Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Oh Holy Hell

Did anybody else realize that our guests will be coming tomorrow night... NOT Friday night like Tom and I have been discussing?

Well why didn't you say so?!?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Party Planning At Its Least Finest

Ever decide to have a New Year's Eve party?  But then, because you live at least 45 miles from anyone, you open your home for a giant sleepover?  And as you're inviting people, you include some of your coolest, funniest friends... and also some of your sweetest, nicest friends... so you have people who don't miss the chance to attend a church function (I know!  These people talk to me.  I can't believe it either) and the ones who never miss a chance to drop an F-bomb or explain their latest theories on evolution, gay rights or why the book listing hundreds of terms for masturbation is a HI-larious must read.

Yeah.  Me too.  What the hell was I thinking?

So if all goes as "planned" we should have between 12 and 25 people here for the festivities.  What festivities?  Well, maybe some poker.  Definitely the drawing game and probably Boxers or Briefs. (I just found that the game is discontinued.  That's the only reason I can come up with for the insane price.  You can borrow mine.)  And I bought poppers to freak out the poor dog.

Introductions will be something like this: 

"People who named their kid Luke Skywalker, meet people who want to open their own accounting business."

"Person who became a minister for the sole purpose of performing gay marriages when they became (briefly) legal in California, meet divorced husband and wife, her boyfriend and all the kids these people are raising."

"People who remodeled their home to be nearly completely green, meet people who think WalMart is right up there with sliced bread."

I sort of want to cancel the reminder that's supposed to go out in two days.

I'll let you know how it goes.

***The drawing game is something we've played with a couple of the cool funnies.  Everybody has a piece of paper (preferably not lined, but whatever).  At the top of yours, write a common phrase.  "Out of the frying pan, into the fryer" is the usual explanation and the one you should definitely not write.  Everybody else does the same, but with their own phrases.  Don't allow peaking.  Fold the very tippy-top of your paper over so it covers the writing, but not much of the paper.  Pass it to the left.  Open the one you received.  Make a drawing to explain the phrase.  Fold over and pass to the left.  Check out the drawing - but not the actual phrase - and write the phrase you think it's trying to express.  Repeat until everyone's paper is returned to them or until you run out of room.  Much hilarity should ensue upon seeing what people wrote and drew.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Home Remodeling... Er... Redecorating... Ah, Hell, I Smashed the Lamp

At our old apartment, we had more than enough lighting.  I guess we took for granted the 60's style ceiling lights, replete with gold flecks.  For the first couple of months we lived here, not every room even had a light.  In Madelyn's room we used a battery-operated camping lantern until a friend's daughter sold us one that's perfect for Mad's room.

One of Corey's gifts from Santa was a floor lamp.  He's pretty stoked about it. 

I might have been a little jealous.

In our bedroom, which about half the size of our old apartment, there is no ceiling light.  In fact, all we've had is a desk lamp sitting atop our dresser.  That 20-watter doesn't allow me to read at night, so I've become slightly addicted to games on my cell phone.  Scrabble anyone?

One thing we received was a gift card to Home Depot.  Now, we didn't buy a fixer-upper, but even so, there are about $15,000 worth of projects we'd like to get done around here.  Most of the big stuff is outside, and it's too cold to do much of it.  Inside, we can't see well enough to do anything.  At night, anyway.  We were pretty excited about the card.

This morning we headed over to our local HD and checked out their lamps (wohmps, as Mad calls 'em).  We found a cool table lamp.  Tonight I will be reading until I cain't read no mo'!
The other thing we found was a pendant light (yot, for those of you trying to translate Madelonian) to replace a rather hideous chandelier in what's supposed to be our formal dining area. 

Do we seem like formal people to you?  No?  Not to us, either. 

If we were, do you think this is what we'd have chosen?

The Before Picture
The only good thing about it is the photograph of Neil Young in the background... and without lights, you can't even tell how great it is.

So our plan was to pull the old one down and put the new one up, hopefully with as little trouble as possible.  Of course, nothing has gone smoothly for us since buying this home.  Here is the first in a series of "during" shots.

So much for our plan to sell this thing to someone with worse different taste than ours.

Who knew that the globes weren't attached other than if light bulbs were in place?  Okay, so you and everybody else knew.  Now we know.

To prove how hideous that thing was, here's how much better the area looks with a hole in the ceiling.

While I do have my doubts about whether or not we'll finish this without my dad's assistance, the doubts are waning.  Here's where we stand right now.
We've decided against setting up the dimmer feature.  Its a room with four bookcases.  And seriously, we're over dimly lit rooms.  Besides, we have zero electrical experience between us.

Well I'd love to show you more, but it's getting dark.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Best Parts of Christmas

A meaty bone

Getting steetoohs

And sharing them with Daddy

A bone and a bed?!?  Can it be Christmas every day?


Staying in touch with the ones you love

Friday, December 11, 2009

Breast Cancer Dance

My sister sent this to me.  I *loved* it, not only because of all the reasons I think you'll love it (like, it's fun, catchy and way better than what the "experts" proposed recently regarding breast health), too, but because I swear I recognize some people in there.  Like the first group of nurses... woman in green with white hair?  That could totally be my mother-in-law.  She's a nurse, too, only she works for some jerk of a corporate hospital that now requires everyone to have exactly the same uniform on at all times.

The janitor with the broom?  He's in there a couple of times.  Now, Tom has a lot more hair, and doesn't have that much white hair, but those are my husband's dance moves.  Don't laugh.  I love how happy he is when we're dancing.

There's a middle-aged woman later in the video, she's also wearing a green sweater.  That could be my friend, Evie.

The cool older guy with the dark shades?  Tom's uncle, Frendell, for sure.  (What's that?  You're wondering if his name is really Frendell?  It isn't.  It's a combination of his first and middle names.  He went by one for regular stuff and the other for stage work and his daughter got tired of it, I guess.  Now we call him Frendell.)

