Thursday, July 30, 2009


Things have been pretty quiet around here. Patrick will finish his last week of camp tomorrow, and from then on we will have no plans until school starts. I'm really looking forward to it!! Keeping the kids apart with rotating weeks at camp has worked out very well but for one thing - I am trapped in town because I'm not taking just one of them on a field trip, and if anything happened I can't be too far away. So, I'm planning on going a few places in the next couple weeks, maybe once to Baltimore and once to DC.

We found out that DH has the potential of a job with a Dream Company. It's nowhere near firm yet, so I can't really say anything, but it looks good. The benefits there are great, the company is very employee-respectful, and he would be doing what he really wants to do - development. So, keep your fingers crossed.

Josie has started taking karate as well. Thankfully, her class is right after Patrick's, so we just hang out there an extra 45 min. I think it will be really good for her, too; in addition to regular exercise, it will also be good for her self-esteem, and frankly I like the idea that she'll be able to protect herself as she gets older if necessary. I don't think many boys would try something with a girl who has an orange or blue belt in karate, or at least they would think twice. Her class is all boys, and I think that's good, too, since learning to hold your own in a group of boys, and being comfortable, is a big bonus as far as keeping perspective goes. Not to mention, she'll have a whole cadre of boys who know as much or more than she does as friends. :)

I found out the other day that our first single-family home was gutted in a fire, the day before our anniversary, oddly enough. That made me so sad. I loved living there, and I loved the house. We were so happy, and it was where Patrick was born, and I have a lot of great memories of being there. Plus, we did a *lot* of work on the house, which is now all gone. It's a miracle no one was hurt; the fire was started when the young teenage girl held a bottle of nailpolish remover too close to a candle she had burning in her room (?!?!?!), and it exploded. She threw it, and ran out, but the room was engulfed in about a minute, and the whole upstairs was ablaze in less than ten. If it had been winter, with her in long sleeves, I hate to think what would have happened. Thankfully, everyone got out OK, and it was just the interior that was destroyed. The woman that owns it is a single parent, and it was all she could do to buy that house; she even had to borrow from her sister to pay the closing costs. The only consolation, I suppose, is that she'll have an all new interior, electrical system, and kitchen with the insurance money.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Mathematicus Photographicus

It's a simple equation:

Do you have any FOOD???

Plus this

Remember this?!

Equals this

Ooooh, crap.

Is she mocking me?!

I'm pissed, but every time I look at her little guilty face I bust out laughing. I can't help it. Brat.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Houdini Containment System

In an effort to never, EVER go through another hour like we did last week, when the bratty houdinis ran free all over freakin' town (OK, it was only a few neighborhoods, but STILL), we decided to upgrade from this:

to this.....

and then this.....

arriving finally today at this!

Patrick helped with the flowerboxes, running the power drill once I had gotten it started (I held it steady for him). He actually made it most of the way through the project before he wandered off, too, maybe an hour or so.

Yes, I *DID* go into the foreclosure yard next door and cut down that crappy decorative grass! It was so big and thick that we had to use the chainsaw!!! It's sharp, we're allergic to it, and it's always in our yard. I'm going to go back over there and dig the roots up, too. Oh, I'll sprinkle some grass seed, or maybe throw down some mulch to make it look like a planned area (that whole part of the yard is overgrown landscaping, anyway), but I'm tired of it always ending up in our yard, so I'm going to make sure it never comes back! We also took out the little lilac bush that was in the far corner, which I was sorry to see go since it smells so good in the spring, but I have to admit that it looks way better with it gone.

Our only problem now is what to do with the brick patio. Stuff is always growing up through it, and it's lumpy. One idea is to frame it in, make a gravel base, and pour tinted concrete (or have someone else do it, more likely, 'cause, hello, I'm not into cement). Another would be to tear it all up and put in grass. Any ideas? I bought stuff to spray on the grass, but that's not really something I want to do all the time, and I'm not sure the pet-safe stuff I bought will really work, anyway.

