July 24, 2009

Don't give me you're tired, you're poor...you have to suck it up (apparently)

Well I'm still sunburned, for one. Blisters are surfacing. Ouch. Thanks for all the burn-relief in the way of your comments. Anton and I got a giggle out of several of them!

Meanwhile, I've had this nagging post rolling around in my head for about a month, and then I had a meeting with Kim (hi, Kim!) and then I read some blog posts that reminded me about this and that, that I've been meaning to mention - and well, darnit...here we go.

First, as always, nay-sayers kindly depart now. This is a post about taboo topics for adoptive moms, and while I appreciate a good argument now and then, I do not appreciate how it might impact sensitive readers, many of whom might have been or are in this boat. So please keep any negative comments in your bag and be kind.

Everyone else...let's chat, eh?

Look at that face! That's the tear stained, exhausted, overwhelmed, and in-love face of a new mother who was holding her first child for the second time.

We had been waiting to be parents for years. Had waited for Keira for almost three. Had waited for Quint for almost one. All those days and months adding up had taken their toll on us - on our marriage, on our hopes, on our dreams, on our future. We thought that one more day without our little one(s) was physically going to kill us. Wipe us out - like a bad monsoon, sweeping into our lives and pulling us out to sea - never to be seen again.

You might think that's dramatic (not if you're a first time parent still waiting though) and actually I kind of do too. But it was how we felt - neither right nor wrong. Just how we felt. I look back on that time of our lives and remember all too well the pain of walking past the empty nursery.

Fast forward to this day above, this monumental day - May 20, 2008 - the day that we were taking Quint away from the orphanage and into our family. Out of one life and into another. Completely.

And I've told you before that jet-lag, exhaustion, emotional overload, and a bad case of anxiety kept me pretty much sick the entire time I was in Africa. It's a shame, but it was what it was, eh?

The issue I want to address today is what happened after we got home. I think many of us already know about the daunting paperwork, the horribly long wait times, the arduous processes that go with adopting - the interviews, homestudies, fingerprints, background checks, invasive applications, and financial run-throughs. We're all acquainted with the process of applying to be parents. And I'm sad to say, I have learned that was the (dare I say it?) easy part in many ways. We were approved. Matched with a baby boy. Packed our bags (essentially) and got on a plane. We went to Africa. We spent ten days traveling, seeing parts of the world I never thought I'd see - and seeing things I still can't shake. And finally, we came home a family of three. And it was ten days of my life that was over in a flash. So fast, I wish I could take it back and have a do-over.

But what really is remarkable is what happened after the plane landed, the well-wishers went back to their lives, the excitement died down, the meals people left were eaten, the gifts stopped arriving on the door step, the check-in calls tapered off...summer with AB home faded too quickly, school started up again and suddenly Christie was a full-time, first-time adoptive mom.

What happened after that?

Well, I'll tell you - but it won't be easy. And then let me say this first...I think I'm speaking on behalf of many women today. I'm not just talking for CB - I'm talking about women who have spoken with me, written to me, called me - and let me tell you - this is a common thread among new adoptive moms. Maybe among bio moms as well, so don't feel left out, but I can only speak for my own adoption experience. I have a feeling it's not all that different - it just comes with a different background.

Life after adoption was rough. I'm not going into all the happy stuff in this post. And there is so much happy stuff. And wonderful times. And priceless, can't compare them to anything else moments that I wouldn't trade for anything - and a little boy who I adore, and love, and would walk on hot coals for to see him happy - but that's not this post. Ok?

(ok, now that we've lost a third of readers who didn't want to hear that, we can keep going)

Say what you will - I have no idea and continue to grapple with this mystery of why admitting you're struggling with new motherhood is so taboo. I mean, I do have an idea...

  • Because you wanted kids so bad and now you have one - so what's your freaking problem?
  • Because you got what you wanted, so you better be happy.
  • Because there are so many others still waiting, so stop bitching!
  • Because children are a blessing, so why can't you see that?
  • Because you freaking better smile and be happy even if you're not feeling it - because all the people that supported you don't want to hear that you're not experiencing bliss on a daily basis.
  • Because you went through all that trouble and you better at least pretend it's perfect for the sake of those watching.
Sound about right?

