No - I am not talking about your favorite cheap beer - you big lush. I am talking about the blue ribbon that was sewn into the spine of the book that I just read. I had seen reviews of The Help by Kathryn Stockett and they were all extremely favorable so I ordered it from my book club That's what geeky readers like me do - we join book clubs - it's the nerdy equivalent of a crack house. I do get some sort of sick enjoyment out of a new shipment of books. I love taking them out of the box, reading the back covers, reading the front flap, reading the author's biography and then I sniff them. You read that right - I sniff them. I hold them up to my face and I take a big deep breath. There is nothing in the world that smells like a new book. (you heard me my Kindle loving friends - you can't sniff a Kindle - well you can, but they just smell like plastic - they don't smell like paper and ink and knowledge)
I started reading The Help about a month ago. It's a pretty long little book so it took me longer than usual to get through it. It is an amazing story that was very easy to read. I found myself pruning up in the bathtub more than once because I wanted to read just one more chapter. It was one of those reads where I couldn't wait to keep reading, but was sad when I reached the end. When I first opened the book, a blue ribbon fell out. Not of the Pabst variety or not like my hog had one first place in the county fair. One that was purposely sewn into the book so that I (the nerdy avid reader) wouldnt have to damage the pages by folding them down or hunt all over the side of the bathtub for something that would serve as a suitable bookmark. Shampoo bottles do not good bookmarks make. That was my Yoda speak for the day. Try it sometime - it's fun and it annoys all your friends ! Annoys your friends it does.
Finding that baby blue ribbon sewn into the pages made my day. It's the simple things in life that make me happy. So I have decided that when I become a bestselling author that all of my books will have ribbons sewn into them for bookmarks. Some might have black ribbons, some might have yellow polka dot ribbons, some might have ribbons with glitter (wait maybe not - glitter falling on you while you are reading in the tub would not be a good thing - unless you are a stripper - then it would just save you a step when you are getting ready to go on stage - ok - the glitter ribbon will only go in the novel about the stripper since they would be my target audience).
Sometimes people just amaze me. I watched a woman today flitter around about buying presents and getting Christmas dinner planned and getting Christmas cards mailed and not having time to get all of her errands done and I just wanted to tell her to slow down. Actually I wanted to grab a hold of her and shake her and then slap her a few times and then tell her to calm the hell down. I have known this woman for a few years, so I have come to expect that every year about this time she will go into a full fledged tizzy over Christmas and every year I wonder why. Why does she buy gifts that are overpriced and underappreciated? Why does she feel the need to mail out a hundred cards to people that she hasn't talked to in years? Why does she plan this gigantic family meal for people who can't stand to be around each other? Why?
All of it makes me glad that we have chosen to raise our kids a little different. Yes we buy them gifts, but we don't try to buy their love. Sure they would love to have more expensive stuff, but I would rather we all spend time together playing games and laughing instead. We used to do the posed Christmas card every year. Every single year. The kids hated taking dozens of pictures so that I would have an assortment to choose from in search of the perfect shot and I griped about having to address the envelopes - and then Derek griped about the kids griping about having to take the picture and me griping about having to address the envelopes. Ah - good times ! Good times ! So we stopped sending out Christmas cards. In all honesty - my withdrawal and other situation was the real reason that we stopped bothering with cards, but now I am glad that we don't do it. If the people that I was sending them to hadn't bothered to talk to me all year long, then they weren't important enough in my life to send a card to in the first place.
So this Christmas season, I invite you to not kill yourself by stressing out over finding the perfect gift, cooking the perfect meal, or sending the perfect card. I invite you to just sit back and look at the ways that you are blessed and pass along those blessings to the people who are really important in your life. Send them a hand-written letter, call them on the phone, or (even better) cook them a meal and then go for a visit. Actually sit down and talk - face to face - no text messages - no emails - a real conversation. That will be the perfect gift !
When this life is over - we don't take the Iphones, the fancy cards or the pretty table settings with us. We take the love and the friendships and the feelings that we have for each other. In that sense - I am blessed - I am so very blessed !
