Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Christmas fiasco

I'm so tired of even thinking about my Christmas plans! I can't wait for it to all be over and for life to get back to normal.

We seem to have something sort of worked out on the whole ticket thing. We're still going to have to shell out a substantial sum of money that we don't really have, but dammit, we're going, and we are getting some help with them. But with all the twists and turns in the reservation thing, we might as well just be buying them outright. Sometimes it's just not worth saving the extra few bucks.

And on top of the whole ticket thing, I'm now faced with the delimma that the kennel is full for the holidays and there's not room for Mo until the 28th. We're slated to leave on the 27th. Unfortunately, I don't think I have a single friend good enough to allow my stupid ass dog spend an evening with them. I'm hoping that one of the girls at work will help me out on this, but I'm not holding my breath. It sucks to impose a dog on anyone, especially one as goofy as mine. I know the cats are fine. Heidi won't mind coming by occasionally and checking on them, and it's not like they need around the clock supervision. They're pretty much loners anyway.

So tickets and dogs are the two main topics right now. I guess I'll just have to go with the flow and take what I can get.

The next huge issue is the gifts that still need to be bought. They have the big red wagon we want for Jonas on sale this week at Target, but alas, we don't have the money for it until Wil gets paid Friday. I'm hoping they'll still have one or two left by then. I mean, how many kids still get Radio Flyers for Christmas?

He's also getting a portable DVD player from Santa. At least, that's what I get from a good source. I don't know how I feel about it, either. I mean, yeah, it's a really cool gift, and it certainly will be a bonus on our flight home, but a 16 month old with his own DVD player? Isn't that a little over the top? But that's the society we live in, I guess.

There are so many things we'd like to get him, and so little in the way of cash. Plus we have to other kids to buy for, and the few adults we can afford. Ugh. Maybe we'll both get decent bonuses this year. I know mine is usually a couple hundred bucks. I'm hoping that stays true. Rumor is that Wil's company gave away $1000 bonuses to their employess last year. Man, what I could do with a grand!

This is the third year in a row that Wil and I haven't been able to buy each other anything. It's not that I mind all that much. There's really nothing I want anyway, but Wil feels like a terrible husband. I mean, no Anniversary gifts, no Birthday gifts, AND no Christmas?! He just doesn't feel right about it at all. So this year we're getting new livingroom furniture. It's something we've both wanted for a very long time. I couldn't be happier.

I'd still like to get him something of his very own. I know he's been lusting after an ipod so that he can listen to music while he's on the road all day in his work van. I wish I knew enough about them to make an educated decision on buying one. Anyone out there have any experience with them?

And finally, I dropped our camcorder off to be serviced today. Hopefully it'll be an easy and inexpensive fix. The bad news is, it's not going to be back from service until the 28th. Of course. Seems like that's just my sort of luck. But I'm sure my brother will bring his to Tennessee, and surely he can copy whatever footage he gets.

But anyway, the kid's taking a late nap. He had his final immunizations this afternoon, and he's all worn out. Hopefully he'll still sleep tonight.

I think I'll go work on the hat I'm knitting him. It's so much fun to be able to make him something that's cute AND useful, since it'll be cold in Memphis.

Just a long ramble about nothing in particular.

Oh, and I might have this furniture out of here tonight. It may not be good enough for Salvation Army, but it sure is good enough for impoverished college students. If you've never checked out Freecycle, you should.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

So much for charity

I've been calling around town today, trying to find someone who might want my livingroom furniture. Yeah, it's not in the greatest condition, but it's certainly good furniture, and there are people out there who have nothing. I figured that some charity or another would be able to use them. You know, give them to a family who lost everything in the hurricanes...

Not so. I've called Goodwill, Salvation Army, and several local charities as well. If they're not in mint condition, they don't want them. WTF? Like I'm going to be giving away pristine furniture?! C'mon, I have a matching set of sofas and end tables. Really nice sofas and end tables. But alas, they do come with a little dirt, and there's a worn spot on the couch that's a bit threadbare. I just can't fathom why a charity wouldn't be able to use them.

So, I'm going to give a shot to Freecycle, but if I get no takers there, they're going to the curb. And it seems like such a shame, in a world where there are people struggling just to get by, and at a time when we are encouraged to give, that I can't give away something so useful.

Not to mention that it's a little insulting that the furniture that I use, and have used for years, isn't good enough for charity.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Happy Birthday Blog!

Damn, tomorrow makes it a year since I began this blog. An entire year of pouring my thoughts and useless ramblings into this literary cyber-attic.

When I began this blog I thought that it would help me get back into my writng. That somehow, magically, by creating this space I would find the missing muse, or whatever the hell writers call that spark that gives them the urge to create.

Have I accomplished any of that? Nope, not at all. Another year passes. I've written perhaps a total of four or five new poems in the last year, none of them of a quality that I feel is worthy of sharing. It's not a big deal, really. I suppose that people just change sometimes, lose interest in that which once was their main focus. Jeez, hard to imagne that just a few short years ago I thought that I might actually write for a living. What a freaking joke that would have been. Glad I didn't give up my day job, eh?

