Plots, schemes, bun-biting and more.

So, I’ve launched a plot, and I’ve been hatching schemes and other Scooby Doo-esque terms for making plans. I have to keep reminding myself, though, that this is something I can do. Not in the sense that it’s something I’m capable of doing, but more like something I’m allowed to do. Okay, and also a little bit reminding myself – or pep talking myself – that I’m capable.

You know the first time you realize you can do something that previously seemed like it was reserved for other people? Older people, or more adulty people, or just some other kind of people. Like when I bought a car on my own for the first time. It kind of blew my mind that I could walk into a dealership, pick a car, arrange the insurance and the financing and all of that, and drive away in a car. I knew that PLENTY of people bought cars, all the time. But it seemed like something other people did, not something I could do. Both in the sense of something I was ABLE to do and something I was ALLOWED to do. Some people let me walk into their place and drive away in a car. BLEW MY MIND.

So I’ve hatched this plot, because there was something I wanted and out of nowhere, it dawned on me that rather than wait around for one of the specifically ALLOWED people to arrange for this thing I wanted, I could just do it myself. And while I’m [pretty] sure I can pull it off, the fact that I can just DO IT is blowing my mind.

You know that feeling? Am I making sense? It’s like an assumption you have subconsciously, that you don’t really think about, that doing certain things is for OTHER PEOPLE.

OH, like taking a vacation. I’ve never taken a vacation that wasn’t with my parents OR wasn’t specifically to visit family. But Phil and I, someday, could decide to pack up our baby and go some place. ANY place. With no other family there, if we wanted. A non-family, non-visiting vacation. We could just DO that. Go to ANY PLACE. That’s ALLOWED.

But you have to know this feeling, right? I think it’s mostly attached to doing things that we probably consider to be “adult” things to do, for whatever reason, and I’m sure everyone has different things that they consider to be “adult” things. But my plot, it’s not even a specifically adulty thing to do. It’s just a thing that, for some reason, I kind of deep-in-my-mindly assumed was for specific, somehow designated people to handle. And I just suddenly realized that those people had the same, “Hey, I want this, I’m DOING IT” moment that I had a couple of days ago.

Aside from the big stuff – buying a house, bringing home a baby from the hospital, getting married – what kinds of things do you kind of subconsciously put in the “other people, not me” category?


So, this happens now, FINALLY:

Honestly, I told Noemi a while ago that while the first weeks of babyhood seriously blow, blow to the point that you eventually start to insist that it absolutely CANNOT BE DONE and a MISTAKE HAS BEEN MADE, everything starts to slowly chug uphill, rollercoaster-style, once you see the first smile. Truly, it’s just steady improvement from that moment on.

So I have to say, I’m expecting NAPS and I’m expecting less VOMIT and I’m expecting less PUNCHING ME AWAKE now that we’ve got laughing on the regular.


Me: So this cat lives at our house.

Phil: No, he’s not our cat.

Me: Yeah, he doesn’t live IN our house – he lives AT our house.

Phil: He doesn’t live here. He lives under your car.

Me: And you feed him.

Phil: Well, yeah. Not expensive food, though. I buy him the cheap stuff.

Me: And you make sure he has water.

Phil: It’s hot out there.

Me: I saw him sitting on the table out there, on the blankets, yesterday.

Phil: Yeah, I put them there for him.

Me: That cat lives at our house.


If ever a moment of my life should have been video taped, it was just a couple of minutes ago. The dogs were all riled up, horsing around with each other, and the more they wrestle, the more wound up they get. Calming them is a huge pain in the butt. Sheldon leaps around like a deer, bounding around the house, and has NEVER had ANY concept of where any part of his body is in space at any given moment.

So a lot of times, I just pull Penny up onto the couch in my arms and let them wrestle around. I have to hold onto her tightly, because our couch is terrible and even with me and Penny on it, their insane self-flinging bumps the couch and sends it scooting across the living room.

