Sunday, March 31, 2013

Since You’re So Good at Giving Advice

You guys are the best, most informative peoples ever. I am so glad I asked for your opinion on fresh food! I want to thank every single one of you who responded to my question. I plan on emailing each of you back; I just haven’t had a chance yet. Also, thank you to those of you who offered further help. I’ll be in touch with you guys as well! Right now, I’m busy taking notes on all the wonderful comments and emails from you. Stay tuned for more on #project stimey #subprojectfreshfood!

I have another question for you. This one is aimed at the runners and sports medicine physicians among you.

So. Last Saturday while I was running, I tweaked my hip. I felt it happen and ran home another mile on it. I didn’t want to make it worse, so I stayed off of it and iced it.

(This is what the information I found on the internet led me to believe would fix me. FIXME!FIXME!FIXFIXFIXFIXME!)

By this Saturday (yesterday), I almost couldn’t feel any pain when I was walking around so I went for a very short run. After about a mile it started to hurt again, even worse than before. There was no way I could run on it today.

The whole thing has me extremely depressed.

What do I do? Anybody have this kind of thing in their hip? Will ice and rest help it? Should I go to a doctor? Do I need to amputate? Will someone assure me that I will be running again very soon? Because I am rilly rilly sad about the whole thing.

I need that advice, please! What will make me better?

Friday, March 29, 2013

March Was Project Lazy

So I am just a big ol’ basket of failure this month. I spent the beginning of March not running because it was cold and I was whiny and then I started running again and almost immediately tweaked my hip to where it even hurt to walk. Then spring break rolled around and I iced my hip and sat around with my kids. My food tracking goal has gone extremely poorly and I’ve completely fallen off the quitting soda wagon.

March has been rough in terms of health goals. On the other hand, March has been tremendous in terms of rodent population growth.

I’m still fighting though. I’m going to go running Saturday and Sunday this weekend and I’m going to try to get my food and water back on track. Along those lines, I am looking to make Team Stimey’s food healthier. I want to get less of our food from boxes and bags and jars. I like the idea of fresh food and think it will be good for everyone, but I’m not quite sure where to start.

Does anyone have any good suggestions for where to get some recipes or meal plans for fresh, simple food from scratch? I have some criteria though:

1. The recipes have to be easy, because I am not a good cook.

2. The recipes have to be simple, because I am a lazy cook.

3. The recipes have to be not fancy, because my kids are extremely picky and won’t eat food that has a lot of ingredients.

4. I’m happy to look at blogs and websites, but actual paper cookbooks tend to work better for me.
Help? Also wishes of good luck for getting back on the health bandwagon are welcome.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Team Stimey Takes Virginia!

I am so excited to tell you about Team Stimey’s Super Awesome Fun Spring Break Adventure! We packed a lot of fun into our two-day vacation. Alex had a business trip on Monday so I decided that instead of sitting around and being surly that he was gone again, I would bail as well. Only I had to take the kids.

We based our trip around Luray Caverns in Virginia, adding on other roadside attractions until we had the best 48 hours ever. Alex went to Cincinnati and had a meeting in a conference room overlooking a freeway.

You can guess who had more fun.

I have to admit that I was annoyed when I woke up and saw my spring break adventure looking more like spring broken adventure.

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Clearly I was delighted by spring snow.
Although the snow did teach me something interesting.

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Quinn makes his snow angels face down.
That kid is his own person, that is for sure.

Regardless of snow (I had prepaid for our hotel room so we were going—even if a tornado showed up), we headed out and arrived at Luray at about noon. Now, Team Stimey had been to Luray Caverns before, but it was a long time ago (click that link to see my tiny babies) and we didn’t go on a cold, snowy spring day. It was practically deserted when we went this time. There were no lines and no sweltering heat and there was plenty of snow to threaten your brothers with.

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This photo cracks me up over and over. It is so them.
We grabbed some lunch and then jumped onto a tour. Our guide was great except that she didn’t have answers for any of the Minecraft-related questions my kids had. It’s almost like they didn’t train her at all.

The tour started off really well. All three kiddos were happy. Sam was learning, Jack was musing about types of rock, and Quinn kept finding dark little recesses and saying, “Look! A cave system!

