If You are Reading This….

…you will know that I am not here. Well. I am here in spirit, but not in body. Depending on how early you rise and hit the ‘net, I am either still sleeping, yelling at the kids to hurry up and get in the car, eating lunch in the dirt, on the steam engine, or baking my lovely, plump, dimply, drilled ass in the sun. Aren’t I lucky?

But I love my readers so much-and know you all love me just as much, right?-that I will not make your reader be empty of ME the whole time I am gone. I am going to have a couple of guest posters! The first one will be the ever-lovely Jillian, to whom I gave an award that she blew off totally…but she has a good reason and I think she just might tell you when she visits. Be nice, be helpful, remember I love her.

And the other poster will be none other than my beloved April. She is in the middle of a move right now so it won’t be until sometime next week, but she will be here. And I fully expect her to get lots of love, too. You SO don’t want me to give CSG YOUR address, right?


You're Doing It Wrong!

Here is a question for the guys, and be honest: is there REALLY a set way to spray window cleaner? Is it possible, honestly, for someone to do it incorrectly? Because last night we got the Blazer all washed and waxed (and yes, she looks beautiful, if I do say so myself) and I was “in charge of” washing the windows and the interior vinyl shit, and Steve said, as I was spraying the cleaner, “You’re doing it wrong! Do it like this.” And I swear on all I hold holy that he actually took the can away from me and showed me how to do it. Which was exactly the way I HAD been doing it. Geez, you point the nozzle, push it down, and spray the shit. Then you wipe it up. Apparently there is some special method, some little secret to it that I was (and still am) unaware of. A flick of the wrist, perhaps? A snazzy little sidestep while spraying? A soft shoe routine afterward? I just don’t get it. Being the meek, mild, subservient woman I am, though, I very carefully listened, nodded my head in all the right places, said, “Okay, I will do it that way,” which appease the Manly Ego, and merrily went on doing it my way. Which was was the same way. Whatever.

In case I didn’t mention it before, we finally got the gate fixed, so the dogs can’t get out. It involved new hinges, two new 2 x 4’s, and a whole bunch of screws and cursing. It also afforded Steve the opportunity to haul out his electric drill and such. Which ALSO gave sweet Owen the opportunity to mess and play and cause all sorts of a ruckus. Like drilling my ass. And yeah, I know how awful and perverted that sounds, but I mean literally drilling my ass. I was holding the gate on the post and Steve was drilling with The Big Drill, and Owen was messing with the smaller one; I was telling him no but couldn’t reach down to take it away, and neither could Steve, so next thing I felt was a slight tickling sensation on my nether regions. I raised my voice at Owen, which did NOT prompt him to drop the drill; no, it startled him so the he pulled the trigger and it went faster. Into my ass. Ripped my shorts, drilled a small hole that BLED copiously, and also made a bruise about the size of a quarter around the whole. And even though it hurt, I had such a hard time not laughing; as soon as Steve yelled at Owen, O. ran around and started scratching Steve’s back. As if that would somehow make up for it. Yeah, good times.

I started write about the gate so I could tell you all that now the dog is no longer chained up, and last night we left her unmuzzled for the first time. Now, I may have mentioned that we have not had to muzzle her the whole time we have owned her; in fact, she was both chained up and un-muzzled for at least two months before the barking became a problem. The general consensus now is that CSG probably was doing the house-watching at the same time she started barking all of the time at night; poor dog, our first reaction was to muzzle her, because it never occured to any of us that there might be someone out there lurking. Anyway, we left her unfettered last night, and heard not a peep out of her all night long. I went out this morning to smoke (yeah. Those drugs are REALLY working.) and she sauntered out of her house, stretching and groaning and, I swear, grinning. This is a GOOD thing; I have no doubt that she will bark if someone is in the yard or around the perimeter, and I also have no doubt that she WILL bite someone. If he comes back, I just hope she bites him hard enough to draw blood and slightly incapacitate him; I want my chance with the bat. I feel alot better knowing that she is out at night and able to roam the yard, both because of CSG and because I hate to have a dog that has to be chained and muzzled. It just seems so mean, even when it is necessary.

And tomorrow is the day. We all stayed up too late last night talking, planning, laughing. We say prayers every night, and all three of the kids had to keep adding things to the list of things to pray about, so much so that I think God was either up there saying, “Oh, for My sake, enough already. I know I told you to to tell me everything in your heart even though I already know it, but for this one time, I will just read your mind, okay? ” or taking notes. The past three weeks, the kids have been sleeping in the living room because of CSG, but last night it was more like a slumber party. I think I fell asleep laughing at something one of the kids said, and what a way to drift off. I will be checking my email while I am gone (hence the gmail account I now have), and may even find time to post a couple of times…but if not? See you all on the 3rd!

