Checking In

I finally got over my whatever it was that was making me sick-cold, flu, sinus infection, whatever-last week; something about also getting the stomach flu and throwing up everything I swallowed for 15 hours did the trick.  Not, however, a treatment I would recommend.  It has been a really bad month for me in terms of illness, but with March coming to a close and my body slowly getting back to normal, I have high hopes that April will not be quite so bad.  I haven’t been able to work out for several weeks, so I feel pudgy and sluggish again, and a little disgusted with myself for not being tough enough to work out when feeling bad-mostly because in some ways it is almost like starting over. 

There has been much going on here, big things and small, which seems to be the way of life in general.  I will be doing some password protected posts in the future, I think, so if you want the password and don’t already have it, let me know.  In the meantime, things just keep moving forward.  

I will be around more, too, because I have been missing this old blog lately.  Like with the working out, I need this place to help me be mentally healthy (although I have been writing letters again, which I love to do, sitting in a cozy spot with pen in hand, coffee nearby, writing a letter to someone I love-that is pretty much heaven, or at least a small slice of it), so my mind feels a little sluggish as well.

I leave you with this, which is one of my favorite photos of the set we took for the Redsparks ad.  The water really was the blue, the sun really that bright.  Life is sweet, no?

Pied Piper

Just a senseless rant

I am sick.  Okay, there, I said it out loud; it isn’t “just a cold,” or a little bit of stuffiness, but is instead what I think might be a sinus infection.  Or something like that.  Plus, and get this, I ALSO have pink-eye.  It was a lovely weekend at Chez Jones, as you can well imagine.  Steve’s back is still bothering him, despite two visits to the chiroQUACKter, Owen decided he needed to puke about 32 times on Saturday, and this…this…cold of mine is pretty much kicking my ass.  I think it has been two weeks now and it shows no signs of exiting the body.  And God help me if I should need an abortion, because now I wouldn’t be able to since no Federal Funds are allowed to be used to perform one, and private insurance won’t pay for one because it is considered elective surgery.  Oops, sorry, I totally forgot I wasn’t going to go there.  And I don’t need one anyway, not being in the pregnant way, and if I WAS, I wouldn’t want one, but still. What if I just knew that one more kid would put me over the edge and I might jump off the next bridge handy?  Wouldn’t that be considered a fucking medical necessity?  Damn it, STILL not going there.  ‘Nuff said about that.

So back to the scourge that is dwelling at my house.  I am needy, okay?  I have PMS something awful, I am sick on top of it and my one eye just barely opened enough to see out of by last night due to the whole pink-eye thing (as a note, I had never had it before, and feel like I need to offer up mea culpas or something because when Hannah and Eli had it a couple of weeks ago, I was all like, “Put the drops in and stop your whining, it isn’t that bad.” But you know, God was laughing at me because it really is kind of “that bad.”  No wonder they were both so miserable!), and wouldn’t you know, this is the worst time in the world to be a wreck.  With Steve’s back still bothering him, he isn’t being very loving and supportive and making me fucking cups of tea like I think he should be (selfish, I know), and I can’t be gone from work at all because the other person in the office is on vacation.  Which, incidentally, means that of course (even though she has known AND been telling her customers that she will be gone this week for a month) every.single.person needs her right this minute.  Which also means that at one point today I had all three lines lit up and holding and well.  It’s just one of those days, really.  A Monday.

I had another one of those people call me today, too, who got pulled over and ticketed for no insurance and could I just, you know, “backdate the policy?  Even though it is ‘technically’ wrong?  To help a guy out?” and I was just kind of done at that point.  I was nice to him, because I get paid to be, but in a very nice way I said,”well, it isn’t just “technically wrong,” it’s factually illegal, so even if you were someone really important, I just can’t ‘help a guy out,’ but hey, thanks for calling.”  I should no longer be surprised, though; people who consistently drive without insurance even though is is also illegal are not typically the kind of people who would think twice about wanting you to do something nefarious to save their ass.

