Years ago when I watched The Killing (season one only, because fool me twice, shame on me) I found the rainy scenes, i.e. ALL the scenes, highly irritating. Like, yes the Pacific Northwest can for sure be overcast and broody but the constant torrential downpour on that show is a straight-up alternative weather fact, aggressively depicted via Hollywood rain machine. It’s not nearly that flood-alertingly wet and depressing, living here! — except for the last couple weeks or so, which, my GOD.



Let me tell you something about a carpet that has been peed on by a cat, like say for instance by a pansy-assed cat who didn’t want to go outside and get her fur wet: it will never be the same. No, that fancy enzyme spray cleaner doesn’t work. Not that one either. Ditto baking soda, vinegar, a professional cleaning, and fervent prayer.


Podcasts! I am a fan of My Favorite Murder, Pod Save America, StartUp, The Dirtbag Diaries, Happier with Gretchen Rubin, This American Life, and the just-launched Missing Richard Simmons. What else should I be listening to?


I did not realize there would come a time when I would actively miss having LEGOs littering every surface of my house, but here we are, firmly entrenched in a new stage that’s even more annoying: Nerf. It’s not the darts I dislike, although I do get tired of finding little tampon-looking foam cylinders all over the place, it’s the weaponry. Nerf guns, at least the guns my kids are obsessed with, are enormous hunks of brightly-colored plastic, so it’s basically like reverting to the tasteful minimalist decor of the toddler days only instead of a Fisher-Price Lights N’ Blat taking up half the living room it’s the Doominatrix Modington Killinator FastGrunt Kerblooey.


We live close to two different middle schools. One is our neighborhood school, the one the boys are zoned to attend, the other is slightly further away but still nearby. Eugene has a school choice policy which allows any district child to request to transfer to any school, so we’ve been dithering over whether Riley (and eventually Dylan) should attend school A or school B. Factors I have been considering: where Riley’s friends seem to be going, school scuttlebutt from other parents, test scores, ratings on school-grading websites. Nothing has led me to feel overwhelmingly in favor of either option. School tours are this week, and applications need to happen by the end of the month.

One is newer and much fancier-looking. The other has a few more electives. One has a strong technology focus. The other is all about high school readiness and reading. One would be easier for a kid to walk to. The other is on the way to our elementary school, so drop offs could at least be streamlined.

All in all: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Hopefully this is one of those decisions that doesn’t really matter because it will be fine either way, but, you know, what if it’s actually a SUPER HUGE LIFE-IMPACTING DEAL? What if this is one of those Choose Your Own Adventure pages where one choice is happiness and scholastic success and the other is MISERY and WOE?

My sinuses have always been a wreck. Every purse I own is at Level: Grandma with its 7,000 crumpled tissues jammed into various crevices because I am constantly sniffly and/or goose-honky from being congested. On the rare occasions I’m not sneezing or blowing my nose, I’m clearing my throat because of drainage. Oh, and whenever I exercise, my nose goes into overdrive and I sound like Trump during those early debates: snffffff. SNURRRRFF. SNNK!

Whatever’s going on with my face-holes has been problematic for as long as I can remember, but towards the end of my pregnancy with Dylan, my nose just … sealed up completely. As if I’d packed cement in each nostril then superglued them shut for good measure. The only way I could breathe was with my mouth hanging open, like a dog — a rotund, giant-titted, farty dog — and I don’t think I endured that for long before I bought some Afrin.

You know Afrin, right? The stuff you snort and it magically opens your airways with a burny whoosh, and it’s like that scene from Young Frankenstein when Madeline Kahn has sex with the monster (who I guess had a Giant Abby Normal Dong?) and she’s like OHHHH SWEET MYSTERY OF LIFE AT LAST I’VE FOUUUUND YOUUUUUUU?

So anyway I used Afrin every day for like seven years after that.

As it turns out, the small print on the Afrin bottle where it says, “Warning: this stuff works, but if you use it for more than a couple days it will fuck you up like whoah”? Dude, they are crapping you negative on that one. If you use it too long, say for instance because you’re heavily pregnant and your nose functions about as efficiently as Voldemort’s, you will get what’s called rebound congestion which means you are now Afrin’s bitch FOREVER.

It would be embarrassing enough to admit I had a years-long addiction to nose spray if the rest of my, ah, dependency resume was squeaky clean, but add in the rest of it and, well, yeah. I’m not proud.

I’ll tell you, though, being able to breathe is a seriously powerful motivator, and every time I tried to just muscle through the rebound effect I caved. Eventually, having a nasal spray bottle within reach at all times just became part of my life, as inconvenient and expensive as that was.

Ironically, I was forced to quit when I went into rehab. Not because anyone thought I was catching an oxymetazoline high, but because all non-essential medications are off-limits. The timing was actually perfect, because I was so distracted with … *gestures vaguely at the charred and smoking landscape my life had become* I didn’t really even register what was happening congestion-wise.

I’m back to my chronic pug-sniffle, these days. I have to rotate sides when I’m sleeping at night because half my head tends to get blocked up. Every time I take a shower I stand in the steam until the hot water runs out because it’s so thrilling to breathe clearly. But by god, I am free of the tyranny of that little white bottle.

Take it from someone who has never met a life lesson she didn’t choose to learn the hard way: saline. SALINE ONLY. Also, if you ever need a dusty, wadded up Kleenex, I am there for you. I also have mints.

Next Page →