For years I have joked about it and it has finally come to pass. My anniversary is in the next for days and at that point I will officially have been married for half of my life. That is right. Do the math. 36 years old. Got married at 18 (no shotgun in sight). 18 year anniversary. Oh yeah - that calculates up to half of my life. Wow !!!
As much as I would like to say that the past 18 years were the happiest of Derek's life - I cannot. I spent 9 years being doped out of my mind on a mixture of prescription meds and alcohol that made me worse than bat shit crazy. I treated him like hell and was even worse to our children. I had a huge ego and his opinion didn't matter to me at all. I had no filter between my brain and my mouth and if I wanted to say something hurtful then I just blurted it out. I actually got some sick thrill out of hurting people's feelings (especially his). I openly flirted with men right in front of him and didn't care that I was making myself and him look like complete fools. I would tear up shit around the house while he was at work and expect him to fix it when he got home. I had manic episodes where I came up with off the wall schemes that wasted money and time. I was a royal bitch - no other way to say it. The really sad thing about the meds that I was on (especially the SSRI and the Ambien) was that I really thought that I was normal and I couldn't see how they were making me act.
I have huge amounts of guilt and regret over the way that I treated people, but mostly about the way that I treated Derek and the kids. So to you - my love - my rock - my everything. I promise that the next 18 years will be happier, with more respect, more love, more caring, and more laughs. I will never be able to thank you for not giving up on me and for believing in me when I hit my rock bottom. I could not have made it through the hell of withdrawal and the other issues without you. I don't think that you will ever truly know how much it means to me that you stayed. I am so sorry and I love you !
For the past two years we haven't "done" Santa at our house (and I know that some of you and your perverted minds "went there", but by saying "done" I did NOT mean that we had intimate relations with Santa - I meant that we hadn't bothered to play Santa) because of my med and alcohol withdrawal and the stress of everything else in our house. We just didn't see the point in spending money on gifts that we didn't even get the credit for, for kids who didn't really appreciate how much work it was anyway. Besides - my kids have known for years that Santa is actually the Easter Bunny in disguise and we just didn't feel the need to keep lying to them about him living with a bunch of shorties in arctic temperatures.
Well - a few days after Thanksgiving I mentioned that we needed to get the tree up. Derek hates the Christmas tree that we have. It's one of those were you have to figure out what color the microscopic piece of tape wrapped around each branch is so that you can push the square end of the branch into the corresponding round hole on the base. We have yet to get through the erection (yes - I said erection - stop giggling like a 12 year old) of the tree without him cussing, throwing limbs, and swearing that we are going to buy another tree. Putting up the tree is an all day affair (I said affair too - man I am quite the potty mouth today) and there really isn't much of it that is pleasant for anybody. Especially Derek ... and anybody standing within throwing distance of those branches.
As I am talking to Derek about when he is going to get the tree up (we had decided a few years ago that it is best for him to do this when nobody else is at home), Bryce chimes in and says "I don't know why we put the tree up anyway. We never even have any presents under it.". I instantly teared up. It was like he had slapped me in the face. It really did hurt my feelings and all the sudden I felt like a horrible mother because we were no long wrapping presents for our kids. We let them pick out some clothes and give them some money, but nothing is a surprise to them anymore. So me in my limited intelligence decides that we are going to reinstate Santa this year. Why ? Well because I want to see their wittle glowing faces when they unwrap the presents that "Santa" brought them on Christmas morning. Or maybe it's because part of my brain is fried from all of the years of prescription med abuse and drinking vodka by the gallon. I am going to go with the brain damage theory because so far this has not been much fun.
So do you think that the kids would hate me forever if Santa just gave them practical gifts? Socks for everybody. Boxes of hot chocolate. Some tubes of toothpaste. Shampoo always makes a great gift ! Somebody can get a ham. Somebody else can open individually wrapped potatoes. What about some green beans? I could just wrap up the entire Christmas meal and we could take it straight from under the Christmas tree to the oven. What a great plan ! No ? Fine then - I will keep spending my lunch breaks looking for crap that I can't find anywhere because the electronics that they want were already bought up by better mothers than me. Ah - Christmas time !
