Category Archives: For Better or Worse

Earning my Ears

Who wants to hear a long, detailed recounting of our week-long trip to Disney World?

YOU do??

Well then, you are fucking awesome. But you knew that already.

We had an auspicious start. The week before, Aitch came down with the 24-hour stomach flu. It was a Wednesday. Her first time vomiting since she was a baby. It made quite an impression on her. Of course, I’ll never forget the image when I picked her up from daycare that morning. There she was, my little girly-girl, wearing a pair of track pants torn at the knees and a grey t-shirt, both loaned to her from the daycare when she vomited all over her dress and leggings. Next to her was a wastebasket, at the ready. She started crying when she saw me. Relief? Misery? Annoyance? All of that and more? Selfishly, my only concern was that if we were all to get it, please god, let everyone get it before our trip. By Friday, Sparring Partner was throwing up at work. Two down! Two to go!

The Monday following I was feeling a bit green, but not bad enough to stay home from work. I felt optimistic about Doodicus. His somewhat anti-social habits might have been his saving grace, but Thursday he said his stomach hurt and my friend’s suggestions from Facebook to bring Ziploc bags on the plane, while met with a grimace on my end, were taken seriously. It ended up that Sparring Partner was the one to have a recurring attack of intestinal distress minus the vomiting. He didn’t feel quite up to par until our third night in Florida.

Not only were we battling illness, but Friday night, the night before our flight was scheduled to leave Nebraska, a major blizzard rolled in. We had already prepared for leaving our home and spending a night in a hotel in Omaha to avoid the early morning, two-hour drive. Thank goodness we did as we woke Saturday to eight inches of snow packed heavily on the roads, our vehicle and of course, the plane. It hadn’t been canceled (some flights had), but we didn’t get in the air until 90 minutes after our departure time. A good portion of that time was spent in the plane listening to the sound of the deicer pound away on the roof and looking at the orange slush of goop (an appetizing mix of deicer and slush) on the wings. I was a frazzled wreck.

We missed our connecting flight to Houston, but were rebooked on the last flight out and into Orlando’s airport. Instead of arriving at 5:00 p.m., we touched down close to 8:00 and locate our luggage, rent the car, and find our way to the resort in the dark. The kids, while pumped up from the day’s excitement were tuckered. They were asleep by 10:00 p.m. For me, it was much later. I cannot function out of a suitcase and unpacked everything that night and put it away in closets and dresser drawers.

Our resort room at Old Key West was as spacious as any two bedroom apartment. Maybe even more so. Now it was a bit dated (our shower stall, big enough for four, was flesh-colored; the floor was Spanish tiles), but the rooms were HUGE. The kids’ room easily fit two queen-sized beds, a dresser, table with chairs and a walk-in closet. They had their own full bath, plus a separate wash area. Our bedroom had a king and TV armoire, a seating area, plus a door to the patio. The Jacuzzi tub was in its own room. Then there was a shower and toilet. PLUS, we had a laundry room with full-sized washer and dryer. The main living space including plenty of seating and the kitchen. Not a kitchenette, mind you. But a kitchen with dishwasher, full-sized fridge and island as well as patio doors out to the third floor deck overlooking the water.

WOW!! Isn’t this all SO exciting?? I haven’t even talked about the actual park!!

We were officially Disney World vacationers.


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.

That’s What SHE Said

We leave for Disney on Saturday and I am trying to be really zen about it, but seriously, I’m not very good at zen.

Aitch has been calling me “mama” lately. It is not being said in the soft, southern-draw-way one might imagine when a child says “mama”, but more in the possessed-by-a-mass-murderer-doll-under-the-bed kind of way: “ma – ma, ma – ma, ma-ma”.

Speaking of weird shit kids say, tonight after her bath, Aitch was sitting on a stool we keep in the bathroom so she can reach the sink. I was combing out her wet hair, when I heard, “It looks like a penis.”

