November 12 – infection?

Aitch has been scratching at her privates very indelicately claiming she itches down there. To my untrained eye I thought she may have something akin to a diaper rash, which wouldn’t have been a stretch considering she still has problems getting up to take bathroom breaks at night.

I started applying Butt Balm to her but after a couple of days the itching became extremely painful at which point we visited the urgent care.

The doctor there thought the rash was a yeast infection and advised me to apply lotramin. We are now two days into that treatment and yet she’s worse. This morning she has two zit-like cysts on her cheek (face) and another visual inspection of her bottom reveals she’s redder than ever and has broken out there, too. She told me the cream burns, so I didn’t use it. I also scheduled an appointment with her pediatrician tomorrow.

Insult to injury, it looks like she was the recipient of a particularly nasty spider bite on her hip. I’ve been applying Benadryl cream to the bite, but it gives her little relief.

I thought about running her an oatmeal bath tonight, but not sure if she should stew in any water at this point or not. FWIW, she doesn’t take bubble baths nor has she been on any antibiotics. She also doesn’t care for yogurt.

Any suggestions on some easy home recipes to give some relief? She’s pretty miserable.

November 11 – Forgotten

2013 036pse

I have a year’s worth of downloaded pictures taken with my camera that I have yet to sort through, edit and file. I found this one that was taken at the 4th of July parade. I’d completely forgotten I had taken this and several similar pictures until tonight. I’m thinking about doing a couple photo-books for my mom, whose dementia continues to progress. It’s been a full year since we decided that it’s no longer safe for grandma to drive 20 miles one way to spend a day with the kids in the house alone.

My brother told me that Saturday night after evening Mass, mom came over to their farm and spent an about an hour visiting. She left to go home, which is three miles away and a straight shot on the highway. Unfortunately, she showed back up at my brother’s farm and confessed she had gotten lost and couldn’t find her way home. My sister-in-law drove her vehicle while mom followed her home in her own car. Sure, part of it was probably because it’s now dark by the time she leaves church to head home, but this is not the first time she’s gotten lost driving. Yes, she still drives. I know. I know…

The time will come all too soon that she’ll forget whose face is above, much like how I’d forgotten I’d even taken the photo.

November 10 – Light Reno Scheduled

I have a contractor scheduled to come in this coming week to tear out and replace a part of the ceiling in our kitchen. Within a year of us moving in, we noticed a moisture stain, which now has spread down the beam. He’ll also be in the attic trying to determine why water is leaking through (or per the original builder of our home, it’s blowing snow) the vents and that it was the way we designed the home and there’s nothing that could have been done. Which come on?! What a crock of crap.

At this time, we will also replace the lights that hang over our peninsula in the kitchen. I was so scared to committing to pendant lights that I had the electrician install track lighting. Since it’s next to the beam, it just makes sense to switch it out now. I’m actually imagining a couple of these which are reminiscent of the lights we would use in the brooder house to keep the new chicks warm. My husband isn’t so sure.

10_inch_artesia_cord_hung_shade_galvanized

Just a short one for the day as I lost two hours to The Walking Dead and The Talking Dead. I won’t even facebook when those two shows are on.

November 9 – Emergency Date Night

Aitch and Doodicus are at those ages that my husband and I are comfortable going out for the evening for dinner and a movie. It’s nice to have the free time without worrying about rounding up a babysitter days in advance. Tonight we had made plans to go to our neighbor’s house for his birthday party. Keep in mind that this “neighbor” is a mile over, not next door. We make sure that the cell phone we keep in the house is charged and not muted and that Doodicus knows he can always call us if he needs something.

We first drove into town to get something for the cooler since the party was BYO, and then headed back out to their home, which all-in-all, took about 35-40 minutes from the time we left our house. We had just parked our truck when my cell phone rang. It was Doodicus. I answered and I immediately could hear Aitch screaming in the background. Doodicus quickly told me that the iPad had fallen on her nose and that it was bleeding quite a bit.