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Back at the beginning of the tour when they were still willing to stand together for me to take a photo of them.
So, let’s talk about my kids and the way they handle tours for a minute. Last time we went to Luray, we did a self-guided tour. This time they didn’t offer that option, so we were with a group of 25ish that traveled together. This isn’t optimal for my kids, but I’m lucky in that they can mostly handle it. Mostly.
Sam is my kid that is best suited for tours, exhibits, and other learning stuff. We were hanging in the back of the group so I could take some photos without people in them and also so that we weren’t distracting the guide with infinite questions about bedrock and mining. Every time the guide started talking, Sam would gasp and run up to be in ear shot.

In fact, my cell phone is full of videos of the guide telling us things about the cavern. I had to threaten him to make him stop taking video that we will never watch.

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Also on the phone? At least one photo of me and my camera.
Jack tends to get overwhelmed and spinny in tour situations. The cavern, however, was spacious enough and involved enough walking that he was okay. The best way to help him regulate himself is to take him on a long walk, so considering the tour was about a mile long, this was just his thing. Near the end of the tour, he was up at the front chatting with the guide. Maybe he was giving her that sorely needed Minecraft information.

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I’m imagining that he was thinking about different kinds of Minecraft blocks in this photo.
Then there is Quinn. The thing I’m coming to realize about Quinn is that he has a time limit. He started off the tour completely happy, but his attention span is not…expansive. Also, when he is unhappy, tired, or bored, he gets loud. God forbid he is all three. Because when he is all three, he also falls to the ground.

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Oh, Quinn.
Quinn and I are working on finding a happy medium together.
We emerged from the caverns into the greatest unblemished field of snow that ever was. That snow quickly became the greatest blemished battlefield of snow that ever was after my kids’ epic snowball fight broke out. It was one of those rare, unplanned, no-one-got-mad-or-hurt bouts of awesomeness that very occasionally happens. It was the absolute greatest.

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Even Quinn came right back to happy. Also soaking wet. That too.
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Quinn is a fan of the “snowball as big as your head” tactical approach.
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After snowball fighting, terrorizing some geese, and exploring around, Jack found his sensory happy place lying in the snow.
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Sam’s happy place, on the other hand, involved throwing snowballs at me. See that particularly well-aimed one hurtling toward my camera?
The hedge maze we had planned to go through was closed because of the snow, which I thought was absurd, but my thoughts had very little effect on the open vs. closed status of said hedge maze, so we departed to our hotel.
Now, my kids were happily watching a movie in the backseat, so they were unaware of what happened next. I should preface this by telling you that my GPS, which is probably the same one you have, reminds me very much of a Dalek from Doctor Who—its “RECALCULATING” sounds exactly as evil as “EXTERMINATE” and makes me laugh every time I take a wrong turn. I also may or may not repeat “RECALCULATING” in a Dalek voice every time it happens.

Now, my GPS always gets me where I’m going, but it often chooses the weirdest damn way in the world. In this case, instead of choosing a2 + b2 on two-lane and larger roads, the GPS sent me straight across c2—the hypotenuse, which in this case turned out to be a series of increasingly windy and snowy roads over a mountain on which there were NO other cars. If I’d had slinky college coeds in my car instead of damp tweens, it would have been EXACTLY like the beginning of a horror movie.

Perhaps the best part, however, was when I made a wrong turn and the GPS recalculated and I assumed it was sending me on a new route, but it was in fact sending me on the longest, most dangerous 11.2-mile u-turn I’d ever been on. I knew that Dalek GPS has been trying to kill me.

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(start at the bottom) Fuck you, mean GPS. Fuck you.
That done, we finally got to the hotel, which was the best hotel in the history of hotels, but notable mostly for the fact that it had an indoor swimming pool in which my kids spent HOURS.

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LOOK OUT BELOW!!!
Also making this hotel notable was that they offered free hot chocolate in the lobby and a microwave in the room, which made an excellent combination for Quinn, who warmed up his one cup of hot chocolate many times over the course of the evening.

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It’s even more delicious if you get to operate machinery to prepare it.
I tell you, we got our money’s worth out of that hotel. We swam evening and morning, ate sooooo much breakfast, and checked out a half hour before we were kicked out. It was an excellent choice to stay overnight.

The other thing that made it an excellent choice to stay overnight was that Luray’s hedge maze was open the next day. I think that my kids were more excited about the hedge maze than the caverns, so I was glad that we were able to head back. It was substantially more crowded that day, which lends more credibility to my new “go to busy attractions on terrible weather days” theory.

