway, they were all primed for Disneyland, and our first day was a success--but it was a crowded success.  Mate and I were afraid that Thanksgiving day, which would be the next day we went after picking the big kids up on Wednesday, would be too crowded for fun.

It was, in fact, just crowded enough.
Now, I admit it-- by Thanksgiving morning, I was, in fact, sort of burnt on crowds and noise and being on my feet.  I recognized the signs of imminent grumpiness if I got up and did the roller coaster trek Mate had meticulously planned.  I elected to stay at the hotel, sleep in, and, quite frankly, experience the joy of having my morning BM without worrying about five people pounding on the door.  

By the time I got to the park, the kids were happy and ready for a brief rest, and Mate could get me a Fast Pass for Indiana Jones and I was ready to Disneyland again. I fully admit to doing the same thing the next night, when the older kids (who hadn't seen Fantasmic) insisted on closing the park down.  I had seen Fantasmic, we had closed down the park, and I would go back to the hotel and chill out.  I think maybe it's a sign of maturity (not the getting old kind) to know when I've had it.  Not just physically (although I'd been working on a training plan for Disney that had gone to hell in the past month, thank you pinched nerve and head cold very fuckin' much!) but also mentally. Mate thrives on that kind of thing, and I'm happy for 80% of it, but after that, I'm done. I'm starting to learn that if I say, "I'm done!" I have so much more fun for the parts I'm there for. Seriously. I'm a happier, better Mommy if I've had some quiet in my own head.
(I also confess that the more I write in the quiet of my house, the more of this I need.  I am grateful for my family which forces me to interact with the real world, or I could be a snarling old recluse in no time!)

But Disneyland was fun.  It was amazing fun. It was, "The big kids don't want to ditch mom and dad, they'd rather have their picture taken with Eyore" fun.  It was, "Let's play the Head's Up game in line to occupy ourselves and annoy the other people in line" fun. It was "Zoomboy and Chicken both want light sabers so they can fight!" fun, and "Chicken is afraid of ferris wheels?" fun.  It was, "Squish will keep up with the big kids if it kills her!" fun, and "Zoomboy will be a Jedi Knight!" fun.  It was "Mom wore the ears so she could match all the kids, even though her head was so big they looked hilarious!" fun.  It was, "Mate has mapped this thing like D-Day cause he's committed like you read about!" fun.  

It was, "My family may be getting older, but their heart is still together," fun.  

And then there was the death drive home.

The death drive was made longer by dropping Chicken off in San Diego and then turning around and driving back to Citrus Heights.  Many people have asked why we didn't just ship her back on a train, and the answer is that we needed to go fetch her rat, because she feels badly about shipping the rat off on other people.  Bon Bon is now happily ensconced where Spike used to be, and she seems to like daily cuddles just fine.  
And speaking of daily cuddles…

So, the day we got back, you all may think we spent all day sleeping.

Uhm, no. 

There were three things we absolutely needed to do. 

Task the first: Pick out a new washing machine, because the old one, so help me, was scrap and destroying our garage. The whole place smells like toxic mold now because the water has been leaking from the damned thing for months, and it finally just… died. And here we were with all of our dirty clothes and a burning need to dress.  

So, yeah. We got a washing machine that is smarter than we are, and our old, basic drier is sort of looking with the newer model he's stuck with and missing his battered old mate.  I've got nothing to tell him on this matter-- I think my Mate would miss me if I was replaced too, and no amount of bells and whistles would make him like the new model, but the least you could do was uses the bells and whistles.  (Oh God-- I've anthropomorphized my clothes drier. I'm stopping now, before I start to pity my dying car with too much maudlin sympathy.)

Anyway, task the second was to drop off the rental car.  *sniffle*  Oh, beautiful $50,000 minivan, we shall miss you.  You were a part of our family for a week, and we're spoiled for the video and sound system forever.

Task the third? 
Was to get the puppy.  

Yes, she's adorable.  She's tiny, but she's adorable.  Seriously-- when Big T was two years old, he sneezed and lost a booger that was bigger than this dog.  (Terrifyingly enough he had a big fight with his father over whether or not he was going to put that booger back where it came from.  T was never one for letting things go, trust me.)  

We're calling her Geoffie, because we figure we'll have Gordie, Steve, Johnnie, and Geoff.  It's like our own little Office space staff, and she answers to Geoffie already.  
(Random Squish)

She's a feisty little goober-- she's the kind of puppy that gets rolled over and wrestled with and jumps back into the fray, and if she'd been part of a normal family we would have called her Tuffy or Scruffy or Scamp.  

That's okay.  Geoff suits her just fine.  

At first we were terrified that she and Johnnie wouldn't get along. Johnnie looks fierce with his little snuggle tooth, and he's like a monster next to her.  But on the third day, something amazing happened. They played.  And not just played-- they ran around for an hour, until Johnnie jumped on my bed and curled up in the middle in a "Oh for fucks sake, mom, make her stop!" sort of gesture.  

Ha ha-- not on his life.  He hasn't dumped the garbage once since her arrival.  He's too exhausted.  

Not only that, but he's got company when we're gone.  They sleep in the same bed and gnaw on the same toys and run around the front room forever.  

I am happy.  It was like adding children.  Every time we added one, I thought, "Oh no. What have I done?  My family balance was finally achieved!"  And then each child turned out to be the child we couldn't live without.  The same thing goes with Geoff.  

She's good.  

And so's my family. 

See?  Christmas?  Total anti-climax.