I went back and read through some of my original postings today. I couldn't help but notice how different my writing style has become. When I first started this thing I was intent on it being more than just some place for me to come and dump my personal ramblings. It was to have content, meat, thought, well-reasoned dissertations on the state of affairs.

Anyone who's a regular reader knows that today's product has none of that. I don't know if that's a bad thing, exactly. I mean, this place does serve a purpose in the fact that it keeps me sane sometimes. But there's no edge here, no hard, brutally honest truths revealed, no controversy or even anything to make a reader stop and think. It's just bland mental oatmeal.

But anyway, happy birthday blog-o-mine. Perhaps next year I'll look back and actually be proud of what I've put into you.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

Well, it's not exactly the holiday I remember from childhood, but it's ok. Right now it's nearly 80 outside and here I sit, bundled in two layers of clothing and a blanket. Yep, I've got Jonas's flu/crud. I feel ok other than the fact that I can't seem to get warm, no matter what I do. That and the achiness. Ugh. It seems to be a tradition that I get sick on every holiday. It's been this way all my life.

Jonas is, thankfully, napping. He's been incredibly good to me today, considering I don't have my usual energy. Instead of getting into things all over the house, he's centralized his reign of terror to just the livingroom. So I can lie on the couch and supervise the destruction without having to chase him around.

We're going to my Dad's just as soon as J-man wakes up. I've got sweet potato cassarole, a pumpkin pie, and a double batch of Tooter's famous yeast rolls ready to go with us. This is the first year in a very long time that I've done any of the cooking. It's not that I don't like to cook, it's just that my Dad has always just taken care of it and we've just shown up to eat. I think that Thanksgiving is a bit more fun when it's interactive like this.

Anyway, hope y'all all have a wonderful holiday. I'm off to the couch again.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Mother plays piano

Ok, so I've been searching online all afternoon for airfare to Memphis. I'm bound and determined to be there this year. I mean, hell, it's bad enough that it's been an entire year since I've seen any of my family, and now, with Daddy Dean so sick, I feel like I HAVE to go.

Homecomings are awkward, to put it mildly. I think I've always sort of been on the outside of the family, walking some delicate line between the two sides. There's Dad's side... the quiet country folks that live way out, and then there's Mom's side, the more sophisticated, city folks. And somewhere in the middle I sit, trying to evenly divide my time between the two. Lord knows you can't give one side more than the other, lest you leave everyone feeling jilted.

And now, I start my rant. Jessica, if you're reading, I'm sorry for any feelings I'm about to hurt.

Last week, before the news came in about Daddy Dean, and I was just considering going to Memphis to visit and there wasn't a real purpose, Mom sort of lead me to believe that she was going to be able to get me a ticket, no charge, or at minimal cost. She works for a company that allows her such luxuries. So, that sort of set the wheels in motion. If I could get there for a small amount of out of pocket, why wouldn't I go?

So then we start discussing our plans, Wil and I, and we decide that we really should go. Jonas deserves to see his family, they deserve to see him. But then the news comes in about Daddy Dean, and that seals the deal. We HAVE to go. There's nothing like a little terminal illness to get the wheels in motion, eh?

I start investigating ticket prices- they're astronomical. So I find the cheapest fare out there, and I call my Mom, who then gracefully side-steps the money issue and makes it clear that I'm on my own here.

Of course I am.

If it were her father that was sick (God rest your soul, Grandaddy) you'd better believe the fare would be paid, but now that it's Dad's family, Dad should be footing the bill.

And that's the way it works, you see, when the family is divided. It's always one side or the other that should be responsible, and not a group effort, even if both sides stand to benefit from the situation.

I just don't think it's right to take advantage of a situation like this, to turn someone's impending death into a financial findfall. I mean, if she could get me a ticket before, why, all of a sudden can she not?

And left to do this on my own, it's certain that Wil won't be able to come at all, and it's even doubtful that I can go alone. I mean, I don't exactly have $300 earmarked for impromptu vacations. If I had an extra three hundred dollars I wouldn't be driving a shitbox car that has three warning lights lit on the dashboard a funny noise coming from under the hood, a slipping transmission, and is overdue by about 9000 miles for an oil change. And that's the car we consider the "good" one.

If this were a first time event in my life that my mother had fed me some sort of empty promise, or turned something around on me, I might be a little less peeved about it, but it seems like she'll take every opportunity she gets to inflict some sort of hardship on me. Of course, it's done in the most innocent way possible.

Yes, mother plays piano, but nowhere near as well as she plays me.

Happy holidays y'all.

Striking Gold

This morning Jonas decided to pillage my long-neglected bookshelves. Just as I was about to get frustrated with him, I realized that he unearthed someting I had forgotten I even had: A huge envelope of old family recipes. They were a wedding gift from my mother, and I guess that with all the chaos of the wedding I had forgotten I even had them.