How does an iPad fall on one’s face? Those details are not important.

I got out of the truck’s passenger side and climbed back in behind the wheel and headed back home, leaving Sparring Partner at the neighbors. When I arrived home minutes later, Aitch was sitting on the couch, her face red from crying and a tissue held under her nose. She had a small pile of used tissues next to her, all with blood on them, but I could tell much of it was a mixture of blood and mucous from her recent head cold. She told me that Doodicus had advised her that crying would make it worse. He had even showed her how to pinch her nose and upper lip to slow the bleeding. She went on to tell me that “This is the worst thing that has ever happened to me!”

Both kids are now deep asleep. Aitch might have some swelling tomorrow, and she’s got some dried blood up the one nostril, but luckily she’s fine. Doodicus handled the situation, his first “emergency” on his own, exceedingly well. He addressed her needs first, getting her tissues and an ice pack, and then called us. He’s always made us proud, but there are these moments that help me see that he’s maturing and that he’s on his way to becoming a responsible adult.

November 8 – Oh Crap

NaBloPoMo November 2013

Only seven days in and I fail at NaBloPoMo, and I can’t believe none of you noticed. *Hurumph.*

Of course I’m totally blaming you as I’m totally fault-free.

On the other hand, I totally remembered to schedule our family pictures for the church’s snoop book.

Our last picture was in May 2008 and I was slightly smaller than the average bungalow, just two months shy of my due date.

Oh, and before I sign off, anyone else notice that I started each sentence with the letter “O”?

 

November 7 – Eye of the Beholder

This afternoon when I got home from picking up Aitch from school, one of the chores I wanted to get done was to clean out the inside of my van. I still had a bag of potting soil in the back from this summer and more recent, the wings from my daughter’s Halloween costume that were among the mishmash of clutter. All of it was taking up an unreasonable amount of space, especially considering I volunteered to transport much of the office supplies from my now closed office to the school for the teachers, which will easily fill up the cargo space.

I told Aitch to go ahead and stay outside and play in what was left of the snow we got Tuesday as I went inside to change out of my office clothes. Before I made it back outside, she came inside with a bouquet of foxtail weed stems and offered them up to me. I was in a bit of a hurry to get back outside before it got much colder or darker so I told her to just hold to it for a bit longer, hoping she’d just get bored and forget about them. I finished zipping up my coat and turned to see she had the stems in her mouth. At that very moment, she decided she didn’t like how they tasted and spit on the kitchen floor. I was infuriated. I took the bouquet from her hands and handed her an antibacterial wipe to clean up the floor. As she wiped up the mess, I absentmindedly threw the foxtail into the trash, still focused on my original intent to get back outside.

She finished cleaning up and opened the trash can and saw the disposed bouquet. Instantly, her flushed face accentuating her big, blue eyes as the tears flowed down her cheeks. “You threw away my flowers because you don’t love me anymore! I didn’t mean to spit on the floor!”

I was horrified that my careless action had elicited such a heartbreaking response. I was so focused on what I wanted that I just saw a handful of weeds. To her, it was a gesture of love, and I literally threw it away.

I can only hope that with the more time I can devote to the projects and chores of the home, that the less harried I will feel to get them done under my currently strict (and largely unattainable) timetable. I’ve never had much patience, which even my mom can attest to, but my shortage of it shouldn’t mean I can’t be long in appreciation in these all-too-brief and fleeting moments of childhood where even weeds represent beautiful innocence.

foxtail
(Image from Our Prairie Home’s blog, a blogger from Iowa)

November 6 – Yes, we actually pay someone for this advice.

