Mama’s Got Some New Shoes

Several weeks ago, a friend of mine posted this picture of Tina Fey with Snow White at Disney. We zeroed in on her shoes.

Tina Fey. Awesome. Tina Fey's shoes? Awesomer.

Tina Fey. Awesome. Tina Fey’s shoes? Awesomer.

We wanted THOSE shoes. We wanted red, t-strap, open-toe, clog-style shoes. I eventually gave up searching on-line because I’m sure they were probably a pair of custom-made in Hollywood shoes and cost $5,000 so it really wouldn’t matter if I ever figured it out.

I wish I could remember what I was doing a couples weeks ago when I came across a post about some clogs: Sven Clogs. I landed on their home page. I had found Tina Fey’s clogs in above picture.

It took a little surfing on their page to find the exact style, but they only showed them in a denim suede color and that didn’t trip my trigger enough to spend that kind of money on them. The order set-up for their shoes is not set up in a way that a first-timer will immediately figure out so I’m here to help you out with that.

First step is to decide if you’re a low, medium or high heel kind of girl. I found the style above in both the medium and high heel, but I thought I better ease myself into it (plus they had a one-day sale on them. Bonus.).

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Select your size, which is European based. I’m a solid 7 1/2 so I chose 38. You can mail an outline of your foot to the company if you want to make sure and have the patience. Now you need to select your “Base”: black, brown or natural. Here’s a snapshot of those colors, which I didn’t find on svensclogs.com but on a different clog blog’s site. The other picture is an example of the bendable compared to the bendable base.

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This is where things get fun because their leather and color options are phenomenal. Seriously. The only option you won’t have is vegan. Sorry. It’s all Moo, all the time, and I’m cool with that.

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I placed my order for a single pair (medium heel, brown base, red, smooth leather), and I’ll admit their shipping charges left me a tad cold, but they showed up a few days later and now I couldn’t be happier. I wore them last weekend even though it’s still too darn cold to really enjoy them. I love them. I’ve “Liked” their Facebook page, which provides discounts, examples, and notices of sales.

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I’m not being compensated in any way by Sven Clogs, but if they wanted to throw a free pair at me, I wouldn’t say no. I just noticed that many of my friend’s (the one who I mentioned above) friends struggled with the web site’s options, and since I didn’t feel like “writing” a real post, I figured why not, right? By the way, there’s a less expensive version that Hannah Andersson sells (Ugglebo). I have my own thoughts about the bases being so strikingly similar, but I’m not going to stick my clog in my mouth.

P.S. My editor informed me this morning that the Disney character with Tina is most certainly NOT Cinderella, but Snow White. My editor is four. She did not take kindly to the mistake.

Will I Do Better the Next Time?

I went shopping yesterday in The Metro at a mall that has a Scheels sporting goods store. As I walked past the boy’s department, I overheard this exchange between two of its employees:

“Did you see this coat? It says it’s a Boys!” She held up a dark pink jacket. “What are we going to do with it??”

“Better put it in Girls”, she replied with what I interpreted as annoyance.

I thought I should have said something; called them out for gender stereotyping, but I didn’t. I replayed the exchange over and over again in my head, and I hated how it smacked of bullying by proxy. They made a judgement of gender simply based on the color of the coat. What if it had been an eight-year-old boy walking by wearing that coat? In the best case scenario, they wouldn’t have said anything, but they would have had those thoughts. Worst-case, they would have said something offhandedly, i.e. “That’s quite a coat you got on there, son!”, if not something totally ignorant along the lines of “Only girls wear pink!”

My son’s hair, since he’s no longer under a private school’s appearance policy, has grown long enough that he can almost sweep his bangs behind his ears. He has protested quite loudly when the topic of a trim comes up. However, a couple of weeks ago, he told me that a classmate had said that only girls grow their hair long. Doodicus suggested that maybe he should get his bangs trimmed. I said we could schedule something for the weekend. I knew he just needed time to get over the teasing words of his peer. He’s had to do it before because his grandparents and aunts and uncles have made similar comments. I always quickly vocalize my support of Doodicus’ hair, and I would have thought by now they would have stopped hassling him, but apparently it may require the more obvious approach by telling them to simply fuck off about the whole hair-thing already.

