Friday, May 29, 2009

Clearly, now...

Three guys were standing around my office chatting about someone and, since I missed half the conversation, I piped up with: "Who?"

And just the way it came out, I knew... sure enough one wise guy mocks, "Hoo! Hoo! What are you - an owl?" (and they all rolled with laughter)

And the second wise guy says, "Maybe we should ask if she shits through suspenders!"

And it was silent. Dead silent, because, really, what does taking a crap through suspenders have to do with a nocturnal bird?

** After further investigation it was determined second wise guy had actually said, "Maybe we should ask if she sheds lots of feathers." This is an example of why it's important to enunciate.

Get a clue!

If you reek of alcohol at 2:00 in the afternoon - EVERY afternoon - you drink too much.

If you have alcohol oozing from your pores and you haven't even broken a sweat - you drink too much.

If you ask for cologne for your birthday and people give you bottles of scotch because that's what they think you wear - you drink too much.

Thank you, Mr. Drunk Guy, for entertaining me this afternoon. It almost made me forget about Ms. Inconsiderate who hacked in my face - no worries; she stated she wasn't sick. She just has allergies and coughs a lot. I think she should have just apologized, but apparently when you explain your allergic-cough condition it absolves you from following proper health and hygiene ettiquette. But I digress....

I was thanking you, Mr. Drunk Guy, for coming in and taking the time to slobplain (that's my made up word for "pathetically slobbering through an explanation") that you have to park your green cadillac in our municipal lot because your driveway is now too short ever since the public works guys came and paved your street. I didn't try to help you much not because I didn't like you, but because I figured you wouldn't kill that many families drunk-walking home. While you were talking I secretly wondered how many times you'd fall wandering back home... I also secretly wondered how many times you'd fall while attempting to stand on the opposite side of my desk. I started getting dizzy watching you sway from side to side and your fumes were making me nauseous... but luckily you left...

After I Lysol the hell out of the office and open the windows to allow some fresh air in, I may just go let the air out of your tires so you can't come back and drive... although given your condition, I doubt you'll recall where you left your car, let alone why.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

water... please...

While cleaning at my grandmother's house I found myself getting increasingly dizzy. More than likely the result of going up and down a step ladder attempting to wash shelving and walls, and the ever enlarging offspring hanging out in my womb, cutting off vital circulation. I'd pause for a moment, take a few deep breaths, and continue on. But then it got to a point where I literally felt the walls closing in on me and the floor started to slip beneath my feet. Clawing my way to the living room, I did my best to mimic the whole head between your knees thing (yeah, right...). Luckily I was not alone:

Bean: What's wrong ma? Are you okay?

About to Pass Out Mother: I need water... get me water...

Bean: What's wrong with you?

APOM: (struggling to breath) ... I just need some water.... please....

Bean: (sitting down comfortably in the cozy chair across from me) It's kind of hot in here, don'tcha think? Great-gramma should open some windows.

APOM: (head still dropped between legs, hands on head) ... water...

Bean: So how long are we going to be here cleaning?

APOM: ... please... water... get Grandma... someone...

Bean: I'll go see if I can find Nana. [note: Nana is the nickname she gave my sister many moons ago, who, at the time, was outside painting.]

As I continued to sit hunched over, pleading with God to puh-lease stop the room from spinning, and to stop the blinding light from taking over my brain function, I was able to hear Bean & Nana conversing outside. Keep in mind that Nana was busy on the exterior scraping & painting crew...

Bean: Hey, Nana. My mom wants some water.

Nana: Well, there's this thing that every house has -- it's called a faucet.

Meanwhile I sat wishing someone, anyone would please come in and find me. I was getting clammy, sweating, yet cold, my head hurt, I couldn't breathe, and I did not want to pass out since I have this fear that if I pass out I'll lose all control of my bodily functions and who wants to be found by their never-let-it-drop cousin on the floor in soiled shorts?

Bean: yeah, Nana wouldn't help me....

APOM: jesus christ! just get me some water!

(yeah, I found some renewed strength for that one.) And just like that Big V was at my side!

V: Are you okay?

APOM: (now actually crying; head still as far between the knees as I could stick it) No. I'm not. I feel dizzy and I want some water! I just want some water!

V: Okay. I'll go get you some.

After waiting a few minutes my mom came in, took one look at me, asked if I was ok, ran back to the kitchen and brought back the most refreshing glass of tap water ever brought to my lips. I sat up and was able to see Big V in the car... exiting the driveway...

Ten minutes later he returned with a bottle of water he purchased from the nearest gas station.

I can not wait until I go into labor.

[As a disclaimer, V wants you all to know he is not an idiot. He was simply concerned that the country well water was not potable, and therefore the safest option was purchasing safe drinking water from a gas station. He does love me and cares very deeply about my health, as well as the safety and well being of our child. Besides, while there he only bought a few dollars worth of PowerBall tickets, and had we actually won the $230 million jackpot, we would have enough bottled water to share with an entire third world country, and then no one would think poorly of him at all.]

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What happens at 23?

I am 23 and one-half weeks pregnant today. That means 16 and one-half weeks to go... unless, for some reason, Cletus the Fetus is intent on remaining in my womb until s/he feels willing to exit, or until I convince the Scheduling Gods to bless me with an injection of the synthetic form of oxytocin, used to induce and augment labor (commonly referred to as pitocin, for those of you wondering).

So far, Cletus has shared with me the wonderful world of Extreme Heartburn. I'm sure there's a maximum consumption limit of Tums, but I simply cannot get enough to allow me to sleep through the night without holding on to the fire extinguisher - I'm convinced the burning will reach levels conducive to spontaneous combustion.

The little fetus (who I'm told is about 11½ inches long and weighs 1 pound, or about the length and weight of a Harry Potter book) delights itself on hanging out on my nerves, sending shooting pain through my stomach, down my leg, out my feet, where it apparently finds its way back in. This cyclical pain process is enough to tempt me to pray for a premature birth - but I'm not that selfish, and, yes, would put up with the pain for the sake of my child's health. This makes me feel good about myself for approximately three seconds until the piercing pain shoots through me again.

The active alien has taken over my abdomen full force. Rearranging organs and creating a workout room large enough for dancecapades that leave my belly moving in mysterious waves. (I'm waiting for someone at work to glance over during a meeting and scream, "Oh my gawd! There's something trying to ESCAPE!" as if a live gremlin really would emerge.)