After two years of seeing the psychologist, Dr. Rita, there were a few key points that were hammered (gently) into our heads. Arguing with Doodicus is pointless. Of course, logically any one knows this, but we are talking about illogical arguments. The other day Dood told me that he was running out of loose leaf tablet paper that he uses for his math assignments. I took one of the dozen tablets we had left-over from last year and starting tearing out pages along the perforations. The resulting shitfit was spectacular. He told me that his teacher wouldn’t let him use it because the paper wasn’t the same. These are the illogical statements that for whatever reason, Sparring Partner and I would try to address, first calmly and then with ever-increasing frustration and anger. It was the type of confrontation that Dr. Rita has worked with us to avoid. Instead we are to agree with Doodicus: yes, the paper IS different, and please let us know if she refuses to accept your work because of it.

“His brain is stuck,” per Dr. Rita. Dood will take a thought and zero in and obsesses over it, which is compounded by his anxiety. Dr. Rita once very wisely said, “You can’t use logic to win an illogical argument.”

More recently, we were reminded of the old chestnut, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” This is in regard to how much time Doodicus spends on video games, which has been quite a bit lately because he hasn’t had to bring as much homework home, and he hasn’t shown any interest in extracurricular activities. As it was explained yesterday, hungry kids aren’t as particular about what they eat as long as they get to eat; thirsty kids aren’t as particular about what they drink as long as they get a drink; bored kids aren’t as particular about how long they get to use their video games as long as they get to play.

It’s easy to sit back and think, “Well, duh!” when things are calm and quiet and you’re in the eye of a storm, but when you’ve been sucked into the edge of a storm by an 11-year-old who seems to be a magnet for conflict, then it’s a major exercise of restraint.

We have to learn to not to get sucked into an argument. We don’t have to prove we’re smarter. Even when we’re likely not.

November 5 – Progress

Too tired to do much more than announce that due to Doodicus’s progress and maturation, after this afternoon’s counseling session, we will go from scheduling once every four to six weeks to once every eight weeks, if not less frequent than that unless the need arises.

Touch wood.

November 4 – Nebraskan Goth

I am throwing myself into my new career as a Homemaker (I really don’t like the phrase “Stay-At-Home-Mom” (SAHM)) with gusto. Even though I have a job interview with a bank in a nearby community, I’m hoping that it goes poorly. In fact, I should have just declined the interview, but my sister said it will be good practice. Plus, who knows? They could offer me a crazy salary with obscene benefits and make it impossible to refuse.

Being a Homemaker on 10 acres of property outside of city limits means I need to be prepared to do a little more of the chores outside. If Sparring Partner is taking the kids to school and there’s a foot of snow in the lane, it very well could be me operating the tractor. Chances are slim because the snow-blower and tractor really are Sparring Partner’s toys, but common sense may prevail. I handle the yardwork in the summer, including the mowing on a 60″ mower (it really is a smaller tractor), and one can usually find me mucking about the property on the weekends using my RTV (rough terrain vehicle) (I’ve traded healthcare acronyms for farming ones). Unfortunately, I’ve only been a fair-weather-farmer since living here, content wearing a pair of sneakers, windpants and a t-shirt. Until this past weekend, that is.

If you are from one of the flyover states, you’ve likely heard of Bomgaars. As a child, if we drove the 20 miles into the city, we commonly made stops at Bomgaars. I remember excitedly heading to the lower level to ooh and aah over the gorgeous harness and tack department, which was next to the cowboy boots. Halters were intense blues and reds; saddle blankets were beautifully patterned; bits were brightly polished. Compared to everything we had in our horse barn, which was brown with sweat and dust or tarnished to black, Bomgaars was like going to a carnival.

I still anticipate trips to Bomgaars, especially in the spring. Their nursery items are inexpensive, and I love to show the kids the chicks and ducklings they keep inside stainless steel water-tanks, heated with hanging lamps. This store to me is what Target is to many of you.

Back to my shopping spree…my current cold weather arsenal includes a North Face quilted coat and a long, wool coat to wear over dresses. Neither are quite practical when it comes to laboring in freezing temperatures. Here’s a look of what my new career-wear consists of now:

I know. I'm a sexy beast in my Carhartt bibs.
I know. I’m a sexy beast in my Carhartt bibs.
When I feel like dressing "down", I'll wear just the coat.
When I feel like dressing “down”, I’ll wear just the coat.
I know. You'll all a'quiver now, aren't you.
I know. You’ll all a’quiver now, aren’t you.