I got lured into buying new magazine subscriptions again. I didnt mean for it to happen. It just did. I bought several when my darling daughter was selling them for Girl Scouts and then bought a few more when they sent me "special offers". Some of them I just flip through because they don't hold much interest to me. I do not need to know how to make a casserole out of artichokes and octopus, nor do I need to know how to wax my own bikini line. Um ... I have been married eighteen years. He will just have to get over the Playboy fantasy.
Anyway - while reading one of my many magazines in the tub the other night, I came across an advice column. The reader wrote the columnist to ask for advice about how to get her husband to help out with chores around the house. Basically it sounded like they both worked full time, but when he got home from work he flopped his fat ass in front of the tv for hours on end while she cooked, cleaned, did laundry, and parented the children. Well the happy little advice columnist suggested to her that she should praise him and reward him when he did do things around the house. I literally yelled "WHAT THE HELL?" when I read that. Was this chick serious ? I read on. She was ! She was actually telling this woman that she needed to praise the jackass for doing things like putting the toilet seat down, taking out a freaking bag of trash or making a sandwich for the kids. I searched that magazine high and low for the section where bitchy women like me can write in and tell the editor or happy little advice columnist what they think about articles. It was nowhere to be found. DAMMIT ! However, if I had written in a letter this is what it would say:
Dear you complete idiot,
Either you have never been married, have had a partial lobotomy, or enjoy living with a man who is a complete slob who doesn't respect you and treats you like a servant. Did it ever occur to you that the reader who sent you the letter was tired and worn down and probably needed an entire box of wine when she got home at the end of the day? Why is she expected to continue doing all of the house work, cooking, and child rearing PLUS praise the little husband for doing shit that he should have been doing anyway. My advice to her would have been to stop doing it. Stop cooking. Stop cleaning. Stop washing his nasty socks and stained underwear. Just stop.
Maybe when he got crusty enough to wash his own damn clothes - he would. Maybe when he got hungry enough to get off of his fat ass and go find himself a meal - he would. Maybe when the house started to smell like the dumpster behind the Stripes and need cleaning - he would. Or if all else fails - she could find her own joint and let him live by himself in his own filth eating peanut butter straight from the jar, wearing clothes that hadn't been washed in weeks, with piles of trash all around him. Maybe then he would start praising her for all of the things that she has done for him, because he sure wouldn't be getting any praise from me for doing nothing ! Telling a woman to praise her husband for helping her with the housework puts us back into the dark ages and we have clawed, scratched, and chewed our way to get out of those mindsets. If that same advice had come from a man then it would have been considered sexist - coming from you (a woman), I consider it an insult. It is an insult to every woman out there who has fought for equality and respect. Shame on you !
A Big Fan
Just because I felt like it - I had to whack Derek with the magazine when I came downstairs. After all he was a man and I am sure that he deserved it for something.
Derek had to work on Thanksgiving so I let Rachel and Bryce go to my sister's to watch her kids for her on Friday while she went shopping. Me and the other three kids went to Cracker Barrel for lunch and had a really good lunch. We came home and did pretty much nothing the rest of the day. Played some games on the Wii. Played some games on the computer. Watched some tv. Read a little. Well Wednesday night we had gone out to eat after dropping the older two kids off at my sisters and then went on to rent movies.
Thanksgiving night I decided to watch The Ugly Truth by myself since it was rated R. I got me a big glass of water, snuggled up in my bed, and started the movie. Well that is two hours of my life that I will never get back. If you want to watch a ridiculous movie with horrible acting, bad writing, and every dating cliche in the book then this is the movie for you. However - if you have any sense whatsover and find really stupid movies annoying then you might just want to pass on this one.
I watched the movie Waitress afterwards to try to erase the bad movie from my brain. I love the movie Waitress - it is soooooooo on my top ten movie list. The three remaining kids in the house must have been getting a little stir crazy and decided to play spy. Every ten minutes or so, my bedroom door would slowly creep open and I would see my son belly crawl across the floor to the foot of my bed. I would yell at him "you aren't a very good at this - I can see you" and he would always yell back "no you can't - I am a spy". I would crack up every single time. So throughout the movie, he would come up with elaborate ways to "kill" me because I was an evil spy and a traitor. He even got his sisters in on the act and sometimes they would ambush me with their spy skills. Oh yes - I was attacked with a blow dart to the face, a machete to my legs, and a machine gun from behind my dresser.