Of course, Big V is ecstatic over the entire situation and has already signed his male heir up for football. Gently reminding him the baby could possibly emerge with a fully intact vagina, he simply shrugged and announced, "then she'll be a tom-boy!" I asked him if he'd be comfortable with a boy that wanted to pursue something considered less macho and more feminine, like dance ballet, to which he proudly declared, "then he just better be the best damn ballet dancer he can be!" (This is yet another reason why I love V. Because he means it.... it doesn't matter your choices, as long as you try your absolute hardest.)

I have also been wonderfully blessed with the Art of Massage that V graciously bestows upon me. After a particularly grueling weekend was closing with the most magnificent massage a woman could ask for I actually uttered the words, "... if I could get massages like this every night I was pregnant - I'd have twelve kids!" I'm wondering how many nights of massages I let pass before I tell him I wasn't really serious....

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Oh, What a Nasty Webb!

Dear Mrs. Webb,

I understand you're upset. For what particular reason, I can only guess. Understanding your position that the Sate of Wisconsin requires municipalities to conduct certain inspections to your property for the purpose of ensuring it is safe to live in is asinine, unnecessary and a waste of tax payers money, I invite you to consider something a little different....

What if these required inspections catch a construction error that saves your 4-year old granddaughter from getting her head stuck in between the deck railings and strangling herself? Or catch a wiring error and your home doesn't start on fire causing the smoke inhalation death of your husband of the last 43 years?

From your cuss-laden tirade on the phone this morning I understand that safety is not really a priority to you, but - and this may come as a surprise to you, sitting on the receiving end of your angry and ignorant (and unbelievably loud) commentary is not exactly MY priority. So, it was with due respect that I hung up on your crabby ass. Yes, that's right. I hung up. Cut you off. On purpose, even. No accident there, I can assure you. I do think it was a nice gesture on my part to forewarn you with "I apologize that you will find this offensive --" and look forward to you contacting my boss. (But I'm not really that scared because you yelled at our Treasurer for twelve minutes before she was able to transfer you to me... you've got quite the reputation among our office.)

Day 8 of my Sabbatical

I bet you think that by 8 days into my domestic sabbatical I'd be sneaking around the house at two in the morning putting things back in their proper places... but NO! I have stayed strong. In an effort to pull the blinders off Big V's eyes and show him that indeed, my role in the household is a lot more difficult than "it only takes twenty minutes to do the dishes" I have refrained from conducting any sort of domestic duty (except for once when I dusted, but that was because he reaminded me - over and over and over again - that he helped me when I was the one in charge).

This past Memorial Day weekend my extended family and I went to my 91-year old grandmother's house to perform a mini extreme home makeover. It was necessary it so many ways. I personally spent two days scrubbing every nook and cranny in her house, including a much neglected bathroom. (Look, I'm not judging - my time will come, but it was SO GROSS!) Big V did manly macho stuff like shoveling landscaping and dismantling an unused satellite dish. Dotter helped pick up paint chips that were being scraped and had floated to the ground (nothing like a little lead paint to build up some immunities) and even picked up a small roller to paint the worn out home. Jelly Bean... well, you know, she's too cute too work. It would have messed up her hair. She did kindof, sortof watch the little kids when she was interested.

Driving home after the second day of the mini makeover Big V announced that he had lots to do at home still, and it sucks working all day and then having to come home to even more work at home. I nodded with faked empathy.

Once home he tried in vain to get the girls to pick up a few things and help him out... asking Bean to sweep, her complaining she was so tired and it wasn't fair and why did she have to do all the work around here? His temper flaired, she ran into her room in her obligatory huff of teen angst and slammed the door, he did it himself. Dotter whining that she was hungry and didn't want a frozen pizza, she wanted good food - like McDonald's. V explaining he wasn't going to McDonald's that we had food here -- but it's so gross!

Collapsing into bed he said he was now getting to see what I was up against and what I went through each day. That he certainly had a better appreciation for the stress I had to handle each and every day. And, like the loving partner I am, I turned to him, kissed him gently, and said, "Thank you. That's all I wanted. And in 22 more days we'll figure out a way to make it more balanced."

Friday, May 22, 2009

Just another day in the office...

Angry Man upset at Neighbor: Neighbor legally constructed shed which now shades Angry Man's garden. Angry Man is persistent in his complaints and adamant in his belief conforming, perfectly legal shed should be removed because his garden was there first. As usual, when not getting one's way, complainant veers off course during argumentative phase:

Angry Man: What about flag poles?

Building Inspector: Flag poles?

AM: Can you have them?

BI: Yep.

AM: Can you put them anywhere on your lot?

BI: Yep.

AM: Anywhere?

BI: Well, where would you like to put it?

AM: [clearly ignoring question] What if my neighbor puts it up right by his property line?

BI: ...okay...

AM: And the flag encroaches over my property line? Do I have the right to cut it?

BI: [hitting head repetitively on desk] ... you know, I suppose if you can find a way to climb up there and cut it without trespassing on your neighbor's property or desecrating the American Flag, then, sure, you could do it.

Day 3 of the Domestic Sabbatical

A sabbatical was used by professionals once every seven years to devote to research and learning, and I have learned so much in such a little time.

Last night the Phenominal Moms gathered around for our bi-weekly rebalancing fix... I gotta tell you, if you don't have a group of strong, positive women - drop everything you're doing and go find them. Find them NOW. Look everywhere, and if you don't find them, just keep looking. Do not stop until you find amazing women who you can draw positive energy from.

Our topic focus last night was control.

As in... forcing your future husband to conform to your ways of cleaning and maintaing a house? Gee, I might not have much to say about this issue.... (as I sit sweating in the guilt that's currently smothering me).

Yep, yes, absolutely - I admit, I am controlling. Housekeeping drives me crazy. Why? Because I don't like to do it. I like the results, the sparkling countertops and shiny floor... I don't like scrubbing and sweeping and mopping. I don't want to do it. I recognize I have to do some of it. I accept that I have to partake in the process, but I want others to help me.

And I want them to help me my way.

