Category Archives: Domestic Bliss

Tomorrow

Things have been not so good lately, but each time I sit down to draft it out, 600 words later I have deleted it and closed the window. One of my friends from Facebook posted on one of my wall updates how I never seem to be happy, and frankly, the words stung with their accuracy. I have not been happy.

It’s not because there is a sense of “buyer’s remorse” over our moving Doodicus from a private school to a public in the hopes he would have access to more…more what? Yeah, well, that’s hard to explain. And the remark about Buyer’s Remorse came from the psychologist, not from Sparring Partner, myself or Dood, but it kinda sums things up nicely.

It’s not because Sparring Partner’s dad is slipping slowly away in a too-small nursing home room. The giant man whose presence in any room could not simply be ignored – not just because of his size – but because his distinct Bostonian voice could drown any cacophony of Midwesterners, has become an almost empty, cancer-riddled shell. Or that my mom’s Alzheimer’s is progressing in what seems like light-speed ever since Aitch started going to school and we see her less frequently. Talking with her about how the kids are adjusting to school, or the home projects, or just little stories about day-to-day happenings is like trying to write on a chalkboard in the middle of a rain shower.

My unhappiness is not because my son had a crisis that shook us all to our very quick; that incurred a standing appointment with the behavioral health department every other week, that made me ache to go back in time and tell him a thousand more times a day that we love him more than anything. I should have hugged him more even though he always wiggled or turned away. Especially when he wiggled and turned away.

It is that culmination of emotional weight and stress and a feeling your life is spinning wildly off course even though there was never a course to begin with to follow. I know it will slow down enough so I can catch my balance. Yesterdays always seem much simpler, and certainly less of a burden. They are the days that no longer have long lists of things to-do and the things un-done. They are just simply the days that were. Tomorrows are hard because they are filled with expectations, anticipations, dread and worry.

I am hoping just for better tomorrows. Maybe even happier.

NINE

It’s getting late and I’m crazy-ass tired and yet – I am compelled to post. Let’s keep it brief and get to the points I wish to cover, shall we?

1 – My MIL wasn’t able to get around very well this weekend, complaining of pain in her legs. Monday a.m. she was admitted to the hospital. She needs to have her hips that she had replaced 15 plus plus years ago replaced. Mr. DD has spent every evening at the hospital as now she’s been running an unexplained fever. Once she recovers from the fever, she then will spend the next couple of weeks in a nursing home until the scheduled date of her surgery since she can’t go home as the FIL is also recovering from a surgery from a couple months ago. Getting old sucks.

2 – XBoy has brought home work every day from school that he refuses to finish in school. This on top of the regular homework, which includes 20 spelling words, like “autumn” and “September”. Is this normal for 2nd Graders? In the three weeks he’s been in school, we’ve already had the note about pushing another kid as well as the initial note about XBoy’s belligerence in refusing to do his work. How many more weeks before school’s out?

3 – ZGirl received her one year vaccinations including the first half of the flu (regular flu) shot. Mr. DD and I spent that night alternating between holding and comforting an arched-back, screaming hysterically, and feverish baby. Remind me to tell you how the next morning I opened the door on her head. I’m sure it’ll be funny in a week or two.

4 – The next day I stayed home with ZGirl since she was still running a low-grade fever. I was in the middle of getting her lunch in the microwave, running a load of wash, running the dishwasher and we lost electricity in the house. A car accident somewhere down the line. I called and bitched to my husband since he has some sort of magical power to make it come back on again if I get screechy enough with him.

5 – AND THEN tonight Mr. DD announces that we have no propane. Even though our contract with the natural gas company is “keep full” (which means to come in every month and top of the tank). The company has done this not once, but twice before. Instead of calling them tonight and fight with them later over the emergency service charges, he will call and have them deliver during normal business hours. No hot water for a shower or the endless dishes or ZGirl’s or XBoy’s baths.

6- My own post requesting advice on how to get rid of violets garnered less response than a post I didn’t even write. I’m wounded.

7 – Mr. DD and I had a huge fight. Huge. It was about money. Or should I say the lack thereof? Not being able to find a new job is wreaking havoc on our marriage. Is that oversharing?

8 – We received news a couple weeks ago that one of Mr. DD’s nephews and his wife were expecting their first baby. This weekend we heard she miscarried. Now instead of sending the congratulatory card, I need to find a sympathy card.

9 – I’ve caught a cold.

Excuse the multiple updates if you get this through a reader. I blame life right now.

SHRINKING VIOLET? I WISH!

Between my last miscarriage and the time we waited to be matched to a donor, I threw myself into the new landscaping around the house. Breaking a sweat alongside one of my sisters who was suckered into helping me felt good after months of months of trying not to physically exert myself for fear of….who knows what…shaking loose a potential embryo??

04.21 front yard before (5)We started with the long side of the house in front. While I think the clean and symmetrical lines of an English garden are very beautiful, that wouldn’t work on a hilltop acreage with rustic, albeit non-mountainous, views.