Personal Vacation To Do List

I spent $60.00 at the grocery store last night. $60.00 for food and snacks on the trip. We got soda (Coke Classic-one of my many, many addictions, though I prefer to think of it as a tasty beverage that I really, really love. A Lot.), a case of bottled water, some juice and milk, plus lunch stuff and string cheese and GoGurts, etc… I about had a heart attack; that seems like an awful lot of money for food for two days, doesn’t it? but then I got to thinking that if we ate lunch out the two days, it would be at least that much even if we go to McDonald’s (there ARE five of us), and of course that wouldn’t include snacks and drinks. We will eat breakfast on Saturday before we go, then stop for lunch along the way, and I will buy dinner. On Sunday, we will eat breakfast at the hotel (I love me some Continental Breakfast), lunch on the road, and then we will be at C. and D.’s for dinner. So yeah, I think maybe I will still save money that way.

I have made a list for myself, one that doesn’t have a blessed thing to do with getting ready or packing or any of that stuff. And it is a pretty good list, if I do say so myself. Good enough that I thought I would share it with you.

1. This is a vacation. I am going to get myself out of bitchy-mom-who-expects-perfection mode and just re-fucking-lax a little. I tend to really ride the kids a lot about behavior and expectations and all of that, and while I think it is a good, necessary thing, I also know I take it too far sometimes and they feel like nothing they do is good enough. This is already something I am aware of and work on daily, but I am making a commitment to be just mom for the trip. Not drill Sergeant, not grammar teacher, just mom (though Miss Manners is and always will be alive and well in me. No burping IN the restaurant, you wait until you are out the door!).

2. I am not once going to look at my ass in my swimsuit and decide to put shorts on instead and just watch the kids swim. I have cellulite and dimples and sometimes my thighs keep moving long after I have stopped walking, but for 9 days I am going to say “fuck you” every time I hear my mom in my head saying, “You really should wear a suit with a skirt.” I am also going to look AT my tits, because they are my best quality and kind of balance out the ass thing. I love to swim, love the water, love to play with the kids IN the water, and I refuse to sit on the sidelines and watch because we will be in public places. Shit all over that. Life is too short.

3. I am not going to try to change my parenting in order to make myself look better in front of other people. My friends have actually never met my kids, nor have they seen me parent my children, so it is oh-so-tempting to try to portray myself in a better light, but again, shit all over that. If they need disciplined, they will BE disciplined. I have been around parents who allow their kids to behave like total asshats (stole that word from both Jacquie AND Dingo, thanks!) because they are away from home, and I am neither going to do that to myself NOR my friends. Though perhaps I will refrain from saying some of my choicer phrases, some of which are too embarrassing and terrible to even put HERE.

4. Three of the four kids have NEVER been to Seattle; I am going to let them take as much time as they need to see what they want. I know Sam well-he is going to want to spend a lot of time at the Aquarium AND at the Zoo; if he wants to spend 30 minutes watching the penguins, so be it. By the same token, I am not going to make the kids do something they don’t want to do. Hannah is afraid of heights and has already said she has no desire to go up into the Space Needle; I am not going to try to convince her to do so. This is their vacation just as much as it is mine, and I am not going to mar it with memories of being rushed or forced or coerced.

5. I am NOT going to tell my kids they have to hold it when they tell me they have to go to the bathroom. Just-NOT. Although I have excellent memories of the family vacation we took to Kentucky when I was a kid, one of the bad memories is of being told “You can wait,” and being in pain and nearly crying by time they would stop to let me pee. Cruelty, I tell you, cruelty.

6. I am NOT going to call Steve every night (or ever) to make sure that the animals are fed, the tomatoes and flowers are watered, the house hasn’t been broken into. I am going to assume that unless I hear from HIM, all is quiet on the Western Front.

I am sure that more will crop up, but this seems like a pretty good guideline to start out with. Anyone else have anything to add/suggest/take away? For once, I am totally open to suggestions, ha ha.