It's so obvious to me that I feel it should be really obvious to them. Find something out of place and put it away. See a mess and clean it up. Going up the stairs and there's a pen lying in your path - pick it up! (And then put it away.) Big V prefers the "run through the house for an hour or less forcing things back into place a la superhero style, and then forget about cleaning for the rest of the day." My way seems to be a long, drawn out, on-going, constant vigil, never finish approach. (Wow. Writing it out that way does not make it look like something anyone would choose to partake in.)

Big V also does things, uh, backwards. He did the dishes and spread out six dish towels along the counter... each bowl and plate got it's own individual space. Why didn't he spread out only two towels and then lean the dishes and plates against each other? Totally would've saved space... there I go... trying to control again.

Although it's early on I'm starting to think the "research" I'm doing is going to be less about him and more about me. It's ok to do things differently but six towels instead of two... can I handle it? Will I be able to give up my control and trust that he, as my potential partner for life, can and will, meet and possibly exceed what is needed in our house?

** By the way, Big V sprayed the lawn and the majority of dandelions are gone! I knew his hatred for all things weed related was one of the many reasons I fell in love with him...

Slivers Shared

Yeah, uh, I really don't "get" this.

I'm all for sharing with co-workers, and not trying to be stingy, but seriously, you honestly don't have to leave a singular sliver of donut to split when there's fully intact pastry patiently awaiting consumption... close your eyes when you take the last bite - the calories don't count that way.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Day 2 of my SABBATICAL

See, I can be positive. I have chosen to replace my "strike" with the more meaningful "sabbatical." Big V laughs, promising it's not that hard to clean the house and assures me I will find the house in better order than when I did it alone. Before "Bite Me" escaped my lips, I managed to put together this distorted thought process: "Stop. It's a trap. He's trying to tell you that you failed, thus playing into your natural stubbornness to prove him wrong, prompting you to jump up like Super Mom with Six Arms and attack the dishes, make dinner, sign Bean's permission slip, pick out Dotter's clothes for tomorrow, wash the toothpaste out of the bathroom sink, and sweep up the dog hair. It is most certainly a trap!"

In the end, I smiled sweetly and said in my most sincere and encouraging voice, "I sure hope so, honey." (I think the "honey" was a bit much, but he knew what I really meant: "I will be watching you like a hawk waiting for the moment where you fall to the floor, dust rag in hand, screaming out I DON'T KNOW HOW YOU DO IT! YOUR SACRIFICES MAKE ME FEEL UNWORTHY!")

So Day 2 of the Sabbatical started with the usual: Dog left out to lounge around on the couch, shower curtain shoved to one side (this is important because we have no form of exhaust in the bathroom - no fan; no window - and mold grows rampant on the bunched up shower curtain when it isn't given a chance to dry out). I went to work per usual, afterwards picked up the girls and watched them dump school bags, scatter papers, and leave shoes in the middle of the kitchen... and I didn't say a word. Not one single reminder... not even 'the look' towards the pile of debris needing to be picked up. I was SO GOOD!

Both girls had play dates that I was more than thrilled to deliver them to, so I left Big V to do whatever he wanted to do, if anything, around the house. When I got home Big V was spraying pesticides on the lawn in an attempt to eliminate the dandelions and the dog was sequestered in the house. With free reign. See, Big V felt bad that Satan the dog was locked up all day so while he was outside he thought it best to allow the dog to have full control over the house, completely unsupervised.

Satan decided to knock over a table, break the flower pot Dotter made me for Mother's Day, knock over a vase of flowers (water EVERYWHERE), tear up a book, and was obviously on the bed (my side) based on the messed up blankets.

Now, before you think, "but the poor dog had been locked up all day long" let me explain our definition of "locked up."

The entire sun room belongs to the dog. The whole thing. It's a 12' by 15' room with large windows on one side and a patio door on the other. Her kennel is in the room, should she decide to enter and leave at will. She has water and food and about twenty-seven dog bones and toys to entertain her. She has a chair that she, and she alone, can hop up and lounge on. She also has a rug in the closet she can lay on, because, yes, she likes cozy spaces so we leave the closet doors open for her. The dog can do cartwheels in the sun room all day of she wants. The simple fact is, when left alone this dog is destructive. And its owner (that would be Big V if you're confused) does little more than make excuses.

Big V has a great heart. He empathizes and sympathizes with everyone and everything he sees. He absolutely hates conflict and confrontation. V would do anything, ANYTHING to not be the bad guy. I think he's afraid if he ever does put his foot down loved ones will scatter, friends will disown him, and dogs will refuse to acknowledge him. He is, without a doubt, my complete opposite in this manner.

Where I would tell a child to sit still and be quiet, Big V would give the child paper, pens, candy, his wallet - anything to make the child happy... not because he doesn't want to deal with the child, but because he doesn't want to be the source of the child's unhappiness. Same with the dog. He has told me before (Big V, not the dog. The dog can't talk...) that he's afraid if he disciplines the dog then the dog won't feel that V loves her. (This was after the second couch was completely destroyed by the dog. We're on the third couch, and while slightly destroyed, at least you can still sit on it.)

I love Big V with all my heart... but I need him to realize that part of being a grown up is being a leader and leading even when the children and/or animals don't want to go where you're taking them. This means staying on kids until they clean up their mess. This means defining guidelines and boundaries that must be enforced.

Last night the Bean decided she wanted Kentucky Fried Chicken -- at 9:30 at night. I am not about to go out and get KFC for a 13 year old's craving. Rediculous. I told her it was a foolish request at best and to grab something out of the fridge if she was that hungry. Big V went....

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Day 1 of the Strike

Yesterday marked the first day of a self-imposed 30-day strike against all things domesticated. As usual, I left home at 7:30am... consciously stopping myself from picking up dirty clothes off the bathroom floor and straightening the bath towels. I returned at 5:30pm, clothes still lazily piled below the skewed towels. And I was ok. Even after I noticed the tissues in the trash dangerously perched above the rim like skilled Chinese Acrobats, I was still ok. I know this is just the beginning and I shall not be defeated at this early stage of the game.

I grabbed my book - a most excellent read titled No Angel by Penny Vincenzi, I can barely put it down - and headed outside to relax. Dotter came out to join me and suggested we head off to the park, which WE DID! (We invited Bean, but she decided to roll the dice and see if Big V would take her to WalMart so she could get a new music CD that just came out.)

