Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Resolutions

Happy New Years!

In classic New Years fashion, I've made some major resolutions. Some of them are the same 'ol same 'ol, but some are big, and daunting....

1.) Buy a House- Huge! This is my biggest dream, and I'm determined to make it happen.I'm currently in talks with a mortgage loan officer, and there may be a chance that I could be approved for a mortgage soon. I'm trying not to get my hopes to high. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

2.) Clean Up My Credit- My credit stinks, but not to bad. It's mainly a collection of little boo-boos that need to be taken care of. This year I'm buckling down and getting my credit squeaky clean. This resolution goes hand-in-hand with getting a house. I have some blog related ideas for this one, so stay tuned....

3.) Put Decent Amount Into Savings- I'm tired of being SOL when minor emergencies erupt, like car repairs. This year, I WILL put money into the savings account, and refuse to touch it.

4.) Kick My Jewelry Making Into High Gear- This past year I've made some minor progress in getting my jewelry making business off the ground. 2009 will be a year to really focus on promoting, developing, and kicking ass with my jewelry, so maybe someday it can be more than a hobby and bring in some actual monies.

5.) Loose Weight- Yup, this one again. IT NEEDS TO HAPPEN. If it doesn't, I'm looking at a new wardrobe in the wrong direction. I can't go there....

6.) Be A Better Mom- I really have to work on this- on not letting the little things get to me, on enjoying my kids more, on taking the time to relax and just have fun with the family. I start counseling next week, and hopefully this will help me get to the happier place I need to be.

7.) Get Another Dog- Oh yeah, I went there. I informed GH that if we got our house, I'll be getting another dog. Yes, I'm that mental......


In order to make all of these huge goals become reality, I'm going to try to track them on my blog. I have a few ideas on creating some widgets that will help. Hopefully it will keep me on track.

Here's to a brighter and better 2009!!!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

It's Over!

That's right, it's over, it's finally over! Suck it Christmas!!!!!

All right, now that that's out of the way, I have to say, overall, the holidays weren't so bad. There were no major family blowups. The kids seemed happy with their gifts. Even though we're broke, we will still be able to pay the rent this week. Therefore, I consider the holidays a success. I'm still reeling a bit from all of the driving I had to do, but it's a small price to pay for a Christmas without having to disown any family members.

Another upshot of the holidays is that my parents agreed to keep the kids in Vermont for this week. It's the best Christmas gift of all. Yesterday GH and I lounged in bed late, and I even got breakfast in bed. In the afternoon we perused high end pet stores and played with puppies and looked at extravagant doggie furniture. Last night we ate a steak dinner in the living room in front of an R-rated movie. Insanity! Tonight after work I'll go home to a quiet house while GH is at work. I may take a nap or go see a movie with a friend. It's pure heaven.

So the next few evenings will be spent in pure adult bliss. Which basically equals more sleep. Pardon me while I drool over the thought of long nap......

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

All I Want For Christmas....

Dear Santa,

Since your magic and all, and always watching us and so on, I'm sure you've heard a lot of grumbling and definitely some non-Christmassy style swearing ringing through our house this holiday season. For that, I admit I have been naughty, but on the whole, I think I've been awfully good. I have not shipped either of my children, or my husband, to Aubu Dabi despite their repeated provocation. I have not robbed a bank, as was seriously considered to bankroll this year's Christmas gifts. In short, I've been a saint.

So this year, I'm totally making a request. And yes, unlike many of my fellow, selfless bloggers, my request is something totally material and selfish. Here goes Santa- I want an approval on my mortgage application.

Now, I know you have pull Santa. I'm sure with a few words from you, my friendly mortgage guy would call me right back with the happy news that we've been approved for a loan and can begin house shopping. I just know it.

This is my dearest dream Santa. Being able to give my family a home of our own for Christmas would be the greatest gift I could ever receive. So please Santa, give Key Bank a call and put in a good word for me. It won't take long, and the elves won't have to build a thing.

Thank you,

Little 'ol me

Monday, December 22, 2008

It's The Little Things

This morning, I woke up to having to shovel over a foot of snow out of my driveway. At the end part, where the plow comes, I finally had to call my husband out to finish I was beat!

After all of that, my office called to say we wouldn't be opening until noon. I gratefully crawled my aching behind back to bed to warm up a bit and give my back a chance to relax.

Soon I realized the sun was shining, and the roads were probably clear. Even though noon was a a while off, I could feel the pile of work on my desk calling me. I reluctantly grumbled that I should get to work.

And GH? He made me a breakfast sandwich. If I had laid in bed a few more minutes, it would have been breakfast in bed. I was so touched it was a little ridiculous.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Another Try

All right, here I go, trying to look on the bright side. Ready? O.k. *deep breath*

* I have managed to make back most of the blown tire money through my jewelry sales. Looks like there might be stocking stuffers after all.

* I think we've finally gotten the holiday visiting schedule nailed down.

* I do have two new winter tires, which will be great considering the two crazy snow storms they're predicting for this week.

* The kids, the dogs, and the cats are all healthy.

* When I got sick last night after getting home from work, K told me "It's all right Mama, you don't have to make us dinner if you don't feel good. We can just make sandwiches." Such a sweetie.

* I made myself an appointment with a therapist for myself. There, I said it. In my out load voice. To everyone. I need help. I'm only human.

*Soon the holidays will be over. And that's the happiest thought of all.....

Monday, December 15, 2008

I Give Up- Let The Negativity Flow!

I haven't been posting much lately. It's not for lack of material, it's just that I've found that every post I've started lately is chock-full of anger and frustration. And so I waited. I waited for something positive to happen, for a moment that would fill me with Christmas-y goodness. And that moment? Has totally failed to materialize.

This Christmas season has just not been one filled with joy so far. The family badness surrounding Thanksgiving have pretty much killed my Christmas spirit. After all, what's more soul crushing than trying to negotiate your family holiday visits based on which family members might be there?

We did put up the tree, which is lovely. Decorating the tree is always fun. I love unwrapping all of the handmade ornaments that the kids have made over the years, especially the ones that contain photos of them. I've been trying hard to hold on to that feeling.

This past weekend I did a craft fair to try to earn extra Christmas money. Not only did I make no money, but I ended up blowing a tire. Yesterday I used the rest of my carefully horded stocking stuffer money to buy not one, but two new tires for my car. I teared up, but forced myself not to cry in front of the mechanics, and most importantly, my kids.

And so yes, here's another whining, frustration filled post. I tried not too, I swear.

However, all of the badness and the financial stresses have really made me rethink Christmas. This year, I'm going to try to focus on the cookie making and the Christmas carols, and make "stuff" the least important part of this holiday. Because honestly? We have a lot. Sometimes I just have to remember that.....

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Still Freakin

And so the pre-holiday insanity continues.....

While dining with GH's family this past weekend, my mother-in-law's husband had a major meltdown. Now, I've known for a long time that this man was unstable, but only recently has everyone else been able to see it. The last time we had dinner with him, he crossed the line with my son. This time, he unleashed on my 6-year-old daughter. I won't go into details, but it ended with us fleeing the house, myself and my children in tears, while pleading with GH not to pound the man in question into a pile of pulp. GH and I have now agreed that we won't go over there again, nor will this man ever be allowed in our home.

Now that we've officially had family badness on both sides, GH and I have decided that Christmas eve and Christmas day will be spent at home, with the kids. I'm nervous to break this new to my mother, but it's really what's best for our family.

Meanwhile, I've been fighting the crowds at the Mall, Toys 'R Us, and so forth to try to finish my Christmas shopping. So far both kids have piles of new clothes, and a few nice toys each. It's eating away at me that I didn't get many toy gifts for them this year, but I'm trying to deal. This year we just have to be more practical, and frankly, the kids need to learn to appreciate the things they do get.

Tonight I'll go out and get our tree. I feel like we're the last family on earth to put a tree, and I'm pretty embarrassed. But, what can you do? Tonight we'll decorate,and hopefully have a wonderful time trying to capture that oh so elusive Christmas spirit.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Surviving The Holidays

Well, I made it through Thanksgiving with my family. Barely. GH had to stay home to work and I braved the trip to VT with the kids and Loki by myself.

While it was great seeing all of my siblings together (we're terribly scattered throughout the country) there was also a lot of stress. Between my older brother having a huge fight with my mother, and then my mother having a huge fight with my father, there was my father's 50th birthday party crammed in there. I don't know if there are words to describe the drunken mayhem that was that event.

On the plus side, I did make my dad one of my best cakes ever for his birthday. It was a caricature of him sitting on top of the local ski mountain. The image was based on a painting my older brother did years ago, pictured here next to the cake:



I'm damn proud of it.

I made it home late yesterday afternoon, and then had to head out in a hail storm to get groceries for our empty cupboards. Good times.

