Month: March 2009

On the bright side, I don’t have any gray hair anymore…(cuz I pulled it all out!)

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boys jumping Thoughts from this weekend with my two sons:

– Any softening I have had about how this third child wouldn’t be THAT much bigger a deal, was completely blown out of the water after this weekend. There will be no–let me repeat, absolutely zero–“girls weekends away” when we have three kids. And CareerMom’s traveling schedule is going to seriously have to be re-evaluated, or else the in-laws are going to need to be proactively involved!

– Give a kid a toy, and he’ll play for five minutes. Ignore a kid for five minutes and everything’s a toy.

– Boxes of tissues hold infinite amounts of interest for toddlers.

– Boys only learn by one method, the rod (aka: the switch). Asking nicely doesn’t work. Asking forcefully doesn’t work. Even yelling goes in one ear and out the other and only makes you–the parent–feel like a complete a-hole. Nope, spank ’em and move on.

– When they wanna be sweet, they can melt your heart. The other 98% of the time, you just want to smash a pile of bricks with your forehead.

– For anyone out there who may be saying to themselves, “Uh huh, it’s not so easy is it. Now you know what CareerMom had to go through two weeks ago” I submit the following facts:

  • Fact 1: She only had them one full day. The other days were “take ’em to daycare” days.
  • Fact 2: She had nice weather and could take them outside. I had severe thunderstorms and bitter cold.
  • Fact 3: When the going gets tough, the tough take them over to their mom’s house where there is a sister with a daughter to play with

– I’ve completely run out of junk food-groups to feed them. I’ve done pizza, spaghetti, corn dogs (actually, I grabbed the “sausage dogs” by accident“), what is left?

– Going and getting a band-aid every 30 minutes is driving me friggin’ nutz. And I’m not even the one getting them!

– Honestly, I can’t keep up with the messes. Oh, and while vacuuming today, the vacuum belt broke.

– After soooo looking forward to CareerMom’s returning at 6 p.m. and giving me a break, I checked online and discovered her flight is 1.5 hours late. Guess I get to put them to bed again.

– CareerMom had better not come home horny! I’m in a “don’t touch me” mood!

– I am not handling this well.

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Weekend! When the workin’ days are through…

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I need your help! Here’s the scenario:
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OK, CareerMom is gone till Sunday afternoon.

It’s gonna rain most of the weekend

Which means all my “outdoor exercise” activities are shot.

I’m gonna need to bleed off some energy from both the boys and myself.

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Suggestions?

Cosmic Justice?

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Wow! Posting my Swan Song garnered as many comments as any post about deviant sex ever could have!!

But, you’re right. I can’t stop. And taking the pressure off of “needing” to post everyday, makes it easier. I need to just embrace the fact that not even Jim Butcher can write a super-novel every day, and then just move on with life.

Here goes…(and I take no responsibility for the quality of said content):

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image Harken back to this time about two weeks ago.

I woke up on Wednesday morning with a scratchy throat. Being a victim of “chronic sinusitis,” I knew that this could mean only one thing. And when coupled with the acne that had popped up like some greasy teenager with raging hormones, I immediately started doing the sinus flush in hopes of preventing any further infection.

Didn’t work.

I flew up to TrishaTruly’s place where I languished in lethargic agony for nigh on three days.

On Friday, CareerMom is flying to Charleston for the weekend to meet up (hook up with? NAH!) an old high school friend of hers. Both ladies have children of their own and they haven’t seen each other since our wedding almost ten years ago. When this begin percolating in their heads, CareerMom wasn’t aware that she was pregnant and I’m sure the last thing she wanted, was to appear 5 months pregnant in her elasti-pants in front of a girl whom she shared a college dorm room with and with whom she fought against for the affections of young college studs out at Texas back in the 90s.

C’est la vie!

Yeah, I’m a wee bit jealous. My trip was up to the freezing tundra (aka: Scranton, PA) while hers is out to the relatively warm spring climate of Charleston where there is sure to be fine dining and pedicures.

HOWEVER…

This morning, the alarm went off at 5:30 a.m. I flipped over and slapped the “snooze” button so as not to have to listen to Steve and Vickie any longer than necessary, and CareerMom mumbles, “I have a sore throat.”

GWAH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

I’d rather cut my own finger off…

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image When I was about 9, I was running through the hall in our house in Mobile, and I stepped on a toothpick that lay hidden in the carpet. I remember feeling/hearing the “pop!” sound it made as it punctured the soft archy part of my foot and I remember the pain I felt as I hit the floor screaming. My brother, in one of only 2.5 random acts of kindness he ever made towards me–God Bless Him–tried to pull the toothpick out of my foot. Which would have worked had the thing not bent upon entry, resulting in him only breaking off the toothpick and leaving about a 1/2 an inch of it in my foot.