So this morning I have organized all of them into categories and placed them neatly into binders according to category. Wow! What a treasure to unearth! And just in time for the holidays. I've got sweet potato casserole, pea and asparagus casserole, and Tooter's classic yeast rolls. Yum! I've already made the sweet potato casserole. It's hanging out in the fridge until tomorrow. Tonight I'll make the yeast roll dough, and another pumpkin pie to take to my parents.

This is just what I needed to get me into the holiday spirit. A little nostalgia in the form of classic foods. There's nothing that can beat the memories that are tied in with good food, is there?

So thank you Jonas, for being the little terror that you are. I wouldn't want you any other way.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Hard to swallow

I'm trapped between the elation of finally having some cool weather and this sense of impending doom. I've often found that I'm more alive, more me, when the weather turns crisp. I guess after having about 10 months of sweltering heat, anyone would feel refreshed to be able to throw open the windows and welcome a breeze.

And yet, there's also the sadness that follows this season. For some reason the holidays are a time of depression for me. Sure, there's the fact that we're too broke to really buy all the things we want to buy for everyone. Yes, I know, the holidays are about a whole lot more than gifts, and that's something I want to instill in Jonas and in the rest of my family, but at the same time, it's hard to not get swallowed up in the commercialism of the season. And it's highly embarrassing when your best friend goes out and does something special for you, and you have nothing in return. Ugh.

I have a family friend that makes a tray of homemade cookies and treats every year. I have to admit that I long for that more than I do any storebought gift. There's just something so special about things that come handmade. It took her hours in the kitchen to make all of those delicious treats, and that means a hell of a lot more than the dollar figure at the bottom of any reciept. I just don't know how many other people feel that way. When I give hand made gifts I often feel like they're under-appreciated, or seen as cheap escapes.

One year I made lavendar filled heat pillows for everyone. They were wonderful, cozy, soothing. They got tossed in closets and never used. The only one that I know got any use at all was the one I kept for myself.

So I can't afford to shop this year. I mean, sure, we're going to get Jonas and the other kids something but it's not going to be nearly what we want it to be. But the rest of the family: sorry. I can't afford to joepardize the little bit of financial stability we have in order to lavish extravagant gifts on them.

And all of this amounts to a hill of beans in comparison to the underlying sadness right now.

The diagnosis is lung cancer. It's already spread into the lymphatic system. The doctor's word for it is "fast". Thanks, that's comforting. So, despite the dwindling budget and the piling bills, I'm determined to make it home for the holidays, if nothing more than to say goodbye to Daddy Dean. I don't think I've fully absorbed the fact that this is the end. If I had I'd be able to write about it, flesh it out, rage at the total unjustness of losing another grandfather to cancer. Instead there's just this numbness and this false sense of time. Time to say goodbye. Time to fit in a lifetime of memories and love. Time to fill all the years full of gaps and short visits.

The lesson: Life is a bitter pill, and I'm finding it hard to swallow.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle

Oh my, what a day!

We got a late start off to the big concert. No big deal, really, since the bad weather we were expecting held off, and the driving wasn't nearly so bad.

We arrived at our exit off I-4 fifteen minutes before the show began, then spent 20 minutes on the exit ramp being diverted to the farthest possible parking. Figures, when you have a small child in tow, and no stroller.

Regardless, we got inside the venue just as the lights were dimming. Jonas was completely overwhelmed by all the noise and flashing lights. To be accurate, he was downright terrified and had the death-grip on me. As we made our way to our seats, which were wonderfully close to the stage, he began this high-pitched scream that let me know that we were in for a long show. Instead of torturing him, I sent Wendy and Steven down to the seats and retreated back to the upper level where Jonas felt safer.

After the Wiggles made their grand appearance on the stage, the lights came up a bit and he relaxed enough to allow me to take him to our seats.

The show was amusing, hilarious at times. I honestly think that my sister and I had a better time than either of the kids. Jonas was perplexed. He didn't get the whole "live show" thing, but was fixated on the giant screen on either side of the stage that showed close-up. I guess in his little sphere of reality the Wiggles belong on tv and not on a stage.

I have to give those guys credit, they put on a great show, and their energy never waned. I know if I was asked to dance around and sing like that for nearly two hours I'd be close to dead by the end.

With the show over, we took our time getting back to the car, letting the munchkins work off some of their extra energy. Jonas did not enjoy being pent up in a seat the entire time. He was ready to get into some stuff and move those chunky little legs around.

Once we finally got them settled into the car, and we got back on the interstate, Jonas broke out in hysterical crying that lasted ALL THE WAY HOME. Yes, two hours of driving with a screaming, not just whining, but screaming baby. Not good for a mother's nerves. We ended up pulling over for a little while so that I could climb into the back seat and hug him. Unfortunately, because of her DUI conviction, my sister couldn't drive at all, so I had to push on, listening to him cry the whole way. He finally tuckered out and fell asleep right as we reached our exit. Figures.

We're home now, and the cause of his fit is evident. The poor kid's spiked a fever of nearly 104. He's apparently catching whatever is going around.

But, besides the two hour meltdown in the car, the day was wonderful, memorable, and better than I could have ever expected.

