The Seeker of the House

House-hunting, man.

I thought it would be fun, but it was exhausting. I felt like one of those bitchy ladies on HGTV who veto everything and can't possibly live in a house that doesn't have a granite shower with dual massaging showerhead and skylight. Oh and a craft room.

Seriously, though - we looked at a ton of houses over this past weekend, but none of them felt ...well, like my house. Even though I don't want to move, I'm trying hard not to let that color my perception of my new home. I tried to envision myself, and my family, within the walls of each place. Some of them were easier than others. Still, I'm not completely in love with any of them. When we found our current house (*sniff*) I loved it immediately, so I figured it would be that way this time too.

... Apparently not.

I know in the grand scheme of things I'm still super lucky, and I shouldn't be complaining. I'M GETTING A HOUSE. I have choices. But some of those choices are harder than others ... like would I rather live in a place with faux-rock wallpaper in my bedroom or one with a dining room light fixture the size of a flying saucer? Sure, those things can be changed, but let's be real: we've been living in this house for eight years and 95% (okay, 98%) of the stuff we wanted to do it is still undone. Having a handy husband who is capable of doing renovations himself is great ... IF he actually did them.

This is pretty much Curtis's attitude toward home improvements.

Also, our new town is seven hours away. Which means that much of this has to be long-distance. Which also means that Curtis is working there and coming home on random weekends, while I'm here with our four boys, doing what needs to be done, desperately clinging to my last shreds of sanity holding down the fort.

Basically, the position I'm in is this: as long as our new house isn't leaking or haunted or infested by pests, we're good. I'm going to have to live with a few things that bug me (I mean, I already do: THEY'RE CALLED MY KIDS). All I really want is a sprayer in the sink, and light fixtures that don't look like they first illuminated someone's 8-track player.

Why can't this be easy?

You Gotta Be Kitten Me

My kids are 10, 8 (in a few days), 6, and 3 - so they're getting to be wonderfully self-sufficient. For years, I couldn't even envision a time when I wouldn't have to change diapers or cut up food or just say, "Go take a bath" and have them do it themselves. But now, here I am. My three-year-old still needs help with a lot of things, but even that's a far cry from having an infant or a toddler to attend to all the time. It's actually very nice.

So to complicate my life, I had to get a kitten. Because our household of six people, two dogs, and two cats reeeeeally needed another new addition.

Okay, okay, it's because I'm crazy. And a sucker for pretty much anything with four legs and fur. And a sucker for my oldest son, Colin, who is the hugest cat lover with a soft heart for animals, just like me. When I was little and I would ask my mom if I could bring a stray something-or-other home, her head would spin around and she would growl about "her carpet" and "dirty animals" in a possessed sort of voice. Now that I'm an adult I understand, but if my kids brought home a needy animal, let's just say I'd probably have a different reaction.

Anyway. Enter Zoomer, our shelter kitten.

He had already been named by the shelter people when we got him, and we kept it because it was so fitting - this cat is hyper and bouncy. He's a little kitten still, so I have to watch him constantly, lest he slip quickly out a door or into a closet or cabinet or drawer while it's open. (The other day he spent twenty minutes under my bathroom sink because I had shut the door not knowing he had crawled in there.) He wakes me up around four o'clock EVERY MORNING by stomping all over me and purring and meowing. It's like having a damn toddler all over again, I swear.

And I still. Can't. Pee. Alone.

But for all his kitten-y shenanigans, I can't be mad at him, because he fits in so well. He gets along with the dogs ...

... and the cats. Well, mostly.


... Lucky for him.

Follow me on Instagram @FightingFrumpy to see more pics of Zoomer and the rest of my crazy bunch.

A Seedy Situation

Like virtually everyone else in the world, I have started my annual "this time it's permanent!" health kick.*

*And by "permanent" I mean until approximately Valentine's Day, when I will consume a bunch of chocolate and then pretty much fall off the wagon from there.

So when I went grocery shopping, I was perusing the health food aisles when something caught my attention. Chia seeds.

Naturally I bought them, because - being on a health kick and all - I've been hearing lots about the many benefits of chia seeds. I got a new blender for Christmas and the healthy websites I read while I'm healthing are all like, "Throw some chia seeds in your smoothies! They're an excellent source of protein and fiber and omega-3 fatty acids!"

Amazed and inspired by this superfood now in my possession, I went straight home and ate a spoonful right out of the bottle just to taste them. They didn't taste like much, so I could imagine them being decent when tossed with some kind of crunchy food. But as they absorbed more and more of my spit, they developed this gelatinous sort of coating - and lemme tell you: if you think poppy seeds get stuck in your teeth, chia seeds are worse. It's like the chia seeds said to the poppy seeds, "Oh yeah, amateurs? Watch this."

But whatever. I have toothpicks and a toothbrush and I always keep Plackers around ('cause you never know when you're going to have to dig a popcorn kernel out of somebody's nose). So I wasn't too bothered by the chia seed colony in my teeth because chia seeds are SO HEALTHY that I was sure they were, like, giving me megadoses of nutrients just by being in there. Like absorbing through my gums or something.

Later that evening, I decided that since I had done something great for my insides, I ought to beautify the outside too. I have always adored making my own do-it-yourself beauty treatments, so I got busy concocting a deep conditioning mask for my frizzy-ass hair. (Note the placement of the dash; I said frizzy-ass hair, not frizzy ass-hair. There is a huge difference.)

I warmed some coconut oil in a bowl. Threw in a glug of olive oil. Drizzled some honey on top. What else could I put in there, I wondered?

And then my eyes fell on my glorious bottle of gloriously healthy chia seeds.

