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Monday, May 31, 2004

Through a glass, ever-so-slightly less darkly

My Chickadee sometimes drives me completely insane. You know how chickadees were named for their call? "Chickadee-dee-dee-dee-deeeeee! Chickadee-dee-dee-dee-deeeeee!" My daughter's nickname evolved because she, too, twitters constantly and loves the sound of her own name (as in, if there's talking going on, it had better be either by her or about her, or she'll set things straight). If I had a nickel for every time I've said "You know, honey... when you don't have anything to say, it's okay to stop talking," I'd be a wealthy woman.

Marcey calls her my "prickly pear." Eileen says she's "complex." Her teachers tell me (with a smile that conveys fondness seasoned with exasperation) that "she's got a mind of her own." I forget who told me she's "an old soul" but I find that one particularly apt. And her therapist loves to remind me that "she's got a lot going on in there." My parents and I, of course, got right to the crux of the matter.

She's my Mini-Me. (Lord help us all.) Different, of course, but eerily similar in so many of the ways I'd hoped she wouldn't be. There's nothing quite like seeing both your most vulnerable and most spectacular selves blended and reincarnated in the more compact, extra-melodramatic, yet less cynical model.

It's been a long couple of years for our family, and through it all I worried most about her. She seemed to bend under the strain more than was possible for a child of her age. My outgoing, precocious little girl went from acting out (not fun; but understandable, and to be expected) to pulling back into herself until I thought I would drop from the fear and exhaustion of trying to extract her once again. Bit by bit, she came back to us, and it's true: kids are more resilient than you think. She's okay. She still seems to feel things more deeply than some, and holds onto angst a little longer, but she's learning how to cope and feel okay (aren't we all?). And she's now a "normal" 6-year-old: obsessed with the tooth fairy, alternately protective and tormenting of her little brother, mouthy as all get-out, loving being able to read, adoring her little friends, and quite secure in the knowledge that I am becoming dumber and more unreasonable with each passing moment. It's a beautiful thing.

Ever since the Chickadee could talk, bedtime has been an introspective time for her. The day is done, I'm half-asleep myself, and hoping she'll skip off to dreamland the second I kiss her goodnight... but no. When she was younger, bedtime was when she would Why? Why? Why? about all manner of minutiae. When she was falling apart from the stress of being so angry and not knowing how to express it, bedtime triggered hysterical crying about every wrong--real or feared--ever visited upon the world. I came to dread bedtime. I would talk her down as best I could, and then--more often than not--once I got her settled, go downstairs and have a good sob, myself.

I know this weird bedtime affliction. I have it, too. You want to rest and drift away, and your mind wants to first resolve the unresolvable, find evidence that Things Are Right. I don't relish this particular feature of mine and I doubt my daughter does, either.

But bedtime is becoming a better time for both of us. As I lay down with her tonight and she filled me in on the last few days' adventures that I'd missed, I stroked her forehead and felt her relax under my touch just briefly. Her tale of the zoo complete, she turned to me and flung her arms around my neck. "Mama, I don't want the doctor to give your tummy a boo-boo! I'm feeling scared about that!" Tears came to my eyes. I'm feeling scared about that, too... but I was also so proud, and grateful, that this little one who once folded in on herself and hid can now recognize and vocalize her fear... and she lets me in to help make her feel better. I know grown-ups who have yet to make it that far. So we talked about it, some, and I offered reassurances and reminded her of the last time I had surgery and how that worked out okay, etc.

Bringing up the last surgery caused her to switch gears; she went to a different school, then, and she started remembering friends she hadn't seen in a while, and asking why she'd changed schools, and would she ever see them again, and what about next year, and her friends now? This is how I found myself, this evening, having a heart-to-heart with my firstborn about the Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas. We're always choosing our path, and we can always look back and wonder what might have been different, but how does that make you feel? "Kind of yucky," she confessed. (Me, too.) We talked about all the great things the school change had brought... and how next year, when she changes schools yet again, more good things will happen, and maybe a few not-so-good things, too, but it's our choice what we dwell on.

I wanted to tell her that I'm no better at it than she is; that if I thought I could get away with it, I'd stamp my feet and demand to know what would've happened if... and but why..., too. But I played with her hair, instead, and talked of all the things that don't change, that anchor us amidst all the stuff that does. After a while she was ready to rest, and I promised we can talk more about this tomorrow.

Only I know, from experience, that tomorrow she will content herself with which pretties need to go in her hair and whether the chicks at school have hatched yet and how many things will the Monkey really do at her command before I break up her benevolent dictatorship? She bounces back (until bedtime, anyway). I'm trying to learn from her example, even as I hope to teach her from mine. I'm pretty sure I'm getting the better end of the deal. (Please remind me of this tomorrow when we're late for school and she spills her milk everywhere....)

Fritters, anyone?

There are words that so skillfully convey their intention that they just taste right. The perfection of them make me want to weep with joy... unless, of course, I'm dealing with life and not just sitting around savoring words. But I gave myself a few seconds, just now, to roll the world "fritter" around in my mouth and brain before I commence Freaking. Out.

Alas, I have frittered away my weekend. In my mind's eye I can actually conjure an image of useful time units fluttering away in the breeze as I toss them from a decorative basket, giggling. It's not just any weekend, either. It's a long weekend and it's nearly my last kid-free weekend pre-surgery ("pre-surgery" translating to "when I can hope to accomplish anything in this life"), and my to-do list is still a mile long. Where has my time gone? Why haven't I completed more projects? How many things can I pack in between now and the children's return in a mere eight hours??

In fairness to myself, I did finish a few things that Needed Doing. The weekend hasn't been a total wash, productivity-wise. Also, I hear that enjoying yourself or even just being a slug once in a while is encouraged--maybe even recommended--for well-adjusted humans. (Having never really made it past partially-adjusted, myself, this is a murky area for me.) And while neither my behind or my to-do list will thank Marcey for stuffing me with Edy's Peanut Butter Cup ice cream last night while we made fun of While You Were Out, my soul thanks her profusely.

All that remains to me now is prioritizing the rest of the items on the list and deciding how frenetic I wish the remainder of my day to be. Hmmmm. And I need to do this while fighting against the Homer Simpson portion of my brain which has said naught but "Mmmmmm, fritters!" since I woke up this morning. (There is nothing to eat here, I tell you. Crap. Add "go for groceries" to the list.)

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Mailbox Mania

So... uh... I forgot to mention one teeny little pertinent bit of information in the peanut butter nuts story. The gifted gentleman in question? My pastor. Church today? A little weird.

(Help me, Oh Lord... disturbing images flit through my brain....)

I came home ready to tackle A Project. My kid-free weekends are full of Projects, because anyone who's undertaken A Project with their offspring's "help" knows that while it may build memories that last a lifetime, it also tends to make said project take a lifetime. Today, being a bright, gorgeous day even better (warmer) than yesterday, seemed ideal for undertaking The Mailbox Transplant.

The mailbox that came with this house was in sad shape from day 1. I suspect it to be original to the property. It is metal, clearly repainted several times but rusting through anyway, tilting to the left as if caught in a perpetual gust, and falling apart. First the flag fell off; that was repaired with an oversized nut and bolt, which meant the flag remained attached but required Herculean strength to be coaxed to move at all. Next, the handle broke off the door, and despite a couple of attempts to re-rig it, it was never right again. I often find the mailbox wide open, which is maybe annoying in the nice weather, but downright gross during a nor'easter. (One could argue you're not truly a New Englander until you've had a mailbox full of snow... but I'd rather retain my Annoying Outsider Who Still Bitches About The Weather status, thanks.)

So I've been meaning to replace that mailbox for ages. Unfortunately, I suffer from a unique learning disability wherein I will periodically go to Home Despot, look at the mailboxes, complain to anyone who will listen that "that's an insane amount of money for a plastic box!", leave in a huff, and manage to forget all of this and do it again a few months later. And again a few months later. And... well, you get the idea. Money's tight. The existing mailbox works... sort of.

A couple of weeks ago I happened upon a yard sale in the process of packing up. I hopped out of my car to have a quick look, and lookie here! A brand new mailbox, still sealed in the carton, for $10. The cheapest one I'd ever seen at Home Despot was $35. I popped that puppy in the back of the car, threw it in the garage when I got home, and forgot about it, because it then proceeded to rain for two weeks straight.

Today I was ready! Yes sir! First, let's extract the old mailbox. No problem. It was attached to the post with... four rusty nails, two defunct yellow jacket nests, and three strange little egg-sac-looking thingies that I really don't want to think too much about. Ick. But I managed to take off the old box with my trusty hammer, a little elbow grease, and a lot of muttering. Time to unveil the new mailbox.

I will grant you this: a more observant person would've thought--upon seeing the mailbox carton--"Wow! That has got to be one big-ass mailbox!" But not me. No, I can be kind of oblivious, sometimes. I don't know what I thought. Maybe I thought the mailbox was packed in protective styrofoam. Maybe I thought my new mailbox came with a bonus pony. Maybe I just never really looked at the damn box. I'm really not sure. Regardless, I was stunned to open the box and find... a mailbox exactly the same size as the box it was packed in (minus a millimeter or so all around, if you want to be picky about it). This was not a mailbox I had purchased. This was a mailbox-shaped shed. I had a fleeting image of myself at the height of exasperation, shouting, "I have HAD IT! No more bickering! YOU--go sit on the stairs! YOU--go sit in the mailbox!"

It's Really Really Big. The Hummer of mailboxes, one might say.