Right when I thought they had settled down – they were somewhere behind me, at least, I don’t know where – I put Penny in a seat and leaned back to stretch, because this baby is turning into a LOAD.

I leaned back over the arm of the couch, kind of into a corner between the couch and the love seat where we have a small end table, arms up above my head, arching my back and getting WAY out there – you know, the kind of stretch where if you don’t stop, you KNOW you’re going to cramp up your entire back, but you don’t stop anyway because it’s too good of a stretch?

Anyway, yeah, I was doing that.

WHEN OUT OF NOWHERE – okay, not accurate – WHEN OUT OF FROM BEHIND THE COUCH, Sheldon, who was not as calmed as I assumed, BIT MY BUN.

Not my BUNS. They were and remain to this moment planted on the couch.

My BUN. In my HAIR.

And my NEVER NAPPING BABY had fallen asleep.

So I am trapped in a stretch, arched over the arm of my couch, and SHELDON HAS ME BY THE HAIR.

I started SCREAM-hissing, “Sheldon! Drop! Sheldon! Drop! SHEEE-HEEEELLL-DON! LET ME GO!”

Anyway, spoiler alert, he let me go.

51 thoughts on “Plots, schemes, bun-biting and more.

  1. Stephanie M

    I seriously love your dogs. This reminds me of my parents cat(formerly mine, until I moved across country). She loved to get under the covers at night, which I was fine with. But I had to always make sure my shirt was tucked into my pants, because if she saw my belly-button piercing, she would try to chew on it.

    TJ Reply:

    My dogs are OUT OF CONTROL.


  2. Kristina

    Oh, man. I had so much to say about the first part of this post and how I STILL, two kids and MANY bills later, forget, on a daily basis, that all of that is my responsibility, but then I watched the Penny video, and yeah. She wins again. LOVE brand-new baby laughs.

    TJ Reply:

    I figured the video could stand in where 1000 more words usually are and no one would really notice.

  3. Megan

    I totally get the doing ‘adult’ things and feeling weird about it. On our 6th wedding anniversary my husband and I finally took a honeymoon. We spent a week alone in Vegas and realized in the 10 years we had been a couple we had never gone anywhere on our own. It felt weird and wrong somehow, but ridiculously freeing.

    The one thing that I always feel weird about doing, and that is too ‘adult’ is oddly scheduling doctors appointments. Anytime I have to actually schedule an appointment and not just rush to the hospital in an emergency because I cut off the tip of my finger or something, I just feel a bit like I shouldn’t be allowed to participate in such adult responsible actions.

    Most of the time I still think of myself as not an adult despite the fact that I just turned 30, own a house and two cars, and work a mundane cube job. Despite all of that I still think of myself as a kid between mortgage payments.

    I have seen dogs chew on peoples hair before but never latch onto a bun. I have a cat who once climbed a friends knee length braid like Mount Kilimanjaro though. We were all laughing too hard to dislodge the cat from its journey to her scalp. I wouldn’t have been surprised if she had had a little flag ready to plant when she reached the top.

    TJ Reply:

    I have never wanted a “like” button on my blog so bad as I did when I got to the part about the tiny flag.

    Sarah Lena Reply:

    “I still think of myself as a kid between mortgage payments” – YES, ME TOO. ME TOOOO.

  4. Sarah Lena

    Flying out of Huntsville to Austin was that way for me. I was like, “Whoa. I’m not even flying FOR WORK, but look at me! Traveling like a grown-up jet-setter!”

    I think we talked about this over the weekend, but Sunday night at about midnight, I called Bryan and said, “I was WRONG. I CAN’T DO THIS. WHEN DOES THE GROWN-UP SHOW UP TO FIX THIS FOR ME?”

    TJ Reply:

    That’s exactly how I felt when Penny was in the hospital in August. Like, “I’m willing to stand here and take notes from you doctors, but only because I need to have all the info for WHEN AN ADULT ARRIVES.”