But I wonder why I didn’t come to the defense of the faceless and nameless boy who may have fallen in love with the pink jacket. I could have said something knowing that neither of the employees would have been able to defend themselves against the crazy customer, not to mention I was simply an anonymous person they could later describe with scathing detail to other like-minded employees on their next break or maybe even in their staff meeting (I have no idea which end of the spectrum their management falls under, but I couldn’t help but pick up on the VERY traditional Christmas music that was being piped over the speakers during my hour in the store), but I kept my head down, so to speak, and walked out of earshot. I had a chance to be an advocate for tolerance and I wonder if I had had my son with me, if I still would have failed to provide him the upstanding role model of what we expect from him as he matures.

It’s Been A Long Time Since I’ve Used “Penis” in a Post

I take an ambien every night. I have been for months. I fall asleep in a blink and then I sleep solidly until the alarm goes on in the morning. Even if I have to get up because I have to go to the bathroom or if Aitch is having a nightmare or if Doodicus is scared of a storm, I can always go right back to sleep. I love my ambien.

I recently had it refilled and while I dropped like a fly on Monday, Tuesday night I tossed and turned. I was awake more then I was asleep during the night. I ended up dropping Aitch off at school, coming home and sleeping for another three hours straight. Wednesday and Thursday (last night), I again struggled getting to sleep and woke with every snort, wheeze, and exhale from my husband, which eventually sent me to the silence of the couch. Still I tossed and turned. I also hadn’t been feeling well, waking with headaches and stomach cramps.

Last night, sometime around 3:00 a.m. I started wondering if I hadn’t got a bad batch of ambien with the recent refill. They couldn’t ALL be bad because Monday I had no problem with sleep. This morning I pulled the bottle of white pills from the cabinet and realized that for the past three nights I had been taking Paxil, an antidepressant and I had started and then stopped after a couple of months but hadn’t thrown out. It explained the headaches, cramping, even the jaw-clenching! Not to mention my inability to sleep.

Of course, it also explained how I was able to accept my mistake with little more than a “aw shucks!” kind of attitude, and why I am completely incapable of imagining a penis. Not that I’m always trying to imagine penises, but ADs really pulled the plug on my sex-drive and being unable to concoct any sexual imagery confirmed that I had been taking the wrong stuff. 

Thank goodness I had this week off from work or I’d be even a bigger wreck. I marked the Paxil lid and moved the bottle (I can’t bear the thought of disposing of them yet). Tonight, I will sleep.

Do You Smell That Smell?

Maybe it’s because I deal with the subject nearly every day, but I find it fascinating what others have for costs associated with healthcare, whether they are out of state of out of the country. I’m such a cynic though, that I know "free" healthcare isn’t actually free. We pay a hefty premium to have "free" vaccinations. Some countries pay incredibly high taxes for "free" health related services (see previous post and comments).

In the U.S., our healthcare’s system is amok. Personally, I blame Medicare. Not necessarily the program, but the system which controls it (the government through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services), because if they determine a doctor’s visit is payable at $ .25 on the dollar, who do you think gets to make up for the other $ .75?? Providers jack up the price to make up for the growing Medicare population; CMS lowers what they pay again; providers raise their prices again. Something has got to give.

** SEGWAY **

This weekend I went clothes shopping with my son. I survived. Amen and The. End (oh, but there’s so much more!). I rewarded him for his patience by taking him to Toys R Us and as I strolled along the aisles, a woman with PERFECT hair (which my husband and I have dubbed Politician Wife Hair or more accurately, Helmet Hair), I felt envy. She didn’t have to wear her matchstick, cropped pants and little kitten heels. She didn’t have to press her immaculate blouse or airbrush on her make-up, but she did and then walked into what is certainly a Hell on Earth by not only looking good, but she smelled nice, too.