Surprise gave way to delight (dude, I paid $10 for the $50 model! and entire boxes will fit in here!), which soon gave way to panic (what if it was too big to mount on the support pole?). I dragged it down to the end of the driveway to have a looksie. It could be done... maybe. The crossbar that the previous mailbox had been nailed to was too narrow for this monstrosity; the nailholes in the bottom straddled the bar with several inches to spare on either side. Hmmmm. With a platform mailed to the crossbar, and then the mailbox attached to the platform, this could work. Hopefully the neighbors just won't notice that their mailbox would now be cowering in the shadow of mine.

I went back to the garage to scavenge. Of course I didn't have any wood scraps the right size. But I did have some plywood that could be cut to size. And because I'd already taken down and totally dented the other mailbox I am woman, hear me roar, you betcha I grabbed a saw and cut myself the most gorgeous mailbox platform in the history of humankind. It only took me a couple of hours minutes. A few more minutes to find the can of nails, and I was in business.

Platform nailed to crossbar? Check. Mailbox positioned on platform? Check. Nails pounded through mailbox into platform piece? Check. Now the moment of truth... grab mailbox... give a good pull... shake it a little... still attached? Check!

All that was left was The Ritual Of The Sticky Reflective Letters And Numbers. I put my house number on the front, centered as best I could manage, given that the numbers are about two inches tall and the face of the mailbox is about the size of my car. Then I casually checked out the format of my neighbors' information on the side of their box... first initial, last name, street address. Okay. I can do that, and perhaps with some uniformity as a gesture of goodwill and an attempt to blend in, they won't laugh so much when they see what I've done. First initial... last name... street number again... street name. Done! A quick check of my remaining letters ruled out appending the entire Constitution to the remaining space.

I stepped back to admire my handiwork. Not bad. And thank God, there's a family down the road who recently took down their perfectly serviceable mailbox in favor of something that looks like a shellacked cat. It may still be a mailbox of some sort, I'm not sure... but there are in fact dangling paws and a tail and--the crowning touch--a large, leering orange head. I may have to walk down there and thank these folks for saving me from having the most obnoxious mailbox on the street.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

He's got what?!

It turns out that if you are spending a holiday weekend alone (i.e., without children), you will be inundated with invitations from friends who are sure that you may well shrivel up and die from a little peace and quiet. This rates very highly in the warm-n-fuzzy department.

I have just returned from dinner with friends. The only caveat on my joining them for the evening was that I please not cough in the salad. (I didn't.) I wasn't sure I felt up to socializing tonight but I'm very glad I went. The food was great, the company even better, and had I stayed home, I would've missed this little proclamation:

"Daddy's got peanut butter in his nuts!!"

Cue abrupt halt to all conversation. Thank you, friends' five-year-old son. Everyone else (4 adults and a 10-year-old, in all) was trying not to laugh but I couldn't keep my mouth shut (shocking, I know). "That's... really more information than I needed." I guess any semblance of decorum was a lost cause after that. (Although I don't think his mother had to kick me quite so hard as she did, under the table.) He laughed right along with us, not knowing why, which made it even funnier.

Turns out he was trying to tell us that his Daddy is the only one in the house who likes crunchy peanut butter (nuts in his peanut butter). It just didn't come out quite right. And now I can never look his father in the eye again.

I love like need have my house

Before I forget, I want to thank everyone who participated in Facts and Fiction Friday. I had a good time, and I hope you did, too. Let's play again next week! (Sometimes, it takes remarkably little to entertain me.)

My cold is improving, I think. By improving I mean that once I'd been up an entire hour this morning and didn't feel the need to go back to bed, I decided I was well enough to tackle the lawn. It is beautiful here today, bright and sunny and cool and oh yeah, not raining, which is about damn time unusual.

Quick check of my lovely self: I spent all day yesterday in my pajamas, so the thought of going outside without a shower was... uhhhh... frightening. But the thought of showering in preparation for lawnmowing? Preposterous. I threw on some sweats and a little extra deodorant and put my hair in a ponytail and called it good. A couple of Advil Cold and Sinus and two puffs on my trusty inhaler and I was soon allreadytogo.

Themowerdidn'twanttostartdammit. Ipulledandpulled. Itstarted! Yay! Thisisn'tsobad, Ifeelprettygoodinfact. Imowedandmowedandmowedand wasdoing prettywell... untilthe Albuterol started wearing... off... and I started... coughing again... but I kept going... and going... and g o i n g....

Lawn. All. Done.

Must. Die. Now. Thanks. Seeya.

No, no worries, it's all okay. I'm fine. I came inside and lay down on the kitchen floor for a while... nice comfy tile... and then I drank, oh, I dunno... about 64 ounces of water... and then I came in here and sat down, and it looks like I'm gonna live. But as a result of this fun morning I am once again woulda-coulda-shoulda-ing about the Joys Of Owning Your Own Home.

My house is something of a conundrum. I have lived here for four years. With the exception of the house I grew up in, this is the longest I have lived in any one place my entire life. This is the only house my children know (Chickadee sometimes speaks of "the red house" but I don't think she remembers it, she just enjoys the stories about it). Being well in-touch with my tolerance for stress and change, I made it clear during the divorce that many things were up for negotiation, but this house was not. This is Our Home (mine and the kids) and we were not moving.

Part of my motivation was Keeping Change To A Minimum, both for me and for the kids. The other part of the equation is this bizarre little town we live in, and how real estate works here. Moving out of town was never a question; if we stay in this general area (yes), this is the town with the school system we want. Period. But to relocate within town? Heh. Lemme tell ya about my town. When we bought this house, the sellers were relocating back to the midwest and had just had a deal fall through at the last minute. They wanted OUT and they wanted out FAST. They didn't know that our realtor had shown us this house when it was (unbeknownst to her) under negotiation already, and we'd fallen completely in love with it. We would've happily paid their first asking price, which was on the low side for this area. But after the deal gone bad, they reduced the price. Woohoo! We scored our dream house, at quite a bit under market for this area.

Four years have gone by, and I have since learned that I live in the "less fashionable" section of town. Heh. I can live with being less fashionable. Remember when I left the garage door open all night? I wouldn't call this a low-crime area so much as a no-crime-other-than-the-occasional-drunk-teen area. The house has appreciated, both due to time and some work we put into it, and is now worth Quite A Bit Of Money. It's also a good-sized house, suitable for the gaggle of children we'd planned on having, but bordering on too big for just me and two kids.

So the logical option: sell this house, buy a smaller one, in this town. Well, thanks for trying to make sense, but no. Not here. Sorry. First of all, there are very few small houses in this town that aren't located two feet off the highway. The ones that aren't located in places that make me picture my children very flat and very dead are new construction, and oh yeah, they cost so much money it makes me want to ask what are these people smoking, and can I please have a toke? They cost more than this house, despite being half the size or smaller. This house is A Very Good House, on an acre of land; but it does not have a new kitchen, or fancy bathrooms, or central air conditioning, or shiny titanium appliances, or a roof shingled with gold bullion. It appears that many new houses in the area have many of these things because People Want Them.

It was a matter of great excitement for me when the town announced plans to build an "income-controlled" community of 2- and 3-bedroom houses. I phoned my friend Sue, who is a realtor, to ask about the waiting list. It was full. And had been, actually, since before the announcement. Turns out, it didn't matter, because the 3-bedroom houses? About 5% less, cost-wise, than the value of this house. After brokering fees and moving costs? I'd be in the hole. Scratch that.

Looks like I'm staying here. Which means I need to mow the never-ending who-needs-this-much-stupid-grass-anyway lawn, and paint the fence periodically (did that about a month ago and it took an entire day and I got a wicked sunburn... and today I chipped one of the posts with the mower), and have the septic pumped, and do all the other things that one needs to do when one owns a house. And I need to remind myself that these are all Good Things, because I really do love this house. I do. In sickness and in health... oh crap. Turns out I'm more committed to this house than I was to my marriage. Is that bad?

Friday, May 28, 2004

I bet his parents are so proud....

(I actually tucked this away before checking out Amalah's site this afternoon, where she is quite taken with a piece of spam she received. First I thought I'd write about it another time, considering... but now I think maybe it's just a particularly spammy day and I should continue the love.)

My ISP has a spam filter. Whether or not it actually catches any spam before delivering to my inbox, I'm not sure. The things that get through still seem typically spam-like to me, but what do I know. I'm just the loser paying these people approximately $729/month for the extreme privilege of receiving this spam faster than ever before... on alternate Tuesdays when the moon is full and my broadband connection is actually working. Anyway.

A couple of days ago I received a piece of mail from Chester Lockwood. Naturally, I was startled to see the email heading:
this has worked for me hardboiled throaty

Now, I don't know Chester, but no one has called me that in years, I tell you. So it was a bit jarring. Thinking I could throw that interesting subject line into my blog at some point, I elected to save this piece of mail rather than deleting it. But I didn't look at the body of the message.

Tonight rolls around... I am coughing, I feel yucky, I have promised jilbur a story of my great fictitious romances and I just don't feel up to it (I will do it, but not today). Now, I figure, would be a good time to to feature Chester in all his one-lined zinging glory. So I went ahead and clicked on the email, only to discover that Chester is no lucky one-hit savant. Oh no. Chester is a poet!

