My 30s: One Last Time

I should probably save some of this angst for next year’s birthday post, but as I enter the last year of my 30s I do find myself reflecting on the impending big 4-0.

I have never been one to put much stock in the “milestone” birthdays, but as I am turning 39 it occurs to me that maybe that’s only because I haven’t really hit any big ones yet! 30 didn’t seem like a big deal because I *felt* like a 30 year old. I owned a house and had a second kid on the way. But I don’t know that I’m ready to be a 40 year old, and I’m suspecting to feel the same about every milestone birthday from now on.

BUT, I am going to see Hamilton (again) tonight (for the 3rd time), so it seems appropriate to say to my 30s:

One last time
Let’s take a break tonight
And then we’ll teach them how to say goodbye
to say goodbye
You and I

One last time, 30s. Let’s make this a good year, shall we?

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Alex and the dead cat

So, we were going for a walk the other day, with Alex on his balance bike, and we chanced upon a recently dead cat on the sidewalk.

Death has been on Alex’s mind a lot lately. He will routinely say things like, “I don’t want Mommy to die!” or “Why do we have to die?” I remember the other kids going through a similar stage at the same age. But kids are so funny about death: they don’t have the same hang ups and baggage that us older folks do.

For example, as we were passing the cat, and Alex was pondering life, death and the mysteries of the universe, he said to me, “I’m going to drive over it with my bike!”

Me: “No, no, never touch something that is dead. It is yucky and has germs on it.”
Alex: “No, with my bike.”
Me: “Don’t touch an animal that is dead.”
Alex, perplexed: “No, with my bike. *I* won’t touch it, the germies will be on my tires.”
Me: “Alex, there are diseases. I don’t want them on your bike either; that bike has to go in my house.”

Now, this went around and around for a bit. He REALLY wanted to run over that dead cat with his bike! So finally Ollie stepped in. “Great,” I thought. “Maybe Ollie can talk to him kid-to-kid. Get him to understand why we shouldn’t drive over dead cats.”

Ollie: “Okay, so, imagine if Evelyn was dead and she was lying on the road. Would you drive over HER with your bike??”

That is…not how I would have approached the subject.

EXCEPT IT WORKED!

Alex thought about it for a bit and then said, “No, I wouldn’t. But…” I could tell he was still struggling with it a bit – he felt like he still had an argument to make – but he couldn’t escape that kid-to-kid logic. And anyway, by that time I had coaxed him down the street a bit, so riding over the cat wasn’t feasible anymore.

I warned Sara about this because I knew it was bound to come up again, so I wanted her to be prepared. (Oh, that and the fact that she was going to have to walk by that dead cat on the way to work.) So tonight, Sara decided to broach the subject and see if Alex had any more to say about it. You know, work through his complicated feelings on the subject? Maybe he had some feelings he needed to work out?

Sara, while stirring food in the crockpot: “I saw that dead cat…”
Alex: “Did you cook it?”

Quote Monday is on the right path

Sara: “How was shopping?”
Alex: “There were three disasters! There weren’t any shopping carts you can drive, the shopping cart didn’t go on the escalator, and we they didn’t have any of the good deals!”

I feel like he is already showing good signs of dramatic storytelling.

Alex: “Mama, do superheroes eat oatmeal?”
Sara: “Yes. Yes they do. They also eat a lot of veggies and salad.”

Alex: “Ollie got up in the night to go to the bathroom so I started to wash the windows, but Ollie said I had to go back to bed. But then my washing windows thing made a sound like a toot so Ollie was laughing!”

Can you imagine walking by at like 2 am and looking up and seeing a 2 year old washing the windows?

Mom: “We can’t just take the food without paying for it.”
Alex: “Yes you can.”
Mom: “What if the police come?”
Alex: “Drive really fast!”

Quote Monday gives a lump of coal

Alex: “We were reading Mercy Watson but Mama only read one chapter because she hates me!!”

Alex: “Mama turn off that light! You’re being mean you’re going to get a lump of coal in your stocking!”
Alex: “…what does a ‘lump of coal’ mean?”

Alex, narrating story: “People who love people don’t go pooping on them.”

Alex: “I don’t like anything to stick in where my poop comes out…”
Sara: “…”
Alex: “…so all the time I’m picking my pants out.”
::Sara repeating it carefully to make sure she heard correctly::
Sara: “That’s called a wedgie.”

Hipster Mouse

Evelyn had activities late one night, so I was upstairs with Ollie when Sara and Evelyn got home. I found out later that Sara was emptying her bag when something ran out onto her arm. She wasn’t sure what it was, so she flung it off in disgust, and only when she saw it scrambling on the floor did she realize it was a mouse.

That’s when the screaming started.

And it didn’t stop until I had run all the way downstairs thinking that someone had broken in and was actively abducting Evelyn. I couldn’t think of anything short of home intruder / murderer that could cause that much screaming. (Spoilers: it was Sara screaming, not Evelyn, but Evelyn still stayed up on a chair for about 30 more minutes just to be safe.)

