Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Baked Goods and Regrets

Amazingly enough, I have the equivalent of a day off- no night shift, no school, no day shift.  I don't go back to work until 5pm tomorrow.  So I went and grabbed some groceries, and started baking.  One breakfast tart, two pans of brownies and a batch of cookies (plus dinner) later, I'm wiped out.  I got the boys bathed and bedded down, packed up the supplies and tidied up the kitchen and sat down with my cup of decaf tea to enjoy the peace and quiet of a house devoid of adult males.

Jasmine, the big red hound, let me know that the neighbors had company.  I went out and fed her some roast beast, and spent a few minutes scratching her adoring face.  I can feel the swollen, hard lumps of the lymphoma that spells the end of her life in just a short week, when the pain meds from the vet run out and we make her final appointment with the vet.  I'm not a dog person, but I will miss my girl.  She's unfailingly loving, impossibly loyal, and has been security and protection for my boys for years.  She's eaten concrete blocks and chewed through chains and wooden railings, and until a week ago, she had never had so much as a cold.  In another week, one more piece of my little world will be gone.  We're loving and spoiiling her rotten these last few days, knowing that letting her go now is so much kinder than letting her suffer through months of slow dying.

Nine months ago today, another little piece of my world vanished out from under me.  I can always calculate that loss down to the day- unlike Jasmine, there's no peace to be made there.  Three days after Christmas, my horse disappeared from my life.  I lost a huge chunk of my heart and soul, and a huge chunk of my family, all in one go.  Some things just cut too deeply to ever heal.  For me, this is one of them.

We're a family that just has animals- lizards in the bedroom, a dog in the yard, usually a cat or two prowling around (whether they are ours or not).  The squirrels know we're a soft touch, and this afternoon a chipmunk from under the holly bush came and sat on my sock.  We love them in a practical way, for the most part, and understand that animals are pets, and won't be there forever.  But every once in a while, one of them gets so deep under our skins that we can't imagine life without them.

Our home won't be the same without our sweet red pound puppy.  It won't be as safe, or as secure, without her hell-hound alarms and constant begging for attention.  My life will never be the same without my spoiled little Arab.  Things will move along as they always do, but there will always be a little clock in the back of my mind- counting off the days, weeks, months and years.

With Jasmine, I have the closure of knowing that she will be beyond pain, waiting in whatever afterlife dogs have, chasing rabbits and rolling in the sunny grass.  With Luke- I'll never know what happened.  Wherever you are, my boy- I miss you.  I'd give anything to have you home.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Reality Checks

You know the phrase "Don't let your mouth write checks your butt can't cash?"

I'm getting a hefty dose of reality checks lately.  I've always been a pretty capable person- I work hard, I play hard, and I usually can muscle my way through anything, be it long hours, pain, or just plain fear.  The last couple weeks- not so much.

Granted, I piled a lot on my plate.  I bought a car, which gave me an extra $400 a month in bills for the next three months.  I volunteered to pick up extra shifts and fill in gaps at work where we have lost people- so in any given week I may pull four carryout, two or three host, and two or three server shifts.  And I am roughly 30 weeks pregnant, with three kids in school already, going to school myself and I have a house full of things that need done.  All of this has combined to create a perfect storm.  So I'm giving myself one post to vent and put myself in perspective.

  • I AM NOT SUPERMOM.  I need to remind myself of this.  I need to ask for help, and be gracious when I get it.
  • Hard work can kill someone.  My cardiologist agrees with me on this, and has prescribed less caffeine and more sleep.  Taking his advice would be a good thing- which means stop volunteering for 15 extra hours a week and living off of tea and coffee.
  • I have the best friends/family in the world.  Mark, Sarah, TopShot, Jolly Green Giant and Kittay- I am talking to you guys.  If I haven't told you this lately- you guys are awesome.
  • Pain is the body's signal that something is wrong.  My left hip has had a pinched nerve for 10 days or so now, and I need to actually rest and allow my body to recuperate.  Tylenol is not a food group.
  • Speaking of food- eating is a good thing.  The Alienbaby appreciates it.  So does the body that I constantly abuse with overwork.  So put down the teacup and pick up a cheeseburger. 
  • God works in mysterious ways.  Remember how I said that I was so tightly strapped that I wouldn't be able to afford nursery furniture?  Unexpectedly, a friend from the past sent me a crib (with a crib set!) and rocker.  I am still gobsmacked, and incredibly grateful.  Alienbaby won't have to live in a laundry basket after all.
  • SPEAK UP.  There are things that have been bothering me a lot lately, and as a result I have been a bit of a whiny bitch to everyone EXCEPT the people I needed to speak to.  Passive-aggressive conditioning at its best.  The people involved may not appreciate being told why I am annoyed with them, but it's better to say it directly to them than it is to let it build up and boil over like a volcano.  (Thank you, Ex-Husband, for pointing out that I was repeating EXACTLY the same pattern that caused problems in our marraige.)
So I'm making some changes.  I am going to continue working, and going to school, but I am also not going to keep trying to do everything.  Some things will just have to give.  I'm going to take better care of myself, and try to be more aware of the things I am doing that contribute to my overall stress level.  I'm restructuring my budget and priorities to save more money for the important things, and I'm going to try and make some me time.  Even if it's just going to the Y once a week to swim in the heated pool, I need a break from reality every once in a while.