“What??” I asked, surprised, and stopped to find her doing a very thorough examination of her girly parts.

“It looks like a peanut.”

Um, OK.

But then she amended her observation:

“It looks like a dinosaur!”


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’?

Gift Tags

I am the laziest crafter out there. I can’t even call myself a “crafter” because if I can find someone to make it for me, that’s what I’d rather do, but then I’m so lazy it may be next to never by the time I make arrangements to have someone make it for me.

I saw some handmade gift tags on Pinterest but the photo wasn’t accurate with the description and then blah, blah, blah, I became annoyed and distracted. Sure, I’d love to have hand-glazed, ceramic gift tags, but seriously?? I have a life. In spite of what you might read on Facebook.

While at Hobby Lobby, I found a tub of Sculpt-It and it didn’t require mixing or baking so in my head, it was a win-win. I could invest $13 into an experiment and no one but me would know if it was a Big Fat Fail. Happily, they came out better than I expected and so I’ll pass on this lazy mom’s findings.

In addition to the Sculpt It, you’ll want some cookie cutters (or just make your shapes with a glass), rolling pin, straw, ribbon (or twine, which is what I used), wax paper and a surface to work on.

As you can see I used one of those flexible cutting boards, but I strongly recommend setting down a sheet of wax paper to work on to reduce the stickiness of the Sculpt It. I also used a couple of paint stir sticks to roll the clay down to a good thickness. If you are a regular baker, you won’t need a cheater like me.

The tub of Sculpt It has handy “tubes” ready to take out and work a little at a time. If while you are working it and dries a bit, just wet your hands and then worked the clay again introducing moisture gradually. I only had to do this a couple of times.

Here’s one tube of clay rolled out and I used a glass to get round ornament/tags. Not that I needed to include this photo, but it was there.

Here’s a batch of little hearts that I used the straw to punch holes in and then just some stamps to create the design. I might use these for Valentine’s Day as a small garland in my office and just thread some ribbon in and out of the holes.

This project is so easy and basically mess free, I let Aitch and Doodicus make some as well. Aitch’s favorite part was blowing the clay out of the straw.

Below is a photo of a completed ornament/tag on a package (I ‘shopped out our last name that was stamped in the main body of the ornament) by wrapping the twine around the package and then tieing on the tag.

Some things you should know about the clay: it shrinks, just a little, but if the hole you make is *JUST* the right size before it dries, it may be too small afterward. I’m also surprised with how strong and light-weight the final product is. Give it at least 24 hours to dry completely.

I had been able to make enough tags for what I needed this year so I made a few to experiment with including a round ornament with several holes on the circumference so I can weave some ribbon through the holes (if you do this, make sure to have an ODD number of holes!). I also tried “sewing” spaghetti pasta in one, but that didn’t thrill me. I suppose you could use a large needle and some yarn and sew it while they are still wet and if you didn’t like them, wad it up and roll it back out again. Maybe even add some food-coloring to a batch. However, that’s more work than I’m willing to put in to it. Another shape I thought about trying was a thin rectangle and then use them as just “everyday” tags and stamping “From Doodicus” or “From Aitch” on them to use throughout the year.

Easy, cheap, child-friendly, and cute.

Our Meeting with Dr Brain

It was a week ago that I told my mom that I had set up an appointment to see a neurologist, and how’d that go? Not so well.

Today, which is Monday, is my mom’s day to stay with the kids, but it was also the day of the appointment. I didn’t say anything when she first showed up, but left her and Aitch to do their thing and ran some errands (I’m normally at work, but had the day off). While gone, I psyched myself up to remind her. When I finally did, while she didn’t want to, she said, “If it will make YOU happy…” No, it wasn’t going to make me happy because I knew what it meant.

When Dr. Brain introduced himself and asked why she was there, she shrugged, mute. I then had to explain that there has been some memory lapses and that she repeats herself in her story-telling and questions. I felt like an ass; like I was somehow throwing my mom under the bus or at the least, complaining about her. I tried to explain that we were there to see if was indeed the normal progression of aging or if it was something else we should be aware of.

