Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Big Dreams

Ever think sometimes that it's possible to dream too big?

You know, when reality couldn't possibly compare to the vision in your mind.

Like when you make vacation plans.  In your imagination it includes white sandy beaches covered in glistening sea shells but when you arrive you find coarse rock-like sand and clumps of dead, black seaweed. The hotel you envision to be almost 5 star, with mints left on the pillows really turns out to be a ram shackled Motel 6 with a broken ice maker and a bed you wouldn't dare lie on.

Or maybe being 10 years old and going to an amusement park that you've been anticipating forever only to discover that you're too short for the best rides and get stuck on the kiddie rides holding on to snot covered handles.

Some days, it feels like life in general is a lot like dreaming too big.

Mostly, its little things like trying a recipe that looks wonderful only to taste it and find it inedible. Finding the perfect shoes and having the store clerk inform you that they don't have your size. Choosing the most decadent dessert from the menu after dinner and having the waitress tell you they are out of that selection but how about some vanilla ice cream.  Stuff that in the grand scheme of things doesn't really matter at all.

BUT...every now and then it happens with something monumental and life altering like being a parent.  You get these little people and you're thinking I can do this. How hard can it be?  You feed them and love them and spend the rest of your life wondering if someone else could have done a better job.

Am I dreaming too big? Wanting too much? Expecting things that will only leave me bracing for hurt and dissappointment? I wish I knew!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Who knew garbage disposals are the root of kitchen renovations?

I never gave much thought to the life expectancy of a garbage disposal. Or the importance of one because "real" garbage in the kitchen trash can can generate smells similar to what I imagine a slaughter house in 100 degree heat may smell like. When ours quit working I expected to replace it for 100 bucks or so. Good news was that disposers DO cost about that amount. BUT....if you're replacing the disposal and you have an enamel sink with a couple of chips it in, its a good time to replace the sink too. Turns out a stainless steel sink big enough to hold a skillet (cause my husband says that's important) costs about $160.00. Still, a manageable cost. Oooooh, look! Shiny new faucets with a new sprayer. After all, ours was builder-grade, not-so-shiny-anymore and I didn't want the faucet to have shine-envy. It appears that the shinier they are the more they cost cause HOLY COW, $200.00 is a lot of money. Oh goodness, now our countertop looks aged and ugly. Enter....a new countertop.  I didn't want to take out a second mortage on our house so we settled for formica that looks like granite. Close enough for us anyway.

The door at Lowes should have a warning sign on it. Like "walking through this door will severely impact your ability to maintain a bank balance that is considered acceptable". Anyway, all this new-ness made us think we should reface our fake-wood-that-looks-like-fake-wood cabinets. Really they look like particle board cupboards that someone glued a not-very-realistic-picture-of-some-unidentifable wood on.  We called Home Depot, cause we are all about getting the cheapest price for anything.  They sent out a salesman, who would give any used car sales man a run for his money.  He quoted us about NINE THOUSAND dollars to put new fronts on our cheap cabinets. And of course that was if we signed  on the dotted line RIGHT NOW.  "His manager was out of town and he shouldn't offering this low price". YOU ARE KIDDING, RIGHT? RIGHT?!. He wasn't.

The next day we hightailed it over to Lowes again. We sat with a delightful lady who laughed with us about the price that "someone" (we didn't tell her who) quoted for refacing. Actually, she was probably laughing AT us but whatever.  She typed up a quote for new cabinets with the awesomest drawers for pots and pans and plastic stuff. Just like fancy kitchens on HGTV! New, amazing, just for us cabinets in the prettiest REAL wood is only gonna be 6000.00.  Well, who can have new cabinets with a pink backsplash (yep, the idiot that chose the tile when the house was built went with PINK).  Did you know that they design these stores so that you can stumble out of the kitchen design department is the happy glow of new cabinets straight into the tile department? They do! Marketing genius really.  We found glass tile that we both agreed on (which by the way, hardly EVER happens) so we had to buy it RIGHT THEN. For under 150.00 we will be installing a glass, OMG beautiful backsplash!

Then my frugal husband says " a stainless steel range hood would look really nice". Not one to argue and risk the chance that he'll change his mind, I agreed. Also, because the fan we have now over the stove hasn't work in, oh I don't know, maybe 2 or 3 years. When I cook, I almost always create smoke so a fan would be a really nice addition.