But don't worry - my kids were not aware that I had master ninja skills and I took them all out with an orthopedic pillow and a bedspread.
I told Beth that she needed to leave me alone for two minutes so that I could try to hear myself think (she is our talker). She went into the kitchen and set the timer. It was so funny that I couldn't even get mad.
I walked outside yesterday to yell at my children for something. Don't worry - I am sure that they deserved it and they didn't even listen to me so I doubt that it will cause considerable damage to their little souls. When I turned to go back into the house, I looked down and saw a fork laying in the flowerbed. A fork. In the flowerbed. Of course my first thought was "how the heck did that get there?". Then I remembered. Oh yeah ! I have children ! Therefore, it is not unusual to find the kitchen utensils in the flowerbeds or the bowls under their actual beds or plates in the clothes dryer.
I have simply stopped asking the question "how did that get there?", because the answer according to the children is always either "I don't know" or "it wasn't me". I have come to the conclusion that the answer to all questions asked by me or to me from now on will be, "because I have children". Why didn't you get any sleep last night? Because I have children. Why is there an empty package of gum in your purse? Because I have children. Why does your car smell like you let monkeys with gastrointestinal problems lose in there? Because I have children. Why is there a fork in the flowerbed. Because I have children. Why do you write this blog to vent out your frustations instead of drinking wine directly from the box? Because I have children.
Just wait though - as soon as those little darlings are out of the house - this chick is buying stock in some boxed wine !
I have been completely off of meds (Paxil, Ambien, blood pressure meds, hormones, and several vitamins) for a little over 26 months now. I did try to take fish oil and B6, but found that both of them caused my anxiety to go through the roof, so I stopped them. I do not take any meds, supplements, or vitamins now. I will only take an Advil for a headache if a warm bath and some meditation doesn't work first.
I will never use the word "recovered" when it comes to my Paxil use. Paxil and the combination of other meds that I was on caused such a drastic change in my personality that the whole experience will be a part of my life forever. It will be that way in some ways for all of us. We can't change the past. However, we can change our attitude about the past and work on the things that we feel are problems for us. Sure I have bad waves. Sure I have bad days. Sure I have anxiety in the morning. It might be Paxil related, but then again, it might not. A lot of it is strictly situational and when the situation doesn't change or can't change then you just have to change the way that you view the situation.
All of our situations are so different; the time that we spent on meds, what meds were originally prescribed for, the stressors in our lives, the amount of exercise we do, the foods we eat, etc., etc. Comparing my situation to somebody else's will just get me nowhere. I am on my own path and nobody else can walk it for me. I did a pretty slow wean (faster than some, slower than some) and it worked out pretty well for me.
I don't know that I consider myself "recovered" or ever will. Does anybody ever "recover" from life? However, I can say that the majority of the withdrawal symptoms have gone away and that I am seriously working on the thought processes that cause me anxiety or depression. That is why I post (on the forum) the "weekly challenge". It is things that I see that I need to work on to make my life and the lives of my family members better. I could sit arond all day long dwelling on the horrible things that happened to me, but I don't. It wouldn't serve any purpose at all. I know, because I used to do just that. I discovered that the more I sit around and dwell on the bad stuff, the worse I feel. It's like digging a hole of depression - the more I dig, the bigger the hole gets and the harder it is to claw my way back out of it. It is a mind set. You have to change the way you think or nothing else will change. If you believe that you are permanently damaged by the meds and that things will never get better then for you that might just be the case. You have to believe that you will get better. I believe that every single day is a gift in this world and for the sake of myself and my family - I refuse to dig the depression hole. Sometimes I find myself picking up the shovel and starting to dig, but then quickly stop myself and move on with the day. If I believed that I was destined to be depressed, then I would be.