She breezed by me as she followed an staff employee, which made her the only adult there not being dragged from aisle to aisle by a cooing, sticky, whiny, commandeering kid, and her expensive perfume wafted past. I couldn’t entirely hate her because it was a nice scent that didn’t make my throat seize up and gag. Unlike my MIL’s Channel No. 5 that she must not be able to even smell because flies drop in her presence. Or maybe she thinks that since she hasn’t bathed in a couple of days, she’d better double-down on its use. Seriously, the woman uses so much, that if she joins us for dinner, I cannot taste my food. I taste No. 5, and for the record, it does not taste good.

Anyway, back to the Politician’s Wife. I took some care with my appearance, but I began to think that maybe the extra step of putting on a dab of perfume was the proverbial cherry. I normally top off with a healthy dollop of whip cream (my ass is thanking me). This morning I applied a light spritz, bearing in mind that my office is small and patients tend to be more sensitive to odors post-procedure, and headed out the door. I now feel conspicuous; like I’m trying too hard. On the other hand, I feel a touch more "worldly", too.

I remember my first real job.

Sure at 40-something, I now have morals and high standards and expectations, but 25+ years ago, I didn’t. I don’t know an 18 year-old that does. I flunked out of the first semester of college as a sophomore. I hated the new setting as I had moved from a community college sized town and campus to the University. Partying was what I wanted to do. My oldest sister got me my first "real"job working in clothing retail. Real meaning not scraping left-over food into gallon containers and washing an endless sea of dishes.

The shop was this hole in the wall store of a dying downtown shopping center. I remember it had wooden panel doors that had springs to pull them closed on the dressing rooms. The clothes were ugly and it was owned by a husband and wife couple who I suspect were trying to hold onto their youth by marketing to teens.

My transportation to work a Foxi moped. It was ridiculous. Rain, shine, snow, etc., that was how I got around. I even considered driving it to Kansas City, a four hour drive by car. That’s how stupid an 18 year old is, people. So one day I wore a skirt to work and who the hell wears a skirt on a moped?! Now it wasn’t a flowy skirt so it didn’t blow up and show the world my business. Oh no, it was tight. It was too tight. At the first stop I had to put my leg down to balance the moped, it ripped right up the center seam. It wasn’t an obvious tear, but still I didn’t want to make it worse by wearing it on the way home.

I did what any "sensible" 18 year old would do: I went through the store’s sales rack and picked out a pair of shorts and a matching shirt. After locking up the store, I walked across to the public bathrooms and changed clothes. This sounds like a rather obvious way to solve a problem except that I did not pay for the clothes. No, I did not forget to pay for them. I just didn’t buy them.

The next day I came into work and the owners were there. The husband pulled me aside and told me he had something to talk to me about and we headed to the storage room. Inside waiting was a police officer and a tiny television. I don’t remember thinking something was up until they turned it on and there recorded was a grainy black and white video of me walking over to the bathroom wearing the skirt outfit and walking out again a couple minutes later wearing the shorts. I didn’t realize there had even been a security camera.

Needless to say, I had been busted. They asked me if I was also responsible for a number of other inventory items that had gone missing (specifically some underwear), which I adamantly denied. Should I even mention they fired me on the spot? The most humiliating part of it all was realizing they would of course tell my sister who got me the job in the first place as they were friends, especially since they also pressed formal charges (even though I’m sure at the time the value of the two items was probably less than $20).

After I lost that job, I had to find another. That’s what led me to the dance studio a few weeks later: Now Hiring Dance Instructors. No Experience Necessary! The shorts? They were hideous. They brought back such horrible memories that I got rid of them soon afterwards. You would think I’d learned lesson, wouldn’t you? Except I was only 18…

I could give Bruno a run for his money.

In just little over a month, I turn another year older. I’ll be the age where I must accept I’m on the downhill slide of life. My husband’s 30th class reunion is this summer as well. Thirty Years. I take little comfort that I am younger. Twenty-five years ago, I was a supervisor in a ballroom dance studio trying to convince people that ballroom dancing will make you Confident! Beautiful! Sought-after on the Dance Floor! Healthy!

I can attest to the Healthy, but the rest? Not so much. First of all, dance lessons are easier if taken as a couple and even then the guy-half of your couple will most usually struggle to maintain a beat or feel relaxed enough so he doesn’t look like a cob was shoved up his backside.

