Monthly Archives: December 2011

2011. The Year Of The Crap Storm.

I know I’ve had worse years. The year of my divorce. The year beloved grandparents or family members or friends or former students died.  The year we noticed that yes, the recession had finally hit my husband’s business, our business – our only source of income business.

But 2011 wasn’t all that great, either. My annoying/embarrassing/can’t even talk about them health issues – times two. More finance crap. Having to pull your boys out of their/my favorite school because you just can’t afford it any more. Parents, with whom you already have a crappy relationship, ignore your birthday. Renters who run out on the lease they signed on the house you still have left from the housing bubble that burst just as you were purchasing your new, now overpriced, home — all this just before the holidays hit. Spending ignored birthday cleaning the rental house that former renters trashed beyond recognition. Our beautiful 1950’s bungalow BEYOND recognition. We’re talking about vomit paint colors and crayon drawings all over every wall, solid wooden doors that some teenager used as target practice with knives, covered in pock marks – and yes, that is door(s), as in plural. Missing light fixtures, stolen appliances, broken window panes and every screen ripped to shreds. Carpets that haven’t been vacuumed in…well, EVER. Hardwood floors with unrecognizable stains or burn marks. (How do people live like this?) I could go on but I’m getting too depressed remembering.

A crap storm of events.

And I’m still hopeful.

Still.

Because in between the crap there were some beautiful moments, too.

Daughter going off to college and coming back with 4 A’s and 1 B. Two little boys who adjusted to their new school with amazing attitudes,  knowing full well why they had to switch and never complaining about it despite missing their old school so very, very much. An old friend who contacted me out of the blue on my birthday, to remind me how much she missed me and our friendship that had fizzled. Making a significant dent in our debt crisis. And finding a new renter, with a solid income, who loves older homes as much as we do.

Silver linings in a crap storm.

That’s what I need to focus on.

Silver linings.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy New Year full of silver linings for any crap that comes your way!

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Filed under Deep Thoughts, Holiday

The Case Of The Errant Shoe Via Kid Logic

“#2 son! Why is your shoe here on the floor?”

“Because I was spying on you.”

“But why is one shoe on the floor and not with your other shoe in the shoe basket?”

Exasperated sigh. “Because I was SPYING on you when you were in the kitchen.”

“Oh. So, what were you doing? Hiding behind it?”

“Well……” he stalled, thinking for a moment. “Didja see me?”

“No.”

“Then it worked. Didn’t it?”

…..

Yep. They crack me up. Every. Single. Day.

3 Comments

Filed under children, funny

…And To All A Good Night!

This Christmas season, my favorite time of the year, has flown by. I feel like one of those images you see of someone standing in the middle of the road and cars/lights are flashing by at breakneck speed.

I still have Christmas cards to send out. (Yes, it is Christmas Eve.)

I still have presents to wrap. (Yes, it is 10:50pm on Christmas Eve.)

There is still a breakfast casserole to put together that must sit overnight in the refrigerator. (See above parenthetical phrase.)

For this OCD, overachieving perfectionist? I’m overwhelmed to say the least.

But….

I still believe in the magic.

I still experienced so much love and joy this holiday season.

I still was able to stop and smell the evergreen many times over.

Wishing you and yours a magical holiday and a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year.

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Filed under Holiday

Mass Update Followed By Mass Confusion

“Hello. This is Nurse Ratched from Dr. Hemnhaws office. We have the results from your mammogram and ultra sound.”

She’s not really Nurse Ratched. She’s actually pretty nice. Well, at the beginning of the conversation she’s nice.

“Everything looked fine. But Dr. Hemnhaw wants to know if you’d like to see a surgeon.”

I thought you just said that everything looked fine?

“Yes, I did. But the doctor wants to know if you’d like to see a surgeon. Just in case.”

Just in case what? If everything looked fine, why do I need to see a surgeon?

“To make sure everything IS fine.”

But the mammogram, which was a special diagnostic mammogram, said that everything was fine and the ultra sound that they did just to make sure the special mammogram wasn’t lying said everything was fine. Why does the doctor think I need to see a surgeon?

“I didn’t say she thinks you need to see a surgeon. She wants to know if YOU want to see a surgeon.”

Why would I want to see a surgeon if the tests say I’m fine?

“Just to be sure.”

Be sure of what?

Nurse Ratched is now becoming a little ratched-a-fied.

“To make sure it’s nothing to be concerned about.”

Is Dr. Hemnhaw  concerned?

“Listen. I’m just reading her notes. It says that the mammogram and ultra sound were normal. That the patient needs a follow-up in one year and then Dr. Hemnhaw wrote, ‘Ask if patient wants to see a surgeon.'”

Well, I’m not a doctor. Shouldn’t a doctor determine whether I should see a surgeon or not?

(Exasperated sigh heard over the phone. Make that, over both ends of the phone.)

I’m not trying to be difficult. I’m just trying to understand. The diagnostic mammogram was fine. The ultra sound was fine. But the doctor, with the medical training I lack, wants to know if I want to see a surgeon. Does she want to start up a blog?

(Ok. I didn’t really ask that last question. But I wanted to. I asked this one, instead.)