I do not believe for a second that any of us are permanently damaged by these meds. I believe that the road to getting better is long and it is hard. I believe that if we have a negative attitude, then we are going to feel worse and I believe that we have to seriously work on the mental health issues that made us turn to meds in the first place. I believe that every life has a purpose and that my life might have been changed by meds forever, but I choose every single day whether or not it was changed for the better or the worse.
The kids were already at the park last night when I got home from work, so Derek and I decided that we would go walking at the park too (served the purpose of getting some exercise, spending time talking to each other, and checking up on what our kids were really doing at the park). I changed out of my work clothes into sweats and a t-shirt and we got in the van. I know. I know. It's hard to believe that somebody as hip and cool as I am could possibly be driving a mini-van. Alas - it is true ! I am the owner of a mini-van. But don't worry - it is completely tricked out with the cheapest possible interior, bits of Cheetos on every seat, and some smell that we haven't identified yet.
About a block away from our house, I start hearing buzzing. Loud buzzing. That dude from the chainsaw movie chasing me with a chainsaw buzzing. Whatever it was was in my hair. I have a ton of hair so I am sure that it was lost and couldn't find it's way back out. Poor wittle fella. He picked a bad day to forget his compass and map. So naturally, when unknown critters are stuck in your hair - you reach your hand up there to grab it. Not a smart move. It was a move right up there with the chick in the horror movie going back to save her cat. Not a smart move.
Long story short (I know - too late) - I got stung by the biggest wasp ever ! He was so big that other bugs were riding on little saddles on his back. He was big and he was angry ! I leaned my head down and he flew over on Derek who promptly screamed "don't throw it on me". Ah my hero !!! Was it wrong of me to hope that the wasp stung him right on the top of his big, bald head? I didn't think so. So Derek rolled down the van window and the little bastard flew out (the wasp, not Derek).
My hand is now partially numb yet hurts like hell and I have this bizarre fear that I am going to end up like poor Peter Parker. Never fear - Wasp Woman is here !!!
For four years in a row, the hubby and I went to Vegas for vacation - one time we even took the kids. Luckily, I was doped out of my mind then and don't really remember whether or not it was a horrible experience. Actually, I was doped out of my mind for all of our Vegas trips so we could have been mugged by giant sub sandwich eating gorillas and I wouldn't have even known it. The point that I am trying to make here is that we really did have a good time on those trips to Vegas (or I think that we did), but because of my Paxil, Ambien, and alcohol withdrawal (plus some other horrific issues) - we haven't been to Vegas in three years now. We really really really want to go back but really really really can't afford it right now. So Derek has decided that we will just go to one of the local casinos on Saturday and that will be "good enough". Well let me tell you ... it is not the same.
First of all - one of the things that I absolutely love about Vegas is that if you want nachos at 3 a.m. then there is some place that has an all night nacho bar and you can get your fill of cheesy chips. I also love that nobody and I mean NOBODY looks at you strangely if you are walking down the street at midnight in your pajamas with a four foot tall drink strapped to your neck. I also love that you can gamble, drink, party, drink, vomit, drink, and drink twenty four hours a day. I really don't drink much now that I am pretty much a recovering alcoholic (another lovely Paxil side effect), but just the thought that I could do it all damn day long is very appealing to me. Plus drunk people are funny. Drunk people playing slot machines are even funnier. Drunk Elvis playing slot machines is even funnier than that.
The local casinos do NOT offer the all night nacho bar. They do NOT have drinks so large that they give you another person to help you carry it. They do NOT let you walk around in your pajamas (tough lesson learned there). They are just not the same. Sure they have the same games and you can lose your money just as fast, but the whole experience is different. Derek thinks that we are going to go on Saturday but I told him "honey - it would just be quicker if we walked up to the door, opened it and threw two hundred bucks in, asked the security guard to kick you in the nuts and then we just leave. It would make us feel about the same in the end. Well I would be laughing about you getting kicked in the nuts, but after that it would be the same feeling."
Every morning the alarm clock goes off at 6:30 am and I hit the snooze button so that I can lay there for another ten minutes. I don't fall back to sleep. I never do. Mornings are the worst for me anxiety and depression wise and I will spend that entire ten minutes laying there thinking about all of the horrible things I did and said to people when I was crazy. All of the bad financial decisions after the Paxil made me manic. All of the times that I quit jobs and flew into uncontrollable rages. For the whole ten minutes, it's a daily slug fest with myself.
