The question I’ve been hearing a lot lately is “What on earth did you do with all your emotions and frustration before you started this blog?!”

Ummm….repressed them?  Bottled them up inside?  Ignored them until they came bursting forth at inconvenient times, usually in a rant directed at a loved one about something totally unrelated to the issue truly bothering you?

Yeah, probably that last one.

While the house’s cleanliness may have taken a hit since I started writing, this blog is probably quite a blessing for BrightSide.  A little more dust and dog hair underfoot, yes…but a little less crazy lady raving about random stuff? That sounds like a pretty good tradeoff to me.

Other questions frequently heard around here:

“What’s for dinner?”  Geez, these kids and their food expectations.  Can you believe they actually need dinner every single night?  Hell, I remember when Ben & Jerry’s or a Slurpee and nachos (mmmmm…nachos) qualified as dinner for me or BrightSide.  Now I not only have to remember to feed myself but come up with meals to feed the minors every night.

“Do I like this?”  Uhhh…yeah.  And even if you didn’t the last time my answer is still yep, sure do.  Because that’s what’s for dinner.  And you have all these food needs.

“Do I need a jacket?”  This question is asked nine months out of the year.  It can be the dead of winter (which, granted, can sometimes be warm in North Carolina) and they’ll still ask me if they need to wear a jacket to school. YES.  For the love of God, YES.  It’s forty degrees outside, you need to wear a jacket.  This debate gets even more fun in the spring because it’s in the fifties when they leave the house but will be mid-sixties by late morning.  I’ve found my rigidity on this issue depends greatly on how close to the end of the school year we are.

“Can I wear shorts?”  Cousin to the question above.  The toughest times of year for this are the fall and spring transitions when they have to adjust daily to whether or not they’ll get to wear shorts (apparently the equivalent of my pajama pants to the elementary crowd).  And heaven help us all if the weather forecast calls for a 70-degree day.  This is our magic number for wearing shorts, and it doesn’t matter if we won’t hit seventy until 5:00 that afternoon — they hear 70 degrees, they want shorts.  My favorite followup to this question: “But everybody will be wearing shorts except me!”  Because we are the most horrible parents on the planet.

“Have you washed my (fill in some random article of clothing) yet?”  Do I look like I have a clothes catalog in my brain?  I have no freaking idea.  You own a zillion (socks, t-shirts, shorts), I’ve been washing clothes for hours on end, and I have absolutely no idea where that one particular item of clothing is in the process.  Feel free to start looking.

“Can I sleep over at ____’s house?”  Let me see…you want to know if you can spend the night at your friend’s house.  The one where you’ve proven several times that you’ll be awake past midnight, get up far too early, and then be a complete wreck at home for the next two days.  You’ll blow up at the tiniest things, pick fights with each other, and be completely disagreeable about anything and everything until your body resets.  Gee, this is a tough one.  NO.  Next question.

“Can I get my own pet?  I want a hamster, gerbil, or [hand to God] a Russian rat.”  Good grief, NO.  Two dogs, two kids, and two adults are plenty of living creatures under this roof; we are not adding another one. (Follow-up argument: “But I’ll take care of it!”  Yeah.  Right.  I wasn’t born yesterday, missy.)

“Will you get PopTarts/ice cream/potato chips (or other assorted crap) at the store?”  Uh…no.  But thank you for asking so nicely.  Just be patient and I’m sure your dad will surprise you with some junk food any day now.