Hand in hand we strolled through the neighborhood pointing out flowers and birds. I didn't realize how pregnant I had become until we started up the slow, steady incline known as "Sixth Street." The park was fun... would have been more fun had the three teens monopolizing the swings weren't cussing and yelling out sexual commentary.

It was a most relaxing evening, just Dotter and I. By the time we returned home it was obvious the lack of my presence was being felt. (Or at least that's what I'm telling myself.) It was announced that since nothing was cooked for dinner, V had to go to town and get food. (I really should tell him where the pantry is...)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

How do I feel? HOW DO YOU THINK I FEEL?!

I should be rejoicing - Yippee! Halfway through the Surprise Pregnancy! Only 4 months to go! I'm so giddy I could skip!

But I'm not. Really, I'm not.

Not that I wouldn't love to be skipping about tra-la-la-ing throughout fields of native flowers... well, that is if my allergies were in check and I wouldn't balloon up and sneeze for fifteen hours following said skipping excursion....

But I can't skip. Hell, I have trouble walking across the office to the bathroom every hour on the hour (regardless of my limited fluid intake). My back hurts from sitting at a desk for eight hours a day. I've got heartburn so bad I think my chest will literally disintegrate from the intense burning. I'm tired - more tired than I ever thought humanly possible. If I could nap for four to five hours a day I'd be golden. Not that napping is an option... certainly not at work... certainly not at home where Bean feels it's her personal calling in life to make sure everyone knows how miserable her existence is every single second of every single day. I can hardly relax at home - sure there's Bean and her constant complaining, but there's also Satan who manages to make obnoxious noises and interruptions non-stop, and poor Dotter who quietly asks for help on homework (and I continue to forget, like the boxes we were to bring in that I never gathered. Ugh! The guilt!), not to mention Big V who spews forth every thought going through his head, a steady feed of thought process, jumping irrationally from one thought to the next.

That's it people. The truth is out. Pregnancy is not this glamorous event that leaves me swooning in awe and wonder. I know, I'm horribly selfish. I have a back that won't crack, socks I can't put on, and a fetus who thinks it's entertaining to make me walk while he's wedged as far south in my crotch as he can go. I feel like I'm trying to walk with a volleyball shoved between my pelvis. Four more months of this and I'll be hooking vodka up to my IV as I push this sucker out.


As of today I am officially on strike. I shall no longer:

1) Pick dirty clothes up off the bathroom floor and deliver them to the hamper.

2) Sweep the wood floors that extend throughout our house which get covered in dog hair on a daily basis. (I am surprised that Satan isn't bald by now.)

3) Pick up dirty cups, glasses, dishes, etc., off the coffee table and walk them into the kitchen to be with all the other dirty dishes waiting patiently to be washed.

4) Explain that the stench coming from the kitchen is actually caused by the overflow of garbage which needs to be removed and taken to the big, plastic containers found in the garage. (They have lids. Use them.)

5) Ask all members of the household to gather in the bathroom so I can point out that when tissue can no longer precariously perch on top off the trash mountain it's time to remove said trash mountain.

6) Replace the toilet paper roll on a daily basis. (Apparently, we have a habit when we go that causes us to remove the entire roll of toilet paper and set it on the counter next to the sink.)

In addition to the above, I shall not waste my valuable, precious "relaxing time" completing such menial tasks as grocery shopping, cooking meals, sorting laundry, washing laundry, folding laundry, and putting said laundry away. I shall not choose to wipe up Kool-aid spills from the counter (and the floor), scrub the toothpaste spittle off the bathroom mirror, or make the bed.

Furthermore, I will no longer keep track of various things for various people. For example:

"Did you check the hot lunch choices for tomorrow? If you need to make a cold lunch, you'd better do that."
"Your brown trouser socks are in the top left hand drawer of your dresser, near the back."
"Where's your retainer? You need to wear that every day or your teeth will shift."
"The dog has been whining at the door for the past ten minutes - can someone please let it out?"
"The dog has been barking at the door for the past ten minutes - can someone please let it in?"

Yes, I realize that wives and mothers across America are suffering the same fate as I. The sad truth is I'll probably break after three days because the house will be so utterly disgusting I won't be able to handle it. Big V is good about helping.... so long as I continually point out I need help. The girls, well, that's my own fault. They're spoiled beyond belief when it comes to actual physical labor. I don't think either of them have ever completed a required task without whining, complaining, crying, or protesting the unfairness of it all.

But before I crack completely and end up in our state mental hospital, I'm going to try a mental vacation called "Strike." I'll keep you posted... I'm curious to see if anyone in my household will notice the rapid decline of the environment, or if they're just going to be sitting back with their feet up enjoying their free time, thinking "If Mom wants it cleaned up she'll do it herself... she always does...."

Monday, May 18, 2009

Don't bother with an RSVP.... I KNOW you'll be there.

If you read my previous post, you'll know Big V's attendence was required last-minute for a family dinner. He went to said dinner, returned home and announced, "I guess I have to be to church tomorrow by ten o'clock, and I'm supposed to wear my dress pants, orange shirt and tie." Attendance was required, yet again, last-minute, for a nephew's first communion. Now, I'm not Catholic, but I'm assuming notification was given a little more than thirteen hours ahead of time.

"My precious child, you shall be receiving for the first time, the sacrament of the Eucharist, tomorrow morning at ten. You may now invite your family to attend. And go - !"

Like that didn't leave a bug up my butt. Our precious we're-not-planning-a-thing-and-spending-all-day-together was shot. We did manage to spend Sunday together doing yard work. I burnt my arms to a crisp helping dig out and remove piece-by-piece an old brick patio. We'll have to wait until another day to fill in the void and seed it. (See, THAT'S why we wanted Saturday AND Sunday!) (... and what's with requiring a specific outfit? "Wear something nice" should suffice.)

He was then notified that Memorial Day he should plan to be in attendence to watch a parade and eat in a park for a two year old's birthday. A week later his attendence is required for a pre-school graduation. And a week from that his attendence is required for a kindergarten graduation. (On a positive note, they're starting to give longer than a 24-hour notice.)

I'm all for family support, but monopolizing the calendar should not be allowed. It also makes me wonder when the time will come that our family will be put first, allowing us a position where we are grown up enough to decide what events we can attend and which ones we have to pass on.