What this boils down to is our new garbage disposal snowballed into a kitchen remodel of just shy of $10,000.00. And the best thing about it is it is being PROFESSIONALLY INSTALLED (mostly). I may learn to love my kitchen, instead of just accepting it as just another room that came with the house!

Friday, August 27, 2010


When we met on June 26, 1997 in a place that neither of us usually went to, I felt the electricity almost immediately.  I was a newly single parent with a 5 month old baby and a 6 year old son.  What if the spark that I felt wasn't enough?  Maybe he didn't want to date a woman with a baby?  Or maybe the spark I felt was a hot flash and he didn't feel anything?   In my head I plead with God to please let him feel it too.  He says he did. Divine intervention I suppose.  Even though we were in a room full of people, I didn't see anyone but him.  I wasn't looking for anyone to date or God forbid, fall in love with but it happened.  When it's meant to happen it does!

We hadn't known each other long when I knew he made me the "me" that I wanted to be.  I had my fair share of scars from a bad marriage and baggage that Louis Vuitton couldn't compare to.  We spent days together learning about each others likes and dislikes, fears and accomplishments.  He held my tiny son who happily fell asleep on his chest.  He didn't care that my sweet baby wasn't his; he loved him just the same.  We were inseparable, still are.  I can count on one hand how many times we've been apart in the 13 years that we've known each other.  In the vast world filled with people, he and I fit together like puzzle pieces.  We still hold hands and in fact when we walk side by side our hands just seem to find the others.

We've had struggles like any married couple but I'd like to think we learned from them.  And every now and then he'll try to cook me stuff that I don't like and I think "REALLY? Do you know me? I hate rice or whatever gross stuff he thinks is good for me". But then I think of how lucky I am that he does so much for me.  He puts up with my quirks (and I have A LOT) and he loves me anyway.

In one lifetime I will never have enough time to show him how much I love him and how he still completes me!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lost and Found

This morning as I was just about to leave to take Nick to school (10 minutes late because OMG he CANNOT wake up on time) I found a frog about the size of a tennis ball IN THE HOUSE.  It jumped from the hallway into our bedroom door. Not through the door INTO it, about 3 feet up! It splatted and fell to the tile all wet sounding.  I knew I had to chase it out before I took Nick to school because if I waited until I got back it would have been hiding somewhere waiting to pounce on me or having babies IN THE HOUSE somewhere.  I grabbed a broom and proceeded to chase the critter out the door.

When I got home, I stuck my head under the bathtub faucet to wash my hair and found that we had an empty bottle of shampoo.  Minutes before that I found that we had no toilet paper.  I won't go into details how I discovered that (you can thank me later).

I opened my wallet to write a check this morning and found that my drivers' license was missing.  I don't usually have any reason to take it out of my wallet. God knows, I don't get carded for alcohol and I haven't been pulled over by the police in a really long time (knock on wood).  I couldn't figure out were it  could be.  I dumped my purse out on the kitchen table and rummaged through the miscellaneous crap I've collected lately.  I found pieces of random Tums, a couple of wet naps from a buffet in Vegas (from 2 years ago), 6 or 7 emery boards and my license (whoooo hoooo).

I'm still looking for my mind so if you find it please let me know. Okay? Thanks!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Super Sniffer

I have an overactive olfactory system.  Dr. Google says....well, never mind. I digress.

Most of the time it's pleasant.  I can smell orange blossoms in the breeze outside my house as soon as I open the door.  Or freshly brewed coffee through a close door.  I can lie next to my sweetie and inhale his scent for hours.  And baby smell (most of it anyway) should be bottled and sold because it is YUM!

But other times it's a curse.  Like loving Yankee Candle but getting an intense, immediate migraine as soon as I walk into the store.  Or smelling people from 25 feet away who smell like they bathed in an ashtray.  I can only imagine what their cars and homes smell like. Ewwww!

In the medical field some of the people who visit us have health issues.  Did you know that yeast has a smell? IT TOTALLY DOES and it DOESN'T smell like orange blossoms!  I know, gross but true. Sickness really does have a smell.

Then we have the elderly ladies who swear by Sweet Honesty by Avon.  Remember that scent?  I'm not sure it really qualifies as a scent as much as a stench.  Apparently as you get older your sense of smell shuts off because REALLY how can one  person wear that much perfume and still breathe?

So if you see me holding my nose somewhere, it really is NOT you, its ME.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fashion 101

Apparently I live in a house with a fashion designer.