No Drama Today

I woke up this morning with the weight of Owen heavy on my legs, Sam’s head underneath my hand, and Hannah’s leg flung up on the couch next to my head. Eli was on the floor next to the couch as well, so I had all four kids within arm’s reach or closer. There are days, too many of them, when this kind of closeness weighs heavy on me; it is difficult to be the primary source of security and stability for four other people, knowing that they look to me for everything. The basics, of course, like food and clothes and money for the movies, but for safety and guidance and emotional security and love. The other night when Owen was ill, Hannah lumbered into the bedroom after me, carting all of her blankets, too nervous yet to sleep in a room without me. I inwardly sighed, thinking nasty thoughts about not having had more than an hour to myself in the last going-on-three-weeks and resigning myself to being up all night, either with Owen fussing or Hannah waking me up at the slightest noise.

Yet this morning, I felt grateful for the very things that are such a burden sometimes. I know that finally getting a decent night’s sleep had something to do with it-I slept for a full, uninterrupted 6 hours of sleep, which is far better than anything I have been able to get thus far-but it is more than that. My kids not only love me, but they trust me. They seek me out in the night when they are ill or afraid or lonely, and as difficult and emotionally trying as it might be, I would not change any of it. I would not change the fact that my 15 year old daughter would rather be with us at home than with her friends. I would not change the fact that all of the kids have other adults in their lives whom they trust and can rely on, but at the end of the day it is mom they want.

I know I come across sometimes as a whiny drama queen who is never happy, but really, that is far from the case. I had a comment about this blog being like a soap opera, and while I know that her comment was not AT ALL intended to be a criticism, it made me rethink some of the things I post sometimes. I am not going to change anything, not at all-but I realize that while everything I post is honest and true and very real, there is a greater number of things that I don’t post about; I am guilty of not wanting to come across as the sappy, sticky-sweet, life is perfect mommy blogger, because God knows it isn’t. At the same time, I think I sometimes appear to hate my kids or resent them, which isn’t the case either. I think the reality is that some days really suck and I won’t lie about that, but other days are really, really good.

Owen is feeling better, we had a good night’s sleep, and now it is time to get serious about getting things ready for the trip. I strictly forbade the kids from wearing any of their new clothes before the trip, so we can at least get those packed up. I have to go to the grocery store tonight to pick up snack items, water, soda, lunch stuff to pack in the cooler (yeah, yeah, I am cheap-we will be those Joad-like people sitting at the rest area eating sandwiches and playing in the dirt. Sue me.), etc… tomorrow night I have to take the car in after work to be washed and waxed and the tires rotated, and then on Friday evening we will start loading the car in preparation for leaving Saturday morning. The kids last night were saying, “Well, now that Owen isn’t feeling better, can’t you just call in sick for the next three days and we can go now?” Ha, I wish. The excitement level is high and the days are dragging by, but at the same time, I don’t think the kids have any real idea how much work is involved in getting a family of five actually ready and out the door. I should have started last week-three days isn’t enough.

And to those of you who have asked, the house will be watched while we are gone. Steve is going to be there twice a day to feed the animals, the neighbors know I am going to be gone, and I am going to call the police station on Friday morning and let them know the house will be empty. There isn’t really anything else I can do; Steve finished fixing the gate last night so I was hoping to be able to unchain Mama dog and let her run free in the yard, but the bitch is an escape artist; I still don’t know how she got out, but I looked over to the neighbor’s yard and she and the pup were lounging under their tree chewing on unripe apples. With hope, I can CATCH her getting out and try to fix the problem before we leave.

Tuesday Tiredness

I am so over blogging about CSG; I am tired, tired, tired of totally obsessing about this person’s presence in my life, however obvious and compelling a presence as he may be. So for today, I am going to bitch and complain about something entirely different and new.

This is why I am tired today: I am way too old to be the mother of a toddler. Just-way. Last night, once I finally got all of the older kids settled and reassured, after checking the windows and doors three times at their request, after making sure all our defensive measures were in place, after everyone (myself included;four kids=small, weak bladder) went to the bathroom and got our drinks, I was just getting into a good sleep when Owen woke up. He was fussy and feverish, so I comforted him and gave him a drink and some Motrin, and got him all settled again…only to be jerked out of my deepening doze by screams. Not just fusses but out and out screams. Remember that small bladder? I just very nearly wet myself.