This was not to say all the women who came to the studios had rhythm or grace. I remember one particular woman, an obstetrician (Dr. Gill), who had been taken lessons for years. The poor woman had the moves of a large cardboard box filled with rocks and she was at least that difficult to move around on the floor. At this point, I should tell you at the time, instructors were required to know how to both lead and follow, and each Friday at the end of the day we would have a “practice” dance and female instructors were expected to lead female students since they easily outnumbered male partners 6:1.

I dreaded dancing with Dr. Gill. The physical exertion required in moving her in a Tango was taxing even though she knew the steps. I also remember an incident with this student that did not involve dancing: I was holding a meeting in my office which was basically a glass-enclosed cubby with glass sliding door that enabled me to have a 135 degree (go ahead, I’ll wait for you to calculate it) of the studio. I had the door shut for the meeting and I stood shocked and powerless as she barreled up to my office entryway and ran face-on into the closed door thinking it was open. Thankfully only her pride was damaged. I still can see the image of her lipstick prints as if it was yesterday.

Once I became adept at the basic dance steps, many times I would join my fellow instructors and go to the clubs in town and dance. As long as there were a couple of male instructors in our group, it was fun. We were the annoying couple taking up the space of ten showing off with cha-chas and swings and twirling in your face and stomping on your feet with three-inch spiked heels. And you guys thought I am an attention whore NOW…

When I met Sparring Partner, I thought I could teach him how to dance. He might think I was teaching him how to dance better, but in all reality – a not-so-uncommon reality – playing Air Drumsticks does not equivalent rhythm. I gave up trying to teach him a sloppy, casual two-step-slash-foxtrot because it ain’t no fun trying to keep your partner on time by hissing “step, step, hold!” in his ear.

We haven’t gone dancing in years and years. But in my head, almost every song on the radio I think about in dance terms. Can I cha-cha to this? Is it a waltz? Oooh, I could so rumba to that…. I car dance if the song is particularly catchy and I’m driving solo. Admit it, you’ve Car Danced, too. Unfortunately, it’s been twenty years since I was a professional instructor and recently I’ve realized I’d forgotten the steps to a basic traveling Foxtrot box (a not so basic step lasting a total of 16 beats in 4/4 timing), and that bums me out.

Oh, those were some crazy days. Sex, drugs and rock-n-roll (and lots of Big Band). Back then I could have never imagined my life would become so provincial.

Cosmetic

About 10 days ago I did something utterly selfish and vain: I got Botox and Radiesse injected into my face.

I’ve done the Botox before and this was probably about the sixth treatment for my brow. I remember my boss from Hospital Hell telling me that I always look like I’m angry because of the persistent frown lines. The first time I had it done was almost seven years ago and have a happy repeat customer.

It’s true what they say: while the effects do wear off, I can go longer between appointments before I really start to notice. Three treatments ago I had a not-so-good result and both my eyelids drooped. When I returned about six months after treatment and I explained this, the doctor said he would adjust for that in where he injected and since then there’s been no problem. The number 11 is no longer furrowed into my brow, but I can still give That Look to the kids or my husband when deserved.

Last winter when I had Botox I asked about skin peels. I think the skin on my face looks mottled from sun damage, hormones and scars. He suggested the Radiesse, which is a filler, as he really didn’t think I had that uneven of skin tone. I declined at the time, but it put a bug up my butt. Many times I would be at home looking in the mirror and pull the skin over my cheeks back to lift those “marionette” lines around my nose and mouth and think maybe it could be better. My mouth seemed to be permanently turned down and as I looked at pictures on the net and surfed for stories, I started talking myself into it.

Shortly before my appointment last week, I found a thread where a woman said she had it done and was VERY upset with the results, comparing herself to Marge Simpson’s upper lip area and I had second thoughts. If there was one celebrity I didn’t want to look like, that would be her. I went to my appointment anyway.

So what should you expect with either Botox or Radiesse injections? For me, the Botox treatments are a breeze. A half dozen or so pokes in my brow with a teeny-tiny needle while sitting on the exam table, a gauze to wipe out what oozes and away I go with instructions to occasionally exercise those muscles to help distribute the Botox and to not to lay down within the next few hours, which can cause it to gravitate into areas you don’t want it to gravitate. It takes about three days for me to notice it has taken affect.