I was expecting a treatise on penis enlargement. I get a lot of those; I'm sure you do, too. Forwarding them to my ex was fun for a while but everyone has to grow up sometime. Anyway, this little ditty from Chester was not about enlarging my penis, but declared that "local babes want a bone." (So do I, Chester. Tell them to walk slowly around the supermarket searching for ringless left hands pushing carts holding something other than beer and ringdings, just like the rest of us.) This was followed by a website address, and then this piece of mastery:

A given white glove is thinking. Her daughters hairy mp3 player stares. Any white caw stinks. Her daughters purple computer calculates. Whose well-crafted paper lies or maybe a hairy mouse looks around. A odd shaped fancy golden small white underwares run. His brothers silver spoon got an idea. The well-crafted printer got an idea. Her soft caw is angry. Whose purple odd shaped house smiles. Our slopy printer calms-down however, the fancy hairy laptop arrives and perhaps any little book lies. Our children green tv arrives or maybe their golden silver slopy laptop adheres or a beautiful ram stinks. The green sport shoes smiles. The purple green paper makes sound. Our slopy sport shoes stares. Her well-crafted soft small green tv stares. Whose stupid small white printer sleeps however, a given round-shaped gun calms-down as soon as whose tall fancy glove adheres. His brothers green underwares got an idea. Her daughters bluish bottle stares. Any given soft omprella show its value and still our children smart mobile phone snores. Their tall purple little bottle adheres or maybe his brothers shining white green green recycle bin stares as soon as whose round-shaped small printer stares and still any given round-shaped book fidgeting. The beautiful laptop stinks or maybe her daughters noisy red t-shirt calms-down. Mine fancy caw lies. Our silver baby walks at the place that their odd shaped mobile phone makes sound. Any round stupid balloon calculates. A silver kitchen is angry. Her noisy soda stands-still. A expensive clock arrives however, a tall well-crafted sofa spit while a stupid bottle fidgeting. A well-crafted tall underwares stinks at the place that a given expensive smart slopy sport shoes arrives.

I mean, anything I've ever written just pales in comparison. Thanks a lot, Chester!

First Installment: Friday Facts and Fiction

Awesome; you're game for this! Let's see if it's any fun.

Julia asks: What's my ideal job? Where would it be and what would I be doing?

I've always wanted to be a taxidermist. In Alaska. Something about all that time with dead animals in a place where this isn't any sunshine for half the year.... (Fiction!)

I'm not sure I know what my "ideal" is, otherwise I might actually be working now (and working towards something). If I get to assume in my fantasy that I no longer have a short attention span, then by all means I'll take being a Famous Novelist for Gobs O' Cash please, Alex. I also think I might enjoy being a Personal Shopper, but I suspect that after a while I'd want to kill all the people I'd have to work for. As for the where... I love the heat, hate the snow, hate humidity. If money and friends/family were no object, I'd be in Arizona or New Mexico in a heartbeat. (Fact.)

Michele asks: Okay Mir, will you give us the dirt on your divorce??

The story is short and simple: He decided to become a she, she now leads a life of intrigue as a pole dancer at an elite Boston transgender bar, and we are still good friends and she sometimes helps me with my hair. (FICTION!!)

The story is long and complicated, and any holding back has less to do with my not wanting to share than with it just being, well, very long. Here's the shortest version I can manage: I was looking for "mate" material (as many of my previous paramours were not) and kind of talked myself into this nice, stable, responsible guy who in many ways was really not my type. He was painfully shy, had never dated (when we met he was 25), and was looking for anyone, I think. We both wanted kids; lots of kids. We married (too soon and too young), we went through infertility, miscarriage, and eventually, arrived at parenthood. At which point, whatever little spousal relationship we'd built up was completely thrown over in favor of Being Parents To The Almighty Children. The ex became involved in a start-up company and his life reduced to work, the kids, and his family. Oh, did you think his family was me and the kids?? Silly! His family is his parents and siblings. I never made it past second-class citizenship, I'm afraid. Anyway, his dad was dying of skin cancer, and we spent every "vacation" with his family our entire marriage (nearly 10 years); before his dad fell ill, during, and after.

Two years before we split, his dad died. According to the ex, this was "the first bad thing" that had ever happened to him. (Apparently having our dead offspring scraped out of me was no big deal.) Ex fell into a deep depression from which he made little effort to emerge. It wasn't long before he had some very scary, chronic health issues... all of which turned out to be psychosomatic illness from the depression. The final straw was when he lost his job and completely lost it. He wasn't diagnosed and treated until he'd been in the hospital for his "mystery illness" several times and then confessed to a nurse that he was trying to think how he could kill himself and make it look like an accident so that the kids and I could have the insurance money. I basically had to take him to our local hospital's psych ward and have him committed, during which time I found out that he had punched our then two-year-old in a fit of rage, then lied to me about it.

Every fiber of my being wanted it to be over right then. I was All Done.

But I stayed, for almost another year. He went to counselling. I went to counselling. We went to counselling. Our couples therapist was a raving lunatic who "sensed the delicate frame of mind" the ex was in and delighted in telling me I was too uptight about everything to make the ex feel like she was on his side. Her solution for everything was "You two just need to go out on a date and have some fun!" (Example of her brilliance: It was a recurring theme that the ex was cultivating a bizarre and sick co-dependence between himself and our daughter, and she had all but stopped eating unless allowed to sit on his lap and be hand-fed by him. I wanted this to stop. She told me I was too controlling. It took our daughter's therapist phoning this lunatic to tell her, Yes, this NEEDS TO STOP RIGHT NOW for her to concede that perhaps he shouldn't do it anymore.)

We ditched the couples therapist. We did some counselling with our pastor. Only, I am good friends with the pastor's wife, and so I underhandedly swayed him my way, dontchaknow. He never told me I "wasn't allowed" to get divorced, which was his responsibility, being a man of God and all! Are you getting the picture, yet?

As soon as he got a new job, I told him I wanted a trial separation. He kept saying "you don't want a separation, you want a divorce, just say it!" No, I said, I needed some time apart if there was to be any hope of salvaging anything. He fought, he bullied, he spoke of how he'd been a model husband and I was just planning to rip his children away from him. Oooookay. We separated, the bullying got worse; I filed for divorce.

The divorce was long and ugly, with the only saving grace being that--although he made a lot of noise about it--he never fought me for custody because that whole nervous breakdown and subsequent lockdown in the psych ward thing meant he would never win, and even he had to see that.

Ya know, I could've skipped all the previous and summed it up in one sentence: At the tender age of 33, my ex suddenly discovered that life's not fair and he's never really recovered. (Truth, sadly.)

Snowball asks: What (besides my kids) gives my life the most meaning?

I have a small pet rock named Gunther who tells me what to do and say, and we will always be together! (Fiction.)

This may surprise, it may revolt, it may sound trite... but my faith journey is the most meaningful segment of my life aside from my children. I was raised a mostly-non-practicing Jew, joined a very extreme Christian sect in college, and after a while settled in as a Methodist. (Hint: should you wish to switch religions and still have your parents' acceptance, try switching first to some bizarre and scary faction, so that when you turn to a more socially acceptable alternative your folks think that it's really not so bad.) I have travelled from an angry, "why me?"ish young person to the woman of faith that I am today, secure in knowing that I can handle whatever comes my way, and feeling--for the most part--very blessed. The particular church I'm with right now (I have moved around a lot, so this is the longest I've been in one place for a while) has been a church home for me like no other. I sing in the choir (and I had forgotten how I love to sing!), I'm a commissioned Stephen Minister, and I think I'm here for a reason. Despite my potty-mouth and overall obnoxious tendencies, I do love calling the Christian Community my home. Plus, many of the blue-haired old ladies get a kick out of me. It's a win-win thing. (Fact.)

Zoot asks: If you could only eat ONE food for the rest of your life, regardless of nutrition, what would it be?

Pigs feet. (Fiction!! *gag*)

Just one??? I want to pick chocolate, but too much sugar makes me wacky (yes, wackier than usual... shut UP). I think avocados. You know what a guacamole whore I am. Yummy. (Fact.)

Zuska (hi Zus!! *waving*) asks: What toenail color is suitable for sassy Summer wear for both mother and daughter this season?

Black. (Fiction, fiction... don't hit me.)

Well ya know, Those People (I don't know who they are, exactly, but they seem to wield quite a bit of power) say that pale pink is this season's new black. Oooooooookay. Ignoring the obvious--which is that pale pink ain't gonna be black no matter how far you put your nose in the air, honey--this is a good solution if you happen to like pale pink, but not so much if you, you know, don't. I suggest a trip to your local Gap store, as all of my toenail polishes came from the Gap outlet last season. My Chickadee and I both favor "chrome blue" right now, which is a wild and funky and fun silvery blue (for the toes; on fingers it would just be scary, I think) and matches nearly everything. Plus it is Not Pink, which is handy when the resident Monkey asks to have his toes done as well. (Fact.)

Jennifer asks:
Favorite book?
"A Prayer for Owen Meany" by John Irving.
Best childhood memory? When I was 8 we headed to Florida for our yearly jaunt to the grandparents, and my parents surprised me and my brother with a detour to Disneyworld for several days. Our family tended to put the DYS in dysfunctional but I remember that trip as being non-stop fun.
Favorite smell? Outdoors, right after it rains, mmmmmmm.
Secret crush? I don't think I have one. I'm not quite through the whole men-are-useless thing, yet.
(Okay, those are all facts 'cept one. But I'm not telling which one.)

Debby asks: If I could be any movie star, who would I be?

Elmo. (Fiction, mostly... he seems to lead a pretty good life, though.)

Glenn Close. She's an amazing actress who has succeeded in spite of being fairly normal-looking and not a Barbie doll clone. And although she's enjoyed critical acclaim, she stays out of the limelight and appears to lead a fairly normal life. (Fact.)

Also from Debby: What's my dream vacation?

Is it ice hiking or snorkelling somewhere tropical? If you don't know the answer, you haven't been reading very carefully.