The preceding images are from Carhartt’s website. Bomgaars is a great store to physically visit but there’s no on-line shopping. It’s so old-fashioned, one might call it quaint.

Pink makes me feel pretty after all that brown duck material.
Pink makes me feel pretty after all that brown duck material.

These are Muck boots and came highly recommended by our neighbor and her teenage daughters. I was skeptical. Until I put them on. And then I was like my kids should each have a pair! And then I saw the price and then I thought the kids would be fine with their Target brand snow boots since they only wearthem two or three times a season.

And finally, the sales associate with the slight brogue suggested I get a pair of the socks pictured below. I’m glad I got only the one pair because I see that Amazon has them for about 30% cheaper. When I got them home, I tried them on. They were like wearing weightless and non-clunky Ugg boots on my perpetually frozen toes. I’m not even kidding. In fact, I’m already putting the slipper versions on several Christmas gift lists for this year, not to mention a couple more pair for me. Aitch put the socks on and watched a movie wearing them. When I asked her to take them off so she could get into bed, she nearly cried. Seriously, these Heat Holders are perfect with the boots and for kicking up on an ottoman with a bowl of popcorn and a toddy.

I'd invite you to stick your hand in my sock, but I don't want to come off as weird.
I’d invite you to stick your hand in my sock, but I don’t want to come off as weird.

There you have it. I’m still pining for the perfect pair of leggings and a couple of slouchy sweaters to wear with my knee-high Born boots, but if I am to secure my position as a Homemaker, shopping for clothes that hardly anyone will see me in isn’t any way to get Sparring Partner completely on board with this plan. On the other hand, if I’m not careful this will be me come Spring:

And by "me", I mean the one on the right.
And by “me”, I mean the one on the right.

 

November 2 – Conception

I’m dialing this in via my smart phone, so I beg of you tolerance for any wonky editing or grammatical errors sure to come.

November has never been my favorite month. I guess when it comes to not so great things that could happen, I have a one in twelve shot of it happening in November. Take for example my first miscarriage at 16 weeks. And possible my second and fourth…honestly I lost track and I try not to archive-dive unless absolutely necessary.

But today also marks the day Aitch was conceived six years ago. Before anyone prudish gets too squicked out what would be normally considered TMI, I wasn’t even present during conception and was actually 100 miles away. No Shades of Gray action going on here.

If you don’t have time to read the post itself, don’t bother; however read the comments to see if you recognize yourself.

November 1 – Unemployed…Again

Today I became officially unemployed. 

I want to give being a stay-at-home-mom a chance, but I worry that like my most recent position, which ended after two-and-a-half years because the surgeon retired, that I will become disenchanted within a year. Or, even worse, I will be a enormous failure to my children, my husband and of course, myself, and will be forced to give myself the ax.

This recent change in employment is also why I thought I would write this post, my own inaugural for NaBloPoMo 2013. I should have plenty of free time, at least according to my husband, who worries I’ll spend the day shopping for shoes or re-watching Walking Dead episodes (I totally get why Carol did what she did…). I’m not going to say that’s NOT going to happen, but I have some ideas what I’ll do with all that “extra” time: 

  • Organize the mud-room closet and make room for all the past school supplies. I realized this year that I buy giant packages of pencils and notebooks and all kinds of school-crap and then forget about them by August.
  • Get rid of lots of baby toys, specifically the ones I’ve hidden in the basement for the past two years. I need to find some way to pay for next botox treatment.
  • Cook more at home. OK, I’ll admit that I didn’t need to add the “more” to that statement.
  • Volunteer at my childrens’ schools. Aitch’s teacher sent home a note from school that she must have created in a document several years ago. She whites out the date and handwrites the new one in its place and makes photocopies of that. I’m also guessing that she often uses the term “xerox” in lieu of “copy”.