Of course, it’s Monday, so I have yet another story to tell about Crazy-Crackhead’ woman and Backyard Hoebag.  On Saturday morning, the fun started bright and early when The Woman came over to see if I had two cigarettes.  Yes, I did so I gave them to her.  About 30 minutes later she came over for just one more, and sure, I have been out of smokes before so I gave her another, even though I was inwardly seething.  Then she came over for the landlord’s phone number; I actually DO have it, but Eli was on the phone downstairs and I didn’t want to go down there and make him get off the phone and find the number and all that.  Plus, it’s in the phone book, right?  So I told her no, I don’t, I am sorry.  TWO hours later, Backyard Hoebag comes over (and god help me but I can’t tell if she is pregnant or just really carrying her considerable poundage right in her belly) all sort of pissed off at me because The Woman locked herself out of her house and Crazy Crackhead was gone and I am a terrible neighbor for not offering to help her, and then hey, can we use your phone?  I just almost had to laugh.  For one thing, if The Woman had told me the very first time that she was locked out of the house, I could have sent Sam over to crawl through her window; we have done that for her one other time, easy peasy.  For another thing, I am sorry but it kind of isn’t my job to take care of her.  I get that we are neighbors, I really do, but damn it.  We have given them foil and cigarettes and sugar and plates full of leftovers and have let her use our phone at least a dozen times and got her into her house when she’s locked herself out; why does this have to be my fucking problem?  LAST “another thing,” what gives Backyard Hoebag the right to come over to my house and start yelling at me for being a bitch?  Bah.

Sorry.  I am clearly not in any shape to be writing a blog post.  My head is pounding, my nose hurts so bad that when I blow it, tears spurt up into my eyes, and then that one eye is not so swollen but still looks pretty gross and red.  I needed to rant, okay?  Perhaps tomorrow I will be a little more thoughtful in my ranting, but I am pretty sure I just needed to get it all out there.  After all, there are still 6 hours before bedtime to be got through, and I would rather vomit all the crap out on your unsuspecting readers than take it out on my poor family.  Feel free to laugh and shrug; I am sure I will look at this post tomorrow and be all sorts of embarrassed and maybe delete it, but for this moment, I am simply signing off.

Friday Fragments 03/19/10

Mommy's Idea

If you have been here before, you know what the button means.  If you haven’t, go see Mrs.4444 at Half Past Kissin’ Time to find out.

***Owen’s eyes were grumpy again this morning and he didn’t want the lamp on; I don’t know where or how he came up with that, but I love it.  It really is a very apt phrase.  Of course, beyond the cuteness, it has me a little worried about him turning into one of those people who lurks around in his living room with all the blinds closed.  If he starts making hats out of tinfoil, I am going to freak. 

***I picked out just the right amount of books at the library last week, which means I will finish reading the last one in time to go get more on Saturday afternoon. For a voracious reader like myself, this is actually an art, and not one to be taken lightly.

***Turns out the one neighbor we have, GI Joe,  who we thought was fairly normal is a little bit, um, less than normal.  Another neighbor said she has seen him opening the back door of Backyard Hoebag’s house and letting her dogs out, then calling the dog catcher to complain about loose dogs.  Since the neighbor who told me this is a little, um, different I thought maybe she was just misinterpreting the situation, but then Eli told me yesterday (not knowing that neighbor lady had also said something) that he “caught” GI Joe doing that very thing.  What the hell?  I don’t like Backyard Hoebag one tiny bit but it seems pretty low to let her dogs out and then call the pound.  In fact, I am a lot more concerned about Backyard Hoebag’s “entertainment business” than her dogs.  I think GI Joe will do a lot better when he goes back to work and has less time on his hands.

***We went bowling with the people from my office last night; it was so much fun, surprisingly so.  Ate pizza, drank soda, bowled a couple og games.  Steve hurt his back earlier in the week (and we weren’t even doing anything THAT acrobatic!) but he thought he would be okay to bowl.  This morning, however, he thought maybe it hadn’t been such a good idea after all, as he could barely get out of bed. 