As for the Radiesse…I had no idea what to expect. Well, except that it was injected. The nurse brought me a frozen pack to put over my mouth to numb up the area and that thing nearly frostbit my fingers trying to hold it. Eventually I reclined on the exam table to let gravity help while I was waiting, which was about 10 minutes. When we proceeded, he had me sit back up and before the first poke, he counted down, “3, 2, 1, here we go,” and the first injection took my breath away. It hurt like a mo-fo. So did the second, third, and fourth through the sixth injection, all into the lines that runs from the outside of my nose down past the lips on both sides.

“Before” (I look like hell on wheels!) March 2012

Not only was it more painful than the Botox, it feels incredible uncomfortable because it’s viscous, not at all like Botox which has the consistency of water. If you’ve ever done PIO, then yeah, it’s like that. In your face. (BOOyah!) I wondered what the hell I was doing and if I had to go a year before the stuff wore off feeling like lumps of ulcerated tissue under my skin. I thought I was screwed. He told me that in 24 hours, if it still felt lumpy, I could “massage” it out and work it into the areas I wanted. I left his office feeling like I looked like the aforementioned Marge Simpson. The lumping was bad enough; I was even worried I would accidently bite the inside of my cheeks because it physically invaded my oral cavity!

My doc said that it’s not uncommon to have bruising within a few hours and lasting for a few days. I was grateful I had the week off. By the time I got home (I did this in the city, a two hour drive, plus a little shopping), I was puffy around the mouth, but not bruised. I hadn’t told my husband I was doing this and he didn’t notice.

The next day felt much better. Not as lumpy, but sore. I noticed a very, very small bruise at the corner of my mouth. I thought it was some smutz on my face until I looked closely in the mirror. It never did hurt. The days after that, the filler evened out, the bruising and aching went completely away and now I think it looks pretty good.

The change in appearance is subtle but positive. Sparring Partner wouldn’t notice if I grew a horn out of my head, so this is definitely not something he’ll ever notice. No one has noticed in fact, or if they have, it hasn’t warranted a conversation. I have not told a soul, until now. *I* notice the difference and I like the results but I seriously disliked the actual procedure. The picture below is just from yesterday (LOVE the gray at the temples) (and I’m not wearing make-up). One of the reasons I wanted to document it is so I can remind myself of how much that part sucked.

“After” (Natural lighting is a godsend!) May 2012

As for the charge for the procedures, the Botox was $200 (up $25 from the last time I had had it done, but $100 cheaper then what it was 5 years ago). The Radiesse was $500. I did not have to pay that. I am lucky I work for a group of surgeons who have specialties in maxillofacial surgery, if you catch my drift. If I had to pay out of my pocket for it, I don’t know that I would have. The Botox, yes. The Radiesse? Meh. I don’t look 20 years younger, and not that I thought I would, but THAT would be worth $500!

Since I cannot recall any of you having had work done or finding a detailed description for Radiesse, I figured this might help someone else make a more informed decision.

Douchestic

Made it back from Disney. Alive but barely as I am now nursing one mother of a cold.

I was on Facebook getting ready to update, but wanted to block a couple people from the post (IRL people so don’t get paranoid on me), but I couldn’t remember the one person’s name!

I wasn’t about to pull up my friends’ list because I would ultimately notice how many less friends I might possibly have. I had to actually stop and stare into space to recall the person’s name. I bring her up only to find out that we aren’t friends anymore. Not that we were really friends to begin with; she’s a new neighbor and she works for my hairdresser – and that’s it.

What annoys me is that she sent me the friend request and I of course accepted, because regardless of what I write here I really am not an asshole. At least not an INTENTIONAL asshole. Accidentally? Hell, yes.

So she seeks me out, not that long ago, and already I’ve somehow annoyed or insulted her enough to unfriend me. That’s kind of douchey, I think. Did she just want to snoop into my life and find that there were too many updates with “fuck” in them?