And there we have it, Day 1. Please hold your applause until we reach the end of November. Thank you.

Three Months to the Day

For the past couple of months, I’ve been updating from my private group on Facebook. It’s not the same, but honestly, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Since we last talked, Aitch turned five; Doodicus started the sixth grade and his grades half-way through the first quarter were all As; and I found out that November 1st will be my last day at work for the surgeon as he has opted to retire early.

I’ve been a little consumed by the last point because I hate job-hunting. I mean, who doesn’t hate job-hunting, but for me, I hate it to the point I cry and get heart palpitations. Administrative jobs in a town of 20,000 are as rare as hen’s teeth.

Image

In the past two weeks, I’ve applied for one position for which I really don’t qualify, but I figured what the hell. Actually I think the worst part is the interview. All those canned, pointless questions that the interviewer has written on a form and they write down the answers without truly even listening to what I’m saying… It’s the worst. I wish that they would just invite me out for coffee and just see if we like each other personally. Speed-interviewing, if you will.

Without my job, we will also be without health insurance. For our family, the ACA is a godsend. My apologies (insincere though it may be) to those of you who disagree. I’ve never pulled punches before and I won’t start now, but the only people I’ve heard vehemently appose the ACA are those who have had their coverage provided by their white-collar employer with little or minimal contribution from their paychecks. My husband and I make a decent living and have basically been responsible for a premiums. We are a blue-collar family that pays our bills. When I was diagnosed with cancer in 2010, we paid our medical bills in full and on time. And then after that, I was uninsurable unless through an employer, and I had to wait a year to even be eligible for benefits. I’m tired of hearing from friends and family through my social media contacts that the ACA is meant for deadbeats and people who don’t pull their weight economically. They are narrow-minded, candy asses.

With that, I bring you this in keeping with current events. It’s brilliant. It comes from Brian Krewson at “the metric ruler“.

So, Imagine that the company you work for held a poll, and asked everyone if they thought it would be a good idea to put a soda machine in the break room. The poll came back, and the majority of your colleagues said “Yes”, indicating that they would like a soda machine. Some said no, but the majority said yes. So, a week later, there’s a soda machine.

Now imagine that Bill in accounting voted against the soda machine. He has a strong hatred for caffeinated soft drinks, thinks they are bad you you, whatever. He campaigns throughout the office to get the machine removed. Well, management decides “OK, we’ll ask again” and again, the majority of people say “Yes, lets keep the soda machine.”

Bill continues to campaign, and management continues to ask the employees, and every time, the answer is in favor of the soda machine. This happens, lets say… 35 times. Eventually, Bill says “OK, I’M NOT PROCESSING PAYROLL ANYMORE UNTIL THE SODA MACHINE IS REMOVED”, so nobody will get paid unless management removes the machine.

What should we do???

Answer: Fire Bill and get someone who will do the fucking job.

Bonus: Bill tells everyone that he was willing to “Negotiate”, to come to a solution where everyone got their payroll checks, but only so long as that negotiation capitulated to his demand to remove the soda machine.

Bill is a fucking jackass.

This is my therapy.

Lots of things happening, but either not feeling the urge to blog about it or lacking the time. Right now, I’m sitting quietly next to a digital dictaphone while it records the dictation from another dictaphone because I screwed something up at work. Sparring Partner has eradicated the louder humans from the house, so I’m doing what I can with the silence gratefully acquired.

***********

We were on vacation a month ago. We spent a week at my Southern-living SIL’s vrbo beach house. The arrangements were perfect for us; specifically within a very short walk to the ocean and our own private pool. We had invited another couple and their two children who are close to Dood’s age, but they weren’t able to accept. Instead my single, child-free sister was crazy enough to accompany. I think by the time she got back home to her two cats, she was thankful to be both single AND child-free. I often felt torn between letting the kids dictate the schedule and making sure my sister was able to take advantage of the local offerings.

