musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

Archive for the month “November, 2009”

War on Fleas

The great epic tale of …

I know, it’s just fleas, but this has been a horrible season of them. My poor dog and cat have been really suffering. We’ve flea bathed, sprayed, doused, you name it since May, and the suckers keep coming back. These fleas just laugh at Frontline, dip their mini shot glasses in it and toast to what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

So I did the next thing available before bombing our house full of poisons, and the dog and cat, too. I googled.

Borax is good for sprinkling on carpets and furniture, etc to get rid of eggs, larvae and fleas. But don’t bathe your pet with it and don’t leave it lying around for the kids to do the silly things kids do, like Baby C rolling around on everything for new perspectives and eating everything. Yet to kill them in your carpet, you’re supposed to leave it on. But back to the suffering mammals.

Poor Lucy, the dog, has been so miserable and I hate to see her suffer like that: scratching to no avail, leaving little drops of blood wherever she curls up for a quiet minute or two. (Ew factor apologies). Babette, the cat, doesn’t seem to be suffering so much, but I do occasionally spot a moving dot on her belly or catch the rhythmic fst-fst-fst of a cat scratching behind her ear.

So in my google searches of the morning, as if I have nothing better to do…I found one site that suggested a bath in Head & Shoulders shampoo. “Aha!” I exclaimed, and promptly ran up the stairs to grab the bottle from the shower.

Thank goodness for the big sink in my garage next to the washer and dryer. Yes, I was already into my third load shift of the Monday. I usually bathe Lucy in this sink anyway, she’s about an eighteen pound little terrier mix. She saw me coming down the stairs excitedly carrying a bottle that suspiciously resembled her pet shampoo bottle and dodged away from her curl spot the living room sofa as I approached overly friendly-like which she knows even on lesser days, means a bath. Onto the next victim, who being a generally fastidious cat, is non-plussed by my approach.

Poor Babette. She is a beautiful fluffy long haired tabby who has lived a life of luxury, suffering only minor indignations at the hands of small children. She’s tough and queenly, having been born on the porch of an abandoned building in a less desirable real estate market, back in my Boston days. She can stare down the best of them in a less insane version of “Are you looking at me?” popularized forever by Mr. DeNiro in Taxi Driver. Even if she met a real Travis Bickle down a dark alley, she would win that stand off without even lifting a claw.

And then I stuck her in the sink. And then I turned on the water in a steady gentle stream. And then I squirted the perfumy, toxic to fleas, I hope and pray, shampoo. Then the washing began, and she was not pleased. I was being Travis Bickled like nobody’s business. She yowled, she clung to the edge of the sink and tried to escape. She looked like a skinny drowned rat. But she nobly suffered, and did not fight it so much as endure her fate. But I fear I have lost her trust forever. This was much worse than a trip to the vet when they, there’s no nice way to say this, retrieved a poo sample from her.

She was horribly humbled. Although I don’t believe it humbled her in the slightest. I sure hope she doesn’t catch pneumonia since she will not allow me near her again with a towel and brush.

I think I am going to be Bickled for the rest of her kitty days.

Lucy, when I caught her because she was too busy laughing at Babette, was much easier, and gladly waited for K to come home from school to walk her. She’s always extra frisky after she suffers through her baths, and this one was longer and scrubbier than most.

This better work. I’d feel even worse about putting Babette through that if it doesn’t.


Whatcha Doin?

We took a lovely walk at Sandy Bottom Park two days after Thanksgiving. The sun finally came out to stay, the weather was crisp and autumnal, as it should be now that we’ve entered the Christmas season in full force. Can you tell after three plus years Down South, I’m still growing accustomed to the weather and time of year…well, timing?

“Hey guys.”

“Whatcha doin?”


Otherwise, the rest of our hike was really lovely.

Here’s Baby C and Honey on the fishing pier.

Can you see her little finger poking out her sleeve?


Sparkly lovely.

Crisp autumn day.

No Nanowrimo win here

I am happy to have taken part in NaNoWriMo this year for the first time. It put me into a good lead on a companion book to my first novel, and now both need some serious editing. I lost my momentum between lots of doctor appointments for my whole family, getting quite ill myself and caring for sick kids, then my back went out as we leaned toward Thanksgiving, and I got hung up in word count rather than having fun enjoying writing well.

That last part was what killed the project for me. Not the whole project, I am happy to continue work on this particular piece, but I want to go about it in the way that is familiar to me. I am an editing nightmare to some, but I’ll tell you, that is what I really enjoy about writing as I write, the scribbles and rewording, the back-typing and rewording, the considering of the scene from an entirely different angle, etc. It’s what I enjoy about the middle of breadmaking, too: the kneading, the punching it into form.