Last summer, the second growing season for many of the plants I was able to get in, weeds took up comfy residence in my rock bed among my grasses, hostas and hydrangeas. I could barely handle pulling weeds in the heat, much less bending over at 7 and 8 months hugely pregnant. The area suffered.

This year, while it has been better, I didn’t count on ZGirl’s obsession with the river rocks. Not the playing part; the EATING part. Now, I need to give her a bit of credit. She doesn’t actually eatthem. She puts them in her mouth and then walks around sucking off whoknowswhat from them. Is she mineral-deficient? I wonder. These aren’t pebbles I’m talking about. There are river rocks the size of figs, so big that she can’t close her mouth big. And while I can get her to spit it out immediately when I place my hand under her chin, it just gives her that moment to eyeball the next rock of her choosing.

Do I even need to mention that now is a poor time to even put her in the grass to play because the sandburs that spot the yard are now seeding? Ugh.

The weeds in the bed are way down this year, but now I’m fighting another insidious threat: the sweet little wild violet. (picture below is stock to show the spring blooms)

WildViolets

*as I shake my torch and pitchfork in fury!*

2009 103textThis is how the space pictured first above has progressed – if you want to call it that. I had a tree planted between the two windows. This summer I realized that it just wasn’t coming back. In fact when I went to dig it up, it basically just lifted out of the ground. That’s how dead it was.  The problem area is mainly below the porch.

2009 099Here’s a close up of “ground zero”. That’s a 5 gallon bucket full of violet corpes and yet it seems I’ve barely made a dent! All that green stuff in the rocks that are not either hostas or ornamental grasses? Those are allllll violets. Seriously, these little bitches are running amok in my planting bed. Searches on-line for a solution only find me in the midst of some wild violet forum where someone posts a similar plea for help and they are all but tarred and feathered for wanting to harm the sweet widdle fwowers and suggesting the Flower Hater dig up the plants and give them away to all the Violet Lovers of the world.

If I had that kind of time, I wouldn’t be looking for a way to kill them. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love violets. My aunt’s name is Violette, but she’s not taking over my landscaping, either.

Do any of you have a magic solution? If the darn things would just sprout up in the field instead of my landscaping beds, I wouldn’t be beseeching you for your help.

IT IS BETTER TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE (UNLESS YOU’RE TRYING TO GIVE AWAY YOUR CRAP, WHICH IS JUST NAUGHTY)

I threw out a couple pairs of shoes the other day. One pair was XBoy’s that he wore into the ground over a year ago, literally since there are holes in each heel and toes. The other pair, some Merrill’s I’ve had since before I got pregnant…in 2001, that after two (term) pregnancies no longer are comfortable on my now 1 size larger feet. *ouch*

I salvaged the shoe strings from the Merrills, but as far as I was concerned neither pair were worth keeping. Now my husband, who saw them sitting in the garbage, announced that he was going to give them to Goodwill instead. I looked agog at him.

As the first (and I can assure you, the ONLY) one to notice when an article of clothing needs to be retired, which is wisdom I’ve gained after YEARS of collecting, sorting, washing, drying, folding or hanging up said articles of clothing, I think Mr. DD’s sense of quality is a tetch…warped. Every season, I try to convince my husband to reduce the number of white t-shirts – emblazoned with either Big Johnson’s tacky sayings, Fox, or Losi graphics (yes, I really am married to a 14 year old) – from 30 to 24 (just a half dozen, that’s all I’m asking). I’m lucky if I can get him to part with one.

XBoy’s growth spurt that went first o u t and then UP left him with a nearly bare closet since I was harvesting outgrown, torn, and stained clothes at the rate a Lexion 590R combine in the north 40. For you non-farm-savvy readers, that’s a lot. Ooops. Pardon me, I think my hick is showing.

I probably take a boxful of clothing to Goodwill (or Salvation Army depending on what end of town I’m on) a few times a year. I wash and very neatly fold what can be washed and folded. If it has a hole in it, I try to mend it. If the zipper is broke, I get it replaced. If I can’t fix it, it doesn’t get donated. Mr. DD on the other hand, doesn’t quite understand why I put the effort into it. Can’t they wash/mend/fix that stuff themselves?

Places like Goodwill and Salvation Army should not be dumping grounds for stuff I wouldn’t make my own kids wear, yet people take their mildew and flea infested sofas and dump them in the back of the stores all the time. Mattresses of questionable smell and color are “donated” at night. Old tube-televisions with frayed cords that don’t even work are left daily because some people think they are the perfect “project” for somebody with some free time and spare change to fix.

Let’s just take a look at that last statement: free time and spare change. Right, because that’s EXACTLY what we all have, especially those who find themselves thankful for the services Goodwill or Salvation Army provide, Free Time and Spare Change.

So back to Mr. DD and his ridiculous suggestion that I give XBoy’s torn and worn shoes to Goodwill. His argument in this case was they’re probably better than what some kids have to wear. While that may indeed be true, then instead of giving some poor kid an opportunity to wear just slightly less than passable as footwear shoes as opposed to barks of tree ducktaped to their little feet, just go out and buy an inexpensive pair of NEW shoes and donate them. Don’t assume the people who shop at Goodwill are THAT desperate or have that little pride.