He then went into a series of questions that I initially thought were rudimentary in nature:

What is today’s date? The 11th. (It’s the 19th, and we had just signed at least four pages of paperwork that required both her signature and today’s date.)

What year is it? 1980. No, that’s not right. *long pause* I don’t know.

Who is the President? Kennedy! (answered almost too quickly and too enthusiastically) Wait, no…. *another long pause* I don’t know.

How many grandchildren do you have? 10. (she has 11)

There were several others including some simple calculations and where she lived. She struggled with the math problems (What is 100 minus seven?), but was able to answer what city, county, state and country she was in. He also had her draw something similar to a Venn diagram, but instead of circles, she was supposed to do hexagons, which were already drawn on the paper. He then asked her to write a sentence at the bottom of the page. She wrote: “Right [sic] a sentence on the bottom.” At least he laughed at that, but he did make her write an original sentence.

Afterwards, he took several seconds to review his notes, including several hash marks he had made in the margins. Her score was 23 out of 30, which he explained as he presented his opinion: beginnings of dementia, which usually means Alzheimer’s. He explained his scoring system and that he’s going to put her on a new medication. He told us what I had already known about the meds and that is they don’t make things better; they just help to keep things from getting significantly worse too soon.

In a year he will test her again (but yes, we will be following up with him much sooner). In a year, her score should be the same if she takes her meds regularly. Without the meds? She might only score a 19, maybe a 20, at the annual exam.

I could tell as I watched my mom’s expression while he described his findings and the medication that she was upset. Her face flushed and for a split second, she even teared up, but my mom, who is quite stoic, quickly reigned it all back in. Dr. Brain noticed it, too, and went on to explain that we were there to help make sure she stays as independent as she is now. She’s able to cook, clean, drive and basically look after herself and make choices for herself. The medication could potentially give her four more additional years before nursing home care may be required.

Dr. Brain was efficient and frank in his examination and delivery of his news, and yet he was still compassionate. It was hard to hear and I can’t imagine what it is was like to be in my mom’s shoes. She’s seen so many of her friends go down this path and never come back. Understandably, she was in a very subdued mood after the appointment and it was soon that she had to leave to head home. For me, I am also feeling deflated. Four years, even under the best of circumstances, is such a short time. My children will be building memories; my mother will lose them.

Head Games

I’m sitting here at the kitchen counter with my laptop in front of me, Aitch is next to me eating MY pizza, and a glass of wine (I’m drinking the wine). And before you start thinking how fancy we are, the pizza WAS frozen.

Also in front of me is the paperwork I was going to go over with my mom. It’s the pre-registration packet for her neurology appointment next Monday. We, the family, know its Alzheimer’s, but I guess we think there’s a magic answer to our frustrations by taking her and getting that confirmation. Grandma came up yesterday so she could go to Doodicus’s Winter School Concert and then spend the night to avoid making two trips (she drives 20 miles one way to be here each Monday). We are getting more and more concerned about her in the house alone with Aitch. She “forgets” to feed her lunch or if she took a nap.

When she’s not here, she’s often waiting for my brother to show up on the farm and help her with something, except she can’t remember what it is she asked him to stop over for. She received a rather substantial refund from an insurance policy a few months ago, and after my dad followed up on it, he found it hadn’t been deposited. When he asked her about it, she had no idea what he was talking about and then became upset when HE became upset about her forgetting.

If you have personally experienced someone with Alzheimer’s then you know when they get agitated, the symptoms get worse. Well, it hasn’t been JUST the missing check, but a litany of topics that get brought up by my dad who tends to be a bit of an asshole. This past year has NOT been a good one for my mom.