A couple of days ago, J. and I found a really cute purse that looks like a spider. Got it for Owen (in which to put his cars and the puzzle pieces he likes and the wing off a plastic airplane that he likes to carry around. And it doesn’t LOOK like a purse!), and he has been sleeping with it but for some reason last night it scared the shit out of him. When I went into his room he was hitting it and screaming and trying to get as far away from it as possible. I picked him up and he was burning up (and it took forever for the Motrin to kick in, long enough that I had to give him Tylenol as well before it went away) and shaking, so I got a wet washcloth and took him to bed with me in Eli’s bed. The poor kid was, I think, hallucinating, because he was acting like a crack head, picking imaginary things off of the bedspread. And then just as he would start to fall asleep again, something would startle him and he would scream. At one point, he even crawled away from his beloved blanket in fear. He ended up sleeping across both pillows, huddled into a ball so as not to touch the bedspread. Why he would suddenly react this way, I don’t know.

I looked at the clock the first time at about two, after we had already been fighting this for over an hour, and thought to myself,”Okay, if he falls asleep right now I can get four hours of good sleep.” Then at three, it was down to three hours, and so on. In the meantime, he was restless and fussy and still burning up, until finally, at just shy of five, he fell asleep. So I guess I got one good hour of sleep, if you can call it that.

These are the days when I start to feel resentful of this single-parenthood status. You all know I go in cycles, and this is one of them. I am tired; beyond tired. two weeks of broken sleep at best, averaging about 4 hours a night, and now this. I am close to tears because I am so tired, and I know that I still have half the day and the evening to get through. There is dinner to cook, chores to do, at some point we have to start packing, and of course there are baths to be given and books to be read. We will start to go to bed at 10:00, and by time everyone is settled and reassured, it will be at least 11:00 or later. I am glad that the kids are so reassured by my presence, but I resent the lack of back-up; I don’t have anyone to do for me the locking up and the prayers and the getting up at night.

I know I am whining; I am tired, this stupid anti-smoking thing really, really sucks (perhaps under the circumstances this isn’t really a good time to quit!), I don’t function well with no sleep, and I would perform amazing, inventive sexual favors for the first person who would offer to come stay for just one night and let me get a full night’s sleep.

Weekend Update

Soon, the local police officers are just going to build a station right next to our house, with as much as they have been there over the last two weeks. On Thursday night, we just about had a heart attack when at 12:30 a.m. Hannah and I heard the screen door open; I grabbed the bat and she grabbed the pepper spray and were SO ready to beat the shit out of someone…but then the person knocked. And I stopped to think that perhaps Crazy Stalker Guy wouldn’t, in fact, stop to knock on the door. Looked out and saw the little neighbor boy run off the porch, which irritated me for a minute; “what the hell is he doing out this late playing pranks? ” I thought to myself…but then a few minutes later he came running back, knocking and pounding on the door and crying. He had woken up from a bad dream and couldn’t find his parents or baby brother-can you imagine his terror? I brought him in to the house and tried to hug him while he was sobbing, while Hannah was calling 911; there was no way in hell I was going to walk over there and check, not given the things that have already been going on. So the police came and one came in and talked to the little boy while two went over to check on Mom and Dad and Baby Brother (who is just a month or so younger than Owen). They were all okay; apparently Little Boy was still a little groggy when he woke up, plus already afraid from his bad dream, and couldn’t see them in the dark. The next day, he very shyly came over and said, “Thank you for saving me,” which I thought was very sweet and also kind of sad; I think it made me sad because he obviously has already learned that the world can be a hard, cold place (he told me once that he was afraid of cops because sometime they come take people and send them back to Mexico; I hope our guys reassured him somewhat), and that help is not a guarantee. His dad also spoke to me for the first time since they moved next door when Mom and I were both pregnant, as if he has suddenly decided that we are “okay.” Also, it made me sad because Crazy Stalker Guy has got us all freaked out so that I didn’t even want to open the door, and certainly would not walk over the house to check his parents. He made it so I was just as likely to look at this 6 year old boy with suspicion as I was him. And I hate him for that, for making me afraid. At the very same time, I am so grateful that this little boy has known us long enough and played with Sam enough that he knew our house was a place he could come for help. I am grateful for that.

We had to call the police for ourselves on Saturday night. Yep, you guessed it, CSG was back. It was funny, but all three of us (Sam, Hannah, and myself) had kind of a funny feeling, so were up late, feeling restless in general and also a little nervous. Not for any particular reason, nothing had happened, but we all felt it; I think it is true about intuition or premonition, because there have been lost of nights where we might feel a little nervous but are comforted by our locked doors and such. Not so that night. So Hannah was creeping through the house and I was fondling my designated bat as if it were a lover, and damn it to hell, Hannah saw him. He was on the back patio, and while she did not see his whole body, she saw the top of his head (the kitchen window is up high, so to see a whole head or to actually see into the house, you have to be actually on the steps, and he wasn’t that far yet). Holy shit, that girl of mine has BALLS. She screeched loudly for me to call 911, flipped on the kitchen light, and we both saw the tail end of him as he jumped over the fence. Within, literally, two minutes, the cops were there, and it was all SWAT-team-ish and shit, I kid you not. Three coming in the back gate, two at the front of the house, all with guns drawn. I about pissed myself, I tell you. My poor dog who has to be muzzled because she barks ALL. NIGHT.LONG and pisses the neighbors off was valiantly trying to defend her territory, but one of them just booted her out of the way and kept running. Did they catch him? No, of course not, so it seems more likely that he was on foot that night; it was dark, and from what little I could see he was wearing dark clothes, and it would be very easy to blend.