We still have one more area to work on, along the rest of the pathway to the gate - you can barely see it to the left of the green garage side door in the last photo. I may do it this weekend, since I bought enough lumber today to do it, too. We'll see what the weather is like, because today was so humid I thought a rainforest was going to spring up.

Monday, July 20, 2009

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad House

Oooh, Josie is sooooooo mad at me!

While she was at camp today, I vaccumed the house, including her room. For the second time in as many attempts, the vacuum clogged to the point where I had to bring the hose downstairs and suck it out with the little shop vac we have in the basement due to the incredible amount of $hit on her floor. I was PISSED, and decided that it was high time to do what I've been threatening to do for a few weeks now, but haven't had the time for.

I threw out everything on her floor.

I threw out paper, plastic boxes with junk and/or scarves inside, random socks, and a wooden puzzle figurine. I dumped all the bowls and cups that she's been hoarding in her room on her bed. All the dirty, doggy-haired clothes I found were thrown on there, too.

I was on a roll.

I swept her desktop workspace clean, too. Away went piles of junk, beads, embroidery floss, and doo-dads. Anything even remotely tidy stayed. Everything else is gone.

Then I moved on to her trash. Lest you think I'm exaggerating about the grossness of her room, let me tell you that her trash was FULL, and on the bottom was a pullup from when my niece spent the night here in. JUNE.

Finally went the overflowing recycle bin. This may not sound like much, but Miss Thing is notorious for hiding things in there. Her (non-recycleable) binder for school was in there under a stack papers, along with a bunch of drawings that I'm pretty sure she was intending to keep.

By the end, I had three kitchen bags full of trash, plus an entire paper bin of recycling.

I told her that anything that's missing that she needs, for instance a binder for school, will have to be replaced with her own money, because I am not responsible for things that she deemed to be trash.

This is not the first time I've done this, but it's been a long time. I think she was four or five the last time; she used to hide huge piles of stuff in gift bags in her closet and then deem her room 'clean'. She lost some clothes, my little ponies, and barbies that way when she didn't think I would really throw the bags away if they continued to be catch-alls.

So, she's currently crawling under her bed, getting the nasty crap I wasn't going to go after., and I'm unpopular. But, my vacuum will not clog up the next time I go in there, by god! If this doesn't send the proper message, the next time, I'm going to dump the trash in the middle of the room so it can mix with the rest of the floor garbage, and she'll have to deal with it *all* herself immediately.

Bwah ha ha ha ha!

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Six Stages of Owning Pet Houdinis

Annoyance, worry, fear, panic, denial, dejection.

These are all the feelings you have when your daughter informs you that your dogs are no longer in the back yard.

Annoyance: They've only been outside for ten minutes, you think. Damn dog, I just patched the *last* place he busted through on the fence line between our house and the foreclosed-neighbor's house, where the fencing is more of a decorative soft ancient scrolly metal rather than real chain-link. I'm gonna kill him. Time to get the tummy yummys container, go outside and shake it. That always works. Thank heavens they're pigs. DH and I just talked about plans to replace that fence section this weekend.

Worry: They're not in the neighbor's yard. I can't see them. Crap. Shake the TY container harder and yell for them louder. I can't even hear them, and worse, I can't hear other neighborhood dogs barking at them.

Fear: OK, it's time to tell the people we know in the neighborhood. DH just got home, we'll split up and use the cars. Surely, in fifteen minutes, they can't be far.

Panic: They are *nowhere*. How can they be nowhere?! We've both been driving around for an hour, and no one has seen them or heard them! How can that be? Have they gone back to the house? No. Josie asks DH what will happen if we can't find them. Fighting tears, he just answers that at least they haven't seen any dogs hit on the road - that has to mean they're still running around somewhere, and we'll find them. Right?

Dejection: Voice hoarse from calling their names from the car, covered in sweat from driving around at a crawl in 90 degree heat for an hour, it's time to head home and see if they've miraculously come back. In the back of my mind - what if we don't find them? What will that be like? Trying to cover the nausea with rational thought isn't working.