So I finally decided to make an appointment for my mom to see a neurologist. She needs medication to help stabilize her moods while the disease progresses. But I wasn’t sure how to tell her she had the appointment. While a year ago she was wondering what was wrong with her and why she was forgetting more and more things, she is now at the point where she doesn’t realize there is a problem. When I finally steeled my nerves to tell her and go over the paperwork, it didn’t go quite as well as I had planned.

“I made an appointment with Dr. Braindude next Monday.”

“What for?”

“Uh…well… you know how you said you aren’t feeling well lately….”

“I feel just fine.”

“Well, you mentioned that you thought you were forgetting things.”

“That’s called getting old.”

And the topic was effectively dropped because I totally lost my balls. I put the appointment page in her purse and didn’t say another word. I’ll let the rest of the family know how it went and they can bring it up over the week with her. On the upside, she’ll probably forget that it was me who brought it up in the first place.

Give me a P! Now give me a PooP, dammit!

When Aitch turned three, I celebrated her turning into a “big girl” by taking her shopping for “big girl” underwear. She hadn’t been showing any interest in potty training at home or daycare, but I saw my other friends on facebook celebrating the last diaper in the house and I decided I didn’t want to be the mom with an eight year old just starting potty training. It was on this birthday outing that she picked out a package of Disney’s princesses, Sesame Street (boy’s) and Thomas (boy’s). She was so excited that I was sure the next day she’d wear the new underwear to daycare. The next morning she declared she was wearing diapers because she didn’t want to get her new panties wet. We couldn’t even convince her to wear the pink, princess pull-ups. The girl was mega-frustating.

I think it was that very weekend that she finally put on underwear. How did I get her to do it? She wanted to watch Princess and the Frog and she happen to have a pair with Princess Tiana on them so the deal was she could only watch the movie if she wore the underwear.

And just like that, she was in panties.

Except it was QUITE that easy. The following week we went to Colorado so I worried she would regress from all her time in pull-ups or diapers, which long drives seemed to necessitate. I was pretty darn happy that she actually did so well, even keeping her diaper dry on drive home, which took the whole day.

She still wears diapers at night and has only had one totally dry night since she started wearing underwear exclusively during the day, so we’re still waiting for that switch to fully engage. For that I’m truly in no hurry because that’ll mean middle of the night wakings and moving her from a crib to a bed and ohmygodmybabyisnolongerababy!

This is where the story of potty training hits the crapper. While the girl is day-potty trained, we are ONLY talking potty. Aitch went from being a very routine pooper (right after lunch and before her nap) to a once every two-, three-, and even a four-day pooper. When she first started holding it in, I would put her in a diaper because she said, “my poop scares me!”. I didn’t want to make her feel pressured or punished for not using the potty. I dealt with Doodicus’s potty training problems until he was nearly seven. Giving Aitch a few months into her third year to figure out the whole pooping business seemed fair enough.

Unfortunately, as time goes by, she’s becoming more and more anal retentive. As the days pass and the urge gets stronger she becomes more and more fearful and more and more hysterical. Hysterical, you ask? She will scream and cry, writhe in pain on the floor, and hold her hand over her bottom for sometimes 30 minutes at a stretch or at least until that urge passes. The first time this happened I was nearly in a fit myself watching her in so much pain and with nothing I could do except hold her (if she’d let me) or wipe her snot and tears from her face, sweaty and heated.

We now give her pedia-lax tablets twice daily. A liquid laxative goes into her apple juice. Fruits and vegetables are handed out generously and yet…? The girl must have a bionic sphincter is all I can say. We even took her to the urgent care a couple weeks ago because she was in acute pain and it was time to get the party started. Conveniently, she pooped right before the doctor came into the exam room. He only charged $120 to our insurance for his service which was to confirm that we were doing everything we should. Thanks, doc! *two thumbs up and a wink*

As I write this, Aitch is asleep in her crib. It’s Saturday evening and her last BM was Wednesday evening. Two boxes of baby enema solution are now housed in the medicine cabinets. We have read The Story of the Little Mole Who Went in Search of Whodunnit a thousand times just to impress upon her that everyone and everything poops. We go around our home making excited announcements of our own successful poops hoping SHE will want to poop, to! We are ridiculously and obsessively thrilled about POOP here!