Hula Dula has wayyyyyy too many questions, yo. But I'll try.
Naked wrestling really isn't allowed?
Well naturally I discourage it. If I don't get to, why should they??
Was I already working or did I go back to work because of the divorce? I "retired" from software engineering when we made our last move and the ex was busy co-founding a new company. I'd worked full-time before the kids came and part-time from the Chickadee's birth. Then we came here, the kids went to preschool and I worked on some freelance writing. I had some success, but the whole husband-mysteriously-ill-and-also-by-the-way-insane thing cropped up pretty quickly, and I quit writing. When it became clear that we were headed towards divorce, I took an extremely sucky job with a local mortgage brokering company which--to its credit--allowed me very flexible hours so that I didn't have to change the kids' schedules around. I was laid off at the end of last year (seemed tragic at the time; was really a blessing in disguise because that place was chewing up my soul).
Ever streaked in public? Yes.
Most embarrassing moment? I know a couple at church who used to be in the choir. There are a few of us in the choir who are real wiseasses, and this couple could cut up with the best of them. It was a running joke with the husband that upon arrival for rehearsal, it was time to set cell phones to "pleasure" mode so as not to be disruptive. (Was it less disruptive when his phone rang and we all shrieked "He's VIBRATING!"? I think not.) I think we sustained this joke partially because of how horrified many of the more senior choir members were about it. Anyway, they left the choir (but not the church) and started attending a different service than the one I go to, so I didn't run into them for a long time. Came face-to-face with the husband one day, and this pops out of my mouth: "Gosh I miss seeing you at choir! I think of you every time I set my phone to pleasure mode!" OH. MY. GOD. (Next sentence out of my mouth: "Could we please pretend I didn't just say that?")
(I offer you the same deal as Jennifer: Those are all facts 'cept one. But I'm not telling which one.)

I know I said I'd answer anything, and do it this afternoon. But I started on this in the morning because this cold is still trying to kill me. Jilbur, I love your idea. I'm going to go take a lot of cold medicine and go back to bed, and will try to come up with something brilliant for you later today.

File Under: I can't believe I just said that

"EXCUSE ME, do I really have to tell you that there is no naked wrestling allowed in this house???"

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Fun Fridays Facts and Fiction

In my daughter's kindergarten class, they regularly have Fun Friday. They do something wacky on Friday afternoons whenever feasible, and instead of "quiet time" they watch a movie. The Chickadee thinks this is about the most fantabulous invention since the Freaky Dismembered Barbie Styling Head.

Know what? I am in desperate need of a Fun Friday ritual. As my resources, budget, and attention span are limited, I've decided to turn to all of you, my newfound blogging buddies. I want to write tomorrow. For me, that's nearly always fun. But I do not want to have to think much, because if I think I am mostly going to be thinking about The Big Ovary Decision™ and/or my stupid yucky wheezy cold and/or the fact that Mr. I Will Simply Die Without My Children Because They Mean So Much To Me flat out refused to even attempt to figure out how he could help me manage childcare coverage after I have major surgery because, oh yeah, he'll be out of vacation days, so oh well. Maybe I'll luck out and they'll find some cancer in there and I'll be able to change his mind. Yeah. Anyhoo, you can see where my mind has been today and will likely continue tomorrow... without your help.

So here's your challenge, dear readers (that would be... um... my dad... and Kym and anyone else I can slip a coupla bucks to in the next 12 hours): I would like to start a continuing segment for Fridays where I respond to questions left by YOU. Ask me anything about me; consider it a little accelerated get-to-know-me gig. You may specify whether you would like the factual answer or the fictitious answer, or if you don't specify it will be up to me. Or maybe I'll just completely lie regardless of what you ask. It depends. I do that sometimes. That's part of the fun.

Leave your queries in the comments on this post, and I'll address them all sometime tomorrow afternoon. If no one responds I will pout. (It's not pretty, trust me.) So come on in and lemme have it, and let's see if this would make a good weekly feature or if I really just need to start going to bed earlier.

Facing the Big H

Fair warning: gentlemen, you may wish to avert your eyes.

The backstory: I have a very uncooperative reproductive system. I have suffered from severe endometriosis since my teens. It's a complete pain in the ass, or, to be more specific, it's a complete pain in the lower abdominal area and sometimes the back, much of the time. My uterus was reluctantly coaxed into hosting the Chickadee and the Monkey until their respective baking times had elapsed, but even that was quite the production.

And the bleeding... oh the joy, the bleeding! If bleeding were an Olympic sport, I would be a contender. In fact I daresay I would have a good shot at medalling. I have grown used to the finger prick for iron levels being followed by the nurse exclaiming "Oh geez, THAT can't be right... let me do it again." Move over, Yvonne Goolagong. You don't know iron-poor blood 'til you've had chronic endo. It just Isn't Right, my body.

The result of this is that I have spent a large amount of time in my adult life in a lot of pain, or really bitchy, or both. I have had three prior surgeries designed to "clean me out" and take care of my "little problem." Well by the third surgery I'd had enough; I said TAKE THAT STUPID THING OUT and my doctor said no, it's not time yet. Let's try one more thing. So I had endometrial ablation instead. If you don't feel like following the link, let me summarize: ladies have this squishy gross bloody lining in their uteruses (uterii??) that sheds once a month, or--if you have endometriosis--constantly, and to ablate that lining means to laser that junk into vapor so that hopefully your uterus will shut the hell up and leave you alone, bleeding-wise.

I had the ablation. The bleeding stopped. Hooray! Life was good.

The bleeding came back. Cuz, have I maybe mentioned, my body just Isn't Right?

Now, I don't quite understand how this works. My lining was obliterated, there should be nothing left to bleed. But I've always been rather gifted. So I did what any responsible person would do; I ignored it for a while and hoped it would go away. It didn't. So I went back to my OB/GYN and she decided we needed to do "more testing."

From my experience, "more testing" usually means "come back a couple of times for really unpleasant procedures and then we'll decide to cut you open again."

She did not disappoint. I went in this morning for a sonohystogram, which is a lovely procedure wherein--just in case you do not feel demeaned enough by lying spread-eagle on a table with your feet in stirrups while another woman shoves the gigantic sonogram-dildo-doohickey into your nether regions--your womb is injected with saline while they do the sonogram. The idea is that it helps to visualize any weirdness inside the uterus.

This is an interesting theory, and probably sound diagnostic practice, for normal people. However, it turns out that after an endometrial ablation you may have some scar tissue, or in fact be totally yucked up in there in strange ways, and the doctor will take that little harmless-looking plastic catheter and jab around until you cry and still be unable to actually fill the organ with water. Who knew?

But before that happens, the sonographer does the "baseline" imaging, which involves only the normal amount of humiliation, unless of course you are me, in which case she will announce "Wow your left ovary is all junked up, it's the size of a grapefruit" and you will feel many things, but pretty is not on that list.

Anyway, after an endless period of time which I really couldn't determine because I spent so mcuh of it concentrating on not screaming or throwing up, it was over. I was allowed to redress and led down the hall to Talk With The Doctor.

And the doctor said lots of things, and she called my left ovary junky again (ya know, I don't feel any real attachment to it, myself, but still, there's no need to be mean), and spoke of some "puzzling weirdness" that is "probably" normal for post-ablation and there were lots of other things that I could clearly hear being within qualifying quotation marks and the bottom line is: It Isn't Right. Oh, and It's Time.

So the thing is, I am not a woman with an attachment to my uterus. (I know some women are, and that's great, and I don't mean to insult.) That thing has been screwing with me for as long as I can remember. I already asked for it to be removed before, remember? So sure, take my uterus, please. (ba dum bump) What I was not prepared for, however, was this issue with my left ovary, which, dammit, has always been the good ovary, the obedient ovary! Nice Ovary, I always called it. (What, you don't name your ovaries?) My right ovary has a history of being problematic. Now my left ovary is so screwed up that the doctor who normally schedules surgery out a minimum of three months is wanting to know what's on my schedule in two weeks. And she is saying she thinks it's time to consider taking it all.

I was ready to talk hysterectomy. I was not prepared to talk total hysterectomy. I was not ready to talk Hormone Replacement Therapy. And, well crap, as long as I'm being honest, I really wasn't even ready to talk hysterectomy. Single mom, two kids, who just made the decision to have no daycare over the summer, here. How am I supposed to manage major surgery and six weeks of recovery??

So that's where I'm at right now. Someone will call me tomorrow to see if I can in fact be scheduled for the week that my kids will be off visiting the ex-laws, and that leaves me only... oh... five weeks of convalescence I'll need to figure out, if that works. In the meantime, I've already been told to say good-bye to the left ovary. It's "my decision" (there are those quotation marks again, meaning it's sort of my decision, because either way I'm likely to be unhappy and she doesn't want me coming back to bitch at her about it) whether to leave the other ovary or go whole hog and be done with it.

Sometimes it totally sucks to be a girl.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Zoot made me do it!

I do whatever Zoot says. Sometimes. Well, tonight, anyway.

She made herself a super-cute avatar with a link to the place to make your own. So I spent mere seconds cursing that she hadn't come up with this before talking myself into posting a real picture, and went right on over.

Here I am:

Now, look at the avatar, and then at the picture to the right. Isn't it eerie how close they are???

Yeah, I know... time for bed.

This is Mir. This is Mir on speed. Any questions?

This cold is kicking my butt. And being the deep, introspective, philosophical being that I am, my deepest musing at this point is... "Will I be well enough to mow the lawn tomorrow, as it is forecast to be the first of 40 days in a row without rain, and if not, exactly how long does the grass have to be before it is considered child abuse to allow my children to play outside?"