The only surprising thing is that Jonas seemed scared of the arena at first. I mean, my child isn't really scared of anything, except the vacuum cleaner. I never thought he'd be afraid of four silly Australian guys in colorful shirts, or some dude in a pirate costume.

Next time maybe my sister and I will leave the kids behind and just go wiggle on our own.

I know I promised Laura a pie review today, but to be quite honest, I'm just too damn tired to even think about it right now. Sorry, L. Maybe tomorrow.

Now I'm off to cuddle my sick little munchkin and drift peacefully off to sleep.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

A happy day

What a great and relaxing birthday!

This morning Wil took me and the J-man out for breakfast. Yummy sandwiches and great coffee in a decent environment. We sat and sipped out drinks and laughed at Jonas's antics until mid-morning. Then Jonas fell asleep in the car on the way home. He took an incredibly long nap, during which the hubby and I sat and daydreamed and just overall caught up on each other's lives. It seems like we spend so much of our time just passing each other by at the door that we sort of forget how important it is just to stop and reconnect sometimes.

We've both decided that once we get school out of the way and we have our degrees and whatnot, we want to move out of Florida. We're not really sure where to go, but the logical first place to start is somewhere that we already know someone. So since Wil has no interest in Tennessee, and since we totally fell in love with it last time we were there, we decided to start searching for houses in Oregon, near my brother. And we found it! Our dreamhouse! Here's a picture.

A beautiful old farmhouse built in 1900. Re-furbished sometime in the '90s. It's absolutely gorgeous, and at a reasonable price. I was telling my brother about it on the phone tonight. He told me that he'd go take a look at it, and if it was really worth having, he'd buy it. Heh, must be nice to have money, eh? :)

After Jonas woke up from his nap, we went to Granny and Daddy Daves for ribs and birthday cake and beer. Yum! Jonas LOVES Daddy Dave's ribs. As in, sucked the bones clean. I've posted barbecue pictures before, so I'll spare you this time, but it's really cute, especially considering the fact that he usually doesn't like meat at all.

There was nothing special about today. No big birthday celebrations, nothing fancy, but it was wonderful. Exactly how I like it. And just being able to relax and unwind for an afternoon and not think about anything serious: that was the greatest gift of all.

Oh, and I also got a really cool windchime thingy from my sister, and this really awesome new coffee maker

And a gift certificate for a haircut. (sorry, no picture available)

Tomorrow I leave work early to go to the fabulous Wiggles concert. I guess I should be getting J-man's bag ready. Can't leave home without a bag-o-snacks and a change of clothes. Now if only I could figure out a way to get milk to stay fresh in the car. Ugh.

Hope y'all had a great weekend as well. Oh, and Laura, the pies were excellent! I'll share details tomorrow.

Friday, November 18, 2005

You're joking, right?

Ten days left in the hurricane season and there's a storm out there.

It's projected to come across the state the same way Wilma came through. It's not that I'm worried about storm damage. The highest winds are going to be in the 60 mph range. The pisser is, it's supposed to make landfall on Monday.

Figures, I make plans to take the kids to Orlando to see the Wiggles and we have a freakin' storm coming through. Just my luck.

Maybe we'll get lucky and it'll fizzle out before it gets here. But for now, I'm extending two middle fingers at mother nature.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Jonas's appointment at the pediatrician's went without a hitch today. We did all of those routine things, height, weight, noggin sizing, physical exam, discussion of motor skills... and of course, the dreaded speech discussion.

So here's the deal. Children tend to focus on one area of development at a time. If they're highly advanced in one area, they tend to lag behind in others. Jonas is incredibly coordinated when it comes to fine motor skills. He can sort small objects, hold a pen correctly (not in a fist, but with the fingers) he can use a fork and spoon to get food to his mouth, he can stack block towers and place complex shapes into their respective holes. The fact that he can do all of these things with no problem is pretty impressive, and it's also part of the reason that he doesn't say a whole lot.

Since his last visit three months ago, he has begun to babble more, certainly no words, other than the occasional "MA MA" or "KA" (his word for dog) sometimes even a "EES" (his version of "this" said while pointing at an object he wants. These are all improvements from where he was back then. It shows that he understands language, hears language, and is making an effort at producing words. He's still behind, but he's on the right track.

So essentially, I have three months to teach my son 20 new verbal tricks. By 18 months he's supposed to know and use 20 different words. That seems like an incredibly huge amount of words, but who knows. Heck, he picked up the whole walking bit overnight, right? So, in order for insurance to cover any sort of speech/hearing evaluations he has to have at least a 25% delay in his development. That means that less that 15 words by that time means we're going to therapy.

As I told Vickie in a response to my earlier post, I'm not opposed to taking him to either of those things, nor would I be ashamed if my son truly did have a problem. I'm just sick of people who treat him like he's stupid because he doesn't talk. It's also difficult because both of my nephews have always been incredibly advanced for their ages, and it makes my "average" child seem incredibly "slow".

I'm just glad to have a few milestones to aim for, and to have reassurance that he's on the right track.