And now comes Christmas. Right now we're debating where exactly we're going to be on those days, whether with GH's family, mine, or both. Gah. And don't even get me started on the gifts I still have to get for the kids. I can't wait until Christmas is over. Bah Humbug.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Gah

I've started several posts now and abandoned them. They all seemed too heavy, to sad for right now, a time of family and giving thanks. So, as a jump start to the Thanksgiving holiday, I'd like to share what I'm thankful for this year (yes, I know it's all very kindergarten, but please bear with my fried pre-holiday brain):

* GH found a job this year and seems much happier for it. Oh, and we can now afford both groceries and heat. Yeah us!

* The fact that I still have a job. With budget cuts killing our agency, I'm thankful every day I'm still employed.

* My two happy, healthy children of course. Even though they make me bonkers most days, I just couldn't wade through my life without them.

*GH. It's hard to find anyone who would put up with my bitchiness, neurosis, and all out crazy every single day. He puts up with it and still loves me at the end of the day.

*My doggies. They are so sweet and wonderful, and have brought a heap of joy into our lives.

*The fact that one of the doggies is getting neutered today. I'm very thankful it will never hump my elbow ever again.

*The fact that I have a home, a running car, and a family that loves me (most days) to go home to every day.


HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sill Kickin'

Well, I'm still alive, and finally on the upswing from being so ill. Since my last post, I was diagnosed with bronchitis, pink eye, and a fun throat infection. I took some antibiotics and had an inhaler, but was still feeling lousy. Finally, yesterday, at my boss's pleading insistence, I went and saw my primary care doctor. He gave me some magical steroids which have reduced the swelling in my throat and my lungs, leaving me feeling halfway normal today. He also gave me drops for my eye so I wouldn't be half blind from conjunctivitis. So yeah, fun times all around.

Thanks to some massive state budget cuts, the agency that I work for, and every other one in the state, is being hit hard. We're scrambling to cut money everywhere, but people are petrified that job cuts are only a matter of time. So, true to form, I'm freaking out the hardest. My mind has been whirling, trying to formulate contingency plans just in case I end up losing my job in the months to come. We HAVE to work harder on putting money into savings, just in case. We HAVE to cut back on our bills, even though I can't imagine where else we can cut costs. We HAVE to prepare for the worst, just in case. Oh god, can someone get me a paper bag while I hyperventilate? Please!!????

Moving right along out of Panic-Land, I am doing better with my jewelry sales now that the holidays are approaching, and I'm praying it gives us a little extra money for Christmas. I'm actually doing really well with most of my gifts, and I think the kids are the only ones left to buy for. Of course though, they're the most expensive ones. I'm already bargain shopping and comparing prices, prepping for those pre-Christmas sales. Go sales go!

So, I'm going to do my best to save my pennies and make the best of the holidays. It's all you can do when your family is depending on you. So here's to bucking up and making the best of it.....

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Total Insanity

The past few days have been jam packed with a whole lot of crazy. And I mean A LOT!

On Saturday, GH and I went to a concert with a friend of mine from work. It was a lot of fun, but ended up being an incredibly late night. We got back around 1 am and I thought I was going to die. I'm just not cut out for late night concerts any more.

The next morning I woke up at 4:30 am to help my neighbor, and good friend, drive to upstate New York in order to pick up a Dalmatian puppy. Now please understand, my friend is OBSESSED with Dalmatians. She's owned two in the past, and has a Dalmatian tattoo on the small of her back. So, because of her craziness, I agreed to help her drive the 17 hours total to get this puppy, which was the closest one she could find. After the drive, on 4.5 hours of sleep, I was ready to die. I made GH promise to never let me do anything nice for anyone ever again.

Monday was G's first counseling session. We didn't get to talk a whole lot due to the kids running around and being mental, but I think the councilor is a good fit. We have our next appointment on Tuesday, and I'm really hoping this is going to help.

Thanks to the exhaustion of the weekend, my ongoing illness has flared up once again, and I'm thinking I may have a respiratory infection now. Good times. Since yesterday was a holiday, I thought I'd catch up on some rest. Yeah right. Yesterday we super cleaned the house, and I did some baking. Way to take it easy me!

Jewelry orders are picking up for the season. I was all excited until I went downstairs last night to do some work and found out my torch is on the fritz.Great timing as I have a rush order for wedding jewelry. Frick.

I'm also in talks with the chihuahua breeder we got our puppies from to help them promote their business. I'm really excited about it, as I think these are great people, and I'd love to help them out.

Think I'm taking a trip to the walk-in clinic on the way home. I'm a bit concerned I may have pneumonia. wish me luck!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Still Catching Up- Photo Version

And here are the photos I kinda promised to go along with the last post.

First off, Halloween-



K is the totally sassy Princess Leia, our neighbor J is the ninja in the middle, and G's on the end rocking the Darth Vader gear.





And now, here is our new dog, Aries next to a hyper G:



And here's Aries and Loki together:



Aren't they ridiculously cute?



And that is my bloggy good deed for today....

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Catching Up- Again!

Seems I'm always playing catch up around here. Despite my best intentions, the blog is always the first thing to suffer when things get crazy. And trust me, it's been crazy. However, I've vowed to get everything back on track, including my blogginess.
So, here's a brief life synopsis:

Brain Train
We got the results of G's EEG and his brain appears to be showing no signs of seizure activity. They did say that the test is only 80-90% accurate though, so if we see any other episodes that concern us to let them know. For now, they suggested counseling for G's outbursts. After many phone calls, I managed to find an excellent counselor, someone a co-worker knows well, who will see G starting next Monday. We are all very hopeful that she can help G, and us, learn some new methods to help manage his anger issues and emotional outbursts.

Halloween
This year, K decided to be Princess Leia, which prompted G to be Darth Vader. The costumes were great, and largely done with things we already had around the house, which was doubly awesome. Someday my sorry behind may even post some belated pictures. Once again we did a Halloween hell walk with out neighbor and his son. Luckily, the weather was astonishingly beautiful, which made the three hour, multiple neighborhood trek, much more bearable. We now have four bulging sacks of candy sitting on top of our refrigerator once again. Good times.

Doggies
That's right, doggies. As in plural. As in two. We now have two lovely long haired chihuahuas. Aries, Loki's litter brother, joined our family about two weeks ago. We all LOVE it. They've been an amazing addition to the family. I'm even thinking of starting a chihuahua blog.You know, with all my spare time.....

Christmas
Is getting close and totally freaking me out. I think I'm doing well with all of the handmade gifts I'm doing for most of my family, but I definitely need to get my rear in gear on the kid's gifts. I have a lot of big ideas, and small amounts of money. I'm working on that. For now though, I"m buying things bit by bit, and planning for some upcoming craft shows, and praying they bring in a little extra money in time for the holidays.

Elections
I just have to say "WOW"! I can't believe I'm lucky enough to live in a time when such amazing changes can take place, and such historic events can happen. This is huge, and our country will never be the same. Here's to changes for the better all around.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Yes, I Am a 12-Year-Old Boy

The other night we had parent teacher conferences at our kid's school. Thanks to the considerate teachers there, we were able to have G and K's conferences one right after another, saving us some very spirited whining and us desperate to kill time in between, as we had both kids with us.

K's conference was uneventful. The teacher remarked that she was doing well, and we checked to be sure she wasn't having any issues with her attitude. Beyond that, her teacher had remarkably little to say about our spirited girl. It was a little bit of a disappointment.

At G's conference, we were greeted by a woman who looked like she should have been our babysitter, not a teacher. She must be fresh out of college, and not at all what GH and I expected. She was very nice, and very enthusiastic about G and the work that he's been doing with a Gifted and Talented teacher. I talked to her a bit about G's Asperger's, a bit concerned that she she probably had no experience dealing with any kids with G's particular quirks.

As we chatted, G presented me with a story he had just written about getting out chihuahua. I perused the pages as I listened to his teacher. Suddenly,there in front of me, was the sentence "He has four balls." I lost it. I laughed so hard tears were coming out of my eyes. I explained my outburst to teacher and GH and they laughed as well. But they stopped. And I kept going.

I tried my best to pull it together for the remainder of the conference. I did giggle randomly one more time as "four balls" popped into my head. I hope she doesn't think I was high. I immediately felt bad for judging G's teacher's maturity level.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Accentuate the Positive

After my spew into angry-mom territory, I've been trying to pull back and refocus on the good things. Luckily, this weekend was jam-packed with highlights.

- A puppy play date over at our chihuahua breeder's home, where our little darling got to romp with his chihuahua family. It was so much fun to watch the puppies play and enjoy one of the last beautiful fall days outside, having fun as a family.

- Having a lovely lunch out at a local park, once again, soaking up the last of the fall sunshine.

- Getting to treated to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants by my mother-in-law. It was even better due to the fact that there was no father-in-law there.