Chris has a closet full of tee shirts from American Eagle, Hollister and a whole spectrum of over priced, gotta-have-label stores. His solution to make them even more awesome is to cut the sleeves and sides out of them. Now I don't think he owns one shirt that looked like it did when we bought it. Someday he's gonna look back at pictures of himself and say "what was I thinking?".

I know this because when I look back at pictures of my high school years I can't believe that I thought I looked good in anything neon, layers of slouch socks, jean I had to lay on the bed and zip with a coat hanger and jelly shoes. I wore shirts with puffy sleeves and shoulder pads. And Members Only jackets. Oh, and the hair! Feathered bangs that wouldn't move in a hurricane. Thanks Aqua Net! Or the fashionable banana clip with bangs teased to unimaginable heights. And ginourmous earrings that matched every outfit.

On second thought, maybe his shirts with the sides cut out don't look so bad after all.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I Cooked and No One Got Sick....Yet!

I was feeling kinda ambitious today. After several hours of the shows on the Food Network an idea crawled into my mind that I could cook some of those recipes.  It may have been temporary insanity because I was SURE I could recreate at least one of those meals.

It went something like this....

Chicken soaked in brine (fancy, fancy) Did you know that brine is just salt water with stuff floating in it?

Swimming chicken

I heated the water so the salt, sugar and aromatics (the stuff floating) would marry (that's what she called it on the show).  I put the chicken in and it over flowed ALL OVER THE STOVE. Cleaned that up and moved it to the refrigerator. Then, I remembered it was supposed to have wine in it. Pouring the wine in while it was in the fridge caused it to over flow ALL OVER THE FRIDGE. I managed to clean TWO appliances in one day (that NEVER happens). But before I could back out of the fridge the dish towel that was hanging over my shoulder fell into the pot soaking up a good part of the stuff the chicken was supposed to suck up.

The recipe said soak it for an hour but I got lazy and let it sit for 3 hours. If an hour was good, 3 should be GREAT.

I cut up zucchini and onions to saute (who knew I could saute ANYTHING?). 

I took the chicken out of its bath, dried it off and gave it a tan in a pan (heh, that rhymes). Then I put it in the oven to cook to 160 degrees.  I have no idea if it made it to that temperature but it wasn't pink anymore so I'm guessing it was done.

If you touch a pan that has been in the oven, it WILL burn you!
Yes, I know its a tiny burn but it hurt A LOT!

Dinner was served!


And eaten!

I'm googling the symptoms of salmonella now just in case.

Cooking is HARD! I think the shows on the Food Network are false advertisement!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Food TV

Our TV spends a lot of time tuned into the Food Network. I watch Iron Chef, 30 Minute Meals and a variety of other cooking shows that amuse me. I don't really think I'll ever cook anything from these broadcasts cause, well, I don't cook (EVER, if I can help it). They cook stuff that I would NEVER touch and wasn't even aware could be consumed.

It's amazing to me that my children grew up not malnourished because mostly, if it doesn't cook in the microwave, we don't eat it.  Luckily they were able to thrive on formula and baby food for the first year of their lives. I'm sure the hospital that let me take them home when they were born surely would have reposessed them if they knew I considered potato chips and chip dip a perfectly acceptable meal. Potatoes are a vegatable and chip dip is mostly sour cream which is dairy. See, food groups!

It's not true that I can't cook anything.  I can deep fry ANYTHING.  An entire meal can be cooked in the deepfryer. Fish sticks, battered califlower, oh and deep fried mashed potato balls (cold mashed potatoes, egg and flour). Practically gourmet!

I can make brownies too. From a box (is there any other way?). Except I tend to eat most of the batter before it makes it to the pan so sometimes they are a little thin after they're baked.

I don't think any of the Iron Chefs have anything to fear from my culinary expertise unless there is a Battle: Deepfryer.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Scattered and Scrambled

Most of my days are spent trying to sort out thoughts.  Usually they swirl like fall leaves in a gentle breeze and are easily swept into some sort of order.  Other days, the wind storm whip them into a frenzy and I am completely overwhelmed by the chaos.

Change or even the prospect of change sends my thoughts sailing over the rainbow (and NOT in a good way). I struggle to organize my thoughts so that they are not so overpowering but the effort to control them tends to cloud everything else.  I can't help but magnify the changes to such dramatic proportions that they become unrealistic and scary.  I don't always remember being this rigid and inflexible.  Maybe I was but was pushed to bend.