There is nothing more worry-making than a mouse in your house, so of course I practically covered the floor with mousetraps. However, I’m guessing this must have been some kind of escaped University of Chicago laboratory mouse, because it was a *genius* at snatching little bits of chocolate out of the trap without setting it off.

I even bought this:

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So you can see I was really doing everything I could to catch this guy, but to no avail.

“Use peanut butter!” everybody said, so I dutifully put peanut butter in all of the traps and reset them. However, the second I put those out, it was suddenly no longer interested in my traps. I thought somehow it was smart enough to know that the peanut butter would spell his doom (U of C lab mouse), until I found this:

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Ahhhhh, I see. This was a HIPSTER mouse, who was turning his nose up at my peanut butter in favor of avocado! (“Well of course it’s a Millennial,” said my co-worker, “why do you think it’s staying in your house? They can’t afford their own.”)

I probably could have switched to locally-sourced almond butter, but I just wanted this thing out of my house. As we all know, the best way to get rid of a hipster is to convince him that our house has become “cool” with the other mice. Nothing repels a hipster faster than something becoming mainstream. Therefore, I set up a little stage dressing:

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I was quite confident we’d seen the last of our little buddy, but no, I guess I didn’t fool him. (ESCAPED U OF C LAB MOUSE!)

Well, no worries. Now that I knew I was dealing with a hipster mouse, I knew just the enticement I needed to lure that little bugger in!

I am happy to report that that hipster has canceled his last cable subscription! (I guess technically it could have been the beard and moustache wax, but I’m hoping not to need to conduct a scientific study on which hipster mice prefer…)

“Let’s hope he or she did not help make baby mice before his premature death,” said my mom, but I’m not worried: Millennials are having kids later and later these days. Now I just need to take all the signs down really fast before I lure any more hipsters to the area…those hipster mice can smell a new Starbucks location a mile away!

Shane Halbach and the search for the Holiday Party Pants

So last weekend was my work holiday party, and I realized that I’ve lost too much weight and none of my nice pants fit me.

The pants that I wanted to wear were from Gap, and there is a Gap just a few blocks from my work, so I thought, “No problem! I’ll just get the same pants, except smaller. Easy peasy!” Except when I got in there, it turns out they don’t have the same pants anymore.

I suddenly realized, I don’t have a backup plan, and I am out of my element.

I started furiously texting Sara things like “help”, “emergency”, and “I need pants”. I looked around the store but, I don’t know! Everything is too casual, and nothing goes with the shirt I was planning to wear. “Why didn’t you just buy a new shirt too?” asked Sara later, but come on! Now I have TWO problems to deal with??

So I didn’t do that, instead, I ran out of the store into the street in a blind panic. This is a shopping mecca…surely there must be somewhere that sells pants!

Across the street was a Nordstrom. “Nordstrom is a department store,” I says to myself. “Department stores have pants.”

I went in, laser focused. Found some pants. This was good. I could do this. I looked at the price tag…$200!!!

At this point it was like the camera panned back and I looked around me and there was like a woman wearing a fur cap shopping next to me and I realized, “I shouldn’t be here.”

At this point my texts to Sara are like, “Please help me”, “I don’t know what I am doing”, and “There are $200 pants”.

Nordstrom was in a mall, and a mall is a place that you buy pants, right? I started wandering into stores saying things like, “Do you sell pants here? No?” and wandering back out. I was starting to think that shopping on Michigan Avenue was not my thing.

I finally start texting things like, “I am punching out” and “I will just not wear pants to the Christmas party”.

The thing is, I don’t want to be the dumb sitcom husband who can’t buy himself pants, but I just was very overwhelmed at this point. I guess I have just lost the knack of shopping in an actual store. I am naturally a researcher and on the Internet I can look at everything at my leisure, find something I am comfortable with, and go with it, you know? Nobody in fur hats looking at me like, “Who let you in?” No surprise $200 price tags. Nobody working there who can smell my fear and mock me for my shocking lack of fashion sense.

That night (after declaring, “THE CHRISTMAS PARTY IS OFF”), I looked around online and found a pair of pants that was in stock in my size at a store nearby. The next day I went in, tried them on, and bought them, proving that I am still an adult who is capable of social interaction and buying himself pants.

And now we can all just forget this ever happened…

Evelyn’s Mittens

Over the summer, Evelyn asked me to knit her some new mittens. When we were on vacation, we stopped into My Sister Knits in Fort Collins, and Evelyn picked out some super pretty (and super on sale!) yarn.

Our original plan was to put flip-over mitten hoods on them like my gloves, but they came out really nice. Evelyn was so happy with them, she decided to keep them as-is so she could wear them inside!

It’s been a while since I’ve had a knitting project, and it was nice getting back into it. It is certainly is much nicer to make things for people when they really like them!