- Running errands and finding some great deals on things I was looking for. This also included making a pants exchange at Old Navy that I never though they'd do since I had washed the pants. But they did. Yeah me!

- Canning the last of the apples from apple picking before they went bad.

- Watching one of the kid's last soccer games. It was special due to the fact that they did it in the evening at the high school field under the lights. There was even an announcer. Even though we froze our butts off, it was a lot of fun.

- Turning on the heat for the first time. Even though I vowed not to turn it on before November, and it made me cringe at the money puring out of the radiators, it sure felt nice to be warm after sitting outside and freezing for two hours!

- And last, but not least by far, we had an entire weekend without one meltdown from G! Boy did my mental health need that. It really gave me the chance to regroup, and I'm confident that I'm ready to tackle the next fit with love and patience that I know I'm capable of....

Friday, October 17, 2008

Just Failing At Life...

Yesterday was a bad day. Considering how my days have been lately, that says a lot. Usually I'm good at putting my head down, plowing through and dealing. Usually I get frustrated when the people around me won't just suck it up and do the same. Usually.

Thursdays are always hard, due to the fact that GH isn't home when I get done with work, and he doesn't get home until after 11pm. This means I've got the kids to myself, which also means dinner, shower, and bedtime myself. It means breaking up fights, handing out punishments, curbing begging, and wresting temper tantrums all by myself.

Don't get me wrong, sometimes I really love the time alone with the kids, getting that one-on-one time in, talking, cuddling, playing games. Sometimes I really enjoy having the evening to myself as well, watching the TV shows I want, hogging the covers, selfishly cuddling the puppy- all of that good stuff. But yesterday....yesterday was just out of whack.

There has been a lot of stress boiling under the surface of my tightly stretched skin-Christmas gifts and winter clothes looming in the near future, job worries, heating fuel concerns, my perpetually messy house, the kids screaming, a husband who largely ignores me, etc. All of it has been stewing, festering, locked down tight, held in check to seep out only in moments of private anxiety.

Last night I got my work's emergency pager for the week. Even though it's only once every month or so that I have to carry it, it's an immediate ball of anxiety. I don't sleep well for fear of client emergencies or late night call outs. So I carried this Albatross home, to the immediate complaints of two cranky children over my choice of dinner. For G, these complaints soon escalated into a full blown fit.

Now please understand, I am patient with G's Asperger's. I've read the books, done the research. I do my best to be flexible, adaptable in the face of his rigidity. I try to hold him, sooth him. I try to ignore the screams the verbal abuse. But yesterday? I just couldn't do it. As G lay screaming on the floor, telling me how wretched the dinner I was preparing was, how I never fed him anything he liked, I'd had enough. I shouted for him to get up to his room. I resisted the urge to haul him up off the floor and march him to his room, knowing the level of my temper at that moment.Instead I snarled my way to a count of five, and he catapulted himself up the stairs, pausing to scream at the top of his lungs how much he hated me. I shouted back that he could just stay in his room. Not my proudest moment. I was rewarded with the sound of his feet battering his bedroom door, and screams that he hated everything, wished I would die, and so on.

So, hoping to recoup a few parental points, I took a deep breath, forced a smile, and sat on the couch with K. As I hugged her, and attempted to ease the suffocating Rage Beast that was burrowing in my chest, she proceeded to tell me that GH and I didn't spend enough time with her. She went on to bemoan all of the time we spent at work, cleaning the house, cooking dinner.

The Rage Beast gnawed at my insides, and I asked K if she would like it better if the house was even more filthy? Or maybe if I stopped working, she wouldn't have to worry about me making dinner because we wouldn't be able to afford food. Before I could go any further, I removed myself to the kitchen to check on the dinner nobody wanted, and then, to cry on the kitchen floor. It was pathetic. I was pathetic.

And so today, I try to forge ahead. This morning was greeted with yet another G fit, and a teary moment at work. Right now, with some advice from a beloved co-worker, I'm researching Asperger's support groups. Today I will fight the Rage Beast once again. Today I may even win. Today, I will take solace in the blogs of others, as they struggle with parenthood and bare their flaws. Today will be better. Today I will make it through....

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Brain Train

Due to some concerns over a few recent episodes, we've brought G to see a Neurologist. Our concerns, in conjunction with G's Asperger's and my family history of epilepsy made us think a consultation was a good idea.

After an initial screening, the Neurologist said he wanted to do an EEG. This, he informed us, would consist of G staying awake the entire night before the appointment, because he would be required to sleep for a brain wave reading. G was so happy he was bouncing. It was like a dream come true for him- he had permission to stay up all. night. long.

The EEG was Tuesday morning, so Monday night GH agreed to stay up with G as he didn't have to work the next day, and I would be headed to work after the appointment. I was up most of the night as well due to GH's loud computer gaming, and G knocking on the door periodically to announce the hour. All told, G did sleep a little bit- three whole hours.

After arriving at the appointment, G's head was measured and then hooked up with electrodes. He was instructed to blow on a pinwheel for 5 minutes. G interrupters a few times to ask questions- mainly if he was almost done. After that, the light's were turned off, and GH was asked to leave the room so there would be less distraction for G to sleep.

G itched his nose. He coughed. He whispered questions. He would not sleep. Finally, they gave him a dose of sedative, and waited. He continued to squirm, and would not relax after repeated prompts. He was given another dose of sedative, and I was told he was now at the max dosage, and if he wouldn't sleep, we may have to go back another day. I silently urged G to sleep as the technician counted out loud for him, telling him to focus on her voice.

He slept. I watched over the technician's shoulder as the computer showed the waves emanating from my sleeping son's head. I watched, and caught my breath every time there was a jerk in the pattern. Is this what they were looking for? Was that an abnormality? I watched every line, waiting, wondering. This was my son's amazing, overactive brain. Could there really be some glitch in there? Something that needed taming to help him?

After about 20 minutes, the technician woke G up and yanked the electrodes from G's head in one pull. She took a futile swipe at the goop crusted in his hair. She also gave G an electrode to keep, and a print out of some of his brain waves. He was excited...and not a bit tired.

And now we wait for two weeks, while the Neurologist reads the mysterious waves of G's brain, deciphering the peaks and valleys and translating them into an answer- or not.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Stress Break

We now interrupt our regularly scheduled stress-filled ranting to bring you a moment of pure cute:



This moment of cute has been brought to you by the lovely breeders at Silver Spoon Chihuahuas, my adorable dog Loki, and the letter C.

Now back to our regularly scheduled stress.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

When Life Makes No Sense....

** Amazon.com sent me an email today, telling me to be sure to watch the new show on CBS "The Ex List". This makes no sense to me on a few different level. First- why the heck is Amazon trying to get me to watch a a TV show? I mean, I can understand when they send me a book recommendation (even if it is sometimes a book I've already ordered through them)but a television show? What's the story there?

The send thing I take issue with, is why would Amazon.com assume that I would like the "The Ex List"? Does Amazon.com think I'm a fan of cheesy romance shows? What have I done to lead them to this opinion? I'm pretty sure my last book order did nothing to indicate that I'm a person who would get a real thrill out of this particular show. Oh Amazon.com, what have I done for you to judge me so?

** I receive child support (sporadically) from my ex. At the beginning of this month, one his checks, issued directly from his employer, bounced after the state had issued me the check. I have not received another check all month. I'm supposed to be paid weekly. Now that I've discovered the state has received a check after a month, the state has turned around to inform me that since my douche-bag ex's company has not responded to pay them back for the bounced check, they'll be taking 10% out of all of the payments I receive from now on, until the state is paid back. Let me repeat, just so I'm clear- Because HIS company bounced a check, the state is now taking the money from ME because they can't get HIS company to cover the bounced check. To further clarify, this is after I haven't received a payment in a month, AND on top of the fact that he owes THOUSANDS of dollars in arrears. I can barely buy groceries this month, and the state is making me cover HIS mistake. Does that make sense to Anybody!!!???? If so, I'd love to have it explained to me. Slowly. So my head doesn't explode.

** My husband hasn't had his licence now for almost 5 years, due to a very complicated set of circumstances between the New Hampshire and the Massachusetts DMV. Frankly if he had had a DUI or ran someone over, he would have had his license back sooner. It's very strange, and we haven't been able to iron it out, even with the help of a lawyer. Anyways, the point is, in these 5 years, he's had his old car sitting in our driveway. The battery is dead, the tires are toast, the windshield's cracked, and who knows what damage has been done from it sitting around for years. He had one offer to buy it, and I almost lost my mind when he said no. Recently, some random guy came up to our house and offered to buy it for parts. I was excited. He was not. He got upset and said he had to think about it. Finally with the financial crunch we're in this week, he's grudgingly agreed to sell it. Why on earth is he being so difficult about it? I still haven't figured that out...