Now, folks- remind me of this post when I start getting cranky, okay?

    Full circles

    Yesterday was my youngest's birthday.  Now officially eight, Mr.Man (AKA Gollum) ended his day the way he ended his first day out in the real world- curled up on top of Mom, snoring.

    Holding him last night, I realized just how lucky I am to have this kid.  Although he can be bossy, manipulative, and has a mean streak that would make a rattlesnake hunt for cover, Mr.Man is in some ways the sweetest of my three boys.  He is the cuddler, and has always been the first one to jump up and volunteer to help me with anything.

    Happy Birthday, baby.  I'm glad to have you.  I love you.  And I appreciate the cuddles.

    Thursday, September 22, 2011


    So, I promised to tell you something about Gollum, the youngest of my demons.

    Gollum is 8, going on 21.  No, I mean that- don't leave any alcoholic beverages within his reach- he'll taste them.  And if he likes the taste, he may well bogart it.  Luckily, no one in my household drinks much, and we don't keep it in the house unless we're expecting company.

    Gollum is on a possessive kick.  Instead of a ring to rule them all, his obsession is- Mommy.  I am now "his" mommy- no one else's.  The Alienbaby is "his" baby brother, and no one else (including the Alienbaby's own father) is allowed to have an opinion on the topic.  And he does mean no one- he'll push the other boys, the BF, or the dog out of my vicinity.  It's rather like having a pit bull with separation anxiety.  Of course, there's a reason for this, but having to reinforce kindergarten skills at this stage of the game is becoming tedious.

    You see, we have massive changes coming.  In addition to the Alienbaby's upcoming arrival, Mommy and the BF are looking at moving out of the house we currently share with my ex-husband.  (Long story- suffice it to say that being best friends with your ex is awesome, but sometimes takes strange twists.)  This has thrown all of the demons for a loop, as they like the current status quo of having Mom, Dad, and a goofy adult male to try and run their games around.  More than the other two, Gollum is a bit panicked- because it's been decided that when we move into our new place, he is coming with us while Dr. Doom and Daredevil stay with Dad, and switch off weekly. 

    We didn't come to this decision easily.  The Demons function pretty much as a unit, with Dr. Doom plotting, Daredevil executing, and Gollum running interference.  However, Gollum has become increasingly hostile and abusive towards his brothers in the last few months.  While Dr. Doom is always touted as the brilliant one, and Daredevil is firmly in the lead in athletics, Gollum is hitting his colt's years.  He is tall and thin for his age, with over-sized feet and hands that are too clumsy for his body.  As a result he has gotten pushed off to the side by his more accomplished siblings a LOT lately, and the resentment is eating him alive.  It makes him less than pleasant to live with.

    So I have my own personal Gollum.  It's not all bad- he is very loving and affectionate and kind when he wants to be.  He's also devastatingly funny, in a dry, sarcastic way.  Now the trick is to get him to apply that loving kindness to everyone in the family, not just Mommy and the Alienbaby.

    Any ideas?

    Monday, September 19, 2011

    I hope my guardian angel is doing tequila shots right now

    Because they deserve them.  Today I nearly killed myself, most spectacularly.

    Granted, the roads were very wet.  And I was accelerating outof standing water.  But I KNOW better than to gun the gas in those conditions, INTO a turn.  Yet I did it- and as my car spun into the curb once, then away twice (yes, 3 360 spins- across five lanes of traffic)- they only thing that popped into my head was "Oh HELL no, I do NOT have time for this."

    There was no flash of my life before my eyes, no worry about would the baby and I be okay, no crying out to God.  I'm pretty sure he was already aware of what was going on, from the colorful cursing of whatever poor angel is assigned to riding herd on me.  Once I coasted into the parking lot across the street (for an automotive repair shop- THERE'S some funny for you)- I stopped long enough to be thankful I had dropped off the Daredevil and Gollum (my youngest- more on him later) approximately five minutes earlier at school.  Alienbaby kicked in protest at the tightened seatbelt (good little Kia, that belt grabbed me like I was a hot date on saturday night), and I doublechecked to make sure that none of the oncoming traffic had suffered collisions.  Miracle- no one had.  I didn't even get honked horns and fingers shoved out windows.  Kentucky folks are nice like that.

    The scary thing is- I didn't even think about how close I had come to being roadkill.  I just pulled back out into traffic and puttered off (slowly, with my nerves a little jangled) to school.  I called Mark- because who else would I call that early in the morning but my insomniac friend- and gave him the short version.  By the time I did that, I was at school, and a few hours of staring blankly at the busy-work on my screen settled everything into a numb sort of blur.

    Mommies (and anyone else out there)- check your tires.  Check your brakes.  And if you ever get a chance to meet your guardian angel- buy them a drink.  They deserve it.

    Sunday, September 11, 2011

    The Definition of Epic

    Do you know what the definition of "epic" is?