I am a reluctant asthmatic, and by this I mean that I am one of those folks who mostly outgrew childhood asthma, and whatever remains I largely ignore through denial. There is no medication for asthma of which I'm aware that doesn't have side effects that are more annoying than a little wheezing. But now I have a cold, and my lungs greeted those invading germs with outstretched arms. "Come on in here, guys, she might not even notice!"

So I spent the first half of the day waiting for death to come and take me away, but it didn't happen. (Instead, he made a brief appearance to tell me to get my hypochondriac pansy ass out of my pajamas, laughed in my face, and took off.) By the time afternoon rolled around, I had to admit that my biggest problem was difficulty breathing. I'm rather fond of breathing--I do it all the time--so this was a problem, indeed. I realized that if I hoped to get anything at all done today, I would need to get out The Inhaler.

A little digging in my purse unearthed my trusty Albuterol inhaler. Albuterol comes from the Greek for "makes your heart race, causes jitters, and imbues an inexplicable feeling of impending doom that is alleviated only with constant motion." Good stuff. It does open the lungs up, which is very handy.

Anyway, the rest of the afternoon went pretty well. I put away all of the laundry that's been sitting around in baskets upstairs... and I did four more loads of laundry... put all of those away... cleaned the kids' rooms... took out the trash... cleaned out my car... organized my medicine cabinet... called a couple of friends... alphabetized my sock drawer... counted how many grey hairs I have (don't ask)... and painted the entire house. (Okay, I didn't really do that last one, but only because I don't have any paint.) AndI'mfeelingjustfinenowthanks.


I feel I must warn:
Lee's pad is germy. Alas,
he gave me his cold.

Okay, maybe I
spent too much time there Monday.
Learned my sad lesson....

*insert tuba-sounding noseblow here*

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Carnal Pleasures

No, not the first definition. The second one: "relating to the world; earthly." When you're living a no-first-definition-fulfillment kind of life, you learn to maximize the things that do make you tingle.

I have two loves in my life that border on addiction: shopping and food. (Yeah, I am aware that I am the only woman in the history of humankind like this. This is my blog. MY BLOG. And I feel like writing about this today. Stop snickering and keep reading, or go away.)

For the first, only bargains will do. I'm frugal-minded and--oh yeah, these days--broke, so it's not like I'm one of those crazed Imeldas spending $4,000/pair on shoes every weekend. I like the thrill of the hunt, and knowing that other women would really want to hurt me if only they knew what I'd paid for that. And sometimes, I can't contain myself, and I tell them. I don't mean to... it's just that sometimes it kind of bubbles over. It's part of the high.

Other Woman: Wow, I love those shoes!
Me: Really? Thanks.
Other Woman: Yeah, they're adorable.
Me: They're Jones New York.
Other Woman *with an appreciative nod*: Oh well that explains it, then. Very nice.
Me: I GOT THEM AT GOODWILL FOR FOUR DOLLARS!!!!! Brand new! Tags on! FOUR DOLLARS, I tell you!
Other Woman *jolted by my screaming, and perhaps frightened by my little victory dance*: You're joking, right?
Me: No!!

(And then I run away, cackling, before she slaps me.)

For my other obsession, there are a variety of ways to proceed. Chocolate comes first, naturally. But then there's PMS-time (salty foods) and someone-else-cooked-time (nearly anything will do, here, infrequent pleasure that it is) and damn-all-you-with-unadventurous-palates-time (sushi) and someone-else-is-paying-for-a-meal-at-a-restaurant-without-a-play-structure-time (thanks, Dad). Okay, I pretty much just like to eat.

Today, I descended into the depths of compound carnal sinning, and I did it with my kids in tow. Corrupt 'em young, that's my motto.

Often on Tuesdays we have a doctor's appointment or two in the afternoon, and then some time to kill before I drop the kids with the ex for their dinner night. Today our appointment was early, leaving us a lot more time that usual. I considered heading home. The doctor's office is about halfway to the ex's house, and as I'd just paid $12.79/gallon to fill my car with gas, I decided we were staying out.

First stop: Priceless Kids. Let the record show that I do my most giddy bargain shopping for the children. While I'm thrilled to find stuff for myself, part of the maternal instinct is this urge to make sure your offspring have more clothes at any given time than you have ever owned in your entire life. That way, you can lie to yourself that you won't have to do laundry as often. And when they have a growth spurt, you can... start all over again. Yeah. Anyway, I'd gotten a tip at a fabulous bargain site I visit that there were Lands' End nightgowns at Priceless Kids. At 3 for $10. (My pulse quickens just typing it.) Priceless Kids is kind enough to have a little "movie area" at the rear (bonus!) where the kids can hang out and watch Aladdin while I paw through the racks, searching for my prey. I found the nightshirts in question... all nice hefty cotton knit (did I mention that for the ultimate bargain high, it has to be something of really nice quality?)... and was in heaven. I made my selections and scoped out the rest of the store.

I just love that stores like Priceless Kids remove brand tags from things that any red-blooded American mother can identify at ten paces. Totally cracks me up. I mean... if you were not the clothing whore that I am, I suppose maybe you wouldn't recognize the font they use on the Lands' End tags. (*cough*amateurs*cough*) But--I swear I am not making this up!--there was an entire rack of girls' shirts sporting various gigantic, shiny "Limited Too" logos on them... with.the.tags.cut.off. Oooooh, sneaky!

After a while, I paid for my purchases and peeled the kids away from the movie, and we headed on to stop two: Trader Joe's. I was already light-headed from the first store. But I wanted more! Trader Joe's rocks on several levels. First off, when I shop there (not very often, because they're not too close by) I can pretend that I still live in California. Between the organic/novel/weird goods they deal and all the hippies who either work or shop there, it's a great illusion to enjoy for an hour or so. Next, they have committed themselves to clear and concise labelling for the seven major food allergens, which means I can buy food for my son there without having to worry that maybe they forgot to mention something that might, you know, kill him. And to top all of this off, they carry delicious, fresh, unusual (well, for around here) foods at fabulous prices. I can't say enough about them. In fact now I'm wondering why the hell I don't get my lazy butt down to that store more often.

At first, the kids queried every item I put in the cart.
"Why are you buying green mayonnaise?"
"Ewwwww, mushrooms. Are they like maybe radioactive? Cuz I don't think it's normal for them to be that big."
"That stuff looks like grass. Do people eat grass?"
"That came from a real live fish? I'm not eating that!"

After a while, I'd fallen into a deep and blissful trance... it's possible they stopped quizzing me. It's equally possible that they continued and I tuned them out. I do vaguely remember some excitement when they saw the purple potato chips. For the most part I was off in another place, where everything is so yummy you could just cry from the happiness of it all. (As one friend put it: I'm in touch with my inner trough.) And the cherry on top? Balloons at the check-out. The kids want to go back again. Tomorrow. Pleasepleaseplease Mama.

My tranquil state lasted for approximately two minutes after leaving the store. My cell phone rang; "traffic is terrible, I'm stuck on the highway, I don't know what time I can be there" (there may have been more, but it's hard to process when you're both driving and counting to ten). Let's just say the rest of the day was not without its hiccups.

But now... now, all is right with the world. The kids are in bed. I have a bowl of "Avocado's Number" guacamole (suitable for avocado-loving geeks who think the spoof of Avagadro is giggle-worthy) and a bag of chips. I would happily exchange the bag of chips for a big spoon, but I'm trying to exercise some restraint.

Or maybe I'm gonna go grab the spoon as soon as I finish writing this.

Some things are private, ya perv.

Tuesday is Chooseday!

(And also, I am a follower... wow I almost said typed that with a straight face... and nothing interesting has happened yet today 'round here cept for a game of Go Fish involving a stuffed puppy who regularly drew multiple cards, dirty cheater.)

tuesday is chooseday

Would you rather:
  1. your best friend overhear you telling somebody else a deep secret about them OR your child overhear you venting your frustrations about your significant other?

  2. Well as my savings for the Therapy Fund are already being socked away (and spent), I guess I take the latter. My kids have heard me vent about my ex, which is--in my opinion--normal and not so horrible as long as I keep it clean. Don't get me wrong, I try to keep their hearing of this stuff to a minimum, but to me it just isn't on par with violating a trust like repeating a secret. (It's no secret my ex frustrates the beejesus outta me, not even to my 4-year-old!)

  3. learn an obscure language only spoken by 15 other people on the planet OR be able to guess somebody's exact birthdate, just by looking at them?

  4. I'm not really planning to go work at a carnival any time soon, so I pick the obscure language. What if those 15 people are really cool?

  5. have eyebrows that grow in VERY bushy, daily, no matter how you try to prune them OR make a sound like a tuba whenever you blow your nose?

  6. I knew posting that picture was a bad idea; that was really low writing about my eyebrows!!! Ahem. Huh? Oh. Um, tuba sound, please. At least that would be intermittent rather than ever-present.

  7. have a job that makes $200,000 a year, but you only get to see your family once a week for 3 hours OR make just enough to survive from check-to-check, but be able to see your family whenever you want?

  8. It appears that I've already selected the second option, although if I were given the opportunity to swap for the money I definitely wouldn't. Being poor isn't so bad. Three hours a week with my kids would only be enough time for me to feed and bathe them a settle a couple of arguments.

Monday, May 24, 2004

It has come to my attention...

... that not everyone was charmed impressed amused that I had my kindergarten school portrait in my profile.

After sorting through approximately 6,591 family photos, I cut out this one that I didn't completely hate. (There was another one that was pretty good, an almost artsy kinda profile shot from a birthday party, where my hair looked fabulous and I was about to help blow out the candles... and Julia said it looked like I was getting ready to snort some coke. Alrighty then.)