Give. Give generously. But don’t give generous amounts of crap just because YOU don’t want it anymore.

*trip -THUMP-bump*

Erm, sorry. That was me falling off a soap box I didn’t know I even climbed on. Silly me.

MY HEAD JUST EXPLODED

There are days that I get so angry and worked up, I can barely complete a simple task *.

I am angry that I have to consider a job opportunity 30 miles away. Maybe not a big deal to you city dwellers who are accustomed to a two hour commute one way, but this farm girl with a penchant for instant gratification will find the drive an equivalent of water boarding.

I am angry that the people yelping the most about the healthcare reform are those who HAVE healthcare. A (conservative) friend of mine said that the reform will just make those who don’t have insurance (because they are on Medicaid or don’t have a job) more likely NOT to get a job. It’ll “keep e’m lazy”, she said. Hey, that’s just awesome. Thanks for lumping me in with that group. So reward those who are on Medicaid by letting them KEEP Medicaid and let the few like me who don’t qualify for any healthcare without facing bankruptcy suffer for the many. Perfect answer.

I am angry that the people who proclaim their patriotism the loudest are the ones who love to throw around endearing terms like “King Hussein”. I get the whole “freedom of speech gives me carte blanche to spew my verbal diarrhea”, but don’t preach to me how you think this whole country is going in the shitter because of “King Hussein”. It’s going to the shitter because you’re an ignorant, fear-mongering, vitriol-filled, a-hole that does nothing but BITCH to anyone who will listen instead of educating yourself.

In addition to the previous paragraph, I’m angry about the endless and utterly ridiculous comparison of President Obama to Hitler. See both the Rude Pundit’s and Suz’s posts for a couple of succinct and eloquent summarizations.

I am angry that some ignorant woman believes she’ll carry her twelve fetuses to term and give birth to them NATURALLY and that she’ll get to hug them, and squeeze them and call them George, Jr., George III, George IV, etc., etc.. Actually, I’m sure that the healthcare in Tunisia is quite topnotch, especially since it must be an international hub, squeezed there between Algeria and Libya. Anyone else find it unbelievable that the expectant mother claims to be carrying six boys and six girls? I doubt that she’s even beyond 9 weeks, much less far enough along to make out the sex of each baby. I bet Suelman is pissed to be not just one-upped, but four-upped!

I am angry that while a certain Holy Roller Christian Blogger pleaded for forgiveness for stealing content from another More Famous Blogger under the guise of, “I just read her book and her words were so true!”, no one seems to have noticed that Holy Roller stole the words of another Not As Famous Blogger and since now Holy Roller is moderating her comments, her readers are faithfully continuing to follow her and stroking her poor, sweet, innocent head and telling her how wonderful and God-fearing she is and “of course we forgive you as you certainly meant no harm to More Famous Blogger who is siccing her evil minions upon you”… and I want to fucking choke someone. If she stole from two bloggers, she’s stolen from more and no one seems to care.

I am angry because I care that no one cares and that I shouldn’t care. It’s none of my damned business anyway, right?

I am angry that I’ve procrastinated until the very last evening before school starts to write my son’s name on 64 fucking crayons and sharpen 48 fothermucking pencils (oh, and yes, I have to get his name on them, too) and resist the temptation to just shave XBoy’s head bald tonight while he sleeps since there won’t be any time to get it cut according to the school’s policy before Wednesday morning! Not to mention that the yard hasn’t been mowed in three weeks and I am out of diapers. Well, *I’m* not out of diapers; ZGirl is.

* And dammit! Why the hell can’t I get two goddamned paperclips separated?! It’s not brain surgery!

…and so…

Just WHAT exactly are YOU angry about today?

HE LEFT ME

He left me Friday afternoon. He finished work early, packed and drove away.

Mr. DD left us to take his dad to Boston to see family, and we sorely miss him.

My phone has gone kaput on me, probably due to an unusually high humidity, especially when surrounded by a teething baby’s mouth.

What is it about phones and babies, anyway? She has a toy one, but NOOOOOOoooo. What do you take me for, she says when I try to perform the ole’switcheroo, a Baby?! Stupid Mommy.

With my phone’s keyboard failing, I’ve had to use the blue tooth in the van. Handy that. Kind of.

I have to go out to the garage and turn over the engine. Talk about a huge cell phone. And no, we don’t have a land-line.

During his absence, I’ve developed an unusual love of the styro-nut chair. You might know it as a “bean bag chair” but since they replaced the beans with those horrible Styrofoam peanut thingies, I can’t call it a bean bag chair.

Anyway, it makes a nice cocoon for ZGirl when I just don’t have time to hold her when it’s time for a bottle. Yes, she can hold her own bottle, but well, I feel a bit guilty laying her down on the granite counter-top and handing her a bottle. Kidding. I don’t let her lie down on the counter; she sits on it – legs dangling over the edge.

Mr. DD returns this weekend. I can’t wait. To all the single-parents out there: We at Budweiser salute you, Ms. (or Mr.) Styro-nut Chairs Are For Amateurs since Real Parents of Genius would place their baby in the kitchen sink filled with last night’s dirty dishes and proceed to feed and bath the baby, and do housework in one fell swoop.