** Why is it when you have a week where you can't figure out how to buy both gas for the car and groceries, do both children get invited to birthday parties that make it necessary to buy gifts? And why does the circus have to be in town the same week? Why Universe, oh why?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What Would Ms. Manners Do?

Dear Ms. Manners,

The other day I was in my local craft store picking up a few supplies with my son in tow. While on my way to the register, I was right behind a couple who was very dressed up, obviously on their way to some kind of event, with a fancy picture frame in their hands, most likely a gift. And, as the lady walked in her fancy, I couldn't help but notice a huge red stain on her rear-end.

Well Ms. Manners, I was shocked, and a little disgusted. I mean, maybe I'm wrong, but I thought most women would notice that kind of leakage before it turned into seepage (Sorry Ms. Manners, I'm trying to keep this as PC as possible).

After my initial gross out over the issue, I felt bad for this woman. Obviously her and her gentleman friend were on their way to a fancy night out. I know I would just die if I got some place all dressed up and had the wrong person notice the big red stain plastered across the butt of my skirt.

So, on the way to the register, I debated. Let it go? Tell her? Just pretend I never saw it? My insides squirmed as she stood mere inches from me, laughing with her suited and tied companion as she paid for the picture frame. She began to walk away, and the cashier began to ring my purchases. Biting my lip, I called out "Miss!"

Discretely I pulled her to the side of the exit. Quietly I whispered "You have a big blood stain on the back of your skirt." Perhaps I could have used different words, I'm not sure, but regardless, she pulled away, gave me a cold look and said "All right" and walked away.

So Ms. Manners, my question is, did I do the right thing? Frankly the woman didn't seem very grateful, but more annoyed by the fact that I was speaking to her. Did I commit a sisterhood no no? Here I thought I was doing the right thing, but perhaps I was mistaken. Please tell me what to the next time something like this happens.

Sincerely,

Motor Mouth in Maine
a.k.a Sarcasta-Mom

Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday Mission- Badly Written Essay

This post brought to you as part of Painted Maypole's Monday Missions, inspired by this lovely post from Bea.

The tiredness Of Me
by Sarcasta-Mom

The charecters in this drama were all very different but shared many similarities. The husband was angry the little girl was crying the little boy couln't stop talking about his DS games, and the mom was scared. But thay were all tired and wanted to go home.

the reason that all of the people were tired and scared was beacause their was a chemical spill up the road from there house and some barricades were put up and they wouldn't let the family drive there car home so they had to park far away and walk to there house.

The little girl was afraid she wouldn't be able to get home to her pets and they would be evacuated for the night. the husband was mad because the city workers wouldn't let them drive there car home to where they wanted it. the City Workers were the real villians of this tale. There needs to be villians in a story so there can be something for heros to fight.

the little boy was mad because the road block made it so he couldn't go rent a new DS game at BlobkBuster Video store and he had eaten all his dinner just so he could go; so he was really mad. The mom was scared they would get evacuated from the house, and couldn't sleep all night. And then she had to walk down the street to get her car in the morning and couldn't take any coffee to work because her travel mug was in the car.

So in conclusion after a careful analysis of the charecters, I would still say that they are very different but still the same; tired and cranky. Thank You.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Newest Member of the Family

Two weeks ago, I was selling my jewelry at a local art show, when a couple went by pushing an odd looking baby carriage. People squealed over the contents, and when I heard the word "puppies" I just had to go over and see.

Now, please understand that I am not a dog lover by any means. Generally I think dogs smell, and their happy enthusiasm makes them seem stupid and slavish. I have no respect for dogs in general, but just couldn't resist cuddling puppies because, let's face it, they're just so damn adorable.

When I approached the carriage, I was shocked to see how small and incredibly cute the puppies where. When I asked what they were, I was told they were long haired chihuahuas.

Once, probably ten years ago, I saw my first long haired chihuahua. It was full grown, but looked like a puppy. It was the cutest thing I'd ever seen, and I fell in love. I hadn't seen one since, and had all but forgotten the encounter until I saw these puppies.

The woman pushing the carriage gave me one to hold, and I fell in love all over again. The tiny puppy rested comfortably in my hands, only stirring to give me gentle kisses on the chin. It was then that I knew I could not. live. without. this. dog.

The real hurdles were GH and my landlord. GH has always been clear in his hatred of small dogs, and I knew my landlords were not fans of dogs in any of their homes. SO I put in a call to my landlord, explaining that really the dog would be more like my cats than an actual dog; smaller than the cats in fact. He said him and his wife would get back to me.

I told GH he wouldn't have to get me a Christmas present if he let me get the dog. He said he would never walk the dog because he'd look fruity. He said if I got this dog, he got to choose the next one, and it would be BIG. I agreed to everything. I would have agreed to anything. I've never wanted something so badly in my life.

Long story short, I got the o.k. from my landlord, the o.k. from GH and went to visit the breeder, Silver Spoon Chihuahua at their home. A few days later, Loki came into our home.





Isn't he the cutest thing on earth? This is him next to my giant cat.



The kids love him. I love him. And most amazingly, GH loves him, perhaps more than even I do. I've never seen him so happy. But honestly, it would be a miracle NOT to love this dog. He's smart, adorable, and most importantly, poops outside.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Happy Anniversary To Me!

Today is my two year anniversary of being married to GH. It feels like it should be longer, like maybe 100 years, or at least a more reasonable 50 or so.

When GH and I met, I was a single mother of two with a bad relationship history. I was putting myself through college and working full time when we first began to chat after meeting on an online dating site (yes, gasp in horror if you must).

When GH and I first started dating, he was living in Maine, and I was in Vermont. This actually worked out well, as I had a tendency to let things go to far to fast, as in "Sure you can move in with me. Let me pay ALL the bills, please!"

After dating for a while, GH proposed on Christmas Eve. It was beautiful. Then came the talks about where we were going to live. After some initial back and forth, it was decided that the kids and I would move to Maine and make our lives there with GH.

Two years ago we had our beautiful wedding in a ruined WWII fort at Fort Williams. It was a perfect day. We even made the kids a part of the ceremony, with GH presenting them with special necklaces, making us an honest to God family at last.



We wrote our own vows, and I wept through his and mine. Even though it was a very small gathering, it was beautiful, and perfect. The reception was a blast, even if GH and I never actually got to eat our food.

And here we are, two years later. There have been some major ups and some major downs for what may sound like such a short period. Life can be a challenge, but as long as I have GH to lean on, I know I'll always make it through.

So thank you GH. Even though we may want to kill each other at times, I love you with all my heart. Thank you for being my husband these past two years, and for all of the years that are yet to come.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Monday Mission- Class Syllabus

Course: Living With a New Puppy 101
Instructor: Sarcasta-Mom

Course Objective: This course should equip the student with the skills to make it through puppyhood with their new canine with their sanity still in place. Skills learned will include cleaning up puppy messes with the best cleaning supplies for the job, pooper scooper tutorial, proper play activities, crate training, appropriate treat restrictions, and how to survive on little to know sleep due to excessive late night whimpering.

Prerequisite: Parenthood, with a focus on infant care.

Supply List: One puppy, various cleaning supplies, strong coffee.

Attendance: Students are allowed to miss up to two classes for sleep deprivation or other puppy related incidents. All further absences must be accompanied by a note from the student's veterinarian.

Grading: Grading will be done on a curve based on the student's ability to remain awake and focused, as well as their interactions with their puppy. Anyone caught spanking their puppies will be failed automatically. Final exam grades are given based on the number of times the student manages to get their puppy outside before is makes a mess on the rug.

Office Hours: There are no set office hours for this course. Please try to catch the professor out on the lawn with peeing puppy.


Monday, September 08, 2008

I Can't Believe I'm A Soccer Mom

So, it's finally happened. As of 12:30pm yesterday afternoon, I became a soccer mom. A soccer mom. Seriously.

Last year, G really wanted to play soccer, but with my lousy work schedule of working Saturdays, I wasn't able to do it. On top of that, I just didn't have the money, as this was around the same time GH lost his job. I felt bad. My father harassed me for not getting G involved in sports. I felt worse.

This year when the soccer fliers came home, I was prepared. I made sure I had the money together, and was relieved to find out that soccer practice was on Sundays (even though I'm not working Saturdays anymore). I was prepared. I was ready. For one child at least.

When K brought home her soccer flier right next to the cheerleading flier, i figure if K wanted to participate in something, it would definitely be cheerleading. After all, she already knew some cheers, and absolutely WORSHIPED cheerleaders. So, when I presented K with both fliers and asked her if she wanted to join one of the teams, I was completely unprepared when she selected soccer.

"Are you sure?" I asked sceptically. She assured me that she wanted to play soccer, and showed almost no interest in cheerleading. I was pretty proud that my girly girl had chosen to play a more rough-and-tumble sport (not that I'm saying there's anything wrong with cheerleading mind you).