I pick out parts of conversations and allow them to burrow under my skin and fester when they are said with no malice at all.  Things that aren't my business and don't really concern me at all. Occurrences just mentioned in the light banter of conversation.  I swat at them like pesky insects but I'm defenseless to keep them from hiding away in my head and becoming hurtful.

I'm sure Dr. Google would have a field day with my craziness so I'll just stay away from that.  Writing helps more than I ever thought it would.  It allows me to tuck each thought into a nice little box, tie it up with a bow and move on to the next one.  I may not have something to say everyday,  aside from telling myself to keep swimming, just keep swimming (wise words of Dori from Finding Nemo).

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mistaking Honesty for Negativity

Some ugly things have happened to people that I love.  I wish I didn't know about them but I do and I can't pretend they didn't happen.

I can't forgive and forget and the anger that I have is curdling in my gut. It makes me physically sick to my stomach. I thought I could carve out the bad like removing a bruise from a piece of fresh fruit. I can't!

I comment on Facebook posts even though I know they are VERY public. In my opinion they are only honest comments, never meant to hurt anyone only to remind of my honest feelings. In this public forum, my comments are left open to interpretation and are judged. The comments left by others are judgemental and hurtful. Why do people do that? Are they so blind to the truth that they don't see the hurt that they are causing?

I considered deleting my comments and stop commenting my honest feeling but then I decided against it. The person that it was meant for will understand what I meant because she loves me and I love her. The people that construe the meaning to be anything other than honesty can BITE ME!


I take medication because I get headaches. Today, I got a headache because I couldn't get the medication. Ironic, huh?

I tried to save myself some time on my way home from work by picking up my prescription on my lunch break.  When the pharmacist gave me my medication she explained that the insurance didn't cover it. I smiled through gritted teeth, paid the $55.00 and told her it wasn't her fault and that I would call my insurance.

I dialed the number on the back of the card (from the only place I could get really loud, my car) only to be told they prefer I use their mail order program. I PREFER THEY COVER MY DAMN MEDICINE WHEN I NEED IT!  The idiot person answering the phone couldn't possibly help me, my request to opt out of their mail order prison could only be handled by ONE person, could I hold? I held, and held and held then my cell dropped the call.

Take two. My resolve to keep my head from spinning around was wearing thin as the next highly competent  representative answered my call. Please...just..opt..me..out...of...your...mail..order...program. Blah, blah, you can save, blah, blah, convenient, blah, blah. I just sat there saying nothing.  Finally they asked if I was still on the line. Yep, I don't want to be at the mercy of your mail order department or my mailman, just let me pick up my medicine at the store when I need it.  I think they pick up on my impending meltdown because after a couple clicks of the keyboard they told me to keep picking up my medicine at the pharmacy.

Target ran the prescription again and happily refunded my money. Target ROCKS!

I'll chalk that up to a small victory but now I'm going to lay down because I have a headache.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Is that REALLY me?

Sometimes I look at pictures of me and think is that really what I look like. I know that sounds weird but I have a hard time equating the reflection in the mirror to how people see me. I read on the internet somewhere that there really is a  psychological disorder where the very symptoms are obsessing about what you look like to other people (and if it's on the internet it must be true. Right?).

I see people at work who I know the ages of and think OMG do I look like that 43 year old person. It's not like I have a problem with growing older cause the alternative is, well, not good. But I don't want to rush it either. Inside my head I still feel like I looked in high school. Stop laughing, I KNOW I don't look like that anymore but I feel like I do. Does that even make any sense?

Like in pictures, no matter what angle it's taken from I have WAY TOO MANY chins. I've tried everything, short of exercise, to get rid of the extra chin-age but they are still there. IN EVERY PICTURE! And full body pictures are a whole nother story. You've heard of those embarrassing stories where some idiot asked a women when her baby is due and she's not pregnant. I look like that NOT pregnant woman.

On the other hand, I still see Pat just as he looked when I met him almost 14 years ago and he still sees me looking as many years younger. It's natures way of freezing time really. That part's kinda nice.

Most mornings after I'm done getting ready for work I look in the mirror and think this is as good as it gets. I'm okay with the image looking back at me but I still wonder how strangers see me.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Somethings Under the Bed

Last week we registered Nick for 7th grade and picked up his schedule. 5 days ago, a full size piece of paper! Sunday morning he announces he lost it. Somewhere between the car (in the garage) and his bedroom. He of course looked  "everywhere" and couldn't find it.