Joyful relief: walking through the door to a vm that someone has them, has been holding them on their front porch the entire time you've been looking. They had, indeed, crossed the main road in heavy traffic and run through the neighborhood on the other side, but were lured in by kindly dog people about fifteen minutes after they disappeared from the yard. They must have called just after I got into the car, perhaps before I had even left, while we were still walking around. The dogs had made a beeline for major traffic.

Delilah breaks free from the woman holding her collar and wriggles over to me, but Baci, the Instigator, stays on the porch, knowing he's In Trouble. When we get home, both flop down on the linoleum in the kitchen, panting hard from their jaunt in the heat. Delilah wags her whole body; Baci puts his head down and stares at me with his Oh-Crap face.

We almost cry with relief. Back to the normal that almost-might-not-have-been.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

No News is Good News

I found out today from a friend that an ex-boyfriend of mine was going to be having a kidney transplant today. I'm not sure how to feel about it. It was a surprise, but I do remember him having some vague health problems even in high school. I was too young then to know what was going on; he never had to go to the hospital, but he did miss a lot of school a few times, so as an adult looking back, I guess it really isn't that surprising that he had *some* problems as an adult, but still, this is pretty big.

J was my big love, the person I loved more than anyone other than DH. We didn't part well. I cheated on him, actually, but that was oddly enough because I *did* love him. He was sweet, cute, funny, and he loved me right back. Deep down, I was terrified that he would leave me, like my father did, and I needed a backup plan to make sure I would still feel loved somehow. I did love him, though, very much, and I have had dreams through the years that I saw him and apologized, and he forgave me, and we were OK after that, as friends.

Isn't it funny how things can follow us through the years?

He found out that I had cheated on him because my "best friend", who always was anxious to try and pick up my exes, told him in an effort to make herself important to him. (I really don't know what it was with her - she literally tried to date every single person I ever broke up with. It was sick, and was what eventually ended our friendship the first time. Yes, I gave her another chance years later, stupid me, and it ended badly, again. Duh.) Since he was having alcohol problems by that point, he took out his hurt and anger by throwing water balloons filled with cleaning fluid at my bedroom window - thankfully I lived on the third floor, and they didn't reach. He would drive by my mother's apartment - in my friend's car - and yell insults. I know, I know, not someone I should remember fondly, right? In truth, I was afraid of him by then, but I knew it was the drinking more than anything, and between that and my guilt I never really held a grudge about it. I was in college by that time, it was my last summer living at home, and he was still living in his mother's house on the 'wrong side of town' (yes, he was That Guy), and things had moved on. I knew I would never see him again.

Except in my dreams, where he was not drinking, and doing well, and happy.

Apparently, that's not how things have turned out for him. He's married with two kids, the oldest a few years older than Josie, and they still live in that shack-like house on the not-good side of town. My friend said that his wife had visible cavities in her front teeth, and he must be in renal failure to need a transplant. His life is no easier now than it was when we were kids. It makes me so sad. Why are some of us so much luckier, and escape, and others are just bogged down, dragged further into the mire? His kids are now probably having an even tougher time than he did. I got away, and my children are way better off than I was. This does nothing to assuage my guilt over the past, let me tell you.

I will probably never know the outcome of his surgery, unless it goes horribly wrong and there's a notice in the paper. I know, that's morbid, but really, it is. My friend only knew because she ran into him by accident, which is the only reason I know. So, I guess I will be hoping not to know.

Hope that you never see anything on this topic from me again. Because no news is good news.

And the teenager in me still loves the teenager in him, just a little.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Many Words Come To Mind...

... when I see something like this.

As usual, John and Paul are sitting pretty, while George and Ringo are at the bottom of the heap.

I've heard of a crop circle, but a shit circle?

Just another case of the Man holding you down!

Pardon me, but your ass is on my neck.

Are you a top or a bottom?

Another great example of the trickle-down effect.

Any you want to add?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Slow Sunday

I can't remember if I mentioned this or not, but we have started medicating Baci Dog. The herbal pills weren't cutting it. I really need him calm during the day so I can work on training him on appropriate behavior, and if this is what it's going to take, then this is what we'll have to do. It's like a switch goes off in his head and he can't hear or see anything but what's exciting this over-stressed reaction in him, and there's no way to train him when he's turned off like that. Sigh.