***Just for the record, I think porn is bad.  My rational mind tells me that it *shouldn’t* be that big a deal, consenting partners and reasonable adults and all that stuff, but this is one where no matter what my rational mind says, I argue from an emotional standpoint.  I think it devalues women, obviously, and yes, the rational mind says that these women are adults and can choose how they want to earn their money but emotions say that there is something wrong with a woman who wants to pose naked in nasty magazines.  Rational mind says that porn can enhance a relationship and make both couples happier in the bedroom but emotional mind says that if one or the other needs porn to be, um, stimulated, then there is something wrong.  I don’t know.  I mean, I know and love people who think completely differently than I do, and it doesn’t change the way I think about them at all.  Steve and I have opposing views, and I have to insert here that this doesn’t have anything to do with us as a couple at all, but we were talking about it last night and of course, I ended up feeling shaky and emotional and inordinately upset about the whole thing.  I think I even know why, but knowing where these feelings stem from doesn’t really help at all.

***I also think meatloaf is bad, and unlike the whole porn thing, I know exactly where that comes from and I do think differently about people who eat meatloaf. Because, eeeeew.  I can’t even eat a meatBALL because it reminds me of meatloaf.  And no, I don’t care who you are, your meatloaf recipe will not be the one to turn me around, much like a gay man can’t be turned straight with the right person.  It’s just that nasty.

***Something that doesn’t totally suck?  The promise of 60 degree weather for the weekend.  Also the prospect of sleeping in a little bit and nursing this cold while I read and drink tea.  In fact, in very many ways, life doesn’t totally suck at all.

For more of the Friday Fragment fun, visit Mrs.4444 to learn how it’s done.

Focus

So for those of you who didn’t get my “Isn’t my son the best?” email yesterday, look over to the right and you will see my new RedSparks ad,  featuring none other than my Owen.  This is the “big secret” we have been working on, which isn’t really much of a secret but still.  Matt keeps telling me thank you for the plug, but really, it is I who needs to thank him.  He and his lovely wife  Aline were willing to send us an outfit for Owen from their online boutique, trusting that I would in turn provide them with at least one usable picture to use for their site.  Then, he very patiently walked me through posting an ad and making sure it linked to the right place and was in line with the other ads I have in my sidebar, plus walked me  through updating my plugins and whatnot-so really, I am the one who needs to thank both Matt and Aline, for being willing to share their considerable talents with me.  And of course for the opportunity to have Owen in an ad, because as Aunt Becky would say, “Obviously.”  If any of you get the chance, click on the ad and it will take you to RedSparks, where they just happen to be having a killer Spring Sale.

The above picture is thanks to Mr. Lady, who provided the space for me to go in and edit my own pictures and be able to download them to my blog; she has helped me so much, not just recently but very nearly since the beginning, and I am so lucky to be able to call her a friend.

Speaking of friends, my friend J. came to visit while I was at lunch yesterday; we haven’t really seen each other in too long, so it was so nice to just be able to visit and catch up.  She invited us to come for Easter dinner, but since they are going to the home of the “I Cook Better Than You” woman, I opted for a simple,”No thank you” and left it at that.  She also brought a registration form for an 11th Step Prayer Retreat, and I really, really would like to go.  It is held here, which is actually one of my favorite places in the world.  I used to go to a Monday AA meeting there when I lived much closer, and even just driving onto the property gave me a feeling of peace.  However, I am not sure if I will be able to afford to go, so I am simply letting the idea rest on my shoulders, and perhaps something will arise that will allow me to go.  I hope.

So much going on, so little going on, my life a whirlwind of different things on the surface and underneath, and this post is nothing at all what I want to talk about but has bits and pieces in it of everything I want to talk about.  I want to talk about friendships good and bad and necessary and not, I want to talk about what God means to me and why I need this retreat, I want to talk about the way the sun and wind felt on my face when I was out taking pictures of Owen on Sunday.  I want to talk about the way I wake up in stark terror because my teens are going to be driving, and very soon they will have lives of their own, and I want to talk about how I think they are going to do okay…but all of this is for another day, because I don’t have the words yet.

Soon.

why is it so hard to title these?