Later that night at dinner, I was talking to the kids about soccer registration, when K announced that she didn't want to do soccer any more. When I asked her why, she said her friend at school had told her that soccer was a boys sport, and she didn't want to play a boys soccer. She asked if she could choose cheerleading instead.

Resisting the urge to call her 6-year-old friend a disgrace to the women's movement and feminists everywhere, I calmly explained to K that soccer was every bit a girl's sport as it was a boy's sport. In fact, I told her, it was the only sport I had ever played on a team in high school. I also reminded her that we would always support her in any choice she made, as long as it was what she truly wanted. I added that it was o.k. to do things that other people didn't agree with, as long as it made you happy. In the end, I said it was her choice, and I wouldn't push her either way. After an hour or two of after dinner play time contemplation, K told me she wanted to soccer.

When you're a parent, sometimes there are moments that you just know you did something right. Considering all of the times you feel lost, helpless, overwhelmed, and just plain clueless, these moments are heady and powerful. Although this lesson in individuality and self-confidence will eventually be buried under layers of teenage angst and self-doubt, I hope this and other nuggets will remain like a buoy to keep my kids afloat into healthy, happy adulthood.

Yesterday, I brought the kid's to their first practice. I was immediately intimidated and overwhelmed by the amount of people that were there. My social anxiety went into overdrive, and instantly I began to panic about how fat I looked in my shorts, that the kids had older water bottles than everyone else, that I hadn't brought a chair to watch practice in, etc. I sucked it up and, after standing in line for days, I registered the kids. The man signing them up asked if it was all right if he put K on a team with all boys. Wanting to seem cool and easygoing, I said that was fine. And then I stopped myself and thought of K and her insecurity. I said, on second thought, I'd like K to be on a team with some other girls. He switched her, and she ended up on the pink team, where even the boys wear pink team shirts. I was thrilled, and I knew K was far more comfortable on that team. As pro equality/individuality/feminism I was, I wasn't going to sacrifice my daughter's comfort, and possibly her chance at loving soccer for my cool points.

And she did enjoy it. And she looked like a real soccer player.







G's practice followed K's. G was so excited he could hardly contain himself, and threw himself into the drills with an enthusiasm, and total bliss rarely seen from him. I basked in it.







Unlike a lot of children with Asperger's, G is incredibly coordinated, and has always picked up physical activities with amazing speed. Seeing him enjoy soccer so much, and the way he interacted with the other kids just made my heart soar. It also made me feel incredibly guilty for not getting him involved in soccer sooner.

So, for my kids, I'll come to terms with the fact that I'm a real live soccer mom. I'll do the fundraisers. Go to every game. Tote the kids to practices with snacks and other gear. I'll even try to talk to other parents. Because as important as it is to be an individual, sometimes it's o.k. to be part of the crowd, especially if it makes the people you love the most happy.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Things That Come Out of Their Mouths......

In the car, just me and G

G- Mom, I just hate sweat. It's dreadful!

Me- Did you just say dreadful?

G- Yeah, dreadful. It's dreadful the way my back gets sweaty in the car.

Me- All right, just checking.


* * * * * * * * * * * * *


At the beach, K dragging a huge abandoned buoy

K (loud enough for the whole beach to hear)- Mom! I found a boobie! Look at my giant boobie!

Me- (buries head in sand and hides)

Sunday, August 31, 2008

First Day Of School, Yard Sales, And The Rest

So, I'm a little behind on my obligatory first day of school post. The kid's first day was this Wednesday, which kicked off their first, two-day, week of school.

Everyone looked so adorable at the bus stop, as only first-day-of-school kids can.



Now, as the only girl in the neighborhood, I always try to make K look extra spiffy for her first day of school. As you can see however, in the mere minutes it took to get her outside and take this picture, her hair was everywhere, and she had put a big sweatshirt over her cute outfit. G is the one next to her, in this, the only picture that I managed to get him to look at me.

The first day went great, as expected, and so did the second day. Both kids seem to like their teachers G even had cheeseburgers for lunch on the first day, so all was uber right with the world. We'll see how it goes when they've had time to settle in.

On other fronts, due to an expected turn of events, I got what I wanted at work, and will never have to work a Saturday again. I'm so excited, because this was the only thing that was making me consider looking for something else. Now I can stay in my job, and be as satisfied as can be expected in my line of work.

And, because I'm totally insane, my neighbor and I decided it was a great weekend to have a yard sale. I forgot how much work yard sales are. On the plus side, I did make enough for gas money for the week. Yeah! And of course, there's still tomorrow, so maybe there's even toilet paper in our future. Let's just say, money has been tight this week. Go yard sale go. Just pray that tomorrow the daisy duke wearing man or the prison lady doesn't come back. Oh, there will be stories to tell.....

Monday, August 25, 2008

Crossroads

There have been many times in my life when I've felt myself at a major crossroad. At these times, it feels like every decision is critical, and that every matter weighs heavily on my brain. The anxiety level climbs, and it's hard to focus on the immediate matters at hand.So many issues to consider, with so many blurred together.

Career- Am I doing what I always dreamed? No. I'm not writing or editing, and I feel like I spent 4 years putting myself through college as a single parent for nothing.Even though I enjoy the people I work with, frankly, at this point, my job is solely to pay the bills. And, if a certain something doesn't work out with this job, I may have to start looking for a new one, which I really don't want to do. I'm stuck as what to do.

Crafts- I've worked so hard on my jewelry, and now I'm just stuck. I've built my own website, and promoted my arse off, and even bought advertising, but still, not ONE sale from my site. I've pretty much given up on the craft show circuit this year already, because the crappy economy is making sales hard. Or maybe that's just what I'm telling myself to feel better about things. For now, I'm knitting hats and trying to decide what to do about the future of my jewelry. Anyone want a hat?

Kids- I constantly feel like I need to step it up a notch with the wee people in my life. I feel like there's so much that I'm giving them, and I have to make a change. I'm going to try to work it out so that G can do soccer this year. I'm going to try to have the money ready when it's time, and make sure I can find the time to drive him to practices, even if it means sucking it up and asking work to leave early one day a week for the season. And K? Maybe a dance class. If I can sell some body parts. All in all, I need to make some efforts to give them more of my time and less of my frustrations. Maybe bake some cookies instead of worrying about the laundry. I just have to figure out how to do that.

My Weight- I've been trying to eat healthy, but I just don't feel like it's working. Most days I wonder if I should join the gym or just give up and enjoy a plate of fries already...

GH- Though his attitude has been remarkably better since starting work, there are still issues. The biggest? Fighting for his attention over his online games. Frankly, I'm tired of being neglected for his fantasy life. I've brought this up a million times, but despite promises of change, I still find myself alone in my bed most nights, falling asleep by myself. Honestly, I don't know how much longer I can take being second fiddle to a game. Perhaps it wouldn't be so bad if was having sex more than once a month, sometimes two months. I'm committed to my marriage, but it's hard when you feel like you're the only one.

Of course, these are just the highlights, and brief synopsis' at that. All I know is some things have to change. And I have to stop being so afraid, and make it happen...

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Rafting Trip

It's taken me a while here to catch up on my life, as summer winds down and school prep winds up. Just the mere mathematics of trying to cram a whole summer's worth of activities into the few days when it hasn't rained here is mind boggling.

However, even with the mentalness going on right now, I couldn't miss out on posting about my recent white-water rafting adventure.

A few months ago, GH entered a raffle to win tickets to go white water rafting. I completely forgot all about it because, frankly? We never win ANYTHING. But, lo and behold, GH called me at work one day to let me know we had won the rafting trip. It was then I began to stall.

When I was younger, I was a real daredevil. These days? Not so much. Since having kids, I feel my mortality as a tangible thing, heavy, and pressing, making my heart race when I hear words like "white-water rafting".

I continued to put GH off, refusing to talk about the trip, waffling on setting a date to take the trip. Finally, GH booked the trip on his own, informing me of the date after it was all said and done. I panicked. I had agreed to make a lovely cake for Emily over at The White Hall Craig's for her daughter's birthday. Thanks to GH's scheduling, I had to miss out on the chance to make a cake, and meet a fellow blogger. (And Emily, I'm still so sorry and hope you don't hate me forever).

I stewed. I freaked out. I complained. The thought of being cold wet and terrified was not my idea of a good time. Oh, and did I mention we'd be camping? Oh, and that it had been raining for like a million days straight with no end in site?

On the day of the blessed event, my mother took the kids to Vermont, and I picked up GH after work, the car already packed the night before. And we proceeded to drive for over two hours, after a full day of work. And it was raining. And a a douche in a truck tried to run us off the road on purpose (The police were called, it was a whole thing, and worthy of a post all its own.)Suffice to say, when we finally reached the campsite I was less than thrilled. I made GH ask if we could rent a cabin instead of having to pitch a tent in the rain, but they were all full.
Miserably, we made camp in the rain. GH tried for an hour to build a fire, but it just wasn't happening. Finally I made him give it up, and we crawled into our tent, cold and grouchy.