I'm not sure if you have heard of this or not, ladies - but WE DON'T EAT OUR OWN. Why do the harshest judgements come from other women themselves? Why do we find it so taboo to admit we're struggling? Because we're terrified of admitting to the masses that supported us, that it's not perfect. That we don't have great days all the time. That we do have days where we wonder what the frig we were thinking doing this. And by this, I mean building our family. Adopting. Having kids. There I said it.

I can't tell you the number of ladies I have spoken with who have struggled tremendously under the weight of their newest addition(s). It's hard. You're in love - sure, of course. But you're simply upside down in all other respects.

First of all - you've been through such a life changing whopper of a scenario. And despite knowing so many in the adoption community - we are still a set apart group of people. Those who adopt vs. having bio kids. We're still viewed through the bars of the zoo of life as a "rare breed". So there's that to deal with.

There's the whole "I didn't carry the baby, so I missed some big stuff right out the gate" that we have to come to terms with. Swallow. Digest. Grieve.

There's the stares and comments and rude comments, and stares...did I mention stares - when you leave the house. It's like being famous, only without the autographs and high income, and limo's...and expensive clothes...but I digress.

There's the issue of the vastly extensive measures we all went through on the front end to even be considered "fit" to parent. Exhaustive and humiliating in some ways.

There's the travel, the culture shock, the support and sometimes lack thereof in massive doses prior to and upon returning home from said country.

There's the attachment (whole nother' post). I will say, in some cases - it's the opposite of what you think. In some cases, the children are so attached to you out of fear that you'll leave - that you can hardly blow your nose without a baby on your hip. 24/7. 24/7 people. And there's the opposite horror of having a child who even as an infant has been traumatized enough to want nothing to do with you. Or your spouse. Or your kids. Won't make eye contact. Doesn't want to be held. Doesn't want to be touched. Fights every interaction. Can you imagine? I know some of you can, only too well.

There's the tremendous burden of adapting yourself to your new life (or let's be honest, lack thereof) and waving goodbye completely to the life you had before. Completely. Goodbye. See you never. And then on top of that, making it look as if you don't mind one bit. Nope. No-siree - no problem. Happy as a clam, that's me! I went to great extensive measures to be a mom, and I adopted a baby and by God, I'm gonna be happy. Yeppers. Never a sad moment. I mean, I'll never have a coherent uninterrupted thought again for the rest of my life, but sure...I'm good. No problem. I'm good. (sniffle) No really. (sniffffffle) It's Ok. I'm happy...(sob) really. I am. (bwaahhhhhhhhhhsniiffffllllleeeeesooooooobbbb)

Someone please. Throw a lifeline to the women in your life who are new adoptive moms.

There is so much to swallow when the reality hits you that this is it - this is your new life.

And there is hope.

First, you must swallow your pride and reach out to your friends. You must not worry too much about how you will be perceived when you are drowning in new motherhood. I don't care if your child was newborn or three when you adopted them. It's TOUGH - and for all the reasons above. You think I wasn't scared out of my mind? I was. You think I wasn't ready to jump off a high cliff? Don't bet on it. Did I love him like crazy? YES! Did I want what was best for him? Every. Single. Day. Still. Do. But did I feel like I was going to lose my ever-lovin' mind if I didn't get some support? Omg. Yes. And he was a GOOD baby!!!

It took me months to reach out and desperately grab the arms of my friends. So they could pull me back into the boat and cover me with warmth and love. To admit that I was terrified, alone, scared, overwhelmed, worried sick, lost, sad, lonely, underwhelmed, tired, angry, frustrated and yet, deeply in love with a little boy. Upside down. But not alone.

They said "we know...we've been there...we are there...we understand" and suddenly I wondered how I had made it so long without reaching out. Why had I never even tried?