Could they tell what the mass was?

“It doesn’t say. It just says that everything looked normal and to have a follow-up in a year. I just need to know if you want to see a surgeon or not.”

Uh. Well. I’m going to go right out and get my medical degree.

And then?

I’ll have to get back to you on that.

Jeez.

(To the dear, sweet bloggy friend – you know who you are – who helped me decipher my doctor’s question: Thank you. A million thank yous. You put my mind at ease when the nurse/doctors couldn’t. This blogging community is amazing. I appreciate all of your concern and well wishes. Thankfully, all is well. But you already knew that, didn’t you? You’re all the best! The absolute best readers a girl could ask for!)

12 Comments

Filed under Observations, Roadblocks

Elf On The Shelf, Or Lamp Shade, Or Wherever Else You Put Your Stupid Elf

(This post is inspired by a post found on People I Want To Punch In The Throat. And while the title of the blog suggests violence that I don’t condone, the writing there is clever and funny. I have only recently discovered this blog but plan on returning for further research. Feel free to visit and come to your own conclusions.)

I have a friend. A dear friend who has an Elf On The Shelf. And an addiction to Facebook. During this time of year, I find that combination to be deadly.

To my ego.

Every other day she has a post of the clever places they find their Elf every morning. Along with clever little tag lines.

Example #1 – Hiding in a lamp, with just his little hat peeking out. “Should we tell him his hat is giving him away? Or just leave him in the dark?”

Example #2 – In a large empty jar with lid tightly closed. “Oops. Looks like Elf has found himself in a pickle.”

Example #3 – Hiding deep inside the Christmas tree. “Can’t see the Elf for the tree.”

I could go on. But I won’t. It depresses me too much.

Quite honestly, I had never heard of Elf On The Shelf until we moved to this subdivision. My rudimentary research discovers that his concept is old. But his commercial phenomenon is recent. Apparently, the Elf is a spy for Santa Claus. He sneaks away every night once the family is tucked in for the night, files his report with Santa and then returns by daylight, always in a new spot and typically up to some mischief of his own.

Oh. Yeah. Like I need one more Christmas chore to add to my list.

So, like any sane mother, I reject this holiday hobgoblin. My days are chock full of cookie baking, present wrapping, mantel dressing and shopping, cooking and a little more shopping. Who has time for 25 days of elfin mischief to create?

A lot of moms, apparently.

So many, that now, my children have been exposed to the little guy. And they want to know how Santa knows if they’re naughty or nice.

Santa peeks in on you himself. You boys are two of his favorites.

Cue eye rolls and exasperated sighs.

“Mom. Really? Because Nick’s Elf left him candy canes. Santa doesn’t leave us candy canes after he checks up on us.”

He saves that for Christmas Day. He knows about your last dentist appointment.

“If the leprechauns can visit us how come we don’t have an elf visit?”

I repeat the “Santa’s favorite” response. To no avail.

“Well, Sydney’s Elf bakes her cupcakes and cleans up her room.”

Hey! I bake you cupcakes and clean up your room.

“It’s not the same, Mom!”

Nope.

It’s not.

Stupid Elf.

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Filed under children, Holiday, Moms

The #1 Little Piece Of Information NOT To Share With Your Child

It was a feminist literature class. On the contemporary reading list was The Joy Luck Club. A book chock full of mother/daughter relationships.

The assignment?

An interview with your mother.

The questions we were required to ask were predictable. How did you meet my father? Why did you choose marriage at that time in your life? What was your life like before kids? How far did you take your education? What did you learn from your mother about parenting?

What was your reaction when you heard you were pregnant with me?

“Defeat.”

Huh? Did I hear her right? Did she really say defeat?

Uh. Yes.

She did.

I knew I didn’t really want to hear any more. A glutton for punishment, I asked her to explain.

“Well. When I married your father I knew I wanted to go to college. He wanted to start a family right away. So I made a deal with him. We would have sex one night in the month of March. He could pick the night. If I got pregnant, fine. We’d start having kids. If not, I could start school.”

Oh.

“I was looking through college catalogs and I felt a little sick to my stomach. Then I realized I was a few days late for my period. I knew your father had won. So I threw the catalogs in the trash and here you are.”

A consolation prize?

“You know. I never wanted to be a mother. But that’s what was expected of me. So I did it.”

Four times. What were you thinking?

“You kids kept me from getting my degree for 10 years. But, I eventually got it. So I guess it all worked out, right?”

Uh. No.

It didn’t.

Your response explains a lot. It explains the heavy sighs. The crabby days. How we always seemed in your way. Why we all scurried every time you came home. Your nightly vodka tonics. How some days you could barely look at us.

But it didn’t work out.

Not for me, anyway.

And when you completely forgot my birthday this year? No card. No phone call.

At least now.

I know why.

20 Comments

Filed under Moms, Motherhood

Where In The World DO They Find These Spam Writers? I Mean It. I Want To Know WHERE.

My spam cracks me up. It can even turn into a pretty entertaining blog post. I’ve written about spam so many times, I figured you were all bored with the topic by now.