The hedge maze at Luray is huge and awesome and has four goals and a center fountain for you to find so you’re not just wandering around aimlessly. Once everyone got yelled at once (by me) for running off in separate directions, Team Stimey stuck together and eventually we made our way through.

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What could possibly go wrong?
The maze was actually really hard. Especially considering said maze was kind of an asshole.

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This totally outraged Quinn.
Luray also has this new thing called Ropeland or some such where they harness you up and send you into a…well, a ropeland. It was really cool. There were three levels, one of which was crazy high. That is the one Quinn got tangled up in and had to be rescued from. Naturally.

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Quinn looked so extremely put out by this situation.
Sam went up and came down almost immediately because it hadn’t occurred to him beforehand that he is afraid of heights. Jack, per usual, was fearless.

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This is on the middle section.
After Ropeland, we headed back toward Maryland. I had planned a stop at Dinosaurland and was considering one more stop, children permitting, but we only made it to the first stop. Did I mention that Quinn had a time limit? Yeah. It expired almost immediately after arriving at Dinosaurland.

Regardless, I did get this most excellent new Facebook profile photo.

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You’ll never go…um, on the concrete again!
Also, it turns out that my kids are surprisingly resistant to standing in front of giant fake dinosaurs and pretending to be scared of/running from/being eaten by said dinosaurs.

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This was SO halfhearted on his part.
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THIS is how you do it. (Also, I don’t know why a praying mantis is at Dinosaurland. Also, also, I don’t think this is a “life-size replica” as advertised.)

When all was said and done, though, the way I knew that we were really done with Team Stimey’s Fantabulous Spring Break Adventure is when I started to feel like this:

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When you’re standing in front of a pile of trash and a mini-bulldozer with this expression on your face while watching your kid sit in a giant King Kong hand, you know you’re done with your day-o-fun.
(I just realized that I can’t NOT show you the King Kong photo. Here it is. You are welcome.)

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I call them Surly and Surlier.
The End. Come on back next year for Team Stimey’s Incredible Adorable Allegorical Spring Break Adventure II.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

He’s Right Behind Me, Isn’t He?

I’m writing about Team Stimey’s Stupendously Fabulous Spring Break Adventure right now, but I’m not going to finish it in time to publish it tonight, so I thought I might tide you over with this most excellent photo that Sam snapped of Jack at Dinosaurland on Tuesday.

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In fact, I almost feel like this calls for a caption contest. Anyone?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Team Stimey’s Spring Break Adventure…Teaser

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Team Stimey had a really fun time on our spring break adventure. We ended up going to Luray Caverns, where we not only toured the caverns, but had the greatest snowball fight ever (and found that giant “LOVE” sign). We stayed at a hotel that had a swimming pool, hot chocolate in the lobby, AND a microwave in the room. Plus we went to Pizza Hut for dinner where some of us (Sam) harassed the waitress for the recipe for the breadsticks (“I don’t know. They come in a box.”).

Best. Overnight trip. Ever.

I have all kinds of fun stories to tell you, but for now I’m just going to point you to White Knuckle Parenting where I wrote about how I decided on our adventure destination.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Stimey’s Guide to Life, Part I

I’m not very good at life. I mean, sure, I bumble through with a fair amount of humor and joy, but I’m not very good at planning things in an adult manner. While most of you are flying, I am like Buzz Lightyear: I am falling with style.

My kids’ spring break starts tomorrow. Naturally, I was sitting around this afternoon making travel plans…for tomorrow. No better time to plan for a vacation than the day before, right? And no better time to plan car travel than right smack dab in the middle of a freak late-March winter storm.

I can’t even claim that I didn’t know the storm was coming because I planned the stupid trip the day before.

Also, we’re going to an outdoor destination.

I’m the best at this stuff.

It’s going to be me, my three kids, outdoor activities, a hotel with a pool, and an ADVENTURE! We’ll be back Tuesday…hopefully.

p.s. Next time Alex is all, “Hey, do you want to take the kids to Key West over spring break?” remind me to not be such a rigid moron that I refuse to consider it.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

One More About the Four-Leggers

Well. It has been a big week for pets here in Stimeyland. Some good, some bad. I figured I’d wrap some stuff up here before I wander off to other topics, because much as I would love to talk about all gerbils all the time, I imagine some of you are not as excited about the whole thing as I am.