But then, nothing compared to the cold and grouchiness of waking at 4 in the morning to find out you're sleeping in a small lake. Which we did. We finally made our way up to the restaurant at the campsite at 6am for hot breakfast and coffee. When the campsite and rafting manager asked us how we were doing, we told them our stuff was soaked and we were cold and wet. Awesome people that they were, they offered to dry out our sleeping bags and pads, and even my soggy clothes. Things were looking up, but it was still raining, and the prospect of rafting the swollen river had me wanting to crawl into my car and take a nap.

Luckily, the company that was doing the rafting trip, Riverdrivers, also managed the campsite and restaurant, and we met up with our guides and fellow rafters right there after breakfast. I opted to rent a wetsuit to to the cold and the rain. It was not pretty. Just picture 10 pounds of ugly in a 5 pound sack. GH told me it was slimming. I still wanted to slug someone.

Our instructional meeting freaked me out and I thought I was going to have a panic attack. we went through what to do if you got tossed out of the raft, and were warned "The nearest hospital in an hour away-and it's not a good hospital." I wondered if anyone would notice if I peed my wetsuit before we hit the river.

GH and I became a part of a group of two other men, and three teenage boys, who referred to themselves as "Alpha Team". I was not thrilled. Our guide was a tiny little thing, only 19 years old. I considered peeing again.

Once we actually hit the water, there was no time to think about anything else. We paddled. Hard. And a lot. When we hit the first rapid, I clung desperately with my legs, dug in hard with my paddle... and didn't fall out of the raft! After that, the experience was amazing. Our guide was excellent, and a lot of fun. "Alpha Team" was a bit obnoxious, but not too out of hand. We even got to get out of the raft and swim some rapids. I inhaled half of the river, but still had a great time.


(GH is the one in the Gordon's FIsherman style yellow rain slicker. I'm the one directly accross from him in the blue helmet with my mouth hanging open)


(And here's one where I'm paddling really hard. We were told paddling would keep you on the raft. I really wanted to stay on the raft...)


(And then there's this. I'm the one totally peeing)

I did almost fall out once when we hit a big "hole". Luckily I fell into the raft and on top of GH and not into the river. Yeah me!!!

When it was over, we made our way back to the campsite, where it had stopped raining, and were treated to a delicious steak lunch, which was part of the rafting trip. I was totally exhausted, but proud that I done something that scared the pee out of me.

That night, the rain held out, and GH and I had a late dinner over the campfire, complete with s'mores. The wonderful people who ran the company even provided us with cot mattresses so we'd be comfortable and dry if it rained again. Our guide even came to join us for s'mores and wine coolers.

After this, GH and I have decided to make the rafting thing an annual trip. We already have a bunch of friends who are eager to join us. We will definitely be going with Riverdrivers again. And next time, I'm renting a cabin...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Happy Birthday G!

Dearest G,

8 years ago today, you were born, and I became a parent. Even though I had the support of my family, I was essentially alone, and as a 20 year-old, first time, single parent, I was terrified. You pooped strange things, hated to sleep, and couldn't stand to be put down. Learning how to breast feed almost gave me a nervous breakdown, and I thank God for the patient Lactation Consultant at the local hospital.

Even when I was terrified of everything, I was constantly amazed by you. I was amazed that I had been part of creating such a beautiful human being. I was amazed by the joy and wonder you gave me every day. I was amazed that I could love someone so much.

As you grew, you continued to astound me. You were just so brilliant and so fascinating. When you began to do things like stare at the phone book for hours, or pour over the vacuum cleaner catalogues, I passed it off as a quirk. When you began to meltdown over transitions, I thought it was just a phase. You food aversions? Well, I guess you were just picky.

Before I knew it, you were in kindergarten. I worried about you, so much smaller than the other kids, so different. But you did pretty well. The structure of school suited you. And if you had a meltdown or two? Well, you were still young, and school was new. Your teacher thought you need some OT for your fine motors skills. I chalked it up the fact that you were small, and your hands weren't that strong yet.
When I met GH, and we began dating, he observed your quirks and foibles with a new eye. He was the first one to introduce me to the word Asperger's. I brushed it aside, choosing not to think about it.

And then came the move from Vermont, where your whole world existed, to Maine, where everything was strange and new. You hated everything about it. I took you away from your Grandma and Papa, your school, you daycare, your everything. It was hard for you to adjust, and even now, almost 3 years later, you still tell me you want to move back to Vermont.

You adjusted after a fashion, and school went well. Until your teacher suggested maybe you should go to Step-Up instead of First Grade, a program for kids who needed a little more time to grow emotionally and socially. It was a hard decision, but we put you into Step Up. It was a good choice. It was there that we first began talking to your teacher about the Asperger's possibility, which I had finally began to explore. Your teacher worked with you and helped you through your fits. She let you stand up to do your work, and gave you math problems to keep you stimulated.
And last year was First Grade. The big time. It was also the year we were finally able to get you in for a behavioral evaluation after being on a waiting list for a year. And after many tests (which you really enjoyed) they told us what we already knew in our hearts- that you have Asperger's.

It's been quite the journey, these past 8 years. There have been hard times, when I just couldn't give you everything you wanted, and moments of total bliss, when everything just seemed to work perfectly. And even with the shouting, and the tears, I always love every moment of being your mother.

G, you're an amazing, brilliant, talented, unique boy, and I'm proud to be your mother everyday. Thank you for being my little boy for 8 years.


All my love,
Your Mom

Monday, August 04, 2008

Families Are Stupid Sometimes

My mother is staying with us for the week. Without my dad. Originally my parents were supposed to take the kids with them to my father's family reunion in Cape Cod, leaving GH and I with yet another week of childless bliss this summer. But that was not to be.

My mother was hesitant to go on this trip in the first place. My father's family has never treated her well. They've never been very nice to my dad either.

My dad comes from a very large Roman Catholic family. They also happen to be fairly wealthy due to the large Connecticut based insurance agency my grandfather started. Of course this, sets up a certain pattern of "acceptable" behavior and expectations. Unfortunately, my dad never managed to meet them.

When my dad was 17, he got a girl pregnant and had a child out of wedlock. After that, he went to college in Colorado, where he majored in being a hippy. He then moved to Vermont, and committed the sin of marrying my mother, who already had two children, and was not Catholic. He never went back to Connecticut, and never joined the family insurance business.

There's more to it, of course, but it would be to much, and far to hurtful to disclose here. What it came down to was as kids, my siblings and I were never really acknowledged by father's family. My older brother was born out of wedlock. My sister and I weren't my dad's biological children. My younger brother, well he was still my mother's son. Growing up, at the W family gatherings, there was always a sense of being left out. My mother was shunned, and even verbally attacked. She bore it the best she could without letting us kids know, but the awkwardness was always felt.

As I grew older, I learned to ignore the hurt of being snubbed by the W's. This was especially useful when I became an unwed mother myself. I still remember after the birth of my son, grandpa W telling me "It's really to bad you'll never be able to anything with your life now." Luckily, his ignorant attitude no longer had the power to cut me to the bone- just piss me off a bit.

As the years went on, my mother learned to defend herself as well. She no longer bore the W's insults and hostility silently. I was proud of her, and we shared laughs over the W's pretentious, hypocritical ways.

The one saving grace of the W family seemed to my father's youngest brother, who we shall call Uncle-Crazy-Ass-Face. Now, somehow Uncle-Crazy-Ass-Face had managed to move to Colorado and away from the W family business without alienating himself from the W family. A small miracle. My parents always got along with him and his recent wife the best out of everyone.

Last year, my parents went out to visit Uncle-Crazy-Ass-Face for several days. Now, what the W family has been hiding carefully for several years is that Uncle-Crazy-Ass-Face has a drug problem, and possibly some mental health issues as well. While my parents were out in Colorado, Uncle-Crazy-Ass-Face, went, well, crazy. He terrorized my parents, threatened them, and even called my mom a C U Next Tuesday. They thought he was going to kill someone. To this day, they're not even sure what set him off. After that though, my mom swore she would never speak to him again unless he got help for his problems.

And back to the family reunion. My mom was already reluctant to go, especially when she found out all of the grandchildren had been invited- that is, all of the grandchildren except for me and my brothers and sisters. After working past that, my parents decided to go anyways and take my kids because my kids love playing with all of their W cousins who were going to be there.

And then they found out that the W's were making my parents chip in more for their 3-day stay in the house they rented than any of the other families that were staying there the entire week. And then, they found out that Uncle-Crazy-Ass-Face would be there even thought my parents had been assured he wasn't coming. Oh yeah, and Uncle-Crazy-Ass-Face wasn't being asked to chip in for the rental house at all. My parents were essentially paying for his stay.