So there I am. This is a move of The New Fearless Me, putting my face out there for anyone and everyone. It makes me very uncomfortable. But I'm told it won't kill me. We'll see.

25 things that go bump in the night

The title is a misnomer; few, if any, of these things actually go bump in the night. But they all frighten me.

1) The Swan.
2) The fact that I am compelled to watch The Swan.
3) That weird little dancing bald guy in the commercials for Six Flags who shows up in a bus and jitterbugs around until everyone joins him for a romp at the amusement park.
4) Women who think they can't leave the house without make-up on.
5) Men who think women shouldn't leave the house without make-up on.
6) People who take their marriages for granted.
7) People who don't like kids.
8) People who think I must be miserable because I'm divorced.
9) Hail. (This string of thunderstorms we've been having hasn't bothered me in the slightest; now they're running "hail warning" banners across the bottom of the TV screen and I'm freaking.)
10) How easily my children trust.
11) "Gingy" from the Walmart commercials (though he was quite good in Shrek 2, I'll admit).
12) Teenage drivers on cell phones.
13) Seeing babies/children not properly restrained in carseats/seatbelts.
14) The possibility that I may need to stab my son with his Epi-Pen to save his life someday.
15) The possibility that I may do that and he'll die anyway.
16) Heights.
17) Wasps.
18) Small spaces.
19) Failure.
20) Thongs. (Not the footwear....)
21) The Junior Women's League.
22) The guy at the diner around the corner who fawns all over my daughter and tells me how beautiful she is when we eat there. (We don't go there anymore.)
23) Anyone wearing spandex who is not on a bicycle or in the gym.
24) Minutes 30 to 44 when I'm doing 45 minutes on my elliptical trainer.
25) Life without carbs.

Gimme my money back (please)

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to you today in reference to the deposits placed with your organization to hold summer camp slots for my children, Chickadee and Monkey IdiotboysLastNameWhichWeAreAllStuckWithNow. On March 6th, 2004, the children were registered as follows:

Chickadee: Weeks 3-6 for Camp By The Lake, and Weeks 7 and 8 at Tap/Ballet Camp Which Isn't Nearly Expensive Enough Already So You Will Require Me To Purchase a $75 Recital Outfit. Pre- and post-care for all weeks.

Monkey: Weeks 7 and 8 for Camp For Kids Not Actually Old Enough For Camp But Conveniently Located Down The Hall From Tap/Ballet. Pre- and post-care for both weeks.

Total deposits placed with you for these registrations total $360 ($270 for Chickadee and $90 for Monkey).

At the time of registration, (which is by the way insanely early for most people to actually know what life is going to look like over the summer, but if you don't register then there are no slots left and people laugh at you when you attempt to find a space for your kids later on) I anticipated being employed full-time this summer, hence the need for such extended childcare coverage. Since then I have realized there is no full-time employment which I can easily procure that will offset the cost of two children in full-time care (and don't even get me started on the guilt of having considered this when I long ago committed to being a full- or at least mostly-stay-at-home-mom).

I have read your policy on refunds and although the double-speak and fine print did make my head swim just a bit, it does state that deposits can be refunded "at the discretion" of your organization in special circumstances. Barring that, it states that deposit money can be transferred amongst participants.

Well here's my special circumstance: I don't have a job, and child support might be just enough to scrape by on with no daycare, and so I have elected to stay home with my children this summer. However, as my ex is the one who placed the deposit money with you (on his credit card, and then was at my door less than an hour later demanding a check, but I couldn't do the registration because that's only for members of your elite organization and when said ex got a "family" membership which he could've easily added me to with no one the wiser and then I would've been able to take the kids swimming, he expressly pointed out that he was divorced from that horrible woman (me) and so no, he did not have a wife to add), I don't even want a refund. Should you refund the money, it will go to the ex's credit card and then I won't see it for eons. Not because the ex would try to keep it for his own (he is anal to a frightening degree about what he perceives as monetary fairness) but because he is so absent-minded I wouldn't be able to recoup it without nagging and arguing and I'm trying really hard not to do that stuff anymore because it's more aggravating than being poor.

So, I am perfectly happy to settle this situation with a transfer of funds to my friend Heather, who is in fact gainfully employed and has also registered her kids in your camp program. Right now you have $360 of my money. Please withdraw my children's registration from all programs except the Chickadee's week 7-8 slot at dance camp (I have promised this to her for so long that I cannot take it away now without sealing my status as The Meanest Mama Ever). Please use $200 of my deposit money as the full payment for dance camp. Please transfer the remaining $160 to my friend Heather's account, and I will work it out with her.

Failure to comply with my request will result in my going Hulk on you, so please don't jerk me around for what is a tiny amount of money for you but an entire month's groceries for me, mkay?

Thank you in advance for your cooperation in this matter.

Sincerely Yours,
Miriam IdiotboysLastNameWhichWeAreAllStuckWithNow

Sunday, May 23, 2004

To sleep, perchance to... torment Mama

I would like to sit down and calculate how many waking hours I've spent trying to get my children to go to sleep. No, I wouldn't. It would probably make me cry. I accept that this is part of the Mama job description, just as part of being a kid is that you don't go down without a fight, whether you need to cry and whine that you are NOT tired or get out of bed eleventy times or simply work on your headstands in bed and then fall crashing out of the bed with the approximate velocity and force of a herd of thundering wildebeasts and then wonder why the following reception is not more solicitous. I get it.

What I don't get is how the very same creature who fought sleep tooth and nail can succumb to it so completely that they will continue to be asleep even once they are technically awake. (No, I didn't typo.) In my world, if you are upright and your eyes are open, that's called being awake, dammit.

I came upstairs tonight expecting to spend 60 seconds doing my "rounds" and then come climb into my own bed. Silly me. First I went into the Chickadee's room, turned off her music, and started to switch off her nightlight. She was snoring, so I knew she was asleep. Silly me (again). As my hand neared the nightlight, she started screaming at me. Eyes open, half sitting up, and speaking an ancient tongue with which I'm not familiar. But since her head didn't rotate and the bed stayed on the floor I'm thinking it might be okay. The conversation went kind of like this:
Me: Shhhh, it's just me, go back to sleep.
Me: Honey, shhhhh, it's alright. Sleep, baby.
Me: Oh for crying out loud... same to you.
(I left the room and she stopped.)

Next it was on to the Monkey. In the continued yet hopeless campaign to get him nighttime potty trained, I drag his little tushie out of bed every night before I turn in, and take him to the bathroom. Tonight was our usual; I carried him to the bathroom, set him down where he swayed back and forth with one eye open while I pulled down his jammies and pull-up, and sat him on the toilet. Usually he goes right away and we get him put back together and into bed in a jiffy.

Sometimes he's too sleepy, and forgets to aim. After several incidents which I will refrain from detailing here, we put an end to vertical urination right quick. All sitting, all the time, buster. But aim is still required because, well, inconveniently enough, the toilet is underneath, not straight out in front.

Which brings us to tonight's joy. It went like this:
Me: Honey, point down.
Him: *snore*
Me: HONEY. Point down, please.
Him: unngh.
Me: HELLOOOOOOOO. Can you hear me?
Him: yeah.
Me: Good. Please point down, you're going to pee on me.
Him: *starts to cry*
Me: What's the matter? Why are you crying?
Him: *no answer, more snuffling*
Me: Why are you crying? Stop it, you're fine. Just point down and peepee please.
Him: *starts to list to the left, hands still--maddeningly!--limp at his sides*
Me: Do you want to go back to bed?
Him: Yes. Bed.
Me: Great, just point down and pee and we'll get you right back into bed.
Him: *back to crying*
I am embarassed to admit... this went on for a good five minutes. I raised my voice... I actually clapped in the child's face (I know, I know, but I was running out of ideas)... and when I was just about ready to forget it and take him back to bed, he peed.

All over me. And the floor. And his pajamas.

And then he cried.

And I didn't kill him.

Which I think makes me eligible for sainthood, wouldn't you agree? Only I would like a shower before the ceremony, please.

Simplify Sunday

I fear that Julia--Master (mistress?) of All That is Funkalicious in Graphics--is going to kill me, or at least spend a loooong time guilting me, when she sees that I've removed the cool banner she made for me. I do love that supercool night sky background, and all of the nifty text transformations that Those Of Us With Cheapo Limited Edition Photoshop can only dream about. But this place isn't meant to be about being flashy, and Sundays bring out my desire to simplify in a way that little else does.

Feel free to leave long, wistful, deeply yearning comments about how the previous banner was quite simply the most beautiful and perfect creation you'd ever seen, and how Julia should rightfully be given her own island nation to rule. She'll appreciate it, and it may shorten the number of days she won't speak to me.

The kids and I made it to church on time (*flex*) this morning, with a minimum of frustration, and after a long talk about Last Time's Behavior ("So, is it okay to run down the aisle screaming "MAMA SHE TOOK MY CRAYON!" when you are supposed to be sitting quietly and I am up in the choir loft singing?") today's behavior was exemplary, if I do say so myself. During the children's sermon the pastor asked what would happen if it never rained again, and the Monkey immediately piped up, all serious-like, "All the lakes would dry up!" and there was a collective oh-isn't-he-just-so-precious murmur from the congregation. During Junior Church the Chickadee chose to forego her own project in favor of assisting a friend who needed help (the teacher pulled me aside to fill me in on this, with profuse admiration). If I'd been any warmer and fuzzier by the time we left church, I would've needed to strip naked for ventilation.

So we returned home and I tried to preserve this feeling the way that any good mom does; I decided we need to Make Goodies.