He didn't get all of the vaccines that he was supposed to get today. Apparently we did them late last time because of a cold he had at the time, and they have to be at least so many months apart. So we'll be making another trip just after Thanksgiving to get him up to date.

We did go ahead and do the flu shot today, just to get him prepared. I do NOT want to spend another January in the hospital with a severely sick baby. Ugh.

So that's the news from the doctor's visit, as if many of you were on the edge of your seat about it.

That flu shot must have had some sort of drowsy effect on the poor kid. He conked out at about 6:30, and it's blissfully quiet in Casa da Martinez. I think I'll go enjoy it.

A bun in the oven

Or a loaf, to be more accurate.

I've been on a baking kick lately. Not that I'm a particularly fancy baker or anything. I tend to lean more towards the practical when it comes to cooking. But my husband could live on bread alone, and after shelling out nearly $3.00 a loaf at the grocery, I'm determined to make some good bread right here in my own kitchen.

So today I've started with just a very basic white bread recipe. It required very little work at all. And, my opinion is this: You reap what you sow.

The instructions were to basically dump everything into the mixer and then, after forming a ball, letting it rest for 10 minutes before shaping it and dumping it into a loaf pan to rise 45 minutes. This didn't seem like enough rising time for the yeast, nor did it seem to be the most effective way to utilize yeast. I'm used to starting the yeast with the water and sugar prior to adding it to the dry ingredients. I think I should have listened to my instincts, but decided to follow the recipe exactly as written.

It's not that it's a particularly bad bread recipe. I mean, it tastes like bread, but it's not really what I was going for. It's very dense, yet soft in the middle. It didn't rise as well as I expect bread to. (I didn't think it would) The crust is unremarkable, not crusty enough for my taste.

But anyway, it will get eaten, and when it's gone, I'll try a new recipe and share my thoughts with y'all. And if you have a killer bread recipe, by all means, send it on over.

Good Morning

Jonas slept through the entire night last night. Can you say "hallelujah"?! At fifteen months old, I don't understand why this is such a novelty. I guess he's just restless like his Momma. I've never been a good sleeper either.

He has his fifteen month checkup at the doctor in a little bit. I haven't even gotten him out of his jammies yet, nor have I had my first cup of coffee. I'm not looking forward to this visit. I know that she's going to tell me that he's developmentally slow, that he should be enrolled in speech therapy, and have a hearing evaluation. I know that they don't mean to make you sound like you have a stupid child, but that's exactly the way it comes across.

No, my son's very intelligent. The fact that he's not speaking has nothing to do with the level of things he understands. And believe me, he understands plenty. He's just more of a physical, do it yourself kind of kid and not very vocal. But have you ever seen a 15 month old that can spill all the shapes from his shape-sorter and put them all back in, and in the same particular order every time? Hey, I think that's talent.

Or maybe I'm making excuses for my "stupid" baby. Either way, I love him just the way he is, and I wish the rest of the world would stop making him, and me, feel inferior.

Ok, so, not such a good morning. I didn't mean to come across so bitter. I'll post updates, and hopefully more cheery material, once we get home this afternoon.

Saturday, November 12, 2005


Jonas loves Ramen noodles. A few of them even made it into his mouth.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Not right

There's something decidedly not right about things lately. I'm giving up on projects. It's just a lack of motivation, I suppose. Coupled with whatever virus this is that's going around. I'm not exactly sick, but I'm certainly not well. It's just an overall feeling of blah. And I'm not the only one that has it. Apparently my sister had it last week, and my step-mom has it today.

I think Jonas is getting it, too. I left work early today due to the blah factor, and when I picked up J-man, he was fussy. He hasn't had a good day at school in weeks. I feel guilty for leaving him there, knowing how miserable he is. I don't know if there's really a solution for it, though. He has to go somewhere while I work, and he needs the social interaction of being with other children, I think.

It's hard to explain. Jonas is certainly not a shy child. Not at all. But I do think that he's easily overwhelmed. Sound like anyone we know? He does really well if he gets to spend a day in the infant room where it's quiet and structured and safe, but when he spends a day in his own classroom it's total misery. He doesn't want to play, he doesn't want to eat, he doesn't want to participate in any activities. He just wants to be held. He even fusses when they go outside, and normally he can't wait to go outside and play.

So I'm torn between thinking maybe he just needs a different environment that can cater to him more individually, and the fact that I really like this daycare because Steven goes there in the afternoons and they enjoy their time together. Personally, I am less than impressed with their setup, their staff, and their routine. But I don't know if an ideal daycare even exists. I've worked in the industry before, and I know how it works. The teachers are minimum wage workers with limited resources and too many kids. Sure, legally, they're at ratio, but I think legal ratio and manageable ratio are two totally different things.

But I'm rambling. Like I said, there's really no easy solution. I'm sure that Wil's mother would be overjoyed to have Jonas three days a week, but I still think the social interaction, and the diversity of school is good for him on a lot of levels. And if left in Wil's mother's care primarily I think his already lagging speech development would really take a nose-dive.