Other than encouraging her both mentally and physically to “just poop already!”, there’s nothing else we are really doing. Sparring Partner keeps wanting to punish her for NOT pooping, which makes totally no sense at all. I remind him of how well he did with potty training Doodicus (big fucking FAIL there) so the only thing he needs to do is clean it up without complaint or drama when she’s done.

Now if you have any suggestions aside from shoving something up her backside, I am ALL ears because that’s literally the last thing I want to do. Tomorrow will be Poop-Day, whether it’s on her own or with “help”. It would seem karma felt her easy potty training deserved to be countered with a possible impaction, right? Doodicus and Aitch have always been opposite children, and this part is no exception. Doodicus was a Happy Pooper! You want me to poop? OK!! Yeah!! Now come wipe me!! But the kid couldn’t hold his water for love, money or Hot Wheels.

There’s no magic bullet for potty training. Well, except the ones that come in suppository form. Aitch was two when she started showing some comprehension, but I wasn’t going to hurry it. I think potty training is much harder when one of the parents is impatient so it’s important both discuss how they’ll address accidents and successes. Bribes are completely acceptable, IMHO, but they aren’t a guarantee for success. We rewarded Doodicus with a new Hot Wheels car EVERY time he peed in the potty. After about 200 Hot Wheels, we realized it only worked half the time so we discontinued that system. The idea of stickers was boring to him, but for Aitch? The girl was cuckoo for stickers, and she remembered to ask for one and put it on the board each time.

So let’s hear it from you. What’s worked? What hasn’t? How long did it take? And why oh why are we always in a hurry to get our kids out of diapers?!

Not Exactly The Bell Jar But Just As Crazy

I’ve been looking forward to this week since I knew I’d finally have time to update my blog. My boss is supposed to be at a work-related retreat and I don’t have to be in my office when he’s not there. You have no idea how much I love working for a one-physician office. I don’t care if at this point I still haven’t garnered enough PTO. I’ll take an unpaid vacation for a week, especially since I went 2 1/2 years without a paid vacation.

But now that I have all this time to write, I can’t think of anything to sit and write about. Not to say I don’t have some seriously grand ideas, but you know, that kind of writing takes TOO much thought. The trivial things get written about on FB, which hey, that’s the whole point of FB, right? Which reminds me, that was going to be one of my topics for a post, which also reminds me, I’ve decided to see what kind of potential shit-storms are waiting for me by posting a link to my FB page via my “About” page here on my blog. Find me. Friend me. We can be trivial together. And for those who already are friends with me on FB, TESTIFY!

Weird story that was too long to share on FB: my uncle passed away recently. His wife, my aunt (dad’s sister), passed away a few years ago and rumor had it that she was quite a hoarder. My uncle had cleared out some things but in his 90s, he could barely do more than make enough room for his walker. I don’t think the hoarding was dead-cat-in-the-sofa kind of hoarding, but I found out that now that both of the parents were gone, the eldest went through the house and threw piles and piles of newspapers and bills and records into a bonfire. A shame actually, as my aunt was military and some of that may have been rather interesting.

My sister went to the house and was quite proud of the fact that she was given several old watches that belonged to my aunt, none of them in working order, but nice pieces of jewelry nonetheless. I wasn’t comfortable circling the remains, as it were, and have decided to wait for the estate sale. If there’s something I really want, I should be willing to pay for it.

But then I heard that in the house was something I would have LOVED to have sitting in my cabinet for display, however it is likely it was destroyed for lack of practical value. It belonged to my grandfather (my dad’s dad) who had died when I was just a baby. Something so unique that it cannot be replicated; it cannot be found on ebay or even craigslist. It was…

….my grandfather’s appendix in a jar.