Well today, I have decided that torturing myself like that every single morning doesn't do a thing except upset me. SO NO MORE !!! Tomorrow morning I am not even going to hit the snooze button. I am going to get out of bed and do something constructive with that extra ten minutes. Laying in bed and dwelling on the past does not change it. I need to concentrate on the here and now and how far I have come. I need to stop trying to live the life that I think that I should have had and live the one that I do have.
It's been about two and half years since we found homes for the dogs and said good-bye to all of our pets. It was a tough decision for me but at the time I was going through Paxil tapering and withdrawal and some other really rough stuff. I had to make my life more simple and not having the dogs actually took away quite a bit of stress from our situation. Derek has never been an animal-lover. He had a cat when we first got married but he confessed to me that he only wanted a kitten because his big brother got one and that he really didn't have much to do with Sylvester. The poor thing was an outside Tom cat so he pretty much looked like he had been run through a blender a few times - plus he drooled when you petted him. As cute, little, fuzzy pets go - he wasn't one of them.
When Derek and I got married, I had a chihuahua named Pedro. He slept with me in my bed and he curled up next to me on the couch when I was watching tv. I toted that tiny little thing around anywhere. Oh yeah - when Derek got me he got the Pedro bonus. My little doggie friend was very protective of me and would growl every time that Derek came near me. Derek was nice enough to let Pedro continue to sleep with us even after the nipper nipped him on the butt cheek while we were being "romantic". I had to laugh. Derek did not.
After I started taking meds, I pretty much became a weird sort of revolving door animal hoarder. I would get a dog that I thought that I really, really, really wanted after spending hours researching the breed on the Internet, talking to breeders, looking at puppies, buying doggie books, etc. - only to decide after about a year that I really didn't like that dog as much as I thought I would and would sell him or her to somebody else. Then a few months would go by and I would do the exact same thing all over again. Oh yeah - I was bat shit crazy ! In the 18 years that my husband and I have been together (and keep in mind that almost three of those years have been pet free), we have had a chihuahua, a doberman, a dalmation, a basset hound (for a few days), a blue heeler, a shih tzu, a welsh corgi, a rat terrier, a miniature schnauzer, another miniature schnauzer, a black dachshund, a red dachshund, another black dachshund, and a blue dachshund. Geez - I haven't even counted that up. If I counted right - that is 14 dogs ! 14 dogs in basically 15 years time. That is insane !! Even more insane was the fact that Derek is NOT an animal lover (did I mention that) and that I basically just let the animals have the run of the place. I expected my small children to take care of the animals and I did very little. That's another lovely side effect of antidepressants - you are an uncaring lump. So during my manic times - another dog was ALWAYS a great idea but taking care of it well - was just too much for my fat ace to do.
In between all of the dogs - I also fed several stray cats who promptly gave some of my kids ringworm and scratched the hell out of them on a daily basis. That's one of the benefits of being insane - you really can't see that feeding every feral animal in the neighborhood might not be the best idea ever. Heck - at one time I even did research about getting a pet skunk. Oh I wish that I was kidding.
So while we had mange covered cats running through the yard, scratching the kids, and crapping in the flower beds; unwanted dogs in the back yard not being played with or given much attention; we also had cages and cages of various vermin in the house. Oh yes !! The kids rooms always had at least two cages of assorted hamsters, mice, guinea pigs, gerbils, etc. at all times - FOR YEARS !! The house stunk to high heaven - a lovely combination of vermin urine (hey that rhymes) and cedar chips. I wouldn't recommend that Bath and Body Works make a candle with that scent - it would NOT be a best seller. But that is another lovely side effect of antidepressants - your house could smell like urine and cedar chips and could basically be falling down around you and you just don't give a shit !