Anyway, without further ado, here's the video:

Who do you recognize?

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

... the way Mad pats my arm or leg or ahm (yes, still... but now it's because she's a clown) when she gives me a hug
... the way Corey still signs I Really Love You when he gets out of the car at school
... the way Corey talks about how soft Lisa's hands are, "I was like, 'Whoa!'"
... warm little baby hands.  Madelyn grabs my hand when we're driving down the road.  She wants me to peel the banana some more, but if I'm not quite close enough, she'll move the banana (or "mi") to the other hand and then use her right hand to pull me closer.
... the look in Mad's eyes as she saw all the decorations in Papa and Grandma's yard, but especially as she saw the "twee" in their house.
... the times when Corey's response to a request he wasn't expecting is, "I already did that."
... the way Mad raises her arms when she spies me at her door in the morning, and how she makes sure Fwog is facing the window so he/she/Fwog (gender unknown) can see everything as we open the blinds and say, "Good morning cars.  Trucks.  Birds." or "Goodnight cars.  Trucks.  Lights."

Friday, December 04, 2009


Mad loves books.  One of the best things that happened before she was born is that my coworker asked me what sort of shower I'd like her to throw.  I asked for books.  Heck, by then we'd already had one impromptu shower from a class I work with and one given by a woman's group I am in.  And I knew we were having "the" shower after the baby was born, so I wasn't worried about clothes by then.  Just from that shower, Mad received almost 50 books.  They have just kept coming since then.

These days she has a few favorites.  Two in particular are "Aliens Love Underpants" and "How to Potty Train Your Monster."  (Notice a theme here?  Mama might be working on something.)  At this point, I could recite them to you, but I won't.

Most of our friends either do not have young children or they have children Mad's age or younger.  But one of my friends has a granddaughter who is just enough older than Madelyn that we have recently started receiving hand-me-downs.  I don't know how you feel about it, but since Mad went through about a year where every three to four months she was in a new size, I am thrilled to be getting them.  (And I'm not too disappointed that her growth rate is slowing down.  I think we might make it through winter in 3Ts and 4Ts. *fingers crossed*)

Jaylah's mommy has been sending over all sorts of stuff lately.  Most of it entirely usable; some that has gone to Grandma's house "just in case"; and a few things that have been donated (where, yes, I'm sure they'll toss it... I just can't do it).

One of the things Mad won't be using herself, but which I have kept is a bunch of little panties.  She's getting ready to figure out the putting on and taking off of clothing.  Why not practice... and encourage the use of panties instead of diaper?  Fortunately, most of the panties have been too small anyway.

We got another batch on Tuesday.  In it was one rather large (for Mad) pair of Blue's Clues panties.  I'd washed everything Wednesday night and was in the midst of folding it on my bed yesterday morning when Mad awoke.  We frequently dress her on our bed, even if there's a laundry project in progress.  Needless to say, she found the panties, exclaimed, "Unnoopaaans" and proceeded to work to get them on over her pants.  She needed a little help, but together it was a mission accomplished.

And then we went about our day.  At Grandma's house she proudly lifted her shirt to show off her unnoopaaans.  When Daddy arrived to pick her up, she did the same.

Last night was one of those nights.  She was tired, I was tired and lazy.  I'd taken her up to get ready for bed, already knowing that there would be no bath.  When I opened her pyjama drawer I realized that all the long-legged, long-sleeved ones were in my bedroom... and that the door was locked... and the key was downstairs.  So I did something I might have done one other time in Mad's life: I put her to bed in the same clothes she wore last night.

The downside is she didn't get changed.  The upside is I got this

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

And One More Reason I Won't Be Receiving That Award

Some of the calls I've received from Corey's schools over the years have begun like this:

Is Corey's mom there, please?  Yes, this is the aide in his (kindergarten) class.  Corey won't behave.  We've tried EHverything.  You'll need to pick him up.  Result = roughly 10 days off from school just to give the teacher a break.

Mrs. Corey'sMom? Corey was behaving very badly in chapel today.  You need to pick him up.  Result = three day suspension (from kindergarten), plus he was disinvited to participate in the Christmas pageant.

Uh, Mrs. Corey'sMom?  Yes, this is the school nurse.  Um... we've stopped the bleeding... (WTF? He wasn't bleeding when I left him with you!).  Result = One (kindergartner) head stapled back together.

Mrs. Corey'sMom?  Yes, this is the school principal, Sherry Rice.  Corey brought a knife to school.  Totally normal for first graders, HAHAHA, but we'll have to suspend him as a matter of protocol.

Shannon?  Yeah, it's Sherry.  Corey:
*refused to give the teacher her pencil back and he told her, "Listen here, Missy!"
*has been caught ditching... he told his (first grade) teacher he had an appointment with the counselor, who's not even here today, and he was found playing tetherball instead.
*pushed another kid down because he didn't like the rules the other kids were playing by.
*has the teacher so stressed out that she was in here crying today.
Results:  10-15 days out of school for bad behavior... oh, and the teacher quit to "go back to school" at the end of the year.

Mrs. Corey'sMom?  This is Mrs. Jones... the new principal?  Corey keeps going out to the field to play in the mud and pick up things.  Result = "Okay?  He's a third grade boy.  What do you expect?"

You get the picture.  These calls came with more and less frequency over the years, depending on how poorly or well Corey handled various aspects of life.  When I had a job that was more office-based (and before I had a cell phone), even the receptionist felt sick when I'd get a call.  Sometimes I got three calls in one day.

I moved him to an independent study program at the end of sixth grade.  He did 7th and 8th in one year and 9th last year.  Since I'd held him back for maturity/social reasons, this put him back on schedule.  In the past two years, I've had two teacher-initiated calls regarding Corey not doing enough work.  The rest of our contact with the school showed Corey to be a great student with whom the teacher enjoyed working. 