I've started running again, but this time am doing it at the gym rather than on my dreadmill down in the airless cave basement, and it's a lot better. I can see TVs, and outside, and there's a/c and fans. I'm using the c25k DJ Beatsmith podcast, but the one day I forgot my ipod and did a routine on my own, I actually pushed myself harder, so I may alternate not using it and see how I do just listening to my own music, or maybe I'll just move up a week in the program. I've also been using free weights, which I have always preferred for arms. Since I wasn't comfortable using them in Man Land at the Gold's I used to belong to here, I haven't had easy access to them in a few years, and they're just so much better. Legs are still machine-bound for me, but most arm stuff is easier and more comfortable with the weights, since arm machines usually require you to rest your chest against a pad, and there are no boobie-breathing holes. The girls were squooshed. My new gym is a small business owned by a really nice guy, and the atmosphere is good, which is so important. If you feel like crap, or too self-conscious, you're not going to go.

However, I think the yoga instructor hates me. She's a very thin, sober person, and I think it irks her that I always can do the moves as well as she can. A lot of the other people in the classes are older, or new to it, but in our old town, I took a power yoga class twice a week where we did a lot of inverted poses, and she made us work into doing downward dog for five minites. It was tough, and I loved it. So, after the last class I took on 7/3, afterwards I asked her if the gym was thinking of offering a power yoga class at any point. She looked at me, all miffed, and announced that her class *was* a power class. Um, no, it's not, but she looked really, really mad at me for insinuating that her class was too easy!!! Snit. When my ass doesn't jiggle quite so much, I should get certified and teach one my own damn self. Shoot, I could snap her like a twig. She can kiss my cobra.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Literally Booked Announcement

The next book I will host a club discussion for is Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout, which has a 4.5 star rating after 139 reader reviews. Anyone planning to read along should post here to enter a contest to win a copy of the book!

I'm toying with the idea of hosting a live chat meeting rather than simply posting questions this month. How that carries off will depend on how many people sign up to participate! The discussion, in whatever format, will be held around Sept 1.

Also, if anyone read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, thought questions regarding that novel have been posted as well. :)

Friday Photo Follies - Irony Edition

Apparently, they ran out of ideas.

The idea store is officially closed for business.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Sissies Aren't Winners - But Maybe You Are!

My friends, I come to you now to admit something that you will not believe.

Patrick is a sissy.

And, when I say sissy, I mean giant pansy-ass whiner it.

I'll just give you a moment to process this little doo-dad of information.

You need evidence, you say? Fine. I present you with this:

- when we were walking the dogs at the canal, he tripped while we were in the water with them and got a scrape on his finger. I could barely see it. There was no blood, nothing that would even need a scab. No normal person would have cared. My boy, however, screamed like he was in LABOR for fifteen minutes as we walked back towards the car. I'm serious, people stared as they walked by us. The only reason he stopped at ALL was because I finally called back to him (Josie and I were about five yards ahead because I couldn't stand the screeching anymore without wanting to kill him), 'What would your friends think if they saw what you were doing right now?! Patrick Lastname, you are being a sissy, and I want you to stop it right now!' He buttoned up, and after I completely ignored him for about five minutes, he stopped and 'recovered'.

- just now, he came shrieking in from the backyard playset where he scraped his knee. There was maybe two small inch-long scrapes. Again, no bleeding. He screamed like he had had an amputation. I had to let DH deal with it because I couldn't without scolding him, which seemed futile. DH gave him a band-aid. What should have been a minute-long affair was fifteen minutes of drama.

FYI, when I say 'scream', I mean high-pitched, shrill, little-girl-sounding screaming. So high, it's a wonder the glasses in the house aren't broken. It's piercing and painful to be too close to.