But there's mroe going on than just an overwhelming day at school. He's fussed ever since I picked him up today. He's clingy, wants to be held constantly, isn't interested in playing at all. Doesn't want to eat or drink, and just cried himself to sleep in my arms a few minutes ago. No idea what that's all about. Maybe he's getting the blahs, too.

Lord help me, it's going to be a long weekend!

In other news, we got our tickets to the Wiggles concert today. I don't know who's more excited, the kids, or my and my sister. Jeez, you really know you're a parent when you consider a Wiggles concert to be right up there with Jimmy Buffet. And as a bonus, Granny upgraded us to premium tickets, which means we all get goodie bags! Woo-hoo!

Ok, ramble over. Going to go watch my fussy baby sleep. Have a good weekend y'all.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Throwing in the trowel

Ok, so I formally retract any previous statements about being cut out for this sort of work.

Standing there yesterday looking at my carefully measured out wall and realizing that somewhere along the line my level was greatly skewed, I cracked. There's something so horrible about ripping out an entire days work. Not to mention that there must be some sort of something funky in that bathroom because I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening puking my guts out. I'm sure it has nothing to do with all the mildewed and moldy crap we pulled out of those walls last week, or all the mortar dust filling my lungs.

So one wall is nearly complete, the other two are going to be done by someone else. I don't know who yet, but it sure as hell won't be me.

After my puking rampage ended last night, I spent the remainder of the evening on Heidi's porch nursing a beer and soaking my ruined hands in epsom salt. Word to the wise, which I apparently am not, WEAR GLOVES! The mortar ate holes in my hands that ache and burn. I'm still picking cement out of wounds today.

If EVER I tell you that I want to lay tile again, you have permission to bitch-slap me. Repeatedly.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

For Erin

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


There's something incredibly liberating in taking on a project that most people lable as men's work.

Today I have chipped out the remainder of the old tile from the bathroom. I've been to home depot twice for materials since I greatly underestimated the amount of stuff I'd need to finish the drywall. Who knew that a 5X3 shower could suck up so much stuff?

So far I'm about $500 into this project, but I'm just about done buying supplies, and considering that's labor included, I consider it a pretty decent bargain. I still have to drive to yet another home depot in order to buy the rest of the tile I want. They were out of the decorative border piece that I wanted at the local shop. Fortunately, the store near Wil's parents house has plenty of it, and I have to go there to get the kiddo anyway. Then I have to stop by Dad's to pick up a tool I need to cut the pieces that will need cutting. Sure I can do straight cuts just fine with my manual cutter, but I want the precision, and yes, the gratification of power tools.

And if Wil could see me now, here in my plaster covered shorts, sweating, in nothing else but a bra and a baseball cap, he'd think I'd gone nuts, but I have to admit, I was born for this sort of thing. Sure, I've tried my hand at more girlier projects. I can sew, knit, cross-stitch, I can cook, I can clean, rumor has it, I can even write when I put my mind to it. But this physical labor... the sweating and the pounding and the measuring and the fitting and the tools, yes, the tools, it's just what I was meant for. At least, it feels that way until tomorrow when I wake up with every muscle in my body aching.

So now, with the bathroom starting to come together. I'm dreaming of the next projects I want to undertake. Unfortunately, the next couple of projects that'll be going on around here are ones that I can't do by myself. I mean, I could, but they're things I've never done before and things that I certainly want done properly. Could you imagine an exterior wall built by a total novice? That'd be a recipe for disaster.

The list so far looks like this:

1. New air conditioner.
2. New bedroom carpet.
3. Framing in the porch to convert it to a laundry room.
4. Wiring electric and running plumbing to the new laundry room.
5. While the electrician is working his magic, have him drop a line into J's room for a fan.
6. Stucco repair outside
7. Exterior paint
8. Shed door repair.
9. New countertops in kitchen (budget permitting)
10. Livingroom furniture (again, budget permitting)
11. Interior paint.
12. New, larger porch

Jeez, I must be expecting a huge sum of money from the refi, eh?

Actually, I think we can get it all done, even after paying off some other debts. OF course, like the bathroom, I may be significantly underestimating the cost. I originally budgeted about $800 for the bathroom, and that included a new vanity and new lighting. Doesn't look like that's going to happen. But the shower is going to look incredible, and the vanity can come in time, I suppose. The one we have is functional, and not horribly ugly. And I don't HAVE to have new countertops in the kithcen either. Just the added space of moving the laundry room will be a huge bonus.

And the new porch can be built piece by piece since my sister and her fiancee will be doing the work there. I just have to contract with someone to pour the slab. That's probably going to be the biggest expense. Even with materials and labor at a discount, I'm probably looking at $3,000-$5,000 for that.

Ugh. Guess I'd better re-think some of my priorities, or hope Santa's good to me this year.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Hubby Hatin'

There are some days in every married woman's life where she's going to hate her husband. Yes, Laura, it's true, eventually you'll wake up one morning and wonder why in the hell you married Doug. Don't worry, it'll pass and in a few days you'll be madly in love with him again.

Or maybe this is just my own unique situation, and I'm justifying it by thinking that the rest of the world must feel the same way?