I have just a few days left to try to make it to 50,000 words. I am at 19, 201 and have my family home, no one at work, no one at school or at senior exercise programs until the thirtieth. I don’t think reaching 50,000 is my personal goal anymore. A children’s novel is typically about 30,000 and I don’t want to just write crap for filler for a contest that has lost meaning for me in it’s final goal. I’ve also lost my thread plotwise and feel like I’m wasting precious word count time doing what I actually love about writing and my process in it. That is indicative that it’s time for me to move on and refocus without the contest looming.

For now, for me, this year 19,201 is a fantastic stopping point. Now I can sink my teeth back into the edits of the first novel and then run right into edits on the second I started because of Nano.

Does this then make me a loser if I am not a Nano winner? Certainly not. I have 19,201 words written that I didn’t have before I started NaNoWriMo. That’s a big win in my book. I’ve never written 19,000 words toward one thing in three weeks time in my whole life, nevermind with a houseful of sickies and also school days off throughout the month.

I may not have hit 50,000, but I did a lot more than I would have if I hadn’t tried.

Happy Thanksgiving

This year, in looking back to consider my blessings, I have to say, I am pretty grateful for a lot. I am grateful that both of my parents are still with us. We had a couple of moments we weren’t too certain of that and as they age, it increasingly looms on the horizon, not nearly as distant as it used to be. Not that they are particularly old or infirm, but you know, the thought is now present when not so long ago, it wasn’t.

I am grateful for the beauty I continually find in each of my days, in nature and in the randomness that is everything. I am grateful for a sense of wonder.

I am grateful that I took conscious steps to write more and more completely than I’ve written in any prior year. This makes me further grateful to my friends at Studio Mothers. Through their support, I completed one novel’s first draft and started a second companion novel, wrote many poems and essays, branched out back into visual arts and started this blog.

I am grateful for connecting with new friends and reconnecting with old ones or making better friends with former acquaintances. Back to wonder: the wonder of the internet.

I am grateful for my children and the joy and aggravation they bring everyday. If not for the lows, would the highs be so good? 😉 I am grateful that each brings their own miraculous selves to the table.

I am grateful for and to Honey and the home and life we share.

Happy Thanksgiving. May yours be spent with people you love, and lots of pie to share.

poem for today

I went looking for inspiration
and read so many poems,
each becoming a bit better than
the other before it,
that I thought I would die happy,
before I could ever finish
finding the moment.
then I realized I had
with each
while the rain kept
tapping on the window

nutshell week

1. Boys’ good report cards for first quarter, actually excellent, make me somewhat giddy as a mom.

2. Looks like autumn. almost feels like autumn, the leaves are falling and it’s beautiful. I wore sweaters and jackets.

3. 19k. Not the goal for the end of the week, but I’m still writing it.

4. More medical. My family is supporting the industry well into the new year, too.

5. Lack of sleep intensified. Baby C is a true night owl. It is reasonable to assume some people are just born that way. I am not one of them, though I have posed as such in my earlier incarnation as someone without children.

6. S is a good guy, not just because he hugs more often and deeply than anyone I know, but I’m noticing he is finding his own ways to relate to us and others. Case in point: I’ve been writing so much lately, he sat at Honey’s laptop next to me to “pretend to write a newspaper article for the Daily Moon, a parody of the Daily Planet, get it? Ninja Boy stops bank robbery…on [honey’s] laptop – off of course.” clickety-clickety click

7. Hungry and church are not an optimal combination – especially when you go in for first service because you’re teaching for second service and there’s a meeting after that. Make note to self to eat breakfast on Sunday morning.

8. Baby C meows at cats on tv.

9. I can talk with K like I’m an adult in my own right, not just his mother.

10. For the week ahead, a funny take on the difficult aspects of our history.


S has been awfully quiet and keeping to himself lately, which is good considering it allows me a bit more focus on my nanonovel. Following are some examples of what he has been up to while cloistered in his room. I think he is very talented and original. I also think, maybe I should be just a tad worried. Nah….it’s just comics, right?

Nano so far

Want to read it? Good luck…here’s the wordle of it.

glub, glub

We’re okay in a high and dry zone, but all around us is wet, wet, and more wet. The wind is high and tidal flooding is a huge concern. In Norfolk, Ghent is under water, In Poquoson, the bridge to Hampton is out, likely through the coming weekend. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel is closed.
No one seems to have an idea when this may end.
Mom had another impromptu visit to the ER yesterday, but I spoke with her this morning and she sounds great. Dad hurt himself on the ER door, and in checking him out, they found his blood pressure was too high, so they monitored him, too. Hallelujah, my big brother WKC was there for them both.
When it rains, it pours, indeed. School is cancelled, laundry needs to be done, and I really want to write my nanowrimo today.
Late yesterday afternoon, Baby C walked over to the slider, scolded the rain, “No, wain! No, no no!” slapped the window and stomped off with a pussface.

Ever just feel like you want to go home?

I am home, but I feel that way. Diagnostic processes are no fun. They tend to open up new cans of worms with every specialist I see.

I now move from the rheumatologist to getting an echocardiogram. annually.

Can we get back to the original problem, please?

As for nanowrimo…right….

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