Second, allow yourself to process the grief of parting with your former life, giving yourself the grace to face the life you have now as a mother. They are two different roads and look nothing alike. The life you used to have was a good life, but it's part of the past. I think it's ok to sit and cry in your soup for awhile about that. I did. My friends did. Don't wallow and live there - because it will get you nowhere fast. But to at least acknowledge that you had a good run and now it's different...it's ok to cry about that. I grieved for some time over those simple losses. This goes for you second time moms too - I'm aware how different it is to add another child to the mix. Older moms adopting a toddler after raising teenagers? Read and re-read this post. You will thank me later. Life as you know it is about to get messy (again).

Third, don't be so hard on yourself. Promise me. You must insist on taking a break from being Mommy. Take a break from what you've experienced. The paperwork, the traveling, the orphanage, the 3rd world country (if that's the case) and all the shock that goes with that, the bonding, the newness, the frailty of your new role, the imperfection, the mistakes, the deep love, the craziness of your new schedule, the guilt, the comments, the stares, the finances, the worry, the stress, the lonliness... Take a break. Get a sitter (do it!) grab the hubs and request a time-out for mama, do what you must. But get out and have a coherent thought. Grab a coffee. Grab a dessert. Sit in a bookstore or a library and read an entire sentence....nay! an entire paragraph. Don't let YOU get lost completely in the new You...aka Mommy.

And Fourth, help me change the pattern of critical judgement we place on other women and instead, reach out to others. You might think they have it all together - that everything is perfect with their new family - that their grass is remarkably green...but I'm betting it's not. We soooo need to extend the gift of grace to the women in our lives and those we come in contact with. To somehow stop this insanity of "don't ask, don't tell". I know too many woman on the verge of a breakdown because they feel so isolated and alone after coming home with their baby. The problems hit and they retreat in - because they are terrified of being transparent. Why? Because of the the judgement that looms for those not appearing grateful enough for their adopted child. Such BALONEY!

By the way, I'm doing so much better now - well over a year since returning from Africa and becoming a new adoptive mom. So much better. But I know so many who are not. Who are just home, or are where I was - and it burdens my heart. Because it's so hush hush. No one wants to accept that the happiness we sought so hard after is choking us.

But, the good news is that it's just for a season. And if you can throw out your lifeline and get support, you will be ok. You will make it. You can find light in the darkness.

The process of motherhood, I'm finding is very fluid. Changing and flowing all the time. Taking different shapes, different moods, different feelings...but always changing. It does get easier. It does get more familiar. And you do miss that "other" life less and less as the days go by. You do begin to cherish your new life, the new you, the new way - and think so much more abstractly of the past. It does get better, friend.

It does get better.

You can do this.

We can do this.

And do me a big favor? When I come home with Keira, don't be surprised if I get quiet...stop posting...sound sad or seem disoriented for a bit. Not to worry. Just remember this post and remember that I'm probably upside down again, grappling with my focus, sorting through the changes, and processing our new life as a family of four. And surely looking to throw out a lifeline to the closest friend I can reach...

July 22, 2009

To the tune of "If You're Happy and You Know it" only not so much with the happy

(Reader- you must attempt to sing the song while you read...or it will not have nearly the comic value...capish?)

** If you went to the local waterpark with your family and friends to escape the heat and cool off by playing in the sun and water all day.....clap your hands

(clap clap)

** If you, at three different times, applied three different thick layers of sunscreen to your entire body minus the girl parts to protect what yer mama gave you....clap your hands...

(clap clap)

** If you did all of this and then sheepishly warned everyone you were with that we were still all looking a little too "lobster-ish"

** Then your chest legs back arms ears face will show it

** If you did all this and couldn't stand the feel of any and I mean any (did I say any?) fabric touching your flesh so you thought somehow it would be vindicating to completely humiliate yourself online by showing just how dumb humans can really be to wade in water in summer...

...clap your hands.

I would, but they're burnt. Will you settle for an eye blink?

July 19, 2009


There's something remarkable about the internet - and I'm not even referencing the massive amounts of high-speed information, like:

movie times (remember calling the theater and getting the middle of the message and having to wait for it to replay to hear your movie time?),

ordering a pizza

dating (obviously, I'm not dating, but I guess it's done online now in many cases or that's where you meet them?)

buying any number of things, including groceries...

reading the news paper (what happened to delivery?)