    Getting up on a Saturday morning to the sounds of Bon Jovi rocking it out.  And when you stumble out to the kitchen, discovering Dr. Doom strutting his stuff in the kitchen, wearing yellow rubber gloves and scrubbing dishes.  WHILE headbanging and belting out classic 80s rock ballads at the top of his lungs.

    The good Doctor then proceeded to scrub down the ENTIRE kitchen (without being nagged or even asked) to sparkly goodness.  And then he and the other two demons vanished for a while, and came home with newts.

    Or salalmanders.  One or the other.  Small slimy lungless lizards who like wet places and are suspiciously cute.  And escape artists.  We currently have 3 in a makeshift habitat on the table.  And I'm not sure how many have escaped (apart from the three we still have contained), but I do know that the BF is TERRIFIED of them. 

    I know this because at 10pm, he jumped up screaming "GET THAT THING OUT OF HERE!" like a girly-man, and doing the pee-pee dance while pointing at the lint-covered orange and black speckled cutie crawling on the baseboard.  YES, he demanded, in girly-man squeals, that his 7month pregnant girlfriend scoop up the slimy amphibian and carry it back to its watery prison.  And proceeded to examine the room like he was expecting to be attacked by hordes of soul-sucking alien newts. 

    Yeah.  I'm totally going to tease him with Monty Python quotes for the rest of his natural-born life.

    Friday, September 9, 2011

    Aldi's, Baby Depot and Piggy Banks

    So, since I am a Bad Mommy, I overextended myself and bought a car.  A used (not so gently) 2001 Kia Sportage SUV.  It's GOLD.  Like money.  Which is what it eats, apparently.  In an effort to keep it full of gas/oil/non-dry-rotted tires/battery (Like I said, not so gently used) I have been picking up various other waitresses and taking them to work, or taking them home after work.  They give me gas money, and we all arrive happy and on time.  (Mostly.  I usually end up being about an hour early.)

    Well, yesterday, I forgot that I wasn't picking up the Pocket-Sized Pixie waitress, and left for my work shift two hours early.  Which gave me the perfect oppurtunity to do something I have been avoiding for the past six months- I went to the Baby Depot. 

    Predictably, I hated 90% of what was there.  And I was confused by half of it (do people really use ergonomic baby bathtubs?  I just plunk mine in the sink, or into the shower with me).  However, then I found the glider rockers. I should probably explain something about me and gliders- I love gliders.  Swings, rockers, whatever.  They remind me of my great-grandfather's kitchen porch, and him gently gliding us back and forth as his huge hands played with my tiny ones over a brightly colored toy toaster.  So I sat down in a particularly squishy glider, with a complimentary copy of Baby Talk- and promptly fell asleep.  For at least 20 minutes.

    The concerned saleslady who woke me up asked me if I was waiting on someone.  Embarrassed, I wiped drool off my cheek and rather sheepishly admitted that I might just be hiding from my house full of males.  I'm not sure who was more humiliated- me for drooling all over myself in a public venue, or the poor lady who then felt obligated to show me around the displays of cribs and strollers.  I think we were both relieved when I managed to escape.

    Because honestly, I might be able to afford a crib when the Alienbaby is about 6 months old.  *shakes the piggy bank and listens to the lone "rainy day" penny rattle*  If I have a pile of money fall out of the sky, I might be able to buy a nice (although not so nice as the glider that sucked me in like a wormhole) rocker for nursing said Alienbaby.  The BF has been out of work for three weeks or so now, and even with picking up extra shifts and side jobs, Bad Mommy's financial status is somewhat short of "rolling in it."

    Which brings me to Aldi's.  Not sure how many people have an Aldi's near them, but I like Aldi's, especially when I'm broker than broke.

    I spent $44.40 and got:

    10lbs of chicken leg quarters (awesome for grilling, stewing or baking)
    10lbs of russet potatoes
    Fresh carrots (1lb bag)
    Fresh celery (1lb bag)
    3lbs of apples
    3lbs of bananas (possibly more, they were pre-bagged and HEAVY)
    Giant flat of beef ramen for the demons to gnosh
    2 big boxes of stuffing mix
    2 big boxes of mashed potato flakes
    bread (oat bran and honey- delicious)
    2lbs of cheese
    a dozen cans of veggies (different types)
    2 gorgeous huge potted mums, crimson and gold, about to bloom. Shouldn't have bought them, but I caught their spicy scent as I was headed towards the produce, and it made me feel- happy. So I spent the four bucks and bought them, because when I sit on the porch and smell them, I feel better. Feeling better is a priority for me right now.

    That will get us through a week. I almost bought a giant bag of stir fry-style veggies for 3.99 (2+lbs) but opted to get fresh stuff instead. Aldi's almost always has really nice veggies and fruit really reasonable- they had BIG watermelons for 2.99 and pineapples for 1.50. I stayed away from the junk food, even though the Nutty Buddies were begging me to eat them. After paying my car payment, insurance, putting half a tank of gas in my car, giving BF gas money to go to his odd job, and buying groceries I have ten dollars to my name. But that's better than no money to my name, yes?