Tag Archives: adventure

My mother made me cry today

My mother made me cry today

From: My mother

To: Me

Sent: Thursday, February 2, 2012 12:24 PM

Subject: Today

 

Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Shelby, happy birthday to you!!

 

—–Original Message—–
From: Me

To: My mother

Sent: Thu, Feb 2, 2012 5:00 pm

Subject: Re: Today

 

What? No pepper on my steak story?

Thank you

xxoo

 

—–Original Message—–
From: My mother

To:  Me

Sent: Thursday, February 2, 2012 3:33 PM

Subject: Re: Today

 

It was just 48 years ago this morning. You were so beautiful. Dad had said he wanted a boy, and then he saw you and cried. Before I left the hospital he went shopping…picked up pink curtains with cute little bunny rabbits, pink pillow (had to explain that a baby could not sleep on a pillow), and even pink waterproof pants (yes they had waterproof that long ago). It only took me 45 minutes to produce a perfect baby! Dad sends love and still thinks you are 30 and I just let him. Love to our most beautiful baby- –

I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for steak with lots of pepper.

 

—–Original Message—–
From: Me

To: Your mother

Sent: Thu, Feb 2, 2012 5:36 pm

Subject: Re: Today

 

This is my Jane entry for today. You’ll be famous.

 

—–Original Message—–
From: Your mother

To: Me

Sent: Thursday, February 2, 2012 5:38 PM

Subject: Re: Today

 

I am famous — I’m your mom.

 

The irk and flow of mornings

The irk and flow of mornings

When I hired my morning sitter to manage the boys before school, I lost touch with my children.   The full impact of that really hit home this morning when my sitter had to cancel.  She called me at 6am.  Her car wouldn’t start.  I said ok, no problem, I got it from here.

I hung up and suddenly realized I had no clue.  What time should I wake them up?  When does school start?  Oh jeez, does Calvin have his reading class this morning?  What do they eat?  What about lunches?  Do they take their tennis racquets to school?  Is today the tutor?

And I quickly became an anxious wreck.  I was convinced at 6:05am I was running late when I was almost certain school didn’t start until some time after 8, or maybe 8:30.  The next two hours were hell.

I did everything wrong.  I woke them up too early.  It was too cold for cold breakfast.  They no longer eat oatmeal.  They were suppose to have hot chocolate waiting for them on the table.  “Elizabeth doesn’t fix it this way.  Where’s my marshmallow?”

Jack insisted on waffles.  “Mom, I eat three, not two, I’m not a little kid any more.”  He grabbed the plate from me and lifted it just high enough to dunk my just washed hair in the syrup.  They fought over toothpaste and who got to walk out the front door first.

Finally we load up and hit the road.  I turn the first corner and Sam knocked my coffee over, the whole cup into the driver seat where I was sitting in my go to work clothes. Of course there is no towel in the car.  That would make too much sense.  “Mom, you shouldn’t have put your coffee there.  Elizabeth doesn’t drink coffee. Why do you drink coffee?”

It’s a bittersweet thing, losing control.  I mean I feel like it should be a bittersweet thing.  It’s anything but.  I blew kisses to them as they walked away like I did when I was a stay at home mom.  Then I sped away as fast as the school zone allowed.

From my Calvin

From my Calvin

Calvin and I are walking down the street.  We are headed toward his speech therapist’s office.  It was about 5 o’clock and there was a lot of traffic.  I instinctively moved Calvin to the inside of the sidewalk so I would walk closest to the passing cars.

Calvin:  “Why did you push me over Mommy?”

Me: “Well, if a car jumps the curb, I want it to hit me, not you.”

Calvin:  “No! You might die!”

Me:  “That’s right, which is why you need to be over there and I need to be over here.”

Calvin:  “But if you die, who will take care of my brothers?  I need to die.  My brothers need a mommy.”

Where does that come from?  Calvin and his beautiful brain.

The price of peace

The price of peace

Target, the parking lot.  Me and my troops.

“OK,” I say generously, evenly, not betraying my entire lack of confidence in what I’m about to say.  “We are going inside Target.  We are going to do this fast.  I have a headache.  We are late.  You have been awful for the last hour and it ends now or no movie, no pizza, no fun.  We will leave.  Understand?”

Three heads bob in affirmation from the backseat.

“OK, hit it.”

We are out of the car and walking with purpose.  First stop:  Alleve.  I really do have a headache.  While I am calculating cost per pill for the economy size, they start in.  Sam has decided to push over all the pill boxes.  Calvin decided to discipline him.  I grab the largest box imaginable and escape to the pizze aisle.  Cost to keep Calvin from corporally punishing Sam:  $15.75.