I was thinking if I could use my fancy new blender to grind the chia seeds into a sort of dust, I could mix it with the oils and honey and make sort of a creamy conditioner. That's what it looked like in my mind, anyway. With all the benefits that they supposedly have, they had to be good for the hair too. I mean - OMEGA. FREAKING. THREES.

However. Chia seeds are tiny. So tiny that even my snazzy blender kind of just tossed them around instead of actually pulverizing them into the powder I had envisioned.

But by that time, my mind was made up; my homemade hair mask needed the boost of omega-3 fatty acids and other mysterious nutrients that only the chia seeds could provide. So I mixed them in anyway. Then I slathered the whole thing into my hair, threw on a shower cap and waited impatiently for half an hour, imagining the soft, bouncy, silky, shiny results. It would be my fabulous new beauty secret.

When I got in the shower and began rinsing, I made a startling realization. I should have thought about what those little S.O.B.s had done to my teeth - because as I ran warm water through my hair, each seed - and there were like a million - glued itself to a strand. And stayed there.

Y'all? I consider myself a reasonably intelligent individual. But putting the chia seeds in my hair was, without a doubt, one of the dumbest things I have ever done in my entire thirty-five years. I was so blinded by my fantasies of enviable, Kate Middleton-esque hair that I failed to consider the sticky nature of the seeds. And now there they were, glommed onto each follicle. It didn't help that they looked like lice eggs.*

*Go ahead, scratch your scalp, I'll wait.

I rinsed for like half an hour. The seeds were still in my hair - but now they were everyfreakingwhere else, too.

I rinsed until my hair was squeaking, which I'm pretty sure was the sound of it begging for mercy as the last of its natural oils went down the drain. It was still seedy, but I got out of the shower and dried it off. Chia seeds stuck to the towel. I ran a comb through it; chia seeds clumped in the teeth. I went to bed, depressed, and dreamed of waking up looking like this:

If I weren't lazy, I'd Photoshop my face onto this. Just use your imagination.

In the morning, there were a few scattered seeds on my pillow, and a few still clinging to my hair - but much to my relief, they brushed out fairly easily. And I didn't have a head full of green pube-y looking growth, so there's that.

But I also don't have deep-conditioned hair. In fact, it kind of feels like a broom. So I guess it's back to the DIY drawing board.

Maybe I'll try oats or something next time.

My Little Bro-ny

Things that are hard:

- Explaining nuclear fission
- Baking a souffle
- Finding a damn My Little Pony shirt that doesn't have ruffles or bows

My three-year-old, Corbin, is obsessed with My Little Pony right now. Obsessed. It's his favorite show. He has a My Little Pony book that we absolutely must read every single night - I could probably recite the thing in my sleep. For Christmas, my mom made him a fleece My Little Pony-print blanket, and he got a stuffed pony from Build-a-Bear (Applejack, whose jaunty little cowboy hat that I paid $7 extra for was trampled to irreversible flatness within ten minutes).

So like any sucker parent who wants to see their child smile, I wanted to find him a My Little Pony t-shirt. It should be pretty simple, I figured. I've noticed them in passing by the girls' clothing section in almost every store - they're all over the place.

I started at Walmart, because cheapness is my jam.

At first, I was encouraged, seeing all the traditionally "boyish" stuff geared toward girls. Ninja Turtle shirts with pink capes! Superhero shirts with ruffles! Surely this meant I wouldn't have a problem finding a My Little Pony shirt that was good for boys, right??

Sure enough, I found the mother-lode of MLP merchandise. But wait - what was this? My enthusiasm dampened as, sifting through t-shirt after t-shirt, I failed to find a single one that didn't have any feminine detailing, like lace or ribbons or pleats. Even the most unadorned shirts were still cut for girls, with curved-in waists and cap sleeves.

I left, frustrated and shirtless. (Well, I mean without buying a My Little Pony shirt. I myself wasn't shirtless. You're welcome, general public.)

Here's the thing. When my son is older, and is able to understand that judgmental people can be (and usually are) wrong, he can wear whatever the hell he wants. I don't care if he chooses to strut his stuff in a pink sequined My Little Pony tutu and a pair of sparkly platform shoes, as long as he knows to expect - and take with a grain of salt - any (inevitable) criticism of his style choices.


Right now, he's just a baby. And people are jerks. And one remark of, "You know that's a girl's shirt, right?" or some similarly unhelpful, unnecessary comment can color his perception of his own choices. I don't want him to feel bad or wrong for wearing what he likes. I want him to be proud that he's wearing his favorite characters - no matter who those characters may be. He would love to wear ANY shirt featuring My Little Pony, and honestly, he'd probably be thrilled by the rhinestones or ruffles. But at what cost? I don't want anybody even giving him side-eye, let alone saying something demeaning his style in his presence. So I seek out the plainest Pony tees.

I just want him to be able to wear a My Little Pony shirt and feel awesome in it. Even if it's the pinkest, laciest, sparkliest shirt on the rack. 

It's endlessly frustrating - not just from the perspective of an all-male mother, but from the perspective of a feminist. Girls can go into any store and shop in whatever section they choose - because when they wear "boy clothes," they're lauded as strong and confident. But a boy who shops in the girls' section is virtually guaranteed to be the target of ridicule. Isn't this contrary to the very gender-equality we're trying to achieve? The traits we assign to girls wearing boy clothes are far preferable to the ones we assign to boys wearing girl clothes: soft. Weak. Lesser somehow. When we stop associating femininity with these traits, we can move toward being a truly gender-equal society.

... And little men like mine can wear whatever they feel like wearing, and still be seen for who they really are. 


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