I am heartsick.

Get it?! HEARTsick!!

Yes, I am one sick puppy. Admit it, that’s why you still come back.

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.









If you are progressive enough to not your significant other’s porn collection “cheating”, what do you consider porn via live webcam ala’ Susan Mayer on Desperate Housewives?

Or why is sexting considered cheating but reading adult magazines’ forums is not?


Like Water Off A Duck’s Ass

That’s how many of the things that would bother me before feel now. I’m almost wishing Sparring Partner was taking ADs as well and then maybe he wouldn’t blow his fuse every time Doodicus opened his mouth.

I can’t help but wonder if I had done this three years ago, would I have lost my job? Isn’t that crazy? What ifs still haunt me, but it’s been a long time since I thought about my ex-boss in a way that wouldn’t be considered premeditation in a court. Obviously part of it is finding a very comparable job after two and half years of looking, looking, and looking, but I no longer miss where I worked or who I worked with.

I’m still trying to square out the sleep issues. The ambien gets me to sleep, but doesn’t keep me there. I’m tossing and turning by 3:00 am. NOT taking the ambien means a little longer getting to sleep, but I’m once again tossing and turning by 3:00 am. I’ll keep my eyes open (literally?) for other options to the suppository-sized gelcaps of melatonin from my last post. I admit that I reread the instructions to make sure they WEREN’T suppositories.

ADs: not for everyone, but seriously? If you’re a hot, angry mess of tears and rage, I would strongly recommend.

Speaking of a hot, angry mess, Sparring Partner and I are considering finishing our basement. We didn’t when we built the house just because we had no idea how we wanted it finished. We have about 2,000 sq ft to work with and plumbing for one bathroom and a kitchenette already dropped in addition to one large bedroom space already framed but not walled.

SP said that he’s going to have a dropped ceiling installed. I said “you’re fucking insane!” That’s only the first of hundreds of disagreements this next adventure holds for us. I also want heated flooring and sound barriers installed in the ceiling and walls since HE wants to have a media center. Aaaaannnnnd….? yeah, that’s all I’ve got in mind so far.

Do you have a finished basement? What should we consider? What should we avoid? It’s a walk-out to the backyard and patio. This is the view from the outside, except now there’s grass and we decided the propane tank would look better about 100 yards away.

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.

I’m Tired of Being “One out of X”

My sister, who I haven’t seen for about six years, is visiting this summer with her kids from overseas. They live in the Middle East and her oldest daughter is in her tweens. My sister asked that I order a swimsuit that they picked out on-line that consisted of a rash guard and board shorts. Conservative, but not nearly as conservative as the one she packed with her.

I ordered the suit and then in a bone-head move that could only be contributed to being the daughter of a woman who is slipping swiftly and surely into senility, I’ve lost the shopping bag with the suit in it.


I offered to take her shopping so we could find something else, but I was reminded it had to go to “here and here!” or else she’d have to wear the traditional swimsuit. My niece was rolling her eyes and giving me the neck-slashing signal behind her mother’s back, a “no way in hell am I wearing that!” move. I told her that she won’t feel too out-of-place. My swimsuit also went to “here and here!” on me, “because I can no longer be in the sun,” and Sparring Partner, hitch-hiking on the conversation corrected, “no, you don’t want to be in the sun.”

With guests in the house, I could only change the subject. But now I’m rerunning what he said in my mind and getting angry. Does he not realize I had skin cancer? Does he not realize that I will probably get it again, only sooner with sun exposure?? Does he not realize that after 40 years of exposing myself to the sun’s rays, I have to hope that I can spend the next 40 avoiding them?!

For the past several years, I’ve been dealing with shit statistics: “Infertility affects 1 in 6 couples,” and now I have this to contend with, “Malignant Melanoma kills 1 in 7 diagnosed with the cancer.” It was hard enough explaining to him how I felt being part of the first group. Am I going to be beating my head against a brick wall on the second one?

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.