I pulled up the dust ruffle from the side of the bed and peered into the dark abyss that is " the underworld of his bed". Seriously, Nick will shove anything and everything under there.

From the inventory list of things I found:
  • One steak knife
  • One 1/4 full two liter bottle of cream soda
  • One 1/2 eaten cookie
  • One bottle of mustard
  • One bag of bread with 3 slices left in it
  • One plate
  • One car magazine
  • 3 socks
  • Several pieces of crumpled paper, ransom notes for the mustard maybe.
I have no idea why he stores food like a giant squirel saving for winter. Maybe it's the 40 or so steps he has to make from his room to the kitchen with his last ounce of strength because he's exausted from playing XBOX.

It's a constant battle to make him understand that food in his room will lead to BIG BUGS! Someday the bed will begin to shake from the bug party under it.  Gross!

Good news though, I found his schedule in my car right next to the empty McDonalds cup and on top of the petrified french fries and half full water bottle. Maybe the nut doesn't fall too far from the tree after all.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Letting Go

In my life, I've had to let go of people.  Some of it was my decision and some decisions were made for me. I tend to hold on to people, TIGHT. But every now and then it's best for me to let go a little (or a lot). I almost always do it reluctantly and with a few tears and I tell myself that it'll make my life easier. Sometimes I even convince myself that it's true.

Growing up I spent a lot of time with my Grandma and Grandpa. I spent countless weekends with them until I was well into my teen years. When my Grandpa passed away after a short but brutal illness, I felt myself pull away from my Grandma. Mostly unintentionally but it happened all the same. In hindsight I think I was protecting myself from when she left me too. What I didn't know was that she would be a victim of dementia and although she was physically with me she was slipping further and further away. I'm ashamed to say that as she drifted further away and I should have been there regardless, it was easier to pretend she was already gone and stop visiting her. Maybe that was natures way of making it bearable when she finally went to Heaven. It wasn't bearable, it was HARD!

I want to hold on to my granddaughter just as fiercely. But she's not mine to hold on to. Not in the selfish way I want to. I can't make her love me as much as I loved my grandparents. I can't inject myself  into her life and not expect to have to let go sometime.  Letting her go a little at a time is hard but for me but it's important. I'll love her with my whole heart always but always remembering that she's not mine.

Now that Chris has graduated from high school and is deciding what his future holds, I'll again be letting go. He's contemplating the military reserves. That sounds like a very "grown up" decision but it scares the shit out of me! My mom has a theory that your kids drive you crazy as teenagers so that it's not so hard to let them go when they become adults. I agree, in theory, because Lord knows he drove me crazy but I'm not ready to let go of him either.

I'm tired of letting go!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Terrible Twos, Round 5

I don't remember being two but like most two year olds I'm sure I was fussy, unwilling to share and threw my share of tantrums.

At 12, I was....well 10 years older but still kinda irritable, MY stuff was MY stuff and I slammed a door or two (or 461656, I have selective memories on that).

At 22, I was able to drink so I'm sure I was a little less grumpy. I was willing to share SOME of my stuff with certain people and my idea of arguing was just to ignore the offending person.

At 32, I was divorced (that can suck the life out of anyone). I really didn't have anything left to share except my heart which was pretty much in tatters and I was OVER disagreeing with anyone about anything.

Now I'm 42 (albeit only for another couple of weeks). I'm not always cranky anymore, SHUT UP, I'm not! I end up sharing my stuff (like it or not) and aside from a few squabbles (I made that word up...shhhh) over stupid stuff I rarely have full blown temper tantrums (okay, so that's thanks to Dr. Awesome and his prescription of magic medicine. Wheeeee).

I'm still not sure it's safe to say I'm grown up but I'm older and I haven't had to cover up any crimes scenes so that has to mean I'm getting over the Terrible Twos. Right?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Home Improvements 101

We replaced our broken garbage disposal a couple weeks ago which lead to a new sink and new countertops.  The shiny new-ness of our pretty new stuff made our cheap, builder grade cabinets look a little sad. In our pretty-new-kitchen high we thought we might be able to have the cabinets refaced. I'm sure new custom cabinets are expensive but if we only reface the ones we have how much could it cost? Right?