I do not know what to do with this. He hates for people to see his emotions, like his karate instructor, when he's frustrated-teary. However, he FREAKS and doesn't care who knows it if he feels there's even the slightest injury to his person. I've explained to him that people aren't blood-balloons, he's not going to bleed to death. I've tried every soothing, calming trick in the book to get him to relax and just accept that life has some scrapes with it. Nothing has worked. He just keeps screaming, 'it hurts so much, I feel like I'm dying, it hurts so bad!!!' Affirming that he has some pain doesn't help. Telling him to man-up doesn't help. I am at a loss. I am NOT like this, and neither is Josie - both of us have gotten some pretty nasty injuries and just gotten up and kept walking.

This has to stop.

Have any of you have any similar experiences? Any suggestions, any at ALL, would be gratefully accepted. I feel bad ignoring any scrapes he has, plus it makes me look like as asshat, but that's the only thing that's worked so far. I want to make it better for him, but any attention at all makes it worse. HELP!


Now for the fun! The randomly-chosen winner of the bracelet is...... nowheymomma! Yay! Send me your addy and I'll send you your gifty! :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Medical Update

It's time for the promised Wellbutrin update.

I've been on it for about a month now, and I like it. It doesn't make me sleepy, and I have had fewer cravings and lost a little weight. The dose was too low, though, because I had a lot of trouble controlling the OCD thoughts and random inappropriate tearing up / mood swings. It was *OK*, but I knew I was battling myself all the time, which was tiring in itself. So, starting yesterday I'm going to be on the higher dose, and we'll see what happens. I love my doctor - she actually listens, spends time with you, and is interested in input and conversation about what things mean and where you personally want to be health-wise. That's rare, and I love it even more after that last quack I had.

I've been thinking about the OCD, and I think I know where the thoughts are stemming from. Growing up the way I did, my mother blamed me for everything that ever went wrong in her life, and abused me whenever she was upset about anything at all, whether it was something I did or something she manufactured in order to have an excuse to scream and throw things and choke me. It always made me feel like I had to manage every thing, every emotion, every experience, which was of course impossible since I was just a child, and a micro-managed, ultra-unhealthily-parentally-controlled one at that. Deep down, I really internalized that I was supposed to be in control, but since I wasn't, I felt hopelessly out of control all the time, and afraid of what was going to happen to me as a result of my not being able to do so. I actually used to have little fantasies/hallucinations about things related to that, like an image of a gate opening and closing repeatedly and I couldn't stop it even though I wanted to, or a swing swinging and I couldn't stop it. I was nervous, frustrated, and afraid all the time. Looking back in that way, it only makes sense that, now that I have children, all those fears have come rushing back. I can't control every aspect of their lives, as much as I might want to to keep them safe, and as a result, I have persistent, nightmareish fantasies that they are going to get hurt, and it will be my fault. I think that it's all the anger and fear about this that causes my depression - I constantly fight with myself, knowing that it's not right or possible to be in control of everything, but yet an abusive internal voice demands that I be so.

Another reason I equate a lack of control with violence, which I have never spoken about here, is because I was raped in high school by my first serious boyfriend. It happened after we broke up, and to this day I marvel at how easy it was for him to do that to me, and how I was so conditioned to being completely disregarded and helpless, I couldn't move. I was so tired of fighting all the time, and so betrayed by this person, it was literally like I wasn't even there. I blamed myself for not stopping it, for allowing it to happen, when the truth was, it was going to happen whether I wanted it to or not. The dichotomy of those two things - feeling like I was supposed to be in complete control, and yet also feeling completely personally helpless, is so deeply imprinted in my psyche, I don't know if I will ever be able to sort it all out and get over it.

...and I'm terrified that I've passed on genetic garbage to my kids, and that something in my past could affect them through my inability to process all of this. So, until I can, drugs will be for me, I guess. I would like to not need them, to feel like I'm not damaged goods, but I guess in reality I *am* damaged, and if taking these meds will help to make sure that my kids aren't scarred by my issues, then I'll be on them to the end of my days.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Fresh Babies, Get Your Fresh Babies Here...

Remember *these*?

Well, now, they're THESE!

Aren't they hideously cute?! They can't even cheep yet. The one on top of the peep pile kept lifting up it's little bobble head and opening its tiny beak for food. So sweet!!!

Now I'll have to think of names for them all! :)