In August he went back to a comprehensive high school.  Three weeks later, I got the call:

Mrs. Corey'sMom?  Yes, Mr. Soandso, Assistant Principal.  Corey was in a fight.  He didn't do anything physically, but he provoked the fight.  Result = 2 day suspension and a return to feeling nauseated whenever the school calls me.

And today?  I'm at the office talking with two coworkers when my cell rings.  Caller ID says it's his school.

Oh crap!

(To my coworkers)  This can't be good.  It's Corey's school.

This is Shannon.

Mrs. Corey'sMom?


Mrs. Corey'sMom, this is Mrs. Whatshername, Assistant Principal from your son's high school.

How many freaking assistants does this principal need and why are they always calling me?!

Corey was in PE this morning...

I swear, if he didn't dress out for PE...

and they were playing hockey.

"Playing hockey"... sounds like he dressed out!

They had hockey sticks and...

Oh gawd... did he smash someone in the face?  Neck?  Anywhere?  On purpose?


What is taking this woman so long to finish her freaking sentence?!  WHAT HAPPENED?!?!?

we're not sure what happened, but Corey hurt his neck.

Is he okay?

He seems to be.  We're just calling as a precaution.  Do you want to talk to him?

Yes, please.

(To my coworkers) It's okay.  He's just injured.

Yes, my friends, that is how you single-handedly lose the Mom of the Year award.  On the other hand, maybe I still have time to be the Worst Mom of the Year!  Let's not ask Corey what he thinks, m'kay?


***Corey is fine.  He didn't need to be picked up right away... made it through the school day and just asked to have me pick him up after school instead of staying late for band practice... something he doesn't enjoy anyway.  He has declined a trip to the chiropractor and is now upstairs sleeping it off.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

For the Little and the Big Things

*I'm thankful Corey is home again.  We're about to wrap up our first week.  Not quite what it once was, which is both sad and good.
*I'm thankful for that thing Mad has added as part of her bedtime routine.  After bath and teeth are done, it's storytime, followed by the short jaunt down the hall to her room.  I pick her up so she can turn on her music and turn off the light.  Then she normally smooches Buvva and closes the door before I hand her off to Dada.  Since Buvva's been home, she smooches him, leans the other way and says, "Ah Dada" (and Daddy), leans back, "Ah Buvva" and so it goes until she tires of the work to bring us all closer together.  Occasionally I get a smoochie, too... or, like tonight, a tiny finger up my nose.  Ahh, love.
*I'm thankful that we never have managed to buy a small turkey at Thanksgiving.  Even though Corey professes to only like the ceremony and not the actual turkey, I am concerned we might not have enough to make Tortilla soup tomorrow night.
*I'm thankful for my friends, and even for the struggles that some of them are going through.  While there might be an extremely small feeling of, "Thank goodness it's not me," I know very well that it could be.
*I'm thankful it's not.  No doubt they may very well feel the same about what we've been going through.
*For the small number who do know all that we've handled the past three weeks, and who've shared time and tears and slightly maniacal laughter, I am thankful.
*I'm thankful that it's so cold it feels like it should be the holidays, even though I've told people Happy Halloween twice in the past week.  Eventually I'll get to Happy Thanksgiving and then to Merry Christmas.  By then it may be Easter, but whatever.
*I'm thankful that we've gotten most of our kids' Christmas shopping out of the way.  Hooray for online shopping and free shipping!
*I'm thankful that Tom and Corey went way overboard buying lights for the front yard of our apartment last year.  We made that place as ghetto fabulous as we could.  And now I think we should have just enough lights to be tasteful this year.  Because that's how we roll... from tacky to moderately classy (and probably all the way back real quick like).
*I'm thankful Tom is down with my crazy ideas... like inviting 56 people to our house for New Year's Eve... and asking them to bring their sleeping bags and pillows because we live that' far away.  (No, we don't think they'll all come... or all stay.)  With any luck, he'll help me make all the food for breakfast, too.
*And for you... well a particular few of you, I am thankful.  The tens of people each month who stop and check out my blog for 0.00 minutes and view 0.00 pages, feh!  I can live without 'em.  But you, who've made it this far in yet another too long post... for you, I'm thankful.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Getting Away

Last Thursday was our anniversary.  We've been married four years. 

Our first anniversary was spent in a cabin in Big Bear.  Lovely and frosty.

The second was a weekend in Julian.  Lovely and filled with apple pie goodness and all the promise of my pregnant belly.

Last year we were just kicking off our house hunt and all moneys were going toward that.  Plus, we had an extreme consumer named Madelyn who constantly required a new something-or-other.  We had dinner at the restaurant that catered our wedding and went to a movie in Claremont, the town where we were married.  We saw Rachel Getting Married.  Great movie.  Not so much for the romantic evening.

This year, we have a house that has a lengthy list of projects (and we didn't even buy a fixer, this is what I don't get), a son who has his own lengthy list of charges and fees and whatnot, and a commute that had quadrupled our fuel costs until Tom also switched to a hybrid... so now we have a second car payment.  We made plans to send the kids away to the grandparents for the weekend and to go out for a nice dinner.

I have to admit that I balked at the nice dinner part and eventually suggested that we just keep Mad home, find some fun recipes and try them out.  We've done that for Valentine's Day, and it strikes me as less let's-not-spend-money than going to some strip mall restaurant.  It didn't help that the place we'd selected has been named "The Best Sushi Bar in the High Desert."  Even one of the most outstanding reviews on Yelp said, "You know that stuff didn't get pulled out of the ocean this morning."

Then along came a card and a check from Tom's parents.  They sent us enough money for a lovely weekend and some of the yard work that will need to be done in the spring.  Happy anniversary to us!