After some discussion and digging in the pantry, we decided to try the recipe on the back of the Golden Grahams cereal box for s'mores bars. This is like making rice krispy treats with some chocolate melted into the marshmallow goo (and different cereal, obviously). The glow started to fade as both children danced around the kitchen, underfoot, and I tried not to drip molten goo on either of them. By the time I'd sprayed my hands with Pam before mixing it all up (and then discovered that this particular little Hint from Heloise only works in making your hands non-stick for about 2 seconds) and found myself up to my elbows in solidifying graham glop, I'd evicted them from the area. So much for my Norman Rockwell afternoon.

But all was forgiven about one hour and seventeen skirmishes later, when--being the fantabulous mom that I am--I parked the kids in front of A Bug's Life with two s'mores squares. And oh, how it brings me back to a simpler time... a time when I could drink an entire cup of coffee before it got cold. (Just did it; a little slice of heaven.) Only now everything is better by a magnitude I never knew possible, because I have something chocolate to eat with my coffee two little complications who love me even when I'm cranky.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Caution: Inventions in mirror are dumber than they may appear

A top 10 from today, if you'll indulge me....

1) Disappearing patterns on pull-ups. The point of these little gems is to motivate your child to stay dry all night. In the commercials, a small child appearing barely old enough to walk, much less scale the potty, runs triumphantly to mommy to display that the pull-up still bears the decorative print and Mommy wow, I'm a big kid now! The kid in the commercial has been wearing that pull-up for less than 10 seconds. I can attest that putting spaceships on the Buzz Lightyear pull-ups was really stupid, because a four-year-old boy will run triumphantly into your room in the morning to declare "Buzz wiped out all the evil alien ships!" Yeah. Buzz and the three glasses of water you sucked down at bedtime, buddy.

2) Children's chewable vitamins in a variety of shapes and colors. Fun shapes! Bright colors! Fun to eat! Um, no. Fun to argue over, as in why-does-she-have-a-monkey-and-I-have-an-elephant and I-only-like-the-pink-ones and awwwww-I-had-a-lion-yesterday.

3) The Miracle-Gro sprayer attachment thingie for the hose. I may be dumb (no comments from the peanut gallery, please), but I'm not blind. The whole idea of this gizmo is that the perfect, proper amount of fertilizer is being mixed evenly into the spray, yes? Funny, that perfect amount turns the first 30 seconds of spray dark blue, progressively lightening for the next 30 seconds, and then for the rest of the watering session I'm just an idiot with a big stupid bottle nozzle attachment on my hose.

4) Milk in the light-block bottle. Precious vitamins can be leached out of the milk by dangerous light striking the plastic container. Oh my! Guess what? There are no vitamins in water, which is what we'll be drinking with lunch when I buy the light-block bottle on sale and forget that since it's not see-through, I can't see when we run out.

5) Sneakers with velcro for little kids. Isn't it great when they can be self-sufficient and get their own shoes on? Isn't it somehow less great when they discover that they can stick the velcro to their socks, the carpet, their sister...?

6) Slip-on sneakers for children who always complain their shoes are too tight. I'm not naming any names, mind you. Just keep in mind that if a six-year-old stumbles on her way down the garage step, the resultant regaining of balance may end with one shoe outside the garage. And she will be laughing too hard to go retrieve it. And her brother may find this an excellent excuse to start throwing his shoes. You can do what you want; I'm just sayin'.

7) Cup-holder holes in the arms of movie theatre seats. Let's face it: everyone knows those things are never quite the right size for your soda, anyway. They are, however, just the right size for small arms... practicing making anchor ropes out of windbreakers... feet... and dropping candy through.

8) Candyland. I'm just putting it on the list because I would rather chew off my own leg than play this never-ending repetitive simulation of purgatory.

9) Pizza pans with holes in them for crispier crusts. Do they make the crust crispier? I have no idea. Do they make a gigantic crumby mess all over the counter when you cut the pizza? Hell yes.

10) Vibrating toothbrushes for children. I used to have big blue blobs of toothpaste on the bathroom counter. Now I have big blue blobs of toothpaste on the counter overlaid with a fine mist of light blue toothpaste-and-spittle spatter. (And also, "Great green globs of greasy grimy gopher guts" is now stuck in my head, though strictly speaking that is not the fault of the toothbrushes.)

P.S. Shrek 2 gets a big thumbs-up from me, although I would like to watch it again without hearing "What's funny, Mama? Why did that make you laugh?" two hundred and fifty-nine times.

Even Better!

What Video Game Character Are You? I am a Gauntlet Adventurer.I am a Gauntlet Adventurer.
I strive to improve my living conditions by hoarding gold, food, and sometimes keys and potions. I love adventure, fighting, and particularly winning - especially when there's a prize at stake. I occasionally get lost inside buildings and can't find the exit. I need food badly.
What Video Game Character Are You?

(And the sad part is, I think this one was more accurate than the girlfriend test....)

Friday, May 21, 2004

Thank Goodness

You Are A Professional Girlfriend!
You are the perfect girlfriend - big surprise!

Heaven knows you've had enough practice. That's why you're a total pro.

If there was an Emily Post of girlfriends, it would be you.

You know how to act in every situation ... to make both you and your guy happy.

What Kind Of Girlfriend Are You? Take This Quiz :-)

It must be my professional girlfriend status that has me beating away the men with a stick. Oh, wait, those are mosquitoes. My mistake.

I confess. What was proud self-assurance this morning turned down the path of woulda-coulda-shouldas by evening. But I'm all better now that I know I'm a perfect girlfriend. That will come in very handy on my next date. Which will be happening in 2012.


So I'm having a pretty good morning... got the kids off to school without major incidence... came back home and was cleaning and such and thinking about how yesterday really wasn't too bad... I'd feared it would be a very difficult day for me because it marked an event about which I feel great ambivalence, and a fair amount of regret... but all in all it was okay. I got things done. I didn't feel the need to have a major wallow. I felt alright. By evening I'd felt a hurdle had been overcome and I was (dare I say it?) doing some good growing. All of this I was reviewing this morning, and I gave myself another of those little mental pat-on-the-backs (honestly, if I don't do it, who will?).

Then the phone rang. It was my therapist; did I realize we have a session scheduled for this morning that I'd missed?

You know, I love irony as much as the next smartass, but it is possible to have too much of a good thing.

So I did the big ol' Homer Simpson DOH! and apologized profusely for my ditziness... checked my calendar, where indeed I found the appointment written clearly right on today's date. She was very nice about it. But nothing is quite so deflating to the ego's well-being as knowing that your therapist thinks you're a flake.

Not that I need a therapist or therapy at all. I mean, I could've dealt with the slow breakdown of my marriage, the "100 Years Divorce" (okay it didn't really take that long, it just felt that way), the saga of Dr. Husband and Mr. Idiotboy, taking a seriously crappy job because of impending divorce, getting treated like crap at seriously crappy job, getting laid off from seriously crappy job, realizing no one was going to hire me to do anything better, watching my savings dwindle, one child with life-threatening food allergies, one child with chronic clinical depression starting at the tender age of four, and maintaining a house and raising two kids all on my own... on my own. I could've. It's just that I figured that would all be a lot more complicated if my head exploded.

Having missed this morning's therapy session, I give you (for those who asked, and for those who didn't, too bad) the event from May 20, 2003 that renders me a complete asshat: Just a few months post-separation, I had my first date in about ten years. It was too early, I wasn't ready, and my choice of partner was--to be kind--questionable. From this evolved a relationship that alternately gave me hope and made me doubt and loathe myself. It destroyed a dear friendship. It nearly destroyed me. I learned my lesson but I think "ignorance is bliss" is applicable here.

The rub is this: I hold a grudge. Always have. (And I do love how--when discussing this topic with my father a few days back--he tiptoed around this particular "feature" of mine as if perhaps I don't realize that I am a demanding bitch.) In this case, although I am now A-OK with myself and the world and myself in the world and even this person no longer being part of that, I'll be damned if I can stop being pissed at him. I literally sat him down on multiple occasions to reiterate please handle with care, I am damaged right now and I can't take more and please don't move forward if this isn't what you truly want. He ignored me, because he is a hopeful and selfish bastard. And I will move on, I will love again, I will find the one I seek... and he will continue to walk the walk and talk the talk until the enormity hits him and he runs away as fast as his legs can carry him (again and again and again)... which means I should feel sorry for him. But I don't. It's about the most infuriating thing in the world, I think, to see such a gifted person so incapable of love when they should damn well know better.

I don't know if my missing my appointment falls under the "there are no accidents" category or the "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar" category. Either way, I don't feel half bad. Onward and upward! (*insert annoyingly repetitive "I'm Still Standing" music here for maximum cheesiness*)

Haiku Hijinks

Many, many thanks to the folks at Haiku Smackdown for an evening of great entertainment at yesterday's Smackdown. I laughed, I cried... it was way better than "Cats" (yo!). Please do check it out, if you haven't already.

Parental advisory warning: Some of the haikus are raunchy, and some are well beyond that. (You might need to skip a few, Dad.)

Let me tell you, it is impossible to wallow and 'ku at the same time. Can't be done. I went to bed with a crick in my neck and a happy heart.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

New Digs

I'm playing around. Do not be alarmed! (The BlogSpot support staff weren't... they responded today to an email question I posed 3 days ago with a useless response that made it quite clear they'd spent all three days doing everything but actually reading the question.) (Really, I love BlogSpot. Their service is free and it's worth every penny!) I'm gonna leave it like this for a few days and see if it makes me cross-eyed. Lemme know what you think.