My mother decided this was the final straw, and she wouldn't attend the reunion. My dad worked hard to sway her, and my mother teeter-tottered over her decision up until the day they were supposed to leave for the Cape. My mom arrived last night sans my dad. My dad's in the Cape having an awkward time. Neither of my parents are happy.

So my question is, why do some families have to be so stupid? Even with all of the advantages in life, some families choose to be exclusive, petty clubs, who can pick and choose who gets to belong and who isn't good enough. Who isn't good enough for their family for god's sake. A family that claims to be a good Christian family.

There is hope for the W's- it appears my first cousins are turning out to be decent adults, and the generation that's growing up in my kid's age group appears decent so far, even if they do own more pricey electronics that God. Perhaps my kids will avoid the sting of stigma's that they have no control over- being born to an unwed mother, growing up with little money, etc. Perhaps. And, if this generation decides to follow in their parent's footstep, to be cruel to their own family for a set of outdated religious tenants, or status, well then, my kids can grow up without the W's. And it will be their loss.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What My Kids Have Taught Me

I was talking to someone the other day, and it made me think about all the different kinds of teachers we have in our lives. I've been lucky to have so many people in my life who have taught me so many valuable things.

Once, I was told by a new-agey spiritualist that our souls are connected to every person in our life, and that we all have something to teach each other. I've always liked that philosophy.

The most powerful teachers in my life have definitely been my children. As a mother, it's part of my responsibility to teach my kids the best way I know how. However, I think in the short period of time I've been lucky enough to be their mom, they've taught me so much more. Here are a few valuable lessons I've learned(some apply to both children of course).

K's Lessons
- You can wear pink, and still be tough enough to kick someones butt
- Sometimes it's fun to be a girly-girl
- Getting stitches is no big deal as long as you can have an orange Popsicle
- Hand sanitizer removes Silly Putty from hair
- An ice pack makes any injury all better
- Blonds can be brilliant
- Nothing is better than a good long cuddle
- Wearing a bathing suit to long can give you a butt rash
- Bindi the Jungle Girl is not half as entertaining as her father
- Stealing is not only wrong, but seriously humiliates your mom
- Unconditional love can be easy
- The words to every Hanna Montana song
- Diva-tude and fabulousness comes naturally to some
- Children are the purest beings on earth, no matter how sassy they sound
- Kids are not afraid to tell you just how big you look. Daily.
- Grandparents are one of life's greatest resources
- Your parents know a lot more than you thought they did
- Pushing your brother's buttons is hours of fun
- That your mother's best revenge is for you to have a daughter just like you

G's Lessons
- A&D ointment does not come off furniture
- Peeing outside is one of life's greatest joys
- Cashiers are very patient people
- Brilliance does not always lead to happiness
- Kids can be heartless to each other
- A good teacher can make all the difference in a child's life
- There is no end to the amount of questions a person can ask in a day
- Patience
- Forgiveness
- Being a mother means having your heart broken over and over, and continuing to love
- Autism is a fascinating and infuriating thing
- Boundaries exist only to grow
- I don't know nearly enough math
- Pokemon is really complicated
- I know nothing about Star Wars
- Little boys can be neurotically clean
- Walk away. Cry. Go back for more.
- When a hug is rarely given, it's all that more precious when you get one
- You can go for days without food or sleep
- Being a new, single mom, is one of the scariest things in the world
- The square route of 16 is 4
- When someone relies on you, you can find resources within yourself you never dreamed of

Monday, July 28, 2008

Back Aboard The Diet Train

On Saturday I went in for my ever-so-joyous annual exam. As with any visit to the doctor's I was asked to step on the scale first thing. Now, it's been a while since I've stepped on a scale (I refuse to own one, and I knew I'd gained weight, but I was well and truly shocked to see the number that came up. I'd crossed the weight line I'd vowed never to cross. I sputtered a bit, and tried not to weep.

Angered at myself, and my ever-growing caboose, I knew it was that time: Diet Time.

I'm a big eater, and I hate to diet, but at this point, I have no choice. I can't afford to move into the next clothing size. My doctor already suspects I have sleep apnea. Oh yeah, and I hate looking at myself.

Instead of a hard-core, super restrictive plan, I'm going to follow in the footsteps of my boss who recently lost 35 lbs and just start cutting down. I put Splenda in my coffee this morning. I bought frozen diet meals (Lean Cuisine and Smart Ones) for my work lunches for the week, and brought the entire week's worth in today so I wouldn't forget my lunch during the week. This will save me both fitness-wise, and financially. A whole week's worth of frozen lunches was the same price as one indulgent lunch ordering out.

I also bought 100 calorie snack packs of a few different snacks. Let me tell you, 100calories is not a lot. I try to eat slow. It's still not a lot. My boss claims the first two weeks are rough, but it gets easier after that. This is going to be a long two weeks.

It's time to get tough, and time to put my superior will power to use. I need to be healthy for my kids and myself. I need to sleep better, and feel good about myself. I need to put my pants on with ease.

If anyone has any good weight loss tips, please share.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

And Now For The Down Swing...

It's been a long time since G has had a real, full blown fit. The summer has been smooth. Day camp has kept him stimulated, and left him pleasantly exhausted at the end of the day. He had a 9 day hiatus to Vermont to visit his grandparents and a gaggle of cousins.

Even though deep down I knew it couldn't last, I chose not to think about it. One of the most unpleasant aspects of his Asperger's was in a kind of remission, and I was enjoying the ride.

And then there was Tuesday.

Tuesday morning, I was frustrated to discover that not only had G forgotten to bring his bathing suit home for the billionth day in row, but he had also forgotten his water bottle and lunch bag. In a fever of pure desperation, I told G that if he forgot to bring home the forgotten items, as well as the alternate bathing suit I was packing for him, then he wouldn't be able to play his Game Boy after camp.

The Game Boy, a 13-year-old antique he inherited from my brother, has been G's most recent, and most enduring obsession. I knew it was the one item I could use to my advantage.

When I went to pick him up that afternoon, I checked his backpack, and, low-and-behold, only the lunch bag had made it into the bag. With a deep sigh, I told him no Game Boy for the night. And that was that.

G's face screwed up and turned red in an expression I was all to familiar with. The tears began to leak, and the angry grunts and growls issued from his throat. I tried to get him into the car as quickly as possible, but he refused. I told him if I had to carry him to the car, he wasn't going to enjoy it. Finally, with many whispered prompts, he stormed to car. As I began to drive off, he kicked the seat, and punched the window. I stomped on the brakes (I was only going about 5 miles an hour in the parking lot) and hollered for him to cut the crap.

I swallowed down my boiling anger and embarrassment, and tried not to squirm from the guilt of my own outburst. Apparently the patience that I had worked so hard to build had been made weak from lack of exercise.

The rest of the night was a wash, and there have been touchy moments ever since. I'm working on rebuilding my fragile patience, and trying not to let the other life stresses eat at it. G is who is, and there's no changing it, only making the best of the bad moments, and enjoying the good. Bearing it with bravery when he screams that he doesn't want to go home in front of all kinds of people I don't know. Basking in the amazement of people who can't believe how smart he is. Smiling at the bewildered cashier when G begins firing random math equations at her. Holding on to the tender, heart trembling moments when he asks me to chase away his bad dreams at night, or hugs me, without me having to force my affections on him. Loving him with all my heart.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Back To Normal

Yesterday I had my big craft show in Boston. For the most part, it went very well. Right up until the point where an insane thunderstorm rolled in, drenching us, our merchandise, and forcing the market to pack up early, trembling in fear that our metal framed tents would be struck by lightning.

When I arrived home, soaking wet and fresh off a two hour drive, my kids were home to greet me, finally home from Vermont after a 9 day vacation at grandma's. I hugged them both as much as possible before bedtime, surprised at just how much I had missed them.

At bedtime, Gabe, usually so emotionally removed, began to cry over how much he was going to miss his grandparents and visiting with his cousins. He pleaded with me to move us back to Vermont. I explained that his cousins didn't live in Vermont, only grandma and papa, and that sometimes grownups had to make tough choices as to where it was best to live for their families. I held him and sang to him, and got him calmed down for bed.

This morning it was tough to rouse the troops for our regular weekday morning routine, myself especially. Packing the camp lunches, making breakfast, packing backpacks, etc. The kids were groggy and lolled on the couch. When I delivered them to summer camp though, they had perked up, and their counselors and fellow campers were quick to say how much they had been missed.

And so we try to get back into our rhythm. The only changes now are that GH will be working some evenings, including tonight, which means I'll get to prepare dinner after work as I used to. It's going to be a rough one tonight. Not that GH will be doing this often- apparently he told the woman who does the schedule that he only wants to work part time for now. I almost had a freakin aneurysm when he told me. But that's an entire post onto its self.......