So for the last two days Wil's been useless. Ok, more useless than usual. As a matter of fact, I put up with uselessness all week. It's one thing not to offer to do a load of laundry or vacuum the floors, but it's a totally different situation when your laziness makes my life even more difficult.

For instance: You're a man over the age of 30, you can find the laundry hamper. Your clothes don't belong behind the bathroom door. Nor do they belong in a pile in front of the washer. Nor do they belong on top of the washer. There's a neat little covered basket right next to the closet door. The lid is hinged for your convenience. Go ahead, give it a try. You can even pretend you're playing basketball, if that makes it more fun.

Your dishes don't belong on the dresser when you're done eating your midnight snack. There's a receptacle in the kitchen that's known as a "sink". Yes, that stainless steel thing with running water. Simply place dishes here, and if you think of it, maybe even run a little water over them so the leftover food doesn't turn into an impenetrable crust. Heck, earn brownie points. Put the dishes in the dishwasher. It's that thing that looks sort of like an oven located just to the right of the sink.

Oh, that's right, you're a man, you don't have a clue what an oven is. Nevermind, just put them in the sink.

When the baby waked up in the middle of the night, he is not very specific as to who is to trudge through the dark livingroom to the kitchen to retrieve his milk. You, too, can make this journey. And if you cannot, you could at least make sure that I have a clear path before you go to bed. Your shoes do not belong in the middle of the livingroom floor. There's a shoe rack in the closet. At the very least, tuck them under the desk or something. There's nothing more annoying, except maybe the jagged side of a leggo, to trip over in the middle of the night than a pair of poorly placed shoes.

And speaking of evenings. You could come home every now and then BEFORE your son goes to bed. He'd like to remember his father occasionally, and I promise, no matter what kind of mood he's in, he rarely bites. I sometimes wonder if you just really aren't interested in being his father at all, and it's getting harder and harder to make you sound like a wonderful father when I haven't seen you be one in almost a month. Don't give me the work bullshit. I work too, longer hours than you do. Either get up earlier in the morning and spend some time with him, or get your ass home in the evenings. I know your office closes at 6. There's no reason you can't come home before 10, even when I ask you stop at the store.

And stop giving me a guilt trip for going to the grocery store and buying groceries that we need. I never give you a hard time about the $20 you spend on a daily basis dining out. Yes, I know you ate $11 worth of taco bell last night. All that after telling me not to bother cooking, you weren't hungry. I'm not opposed to you eating whatever the hell you want, but if we're too broke for me to buy groceries, you sure as hell don't have any right to go out and blow a fifth of my weekly grocery budget on one (nutritionally void) meal.

I don't care if your knee aches, I don't care if you're tired. I've had a long day, too. I am on the go from the second my alarm goes off (at an hour you're completely unfamiliar with) until my head hits the pillow. It's probably my fault you're as incredibly lazy as your are. I'm sure I've babied you and done everything for you for so long that you've forgotten how to do them for yourself, but I seem to be preoccupied with my (and I call him mine because I can't seem to justify sharing ownership with a disinterested parent)son.

So get off your lazy ass and start doing something around here. At least show me that you're making an effort and maybe my shoulder will thaw just a little.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Empty promises

God it feels like this week has taken ten years off my life.

I don't know why I sometimes feel like I'm so run down. It's not like this week has been much different from any others, and yet, yesterday I was in bed before 8 pm. Tonight I'm only up due to circumstances beyond my control.

There's no need to make this a bitch-fest about mundane things like laundry and floors. I do enough of that already. But shit's gotta get done sometime, and unless I want to waste Sunday, my only true day off, doing housework, I have to double-duty during the week. Not to mention that I'm having my bathroom re-done tomorrow. That is, if the dude ever shows up.

I can't believe how hard it is to get someone to do something. I mean, if you'd been out of work for months, were living a mooch life on someone else's couch for free, and someone offered you a fair price for about 4 hours worth of work, wouldn't you hop right to it? Or at least call the person to arrange a convenient time? I'm going on week two of waiting now, and frankly, I don't think drywall is so difficult that I can't do it myself. I mean, it's just cut, nail, patch, tape. Right? I can do all of those things. If he's not here this weekend, I'm going to have to.

My washing machine sounds like two cats mating. No idea what's wrong with it, but it can't be good. I'm just waiting for it to croak. At least that's something I won't have to wait very long for, eh? No use worrying about it. It'll break, we'll have to get a new one. Sure, I'm cheap enough that if the dryer broke, I'd probably just hang a clothes line in the yard, but I hardly think I'll be bustin' out the old washboard any time soon. And I'm not dragging my 500 lbs of clothes across town to my parents or to the wash-n-fold either.

And now to the real meat of this post...

Today I did something I really feel shitty about. Don't get me wrong, I'm confident that it was the right thing, it's just, well, I lied.

