Category Archives: For Better or Worse

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.

Witch of the West

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My husband helped me with this project I saw in Martha Stewart’s Halloween magazine issue.

My original plan did not include Sparring Partner helping me because that always means a simple project will turn into a production of epic proportion, which invariably turns into me hating my husband for 24 hours. Don’t feel too bad for him as the feeling is usually reciprocated.

I am the kind of person who likes to start projects with only the vaguest of plans. I like to work from a picture or from an idea. SP wants dimensions, weights and formulas. If I want a board cut for a project, I will hold my index fingers out in front of me and say, “I need it to be yay-big.” He will then ask, “Is that 18 or 24 inches? Do you want a 2×4 or 2×6? Does the wood need to be treated? Do you want me to router the ends?” And then I get pissy. Read my mind, man!!

I felt I could tackle this project myself. Except I needed his help going to the home store and picking out a sheet of plywood. Oh, and he didn’t think a jigsaw would do as nice of a job as a rotory saw even though we had access to at least three jigsaws but not one rotory, so he had to pick one out and it requires special bits. He also declared that using conduit and conduit straps was not good enough; he would MAKE the brackets. I’m surprised he didn’t demand that he get to cut down the trees to make the plywood and press it out himself calculating the tensile strength necessary to withstand the autumn prairie winds…

I was adamant that I would use the saw. I didn’t want to have to depend on when he was willing to put aside his own projects to help me with mine. However, after I broke the third bit before making it even a tenth of the way around the template for the witch, I knew I’d have to hand over the new toy. He completed the rest of the witch and the cat using a single bit.

I had the kids help me apply the black paint with rollers. They thought that was fun at first, but black seemed to suck that excitement right out of them. Plus Aitch tripped and fell into the dirt with the wet roller and then proceeded to roll that onto the witch and then back into the tray of paint and to the witch again. I didn’t care but for Doodicus, who takes after his dad, complained how she was ruining it and the bickering and whining was too much. They soon threw down their rollers and went back inside the house.

SP made the brackets as promised, and I wish I could explain his ingenious design, but it would require me to use words like jig, sled, and channeling and really, what does it matter? The end result was fabulous and way better than conduit brackets.

The witch and the cat are now in the side yard. I still have a few minor touches to add, like a broom, lantern and some lighting, but considering I’d never thought I’d get this far, especially before the first of October, I’m pretty happy with how it looks now.

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.

Superficial

I can’t believe no one took the opportunity to call me paranoid.

I am just being paranoid about my kid getting some girl pregnant out of wedlock and the house going up in flames, right??

*********

The Corporate Office gave each satellite office surveys to hand out to their patients. Any comments shared on the surveys were released recently, and all were positive. Except this one: “The financial person was not nice. Superficially she was, but not really.”

I was especially wounded by this statement because of course I am that “financial person” (who probably also ensured their insurance company processed their claim appropriately. Asshole.). I don’t get it. Is that a legitimate complaint? Sure, I probably was being superficially nice because technically, that is part of my job. I wasn’t mean, per se, but maybe s/he didn’t like the fact I didn’t offer to call him/her up for lunch? Or that I didn’t flash some boob?? It would have made just as much sense if they had written: “The financial person was rude. Superficially she was not, but was really.” It just feels, oh I don’t know….Schizo.

********

Speaking of not being nice, I was on the deck last night huddled over my cell phone and on Facebook. The atmosphere was perfect because there was a warm breeze keeping away mosquitoes and the kids were bed. Sparring Partner came out to say good-night before he left to see his dad in the nursing home. Fifteen minutes later I decided to head inside and discovered he had locked me out on the deck.

I was pissed and dialed his number as I walked around the porch and to the garage. I told him to come home and let me back in the house and explained why. He swore that he did not lock me out of the house, and in fact had double-checked to make sure he hadn’t locked the patio door when he went back inside. Since the garage doors were down and locked, too, I went all the way back around the house to the aforementioned-unlocked deck door and confirmed with another tug and with a visual, that yes, he had indeed locked me out of the house.

I ended up walking back around again (tell me again why the hell we have a sprawling ranch house and that I am fat and too-out-of-shape-for-this-shit) to the garage and used the keypad to get in (I’ve never used it and the last I heard, the battery had died in it). SP was still adamant that he had not locked me out of the house, to which I replied, “So you’re saying that between the time you left the house and the time I tried to get back in, Doodicus woke up, realized I was outside, that you were gone, and locked the door on me??”