I was still voting to cook for one another and be at home together because, yes, sometimes I am crazy.  Tom, in his best loving way, said we could do that if I wanted, but he had something different in mind.  I went along with him because I'm not completely insane.

He made all the plans and arrangements with the caveat that I was not to look at our bank account until after the weekend.

Yesterday morning I made a shopping list of all the food we'll need for Thanksgiving.  We were all going to shop together, but Mad opted for an early nap.  Tom asked me to pack something for an overnight trip and to plan on wearing something nice that evening.

Here is the first reason I should have just taken 10 minutes and packed right away instead of screwing around:  I wouldn't have felt ridiculous when Tom got home from a 90 minute shopping trip and I'd packed clothes for today, a bathrobe and slippers.

Here's the second reason:  When it was time to leave, I might not have had to rush around and grab things like deoderant or the grownup shoes I was planning to wear that evening or my purse; and I definitely wouldn't have had to thank my husband for remembering the toothbrushes.

Want another one?  As we drove a few blocks from the house, my response to Tom's question would have been, "Yes, I did bring that one thing that Corey absolutely must have.  No problem, honey.  I've got it covered."


So yesterday afternoon we dropped Mad off with my Dad and Margaret.  We had a yummy dinner on a heated patio at Walter's and walked maybe 8 blocks up to the place where we married.  We hoped someone else was getting married and joked about crashing the party, but it was empty and dark.

The walk there and back was lovely.  We enjoyed checking out all the old architecture of this college town.  The only downside was that I did wear grownup shoes last night.  With three inch heels.  And I didn't use the restroom at Walter's before we left.

When we got back to the car, Tom offered a few choices before heading to our next destination.  I had no idea what the next destination was, so I happily opted for the one involving a drive.  When we got to Pasadena, I knew we were staying at the hotel where we spent our first married night.  It's a gorgeous hotel, and we were treated just as well now as then.  Better, even (which is really saying something).

The front desk attendant, Lauren, asked what brought us there.  Tom told her it was our fourth anniversary and that we'd spent our wedding night there.  She welcomed us back.

After buying what must have been gold-laced water in the "gift and business shop" (seriously... even Disneyland doesn't have those prices!) and dropping off our stuff in the room, we headed out for some more walking.  That's when I realized I'd left my comfy shoes in the now valet-parked car. 

Suck it up, baby.  We walked down to Colorado Boulevard and went in search of dessert.  There are a ton of great places for dessert on Colorado.  We stopped at a shopping center and looked at the map to see what options were nearby.  A security guard came over to help.  He suggested Coldstone Creamery.

"No... not ice cream... something that's not cold..."  So he called over his security guard pal on a 10-speed.

"What about 21 Flavors?" 

"Yeah, no... not ice cream."

"Frozen yogurt?"

"Thanks, guys."

We ended up at a surf-themed burger place that I would have sworn did not have dessert.  I was wrong.  Chocolateily, gooily wrong.  Yes, it was so good I have to make up my own words.  And we enjoyed it on a heated balcony, so it was even better.

A short hobble back to the hotel and we found that Lauren had sent up chocolate covered strawberries and champagne.  We were too full to really enjoy them, so we saved them for today. 

Last night we talked about sleeping in as late as we wanted.  This morning we both woke up at 5:30, but managed to get back to sleep.  We slept late... for a workday.  We were wide awake and starting our day at 6:30.

It was a beautiful, warm day.
Want to know something special about the windows in the room?  They open.  I know!

The strawberries became a pre-breakfast treat that I highly recommend.

Horror of horrors, we've become morning people.  Turns out not to be so bad.  We had breakfast at Marston's.  It's a little house converted to a restaurant.  When we arrived, the wait was about 3 minutes.  When we left, 20 people or so were outside waiting.

On the way out of town we stopped at the swanky two-storey Target to purchase Christmas cards and Mada-socks (where do her socks go?).  At the downstairs entrance is a planter with pink cement and a bunch of handprints.  One of the sets belongs to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.  I have never been accused of having short or stubby fingers, but this picture would suggest otherwise.
As Britney would say, "Ding dang, ya'll!"

Mad was very happy to see us.  She kept hugging me and patting my back or arm or leg... whatever was closest.

We stopped at my mom's to drop off Corey's must-haves.  He has been with her for two weeks.  It feels longer.  With any luck, he'll be home Tuesday evening after an appointment with the therapist.  In any case, I believe Mad's reaction to seeing him for the first time in two weeks should definitely make it clear that she wouldn't just forget about him.  She threw herself into his arms and said, "Co... Co-wee!"  Not sure how many times she went back to hug him or have him pick her up. 

It was good for all of us.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Guilt By Dream Association

Ever have a dream involving your spouse or significant other and wake up wanting to take out on them all of the hurt and anguish they caused in the dream? It's worse when parts of the dream are clearly based in reality, because maybe the whole thing is a "sign," right? Well thankfully I'm (usually) more mature than that, but still...

The other morning I dreamt that Tom and I were working on a historical research project for a local city (in real life, I am). One cool thing was that each time we went to check out where an event took place, the era would change to match what we were seeking (in real life, this does not happen... dangit!). We ended up at dinner (probably the anniversary dinner we've talked about). A cute young French woman was seated with us (?!). She and Tom were not so slyly blowing kisses by kissing their water glasses at each other. I told them to knock it off, but there was no stopping the chemistry, so I got up and walked away. I hoped that Tom would follow; instead he took my seat, which was closer to the girl. I awoke just after a weak attempt at confrontation.

I think the dreams I've been having speak to the way I feel like I've lost the place I thought was mine. If I can have my motherhood displaced... something I thought would always be stable, regardless of the problems Corey and I have had to face, there's no reason that my marriage would be any more secure. (This is definitely something coming from my own inner workings and not from real life.)