This is an example of why I hate letting people from IRL into my social media-scape. I will eventually see this person around and there will be that awkward moment and I bet we’ll both pretend we didn’t see each other.

More on Disney World later, including pictures. I’m in a Nyquil daze and can barely keep both eyes open at the same time. One eye part of the time? No problem.

Oh, Mickey. You Sulfite. You Sulfite, You Blow My Mind.

Over the past couple of months, it has come to my attention that I may have intolerance to sulfites. It’s generally used as a preservative in some foods, which THAT is no big deal. In fact, maybe cutting out foods with those asthma-inducing preservatives is probably a good idea. It might help reduce this Miss Muffet’s tuffet’. However, sulfites are also commonly found in alcohol, especially wine. Especially red, dry wines.

Commence dramatic weeping.

Upon initial research, I found that white wines or other clear alcohol (VODKA!) may be better tolerated for sorry souls such as I. This was a glimmer of hope as I just don’t like white wines (and Zinfandel? That bastard of wines will not even get past my front door.), but I keep a couple of bottles of Vodka in the freezer, ever at the ready for emergencies.

The other night I craved a Bloody Mary (spicey! With pepper!! And O! M! G! horseradish!!) so I threw one together, garnishing it with a couple of pickled asparagus spears. I soaked in the beauty, both visually and gastronomically. Thirty short minutes later I felt the tightening of the sinuses at the bridge of my nose followed shortly by tell-tale faint wheezing.

I am gutted.

At a recent family gathering, I was offered a glass of wine. I declined and explained my sensitivity. “OH! That’s going to suck. What are you going to do?”

I responded, “I suppose mainlining heroin would be considered a ‘bad thing’?

The 2011 Family Vacation

A drive with two younger children will make you appreciate the smaller things in life. Like handheld gaming devices, smart phones, and DVD players with wireless headphones. I’ll admit that this past weekend’s trip to Denver and back is making me seriously rethink our Disney World trip in February. Sparring Partner and I have been to Colorado a handful of times and we find it both inspiring and rejuvenating. The scenery is never boring, even in the very eastern part of Colorado where the only thing to break up the horizon might be a small oil rig or a farm of wind generators. We thought that Doodicus might enjoy the adventure. We imagined him awestruck by seeing the mountains for the first time. We did not foresee what seemed to be his endless whining and complaining, including the statement, “This is lame!” Ah, the age of 9… We pressed on making the most of the trip. Our hotel in downtown Denver was perfect in both accommodations and view.

We were a five minute walk from the 16th Street Mall where the four of us enjoyed a handsome cab ride at dusk.

Sparring Partner and Doodicus attended what was our son’s first professional baseball game at Coors Stadium. While they were at the park, I met up with an amazing blogger from the area, Lori Lavender Luz. Many topics were brought up while none were finished thanks to one pee break, one poop break (false alarm) and a teary breakdown after taking a thunk to the forehead. I’m referring to Aitch on all three interruptions, by the way. I was further honored when she said that after mentioning to Melissa Ford she was meeting with me that Mel told her to tell me “Hi!” I forgot (or maybe that was the first potty break request) to return the greeting, so “Hellooo!!” to Mel if she’s still reading.

During our trip if we weren’t driving or eating, we were checking out the pool of whatever hotel we were staying in. The pools (I accidentally typed “poos”, which is ironic) were sub par at best. One had the free-weight equipment right next to the pool, including the exercise balls, which was made into an improved beach ball by a group of drunk youth. Another pool was totally grody to the point you couldn’t see the bottom and the chlorine levels were so high, we choked on the fumes. And for some reason, I can’t remember the third…whatever. It sucked, too.

One of the best parts of the trip was Garden of the Gods. It was the only site the kids asked to see again, so we actually went back the next day when everyone was wearing shoes instead of flip-flops and I wasn’t wearing white pants.

On our last full day, we took the cog wheel railway up Pike’s Peak. When I researched ticket prices, I thought they were a tad high, but after all was said and done, they were worth the $40 per adult (children’s are lower). I was surprised when Aitch fell asleep literally in my arms on the way up. The gentle swaying of the train, the ceaseless noise and the fresh air did her in.