But I recently received this:

“I’m a recurrent audience of one’s blogs. My partner and i liked the recent one and other content on your weblog a lot that I have subscribed to the blog’s Feed throughout Thunderbird. Even considering thieving some thoughts and place results. Retain every one of the great going by posting far more helpful content. Time well spent about this submit. Thank you.”

Nothing out of the ordinary. But it made me giggle all the same.

“Recurrent audience of one’s blogs” – Recurrent and one’s? Love it!

“Even considering thieving some thoughts and place results” – Thieving. Cool usage. And they spelled it right. (I didn’t when I first typed it here.) And what the heck is a place result?

“Retain every one of the great going” – Huh?

“By posting far more helpful content” – Hey! I thought you said you liked my blog. Now you’re criticizing the helpfulness of my content?

“Time well spent about this submit” – What’s a submit?

The sometimes firm and not so firm grasp of the English language has me stymied. Obviously, English is NOT their primary language. So, which is it? Mandarin? Portuguese? Punjabi? (Yes. This is a language. Native to about 109 million people.)

So, I lay awake at night wondering about the grammatical errors and misuse of words, trying to figure out which language in the world would have the most trouble with these English idiosyncrasies. And because I’m not a linguist, I never come to any kind of conclusion.

But that’s OK.

I was sufficiently entertained. And pondering the origin of the material was akin to counting sheep.

So, no worries.

I’m just glad I could be of some help to a far-away spammer.

“Thank you.”

You’re welcome.

9 Comments

Filed under Because I'm Curious, Blogging, Spam

One Little Phrase Is All It Takes To Steal My Thunder

I had a check-up this morning. The female kind. And I was dreading it.

I’m the kind of gal that thinks ignorance is bliss. I hate the necessary poking and prodding it takes to stay healthy. What do I hate worse? The dreaded weigh-in.

Pregnant at 40, my midwife warned me that at my advanced age it would be tough to lose the baby weight. I didn’t believe her. I’d never struggled with weight issues before. In fact, I was underweight for most of my teens and 20s.

Rude awakening #1.

I have struggled and struggled and all but given up on getting back to my pre-baby weight. A weight that I wasn’t that happy with to begin with. But lately, with increased devotion to my yoga and small dietary changes (very small changes because I love to cook and I adore my Coca-Cola) I have slowly, very slowly started to melt some pounds. Yes. Pounds. As in plural. And, and this is a big “and,” it has stayed off. No yo-yo-ing this time for me.

I dreaded stepping onto that scale today, though. I don’t weigh myself at home. I use my clothes as a judge. And I am so self-defeating, the tiny changes I’ve noticed I’ve attributed to: designers creating vanity sizes, drying my clothes on a lower setting, stretching out my jeans.

As I tentatively stepped onto the scale, I sucked in my breath, as if that would create some kind of weightless vacuum.

“You’ve lost another four pounds since September,” the nurse said cheerily.

Did I hear her right? More weight? Gone?

Woo hoo!

This is the second weigh-in when I’ve lost weight. Two doctor visits in a row. And I’m losing. Not gaining. Not even staying the same.

But that can’t be. I cooked like a demon during Thanksgiving. Publix has had buy-one-get-one ice cream for the past 3 weeks. My birthday was this past weekend and I didn’t hold back. Cake. Ice cream. Meals out. All weekend.

I cheer. Out loud. The nurse smiles.

“But you don’t understand,” I say, “I’ve been struggling for 8 years to not only lose weight but keep it off. It’s finally working!”

She smiles again and starts rattling off instructions: take off clothes, gown opens in front, something about a sheet to cover up. But I barely hear her. I’m singing inside.

“Celebrate good times! C’mon”

“I am beautiful. In every single way.”

“It’s going to be a great day!”

The doctor comes in. I barely hear her commands. I’m grinning from ear to ear. Until…

“Do you perform regular breast exams?”

Pretty much. At least every other month.

“Well, do you feel this mass here?”

She guides my hand to the spot.

“I just want to rule anything out. So, I’m going to order a diagnostic mammogram just to be sure it isn’t anything to worry about.”

Pffffft.

Rude awakening #2

The wind was just sucked out from under me.

Rule anything out. Be sure it isn’t anything to worry about. Huh?

Didn’t she hear? I just lost and kept off 4 more pounds. I was having a fabulous day. Ok, fabulous last 15 minutes.

Did she really have to steal my thunder?

Sigh.

This sucks.

13 Comments

Filed under Lessons Learned, Observations

Dodging The Bullet On Family Picture Day

We took our family pictures recently. The more kids you have, the more schedules you have to coordinate around, the tougher it is. And this year we dodged a major bullet.

Exactly 2 hours after the photo shoot, my youngest son came down with pink eye. That morning I was struggling with clothes that weren’t too matchy-matchy. Arguing with two little boys who would rather ride scooters at the park then pose for pictures. A daughter who fussed over hairstyles. A husband who snapped and growled because his only day off that week was going to be interrupted for a photo session.

But it was all worth it.

This is what we got….

Pre-pink eye.

(Thanks, Merrilymarylee, for reminding me to celebrate the little victories.)

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Filed under children, family, Hey! That Reminds Me!