Looking up things for book reports...(did anyone besides us own the entire collection of Encyclopedia Britannica? Remember the door to door people who sold em' to ya?)

Music is online (I still have the first CD I ever bought...the soundtrack to "The Age of Innocence"...ahem...no pun intended). It's just amazing what we can do and where we came from.

We even had a virtual phone number for a while. Didn't even need a phone - it was all done through the web.

I know there are massive arguments about how technology has created a "right now" society and how we are all consumed with instant gratification, etc. I guess I'll agree.

However, there is something to say for the connection piece of it all. Feeling connected to your world. To what's happening all over the world - good and bad. I confess that typing my parents address into Google World and actually seeing a picture of their home and their cars parked out front...it still gives me the warm fuzzies since I have to go so long in between visits these days. I wave to my screen and say "Hi Mom and Dad" - even though of course they can't hear me.Then again, they could hear me if I hooked up the webcam...then they could hear and see me. Crazy!

Not to mention what this technology we love to hate has done for our social lives. In many ways - I had no contact with my extended family for years on end. I might see them every five years - but through this blog, through Facebook, Myspace, websites like Myfamily.com - all that jazz...I've been able to reconnect, as it were, with so many people in my life. Friends from the past, people from highschool that I naturally assumed I would never see again. Aunts and uncles and cousins that lived on the other side of the US - now frequent this blog (Hi, Auntie Joyce!) and others I connect with on FB. It's actually incredible. Because I'm getting a window into their lives that I never had before the web. I'm re-connecting in many ways with my family - expanding my friendships from the past - building my current friendships by keeping them aprised of my life here and there and everywhere.

My parents, who would otherwise hardly ever get to see Quint - instead at least have this outlet - this blog - to watch videos, see photos, and read about his comings and goings. They also get the bonus of their adult daughter's ramblings - but I've bribed them with Quint teasers (wink, Ma).

Certainly not least - is all of you. I must say that becoming part of your lives has been strange and surreal and yet, comforting and in many ways - such a big support to my little family. Many of you have walked this entire adoption road with me - from 2006 forward. Some of you picked up along our Ethiopia road...and watched while we waited and then brought our little man home last year. Some of you cried with me, for me...laughed at my posts, related to me, to my words, to my life...

There are many of you that I've felt, if I saw you, it would be like seeing an old friend and just catching up. I know about your lives (what you've shared, of course, on your own blogs) and you know about mine. I just saw a "friend" this weekend - hadn't seen her in ages...but met her through the blog. We hugged (Hi, Jodi) it was like "oh yeah...and how have you been and how are the kids". It's just an authentic connection that having this outlet has created.

I don't know about you - but I can't have too many friends. All different levels, all different kinds - but never too many.

And on another note - and this might seem random - but because of all of the above that I've just mentioned - do you find it remarkably sad when someone decides to shut down their blog suddenly? Just decides their done sharing? It's like a funeral. You've committed to keeping up with their life, you've invested time reading and sharing, you've grown attached to them and to their families...and then POOF. Done. No more.

I have to say, that just makes me so sad. And I know it's not for everyone to keep up with - but how hard is it really to just pop in every month or two for a quick "how do you do?" My $.02. That's all.

Translation = please don't just quit one day, my friends.

I truly enjoy reading about your lives - as I hope you do mine. I enjoy our connection - albeit an internet connection. I have sincerely appreciated your time in reading about our family, your comments, your support, your advice, your opinions, and your friendship. And I hope that somehow my little family has blessed yours in some way. Just in the sharing or the humor, or the living life and keeping it real over here at Bushel & a Peck...

Here's to us! The friendernets...

and a big kiss, cuz I'm feelin' generous

July 16, 2009

Just because he's my sunshine...

July 15, 2009

What's up with Disney?

Someone please tell me what Disney has against mothers? Or how about parents in general?