Owen came stumbling out of the bedroom this morning and asked me to turn the light down because his eyes were still grumpy; boy, I know exactly what he means.  I have yet another cold, which is annoying because, well, because there isn’t really anything you can do about a cold other than not take drugs and feel miserable or take drugs and feel miserable AND groggy.  It seems like all of us in the house have been getting sick or being sick or just getting over being sick all winter long, including a lovely bout of pink-eye a couple of weeks ago.  You would think that I would have built up a lot of immunities after having been exposed to every bug known to mankind, but I think the germs have mutated this year because I am apparently a ripe breeding ground for every single one of them.  Bah.

So-is it Wednesday?  Yes-the days have all been kind of blurring together this last week.  It seems like I just got back to work after a lovely weekend, and now the week is halfway gone already.  We have been busy here at the office in general, plus the boss and I had lunch with one of our marketing reps yesterday which broke up the day nicely-whenever I get to do something like that, I feel like I am kind of getting away with something, which really doesn’t make sense.  I mean, I AM a professional, and I work really hard to maintain that image while I am at work, but inside I still secretly delight in these business lunches and the continuing education training and the addition of letters after my name on my business cards.  Of course, you are talking to the person who was also inordinately excited that the Census packet arrived in the mail, so it isn’t as if I am hard to entertain.

Ah, but things are good.  I went to the library on Saturday and got a few books, and we had a quite nice weekend all the way around.  Steve and his friend were finally able to finish installing the remote car starter I got for Christmas, and even though I roll my eyes a little and talk about how I am going to now start going to drive-thru pharmacies and convenience stores because that extra 15 feet to walk might kill me, I am actually pretty excited about it.  We went to see a movie at the Cheap Theater on Saturday night, and it was quite nice to be able to push a button and have the car already nice and warm when we went out to it.  On Sunday, we…hell, I don’t know what we did all day-or rather, I read and have no idea what anyone else did.  In the afternoon, Steve and I took Owen to various places to try to get some decent pictures for a top-secret venture, but alas, it’s looking like we might have to go out again.  Still, it was a lot of fun to be out in the fine weather with the dog and only one kid (“they” don’t tell you that when you have four, it will be a particular pleasure to be able to just take one at a time somewhere on occasion!).

Also, if you look to the right over there, right underneath my new Redsparks ad, you will see that I had added one of those vacation countdown widgets; for some reason, 135 days sounds a lot sooner than four months, doesn’t it?  This motivates me to get back on track with the whole exercise thing (I have slacked off some this last week, and just like anything else, the longer I procrastinate, the harder it is to get back into the groove), because come on, the beach?  Yeah; no sense in showing up looking like Hilda the Hippo if I don’t have to.  And really, even if I don’t look as good as I would like to, there will be no stopping me from donning my swimsuit.  Again, come on, the beach? 

So.  Lots to look forward to, sure, but also lots to be happy about in the right here and now.  Vacation to look forward to, but closer ahead is an office bowling party (with the whole family), warmer weather, more trips to the library.  Even though some things are still out there hovering on the edge of my mind, I am working on simply acknowledging that they are there, and giving myself permission to take them out and examine them when I am ready-and that simple acknowledgement is progress to me.  Too many times I try to force myself to come to terms with or resolve certain issues before I am ready, and it always backfires, so for the moment I am just patting myself on the back and saying, “Yep, XX is out there, and at some point you are going to have to figure out how to handle it, but not yet.”

And now if you will excuse me, my black pen and Census form await.

Friday Fragments-The only thing keeping my ads running because I haven't been posting enough!

Mommy's Idea

***Since I am tired of trying to come up with a clever introduction, I am going to let the Friday Fragments button speak for itself***

***Congratulations go out to my good friend Julie who is now a licensed CPA in the state of California.  I know how hard she has worked to get to this place in her life, so it would be so great if you went over and told her how excellent she is.  She also likes to be told that she is hot, smart, and pretty, in case you are at a loss as to what to say to someone you don’t really know.  Also, she hasn’t posted in awhile (hint hint), so just make a congratulatory statement on the first post to pull up if you are so inclined.