He thought THAT was more plausible then him simply subconsciously locking the door behind him.

I was definitely NOT nice, not even superficially.

Smile. It Won’t Hurt

We spent this past Sunday at the zoo. It was cloudy and the heat is finally fading away, plus it was the last weekend before school started and we hadn’t made it there once this summer. The kids wanted to ride the train, which goes around the zoo in a loop that’s just under two miles long. Since the train is steam and crosses several pedestrian areas, it is wonderfully noisy with its chuffing engine and warning high-pitched whistles. People can’t help but watch it go by, and a handful would wave as we went by.

Later, we were walking between exhibits and heard the train coming. Aitch stopped to watch it and I suggested she wave to the passengers. As she did, a few on board waved back, but not many. Doodicus asked why we should wave; we didn’t know anybody on board, and I was struck by his question. I told him briefly how decades ago, everyone waved or acknowledged a fellow human being if they crossed paths. A hundred years ago, men politely doffed their hats out of respect to the women passing by and at the minimum, made eye contact out of polite acknowledgement with the men. Then I said, “People have simply become so rude.”

The media has picked up on a story of an airline losing a ten-year-old girl and how the company couldn’t have been less indifferent if the girl had simply been a forgotten jacket. Not only had the airline acted as if it had been some lost inanimate object, but I read the comments by people who felt it was somehow the parents’ fault for entrusting the airline with their daughter even though it’s a service they not only offer, but get paid extra for doing so. Not only have we become more standoffish, some people have just become dicks and companies like this airline (United Airlines, for what’s it worth) ultimately reward ambiguous treatment of fellow human beings because it saves resources, i.e. money.

When DID we become so…numb…towards each other; so void of empathy? What ever happened to the simple nod; the one-finger-off-the-steering-wheel wave; the SMILE? We are more connected to humanity then we have been in the history of man – digitally, but it has made us also the most disconnected interpersonally, keeping everyone and everything that can bring us happiness at arm’s length, because it, too, might bring us pain. Smile. Acknowledge. Can it really hurt THAT much?

The Other Half Needs an Ass-Kicking

I have to vent or I’ll not be responsible for bludgeoning my husband with this laptop…

If you have a child with ADHD, you know that sleep is an anomaly. They DON’T sleep well, especially when on any kind of drug regimen. While Doodicus heads to bed at 9:00 p.m., it’s not unusual to find him still awake by 10:00 p.m. And then he’ll be awake by 5:00 a.m. It’s not all the time, I’m just saying it’s not unusual. AND I GET THAT. It’s just how his brain functions.

Tonight, after Sparring Partner tucked Dood in, SP sat down next to me and told me he was talking to Dood and the Olympians getting up at 3 – 4:00 in the morning, every morning, just to train. Dood told him that sometimes he wakes up then, too. SP then said, “You need to tell your body to go back to sleep!”

I listened to this slack-jawed. “That just tells me you haven’t got a clue how his ADHD affects him. You aren’t listening to me. You aren’t listening to him. You don’t read the articles I send you about ADHD. You. Don’t. Get. It!

…so I’m sitting here steaming, watching the Olympics.

He then asks, “What do you think the temperature of the pool water is?”

I shrugged, disinterested.

He immediately flips open the iPad to google it.

He doesn’t want to use the resources available to him to understand how ADHD affects not just Doodicus, but our whole family dynamic, but he’ll look up the fucking temperature of the fucking pool water!

Don’t be surprised by tomorrow’s headlines, “Ritual Killing? Man Found in Quiet Nebraska Rural Community Strangled by USB Cable: iPad Duct-Taped to Genitals”.

P.S. By the time I finished writing this, I’m not as furious. Just fuming.

Shifting Gears

I do think Dr. Rita has some personal experience when it comes to ADHD (my response to a recent question left in the comments). I’ve yet to ask him if it was with himself or one of his children, but I do believe that it’s someone very close to him just based on a couple of things he’s said. I haven’t asked for two reasons, one being out of basic respect; and two, these sessions are for Dood. Sorry, if that makes me out to be kind of a dick, but for now I am being quite selfish about that 60 minutes we have been allotted.

The vyvanse? When it kicks in, it’s wonderful. When it hasn’t – or when it’s wearing off – he is painful to be around. Basically it amplifies all of Dood’s personality traits, whether they are bad or good. I wish I had a better way to describe it, but I’ll leave it at that for now.