Here things got weird.  All three boys want a different four cheese pizza.  Like the difference is nuanced and discernible to a boy who picks his nose.  A small skirmish breaks out and Calvin says if we don’t get his pizza he’s not going to eat – ever.  Jack says he must have rising crust because the other is flat like cardboard.  Sam says he must have the thin smear of tomato sauce between the cheese topping and the crust just like in the picture or he’ll throw up.  I can’t take it.  All three pizzas go in.  Cost to avert vomit:  $18.00.

Off to dvds in spite of my threats.  This is only because we are going to the Boyfriend Candidate’s house and if the kids don’t have something kid-like to do they will act like themselves and I can’t have that.  All the moveis stink and we already have every other G/PG film out there.  We end up with two B level movies.  Why? Because they are fighting about it, playing two against one games.  “We want the owl movie, and two against one.  We win.”  The older boys taunting the baby.  I got both movies.  Cost to avoid years of therapy for Sam: $45.

At this point, I want out.  I need to get these belligerent, ill-behaved, disrespectful, spiteful angels over to the BC’s house where he’s likely to take one look at all of the chaos and reconsider his relationship with me.  The evening has taken a turn for the crazy and it hasn’t started yet.

Going into Target I thought we’d do a quick driveby.  $30 and done.  Nope.  Keeping the peace cost right under $100.  A babysitter would have been a helluva lot cheaper.  And I might have maintained my sanity.

Star Wars and Martin Luther King

Star Wars and Martin Luther King

I never did figure out how to celebrate this holiday.  So I’m making the regular activities of the day fit a theme.  It’s backwards, but dammit, I have a New Year’s Resolution to keep!

So I’m sorting Legos.  I’m sure I’ll write more about Legos at some point.  I love them.  Obsess about them.  They teach me and inspire me.  I’m serious.

But the sorting is a chore.  I have a system: small Legos, large Legos, flat Legos, and then obscure and large sized ones.  Most colors have four boxes each which are divided in this way.  About the size of a shoe box so you can tell right off I have thousands of Legos.

Unfortunately this is a bit backwards for the holiday because I am segregating the Legos.  Right now I have three bowls of integrated Legos and I can’t have that.  They must be separated – then further separated by size.  So since I’m backwards on this holiday any way, I guess it’s ok to not let the red and gray Legos mingle.  We will have none of that!  Separate but equal in the Land of Legos.

My goal with this particular sort is to get through the whites and reds because I want to make two Star Wars X-Wing ships.  I’ve been going through my favorite projects.  I’m particularly interested to know whether or not I still have all the pieces.

Once the kids get their hands on my Legos there is no telling where the pieces go.  They actually play with them.  It drives me crazy.

My happily ever after is right around the corner

My happily ever after is right around the corner

In 2009 my husband of 16 years, boyfriend for the six years before that, told me he was done.  He wanted a divorce.  He actually said he wanted a divorce for the last ten years but put up with it all because, well he didn’t like confrontation.  He thought we’d been such good “roommates” for the last few years that he would simply move into the guest room and we would continue that arrangement for, oh, say another five years.  By then he would be ready to leave. 

A lot more was said, but I was in such shock that I don’t remember a lot of it.  As you might imagine, while he was being a good roommate, I was being a good wife.  I put up with a lot, supported him and protected him while we were waist deep in his crap. I believed I was making an investment and the payoff was just around the corner.  At some point we would be happy again; we would look back and laugh at these hard times.

So my investment went bust.  Well, I couldn’t wait for him to be ready to move out, who wants a bad investment lingering around sapping resources?  So a few weeks after he dropped his bomb, I found myself tossing his things into his car and watching him drive away.   You see, that afternoon he left with the kids for lunch and the park.  He came back at 8pm.  It seems he had a glass of wine with lunch, never made it to the park, and drank straight through to dinner.  Then he drove home.  With the kids.  I was angry and rather than suppress as usual, I called him on being irresponsible. He became enraged at my lack of gratitude for taking the kids out for the afternoon. 

There was a time when I would stand there and take it, back before we were roommates.  I never would have confronted him.  I would have apologized for appearing ungrateful and told him he misunderstood.  But you know, that November, I’d had enough.  So when he told me I was ungrateful I took a deep breath and defended myself.  That’s when he threatened to leave.  And I started to laugh.  Like divorcing me wasn’t enough, wait, there’s more!  He might actually leave!  It was ludicrous.  He was ludicrous. 