***I have been having some various little issues with the blog, so a friend of minehas been helping me out with them.  the thing is, in my mind, “helping out” when it comes to blog stuff means I send a panicked email to Mr. Lady, Judith Shakespeare, and thegothmom with “HELP!” in the subject line, and they fix it.  Because they are nice like that.  This other friend?  Not so much.  He wants me to figure out how to do it myself.  As in, he fixed it for me, and then went in and deleted everything he had done and is making me do it myself.  “Teach a man to fish” and all that.  So please bear with me/us for the next little while if things get all wonky on occasion-it is just me, learning to take care of my own stuff.  A novel idea, no?

***It has been a bonus mail week for me.  I got a package of guacamole mix from a friend (we don’t have this kind here, in case you were wondering), some clothes for Owen from this wonderful online boutique, and the Publisher’s Clearing House envelope telling me that I am a guaranteed winner.  Isn’t life grand?

***Also this week, I got a payment BACK from a creditor I have been paying for umpteen months.  This was what I hope was the last creditor of the ex’s to be paid off, and it is now done.  Because I am so weird about money, especially in the last few years, I actually called and made sure it was, in fact, paid in full.  The man with whom I have been working (and I never thought to say this about a creditor but he has been wonderful to work with from day one) laughed when I called, because as he says, “We don’t often get people who call to make sure we haven’t made a mistake before cashing the check!”  I was a little confused, because according the my last statement I still had three payments left, but he said that they wrote off all the interest, which was over $1,000.  I can’t begin to verbalize what a relief this is.  Of course, now I get to start paying off the bills of MINE that have gone to collections because I have been unable to pay them while paying off the ex’s bills, but since my bills are less than $5,000 as compared to the estimated $15,000 of his, well, it isn’t so scary.

***We finally got a library card.  Want to know why?  Well, besides the fact that we are all voracious readers, that is.  It is because Steve finally got tired of me complaining of not having anything good to read.  See, also due to the ex (and tell me this: who defrauds the public library system in order to get a fucking library card?  Really?  And then is assholish enough to not take the audio-books back so that a fine of $1,000 is racked up?  Someone who is intent on ruing an ex’s life, methinks), I haven’t been able to get one, and won’t be able to until May.  And it isn’t funny, but at the same time, it really kind of is, you know?  Feel free to laugh-I am.

***Sam performed wonderfully at his concert on Wednesday, looking so cute up there onstage with his white shirt and sparkling bow-tie.  And it never fails to cause me to tear up when I hear kids’ voices raised in song, even if they are terrible.  Which Sam wasn’t, by the way.

***Eli had his first drive time with the teacher on Monday; he was pretty humbled, for about two days, and has since spent the last two days terrifying Hannah, who drives tonight for the first time.  And in reference to Driver’s Ed, I have found that I love Fridays even more, because they don’t have class, therefore we all get to sleep in.  That extra 45 minutes this morning was like heaven, I tell you.  HEAVEN!

I think my brains is purged enough by now, so you can move on to Half Past Kissin’ Time to get the names of some other Fragmenters. Enjoy!

Friday Fragments 03/05/10

Mommy's Idea

It’s that time of the week again, where we all get to gather together our jumbled thoughts and attempt to make a post out of them.  Thanks to Mrs.4444, we now have permission to post small little tidbits about our week without feeling guilty for it! 

***The whole Driver’s Ed. class for Hannah and Eli already, after only four days of it, seems more trouble than it it worth.  They have to be at the school at 6:45 am, which okay, that is fine.  Not great, mind you, but fine.  Now I find out that when they start driving, they have to be BACK at the school at 6:00 at night, and then I have to turn right around and pick them back up at said school at 8:00.  When asked about scheduling the kids for the 4:00-6:00 driving class, which would coincide perfectly with my work schedule, the teacher said that everyone wanted their kids to be in that particular class, so he really couldn’t accommodate MY kids.  Even though we live some way from the school.  And several sets of kids who got that class live less than a mile from the school.  I am not happy about this.  Between the tremendous cost involved in getting them INTO the class, plus now three times my regular gas budget, we are going on around $1,000 for a 6 week class.  REALLY not happy about that, as I was *trying* to save up money to go on vacation this summer.