Today I turned in the enrollment papers to the public school. They will in turn file a formal withdrawal from the Catholic school Dood had attended up until now and request his transcripts. I wish I could brush off my apron and say, "And that is THAT," but Aitch is enrolled in the pre-K classes at the private school. Initially I felt a bit awkward about that decision, but right now I feel it is going to be a good decision on both parts.

Aitch is taking swim lessons for the second session in a row at the local YMCA. My son does not care much for swimming, and I’ve rarely seen him go into water higher than his knees, and never at the lake. Aitch, on the other hand, is fearless, and as such a danger to herself. She walks into the lake until there is nothing under her feet. I literally have to be within arms length of her at all times to scoop her up, and when I do, she just sputters a bit, squeals in delight, and wiggles her way back into the water. At the pool, she loves to jump off the side, go completely under and then leapfrog it to the surface. My heart seems to leap into my throat much the same way.

At the most recent trip to the pool she showed me a new "trick" by jumping off the side and then swimming under the water for a few seconds. The first time, I thought she had lost her footing and couldn’t get to the surface so I pulled her out, "Are you OK?!" "Yeah! That was fun!" and she jogged the best she could in three feet of water back to the pool’s edge, climbed out, and repeated. She popped up, gulped some air, and went back under. I could see her big, blue eyes beneath the water’s surface as she sought out my legs and reached out with her hands and kicked her feet in what one might describe as "swimming". That same night, she ASKED to go to bed.

And while Doodicus is not a swimmer, he did start getting the hang of doing handstands in the pool and I even assisted him in doing a somersault under water. Both kids have both figured out how to use a snorkel with impressive success. I think it’s Aitch’s skill and confidence in the water (as much an almost-four-year-old could have anyway) that has helped Doodicus overcome some of his trepidations. He is often ditching his friends at the pool to come play by us yelling, "Aitch! Aitch! Watch this!" and showing off for his little sister. They are so good for each other.

A couple months ago, I announced that I wished to go to Scotland next year for my birthday. Even though THIS year is a minor milestone, our trip to Disney in February pretty much tapped our vacation resources. I wanted the Scotland vacation to be just for Sparring Partner and myself; maybe the honeymoon we never had (15 years ago this month!). However, SP is not keen on the idea one bit. "I’m not an international traveler," he announced. I don’t even know what that means since he’s never traveled internationally. "Why Scotland?" he asked. I explained that while a vacation sitting on a beach all day drinking out of a coconut would have been my ideal vacation prior to my skin cancer scare, I thought a summer vacation exploring moors, lochs and circle of stones seemed like a rather pleasant alternative. And I know without a doubt, that he would love it. (see update below)

I let the topic drop until last night, "My sister said she would go with me to Scotland if you don’t want to." That statement was true. She loves to travel and as a matter of fact, just returned from her vacation to Peru. SP replied, "I don’t think THAT’S fair for you to go without me." "Does that mean you want to go WITH me?" "No. I don’t want to leave the kids for that long." I could only stare back at him incredulously. It wasn’t fair for me to go without him, but he thinks it’d be "fair" that I don’t go at all?

The prairie toads come out at night since it is much cooler. There are always a couple of them sitting in the driveway feasting on the bugs that gather around the outside lights. Last night, my husband got home from seeing his dad in the nursing home and it was already after dark. He asked had me come out and look at one of them. He was huge, like a baseball. And fearless, not even a flinch when I poked him with my flipflop. SP had backed the pickup into the garage to unload some things and I warned him to make sure there were no toads under the truck if he moved it. Sure enough, five minutes later, he comes in and sadly announces the big toad is no more. Worse, he informs me that he flipped the gruesome carcass into the nearby landscaping…where I walk around the house…where the kids explore. I chewed him out as if he’d run over the family dog and demanded he remove the remains and dispose of them properly. I am wondering why I had to even do this; he is 40-something-something years old after all.

ETA: I was sitting with my husband last night as he watched Feherty on TV and I was on Facebook. After a few minutes of listening to the interview I made the observation that Feherty is a Scot, not Irish, as SP has claimed in the past. "Oh, so now you want to go to Scotland?!" I looked at him as if he’d grown a set of thorny gonads from his ears, "What?" "Well, before you wanted to go to Ireland and now you want to go to Scotland!" "You asshole. For the past couple of months, I’ve ALWAYS said Scotland. I have never mentioned going to Ireland. No wonder you can’t get motivated to go with me when you don’t even listen to whatever the fuck I’m saying. Goodnight."