Scissors are Fun

Important discovery: I can have oodles of time to myself to blog, pay bills, and do dishes, and still garner Fun Mama points, if I allow the Monkey to cut up his Spiderman coloring book while I do so.

He has spent most of the morning cutting out every little spider in there and then running to me to present it... whereupon I shriek a fake little scream of horror, he laughs himself silly (remember, he is easily amused), and then he runs off to find me another one.

"Mama, you don't like spiders, do you?"

"No, honey, not very much."

"Mama, spiders and Barbies freak you out."

"Yes, sweetheart, they do."

"That's okay, Mama... I love you anyway."

Typical Me

Oh.my.God. This is just SO like me...

What is Your Destiny?
by Valcion
DestinySavior of the human race
Date when you fufill your destinyJanuary 8, 2004
Created with the ORIGINAL MemeGen!

I mean, leave it to me to flipping save all of humankind and not even notice (or get credit). Thanks, Liz. I think. (Tell ya what... I'll bring the butter for your toast and you can bring whatever goes well with the spoils of righteous--if somewhat oblivious--victory and we'll make a celebration of it.)

More typical me:
1) Discovered this morning that I left the garage door open. All night. With the door to the house unlocked.
2) Woke up with a migraine, took my meds, asked the kids to play quietly, went back to bed for half an hour.
3) Got up to what can only be described as a spectacular explosion of the arts-n-crafts chest all over the kitchen.
4) I am brooding over a really bad decision I made a year ago today that came back to bite me several times, hard; and it might be cathartic to write about it, but as there is no spin I could put on said decision that wouldn't make me look like a total asshat (I'm stealing the word, but giving credit where it's due) I'm just gonna shut up and get back to wallowing.

Editing to add: If I fill in "Miriam" instead of "Mir" I'll be creating some super-weapon in August of 2007. Apparently my more formal self doesn't know how to harness her powers for good.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

As if I wasn't neurotic enough...

I've come to that time of the evening when I paint "NERD" across my forehead, put on my jammies, turn on "Whose Line Is It, Anyway?" and get into bed with my laptop. (All of the aforementioned really happens except the forehead painting part....)

Julia and I often chat on AIM and watch "Whose Line" together (well, as together as you can from several states apart) at this time of night, and I kind of wind down from the day, and all is grand.

Tonight I'm feeling a little jittery. First of all, Waldo is still at large, and as my bathroom is connected to my bedroom and I can no longer find him in the bathroom, I'm just a tiny bit worried that he may kill me in my sleep. In addition, the Monkey is having a rare difficult night and has already been up to tell me he's "wone-wy" at least four times (I get the good mommy award for not once snapping back "Yeah, I'm lonely too, but I'm not bothering you when I should be sleeping!"). It's hard to relax under the certain knowledge that you won't know when, but at some point in the night a flailing bedhog will be upon you. (But on the plus side, he might scare Waldo away.) And last, tomorrow is likely to be a Very Sucky Day and the only thing I'm even better at than wallowing is anticipating a good wallow.

Anyway. What's a girl to do with all this on her mind? Read weird crap on the web, of course. I'm still trying to wrap my head around this article about a prison in Indiana which is instituting a dress code for visitors. Among the various edicts listed in the article is this gem: "underwear is required to remain invisible."

I've long suspected that I lack many of the feminine wiles of my sexier counterparts. Now I'm really stunned. There's a way to make underwear invisible?? There are hours, nay, days of my life, cumulatively, that I've spent shopping for undergarments that won't leave panty lines. If any readers know the Underwear Invisibility Incantation, please enlighten me. (Thank goodness there's no one in prison I need to visit. Yet.)

But I NEED that!

Panic. Complete, total, utter panic.

I was sitting here... minding my own business... finishing up the Mother's Day gifts for the grandmothers (yes, thank you, I know today's date... there were technical difficulties beyond my control and... why am I explaining this??)... when the phone rings.

It's Eric, or maybe it's Erik, I really don't know, and he's calling me from the 401 area code, and I have no idea where that is, but if I haven't mentioned before that I love having Caller ID, I really do, and I would like to thank the Ex for the early days of post-separation insanity wherein he felt the need to call my house a hundred times a day, prompting me to get said Caller ID, anyway, back to Eric, he's calling to inform me that my bank is making exciting new changes to their online banking this Summer! Hurray for them! And I am just about to hang up on his cheery earnest script-reading self when he jubilantly proclaims that as a part of these changes, customers will no longer be able to receive e-bills online through the bank. But stay tuned for exciting new functionality....

"Back up," I said. "I can't get e-bills anymore? Why not?"

There is a pause. Eric or Erik clears his throat.

"Ma'am," (nothing endears me to a young twerp more than being called ma'am as if I'm twice my actual age, let me tell you), "you can still elect to receive e-bills through arrangement with your various billers, just not through our online banking."

"Ummm... you said the bank is bringing an updated interface and exciting new functionality... this sounds to me like a revocation of services. How is that beneficial?"

Eric or Erik could be heard flipping through his script. I don't think he knows what revocation means. But I'm guessing he could tell that I was annoyed.

"Ma'am," (there it is again) "I'm really not sure why they've decided to do this, but I'm sure there will be even better functionality in its place once the upgrade is complete."

I resisted the temptation to ask what functionality would be better than the extraordinary convenience of having all my bills linked to my checking account in one place, save for the bank perhaps paying off those bills before I ever even saw them. With someone else's money (natch).

I also resisted the temptation to scream "You fool! Do you have any idea how long it took me to get my finances organized to a level where I no longer break out in hives every time I log on to my account? DO YOU???"

Furthermore, (and here is the very nicest part, because I'm all about loving my neighbors, figurative and otherwise) I have resisted the overwhelmingly strong urge to include the name of my financial institution in this post. I was asked to "stay tuned" and that I shall, and if the Summer brings me the banking travesty I fear it may, then I will of course put links to my bank's online consumer grievance area all over my site.


Where's Waldo?

Last night I noted that I needed to help a friend after the kids were in bed. By "help a friend" I of course meant that my friend Eileen is too chicken to color her own hair, and in the logic that only a best friend can have, figured it was somehow safer to come over to my house, ply me with alcohol, and let me do it. I am pleased to report that we did indeed wash that grey right outta her hair and it was a fairly early night. I didn't even dye much of her face.

However, lightweight that I am, it seemed somehow wrong to try to sit down and do my reading for my church study group after an evening fraternizing with Mike (purveyor of fine hard lemonades; in this case, cranberry flavor). So, I turned in early and actually set my alarm, something I rarely do as I own two loud, unprogrammable alarm children already.

I did it. Got up before the smaller lifeforms, did some reading, hopped in the shower. Enter Waldo. Waldo and I have been facing off for a couple of days, now. I haven't quite worked up the nerve to do something about him, and he hasn't had the decency to disappear.

Waldo is a humongous spider. I don't tend to be too squeamish about bugs and other creatures. But I have my limits. Although I firmly believe in leaving spiders be to eat the other, more disgusting insects who have rudely invaded my home, Waldo is too big to be a common house spider. He's too big to ignore. And it appears that he has taken up residence in my bathroom.

Upon entering the bathroom Waldo was nowhere to be seen, even when I did an inspection of the shower stall. So I went along my merry way, got the water started, hopped in and started getting my hair wet. Then we came eye-to-uh... hairy belly. (Anyone who thinks the hairy belly is mine needs to leave now.) Waldo had set up shop between my shower curtain and the transparent liner, and I found myself staring at him through the blue-tinted plastic. I think he was laughing at me.

A quick mental calculation assured me that there was no way I was going to be otherwise confronted with him or have to touch him or anything, so I went about my business. I washed my hair. I started to shave my legs. I glanced over and Waldo was... gone.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to shave your legs, wash, and condition your hair with an industrial sized bottle of Pantene clutched in one hand, ready to strike?

He's still MIA. But I have a sneaking suspicion he'll be back. It's the where of it all that's gonna give me nightmares.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

My glass is... cloudy

Honestly, I'm a glass-is-half-empty kind of person. I don't want to be. I'm trying to change. For me it's something that requires real effort, and of course I suspect that for others it comes easily and that only contributes to my frustration.

It's evening, I have plans to help a friend with something tonight after the kids are in bed, and I'm on the verge of hyperventilating. Today I didn't:

  • pay the bills...
  • balance my checkbook...
  • call the lawnmower repair guy...
  • write the letter I need to write to get my summer camp money refunded...
  • fold the @&%#! laundry...
  • receive my child support payment (3 days late, now)...
  • remember to remind the Ex about the child support payment...
  • manage to order that fan off of Amazon before it went out of stock...
  • exercise...
  • do my reading assignment for my small group study tomorrow...
  • clean the crap out of the car that I keep meaning to clean.

That's my glass, half-empty. But this is the New Me. No more woulda-coulda-shouldas for this girl, no sirree bob! But ya know, the New Me is in many ways remarkably like the Old Me (who wasn't, in my humble opinion, such a bad sort; just a little more neurotic than necessary). Here's the only way I know to make my glass half-full. Today I didn't:

  • swear when I took the bills out of the mailbox...
  • spend any money...
  • forget to shower...
  • bite the Ex's head off about the child support...
  • so much as secretly fantasize about something large and heavy falling on the Ex...
  • walk into anything...
  • watch any TV...
  • run the car into anything...
  • harm either child, even when said children tracked mud through the house after I'd just asked them to take their shoes off...
  • harm the child who came over for a playdate and peed all over my freshly cleaned bathroom...
  • eat anything that was not more or less life-sustaining and appropriately caloric.

This is progress, right?