First though, Cassidy. Thank you all so much for your nice comments and emails and and messages. Every single one of them meant a great deal to me and my family. Saturday went as well as could be expected, but it was still terrible. Of course.

The vet and vet tech made an imprint of her paw after they took her away and the vet tech brought it back to our house. It was such a tremendous act of kindness.

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So beautiful.
I keep expecting to see her wandering around or stealing food off of our table. It’s also hard to break habits like closing doors to rooms that I don’t want her in or hiding trash cans from her. It’s definitely quieter around here without the constant jingling of her collar tags.

That dog. She was such a problem. But so good.

The kids are doing well. We’re talking about her and making sure they know they’re allowed to be sad.

I wrote about her for White Knuckle Parenting this week. I included many of the book suggestions you gave me, but couldn’t include them all. Thank you for all of them regardless.

*****

So. How are the gerblets doing?

There are still five of them. Today their ears popped open. It hadn’t even occurred to me that they didn’t have ears until suddenly they had them.

I’m supposed to start handling them in the next few days so they get used to people. I imagine that Jetpack and Mouse will have some menacing glares to give me when I pick up their babies.

I’m basing this prediction on Jetpack’s reaction to my taking a photo of the babies from the outside of the tank.

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All five of them, eared and naked.
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Jetpack: “Kindly back the fuck off, ma’am.”

You may notice that the gerbil babies are different colors now. I can’t tell if they have very short fur buzz cuts or if their skin is changing colors. Regardless, I’m hopeful that this means I won’t end up with five identical off-white gerbils, in which case I would just name them all George Foreman and be done with it.
This whole baby thing is honestly one of the most amazing things I’ve ever watched—and listened to. They squeak all of the time. Frankly, the only negative about the whole thing is the stress of the possibility of 8500 more baby gerbils. Otherwise, watching their development is fantastic. My kids are super into it as well.
Quinn had a friend over this afternoon and when his mom came to pick him up, Quinn handed her a photo of the baby gerbils to take home. If he knew what cigars were, he’d be handing them out too.
Now. I know everyone is VERY concerned about the gender of the gerbils. I’m happy to report that I think I’ve figured out which gerbil is the mom.
Ooooh…the suspense.
I think Jetpack is the mom. I know. A twist! No one saw that coming. Today all seven of them were packed into this tiny hut they have and Mouse was on the bottom of the gerbil pile on his stomach. Jetpack was on top of him on her side and it looked like a baby was nursing from her.
I turned a flashlight on them and everything to try to be sure.
With the tangle of limbs and the darkness and the tiny hut opening combined with the nearly identical fur coverings and the fact that no faces were visible, it was still hard to tell who was who and what was happening, so I’m only about 95% sure that Jetpack is the mom. But really, if I’m wrong, what’s the worst that could happen?
Oh, right.
8500 gerblets.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Celebrating the Doodle

I am so sorry to do this to you all, but I have to take a sharp left turn off of gerbil babies (whom I am henceforth referring to as Gerblets—like giblets, but alive).

So, you know about Cassidy. (Also known as “The Doodle.”)

She is our awesome dog.

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Cassidy is 13 years old and has been having health problems for a while. She has on and off liver and kidney issues and has chronic joint issues as well as incontinence and lots of itchiness. She seems confused a lot of the time. Sometimes I have to carry her up and down stairs. She takes a lot of medicine.

We’ve known for a while that she didn’t have a long time, but she has deteriorated a lot over the past couple of weeks. Just this evening, she took a nose dive. She is hunched and limping and breathing really hard.

Saturday (tomorrow) afternoon the vet is coming to put her to sleep.

I know it’s the right thing to do. I know it. But tomorrow is going to be horrible. We are going to miss her a lot.

The kids are ready—as ready as they can be. We’ve been talking about her being sick for a while. When we saw how quickly she was starting to not feel well, we started preparing them for this happening. And now we’ve told them that tomorrow afternoon they’re going to go over to a friend’s house and the vet is going to come to our house and help Cassidy die.

Quinn decided that he wanted to have a party for Cassidy today. So we had a party to celebrate her. We gave her a can of dog food (and we ate cake and bone-shaped graham crackers), took photos with her, and we made her a poster to show her how much we love her.

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We’re going to miss her. I have spent 13 years with her following me around virtually all day, every day. The house is going to be very different without her.

Afterbirth

You guys, I don’t even know what to say to you. You are some twisted people. Also, I am delighted that you are as wacky about gerbils as I am. First of all, if you’re new here, you may not understand the whole gerbils in hats thing.