I remember it was scary and exhilarating.  This man who I couldn’t imagine spending my life without… in a matter of days I suddenly couldn’t imagine spending another second anywhere around him.

Well, because he doesn’t like confrontation, and he doesn’t like to be wrong, and he doesn’t like paying his debts, we still aren’t divorced.  My attorney told me last week we have a mandatory settlement hearing first week in February. We must agree to the dissolution that day or the judge will end it under his own terms.  So I’ve been reflecting a lot these last few days.

I’ll finally be divorced first week in February.  For the right things, I am very grateful.

I love you; you disgust me

I love you; you disgust me

I consider my Boyfriend Candidate one of the funniest guys I know.  And intelligent.  It’s a hard combo to find.  There are some notable exceptions, but most of the time I find the funny guys are hiding their stupid behind their funny.

Nevertheless, my guy crosses the line a lot into vulgar and disgusting.  Lately I’ve noticed it crossing over into really gross and embarrassing.  I went to his house last night.  He bumped into a neighbor who had been sailing that afternoon.  Basically, my guy said, “How was it?  You got any women with you on that boat?  Serving you drinks or anything else?”  I audibly groaned.  I don’t know that guy.  That was just awkward.  Later, I said something about a hair’s breadth away from something.  He then chimed in with a story about units of measurements in aerospace engineering.  He heard these presumably competent engineers, say something was as narrow as a gnat’s eyebrow or a c**t hair.  He thought that was hysterical.  I had no need for that to be in my brain.  And I’m sorry I just put it in yours. I was disgusted.  Am I a guy in a locker room?  Do men in locker rooms really even talk like that?  I suspect not.  Somewhere in there I told him that humor like that only served to reduce my opinion of him.

This hints at a larger issue.  He should feel free to say whatever, to disclose and dream.  I want him to share his unspoken ambitions and dark sexual fantasies.  But I don’t want him to cross that line into grossing me out or being perversely, publicly rude.  And where is that line?  I can’t say I just know it’s there.  So we talked about it.  He thought it was an interesting dilemma.  He definitely didn’t want me to be disgusted by him so he would try to self sensor a little more.

Two hours later.  We’re at a bar chatting it up with the cute young bartender who is going to cosmetology school and is a hair stylist.  She said there was a lot of money in simple blow outs and in Brazilian blow outs.  I bristled.  I knew it was coming.  She said “blow out” and she said “Brazilian”.  Double whammy, it was too much for my guy.  “Hey, I didn’t think there was any hair in a Brazilian!” and a couple minutes later “And how is that Brazilian blow job different from the regular kind?!”  Our girl looked like she was going to throw up.  I put my head down on the bar.  No one was laughing.  “Hey, what’d I say? I thought it was funny.”

He’s working on it.  We’ve got a ways to go.

Incidental family

Incidental family

When my landlord decided to lease the guestroom in my house, Gaefan became an incidental member of our family.  When he moved into our lives, I was one year into the divorce process, one year into a job hunt, I was way behind on rent and I was shouldering $80k of credit card debt my ex created by secretly supporting his failing business with my credit cards. Since he used my cards, I was also dodging the phone calls from Citibank.

My parents were retired and lived inTexas.  Still do.  My father had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.  I was working six part-time jobs and still not able to pay the bills.  I had also started dating a guy fairly regularly.  He was employed, good looking, crude and probably an alcoholic.  Some of my best stories have to do with the Boyfriend Candidate.  He was and is quite something.

So basically, I was busy and panicked.  I had relationships going and coming.  I was trying to keep the lives of my three boys normal, at a level of privilege they had gotten used to, but was impossible to maintain.  The days of immediate gratification and spontaneous generosity were over.  I came up with an empowering action list.  I love lists.

Option 1. Get a job.  I had been a stay-at-home, home-schooling mom to my slightly autistic son.  That would have to end.  He started brick and mortar and I started pounding the pavement.  I submitted my resume to over 500 companies in the 8 months I was out of work.  I had temp jobs that floated me.  I transcribed.  I participated in surveys, and I dated for dinner.  Best of all I started web and blog writing.

Option 2. Get remarried, quickly, to man who would make all our problems go away.  It could happen.  I figured I’d fall in love again one day.  If that day could be today, that would be really convenient.

Option 3. Prepare to move back to Texas.  If 1 and 2 didn’t work out, singularly or in combination, that would be all that was left.  Me and my three would be moving into a three bedroom with my elderly retired parents, one of whom was suffering from dementia.  These are not the warm fuzzy grandparents that I hear other children have.  My mother takes no prisoners and my dad is a mystery.  So finding a job or finding the love of my life was really critical.