When I woke up the other morning, my first instinct was to call Tom and whine. Not just tell him about it... whine. Ugh! So I pulled myself together and decided that hearing his voice would help chase away the boogie man. I did tell him about the dream, hopefully sans whining. He listened patiently (if you think I'm wordy while here, you should hear me half-asleep) on his drive to work and replied, "No cute French girls here." 

Problem solved.

***On a positive-ish note, despite somehow dipping below what I thought and hoped was our lowest point possible earlier this week, Corey seems to be coming around.  As his counselor says, maybe we can work toward reunification.  If you hear a loud suctioning sound followed by a tremendous POP!, you'll know he finally got his head out of his ass.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

All Over the Map

I am handling things reasonably well, I think.  Kitchen deep cleaning is nearly complete.  Next will be our bathroom.  The stupid room is the same size as either of my kids' not small bedrooms.  Who needs that much room to shower and brush teeth?

But between the non-pregnancy and the major problems with Corey... he's been staying with my mom for a week ... life's not quite the same right now.  Much more than being bummed about not being pregnant, I am incredibly sad at the situation with Corey.  I miss him, want him home, but know that this isn't really the best place for him to be right now... for any of us.  No matter how well I do once I'm up and finding something to occupy the brain, I wake up sad. 

Got any tips for getting through the tough times?  Seems like I should have the answers since (like most people), I've had my share in the past.  Clearly I need to work on that whole focusing thing.

Maybe I should just count the reasons it's better to be me than Maisy today.  For example, since I didn't spend the past week or so either making a mess with the food and water in my crate or watching as Madelyn messed with my stuff, I didn't have to spend the day outside in my newly washed crate... laying in the sun as the woman of the house scrubbed the floor on her hands and... hmm... yeah, maybe that's not where I should be looking.

This has been a pretty good weekend, overall.  Mad and I spent some time coloring yesterday. 

Whomever actually developed washable ink is my new hero.
The three of us went to a birthday party for Mad's friend, Scotty, yesterday.  He's two.  His mom and I talked about Christmas cards and I told her about last year's Christmas Letter.  When I got home, I sent a copy to her.  Looking through it brought back some good times.  And man, we really did have the world's smallest kitchen!

Tom and I spent a lot of time either hanging out or working on things together.  Since we both ended up with a couple of days off this week, it felt almost like we'd already had a weekend.  Stuff got done, so that's good.

Tom does want to try again for a baby... the faux pregnancy just wasn't quite as satisfying.  Yeah, bad humor.  I know.

Well, since I did waste about 10 minutes of my life tonight reading not one, but two articles about Jon Gosselin, I can aver that it has to suck a lot more to live in his shoes.  At least I'm well aware of my periodic stupidity, try to minimize it when possible and I haven't sold out my family for anything.  Okay, better life than Jon Gosselin.  Check.

Oh and here's something good (it won't sound that way at first), but completely surprising to me.  As the person who pays our bills each month... including the hefty extra amounts that Corey's been accruing through the TV and cell phone (that he can no longer access), I had determined that we would not have any money for Christmas.  Like, none.  Without a credit card, of course, but who wants to charge things these days?  That's so 2005.  We have paid off most of our credit cards.  Two are left, but neither is shrinking like we'd like.  Anyway, thank goodness Tom handles the non-bill parts of our finances, because it turns out we can buy presents and party food in the month of December after all.  Yay us.

And Friday night, instead of going to training like usual, Tom had an early appointment and then came home.  On the way, he stopped at one of our favorite Thai restaurants to pick up dinner.  Sure, it's 45 miles from here, but they pack things well and the food was just as good as ever all the way up here.  Apparently they have caller ID, because the woman said, "This is for pick up?  In Rancho?"  No really, my husband's coming.

So there are some good things.  Thanks for listening while I worked it out... again.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


So... the answer is a resounding no.  I am fine.  Tom is okay.  We'll get through.  It helps immeasurably to know that a baby hadn't actually been made. 

My doctor insisted on doing a D&C.  As with many instances between us, I declined.  I did a bit of research yesterday before calling him and found that many doctors now believe it's better to let nature take its course.  And anyway, he wanted me to have it done in his office.  I can only assume that would have meant getting a local anesthetic.  Non-baby making pregnancy or no, I do NOT want to hear that!  During my first miscarriage, the doctor and his team played music as I was drifting off to sleep.  Now, every time I hear Bobby Brown singing that song, I go back to the yellow gowns and yellow lights of that room.

I took the day off today.  When I spoke with Tom yesterday, he arranged to be off, too.  I believe he was anticipating a trip down the hill to see the doctor.  If it had been necessary, we would have gone.  But the worst seemed to be over by the time I got up this morning.  I'm going back to work tomorrow.

Have I mentioned that I'm a list maker?  I am.  I am always working on a list.  Of jobs to do.  Of reasons why or why not.  Of the good side versus the bad.  So here is a partial list of the good things for now.  Don't think that because I'm not listing the bad, I don't feel it very deeply.  It's just not where I'm going to focus right now.

So... the good things are (in no particular order, normally I'd prioritize or alphabetize or something, but tonight I'm gonna wing it):