ROCKET MAN – I THINK IT’S GONNA BE A LONG, LONG TIME

When XBoy was a newborn, we couldn’t wait to see what every week would bring as far as his developmental milestones go. I kept the book given to us by our pediatrician about what to expect each month next to the crib and would read about the month he was in and what to watch for, and of course the following month in anticipation. I followed the book’s suggestion down to the T. I documented when he rolled over; when he sat upright; when he crawled; when he first walked; his first words; etc., etc.

As for ZGirl? I opened the book a couple of times to remind myself of when I could introduce solids and what kinds, but we didn’t push it. We jumped over the rice mess and went straight to my broccoli chicken tortellini from Pizza Hut, which she loved, at six months. I don’t really recall when she started crawling. A couple of months ago? Five months ago?

I can tell you she started walking, if you call 3 or 4 steps before she collapses into my outstretched arms, walking, a week or so ago. She doesn’t say mama or dada, but the other day while at daycare she pointed to the wall of paper stars and said, “tars”. I have on my phone a video from my husband of where she repeated “uh-oh” with perfect enunciation. That was a month ago and she no longer says it. She looks for XBoy when we say his name. She crawls at break-neck speed to the bathroom when we say it’s time for her bath. She points to interesting, and sometimes not so interesting, objects.

As far as I know, she’s an average baby with average milestones. I do wonder about the talking, but I think I worry since XBoy was an early talker. He was (and still is of course) a very clever toddler. I even have a video of him at about 18 months counting to 20.

I guess it comes down to that while I eagerly anticipated every new development in XBoy, including the thrill of packing away outgrown clothes, I struggle immensely with ZGirl’s changes. I have a digital picture frame in our bedroom that hasn’t been updated since January. All the pictures are of her during the first five months, and as I watch the images of a newborn I barely recognize slide and morph on the screen, I can feel myself sinking into such a funk that I blink back tears.

The first two months after she entered our world were hellish. It seemed as if we never slept, but obviously we did. I would crawl into bed in the middle of the night dreading the fact that in two more hours I would have to be up again to nurse her. On more than one occasion, I remember collapsing into my pillow in tears and saying to Mr. DD, “What have we done? What were we thinking??” and before he could even attempt to sooth me, I had passed out in exhaustion.

That memory is burned indelibly into my heart since of course, we had moved heaven and earth to have her here and at my darkest I had almost wished it not to be so.

It’s now that she sleeps easily from 9 – 7 that it makes that time feel like an eternity and a half ago. Was it really THAT bad? Looking back, no, and if I could – if WE could – I would do it again.

Each day little bits of babyish floats away into the ether. She is rounding the first turn into toddlerhood in her personality, which is both feisty and fearless. She is developing a crush on a couple of stuffed animals. She hides under the blanket awaiting a game of peek-a-boo. She screams in furious indignation when we try to pluck out whatever foreign object she has secreted away into her mouth, and when she’s tired, she seeks us out, lifts her impossibly small arms up to us in a silent plea to be picked up and held, and when we do, she curls up into our arms – only briefly – before pushing back away with those arms to look into our face and smile as if to say, “I soooo have you wrapped around my finger…SUCKAH!”

And she does. She has us ALL wrapped around her finger. It’s ridiculous to imagine the three of us are at her beck and call, but we are. XBoy will even stop playing a video game to attend to her blatant calls of attention.

The relationship those two have is…oh god…it’s so hard to put into words. It’s reciprocal admiration at its finest. He will read books to her even though he HATES to read. She screams in excitement when he enters the room. The other day, she nearly pushed herself out of my arms while in the pool, just to reach out to him. I originally had feared that their age difference would equate INdifference, but I couldn’t be more surprised or elated by how well they have bonded.

I wish you all could meet ZGirl. To meet XBoy. To see how years of bitter disappointments and failures have accumulated into such a sweet, sweet outcome. One that I’m proud of in that we persevered when it seemed we could never clear the hurdles of multiple miscarriages, male factor, poor ovaries, money, time, time, time…

Time. It’s hurtling us all too quickly into the future. It seems recently I’ve been sitting on that rocket of time and while my arms are wrapped firmly and lovingly around both my children, I sometimes stop sniffing the sunshine in their hair to turn and look with melancholy on what is behind me. When I turn to face what’s in front of me again, ZGirl and XBoy are just a little bit bigger and not holding on quite as tightly to my arms.

RACING EBAY VAN TO SPECIALIST FOR ADHD

I’ve been pretty irritated with my husband lately. Actually just on the weekends. He’s been racing* every weekend for the past 4, which goes against what I thought we had agreed to when racing*season started: he’s races* one weekend; I get to do what I want the next weekend. Easy, right?

When I whined to him about it, he told me I “need to get a hobby.” So tonight when I sat down at my laptop, he asked what I was doing. My “hobby”, Mr. Observant.