  5. Jesabes

    I generally feel less adult-like the more tired I get. When I’m super sleepy I’m all “Where did these two little kids come from? Where are their PARENTS? I am not fit to be in charge here. I’m not babysitting for these people anymore.”

    Also, at work, when I have people working on a project of mine and I’m supposed to be telling them what to do and critiquing their work I sometimes catch myself wondering who the hell put me in charge.

    TJ Reply:

    When I’m extra tired, I get the same way. I look at Penny, completely BOGGLED by the idea that she is NOT GOING ANYWHERE.

  6. PinkieBling

    YES, I know this “people other than me do this” feeling. Renting a car still freaks me out every time. You mean you’re just going to let me drive away in this thing? Holy shit! I just got this feeling about something the other day, but I can’t remember what it was. I definitely got it the first time I traveled completely by myself – I went to Portland for the first time for a conference, not knowing ANYONE there. Oh! I once took a 3-day trip to Vegas alone. That wigged me out. (It was also terrific!) I will probably be back with more examples, because I generally feel about 15 years old.

    Babies should smile and laugh straight out of the womb, IMO. Penny’s laugh is spectacular! Hope she follows up on the naps, etc. soon!

    The Sheldon story? TEARS!!!!!

    TJ Reply:

    YES. First business travel. UNREAL!

  7. Diane

    For me, buying a plane ticket and then going and getting on an airplane ALL BY MYSELF was a ridiculous experience. I also feel a little bit that way any time I go into a restaurant and I’m the one who asks for a table. That’s basically my mom’s job.

    OH! And Violet had her first parent-teacher conference last week, which I still can’t believe happened. My mom always seemed like such a GROWN-UP, you know? I don’t feel like I’ve gotten to there, yet. I’m still confused as to how I was allowed to go in there as an official parent.

    I’m telling you right now, I don’t care if that conversation with Phil didn’t happen EXACTLY as written, it is still my favorite conversation that has ever appeared on this blog. Does Phil have a name for the cat? I bet he SO has a secret cat name.

    TJ Reply:

    The first time I was EVER on an airplane was also my first business trip. I. Was. Pathetic.

    TJ Reply:

    Oh, and he calls it Steve.

    Of course.

    Maggie Reply:

    Seriously the parent-teacher conferences! Every time I’m thinking “here is this teacher talking to me like an adult, someone in charge of my own kid, someone who is serious and respectable – how the hell did that happen?”

    Also when my daughter was a baby and got stomach flu and kept throwing up and throwing up I kept wondering when the grown-ups were going to show up and take care of it and make everything better.

    Tric Reply:

    It is just as weird for the 23 year old teacher sitting across from you. Parents would come in my room during parent teacher conferences and be like, “So where’s the teacher?” I was torn between wanting to sucker punch them for being a jerk (I mean thanks for the confidence boost, Asshole), and saying, “Dude, seriously I don’t know. No one in their right mind would put me in charge of 150 kids per day, because I am fairly certain I JUST graduated from high school like last week.” That’s probably hypocritical, but just because I feel like a kid doesn’t mean I want to be treated like one or that I actually am one.

  8. Erin

    Oh, Penny has such a great laugh. I’m going to play that video for Lorelai over and over again in hopes that maybe SHE starts to laugh on the regular. You’d think by almost-8-months we’d have regular for-real laughs, but no. Mostly she just squeals. Really loud. In your ear.

    As for the “other people do this”, I TOTALLY get it. The only one I’ve experienced that I don’t think will ever stop feeling weird is going to super-fancy hotels. Like, hotels that have a dress code where you’re not allowed to wear jeans or sneakers. We’ve done it twice and both times we sat there feeling ridiculously out of place (probably in part because we were the youngest couple there by like 30 years, but whatever).