*I didn't tell Nancy last week even though I really wanted to.  Her sister-in-law's mother died this morning and Nancy's own mother finally got the diagnosis.  Pancreatic cancer.  "The cure would be worse than the cause."  Yeah, I'm happy not to have added to that burden.
*I can have chocolate and/or coffee for a little while longer.  I won't, though, because last week I was reminded of all the bad things that can happen to a developing baby person if caffeine is consumed.  Tom and I haven't discussed it, but I'm assuming he'll still want to continue trying once we're able.
*I don't have to find out if I still fit into my maternity clothes.  Okay, this is awful.  I lost all the baby weight within about five days of having Mad.  The 10 additional pounds is just me being lazy.  Guh!  I had actually wondered if Doc wasn't able to confirm the pregnancy through physical examination because I'm too fat. 
*We don't have any new extra expenses coming up right away.  Granted, the expenses would be less than when we had Mad, especially if we had another daughter, but the things we'd have to buy (crib, dresser, etc.) wouldn't be the little things.  Of course, this could change if we manage to create a mini-Mad, but for now, no.
*We didn't tell anyone else.  I didn't even give off hints that would clue people in so they'd ask.  We'd taken the test at home on Thursday evening.  Friday morning I faked coffee.  I went to the kitchen with someone, got a cup of decaf and then left it on my desk when I headed out a few minutes later.  Do I regret wasting coffee?  A little, but even decaf has caf, so it's out.  Anyway, by not blowing our cover, I now won't have to endure the stuff that would make me cry.  And we have one particular woman in our office who loves to make people cry.
*And lastly, I'm not bothered or upset by anyone else's pregnancy.  So we're keeping the drama way low-key.  I do have an acquaintence who is pregnant.  She's in my mommy group.  Her shower is about a week away.  I won't be going, but I RSVP'd two weeks ago.  It's when Tom and I are celebrating our anniversary (four years married, nine-plus together... I can't wait until the "together" number is the smaller one).  Plus, Lauren and I have nothing in common except our babies.  Nothing.  And she rarely responds to my emails or calls anyway.  Frankly, I feel the fact we're shipping a gift is more than generous.  But I'm not doing it for her so much as for Mad to have a better chance of a few lifelong friends.

Oh, and in some weird karmic way, I have further evidence that Celine Salon (Dion) and I are linked.  She is also no longer pregnant.  I don't know how far along she was, but I'd be willing to bet the full extent of my extra cash (right now I believe that's the eleven cents sitting in the cup holder in my car) that she's having a much harder time than we are.  That sucks... what is it The Rambler says?... oh yeah, sweaty donkey balls.  I say that lovingly even though I have always, always denigrated her singing (ahem... when I wasn't secretly singing along... shh).  The fact that her version of "At Last" was our song is only because Etta James' was too scratchy and Cyndi Lauper's was just.too.freaking.weird (no matter how much we wanted to love it)... and *sigh* yes, because Celine Salon's version rocked.  Until it became the soundtrack for Fancy Feast commercials.  Whatever.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Ugh... *sigh*

Before I start, if you are one of the two people who actually know me in real life who read this, please do not mention anything about this elsewhere. 

So here are the details, not so short nor sweet.

Last Thursday I took a pregnancy test.  It was positive.  Today we went for the first prenatal appointment.  After the physical exam, Doc said, "Well, based on the examination, I cannot confirm that you are pregnant."  So he did an internal ultrasound.

***While I'm glad he has a stack of what look like condoms to go over the wand... and I'm even more glad that he "uses protection," did he really have to rubber band the condom to the wand?  Does he worry about it getting lost?  Did that happen to someone since Mad was born?  Because I don't recall the rubber band technique at all.

Based on the ultrasound, I could be pregnant, but certain things were not present... like a sac or a baby, for example.  So he did a blood test.  Came back positive.

For now, I am technically pregnant.  However, I am either much less pregnant than we thought or it's not going to stick.  We go back in two weeks.

We are not at the point of telling friends and family, and there is only so much Tom and I can say about it to one another.  So I am telling you.  Hardly seems fair, right?

It's more than just a little ironic that I was pretty much scared through my entire pregnancy with Madelyn.  I attribute it mainly to her not only being a surprise baby, but for coming along shortly after Tom and I agreed there wouldn't be any babies between us.  Once I saw how happy Tom was to be having a baby and that everything was good between us, I guess I was still unable to completely accept that everything would be alright.

Just two days ago I told him how confident I feel this time.  It's been very similar to being pregnant with Corey.  I remember just knowing that Corey was going to be born... alive... and strong.  After having several miscarriages before him, it was an amazing feeling to behold.

Instead of feeling confident now, I am sad and deflated.  And wondering what the point is in taking the prenatals the doctor gave me today.  On the other hand, I figure that getting pregnant at the ancient maternal age of 38 means I'm kind of... I don't know... lucky doesn't seem like the right word, but if there is something wrong happening here, I'd rather it happen sooner than later.  One of our friends lost her baby at five months gestation, something I could never wish on another person.

On top of it all, amazingly, things have gone downhill with Corey.  Dramatically.  In case you're wondering, I seriously doubt that this baby/no baby thing is related to stress.  I've had a miscarriage like this before (if that's what this is).  It's just that there is this extra stress.  Why keep it simple when you can be complicated, right?  Ugh.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Mama Said There'd Be Days Like This

You want your son to be involved in a close-knit group through school.  He's musically talented, so band does make sense.  It keeps him busy after school most days, and gives him a reason to join in the fun that he normally wouldn't.  This is good.

It's true, some days the drive up the pass will be like moving through cold molasses... for no reason (not that you're wishing harm for the driver of that overturned semi yesterday, but seriously... at least there was a something going on).

It's natural for your son to bring the black uniform pants on game day instead of the bright Crayola green ones, because hey, black is cool.

Occasionally, yes, he will test you by complaining that he needs his pants and food because he hasn't eaten ALL DAY and if he doesn't get something to eat NOW, with Lisa, he'll have had nothing ALL DAY.

He will fail to recall not making breakfast, not taking a lunch or how he really did spend the $20 he scored from the grandparents last night, so you will probably stand your ground and forbid him from joining the exalted Lisa for food or the convenience of getting the correct pants.

Then you will get stuck in the most heinous traffic without a reason in, like, forEVer.  Instead of an hour, your trip up the hill will take nearly twice that long.  You will be too late to get the pants.  You will cave on the food and get what he wants from some crap fast food place. 

Your husband will also get stuck in that no excuse jam-up, even though he's coming through two hours later, only he'll have your daughter.  You won't know they are stuck, so you'll put off a quick trip to the groc until they arrive... at 8:00.