In my family an event is thrown out there and invitations are extended... but no one hates you if you don't show up. We know lives are busy. We understand you have to balance two sets of extended families with what you desire for your own immediate family. We won't disown you, yell at you, make you feel like crap, for not being able to make it. In fact, we probably won't even ask why you can't make it. We figure that's your business and assume you can make your own decisions. Shoot, Big V is still fending off comments of utter disappointment because he failed to attend a third grader's State Fair over a year ago. (This was when 3rd Grader researched the State of Arizona and made a poster. All the 3rd graders - each having researched a different state - then hung their posters up in the school gym to display their hard work. Some students brought in things that represented their state... rumor has it someone was bringing in guacamole! And V missed it... shame on him!)

I guess it's the fact that in V's family you simply cannot miss any family event. Ever. You think I'm joking? His sister - pregnant with her fourth child - had a due date the same exact day the Queen Bee wanted to go out to dinner for her birthday. All week leading up to the dinner comments were made: "I just know you're going to ruin my birthday." (As if any expectant mother can control when she naturally goes into labor.) But sure enough, that afternoon at a regularly scheduled doctor's appointment she was notified that she was about 3 centimeters dialated. Knowing dinner was that night at 7pm, she opted to forego the hospital and wing it....Between the salad and the main course she finally announced she couldn't take it anymore and to the hospital they flew. It took about ten minutes to get to the hospital... twenty minutes after that her son was born.

Now, I ask you, if you can't even decline a family event to give birth is there any way at all to miss anything without being the family pariah?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

a little snip here....

I want a nice lawn.

No, I want a fantabulous lawn! One that is green, lush, beckons you to place your tender bare foot on its soft, velvet grass... What I actually have is somewhat of a cross between a furrowed field and bombed out Beirut, currently being overrun by a creep named Charlie, but does show some promise in the front yard (if I could just get rid of the thousands of dandy-lions prancing about).

I've inherited from my father the Anal Lawn Gene, which requires that I know such things as:

(1) First take two laps around the outside of the lawn (this is where you turn around). These laps should be with the clippings being shot TOWARDS the center of the lawn. Not shooting out to the street, or along the sidewalks, or at the house.

(2) Mowing should be done SLOWLY. If you're traveling a bumpy trail at warp speed the mower will "jump" - so will the blades. This means you will miss cutting parts of the lawn leaving you with a choppy haircut.

(3) Grass should be clipped between two-and-a-half and three inches in height. Scalping the lawn is not pretty. Sure, if you hit dirt it'll probably be another six weeks before the grass grows to a height requiring a subsequent trim, but for those six weeks the lawn will be U-G-L-Y.

I have many other lawn-care requirements (when to sharpen blades, alternating cutting in columns, rows and diaganols, etc.) but I can save those for a rainy day. My point now is to say that the Big V has not, does not, and will not prescribe to the above Lawn Commandments. Much to my delight, this means lawn care is left in my hands.

Considering Cletus the Fetus has taken much of the space my lungs would normally enjoy, not to mention draining me from pretty much every ounce of energy I may have once drawn from, pushing a non-selfpropelled ancient lawn mower around for two hours is not quite the aphrodisiac it once was. The Big V performed the first cut of the season proving to me that the only choice I now had was to pay for the outside services of lawn care.

Enter my brother.

Ah, yes. What a choice that was. I don't want to get into too much detail, but to quickly bring you up to speed this is the brother who brags about all the work he does, but spends so much time bragging he doesn't actually have any time to commit to the work itself. He used to drive a semi truck, but hurt his back and now can't. So he decided to start a lawn mowing service. (Don't get me started on how much more comfortable a lawn mower is to the heavy duty air ride seats of a Mack Truck...) Considering all he had on his calendar was to sit at the local bar monitoring his hoochie-mama girlfriend while she was working her shift as the popular beer disperser to ensure she didn't forget she was in a committed relationship and accidently go home with one of the better tipping patrons, I figured he had enough time on his hands to cut one lousy lawn.

I called him on a Wednesday, grass up to my knees, to see if he'd be a good fit. Yep, he assured me, he's as anal about his lawn as it sounds I am about mine. Yep, he continued, the lawn would be cut once a week and all clipping removed from the site. Yep, he convinced me, he'd do it right away.

Three sunny days later I called him up. Well, it was Saturday and he was busy with the hoochie... so, maybe Sunday... which happened to actually be Tuesday. Forty minutes later the hay field was cut, but his weedeater stopped consuming the weeds. Big V loaned him ours (which he still has in his custody) to finish the job. But it needed string which my brother went to get but never came back. The weeds continued growing. So did the grass.

A week later I called again: "So... my lawn's getting pretty long...." But he was busy. Doing who knows what. Seriously. He isn't employed. He should have lots of time on his hands. Nine days from the last cut (did I not specify once a week? A week is seven days people, not nine!) the lawn sat untouched.

By now I was experiencing heart palpatations every time I turned the corner to our house. I drove in shame as I imagined my neighbors with their trim greenery shaking their heads. "I know I can have the best lawn on the block! Trust me!" I wanted to scream.

Last night was the ninth day. Lawn untouched. My unemployed brother was busy. Again. This time clothes shopping for his six day trip to Vegas. He was leaving in the morning. (Who goes to Vegas for six days?! It's not like you're going to be taking historic tours all week.) This news meant two things to me: (1) My unemployed brother has more money than I do. And (2) my lawn would not be cut for at least seven days. That's a total of 16 days between cuts, people! Unacceptable.

I gathered my baby bump, threw on my sneakers and ordered the Big V to start the push mower! (It's too hard for me to start. Believe me, I have tried.)

After ten minutes or so a neighbor came driving by on his used Murry rider, complete with sign "$250 or best offer" attached. Proving the thing can cut grass he hopped right up to our lawn and started cutting away - not in the nice, straight lines I was doing, but in these wavy, curly, swoop arounds that made me just about pick up a stick and hit him in the head. But it did cut.

"What do you think?" Big V asked.

"I think I'm hormonal and uncomfortable and I think I hate my brother."

"No, I meant about the rider for sale."

"I don't care. Look, it's obvious I can't count on my brother. It's obvious I can't cut it. And it's obvious you lack the appropriate skills to mow the lawn my way - so let's get the rider. BUT - tell him $200 cash now is the best offer. Not a penny more. Not a single cent. Tell him all we have budgeted is $200 and we can't eek out another penny. Got it? $200 MAX. If he doesn't want it - walk away. We don't need it."