Curious? Read on and please comment - what's your theory on this?

o Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs - Dead Mother / Evil Stepmother

o Pinocchio – No Mother – only Gepetto

o Bambi – mom dies in a fire – how awful is that?!?

o Cinderella - Dead Mother / Evil Stepmother

o Alice In Wonderland – No mother, only sister

o Peter Pan – no parents for Peter or the lost boys…boo!

o Sleeping Beauty – Evil Maleficent is all we get in this one – Aurora apparently has parents but doesn’t live with them – what the…?!?

o The Jungle Book – no parents – sorry

o Robin Hood – parents who?!? No parents. For anyone…

o The Many Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh – we assume Christopher Robin has parents – but we never hear or see from them?

o The Rescuers – No parents, orphaned and kidnapped by the evil Madame Medusa

o The Fox And The Hound – no parents

o The Little Mermaid – No mother – just evil Ursula and King Daddy Triton

o Beauty And The Beast – No mother. Just Daddy the Bookworm

o Aladdin – No parents for Aladdin and no mother for Jasmine

o Pocahontas – No mother, just Daddy and the tribe

o The Hunchback Of Notre Dame - No parents - orphaned

o Mulan – Mother is old and has NO role – only Dad has the role

o Tarzan – No parents – raised by monkeys and stuff

o The Emperor's New Groove – No parents. Just a teenager ruling an empire on his own. Eh?

o Lilo And Stitch – No parents – dead in a car accident and being raised by her sister.

o Brother Bear – hello! No parents – just brothers

o Bedknobs And Broomsticks – no parents - orphaned

o A Bug's Life – no parents for Flik. Sniffle.

o The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe – Dead. Dead. Dead.

o Enchanted – no mother for our main character Giselle or for the daughter (Morgan) of her love interest. Just an evil stepmother named Queen Narissa

o Finding Nemo – hello! Momma Fishie bites the dust in the opening act…

o James And The Giant Peach – no parents – only evil aunts

o Monsters, Inc. – Poor little “Boo” – we never see any mother or father for her

o Pete's Dragon – no parents – orphaned – has to hang with dragons

o Ratatouille – Remy the Rat appears to have no mother, just a father and brother

o Toy Story – mom is sort of there for the little boy, but we never see her. And where is Dad?

o UP! – Beloved Ellie is the only female character and she dies. (sigh) Our main boy “Russell” seems to have a Dad only who is never around for him.

Ok - discuss...

(interesting though..huh?)

July 11, 2009

so, he's not a mama's boy

and actually, I'm ok with that...

because the beautiful trade off is that he's a total Daddy's boy

and it's something incredibly wonderful to behold

for both of them

and it makes me so happy

July 9, 2009

Attention Readers (Literally)!

Just wanted to invite those avid shoppers/readers out there, to stop by my Half.com shop online - AB and I are selling many books, and I know a lot of you love to bargain shop. The prices are very reasonable! Also, it's a way for us to raise money for Keira!

If we don't have what you're looking for, no worries! The website has thousands of choices for half and sometimes less than half what you might pay at a book store. It's such a great idea (wish I had thought of it!) Remember, when you buy more than one item from me in the same order you save on shipping! I'm also in the process of adding CD's and other items...

(Insert shameless plug right here): If you were going to buy it anyway, or were curious to read it but didn't want to pay full price - could you buy it from me? Ha!


**Be sure to see my new post below as well!

July 8, 2009

On the note of fear

As a new mom I have come across a strange phenomenon in my life. One that I am not apt to share often - nor one that I'm particularly fond or proud of.

I'm wondering if you mothers have it too?

Tonight a friend of mine and I were talking about how fragile our kids seem to us. How, no matter their age - we have deep rooted and sometimes excessive fear that something will happen to take them away from us.

Sometimes the most benign thought processes end with me thinking these tragic and often morbid things regarding Quint - thoughts that I can't shake for hours. I even hate typing it now. It's so...I don't know...taboo. I can't even bear to go there in my mind - and yet sometimes, I find I can't seem to help it.

So I'm wondering if you feel that way? If you sometimes get lost down a rabbit hole of the dark thoughts of "what if"? Maybe some of you have actually lost a child or children? I know I have friends and even family who have and it's a tremendously dark road. One that I can't even begin to understand.