Monday, July 14, 2008

Goodness

GH officially started his new job this past week. It's taken a big weight off my shoulders, making it a little easier to breath. Go job go!

My mother also came down this weekend and nabbed the kids for the week. They're now off in Vermont, frolicking with their cousins, while GH and greedily watch adult TV in the living room, and eat sumptuous, exotic foods that the kids would absolutely wretch over.

The past few days have been joyful and relaxing in a way they haven't been in a long time. The tension lifted, and GH and I have had some time to reconnect and be kind to each other, rather than snapping and panicking over our various anxieties. We enjoyed a 2 1/2 hour dinner, where we just talked, and took the ferry out to explore the Casco Bay islands that we've never seen. It's been lovely, and I think when the kids return, they'll come home to two, much happier, parents.

Monday, July 07, 2008

World's Busiest Weekend- Now With More Photos!

The Fourth of July was spectacular this year. Considering we had to out run a fireworks killing downpour last year, we deserved a good one. We picnicked with our neighbors on a hill overlooking the ocean with the rest of the city of Portland Maine.

The kids enjoyed sparklers and cheap glow sticks pre-show:




And I enjoyed the wonderful world of fried dough goodness :)Yummmm....



Saturday was spent shopping and putting together K's 6th birthday party. It was a fairy themed party, and I came up with several craft activities for the kids to do, including wing making, wand making, crown making, cookie decorating, and a pinata.

My personal masterpiece of the party was a special fairy cake. It featured a chocolate centerpiece cake covered in purple fondant, and then 10 dancing fairies made of fondant over a strawberry cupcake base (K's choice).

I was up until midnight on Saturday, hand painting all of the faces, and piping in their hair in royal icing. It was perfect, and I was so pleased with myself. It's a dream of mine to someday create cakes with Duff on Ace of Cakes.

However, I did not account for the humidity that fell over my lovely cake. In the morning, the fairies were all sagging inward, looking a bit worse for the wear.



This fairy looked like she had been up all night crying over her sad fate of being devoured by sticky fingered children. Or possibly she was just a crack whore. It's hard to say with things:




These fairies looked like they might have drank to much and made-out a bit in the wee hours:



But, I didn't have much to worry about, because the kids all seemed duly impressed.




The pinata was cute as all get out:


G and his little boy buddies just loved ripping her adorable little head off, and beating her with a metal bat. Fun times.

It was a great party, even though not a lot of kids came. My fault for having a party Fourth of July weekend. But still, it was lovely. And I"ll always treasure the photos of my sweet 6-year-old fairy in her handmade wings.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Summer Lovin'

Our finances are once again on a rare upswing, and today I totally indulged myself at the local farmer's market on my lunch break. For the first time this summer, I allowed myself to wander through the fragrant vegetables, the vibrant flowers, and the delicious homemade goodies.

Unfortunately the tomatoes and cucumbers weren't out yet, but I did manage to snag some turnips, baby carrots and fresh basil. And for lunch? I bought homemade bread, the stinkiest artisan cheese I could find, fresh strawberries, and an amazing honey butter. There's nothing like real honey, straight from a bee's behind. Pure heaven.

It's amazing how a few extra dollars can ease the anxiety, the mental craziness. Hopefully we can make this wave last as long as possible.

On that note, I finally managed to track down a free standing clothes line for the back yard, and we'll get it up this weekend. I can't wait! This will help cut our electricity bill big time. I'll also be investing in a small chest freezer this week to freeze veggies from the garden (if any ever actually grow) and meat when it's on sale. I'm really pumped, and I foresee money saving goodness.

For the fourth, we'll be watching a spectacular fireworks display over the ocean- one of the perks of living on the coast of Maine. I hope everyone else has a great fourth as well!!!!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Call Backs, Birthdays and Looking Up

Well, Both K and G were called back for a second audition for the infomercial they auditioned for last week. We were all very, very excited.

On Saturday, I brought G to his audition in the morning, as they both had separate call back groups. Unfortunately, G's face broke out in some mystery hives on his summer camp field trip, and they hadn't vanished completely. And, the hives were accompanied by some fabulous dark circles under his eyes due to summer camp exhaustion. Overall though, he seemed to have done well in his audition, at least according to the details I could drag out of him. Parents weren't allowed in the room.

K's audition had only three other kids in her group, and I manged to find a way to spy through the peephole in the door. She participated in a small song and dance number, and seemed to do well, if a little reserved. We'll know by the end of the week if either of them got parts. Keep your fingers crossed!

K went to a birthday party for one of her little school friends, and I was quickly ushered out the door. It's the first of my kid's birthday parties that I haven't stayed through. It made me a little sad. Next week is K's birthday, which has snuck up on me a little quickly. I'm scrambling to get invites out and organize girly activities to keep her and her friends occupied. Wish me luck.

In other home front news, it looks like GH may have a job!!!!!! Working for my company!!!! I can't believe it. It couldn't have come at a better time considering we were on the edge of a nervous breakdown with next months bills staring us in the face. He has an interview on Monday. He could be working by Wednesday. Please send all of your most positive vibes this way.

Oh, and apparently in the past two days, I've become addicted to EntreCard. It's this whole thing where you put a widget on your blog, and other people can drop there names in your box and vice versa. You earn all of these points and get traffic for your blog. I haven't stopped dropping cards since I started. My weekend has been pretty much sucked dry by EntreCard. Check it out. Live the addiction.....

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Feeling The Pinch

Summer Camp For Two Kids- More that I can afford per week

After Care For Summer Camp, Which Some Asshat Without a Job Decided Should End At 4pm- $2 per hour, per child

Swimming Cap Rental For My Daughter Who Has Hair That's Too Long For Indoor Pool Regulations- $1.50 per day until I get the time to buy her one

Bagged Lunch, Which I Love To Pack First Thing In The Morning- $3-$5 per day, per child

Extra Gas To And From Camp- Depends on how much gas has jumped up that week...

Being Late To Work And Sneaking Out Early To Drop Off And Pick Up Kids- Monies I hope my job won't miss

Listening To The Totally Ungrateful Whining Of My Loving Children At The End Of My Day?- Priceless

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Auditions, Summer Camp, and All The Rest

Well boys and girls, summer is officially off to a (soggy) fast start!

This past weekend, I brought both G and K to an audition for a kid centered infomercial. Ages ago I signed them up on this local modeling agency's list, and from time to time they send me kid friendly commercial opportunities. Sometimes I send in the kids photos, or bring them to a casting if we have the day free. I don't push it, and I don't really expect anything out of it. But, since K has rock star/actress aspirations already, I figured I'd support her and encourage her to explore it, even if she is a little young for it. I always make sure to stress that it's all for fun, and not to worry about getting chosen or not.

Well, this audition was definitely the most intense one we've experienced yet. There were tons of kids there, and nervous parents preening them, and running lines. Some clutched head shots, and sprayed down their kid's heads with various product. My kids ran around and took advantage of the dry erase board that dominated the room. The audition its self was short and sweet. K sang "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" and G sang a few verses of "Frosty The Snowman" (Hey, it's what he felt comfortable singing). K was duly impressed by another little girl who sang a Hannah Montana tune. The director seemed suitable impressed with the kids' adorableness, and we were released to enjoy the rest of the day.

Yesterday began the first day of summer camp. I clutched my cell phone nervously all day. wondering if I would get a call, but it remained silent. When I went to pick them up, G was reluctant to leave his game of basketball. K marched towards the door, grumbling that she had a headache, and was tired, and needed to get home immediately. When I got the full rundown, they both agreed that they had a great day, complete with swimming lessons and plenty of sports and outdoor time. However, they both complained that my lovingly packed lunches were lacking. Let's hope I got it right today...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Haiku Friday- Saying Good-Bye

Haiku Friday

Hard to bid farewell
Good-bye to teachers we love
Adieu to school lunch

Hi to summer camp
Welcome to the new camp bill
See-ya to my cash

Hard to bid farewell
Good-bye to the job I love
Back to the office

Hi to disconnect
Bye to the contact, the stress
And bye to the joy


So many transitions taking place this week, it's hard to keep my head from spinning clear off. First and foremost, the kids ended school this week, and will begin day camp on Monday.

I'm horribly nervous- we've never put the kids in this summer program before. Also, it's a new, steep child care bill that we're not used to, and GH is still not working. Good God please save me from daily panic attacks.....

Also beginning Monday, I will be back working my office job, having completed my tour of duty as the fill-in House Manager for one of our residences. I've been in this position for the past three months, and even though at times it's been hell, it's also been incredibly rewarding. I'm really sad to be leaving the house, and to watch all of my hard work be passed on to someone else. Yesterday I had one of the worst anxiety attacks I've ever had, and I worry about how it will feel to leave today. Of course, one client has already called this morning to tell me she hates me, all because I reminded her about her Podiatry appointment. Perhaps there are some things that aren't so hard to say good-bye to after all...