You see, my first mistake was to get personally invested in a client. She's a sweet little old lady. She lives in an assisted living facility downtown and she has a little dog, Misty. Misty is a sweet, slightly nervous Schnauzer. Not my favorite breed, but she's not a bad dog. Anyway, Misty has to be on a special diet due to a medical condition, and since her owner doesn't have any means of transportation, I, feeling a bit sweeter than normal, offered to deliver her food to her one afternoon. Ever since then, she and I have sort of formed a bond. It's not that I feel put-out by doing this. I mean, heck, it's not even that much out of my way. And Jonas doesn't mind going to visit occasionally, either.

Anyway, Misty has been boarding with us a lot over the past month. Her owner had a nasty fall and hasn't been able to take care of her much. So Misty stays at the clinic during the week, and on Saturdays one of us takes her home to be with Mom for a couple of nights, and then we pick her back up Monday morning because by then her owner is too worn out.

Misty is her life, and she'd do anything in the world to make sure that that dog was taken care of. But boarding a dog long-term is expensive. Hundreds of dollars expensive, and when you're living on fixed income and your pet already requires expensive prescription food, it's hard.

So her owner called me today and asked that, if something were to happen to her, or if financially she couldn't keep her anymore, I'd promise to take care of her.

Jesus, what do you tell an old lady who's trusting you to take care of her only "family"? It's not like I could tell her "Nope lady, don't want your dog." I mean, just the desperation she must be feeling to consider giving Misty up... good lord.

Of course, I can't afford to take care of Misty, either. And I doubt that she'd even get along with the critters I already own. And I'm skeptical about little yippie dogs around my son, especially yippie little dogs that are used to a an old lady's lifestyle. I mean, it's a far cry from a warm lap and Golden Girls re-runs at my house.

But of course, I told her the only thing I could tell her. "Yes, of course I will." At least I prefaced that with a "Let's not talk about that right now. Let's focus on getting you well so we can get her home to you." But she insisted that she needed the reassurance, just in case.

And now that I've made that promise... now that I've told that lie... how can I live with myself if I don't follow-through? And how can I possibly follow-through when I can't afford the critters I take care of already?

Ugh. Lying sucks, even if it's for a good cause.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Neurotics Anonymous

I keep having these... hmmm, what to call them... visions. Nope, not going to sit here and call myself a psychic or anything. It's just that I keep having these neurotic little mind wanderings and in each one of them there is something catastrophic going on.

For instance: Jonas's daycare is located right behind a rather large company which manufactures military "stuff". Computer chips that do all sort of fancy stuff, satellite parts, etc. The other morning, while driving him to school I had this horrible vision of a terrorist attack on that facility, and the subsequent destruction of the unsuspecting children at the daycare, J-man included. Yeah, I know. Pretty far out there. But were the folks heading off to the WTC on Sept. 11th thinking anything about planes falling out of the sky when the kissed their kids goodbye?

And then, the other day I had an image of us, Wil, Jonas and I, out on a boat. The boat capsized and I was left trying to save both my husband and my son, neither of who can swim. There was that clear image of knowing that I had to make the choice: one or the other. I couldn't possibly hold both, and there was that moment where I had to decide which meant more to me. How can you possibly make that choice?

And then tonight, driving home from work after picking up J. There has been a report lately of people robbing cars in daycare parking lots while parents are inside picking up their kids. I mean, really, if you're going to rob a car, that's a great time to do it. I know that most of the folks that drop off and pick up at J's daycare don't even turn off the engine, much less collect their purses, etc. before going in.

So with that thought fresh on my mind, and sitting at a red light a few blocks down, I hear someone yelling from a few cars back, and WHAM! vision time again. Now I'm seeing some guy trying to carjack us and I'm begging him to take whatever he wants, just let me take my kid. He can keep the car, the purse, whatever else he may want. And I see him allowing me to unstrap J and leave him on the side of the road, but he won't let me go, too. So I'm setting Jonas out on the curb in busy traffic, and praying that he is safe, that he'll not get run over, that someone will turn him into the police and he'll make his way back to family since I know that I'm about to die.

Really the guy yelling behind me in traffic was just having an obnoxiously loud cell phone conversation.

And just why in the hell am I sharing this with you? I dunno. Just one of those things I felt like I had to get off my chest eventually. Yes, I really am this crazy.

So am I the only one in the world that has these soap opera drama scenes running through their minds on a daily basis? Good sweet lord, please tell me I'm not.

I must be

the last person on earth to know that the Wiggles are coming to town. All morning I've been trying to find tickets and the best I can come up with is upper level, row H. C'mon, are there really that many kids going to see the Wiggles on a MONDAY night right before Thanksgiving?

I guess there are. So now, do I spend $30 a ticket, and yes, I have to buy one for J-man too, and spoil the kids rotten for the day? Or do I just forget about it and be a sour-puss Aunt who, after already asking if he wants to go see them, doesn't take her nephew to the concert of a lifetime?

Ugh! This is going to end up costing me over $150, not to mention it's an hour drive or better. I guess they're worth it. (The kids, not the Wiggles)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Today's Lesson

When gutting a bathroom full of rotting ancient drywall and mildewed insulation, always wear a mask.

God my lungs ache. I probably just took three or four years off my life.

And with that, I'm off to Home Depot to drool over new tile.