I spied on them as they were man-talking in the back yard. The doofus neighbor pointing out this and that. The Big V, arms crossed, shaking his head, looking very authoratative. I was so proud of my crappy lawn mower fiance! So he can't cut a lawn worth a darn - look how he was taking control.

Eventually my seething anger over my can't-depend-on brother, the non-selfpropelled push mower, and the fact that I can barely bend down and tie my shoes anymore wore off. I decided to wander to the back yard to see what was going on (and to get my boyfriend to stop yapping and finish up this lawn).

I met the doofus neighbor who shook my hand with his puffy, sweatty, boneless hand... (you know the type of hand - it's squishy, with no internal form whatsoever. So icky.) He told me how his wife is expecting too... yay! (Please don't let this mean we're going to be friends squishy-hand man) So we chit-chat about how his daughter's name is Ireland and her initials are I.R.S. and when he brought his taxes in he said, "And I brought the IRS with me!" and they said, "What?" And he said, "The IRS - My daughter's initials are IRS!" And we all had a good laugh over that. Twice. Because I guess it was so funny he felt the need to repeat it ten minutes later just in case we didn't fully appreciate the humor the first time around.

Eventually I managed to locate a break in his non-stop banter to announce, "I better get going and finish this lawn if I ever want to feed my kids. Nice meeting you."

As I was walking away I heard Big V say he should probably help out... to which the doofus neighbor replied that no problem, whenever we can get the remainder of the money to him that was ok. He understood about having to budget money.


I waited until doofus left to attack, uh, I mean, approach Big V.... To summarize the negotiations:

Big V: We'll give you $200 cash. Not a penny more.

Doofus: But we're poor and my wife is going to have a baby.

V: I talked it over with the lady of the house and all we are able to spend is two hundred.

D: But my house is in foreclosure and I'm on disability and don't work.

V: oh... I feel bad for you. Ok. Full asking price it is.

I think I should just be glad that Big V didn't offer MORE than asking price. What a haggler. But at least I have a rider now and can mow the grass just the way I want to.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Just another random Tuesday evening....

I had just pulled out of the office parking lot when my cell rang....(isn't this how it always begins?)

Mom? Mom?

Bean? I can hardly hear you...


You want me to Shhhsh?

Mom! Please! Just be quiet.

Ok. Why are you calling me whispering?

Because Gram's in the other room....

Where are you?

In the bathroom - SHHHHH!!!!

Ok, Bean, look - I'm in the car surrounded entirely by myself. No one can hear me. Trust me. Now, what do you need? And why are you whispering in Grandma's bathroom?

Not GRANDMA'S bathroom - PAPA'S bathroom.

Ok. Why are you whispering in Papa's bathroom?

Because I just.... you know... went... you know... went a lot....

Are you looking for a congratulatory trophy?

Mom! Please! This is serious. I need your help.

Aren't you a little old for me to wipe?


Ok. Sorry. I'm sorry. How can I help you -- from my car?

It won't flush.


The toilet. It won't flush!

Well just go tell Gram - she'll fix it.


Because... it's the most logical thing to do in this situation..?

I can't go tell Gram because Aunt Neen is here. They're talking. I don't want to be embarrassed. Can you just help me please?

Ok. Fine. What is the toilet doing?

Nothing. It's just sitting there.

No, I mean, when you go to flush it - what does it do? Does it make a sound? Does the handle not work? Does it wiggle? Does it do anything?

No, it doesn't do anything. It doesn't do anything! Mom you have to help me! It really stinks in here....

Ok, Bean, look. This is what I want you to do. Close the toilet seat and then you're going to put your phone down. Then you're going to take BOTH HANDS and carefully take the top of the toilet tank off and place it CAREFULLY on the toilet seat. Okay?

Ok. .......... What part is the toilet tank?

(oh, jesus.) Do you see the part of the toilet that is right up against the wall?


It's shaped like a rectangle?


That's the toilet tank. The top cover lifts off - but it's heavy, so use both hands.

Oh, okay. Got it. Hold on. I'm going to put my phone down.




It's off. Please hurry.

Ok. Ok. Now, what I want you to do is put your hand in the water and all the way to the bottom and pull that little flap --

Gross! I'm not sticking my hand in there!

It's clean water, Bean. It's just the side of the tank that looks gross but the water is clean.

It's still gross.

Do you want to get Grandma?


Then stick your hand down there and pull that flap.

What flap.

At the bottom of the tank - in the middle...

There is no flap.

There's no flap?


What is there?




There is absolutely nothing in the tank?

Well, there's this black thing - here - let me take a picture of it with my cell phone and then I'll send it to you. Call me back when you get it - but HURRY!

(It was at this point I called my sister hoping she would also be at my mother's house. Of course she wasn't. But she did tell me that the toilet in my dad's bathroom has been turned off because it was leaking. A-ha!)


Hello? Mom?

There's no water in the tank, is there?


That means the toilet has been turned off and you'll have to turn it back on to fill it up with water. Look down towards the floor and there will be a silver knob -

I see it! I see it!

Just turn that until the water starts coming into the toilet tank - the thing by the wall.

Ok...... ok! The water is filling up.... there's this black bubble thing and it keeps getting higher and higher.... it's about halfway there.... now a quarter... well, no, I mean there's a quarter left to fill. The way I said it would mean that the water was getting lower and it's not, it's getting higher.... it's almost there.... ok. It shut off all by itself. Now what?

Flush it.

Flush it?

Yes. Flush the toilet.

Ok.... I did it... it's working... NO IT'S NOT! NOT EVERYTHING WENT DOWN! THERE'S STILL STUFF IN THERE! Oh my gawd! Mom! You have to help me! It's not working!

Calm down. Just let the tank fill up again and flush it a second time....

..... ok... ok.... wow. A double flusher. That's pretty bad considering I'm only thirteen....

Is it working?

Yep..... Ok! Everything's down!

Alright. Just make sure the water is turned back off and look around to see if any water leaked on the floor - wipe that up if it did.

I will. Thanks, Mom. You saved my life!

Well, I'm glad I could save you. Any time....