For you, I will post this reminder:

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Any excuse to re-post this photo makes me happy.
Yes, that is my pregnant gerbil, Mouse, just a few days ago. Or it is the gerbil daddy, Mouse. I still don’t know which of my gerbils is the mom and which is the dad. I think Mouse (above) is the girl, but I haven’t picked either of them up since the gerbil babies appeared to study their genitalia.

Don’t worry. I’ll do it soon though. There is going to be a whole lotta gerbil genital studying going on.

I bought a second gerbil tank today at PetSmart in preparation for the day when I segregate my piles of gerbils by gender. The clerk that rang me up was all, “Ooooh! Are you getting a new pet?” and I was like, “Kinda!”

So, here is my gerbil update for you so you know what is going on:

There are five baby gerbils. There were six, but one of them died today and I took his little corpse out so his mom and dad didn’t have to eat him. It was a little sad. I hope the other guys make it. I’m already starting to get attached to them.

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Pile-o-gerballs, on a rare out-of-the-hut excursion.
They all seem to be doing all right. They were in this big pile today and there was this one on the bottom whose only visible body parts were his frantically pinwheeling back legs. He eventually made it out and was able to breathe. So yay for that one.

My kids are pretty excited about the whole thing. Sam took a look at one last night and has refused to come back for another look. Quinn’s first questions were, “Are they hairless? Are their eyes closed?” and then he refused to even look at a picture of them. Although by the time he got home from school, he was ready for an in-person encounter.

Jack, however, is way into them. I had to keep chasing him away from their tank so he wouldn’t harass them too much. Here, “harass” equals constantly pulling back the privacy blanket I put around them to stare at them and maybe tap on the tank a little bit.

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Watcha doin’?
The result of this was a hyper-vigilant Jetpack starting to look a little nervous.

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“Can I HELP you?”
This brings you up to date on the gerbils. The really amazing part of the day, however, was the passion with which Facebook embraced my gerbil babies and the fervor with which you all set about to mocking my panic.

I mean, really, it was almost instantaneous. The snark started immediately once I posted a photo of a baby gerbil, but it took a whole six minutes before Bec said, “Quick! Put tiny hats on them!”

Then it was all over.

Last night, you confined yourselves to words. Today, it was ON.

It all started with Lexi‘s image of the gerbil I will be naming Top Hat.
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It went downhill from there.

Alicia got downright threatening. Well, she didn’t, but her terrifying as shit cat did.

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Moses the Cat has his own Facebook page.
Then Mindy stopped by.

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The force is strong with this one.
Then Jim got involved. We all knows what happens when Jim gets involved. This:

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Aw! Delightful and innocent!
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Weirder.
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AAAAIIIIIIGGGGHHH!!!!!!!!
(I love me a good Jenny McCarthy joke.)
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I’m pretty sure Jim is going to hell.

Also, this isn’t even all of his artwork from today. He is prolific.
Not to be outdone, Mir competed for the front seat on the train to hell.

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Her caption: “And lo, unto them a son was born, and they called him Gerbilus, Prince of WTF.”
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In case you don’t recognize them, these are the Duggars, or “Duggarils” if you prefer. Or, if you’re Mir, you’ll freak me out by telling me that this will be my house next week.
My Facebook pages are a horrorshow, y’all.
I could probably end every single one of my posts with this line: I have the best friends. Thanks for making me laugh all day long, every single damn one of you.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I AM FREAKING OUT

Holy shit, you guys. I’m sorry. I’ve been trying to curse a little less here these days, but be warned, this post is going to be motherfucking full of motherfucking cursing because you are not going to believe what has fucking transpired in Stimeyland this evening.

Good lord.

So, as happens every night in Stimeyland, I fed my gerbils and petted them a little and then I put their tank lid back on their tank and then my mind took a minute to try to figure out what exactly I was seeing in said tank.

It looked like fingers were sticking up out of the bedding and wiggling. At first I was all, “WHO PUT THE LIVE SEVERED HUMAN HAND IN THE TANK?!” then I realized that there was no way a live severed human hand was underneath the gerbil bedding, so then my mind was all, “HOW DID THOSE GIANT, HORRIBLE, FAT WORMS GET INTO THE TANK?!” and then I realized that they were not worms.