My screaming brought my parents running and for the next eternity (or maybe it was 15 minutes), I lay face down on the kitchen table with the lights on bright, while my mom applied Orajel to my foot in an attempt at numbing it while my dad tried to dig out the toothpick.

Freeform memories from that night:

bright, bright lights

– the pattern on the kitchen floor

– pain, so much pain

– screaming

– trying to kick and buck, but being held down quite firmly

– thinking, “Why the hell am I NOT at the friggin’ hospital?”

Finally, my dad gave up and took me to the hospital. I can only imagine that we didn’t have insurance at the time and my parents were trying to save themselves the ER fee, but good Lord, I had suffered enough. I remember my dad’s shirt being soaking wet and although I didn’t realize it at the time, but I know now that it was from both the effort of concentrating on cutting into my foot while holding me down, and from the pain that it caused him to be doing this to me.

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I know that because last night, just as CareerMom’s family came over for a nice dinner on the back porch in the cool evening air, while running across the deck, MLE shoved a splinter into his foot that was about 3/8 of an inch long. There was crying; there was screaming; there was blood. Being Sunday night, I did what I could to remove the splinter, succeeding in removing about 2/3 of it, but leaving a substantial portion waaay down in his foot where I couldn’t retrieve it without significant digging. After about five minutes of trying to remove the remaining portion, I called it quits and decided we’d take him to the doctor in the morning before it had a chance to get sore on him. In the few minutes that I spent inflicting further pain on my child, I must have sweated out a pint of fluids.  All the while, the toothpick episode from my own youth looped through my head until finally, knowing how much this would hurt MLE if I continued, I called it quits.

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When my folks finally took me to the ER, I remember the nurse sticking me with a small needle to numb my foot and while my mom talked to me at the head of the table, unbeknownst to me, the doctor cut the toothpick out. I didn’t feel a thing. Seriously, the drugs were THAT good.

I’m hoping my kids’ pediatrician is that good. Meanwhile, I have a date with a belt sander and a hammer sometime in the coming weeks. Yaaah me!

Conversations with 5-year olds

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A discussion this morning in the car on the way to daycare:

(the sounds of “Diego” are in the background)

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Me: Hey, did you know that in two weeks, we’ll know whether you’re having a baby brother or baby sister?

MLI: Yes, mommy told me that already.

Me: Well, which would you rather have? A brother or a sister?

MLI: A baby brother…(slight pause)…I don’t want a baby sister, because girls wear panties! …I can’t say that when mom’s around.

I said: Well one day you’ll feel completely different about girls and their panties (I said this on the inside)

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On the outside: I just laughed and laughed…

My my, how things change!

My Own personal stimulus activities

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image Regarding money, I’ve always considered myself to be ‘frugally frugal.’ Meaning that, generally speaking, I like to save money. But that also means that when I see a need, such as the furniture getting old, or the carpet getting raggedy, then I am more than willing to spend the money on updates. CareerMom and I often speak amongst ourselves about how her dad and, generally speaking, her brothers, are not like this. Her dad for instance, is of the mind that if it ain’t broke, then don’t buy a new one. The same goes for painted walls, outdated fixtures, etc. So, I consider CareerMom lucky for having found someone so frugally frugal as myself.

CareerMom and I usually collude on big decisions regarding decorating and fixer-upper things around the house, such as paint colors, furniture and things like that. But when it comes to the details, she is the accessorist. And so, as each season passes, one can mark the change in our home by noting when CareerMom removes the red Christmas pillows and replaces them with the cheerful spring pillows. In the fall, it goes from greens and yellows to warm oranges and reds.

Before we had children, we were able to re-use the same pillows from year to year, often keeping the same ones two or three years in a row, but kids are nothing if not hard on the furniture. Rather than putting the pillows in plastic bins and storing them in the basement until next year, now we usually end up having to throw them out thanks to stains that won’t come out with simple ‘spot-cleaning.’

Recently, I’d heard CareerMom remark that she’d looked for some nice spring-like pillows at the usual good places: Pier One, Tarz-yay and Kohl’s. So while I was out with MLE the other day, I stopped in at Stein-Mart to check out the deals on summer shirts. While there, I happened to wander around to the home decor section and actually found some really nice pillows with warm browns (to match our accent wall) and some light greens and tans. So, I grabbed them. I admit that I did look at the price, and wasn’t too happy with it, but I figured I’d get them and if CareerMom liked them and they made her happy, then it was worth it.