* as in radio-control electric car racing

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I have been dealing with a nightmare on a simple $15.00 ebay purchase. I found the seller (who won’t respond to my emails or send me my mofo purchase) on another site via google, because some people are stupid and use the same username all over the web. If it wasn’t for the fact I used my husband’s ebay account, I would be all over that bitch like a fly on shit. My husband says that’s harassment. I say it’s internet justice.

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Speaking of crappy service, wait until I tell you about my foray into warranty work on my vehicle. It’s a comedy of errors compounded by two survey phone calls. The last survey caller even had the gall to make up excuses as to why the dealership screwed up not once, not twice, but three goddamn times. I just don’t have the energy to talk about it now.

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More service problems: I took a two hour drive down to The Metro to see a specialist for ZGirl. Long, long, LOOOOONNNGG story short? She’s fine.

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What people who don’t have children with ADHD don’t understand is that a child who suffers from ADHD isn’t just one who is “overly active”. XBoy’s ADHD is not manifested in physical over-activity. It is him being constantly on mental overload. Like having a power plug with every outlet being used plugged into ANOTHER power strip. That’s XBoy’s brain.

For a “normal” child, you can tell them, “It’s bedtime. Please get ready for bed.” and off they go. Fifteen minutes later, you can walk into their room and they’ve changed, completed their nightly toiletry, and might even be in bed.

It doesn’t work that way with XBoy. If I tell him to take a bathroom break, sometimes he’ll get up from the living room couch walk into the hallway and then turn to his bedroom. From the time he heard the request to the time he’s walked to the hallway, he’s forgotten what he’s supposed to do, maybe due to a distraction of a toy laying on his bedroom floor.

To get him ready for bed, it’s simple commands that have to be repeated a couple of times before the task gets completed. The nightly conversation goes a lot like this:

Go take a bathroom break, please (follow him into the bathroom, and lean against door jam).

Lift the ring, please.

Flush, please.

Put the ring down, please.

Wash your hands, please – use soap.

Shut off the water, please.

Dry your hands, please.

Brush your teeth, please.

Put away your brush, please.

Shut off the lights, please.

Go get dressed for bed, please (follow him into the bedroom).

Put your clothes in the hamper, please.

Get into bed, please.

Each command must come separately or else after the first one, you may find him 15 minutes later playing in the bathroom sink with a hairbrush and q-tip and water pooling up not only on the counter but the floor as well.

We are tired of it. He’s certainly tired of it. Unfortunately, we can’t leave him to his own devices. There are times, more often than not, that in the morning, we can tell him to get dressed for the day and we’ll walk into his room ten minutes later and find him standing there buck-naked and playing with his Star Wars action figures. If we ask, “What are you doing?!” he’ll respond, “I’m just playing!” as in “duh! what does it look like I’m doing??”

So yeah. If a friend tells you that their child has ADHD, don’t just think it’s a kid acting like a rabid weasel on meth.

If only it were that easy.

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Feel free to pick a topic, any topic, and advice away. Sorry about the schizo title.

THE PERFECT BABY SHOWER GIFT WHEN YOU HATE BABY SHOWERS

If you are like me, you dread shopping for baby gifts. However, unless you have absolutely no fertile friends, nieces, cousins, sisters, etc…which I would then say you have lucked out by becoming a solo explore and researcher on the most northern point of the world, well then, you’ll have to find something to give the belly-rubbin’ gestator that proves that you are not completely  socially graceless. I’m here to let you know that there’s a way to do this without having to do the Walk of Pain into Babies-R-Us or down the baby aisle in Target. 

Here’s a list of items we  in the DD House have discovered to be perfect gifts to give AND get that are both practical and unusual and won’t be sent to Goodwill when the baby has outgrown it in two days:

thermos1) Thermos– ZGirl hasn’t adjusted to accepting a bottle that isn’t warm. I’ve tried the bottle warmers you can plug into your car’s lighter, but it never warms up what’s inside enough. What works great when I will have ZGirl away for the house for a while is to make up a couple of bottles with dry formula and then bring along a thermos full of warm water. If you are kooziegoing to buy a thermos, get a quality one, like what you find in camping equipment. Obviously this works for cool drinks for the toddler on the go.

2) Koozies – Once the bottle is warm (or cold), keep’em that way. Purchasing bonus is that koozies also hide the fact that Mommy might be throwing back a 12 oz of something other than soda.

lamp3) Lamp – You say “Duh!”? Surprisingly, the one place couples forget to put a lamp is on the changing table (if one will fit), so you may have to scope out the future nursery (or just ask). If the changing table won’t fit a  freestanding lamp, check out a clip-on lamp. That lamp over there on the night stand next to the crib? It will be utterly worthless at 2:00 a.m., when later at 6:00 a.m. the next changing exposes that there’s residual poop on the changing pad and/or up the baby’s backside. I would even go so far as to get one with a magnifying glass, which is great for sliver removals and clipping finger- and toe-nails.

dimmer4) Dimmer Switch– Now a dimmer on the wall light-panel is nice, but defeats the purpose of keeping baby in a semi-snoozing mode during a diaper change in the middle of the night. Instead you can get dimmer switches at a home improvement store that connects to table lamps (dimmers will not work on lamps that use fluorescent bulbs). Purchasing Bonus? You can send your husband on this errand. Make sure to write it down, draw a picture and set a budget first though to avoid him coming home with a cordless drill.