They were this:

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OMG OMG OMG OMG I AM FREAKING OUT!!!!
MY GERBILS—MY TWO BOY GERBILS—HAD A WHOLE MOTHERFUCKING SLEW OF BABIES!

I screamed for a while and then took some photos and then I screamed some more and I was all, “ALEX, WHAT DO I DOOOOOOOO???????” and we were both like, “The internet will know!”

So I panicked on Facebook and you all created the most hilarious Facebook thread in the history of Facebook threads.

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And to the friends of Stimeyland, who were all “Put a hat on them!” and “Can Algernon help?” YOU ARE NOT HELPING!!!!

But seriously, read the thread. My friends are the funniest people in the whole world and are the only thing that kept me from running into the street screaming about tiny gerbils.

You have questions. I do not have answers.

This website that several people sent me the link to has answers. Just skip right past the “Making the decision to breed” section. Also, the gerbil book I have, in addition to having a chapter on gerbil photography, has a chapter on gerbil babies. I will be rereading that tonight.

Nonetheless, I will try to answer some of your Burning Questions:

Will the dad eat the babies?

Evidently hamster dads are dicks. Rumor has it that a lot of people I know have been traumatized by hamster dads eating their babies. The information I have found is that gerbil dads are awesome, thus proving the superiority of gerbils over hamsters, and eliminating the need to remove him from the tank immediately. Apparently, there are situations when a baby gerbil will be eaten, but it is not a given.

Also, 85 of you will leave comments telling me about the gerbil you had that ate the other gerbil you had. Now YOU are freaking me out.

Is it possible that one of those male gerbils is, in fact, female?

Fuck you. Shut up.

Do you know which one is the dad?

Not really. I still don’t know which is the girl, but it is my instinct that Mouse is the mom and Jetpack is the dad. I figure I will know for sure once I see one of them nursing the babies. That’s a pretty good indicator.

Do you think one of them was pregnant when you got them?

No! I have had these gerbils since NOVEMBER! They have been living together for months with no babies. In fact, I specifically checked their gestation period so I could take a deep sigh of relief once it passed. Then a couple weeks after that I took another deep sigh of relief because it meant that I probably didn’t have a boy/girl pair that was going to mate.

Stupid me.

How many babies are there?

I don’t have the answer to that. More than three? Probably less than eight? I’m guessing five. Alls I know is that suddenly there were little pink bodies all over like there was a baby gerbil explosion and then Mouse and Jetpack were carrying them back into their little house and some of them were lying on their backs with their little feet waving in the air, just like turtles, and it seemed like they were EVERYWHERE, but I wasn’t smart enough to actually, you know, count them. Now they’re in their little house and I can’t see them.

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This gerbil is turtled.
In the nightmare I have tonight, I’m sure there will be 85 of them.

Will you keep them?

I don’t know. I guess that depends on how many there are and how many survive. I have to separate Mouse and Jetpack now, so having additional gerbils, also DEAR GOD PLEASE CORRECTLY IDENTIFIED BY GENDER, to keep them company might be nice. Also baby gerbils (once they grow fur) will be super cute, right?

However, according to some information I’ve found, it sounds like gerbils mate again immediately after birth, so Mouse may already be pregnant again. I’m not sure how many gerbils I can handle.

Are you going to end up with 80 gerbils?

Probably.

What are you doing first thing tomorrow morning?

Going to PetSmart to buy a boy gerbil tank.

Are you freaking out?

I AM FREAKING OUT!!!!!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Loudest Voice

Team Stimey went out to dinner at a Chinese food restaurant tonight. The waiter brought us a second plate of fortune cookies because my kids were so excited about them. The best was Quinn’s very first (of four!) fortunes.

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“There are times when silence has the loudest voice.”
This kid has never been silent in his life.

*****

Alex has been traveling for work a lot this month, which totally gave me a topic to write about over at White Knuckle Parenting: Solo Parenting.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Writing Love Stories

Figuring out how to write about my kids can be tough. In one sense, their story is my story. I have a lot invested in them and pretty much everything that happens to them has an effect on me. Much of it involves me. But, in another even more, you know, accurate sense, their story is their own. Walking the line between respecting their privacy and being able to write about my own life (which is usually intricately intertwined with theirs) can be tricky sometimes.

Plus, it is so fun to write stories about them and it makes me sad when I can’t write about something funny they did.