  9. Natalie

    As a crazy cat lady, who loves dudes who like cats, I totally love that cat story. I can only imagine the matter-of-fact, yet shifty-eyed way Phil answered those questions. “yes, but… uh-huh, but no, see… Steve is totally not our cat. What? Yes, his name is Steve. So?”

  10. Kara

    Love the baby laughs!

    Big holiday dinners hosted at my house make me feel weird. So I’m the one who has to get up at 6 to put the 25 lb turkey in the oven so it cooks all the way through and I don’t poison everyone? So I need to actually plan and buy food, and not just show up at 1:30 PM with a box of wine?

  11. -R-

    I was looking for real adults when I was taking care of my dad when he was sick and totally out of it. Sorry, not a very fun example.

    Also, right after I got married and started referring to H as “my husband” was really weird and made me feel like a Fake Adult.

    I love the spoiler alert in your post.

    How is Penny’s name not Stephanie or Stevenie?

  12. Dayna

    It seems like travel is a common theme for that weird “grown-ups do this, not me” feeling. For our honeymoon, the hubby and I actually vacationed on the Gulf Coast with my family (yes – mom, dad, siblings, in-laws and annoying tweens/teens; no – I have no idea what the hell we were thinking). Anyway, the first big trip we actually took several years later by ourselves that involved flying, hotel reservations, taxis and stuff just blew my mind. I spent most of that time walking around NYC having occasional mini freak-outs that I was actually there.

    Love the cat story! We had a similar situation, but that cat is now in our house permanently. And he’s only there because, according to my hubby, he is Sidney’s cat. Sidney is our dog! The cat had been infatuated with the dog during our walks and eventually followed us home, but come ON dude. I know he loves the little allergen just as much as I do.

  13. megan

    so thankful that I am not the only one who still can’t believe she’s (supposedly) a grown-up. I’m getting married in a few months, and apparently I’M the one who has to make all the plans and arrange things and stuff and really, all I want to have to do is show up and look pretty. Any adults for hire to do my grown-up stuff for me?

  14. Leigh

    It’s funny that you said, “Other than bringing a baby home from the hospital,” because that’s exactly what I thought of first. I can still remember, 13 years+ later, sitting on the hospital bed thinking, “No way are they going to send me home with this baby. I don’t have any idea what I’m doing!”

    I felt like that a couple of years ago when we rented a boat on Lake Powell. It just seemed like something Other People do, people who Know What They’re Doing. (In other words, not us!)

  15. Swistle

    YES. I hadn’t realized I knew what you were talking about until you talked about it as a thing. When I went to visit my new niece. When we bought a house, a car. When we dug up a huge part of our yard to make a garden. When Paul took two of the kids on vacation to DC. Hey…we can just…DO THIS…if we want to.

    I find I assume it for a TON of stuff. I have to deliberately work through it every single time, with pretty much everything. Like, when you went to The Blathering, I was like, “Hey! We can just…DECIDE TO DO THAT.”

    That cat lives at your house.

  16. Meredith

    OMG I so know exactly what you mean, I’ve been saying the same thing to my husband for YEARS every time we do anything new. Like when we were still just dating and we went on vacation to the beach, just the two of us, and I RENTED a HOTEL ROOM. I just called them and then, a few weeks later, we showed up and they let us sleep there for three nights! It was crazy. Who knew I had the power to do that?

    I felt the same way when I flew on an airplane by myself to Scotland. The fact that I could just go to a foreign country, by myself, and hang out with a friend of mine? With no parents, and we could just go anywhere we wanted to whenever we wanted to? So weird.

    Then of course there was renting an apartment, buying a car, moving to Virginia, buying a house (this is out of order but that’s OK)…yeah, it all feels like that. Oh! Adopting a dog! That was another one. Also, painting and doing other stuff like that in our house that we bought – it was like, I can just do this? Tear down this wallpaper and paint this room whatever I want to?

    I’m pregnant now, and it really does feel that way, like, I didn’t have to get anyone’s permission to do this?? What are they thinking???