nightlight5) Night lights – Pretty self-explanatory but commonly overlooked.

spats6) Plastic / Wooden Kitchen Utensils – If the expectant mom is the type of person who spends any amount of time in the kitchen, get her a set of some brightly bowlscolored spatulas for chewing, or a metal set of measuring spoons for noisy clinking, or some wooden salad servers to bang on pans. Also good for kitchen play is plastic nesting bowls in fun colors for sorting play.

machine7) White Noise Machine– I don’t know what possessed me to buy a white noise machine in the first place when ZGirl was born, but by God, it’s been a lifenight saver. The one we have can either be plugged in or run on batteries, so if we were to ever stay overnight somewhere, at least it will bring some sense of familiarity to strange surroundings. Ours has been running non-stop for the past 11 months and 2 weeks. The Purchasing Bonus on getting this item is you might be able to pick up some related relaxation items at the same store (meditation tapes, scented candles, bath oils, etc.) – not that I am advising you to “just relax”, but a glass of wine always goes better with a candle-lit whirlpool bath.

As I wrote at the beginning, these are all things we have about the house that we cannot imagine going without. While a gift card will never be rejected by the recipient because it is the epitome of practical, but let’s be honest here and admit that all those “oohs” and “ahhhs” as they pass around a gift card might be a bit…erm…forced. Don’t forget to write a brief explanation in the card as well, just in case your friends start thinking it’s time for a baby-shower intervention.

TWELVE

Scan5_0005_005Yes, this was me. 12 years ago today. Yes, this was intentional. If you knew how thin and fine my hair is, you’d realize that this is nothing short of a godalmighty miracle, getting my hair to look like a lion’s mane.

It also ended up in a the much quieter and simplier updo for our wedding a few hours later. You can refer to the past posts regarding my wedding here, and here, and of course, here.

Some of you have known me for almost four years now. Some of you are new here. How ever long you’ve known  me, you certainly can appreciate the patience and love and ultimately, the thick skin, it takes to put up with me every day, all day, for not just the twelve years of marriage, but the additional five years it took for me to get him down the alter.

Especially when there are days I wake up looking like that, WITHOUT the help of professional.

Happy Anniversary, Mr. DD. I love you more than ever.

THE LITTLE BLUE SHED

Mr. DD is the hardest working person I know. Bar none, as the saying goes. Yes, I have (and will continue to do so) complained about his inability to shut cabinet drawers and doors; wring out a dish rag; throw his clothes into the hamper instead of dropping them on the floor, but none of those things are because he’s “lazy” per se. Just bad habits.

He’s also very methodical when it comes to doing the job right. Prep and carry through on step A correctly and step B will be easier and step C will be easier still. It’s why he’s so good at his job at auto-body repair and painting.

Now if you have just an inkling of the type of person he is, take that to the nth degree. That’s Mr. DD.

We have been on the lookout for an old shed to move to our property to use as my gardening getaway. Sure, we could build one, but I want something that has rustic character. Something that wasn’t perfect. I want weathered paint, old wood, Character. A couple weeks ago, my husband received a call from a friend who was razing some dilapidated houses in town, and did Mr. DD want one of the detached garages? If so, move it and it’s yours. You bet!  My husband responded.

It was a one car garage approximately 12×21. It would easily park the old golf cart that had been converted into my garden mule and implements of destruction as well as a plethora of pots, garden art (minus a garden gnome, yet to be acquired), and boxes and tubs of poisonous fertilizers, weed killers and slug bait. All these things were taking up space in the garage, his shop and our basement. With them spread out like that, it makes it hard to find something when I need it. Don’t even ask me how many hose sprayer attachments I have (six, seven, maybe?).

After inspecting and subsequently approving it for structural integrity, Mr. DD set to work on getting my future gardening shed prepped for its move from cracked and warped foundation to its new one on our property.

He bought a pickup truck-bed full of lumber: 12x2s and 4x2s and nearly 100 lag bolts. He rented a roll-off as he decided it would be best to strip the building of all its nasty sheetrock and useless rolled insulation. He would spend every night after work stripping the walls and filling and refilling the dumpster; jacking up its four corners so he could get a sawzall to cut the nails and bolts that originally secured the building down; and finally creating a support structure that a trailer could be backed under in order to lift the building in whole and release it forever from its foundation.

For two weeks this went on. He was too tired by the time he got home at night to eat supper. He barely saw XBoy and ZGirl during that time as they were usually in bed an hour or more before he’d walk through the door. He wanted to make sure that everything he did was perfect. He didn’t want anyone to get hurt because he took a shortcut. He was so worried about safety, that he didn’t even want me to follow him in my van with the kids when it came time for the actual move, for fear that we might be the ones that something would happen to.

He drove the route several times to make sure there were no low hanging trees, no electrical wires. He took the flattest and least traveled streets. He called the county to get the permits. He called the city for an escort inside city limits. He called on his friends to be his escorts outside of city limits. And finally earlier this week, the move was on.