So into my very ordered, yet unpredictable life comes Gaefan.  He was all hippie auras and holistic transcendence.  He was so far out there he looped all the way around, back to self-righteous and had no idea.

When I met Gaefan, it was late at night.  I opened the door to a much older man, shaved head, energetic.  I didn’t get any kind of a vibe off him so he seemed safe.  Not a child molester, not a gay pedophile, not hot for me.  No flags.

He was British and had the accent.  Clearly delightful.  I gave him the tour.  We have a yard; he had a dog.  I told him then my children were allergic to dogs so his would need to have limited range.  He seemed ok with that.

And he was in.

We need to talk

We need to talk

My Boyfriend Candidate texted me this morning, “We need to talk.”  At which point I asked myself, why didn’t he call if he actually watned to speak?  But not one to get hung up on details, only distracted by them, I texted back “cool”.  THen four hours went by.

I don’t know about you, but when my guy says he needs to talk, I go into red alert.  Guys don’t want to talk at all ever, if he needs to talk now, that’s some big shit, right?  So, I literally sat there staring at the phone waiting for it to vibrate.  Finally, I couldn’t take it any more, I was starting to stress eat the last of the eggnog yogurt covered almonds, and I texted him that I needed to know the next move.  He then says he’s under radio silence: he’s taking a yoga class.

Seriously, I couldn’t make this stuff up.

We finally get together.  The confrontation required negotiating and careful manipulation, the details of which I won’t bore you with.  He basically says that he feels that he can’t talk to me about my life.  That whenever he has a suggestion or advice, I’m not open to it.  OK.  First of all, giving me advice is quite the opposite of having a discussion about my life.  For men, they want to problem solve.  For women, we want to be heard.  I know at this early stage of our relationship that the BC doesn’t get that yet.  When I start to talk about my life, I just want to be empathized with.  I know what needs to be done.  I’ll do it.  I just need to talk.  Do not solve my problems for me. . . unless I ask.  All women work this way.  In any case, no, I don’t want to hear whatever from you about my life.  You don’t know me well enough and it makes you look arrogant instead of simply galant.

Also, he is a control freak.  My way of controlling the control freak is to shut him down.  He starts to opine about what time is best for me to check the mail or best ways to teach table etiquette to my sons and I change the subject abruptly.

The fact is, we are too old for this.  He is a mature man of a certain age who knows with certainty what is right.  I’m a certain woman of a certain younger age who feels the same. We often times don’t agree.  I’d rather not even talk about it so, guilty as charged, sir you win.  You are right, you may not talk about my life.

I’m glad he’s confident, self-assured and reticent.  And for better or worse, he found a woman who is the same way.

New Year’s Revolutions

New Year’s Revolutions

My kids and I have been discussing the resolutions we want to make.  I think goals are a good idea.  I think that reviewing where you are and thinking about ways you’d like to change or improve can only be a good thing.  We take the whole first week of the New Year to think about it since being on time or being prepared has never been a resolution.

So my Sam says, “I want a revolution too.”

“That’s ‘resolution’ little guy, but I like your spirit.”

“I want my revolution to be eating more dessert and less school.  I like school, but I don’t want to go to school.”

Which makes perfect sense to me.  For my part I’m going to try embracing holidays.  I really do hate them.  The older I get, the more cynical I become, every single holiday feels like an orchestrated event to get us to spend money and buy advertising space and humiliate ourselves trying to sing unsingable songs.  And with small children, the holidays cannot be dodged.  The decorating, the obligatory gift giving and card sending . . . it all makes me crazy.  Crazy with exhaustion and that feeling that I’ll never get a grip on it.  I’m always behind.

So this year, I’m getting in front of the holidays.  Every month there is some opportunity, and we are going to celebrate.  We are going to celebrate every damn holiday if it kills me.  We are going to have fun dammit.   That means decorating, a small gift exchange, food and some social activity for the whole family.  I will even hang the appropriate flag outside our front door as evidence of my holiday spirit. Ugh.

Which brings me to the first holiday.  Martin Luther King Day.  What on earth does one do for this holiday?  I’m being challenged right out of the gate.  How do you decorate to integrate?  Is there equality food?  What does a freedom gift exchange look like?  All I can think of is that we each take a portion of King’s great speeches and read them aloud.  And while that might sound educational and beautiful, come on, it’s lame!  My resolve is being tested only two weeks into the New Year.

I won’t be tripped up though.  I’ve got the glow of a New Year’s Resolution all over me and I will not fail.  I’ll probably lose that last ten pounds by then too.  Who am I kidding?