The salesman (and I use that term loosely) from the Depot of Homes assured us that this was the most affordable way to go. They have sales and discounts and all kinds of sugar coated deals and Ooooh, look shiny handles. Between the lines, "most affordable" is a relative term. If new kitchen cabinets are $25,000.00 then the $10,000.00 he was proposing could be considered affordable.

And we probably could afford his price if we stopped paying our car payments, gave up cable TV, changed the thermostat to a cozy 102 degrees and made several more uncomfortable budget changes for the next 5 years or so. I've watched enough HGTV to know that you can take cabinet doors off and change them out for less than 10,000 dollars. It looks like the sparkly new sink will not have any rivalry for oooohs and ahhhhs in our semi new kitchen.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Getting our hairs did

Nick and I both needed haircuts so I went to my neighborhood salon and had my hair cut by a women whos pregnant belly kept bumping into me as she reach out to make each cut. I had to sit through her tale of her babies daddy drama. How she got pregnant on birth control and she, her fiance (probably more of a boyfriend ) and their 2.5 children lived with the fiances mother. Blah, blah, blah. It took forever for her to cut my hair since each time she stopped to give me more unwanted details the hair dried and she had to spritz it all over again. Soooo NOT relaxing!

Nick gets his hair cut at a place specifically for mens haircuts because the last time we went to my salon the cut ended in tears from not one but TWO people. I had not taken him there before so I wasn't sure what the drill was. I guess I expected two or three old men chatting about old times or fishing and cutting hair with clippers or a straight razor. What I determined is that I GO TO WRONG PLACE TO GET MY HAIRCUT. A very cute, young blonde (not pregnant) girl cut his hair with minimal chatting. THEN she says since he's 13 he gets a free head and neck massage! Apparently the young men have to be at least 13 for this perk. I watched with jealously as she massaged his head for a FULL 2 minutes and pulled out a massager and a hot towel and proceeded to massage his neck and shoulders for another 2 minutes. I DEFINITELY DID NOT GET A MASSAGE FROM MY SALON.

Clearly I need to find a new salon!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Appreciating the Now

Registration for 7th grade was yesterday. Even though I knew it would take less than an hour to get Nick registered I decided to take the day off work and accomplish several small things that were kinda time consuming.

We both got hair cuts (more about that in another post). We went to the school where he will spend the next 6 years blossoming into a responsible adult (God willing). He was blindsided by an immunization that he needed before starting school but he didn't even flinch when the nurse plunged the needle into his tender arm. We shared lunch at McDonalds, classy huh? We enjoyed each others company. When did my little boy become a 13 year old young man?

Nick is not an avid reader. Something that is hard for me to grasp or understand since I LOVE books. But he will have required reading this year and I took him to the book store to buy a couple of the titles so that he could get a head start on his books. We sat on the floor in front of the Sunshine State Readers section and read the backs of some of the books. Maybe this year he'll fall in love with reading too. If not, I'll read them first to help him with the comprehension and let him read them out loud to me.

I took him to his long overdue dentist appointment and then to our family doctor for a physical.  The doctor asked him about symptoms of puberty (as if it is a disease). In his embarrassment he *may* have shed a tear and I wanted to scoop him up and whisper its going to be okay. But puberty is hard and I knew this wouldn't be the last time his emotions got the best of him.

We went to the mall and spent more money than we should have on shirts with logos. If it makes "fitting in" easier for him with American Eagle shirts and insanely expensive flip flops then it's money well spent.

Thinking back on the day we spent together makes me a little melancholy. I'm not sure I appreciated every minute we spent together while we were doing it. I only have 6 short years til he won't need me to take him to the doctor, or whisper that everything will be all right or make sure that he  understands a book that he's reading. I'm going to try harder tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that and EVERY day after until there is a time that I ALWAYS do it automatically.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Love Letters

We live in a neighborhood that has a home owners association. While I understand the theory behind these associations, property value, blah, blah, blah. Most of their infringements are a bit trivial. We have been the recipients of more than one of their notices that we not-so-affectionately call "love letters".

There are super secret spies that sneak around our neighborhood, hiding behind trees and posing as friendly neighbors with clip boards taking notes like elementary school hall monitors. They report to the powers that be things like weeds in the flower beds, shabby cars in the driveways or God forbid a swing set in view of the street. One could argue that we chose to live in a neighborhood with an HOA but really, when you've found a house after months of searching, the bi-laws of the deed restrictions kinda fall by the wayside of the 172 pages of closing costs.