I imagined how I would arrange all my stuff. My. Stuff. The way I wanted it – on the walls. Finally, my shop, while much smaller, would be ALL mine.

06.17 easy rider (2)I stopped in town with the kids to take a picture of the garage before its move, went out to eat with them and before heading home, detoured off to the planned route Mr. DD was taking to see the progress.

Oddly, I did not encounter him. I didn’t think we had eaten that fast or that he’d be traveling that slow…but since I had received no phone call from him indicating otherwise, I assumed all was well and headed back home to wait for him there.

Over an hour later, he still was not home. I was dying to call him, but knew he’d never hear the phone if he was sitting on the tractor he was using to haul the trailer.

Finally, my phone rang. It was Mr. DD and he said, “You won’t be getting a free garden shed after all,” and silence. My first thought was that he was ticketed and handsomely fined for some kind of improper permit detail. Oh how I wish.

He went on, “We didn’t get five blocks away. I was going through the intersection and it had a small dip in it. The back end of the building was ripped off when it bottomed out on the depression.”

He went on to explain how he had to cut away what was dragging as the city police refused to let him continue on, and rightfully so. His friends used the chains to reinforce the straining walls enough to keep it safely on the trailer. They picked up the debris the street. And then they returned to the start of their all too short trip and set the now leaning and collapsing garage back onto its original foundation.

When he finished telling me all that had happened, his voice was cracking. He wasn’t near tears. He was in tears. All that work and time, utterly wasted. The time he could have spent with XBoy and ZGirl. Time he could have spent in the back yard when the soil was dry, but now saturated with a week’s worth of heavy rains. The money frittered away on lumber and supplies and rentals, while not excessive, was enough to add insult in injury. He was – he still is – gutted.

06.17 easy rider (4)No, there is no way to salvage it. In fact, we were surprised that the morning after a nasty thunderstorm with strong winds and hail went through, to find it was still standing. Probably because of all the reinforcement Mr. DD put in it but was unable to recoup safely.

And next week he scheduled his vacation with plans to pour a foundation and setting the shed permanently in its new home. This, he had told me, was to be my anniversary and birthday gift . . . and now?

And now, I told him, you can take a week off and do what YOU want to do and if that’s nothing? then do nothing. I remind him that yes, while it sucks what happened, I am so very grateful that neither he nor anyone else was injured, even though his pride and confidence took a heavy beating. Letting him take the time off without throwing a list of honey-dos a mile long will be my gift, my much too small and insignificant gift compared to what he was trying to do for me, to him.

THE PRINCESS AND THE DUDE IN THE WIFE BEATER

This is our house (pix from two years ago, before our “yard” was in). I think it’s rather nifty.

06.27 almost move in ready (2)

It sits smackdab in the middle of 10 acres (OK, a bit towards the southern property line, just in case any of you ever visit and decide to split hairs with me).

My husband’s “shop” was constructed towards the northern property line. There’s a line that runs between the house and shop: the lane.

Everything on THAT side of the lane is husband’s.

Everything on THIS side of the lane is mine.

So as a favor to a co-worker to Mr. DD’s BIL, he offered up HIS bit of property to “store” a POS Chevy truck (redundant) over the winter. Store, as in park the obnoxious garbage next to the shop. I bitched and moaned, but finally a compromise was struck, yes, he may park it, but it better be gone by spring (April).

It’s June and while the POS has been moved from one side of the shop to the other so he could mow, it is still here on HIS side of the property, but only barely.

I called the BIL myself and told him that his buddy needed to get the truck by the end of June or I’ll  have it towed away under the guise of unclaimed property, regardless of cost to me. Don’t care.

sidesTwo days later, the buddy calls Mr. DD and says he’ll be over to get the truck. You have the spare key, right, he asks, because he can’t find his. Mr. DD replies that yup, sure do, just moved it.

Guess what Mr. DD can’t find since he moved the POS?

DAMMIT.

I’m just waiting for the day I wake up and a band of rednecks have decided to squat on HIS side and celebrate with a case of Schlitz, funyuns, and pickled eggs after they throw a crappy couch in the bed of the truck to sleep on.

Mr. DD will be joining them.

THE COBRA STRIKES

After a couple of weeks wondering do we or don’t we, I received a letter confirming that we would qualify for the COBRA subsidy.

This is where you can go ahead and move to the next blog in your feed because I’m going to share some information about this subsidy, and since most of you lucky bastards still either have jobs, or your spouses still have jobs or you are independently stinking-filthy rich and don’t have to worry about such trivial matters like “paychecks” and “health insurance coverage” or “shit-canning”.

I was fired in January, conveniently planned so that my first full pay period check in 2009 had been deposited, which was my way of accepting that all information for year was correct, and with the loss of my job that I had had for 9 years and 11 months, I had also lost the health insurance coverage, and any other benefits that come from a large employer, for me and my family.

At the time, the subsidy bill hadn’t been passed, so accepting COBRA benefits was not an option at $1,000 a month to continue coverage without worrying about pre-existing (specifically my asthma and XBoy’s ADHD) conditions being excluded through a private health plan. Unfortunately, at the time, independent insurance it was all we could afford so we made the appropriate steps to get signed up.