(Still 2,000 more feet to go until we reached the top)

The day couldn’t have been better for a trip up the mountain. It was above 80 when we left the station and 50 at the peak (windchill around 40-something), but clear and relatively calm. The next morning as we were leaving Colorado Springs, you couldn’t even see the mountain range.

Doodicus enjoyed a couple donuts at the top and some photo opportunities with his dad as I was inside the gift shop (tourist trap) trying to make Aitch happy after she woke up cold and in unfamiliar surroundings. She was easily appeased with a stuffed fox that she dressed up in her bracelets all the way back down the mountain, which is when she also discovered a hole in one of its seams (cheap touristy crap!).

Aitch did really well on the entire vacation, only asking to go home the day before we actually did. At the last hotel we stayed at, I slept with her. I was already awake when the next morning I got to watch her come out of her slumber. She opened her eyes, saw me and smiled. Then she reached out her little arms and pulled me in for a kiss. Seriously, that girl heals me in so many ways. Potty training started almost suddenly the weekend before and even though we traveled long distances with her in a diaper, she wore underwear most of the time (with the exception of bedtime) without incident.

Doodicus liked the rock scrambling and the arcade at the travel center in Grand Island. What can I say? He’s nine-teen going on four. I was thankful for the meds which kept me from clubbing him with a rock when he made the “this is lame” statement.

We found most everyone to be friendly and warm, and not just staff. Something those here in Nebraska who spew the most about “Midwestern Values” should take note of. It’s beautiful out there. I strongly recommend you make a trip to the Colorado Springs area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Wednesday

If there has been one constant for every birthday I’ve ever had in the past four decades, it’s the generic birthday card that I get from my mother – you know the kind, the one that comes in the box of 50 blank cards that has a picture of a kitty or a vase of flowers on the front – signed “Happy Birthday! Love, Mom & Dad” in pretty cursive.

Except I didn’t get one this year. She forgot.

Mind Over What Matters

My mother’s mental health continues to deteriorate with the momentum of a snowball on a mountainside. In short, if Aitch was still an infant instead of a fairly self-sufficient toddler, I would no longer let her stay alone with them once a week for a few hours. She was here today and as I sent her off, I realized it won’t be too far in the future before we’ll have to strip her of her driving license.

This past week, of the three part-time jobs she has in her hometown where she cleaned offices, she was fired from one. She had forgotten to lock the doors behind her. A small town of less than a 1,000 where people don’t lock their doors on their cars or homes, but when it comes to the town bank? Well, obviously they were justified. The other two businesses keep asking my brother to talk to her about quitting. We are of the opinion that if she isn’t doing the job, then they should also fire her. And that’s what my brother tells them. He’s not going to make her quit. They need to grow some balls. She’s 80 ferchrisakes!

The “new” car she bought a year ago has been scraped up from her poor parking skills. I am only hoping that another vehicle hasn’t been involved, but I’m not optimistic. I can’t ask her because she won’t know. She asked me if I can get out of my car when the engine is running. I’m going to let you contemplate that question for a moment…

I was able to quickly deduce that she’s been trying to open the door to her car when it’s still in drive (or reverse – whatever) and of course, as a fairly modern safety feature in every car, the doors aren’t going to unlock unless she puts it in park. Clearly she’s not even remembering to put the car in park before trying to exit it! She can’t figure out how to work the A/C so my dad, who won’t bother even looking at the car, told her to take it to the shop to have A/C put in it. It’s a Cadillac (albeit an older model). That’s pretty much standard. When I looked at it, the message on the read-out says, “Coolant low – A/C not on”. Right there in front of her nose! She would have taken the car to some garage and they would have fucked her right over, crazy-old-lady needing air-conditioning installed on her 2001 Caddy.

The icing on the crazy-cake is her desire to fold my laundry when she’s here. I try to get as much done over the weekend just so I don’t have the extra work that she actually creates in trying to help me, but this weekend was consumed by a sleepover, zoo trip two hours away, and a single-parenting stint. Right before leaving to run some errands, I told her not to put the clothes that were in the washer into the dryer. It was filled with clothes that can’t be dried on high and that’s the only setting she knows how to work. When I got home, she had forgotten my request and my low-heat-to-dry clothes were a wrinkled pile of fabric and I was pissed. She just shrugged and said I hadn’t told her not to dry them.