Our latest love letter is advising us that our house needs painted and/or power washed and we may have planted some contraband plants in our flower beds. Apparently, we were supposed to provide "the board" with a list of selected plants that we were interested in planting for their approval. For this attentiveness we pay about 500.00 per year. Quite a bargain, huh?

Painting the house isn't going to happen for quite a while because the money is better spent on things like not living in the dark and feeding ourselves something other than Ramen Noodles (cause those are just YUCK). And we like the plants that we put in so they can just BITE ME.

I can't wait till they start peering in the windows to see that we are currently wallpapering our living room with their love letters.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Diagnosis: Hypochondria

I often joke with my doctor when I tell him I specialized in Hypochondria in medical school. He smiles but I know he's thinking stay far away from Dr. Google or Webmd. Too late.

I've had migraine headaches most of my life. I've had a brain MRI and several neurology consults. Good news, my headaches are not due to a brain tumor or any equally scary reasons. They are just migraines. Treated with medication and mostly controlled. I know what triggers them: changes in sleep patterns, some foods and not eating on a certain schedule. But I'm not giving up on sleeping in on the weekends or staying away from the foods that I know cause them (except anything with MSG, cause that will cause a headache before I can blink). So I'll just make sure I always have the appropriate medicines within arms reach.

When I don't eat early enough, my blood sugar drops and I get what a neurologist told me is benign essential tremor. I once tried to tell my family doctor that I had Parkinson's Disease. He asked me if I knew any of the symptoms beside the tremors. I said no and guess what, he refused to tell me what they were. Smart doctor, I would have convinced myself I had them all.

I've noticed in the last couple of months that half of the big toe on my left foot is kinda numb. I just know I have diabetes. But since I'm deathly afraid of needles and I've googled the symptoms of diabetes and I don't have any of them I'll just chalk it up to Left Great Digit Paresthesias (I totally made that up, sounds real doesn't it?). Oh, and I might have a touch of hoarding cause I'm watching  Hoarding: Buried Alive on TLC and a symptom is buying stuff you don't need. I *might* do that every now and them.

I'm available for consultations.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Shark Week on The Discovery Channel should come with a disclaimer

We like the beach. We spend as much time there as life allows. In between the important things like MUST see TV and work. It's a time for my Mr. and me to spend time outdoors without getting carried off by mosquitos. WE HAVE SOME BIG BUGS IN THESE PARTS!

But there are dangers at the beach, besides seeing men wear Speedos (which nature dictates SHOULD NEVER BE DONE) and seeing woman of ALL sizes in teeny-tiny bikinis. I watched some of the shows on the Discovery Channel during Shark Week these last few days (in between MUST see TV shows, of course). From them I learned things like "sharks don't care if you're not really the kind of food they like, they WILL bite you anyway but the good news is they don't USUALLY eat you entirely" and "if you grab a sharks nose it will stun them for 3.5 seconds and you can swim away VERY FAST".

Fast forward to our beach visit yesterday. The water was a pleasant 89 degrees and the sun was not beating on us like it can tend to do. We pulled out our snorkel gear. I know, avid sportsmen right? And proceeded to float around looking at the bottom of the sea which by the way only had shells laying on it. Where was all the sea life? Not one to settle for disappointment I grabbed a large shell and began digging for sand dollars or lost diamond rings. I didn't find either, dammit! I stood up to voice my disappointment to Pat and he was GONE. My mind flew right to every episode of shark shows that I have seen in my life. He was shark food, I just knew it.

Nevermind that we were only in 3 feet of water. I envisioned his snorkel full of water as the shark dragged him out to his favorite dining reef. I scanned  the horizon for his red snorkel bobbing in the water. NOTHING! He was just gone. I stumbled out of the water on the verge of tears thinking there aren't even any damn lifeguards on this beach who am I gonna tell that my husband has been eaten by a GREAT WHITE SHARK? You know that sick feeling you get in your stomach when you take your young kid to the mall and you turn around and they're gone? I had that exact feeling in the pit of my stomach. It wasn't like at the mall where they can have 100 people looking for your kid in a few seconds. HE WAS IN THE OCEAN!!