Monday, May 11, 2009

"The Mother's Day that wasn't worth a mother ----"

At this point in the game I have accepted the fact that I will never be referred to as the nurturing mother that all children long to have. Perhaps it's because I rarely bake homemade goodies and generally serve dinner a-la-frozen-food style. Or maybe it's because the first thing I say is, "what did they do NOW?" when the teacher calls from school. It could be because if someone comes crying that they hurt themselves, but there's no obvious trail of blood, I console in the form of "suck it up - it's not like the arm is completely off."

But I did think maybe, possibly, perhaps by the Will of God Himself, I would have been doted on and served by two of the best mannered children for Mother's Day.

They came close.... if you count being woken up at 7 o'clock in the morning by a sugar-manicked teen: "MOM! MOM! Get up! You HAVE to get up! There's something in the garage - Mom - Did you hear me? There's-something-in-the-garage-and-I-think-it's-a-cat-with-rabies - MOM! GET UP!"

Shuffling through the house I actually had the perverse thought that if it really WAS a rabid cat, and I got bit, surely the staff at the hospital would allow me to sleep while they administered the IV and the series of belly shots....

But, alas, when I opened the door, there was no rabid cat. Instead I was met with two children sitting on top of my car (my youngest Dotter and my niece, about two years older), holding a plate of cookies, yelling HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY! The car had been decorated - complete with window paint declaring their undying love for me. (Let's be honest, what mom doesn't want to drive around town with 'MY MOM ROCKS' sketched in their window?)

The hoodlums, uh, children stayed up literally all night decorating the car, baking cookies (and covering them with all the cake frosting they could find), and coloring various posters with poems, sayings & pictures meant to say "Thanks, Mom, for pushing us out of your vagina and keeping us better fed and watered than all the houseplants that you've managed to kill over the years."

Once the yay-ness wore off (which tends to be quickly at only 7 o'clock in the morning) I managed to shuffle back to bed for a couple more hours of shut eye, only to be reawakened by the sibling rivalry that would define what would be known as "The Mother's Day that wasn't worth a mother ----"

We spent the day fighting over who wanted to watch "Suite Life of Zach & Cody" and who wanted to watch "Keeping up with the Kardashians."

We fought over who took the hairbrush. Not the blue one (because that was still in the bathroom). Not the black one (because that was also still in the bathroom). But the red one. Which is the best one.

We fought over who took up more room on the couch. (Ok. I get this argument - because as a kid my sister always took up more room and that just wasn't fair... but still - like I wanted to relive it.)

We fought over what was for lunch - because obviously as the mother I only made the beef stroganoff because I knew the Bean absolutely hated it. (Disregard the fact she had two helpings of it.)

When I asked if anyone would like to help me do the dishes I was met with whines and complaints that they always have to do chores and can't they just have one day where they can just relax for a change? (hmmm... what a concept....)

When I asked if anyone would like to help me do laundry I was met with disgusted looks I loosely translated to "seriously. you need psychological help, mother."

The Big V tried: practically skipping through the house while he swept or put something away. (It was a tad exaggerated next to the immobile children, but I gave him extra points for enthusiasm, faked as it was.)

I did manage to escape for an hour -- to the grocery store. Normally it wouldn't count, but the nice cashier asked me if I wanted a flower in honor of Mother's Day. I realize he was only doing his job, but tears welled up in my eyes as I said, "yes! yes! oh, I'd just LOVE a flower for Mother's Day! My kids have been horrible and this just really made my day!" I stopped short of hugging him and asking if I could adopt him and his bucket of carnations....

Late in the afternoon I announced I was going on a walk and if anyone wanted to join me they were welcome. The Big V was out since he had a softball game (which I vehemently refused to go to because I knew his mother would be there and I just wasn't up for another round of "If You Don't Get Married The Way I Say You Should Get Married Then That Means You Don't Really Love My Son.") The Bean asked what store we were going to, to which I explained I was going on a walk for the sake of walking, not for the sake of buying. To which she responded that if I wanted to I could go to an ice cream shop and buy her a smoothie if I wanted to. So, she was out. Dotter looked just like the good daughter who gets stuck doing things with Mom because no one else wants to - so I grabbed her hand and took her with me.

That was an enjoyable part of the day. We scoped out some trails next to the cemetary that had a bunch of wooden foot bridges. She liked those. And I liked seeing her smile and explore. Of course, the Bean sent me a gazillion texts telling me I should get home because she was scared being left all alone by herself... and did we stop at the ice cream shop or not?

I made tacos for dinner (but had forgotten the envelope of taco seasoning - and wouldn't you know it? Not one of my cookbooks had the recipe for taco seasoning) which actually turned out pretty good... if I just block out the part where the Bean had a complete hormonal breakdown and burst into tears convinced the Big V stuck his tongue out at her while eating.

I guess this is what Mother's Day is all about - at least in my world. A complete non-guaranteed day... but one that I'll look back on and laugh, or shake my head, when remembering... especially on those long, quiet days when the girls will be grown, expecting the best of the best days with their own children. I'll just fondly remember my time with them while waiting for their phone call: "these kids are SO selfish! I just wanted ONE DAY! However did you do it, mom?!"

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Dinner & a Dress with the Bean

Bean: "My buns smell weird - here, you smell them."

Bean: "Oh my gawd... I totally have to - OOPS! Too late!"

Bean: "Do you think four inch heels are too much for a thirteen year old?"

Bean: "Only a hundred and fourteen dollars? That's not bad for a dress. I'll probably even wear it more than once."

Monday, May 4, 2009

I honestly feel that for some people they truely do love each other - they just don't know HOW to love each other. I'm not sure why though. Because both people could go and find someone else and live okay together. It's almost like they settle for the easy way out.

I wish I could think of an analogy... Maybe, like, I love roasted duck... orange duck - whatever. I love it. I love the taste, the texture, the everything about it... but I don't know how to cook it. I don't know how to make it right. I've tried and I've failed. Over and over and each time I think I've got it, but then, when I taste it it's just not quite what I imagined, so I'm disappointed. I don't want to be disappointed anymore - so I stick with Hamburger Helper. I mean, it's good, you know. It's tasty. It's easy - I have no trouble browning the meat and tossing in the water and milk and prepackaged parts... it's alright... I don't hate it or anything... but it's no roasted duck.

So... why don't I continue to try cooking the duck until I get it right? It's hard work.

