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


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.