  17. Alex

    I always feel that way when I order alcoholic drinks in a restaurant. I’ve been legal for 8 years now and still, it feels weird and way too grown up for me.

  18. Elsha

    I feel like having a real “career” job is for other adults and not me. This, despite the fact that I worked as an engineer for 3 1/2 years.

  19. Rachael

    Once when my sister was jogging in the woods, an owl attacked her tiny ponytail. So, this reminded me of that. I know the scream-whisper well, I do it to my cat a lot.

  20. Melospiza

    1. Rent a car. BIIIIG one. I’m pretty sure I’m not allowed to do that, and if I tried, I’d be immediately reported to my elderly parents.

    2. Visit a hair salon (I have long hair which I occasionally cut myself. Badly.)

    3. Buy a business suit. Oh, sure, I can buy cheap cotton clothes at Old Navy, but should I attempt to enter a *real* department store and purchase a high-quality suit, I would be immediately escorted to the exit.

  21. A'Dell

    When we bought this house it was like,…what? You’re going to let me sign my name and give you money and you’re going to give me a whole freaking HOUSE? HOUSES ARE FOR GROWN-UPS!

    On a much less “big” note, I also feel very adult when I grocery shop. “Look at me, buying All The Things for my family to eat. LA LA LA.”

    LemonFresh Reply:

    I hope I remember that internal comment next time I am grocery shopping. It will make it much more fun.

    Molly Reply:

    Haha! Yes! Although I’ve been doing all the grocery shopping for quite some time I still freak out a little on the inside when I go to check out. Like, seriously all these grown-up family type items in the cart are actually mine… I’m not a fraud!

  22. katie

    My pets are balls to the wall too. One time when was coming back up my driveway after chasing them through the neighborhood i fell down quite hard as the ups man was delivering a package to my house and my pants fell down as i hit the driveway. he didnt help me up or catch the dog who ran away. Again. And i had neglected to put on any underpants. He just laughed at me. thats the moment i started hating my dogs.

  23. Flame

    “WHEN OUT OF NOWHERE – okay, not accurate – WHEN OUT OF FROM BEHIND THE COUCH, Sheldon, who was not as calmed as I assumed, BIT MY BUN.”

    OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!! That’s hilarious and I can totally imagine it in my head. So something Raven would have done in his younger days as well (if a. I wore my hair in a bun & b. the couches weren’t up against walls).

    Too funny!!

  24. LemonFresh

    There are some cooking things I’ve done in the last month that I’ve always thought were for grown-ups – my first pork roast, first roasted chicken (2 days ago!) Partly because I’m just cooking for myself, but I like to make lots of leftovers so I only have to cook every 3 or 4 days.

    For some reason, the most grown-up cooking thing for me is soup. I don’t know why. It’s just like, soup is something that practical adults make with their practical leftover chicken carcasses, and then they freeze it or something. Well, I’ve got a great big pot just cooling on the stove right now, so there we go! Need to buy some freezer containers, I think.

  25. Kammah

    I’m 24 (and veeeeery close to 25) and I still feel like I’m 17 with no car. You people mean that I can go? To places? WHAT. And my boyfriend’s daughter listens to the words that I’m speaking? Does she know I’m making this stuff up as I go along?

    I think the most “adult” I’ve ever gotten so far was going to New York last year with my best friend. She’s awesome, but a bit flaky, so I made all the travel arrangements. I can still remember the feeling of sheer panic when the hotel, the only hotel we could afford that wasn’t previously booked, was having “trouble” processing my debit card (for some convoluted reason that I still have not quite sorted out) and wanted to charge me twice. Twice. On a shoestring budget. I kept waiting for ANY ADULT to show up and help me out but then I realized that I was the only adult that I knew in a thousand miles. That was sobering.

    But lately I’ve been thinking about driving down to see the sea. Adults do that, I think. It sounds nice.