***Due to more budget cuts for State and Federal Programs (thank you, Republican Party, SO much), two of the three medications Sam is on are no longer covered by Medicaid, even though the doctor prescribed these particular medications for a reason.  So now I either have to pay the cost out of pocket (which I can’t afford to do, AT ALL), or we have to now start the trial-and-error of finding different medicines that hopefully do the same thing with as few side effects as possible.  Which is, of course, why he was prescribed these ones, as they do the job to control his asthma with the least amount of side-effects. 

***I had never heard of Phyllis Schafly until I was scrolling through the radio stations the other day and it stopped on one she was talking on.  I thought it was NPR so I left it there (I was driving, not paying attention to what station it stopped on), and just almost had a heart attack when I heard this bitch start flapping her jaw.  She is, for those who haven’t heard of her either, an ULTRA Conservative Christian Political commentator (that isn’t the right word, but whatever), and she is..well.  I was so pissed about her commentary about health care reform that I actually looked the column up online; this is the line that caught me off guard:  “It used to be that a husband was responsible for the financial support of his wife and children, but the feminists’ agenda calls for replacing husbands with Big Brother Government. The feminists call their movement “women’s liberation,” and Obamacare is one more way to help them achieve their goal.”  If you would like to read more of her distasteful, hateful opinions that castigate single mothers and women who no longer want to be the chattel of their husband,  you can access a whole list of her columns here, but if your political beliefs are anything similar to mine, I wouldn’t suggest it; it will just piss you off.  I turned the radio off as soon as she started talking about  illegitimate kids because I was afraid I would have an apoplexy and wreck my car.

***I got weighed and measured at Curves on Wednesday night; I wouldn’t really say I am either discouraged or encouraged either one.  I didn’t lose any weight, and in fact gained .8 lbs, but at the same time my body fat percentage went down some and I lost a little bit in inches.  The girl who measured me said I lost 4 inches or so in my thighs and an inch in the bust-but I have a really hard time believing that; I certainly haven’t noticed any difference in the way my clothes fit, and you would think with that many inches lost I would certainly be able to tell.  Anyway, I am just keeping on keeping on, because I do feel better in general, so that has to be worth something.

***There was a knock on our door on Wednesday night, signifying the arrival of a huge package that was sent to us before Christmas by a friend of mine.  Through a variety of small errors that escalated, plus a smidgen of incompetence by the shipping company whose drivers wear brown, the package has been sort of hanging around for someone to get it to the right place.  I must note here that the person who finally delivered it was NOT, in fact, a man in a brown uniform, but instead was a lumberjack looking dude smelling of diesel fuel with just a hint of weed; he is my new hero.  The arrival of the package meant much to me, not in terms of what was in it (though thank you, you already know how much the kids loved the stuff you sent!) but in terms of the thought behind it.  It made me feel less alone.

***Had coffee with my friend P. last night and it was really good to have some time to catch up a little bit.  When I get in this place, my first tendency is to isolate from other people, and I have to FORCE myself to get out of that hole.  It always helps, so I don’t know why it is so hard to do sometimes, but there you go.  That is the mind of an alcoholic at work.  There is a line in one of Anne LaMott’s book about her mind being a bad place to go into alone, and that is the absolute truth.  She  (Anne) also talked about that radio station in her head that plays all that bad shit, and she calls it K-FKD, which makes me laugh but is ALSO true.  Anyway, I am still in a not good place right now but P. assured me that it is just totally A-OK to be where I am, and that helped as much as anything.

***Just a little FYI: when you are on the phone with your insurance agent, do not tell them that you are driving, talking on the cell phone, and rummaging around in your car for a pen and paper so you can write down a phone number all at the same time.  It tends to alarm us just a little.  Also, please don’t be angry if we ask you to call back when you get to a place where you can pull over.

Okay, now it is time to head over to Half Past Kissin’ Time to see what some of her other fragmenters had to say about their week!