You'll get her to bed and bargain with the spouse about who will go buy the snacks and pick up the boy after the football game.

You'll have to go, but you should not consider this a loss... he will be taking the boy back to school for the "day trip" to Vegas for a band competition.  Your husband's drop off time?  1:30 A.M.  Yes, you are the winner.

But you'll be exhausted, so you'll set your phone alarm for 9:00 P.M. and lay down for a half hour of rest.

This is when your bargain losing spouse will decide to sort all of his laundry 10 feet from where you're not sleeping... with all the lights on.

After your eight minutes of solid rest, you will drag yourself out of bed, throw on a hoodie over your sweater and just go ahead and put your slippers on.  They look like brown suede boots anyway, right?  Besides, even if they don't, you no longer shop at places with gourmet foods, and you do have all of your teeth, hair and the requisite undergarments.  You're a few steps ahead of anyone else at the groc on a Friday night.

You'll return home with your son.  Your husband, who is at least equally exhausted, will be asleep on the couch, with his arms over his head, his feet together and pulled up so that his knees are out to the sides.  He will remind you of a frog from biology class. 

You'll resist the urge to begin sorting your laundry.  Or taking a photo and posting it on your blog.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Happy 'Ala-een!

That's what Mad said a couple of times before we left to go trick or treating last night.  She and I also practiced that age old song,

"Trick or treat
Smell my feet
Give me something
Good to eat"

which, for some reason, Tom had never heard.  (Mad's version of practicing was to kick up her foot when we got to that part.)

Friday evening (I know... ugh!) we finally found a costume that fit, wasn't trampy (WTH?!?) and didn't cost over $50.  In fact, it was $5 for the outfit and another $8 for shoes that conveniently matched.  Thank you The Children's Place.

Mad the mysterious genie...
wants to know why Dad tucked her shirt into her bottom.
She was very excited to go out and do some serious trick or treating. 

Ahh, who are we kidding?
She had no clue why she was going out at night in slippery pants and a sparkly top, but she was gonna make the most of it!

Going up to someone's door?  When it was all skeery and loud?  Oh, heck no! 
My girl just wanted her treasures (yeah, you call 'em rocks... shhh...) in her basket.
Don't even think about making her come out of the neighbor's rock... I mean treasure... yard.
Dad's brilliant plan was to strap Mad and the basket into her wagon.  He ran home to get it.
And went back one more time to get some wawoo.
Eventually she got the hang of going to people's doors.  If we skipped a house, she said, "DOOAH!"

Mad did not say, "Happy Halloween," "Trick or Treat" or "Thank you" (however, every time we told her to, the person on the other side of the door said it for her... muahahaha... so much power, haha!).  She did, however, tell me not to run and admonish me to get out of the street (I guess it's her power, not ours... hmph!).

Corey did not dress for Halloween.  He stayed home and passed out candy (we ran out in about an hour and 15 minutes!!!).  He had a mask, but apparently left it at school the other day ("or something...").  Instead he was The Cute Guy With That Unfortunate Eye Problem.
In, I'm-so-proud-BUT... news, Mad is counting.  She can get to nine.  After nine comes Mama, in case you were wondering.  She's even recognizing some of the numbers when written or signed (the same has been going on for a month or so with letters).

On the other hand, I still have four Ahms... *sigh*.

Homecoming Update... AKA The Dirt

It occurred to me recently (ahem... yes, it was after being reminded by The Rambler... what?!) that I never told you all how the dance went.

As it turned out, Tom zonked out on the couch, so I did get to pick them up (yay me!).

On my way out of our neighborhood, I tried to track down the house with the booming music.  I will admit that I was slightly impressed at the quality of the music.  The base wasn't overpowering everything else.  However, we could hear it inside our house with all the windows closed and it wasn't even coming from our street or the street behind us!  Since it was around 11:30 at night, I was more than a little peeved.

At the school I quickly found the kids making out huddling to keep warm.  According to the cute couple, they danced "a lot" and had "a lot of fun."  Yeah, I know... try to keep up with all the details, m'kay?

We stopped for drinks at the tres chic gas station nearest the school.  As their chauffeur, I went in and made the purchases.  All I know about what happened while I was away is that they were a respectable distance apart when I returned.

On the way to Lisa's house, I could hear some of the chatter coming from the back seat.  Here's the part I caught:

Lisa:  "Don't look at me like that.  I know all your expressions and it's not gonna work."
Corey:  "No you don't."
"Yes I do."  *longish pause*  "That's your puppy dog face and it's not working."
"I know.  It sucks that it doesn't."

When we arrived at her place, Corey helped her out of the car and walked her to the door.  He said he felt bad that he didn't wear a full suit (just a vest) so he couldn't lend his jacket.

We made a stop at what was probably the only fast food place open at that hour so Corey could make up for sharing a dish with Lisa at dinner... and sending home leftovers with Tom.

When we finally returned to our place, that obnoxiously loud party was still rocking.  So I reluctantly became that neighbor and called the cops on 'em.  Didn't matter.  Apparently they'd already had several calls.  The dispatcher said she'd "be sending someone over to check it out."  I was up until after 2:00 AM and the party never even slowed down.

However, the noise music didn't keep anyone else in my home from getting a good night's sleep, and I'm sure at least one person had some especially sweet dreams.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Jerry Springer, Wherefore Art Thou?

I'm just gonna lay it all out there.

Temper tantrums are many things, including annoying, scary, loud... and did I mention annoying?  I've had to deal with a few lately.  Here's the real problem:  Mad is not having them (oh sure, she occasionally gives it a go, but she's too good a sport still to keep it up).  No, it's Corey.