Unfortunately, the most memorable part of the trip for me was the harrowing return flight. I won’t bore you with details, but please for the love of the sweet baby Jesus, if you bring carry-on luggage with you, and even if you plan on not letting that item leave your side the entire flight, put one of those stupid little tags that are piled on top of the terminal’s check-in desk on your bag. Shit can, and will, happen if you don’t. I was so traumatized that I have cried each time I recount the details.

**********

I recently had a birthday. My mom sent me a birthday card and at the bottom of it she wrote, “Come get your rabbit.” I have no fucking clue what the hell that even means.

**********

My daughter turns five next week. I still get phantom let-down pains when I think about her infancy.

**********

Next month Aitch will start kindergarten. Not a big deal, certainly, but I’m mostly concerned about how my tu-tu wearing, pink! purple!, girly-girl will adjust to the navy/khaki school uniform requirements. I imagine it’s also more of a struggle with girls than it is for boys at that age. The worst part for Doodicus was teaching him how to tuck in his shirts and to button a fly. In the past year, Dood has worn one pair of pants that did NOT have an elastic waist, and that was for his grandpa’s funeral.

**********

Since my FIL’s death, my MIL has been holding my husband emotionally hostage. If before I didn’t care for her, I now want to kick her in her artificial hips. HARD.

**********

Sorry to end on what can only be the most somber of notes, but it is important to note that my son’s best friend’s dad committed suicide on July 4th. I had the chance to speak privately with Danny’s* mom the day after the funeral. While the dad probably had always had depression, it was both undiagnosed and untreated, however the circumstances that led to the self-inflicted gunwound were mostly acute in nature; an accumulation of events from the preceding handful of days. If the news hadn’t been horrific enough, Danny was the first on the scene.

I was lucky enough to be able to see Danny the day I talked to his mom, but I was utterly speechless with him. We made small talk as we admired the crucifix his pastor gave him at the funeral. While I am completely heart-broken for the family, I am also very angry at the selfishness of the dad. He left two young boys behind who are THE age they need to have dad around (not that there’s really an age a boy doesn’t need his dad…), but both currently face heavy bullying (one of the reasons my son gravitated to Danny in the first place because they were both picked on by the same kids when they first met years ago). Plus the younger child has emotional issues that likely will have to be closely monitored all his life. It all just makes my head and heart ache. It’s unimaginable the burden the mom carries. At the close of our talk, she said on top of everything else, she feels humiliated by what he did and knows that the community will judge her unfairly. Sadly, she is right. I know being there just to listen will help, but I really wish I had the ability to perform just one miracle…just the one.

*name has been changed

That’s ONE Way to Get Off the Do Not Call List

My son has been getting lots of junk mail, all from insurance companies. Even worse, it’s Medicare supplement insurances. Each piece annoys me anew because someone sold his name and address to solicitors, and I couldn’t think of anything I would have used his name.

This week while I was out mowing the yard, a car pulled up our driveway. A man wearing khakis and a polo got out and he had a folder in his hand: a salesman. I groaned, shut off the mower and met him at the door. He introduced himself as a rep from Mutual of Omaha. He explained that he likes to meet the people in our area that will be turning 65 and wanted to meet Doodicus.

Without missing a beat, I opened the front door and called out, “Doodicus, would you have a second?” A couple seconds later, he rounded the corner, fresh from a shower wearing his bathrobe. The salesman, Brian, was agape. I put my arm over Dood’s shoulder and asked,

“Hey, bud. When’s your birthday?”

“December,” he replied.

“And what year?”

“2001.”

“Great. Thanks!” and he ran off back down the hall.

Brian turned to me and said, “His birthday isn’t until December??” as if THAT was the most surprising thing about meeting my eleven year old son.

I explained that Dood gets lots of junk mail and not just from M.O.O. He was appropriately shame-faced even though I’m sure it wasn’t his fault. I guess that’s one way to make sure someone’s name gets off the contact list, wouldn’t you agree? I didn’t even have to get assholey on the phone.

Lowering your expectations since 2005.