As they have gotten older, their stories have evolved from being ours to being theirs. I’m trying to respect this and make sure that I am not co-opting their beings unless I am doing it for a good reason. One of the good reasons I write about them is to keep a record for them. I hope that they will read this blog sometime and be able to see how amazing I have always found them all to be. I’ll co-opt for that.

Another reason is to educate or give support and sometimes I’ll write about my kids in order to get support or advice. Then there are times when I write just to entertain. Although there are some damn entertaining stories that haven’t passed my Older Kid Privacy Threshold Test, which irks me to no end.

I’ve always said that I write as if the person I am writing about is reading over my shoulder. That doesn’t mean that I won’t write things that will upset people, but I only write things that I am okay with the subject reading with my name attached as the author. At this point in my life, that means I don’t write things about my kids that would embarrass them or make them sad.

This is one of the reasons why you see less of my kiddos here on this blog. Well, that and because they are in school more often than they are at home, which means that it is their teachers who are probably getting the really good stories about them—although I do prefer that they don’t blog about my kids. Can you imagine? Like, http://thereisthiskidnamedQuinninmyclassOMG.blogspot.com
As it follows, there is also a lot more about me here lately. I’m hopeful that I come across as a bit of a narcissist because of this. (<—sarcasm)

But mostly I’m hoping that I can give my kids a written love story to them. Because that is the ultimate reason behind what I do here.

Raising-Cubby-by-John-Elder-Robison


This post was inspired by Raising Cubby: A Father and Son’s Adventures with Asperger’s, Trains, Tractors, and High Explosives by John Elder Robison. Robison does an excellent job walking that line of respecting his son as he manages to write funny, charming, and interesting stories about him. Even more relevant to my parenting experience, both father and son are autistic. Join From Left to Write on March 12 as we discuss Raising Cubby. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Eleven Things

• So. The Great Quitting of the Soda. I have only had a couple of days when I drank zero soda. BUT! I have not had more than two cans on any day, which I think makes me a normal person in terms of soda drinking. Yay, me! Don’t worry; soon enough there will be far more zero-soda days than two-can days.

• Quinn has started reading chapter books! Of his own free will he has voluntarily read THREE chapter books in two days all on his own after YEARS of only reading them if I begged him. Weird.

• There appears to be some sort of strange sharpened pencil shortage in Quinn’s classroom. I was there today and there was all kinds of creative sharpening happening. I brought all of Quinn’s pencils home to sharpen at my leisure. When he found them after school, he was like a junkie finding a fix.

• I have still not been doing a lot of running. This is mostly because I have stopped wanting to run in the cold weather. I am trying to will warm weather to arrive. Unfortunately, my area is supposed to get five inches of snow tomorrow.

• People here are calling this storm the Snowquester, because no economic crisis is too serious to make a weather-related joke out of.

• Even though I have had two weeks of, shall we say, less than stellar running, I have run more than 100 miles so far this year over the equivalent of more than a 24-hour day.

• Alex is out of town. If the Snowquester knocks my power out, I will die. If the Snowquester knocks my power out while Alex is out of town, I will kill him. I don’t know why. I just will.

• Do you watch The Walking Dead? Did you watch last Sunday’s episode? Because it was so good. Stories like that are why I like zombie fiction. Best. Episode. Ever. Discuss.

• I think that Quinn is starting to get inside my head. Last night I had a dream about a field full of kittens. I wonder if that is what is happening in Quinn’s head all the time. Because it was kind of awesome.

LympheDIVAs created the most amazing lymphedema sleeves in honor of Susan. Read Marty’s post about them here. They are gorgeous. I love them so much. They are just so perfect. See?


hubble-collection

• Aaaaaand, last, I managed to write an entire White Knuckle Parenting column based on a half-hour ride on the Metro with my kids. Happily, it was a fun story, not a “Team Stimey being dorks out and about” story.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

It Is About to Get So Awesome Up in Here

Some of you might remember my friend Heather. She’s the one who introduced me to Disney World a little more than a year ago. She is also the person who did this to Algernon:

algernon-at-disney
Ah, good memories.
Keeping this in mind, it shouldn’t surprise you to see that she brought home presents for my gerbils after her most recent trip to the happiest place on earth.

Are you ready?

Shit, you’re not ready. You THINK you’re ready, but you’re not ready.

Okay, here you go—Mouse wearing his present.

mouse
Q: Could this be more awesome?
A: No, it could not be more awesome.
You weren’t ready, were you? God, I love my friends.