I told my friend tonight that I think what we fear the most is having to live through it. Live through the loss. That's what we're terrified of. The after.

I don't think there's a way to get around the fear - not altogether. I think being a Mom means putting your heart out there and being completely vulnerable to whatever may come. And loving our kids the way we do - and being so upside down in that love that we would do anything for them, makes it particularly hard to think of anything bad ever happening.

I don't think I've ever felt the kind of love that I have for Quint and perhaps that's what makes it so hard to conceive of the unthinkable. So every time my thoughts wander there, it's like getting my face slammed into cold water. Like getting stabbed in the chest, or thrown from a clifftop. It's breathtakingly hard to even think the thoughts...and still they come - and often. From the deep recesses of fear that we bury to survive. For truly, who could exist normally while trying to live with that level of fear all the time. We have to bury it on some level. We have to choose to "not go there" - or we'd crumble under it.

From my own faith perspective - I believe that Quint's days were numbered before time. The date he was born was decided long ago - as was the day and the hour that he would be called back home to the Lord. I don't type that lightly - because even typing it fills me with uneasy dread. I do pray that it will not be in my own lifetime.

But the fear, the horror of the thought...it's gripping sometimes, right? Downright macabre.

Do you feel the same? Honestly, how do you get around thinking these horrible thoughts? How do you try to avoid them and are you successful?

Is it worse when they're babies? Does it get better as they get older or worse? Do you just power through the thoughts - try to distract yourself - and keep moving?

Maybe I just want to know I'm not alone.


July 5, 2009

yes, could I have the attention of the insect/rodent kingdom please....

Oh, Mr. Ant! Mr. Ant!

You there...yes, you...with the plans in your hand. The blueprints of my home in your sticky little...hand thing-ies. Can we chat? Seriously...where are you headed to next? I need to know. I can't take much more of this. The last time we talked - I admit, I was a little bit over the top...a little...ummm bitter. I might have taken drastic action for which the entomologists of the world might have had issue with me. Heck, I'll admit...perhaps your great great grand-pappy had issue with me? I'm not sure how fast your family chain grows. Anyway, I digress...

Can we talk turkey about the "plans" your colony has to take over mi casa? I know you have a lot of mouths to errr, feed...and someone has to bring home the bacon - but literally? I mean, did you have to bring home that bacon? It was expensive. I'm just sayin'. What about the bathroom? What business could you possibly have in there? For real. I'm mean - that is the "nothing to see here...keep movin'" zone. Literally. Even for humans. So what could you guys possibly want with the bathrooms? It's just a bunch of soap and water and toilets and old magazines that we never get time to read. Especially because we're too busy trying to squish annnn.....I mean...we...ahem. Where was I?

What about the laundry room? What's in there?!?! Oh yeah, I forgot. Kitty has her food in there. Well then, can I reason with you - she's old and her food is friggin expensive. Wanna know why? You're gonna love this. Because it's riddled with OLD FAT CAT MEDICINE you imbeciles. You think you're living off the fat of the land? You're actually eating laxatives to lay out an 18 pound cat. Seriously. Have you not noticed a "problem" back at the compound? Have you perhaps taken note of an increase in bathroom breaks for the workers? I'm sayin' - the ants have got to be taking all that fiber consumption in the postpetiole , if you know what I'm saying... It ain't no picnic. And let's not even talk about the Catlax. I've never seen an ant throw up - but it can't be pretty. Do you even have fur? More like spurs, right? Seen any ants back at home acting a little cooky? Cleaning themselves, perhaps? Yowling? Seriously dude...you need to avoid the laundry room. Move it or lose it.

What about my desk? What the frig is on my desk? This can't have a happy ending. I'm there too often. Too much. Sitting and writing and surfing...and then your pals come strolling across like it ain't no big thang. Brother, let me tell you - there is no ant heaven big enough to hold the multitude I've put down in the last week alone.

How about the nursery...Q's diaper pail? Seriously? Oh my gawd...that's so disgusting! Is it really that bad? I mean, I know the economy is rough and we're all struggling - but duuuuude. Diapers? For real? That ain't right! Does the wife know that's what you're hauling back? Isn't that more the work and goldmine of the fly????