Words of warning here: if you have suddenly lost employer paid health insurance, DO NOT delay finding a replacement, whatever means necessary. After filling out stupid forms, and talking to reps on the phone to get details of our health issues, and general delays with reviews and more required signatures, we JUST got a letter from the independent insurance company that we were eligible for coverage effective at the beginning of May as they will not retro the effective dates of coverage. If this COBRA subsidy thing hadn’t happened, we would have been without coverage of any kind for 3 months, even though I was ball-rolling back in January.

It was the middle of February when the COBRA subsidy was passed by Obama. I contacted my former employer’s HR department as well as COBRA carrier for more information on qualifying and they were as useless as tits on a boar, as the saying goes. Actually, NO ONE seemed to know any details, since I was googling the hell out of it and finding nothing. The U.S. Government is great at passing shit before they have figured out how to actually make it work. Kind of like what they’ve done to Medicare.

The skinny on the subsidy is that if you lost your job involuntarily (you didn’t quit of your own accord) or you weren’t fired because of gross misconduct (peeing in the office coffee pot), you qualify for the 65% reduction to your COBRA premiums.

The sucky part is that the actual reduction in premiums didn’t become effective until February 17th, for anyone. What does that mean? If your employer requires the premium payment in monthly installments, and you have to pay a month in advance, you’ll be paying full premium until March 1st. In my case, that meant that I only had to pay February’s full $1,000 premium, and now for nine more months, I’ll only have to pay $350.

In theory.

Since my employer was being douchey about my eligibility and delaying this and delaying that, I have already had to pay three months in full premiums. $3,000 is hard to come up with when one of the family coffers contributors is suddenly making 75% of the annual wage, which is considerably more than 0% since I was lucky enough to find temp work quickly, but still. It sucks in a limpy, cold, stinky kind of way. THAT level of suck.

So if you lost your job in September? Full premium for you until at least February, March at the latest.

For us, we’ll be riding the coattails of the subsidy through 2009, but hello! It’s already June Eve! I’m making sure that everyone gets their check-ups done, prescriptions are refilled, and that I get the most out of my reduced premiums while I can.

Right now, that’s more important than ever.

You see, this week I also found out that the position with the law office has fallen through. I wasted three months of job hunting because I hung my hat on a “sure bet”, and any bet is a gamble. I gambled and lost and didn’t hedge my bets elsewhere. I’ve got that flutter of panic deep in my guts once again since the temp position is dwindling down to a handful of weeks and I’ve got nothing but more potential temp work to fall back on. I feel like that grasshopper in the fable that failed to prepare for the harsh winter, and I’m about to get my green guts shmooshed by the fickle foot of fate.

I have another, and thankfully much shorter, PSA about Flickr to follow very shortly.

JUST TRY TO GUESS WHERE THE TRANSITIONS IN CONVERSATION ARE IN THIS POST

Everyone just needs to stop emailing me and begging for my next post. Here’s a list of those of you who were wondering if I was OK and inquiring as to my writing schedule:

  • ______

Yeeaahhhh.

OK, so three days doesn’t seem like an inordinate amount of time to some of you, but for me? I’m wondering if my keyboard has been laced with crank. No, not the crank I emote. The crank you snort, silly.

ZGirl is going to be 10 months old this week. She’s already been showing some early signs of toddlerhood (the pitching a shitfit kind) and I am so not ready to give up my BABEEEEE!

XBoy came home from school a couple Mondays ago and said, “We missed the school’s Spring Concert yesterday.” (insert pouty face and sad eyes). “Oh, no!” we replied. How could this have happened?? There was no note from the teacher. Nothing on the school’s website or the calendar. I emailed his teacher about it. She replied:

I did send home notes with the students on white paper, however while we were making stars to use as decoration for the concert XBoy told me that he wasn’t going to be able to come so when he wasn’t there, I didn’t think twice about it.

BUSTED. And like how.

He confessed that he didn’t want to go so I did what any mom would do in that situation. I made him feel like shit by saying that he only gets one Spring Concert a year and this was the only one he’d have as a 1st Grader and mom and dad and grandma are very sad that we didn’t get to see him sing with his class or see his artwork hanging (combo Spring Concert and Art Show). He was appropriately shamed.

The rabbit still lives.

Now that I’ve typed that I wonder how many of my readers will think I’m pregnant when someday I post, “The rabbit died.”

My friend’s ovaries have been bitch-slapped out of their coma and produced 3 follicles after her 3rd round of increasing dosage of clomid. The first two rounds were bust. I’m really, REALLY hoping for her.

I have had a post about secondary infertility in my drafts for a couple weeks now. I don’t know if it will ever come out of there as I’m struggling with my desire to work out some aggravation as opposed to my ever present sensitivity to my faithful readers. Yes, that was sarcasm. Gold star for you.

I am NOT writing a book. You can relax now.

This is an awesome response to a babysitter who was in serious need of a Nunya Smack.

I hate Period Poops, don’t you?