Someone said to me, "Relationships are not meant to be hard... if you have to work at it, then it's not meant to be."

I don't know if I really agree with that. I think, sure, if only ONE person is always doing all the work, then, yeah, it's way too one-sided, and that's not fair. But what if both of you are wanting to work at it and neither knows how? Someone has to be the rock, the anchor... someone (or both) has to figure out what to do. All that takes work - hard work. So if you don't know how, then do you just give up? I don't know about that.

I think that even if I found someone and we meshed pretty well together, our relationship always be testing us. We'd still have to figure out how to disagree, how to ask for what we want, how to be ourselves and fit the other person into our life... Nothing is ever "done". It's not like "Oh! We're boyfriend and girlfriend now... sweet! The class is over - it's smooth sailing from here on out!"

I do believe that love is a choice.

Seriously - now this is going to sound so demented.... but, bare with me - I could just be suffering from a low sugar level... but hear me out just in case part of it makes any sense:

Think of an arranged marriage. Assuming the person is of average looks... Not supermodel... and not butt-ugly... somewhere in between. Pretty average, but has their good days in that they clean up nicely. (Someone like ME!) Ok. Anyway. So your sister and your mother say, "Son, here is the woman who is going to be in your life. Have at it!"

You know nothing about her. But it's an arranged marriage. You're not going to get out of it so quickly. So, you choose to work at it. And it's hard, because this chick has issues and quirks that you're like, "What is THAT about?" But it's a choice. And one day, without even knowing what has happened exactly, you look over at her and she's laughing and you just think, "wow, she's beautiful..."

You chose to work at it. You could have chosen to not work at it and walk away. You could have sulked like a child and said, "this is NOT what I wanted" and been miserable the rest of your life.

Anyone can choose to continue to love each other and in whatever way they're most comfortable with.

Anyone can choose to walk away and pretend the other person never existed in their life.

Anyone can choose to remain just a friend.

Anyone can choose to fight like mad.

Anyone can choose to be psychotic and obsessive and stalk the other like crazy.

Anyone can choose to continue to be there for the other in the hopes that one day they'll look at you and finally think, "wow - they are beautiful."

My point is this: I need to do everything that I choose to do in a way that I can be proud of. That way, if it doesn't work, I know I did my best at that time. The one thing I do not want to do is travel down the roads of my life wishing I could go back and say this or say that. I do not want to regret not doing anything and just being passive.

it was nice out... wasn't it?

Finally a weekend with weather worth hailing! As in "hailing in praise" not "hailing the size of golf balls" which at this point would not have surprised me. But no, it was actual, real, nice, sunny, warm weather. The kind that you picture yourself sitting on your front steps reading a book for hours while the kids race up and down the sidewalk. Ahh...

That is until you try to shove in a bridal shower, the Bean babysitting, Dotter complaining that she's bored and has no one to play with, twelve loads of laundry unearthed from the children's rooms, dishes that weren't done since Wednesday, a flooding window well, a quite unhelpful downspout requiring the drastic measure of digging a trench and burying drain tile, the Bean heading off to her dad's with the grand notion that she'll get HIM to take her to the mall to spend every last penny of the babysitting money she earned since I NEVER do anything for her. EVER.

The dog puked. A few times. In the house. Because she keeps feasting on grass. Speaking of which, the lawn guy I hired to cut the lawn has yet to show up and now it looks like we live in the middle of a hay field. I ran out of saline solution and the only way to get the contacts out was to take a trip to the 24-hour WalMart (the least of my favorite places at 9:45 at night). Bean complained about dinner because it was GROSS. Dotter sucked up over dinner and said it was the best EVER! Sibling Conflict #48 of the weekend broke out... and I ran to the safety of the basement under the guise of folding laundry and if anyone wanted to help they could feel free, otherwise their safety was in their own hands. (No one helped me, by the way.)

Big V complained that he was undercharging something on a job and believed that I must have the secret recollection in my memory of what was missing... and was completely frustrated when I couldn't figure out why on a $1200 job he could only come up with $1050 worth of fees and now he's just going to have to eat the difference because I can't help figure it out. The girls argued over who was going to take a shower first. Over who did more chores. Over who has more money saved in their bank account. The dog peed. A few times. In the house.

I lost yet another casserole dish. I'm beginning to think when the Bean doesn't feel like scrubbing she simply tosses glassware into the garbage. I am currently down a 9x13 clear casserole dish, an 8x8 white casserole dish, and a small clear mixing bowl. We ran out of Kool-aid and you would have thought the end of the world was announced. This required a special trip to the local Piggly Wiggly - which Big V gallantly announced HE would go and get because he could see I was really busy. So, while I put Kid 1 in one corner and Kid 2 in another he escaped to the glorious aisles of the grocery store, complete with piped in Muzak and the soft humming of flourescent lighting. I was so jealous.

Some special quotes of the weekend:

"Mom, I'm not sure if this is throw up or dog poop."
"All I need is a bra and no one will tell me where one is!"
"Who cares if ants get on it? It's not like it'll kill you."
"Why do you only cook us gross food?"

Needless to say, I'm going to enjoy the peace of the office this Monday morning....

Friday, May 1, 2009

Ready, Set - COME BACK!

It took our office rep forty-five minutes to run three minutes down the road, pick up lunch, and bring it back.

Forty-five minutes is a long time.

To a hormonal, pregnant lady whose back aches, belly is stretched beyond repair, and who only consumed a can of A&W Root Beer and a handful of Hot Tamales gummy cinnamon candies, forty-five minutes could mean life or death. Not of the pregnant woman... but to the clod who offered to pick up lunch (who we all know just needed an excuse to swing off and stop by his house first).

I'm finding it incredibly difficult to focus lately. My whole body aches and I swear there's got to be a tumor at the base of my skull. I'm a habitual leg crosser whose legs no longer cross... or, when they do, happen to cause all blood circulation in my lower extremities to cease. By 10:00 in the morning I'm completely wiped out. I walk across the office to throw garbage away just to keep me from falling asleep at my desk. Even my snarky sarcasm has taken a hit. Instead of providing rapid-fire wit, I've been reduced to head nods and sighs. There is no fun in that.

The One in which I take my Father for his Covid Vaccine

I got a voicemail the other day from the hospital saying ‘since you’re the contact on record we just want you to know your Dad can get a Cov...