So we have been nervous and sleepless again, but at the same time, I am comforted by several things: one, the cops are taking this very seriously and are responding in a rapid and appropriate manner. I would not mind a bit if one of them “accidentally”shot the fucker, REALLY. I am comforted by the fact that my daughter and I are both clearly able to keep our heads during a terrifying event, even though we both fall apart after. I am comforted, too, by this: I pray, and have been praying hard and long about this situation, and this is the answer I keep getting: “They will catch him, and you guys won’t be hurt.” I don’t know if that means he will get in the house but we won’t be hurt, or if he will be caught outside our house, or even if he will get caught somewhere else-but I don’t need to know today. All I know is that I feel better (at least during the day) knowing that all will ultimately be resolved. I hope we don’t have to wait too long; I also hope the cops give me a chance to emasculate the cocksucker when they catch him. Is that too much to ask?

*****We leave on vacation in, count them, 5 days!*****

It's Not Exciting When It's You-Crazy Stalker Guy Update

I just went home on break and pulled into the driveway just as Hannah and Sam were pelting down the sidewalk; out of breath and flushed from heat and exertion, they both started telling me that yes, they think they saw Crazy Stalker Guy. We have a canal two blocks from our house to the west, and the kids were up there swimming; a white Ford F-150 was driving along the canal and slowed way down to look at them, then when Hannah pulled out her cell-phone, he took off north, gravel flying everywhere. When asked, she said, “I can’t swear it was the same guy, because it was dark when I saw him the first time, but he has the same hair and goatee, and he made me feel scared when he slowed down to look at us…” Seems reasonable to me, under the circumstances.

I came right back to work (I live just two blocks from where I work) and reported it, and within seconds, four police cars tore out of the parking lot. I work right across the street from the Cop Shop, and I would normally be all nosy and shit, wishing I had a scanner so I could know what is going on and who they are after. Yes, guys, I am a rubbernecker, too, slowing down at the site of accidents (and I don’t want to hear the lecture. Yes, I know it’s wrong, yes, I know I am a sick person, thanks.). Somehow, though, it is a lot different when you look outside and know they are responding to a call you have made. It isn’t exciting at all; instead, I feel sick. And grateful that they DO have such a quick response time, grateful that they are taking seriously this event which has shaped so much of our lives these last two weeks or so. In the past, two weeks ago, I would have laughed and made not-so-subtle fun of the requisite Pudgy Cop as he ran out to the car, commenting about whether or not he would make it without having a heart attack along the way, but today I thought, “Damn, for a fat guy he sure can MOVE!” and was so goddamned GLAD.

They didn’t catch him. Detective M. called a few minutes later to let me know that they didn’t see him anywhere, which I didn’t really expect anyway. Probably ten minutes passed between the kids seeing him and me calling it in. Ten minutes doesn’t seem like a long time, but it is long enough if you are running from someone. And we live in a rural, mostly agricultural and manufacturing; do you know how many new white Ford F-150’s there are around here?

If this IS, in fact, him (which, like I said, seems a reasonable assumption given his behavior), he is clearly getting MORE brave, not less so. It is full daylight, the kids go swimming there all of the time and there are usually a dozen or more kids around at the same time. Did he just plan on scaring them? I don’t‘ know-but now I know we are going to be on High Alert again for a few days, just when things were seeming to calm down some.

I have to go to an AA meeting tonight. HAVE to. It has been two weeks without any meeting, which is really difficult for me even when things are running smoothly. So the kids are all being carted over to Jacquie’s, even the teenagers (Eli is pissed), because it seems CSG might be escalating and I am not taking any chances. At the same time, I can’t stay home another night; these are the kinds of times when I need my own support network, because I can’t keep giving the kids what they need if I am not getting what I need, either.

Then another long night at home….send up good thoughts, please. I am scared.