Here’s my bedroom floor after she folded some clothes.

The many piles are because she doesn’t remember already starting a pile of one kind of thing, say kitchen linens, so she starts another, and then another. I know it sounds petty and maybe even heartless, but these were not issues only a couple years ago, which was why she was able to watch Aitch once a week when she was just a three month old.

My parents are now both in their 80s. My dad’s health is crap. After fracturing his back this winter (and fracturing his hip the winter before) he had for a short time quit drinking, but now he’s back to saucing it up. He’ll be found impaled on a piece of tractor machinery or hell, quite possibly a pitchfork, one of these days. He’ll go out the way he wants: on the farm. It’ll be easier to put mom in a home if he goes first.

One of my sisters and I were talking about which way we’ll end up when we’re that age. Will it be our health or our minds that go first? It’s a 50/50 shot either way. I’m hoping it’s my health, but with the way I’ve been feeling lately, it’ll be the latter.

Foggy

When I went through those years of infertility treatment, my focus was generally on one thing and one thing only: getting – and staying – pregnant. I knew what I wanted. I knew what I didn’t want. I ate, slept and breathed in a cyclical fashion, literally. When I blogged, I knew what I wanted to say and I said it. When I wanted to break up the obsessing, I would share a story about…whatever.

Now it’s Whatever all the time and I wonder more and more what I’m trying to work out. It’s not that I’m not trying to work out something, it’s just that there’s now so many somethings. For instance, I am reading a book, Parenting Children with ADHD, and it’s been the best thing I’ve read about ADHD since Doodicus was diagnosed three years ago. I’ve been highlighting passages through my Kindle that have made me say “AHA!” just so I can share them with you and try to explain why I find them important.

I’ve had this secret about my marriage that I need to get off my chest, but I don’t know how. OK, not so much “how”, but “why”. Why should I share it? Will it really help me to put it out there or will it end up coming back and biting me on the ass like so many other things have?

Then there’s the impulsive confession I made to a fellow blogger about my daughter, which I will state without explanation because I don’t know how to explain it: When I really look at her and not see any of myself, is this how a mother through adoption sees their child? I love her fiercely, almost desperately, but I have these irrational moments where I think, “She’s not mine.”

So instead of writing about any of this here because I don’t have the mental energy to both think about it AND write it down, I write instead about Whatever. My life that was so focused on my infertility is now blurred with what I had avoided, ignored or hadn’t foreseen. I’m living in a perpetual fog.

Still

My daughter is asleep. My son is with his father in town at the traveling carnival bonding over rides of dizzying speed and heights and flashing lights. I have the patio door open and up until just moments ago, the robins, sparrows, finches…they were all singing until the sun finally snuffed out. Not even a breeze disturbs the buffalo grass, already knee-high, in the fields. The neighbor’s cattle are bawling a half-mile away but they sound like they are in my yard. I can smell the perfume of lilacs that I cannot see.

It is quiet and still.

A question was asked, “When did you first know what love is?” and I thought about it. Was it with the birth of my son, and my love for him that came solely out of nurturing? Was it the love for my husband when he rocked his first-born son to sleep, gazed upon his tiny form and marveled? Did I know what love was when he held my hands and wiped my tears and told me that someday, when all was perfect, I would have another baby? Was it love when I let a tear drop onto the sleeping form of my almost-three-year old tonight because she calls me mommy?

It is quiet and still.

And still, my heart feels a little broken. Maybe it is too full.

Hanging On

These represent all the pants I had hanging in my closet that a year ago I could wear but now cannot. I know for a fact that it was a year I was wearing these because I had brought some of them with me to Boston last Spring. I am now too fat for all of them and instead of letting them sit in my closet reminding me that once again my body fucking hates me, I folded them up and put them in a garbage bag destined for donating.

I didn’t cry, but I did choke back a sob or four. This makes me sadder than I could have imagined.