Speaking of....

Mr. Fly?!? Mr. Fly!!!! Hi, got a sec? Marvy. Now here's what I need. Mmmkay? Can you please tell me why, for the love of God and all that's holy, you have made the decision to congregate and hold worship to the fly gods of Awfullotoffood and Massquantityofbabypoop in my house. I'm not even being funny - what in the frig is soooooo enchanting about my kitchen that you and your "homies" are kicking it fly style in every fold of my curtains, my trash can, my floor, my counter, my sink. Have you never heard of personal space? I'm dyin over here. You actually flew out of my drink today. OUT of my drink. Not IN it. I wanted to throw up in my mouth. Oh wait, that's what YOU DO. You nasty re-puker. Blech. You bulimic of the insect world! It's disgusting. Oh, and THANKS for the crap load of baby mutant nasty maggoty goodness you left in our outside trash can. That was TONS OF FUN. More fun was finding them on the floor of the garage and almost squishing them between my toes. OMG. Can't. Finish. Thought. Gonna. Hurl. blecccch.


Dear Mr. Wasp and Family: I know that our back patio seems like a great place to live. Heck, we live here. We know. We understand, truly. But I have to tell you - there ain't enough room for you and me and the little man all on the back patio at the same time. Let me explain. First of all - you scare the crap out of me and your mud house is ugly. Probably no one else wants to tell you, because they don't want to get stung or hurt your waspy feelings. I like to call em' like I sees em. That is one ugly house you're building and if you stick that stinger in me or ma' boy...well, we're gonna have a talk. The kind of talk that involves a high pressured hose. But let's go back to your "house" - if that's what you wanna call it. First of all - it has too many holes in it. Too breezy, if you know what I mean. Second, it's made of mud like stuff - so that sucks. Third, it's taking you forever to build it. It's been months and you're still working on that house like it's your only goal in life. Wait. It probably is your only goal in life. Well, I get that. But still. Could you move next door? Maybe a couple doors down on the right? They're not the nicest neighbors anyway and she's the one who hates my dog. See, compromise. It's all about compromise.

And last...to my newest tenant:

Mr. Mouse! Yes you, you grayish brownish little piece of furry delight....(*&@#*&^!$) I know I'm supposed to think you're cute. They sell you at the pet store. The world wants me to look at you and see, I don't know...Despereaux, or The Rescuers...or freaking Ratatouille....whatever. I can't do it. I just can't. You're cute when you're animated - but when you're running around my house, leaving your little poopy droppings here and there, just to remind me that you're still "in the wild" and haven't left - well, I can't just lie down and take it.

You and your little posse ran the place when we first moved in. Every time I turned around you were running along this wall and scurrying your little fannies over that wall. And I took it. And when I found you in the bread in the pantry, eating like your life depended on it and you gave me that matter-0f-fact "what?" look through the plastic of the bag...ok...un huh...and I threw the bag and ran to jump on the couch and scream like a girl (wait, I am a girl...) for like, ten minutes...and then called Anton and screamed some more...and insisted he come home and get you...and he said I had to deal with it...and so I went back in and got a broom (yes, a broom) and turned the bag over and you were gone, (yes, gone) and so I ran back to the couch and screamed some more, because you were alive and well-fed and on the lose? Remember that?

Well, since I've clearly never forgotten that, and clearly won't any time soon - and since it was clearly very traumatic for me - I'm gonna need you to make a small sacrifice for me. I'm gonna need you (and any pals you might be hiding or covering for) to go ahead and walk to the center of the room and stand very still while I get the cat. Now, don't panic. Don't worry. She's old and slow. It will be more like a game. Yeah, a game. But if you could just stand there...maybe do a little dance...wiggle it like you mean it - maybe drop a poopy or two...( I would) and then hold still. That'd be great.

Many thanks to you, the ant colony taking over my home, the wasp family living on my patio, the fly community for taking the time out of their busy yacking/eating schedule - and all the other little insects living among us...thanks for bringing nature indoors every day for us.

Now if you'll excuse me...I have an exterminator to ring...

friggity frack.