Turns out, CareerMom does like them, or at least she’s pretending to really well. But after looking at them the other day and remarking on what a good job I’d done picking them out, she asked, “Did you get a good deal on them?”

This seemingly innocuous question might be perfectly within the realm of expectation coming from someone else, or maybe even coming from CareerMom if she were talking about a major purchase. But for her to ask that question regarding something that clearly was NOT going to break the bank…caused me to pause for a moment.

And then my overly-analytical mind kicked in:

“What did she mean by that?”

“Is she trying to say that she’s surprised I bought them if they weren’t on sale?”

“Is she calling me a cheapskate?”

“When did this happen?”

“Have I started squashing her purchasing decisions recently?”

“What the hell!”

But, I let the whole comment go. Pick your battles right?

And then, the next weekend, in what was retrospectively CLEARLY a decision influenced by this one perfectly innocent comment, I let her buy a lovely set of deck furniture.

Damn…she’s good!

Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot…

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Well, my trip up to TrishaTruly’s was not everything I thought it would be, primarily because two days prior, I developed a sore throat that persisted and turned into a raging sinus infection. That, coupled with the fact that this Atlanta resident is not used to daytime temps that persist in the 40s, means we didn’t do a whole lot. Which is fine really. My goal was not to go up and be entertained, but even the simple act of lounging around was hampered by my inability to breathe or to summon enough energy to get excited over a nice bottle of Bordeaux.

Families are funny though; perhaps even moreso when you know so little about them, as is the case with me and my PA family. A few know the whole story, but suffice it to say that I didn’t grow up with Trisha or either of my half-sisters, though it’s too bad really. I think we would have had fun. It’s funny though to watch them all and how they relate and how they act and then to compare it to yourself. I imagine that this is one of those things you sort of take for granted when you grow up with your real family. For instance, my oldest sister is very uptight; perhaps made even worse by the fact that she’s seven months pregnant.  But she can be an extremely warm person when she wants to be and saddens me to see her the way she was on this trip.

Trisha is a very different person than she was when I first re-met her some ten years ago. Her life has been flipped upside-down and to her credit, she’s made lemonade, and lemon meringue pie, and lemon shrimp kabobs, etc., out of it. She lives in this great old house and when MLI asked me upon my return, “What does her house look like?” I was a bit stuck on how to describe it. It’s a simple home.  I mean, it’s not going to be featured on “Fine Living” or anything, but from the moment you walk in, you feel welcome. Her house and yard sits on the edge of…I don’t know how many acres of near-pristine forest, whose ground is part dirt and part granite outcroppings that just beg to be climbed. Walking, or even just sitting on her porch in an evening and you’re likely to see any number of deer or turkey out in the field, and as was the case my first night there, a pair of copulating raccoons doing it “high-wire” style while hanging from the power line.

My last whole day there, I roused myself and half-walked, half-mucked through the running pools of melting snow and made my way back to a mostly still-frozen pond back in the woods. From there, I worked my way around the water, using it as a reference and I headed back into the woods. Not too far–just far back enough to lose sight of it, and there, among the storm broken spruce branches that had been packed down by a few of the many resident deer as they rested beneath the trees, I sat on top of a large granite boulder and meditated on the quiet. It was unearthly still, accustomed so as I am to ambient noise from my daily life. But here, there was little to spoil the moment. No trucks, no music, no phones; only the gurgling of water tumbling from some hidden rocky creek bed, and the occasional “Ca-caw!” of a distant crow. I stayed there until I figured I was nearing the cut-off time that Trisha had given me before she considered me “lost in the woods” and launched a mini-search party. And so, more than a little cold and stiff, I rose from my rocky plateau and made my way back to the house.

It really is a wonderful place…the kind of place about which you constantly find yourself thinking, “I could live here.” But then, I also imagine that if I did live there, I would eventually take it for granted and that would be a travesty. Faced with increasing costs required to maintain a 100-year-old homestead, Trisha may end up having to sell the old place off, but I hope she can keep it for a while. As my family grows, I don’t know how many more times I’ll be able to venture up there to see her and the land, but I’d love to have the boys up there once or twice. There’s little to compare to it in Atlanta, and there is something to be said for taking boys out into the woods and letting them lose themselves in the simplicity of rocks, trees and wildlife.

All in all, health issues aside, it was a good trip, a necessary trip. And now it’s back home to wailing banshee boys and hectic schedules.

I can’t wait!