    P.S. The Penny laugh is phenomenal. And I started to fall in love with my boyfriend because he adopted a stray cat so I’ve got a big ole soft spot for Phil (and Steve) now. And Sheldon cracks me up. Your BUN. HA!

  26. drhoctor2

    I RESENT the implication that Sheldon was not helping you stretch..this is unfair. MANY dogs are natural chiropractors and should not have their selfless devotion to healthy human spine alignment impugned. Haterz.

  27. Elise

    The thing I think I’m not allowed to do? Saying yes to coming to Phoenix to hang out with people I met on the Internet. I feel like I might get there and you all will be like “You’re not really a blogger or a grown-up, what are you doing here?”

    Not that you ACTUALLY would treat me like I’m a loser, but just that… You’re the COOL KIDS of the Internet and I am… not? I’m not phrasing this well. Please tell me you understand…

    TJ Reply:

    You can! You should! It’s going to be so fun and so laid back. You’ll have a blast. You’ll be so happy that you just DID it. I do understand, I felt the SAME WAY about The Blathering, and it was SO GREAT that I’m doing it myself now.

    You can do it!

  28. MegglesP

    I feel like a kid all the time. I go to nice restaurants that require reservations and order DIET COKE because I don’t like wine or much alcohol. I feel so silly. It also blows my mind that I a) own a home with MY NAME ON IT b)make dinner for me and my boyfriend and take some to my mom. Like wait a second, I am feeding my mother?? She is widowed now and lives alone, so I want to make sure she actually eats more than cereal or salads for dinner. So I have taken it upon myself to pick up things for her at the store or bring her dinner and help her with chores around her house and yard. Blows my mind.

  29. drhoctor2

    I also RESENT the implication that Sheldon was not scrunching your bun for you. Many dogs are natural hairdressers. This sort of Sheldon bashing must not stand !!

  30. Cassidy

    oh my gosh, baby laughs. I LOVE baby laughs. I have a six-month old who just started REALLY laughing this month and oh, baby laughs are the best things ever!! such a cute video!

  31. sister

    Ah! When I came out to visit you guys over the summer, that being the first time I had ever traveled alone, I was CONVINCED there was some huge “Airport Secret” that EVERYone was in on except me. Because they were all adults. And somehow magically knew how to navigate all that stuff. And then when all of my flights got canceled, and I had to keep getting new flights, and then when I got stranded in Philly (and, OK, cried about it), it was actually really easy to book another flight and get to the gate on time without any issues. WHO KNEW???
    Adults, that’s who.

    And, oh yeah. You, my ADULT sister, fixed everything for me and booked a hotel room (ADULTY) and made sure I eventually got to Arizona.

  32. Staciepo

    I think that this recent adventure of getting married has me doing the out-of-body, adult double take. Things like I am paying people this money and they are going to show up and do fabulous, professional things?! For me? AND then, people started calling me “Mrs.” Way too adult to be talking to me!

  33. Thanks: Management

    I am so OVER doing adult-y things.. yep OVER Adult things… what I wouldn’t give to be 11 yrs old.
    I nearly pee-ed my pants laugh about your BBD, Bun Biting Dog, just thinking about it now made me giggle!
    but really this human I am growing sits so low that I swear she finds it humorous to be dancing on my bladder after 9pm!

  34. Julie

    I just had my moment, and I thought of you. My daughter is 2 and she never stops moving and I have been thinking of enrolling her in some gymnastics group, and voila, I am actually going to do this! I didn’t participate in much as a child, and to this day I am not a particpator, but I would like my kids to be if they want to!

  35. Nancy

    One really minor adult type thing that I still feel a bit weird about: the exterior wooden trim around the windows when we bought our house was the natural wood colour and I always thought it was kind of a yukky brown. And then! when it came time to paint I realized we could paint it a pretty red colour that matched the roof and brick really well. But I still find myself thinking, don’t I need permission for this? People can see it from the street!

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