Now my mind wandered to how I was going to get home by myself. We drove his car, which is a 6 speed. I DON'T KNOW HOW TO DRIVE A STICK SHIFT! Great! My husband is shark food and I'm stuck at the beach where the shark ate him. I know it was an odd thought to have but  I'm not a rational person when I'm stressed. I put my snorkel and mask in my bag determined to NEVER go in the water again and as I stood up with tears in my eyes (seriously. And yes I know now that I overreacted )  There was some blurry guy waving to me.  Not just any guy, MY GUY. He didn't get eaten by a shark or even bit for that matter! I totally blamed the tears on the salt water.

I'm thinking Shark Week next year will go without me seeing a single show! In fact, I'm considering blocking the Discovery Channel from my TV all together.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Pieces of Perfect

I like to take pictures.

I don't do it very well and my camera is an inexpensive Samsung 7.2 megapixel, red (cause that's an important detail), point and shoot digital camera.  Some, okay most, of my pictures are kinda fuzzy. They are rarely crisp and in focus. They never appear in print or on my computer screen how I envisioned it in my head and saw in my heart when I pushed the shutter. You know those pictures that people take with the crisp foreground and hazy background or vice versa? I love those, especially when they contain baby toes or tiny fingers.

I keep taking the pictures anyway because fuzzy or not, I usually remember how the shot looked to me. I want to capture every dimple of my grandchildren and every important day of the people in my life. Memories that won't mean much to future generations but mean the world to me.

Like these (fuzzy yet adorable) pieces of perfect:

Friday, August 6, 2010

Finding Self-Esteem

In my tween years (way before that was a real word) I was painfully skinny. Not thin, SKINNY. I prayed for curves. In my teens and early twenties I was still praying. Then I got pregnant and had curves galore but they were fleeting and after my son was born the stork that brought him left with my new curves. I wore clothes in styles that were way too old for me. Maybe it was the way my currently ex-husband left me feeling like the things that were important to him weren't big enough. Damage that took A LONG time to fix. I continued to live in clothes that were better suited for a thrift store or my great aunts closet.

After my second pregnancy I kept some of the curves and A LOT of the weight but felt better about myself. I most definitely attribute it to losing the weight of a husband to divorce and finding a best friend who soon after became my new and improved husband. I very slowly shed the much.too.old.for.me. wardrobe and started wearing things more age appropriate. My Mr. likes how I look in shorter skirts and lower cut tops. I kinda like it too.  Except, now the clothes I like are more suited to my youngest nieces closet and I am clearly too old to wear them. I can't seem to fit the self-esteem I have at any certain time in my life to the clothes that I should be wearing.

I ordered a very cute dress from Old Navy that I saw in a magazine. The model wasn't so young she would get carded to buy beer so I thought it might be age appropriate for me. I wasn't able to find it in the store to try on so I took a leap of faith and ordered it in a large.

It kinda sucks though that it took me 40-ish years to be comfortable in clothes that I look good in.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Just a couple of months ago I picked her up from the airport. I waited with the anticipation of Christmas morning for her to step out of the shuttle with a granddaughter I had not yet met.  After an eternity a few minutes the doors opened and she was right there just like a dream but better. I felt the tears burn behind my eye lids and keeping them from falling was more than I could manage. They dripped down my cheeks as I reached out to hug the daughter I hadn't seen in over a year and a half. No, I didn't give birth to her but she IS my daughter and we clung to each other like we never wanted to let go, sobbing into each others shoulders. It was a feeling like I've never experienced before. Reluctantly, I let go to meet her 5 month old daughter. The granddaughter I has listened to be born on a speaker phone almost 4700 miles away. She shares no genes with me but that child implanted herself so deeply in my heart with that first touch that I knew I was in trouble.

Over the following couple of weeks we shared and cried and I learned thing that I wish I'd never learned. Things I can't control yet very serious things that affect every moment of both my daughters life and that of her sweet baby girl. The potential for pain that I would throw my body over to keep it from touching either of them. I can't make decisions for her and all though I can share past experiences that left me scarred and more than a little less trusting I can't force her to keep herself from living the same hell.

I'm trying so hard to remind myself that her situation isn't identical to mine. But I see in her eyes the less than carefree life she should be having with her bright eyed little girl. The freedom to enjoy watching her transform from a newborn to a inquisitive baby seems overshadowed by...I don't know...it's more than responsibility of being a new mommy. It's the weight of the world, her world. As much as I want to erase that look from her eyes I'm powerless to do anything. Helpless to kiss it and make it all better.

I long for that feeling that I felt when she clung to me at the airport like I could keep her from drowning. On that day I also believed that I could, I wish I still had that feeling.