One of the things we do when he's losing his mind is send him out of the house for a walk.  When this happened the day he got suspended, he first tried to kick down the gate on one side of our house.  The other night, after we had to call a family meeting... and included Lisa and her family (in front of whom Corey was a perfect gentleman... so don't tell me he can't control himself), he tried beating a broomstick on the ground to break it.  He was out in the front yard and, yes, neighbors were watching.  When that didn't work, he tried smacking the side of the house.  In both cases, I quietly but firmly asserted that if he destroyed anything, I would call the police.  Meanwhile I'm thinking "Please don't make me call the police!"  That night I had to send him out three times.  The last time I told him that if he so much as tripped on a stone on his way to the sidewalk, I would make the call.  (Yes, overly dramatic on my part... *sigh*... I know.)  Upon returning he seemed remorseful and we ended up on a semi-polite note.

Since then, things have been like a magic carpet ride, but without the psychedelic colors.  At the moment, Corey and Lisa can only see one another at school until they each start making better decisions (I'll let your imaginations fill in the reasons why).  Even though she's part of the problem, I'm hoping that Lisa is part of the solution, too.  I saw her last night.  She apologized for having Corey in her seventh period (he doesn't have one; why the teacher let him be there is still unfathomable) and then taking him to an after school sewing class (because yeah... Corey had an unfulfilled desire to make a bag that attaches to the side of a table... who knew?!).  I've talked with both of them about helping one another make the right decisions so they can be together.

The adults in Lisa's life are all fabulous in their own ways.  We are bonding over the kids, but they are typically not my type of people.  For example, the people I refer to as Lisa's parents are really her aunt and uncle.  Except that the man I thought was her uncle is really her aunt/mom's boyfriend.  This was made clear last night when Lisa's uncle accompanied her over to my car to apologize. 

Don't worry, I pulled it off and he never knew I spent 10 minutes wondering if this was the boyfriend I'd heard about.  It was kind of fun trying to explain it all to Tom later.  He has requested a chart.

Corey, as it turns out, is not the only Jerry Springer Fan Club member in my family.  Here's a little white trash history:

My mom and her first husband, Russ, had my brother and I.  This was in the sex, drugs and rock 'n roll age (and no, I'm not lying when I say my parents almost named me Pebbles Flint Stone).  Eventually Russ met a 17 year-old girl named after a piece of fruit.  Russ and his best friend, Craig, handcuffed said girl so Russ could kiss her.  I was about three months old.

To her credit, Fruit Girl had him arrested.  To enter the JSFC, she also pretty much immediately fell in love and soon after was pregnant with her first daughter.

At that time, Craig was married to his second wife, Darlene, a crazy-ass yotch who bore him a daughter and a son.

Somewhere in the drugged and boozy haze, Craig and Darlene divorced.  He got the kids (for a man to get full custody back in the early-ish '70s was insane, so imagine what Darlene was like).  Mom and Craig hooked up (the order of things varies depends upon who tells the story).  I was two or so.  They married when I was five, separated when I was 13, got back together and divorced two years later.  Despite some pretty lame-assed decisions on his part, the man has always been there for me.  He is Dad.  His daughter is my sister and one of my best friends.  His son is... well... I refer to him as my stepbrother and leave it at that.

I mostly didn't see or hear from Russ when I was a kid.  There was once at age 5, once at 11 and then he started coming by whenever he was in town when I was 16 or 17.  I was kind of excited to have him in my life.  His wife (the fruit woman) calls herself my Wicked Stepmom.  She calls me her Sweet Pea.  I love her like an aunt or an older sister.

Dad remarried three days after his divorce from Mom was final, and the new wife wasn't exactly keen on having his ex-wife's kids hanging around.  It didn't stop him from rescuing us all when we were in a bad car accident, though.  Or when my crappy little car was stolen and taken on a high speed police chase.  Again, always there...

His wife slowly accepted me.  In a soap-opera-worthy turn of events, she saw that I am devoted to her husband and, because of him, to her when she, her two daughters and their five kids were in a multiple-rollover accident that almost cost Margaret her ability to walk and almost took her grandson from all of us.  (It took me three tries to over two weeks to get all the blood and debris from her hair... or at least from the part she wasn't resting on.)

Margaret is the woman who watches Madelyn every day.  Today she told me (again) how she always tells people she's so lucky to have a granddaughter to watch who is such a joy.  We don't know what we'd do without Margaret.

For a while I felt as though I had two dads.  Some people might call one Dad and the other Father.  I tried that mentally and it didn't work.  With Russ I vacillated between Russ and Dad.

As I got to know more about that part of my family, I was put off by the lies Russ had told over the years.  We always thought he had a Purple Heart because the helicopter he was piloting in Viet Nam crashed... or because of something to do with shrapnel.  Compare that to the truth:  The jeep he was driving (badly, as per usual from my experience) in Japan rolled into a ditch during war time.  Those surgeries at the VA?  Yeah, he has a medical ass problem.  There are more lies that span his entire life.

Somewhere in my early adulthood I learned he was having an affair.  Wicked Stepmom was shattered, but they were able to reconcile.  Seven or eight years ago he admitted that it had never stopped and it wasn't going to.  Wicked Stepmom has her own reasons for staying; some from necessity, others are, I'm pretty sure, required to maintain membership in the JSFC.

Russ and I haven't spoken since then, but I talk with his wife 1-2 times a month and keep in touch with one sister via Facebook.

And here's where it gets weird (I know!)... tonight I received an email from someone I didn't recognize.  The subject regarded something I'd gotten from other people, though, so I opened it.  It was from Russ.  No personal message... he was just forwarding something that everyone else in my family had sent around.***  Maybe he's working on a JSFC coup... a takeover of the presidency or something.

***That's another family trait of ours.  If my aunt sends something to Mom, Bro and me then Mom and Bro will send it to all the same people, plus some of their friends, who are also my friends.  Each and every one of them apparently fears I might have been left out.  Sometimes things make two full rounds!
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