When we had mice they would fight in their little cage every single night. EVERY SINGLE NIGHT ! This wasn't just a little bit of squeaking either. Oh hell no ! This was as if the UFC was holding a free for all in the boy's room. I could almost hear the announcer "and in this corner weighing in at about 3 ounces, wearing the red trunks, and looking really cute is Buster". The college kid working at the pet store assured me that seven male mice in one cage would be just fine. Of course they won't fight ! Um ... well ... he was wrong. They brought guns, and shivs, and baseball bats to the nightly fight. They ripped each others ears off. They chewed eash others legs off. It was awful. Not to mention the nightly screaming. Not cute little mouse squeaking. Oh shit somebody is chewing my ear off SCREAMING ! But of course, me in my doped up stupor thought that it was funny and refused to get rid of the mice. Yes - Derek is a saint !
I won't even go into the Russian Black hamster momma who ate her own babies story. The poor daddy hamster would even try to save them from her. It was too traumatic even to write about. Poor little hamster babies. Sick hamster bitch.
So the moral of the story is that basically I am so glad to not be so bat shit crazy now that I would purposely go against my husbands wishes to hoard animals that I didn't even want to take care of. Somebody from work offered to give me a chihuahua today. I thought about it for about two seconds and then decided NAH - maybe I will get a fish. Or maybe not.
We have all heard the line from the famous Robert Burns poem about men and mices making little plans and how just when you plan on doing something then it all turns to shit and you end up sitting in your kitchen floor covered in rice krispie treat goo and drinking wine straight from the box. Well that probably wasn't EXACTLY what Mr. Burns was referring to, he probably had a cask of wine with wood splinters in it, but you all know what I mean.
Well last night, I made plans. Oh glorious plans ! Plans that any mother would dream of making. Plans that were going to cure cancer and end war ! Plans that were going to make liberals and conservatives hold hands together around a Christmas tree and give the world a Coke. Well you know what they say (thanks to Mr. Burns). The best laid plans of mice and men often go to shit !!! I am paraphasing here, of course.
On the drive home last night, I dreamed of how I was going to take a nice long bubble bath (after threatening the children to leave me alone of be forced to eat cold oatmeal with worms for dinner). They would of course cry "No mother dearest - not again!" and go to hide under their beds. Then when I got out of the tub, I would watch my shows on CBS (Christine and Gary) while painting my fingernails and then snuggle in to watch Glee while eating my dinner (aka a whole bag of microwave popcorn covered in Kernel Seasons Ranch topping !!!) Seriously though - if you are a popcorn eater be sure to go to www.kernelseasons.com and order you some - be sure to tell them that that blogger chick who writes about the dumbest crap sent you and you will get a free Kernel tattoo (ok - they give you those for free anyway but there for a second I felt really important).
Anyway - back to my plans going to shit. As soon as I pulled into the driveway at home (after going to get my lottery tickets and picking up my son, Bryce, from his friend's house) Rachel and Emily come running out to the car really freaked out and screaming about Riley fainting and falling on his face. This was not good. He did this once before during the summer and the doctor at the ER just chalked it up to heat exhaustion and sent him home. Well it is fall in Oklahoma - it can't be the heat this time. So I go running up the stairs after them and he is sitting up in bed with a blood soaked washcloth under his nose. He is pretty much out of it and can't really tell me what happened. I call the fire station and talk to Derek, who tells me to take him to the ER (duh - was planning on doing that anyway just wanted him to know what was going on). We load him in the car and me and the boys head to the hospital.
They run test after test on him and everything comes back normal. EKG - Normal. Cat Scan - Normal. Blood Work - Normal. Blood Pressure checks - Normal. He had a pretty major freak out over the IV, which was tough for me to watch even though he is fourteen years old. It doesn't matter how old he gets, he will always be my baby boy. They basically tell us that they can't figure it out and that we will have to make an appointment with his regular doctor who can order an EEG to test for seizures. Scary stuff ! I quickly forgot about my plans for the evening and decided that a bubble bath could wait and that I could just watch Glee online some other time. So for now - we are in limbo - don't know why he passed out and his face looks like he has been in a bar fight (and lost). Luckily (yeah right - real lucky) he must have hit the ground somewhat centered because the break in his nose did not cause it to bend to one side or the other. They don't even tape them in the hospital now - they just wait until the swelling goes down and then evaluate what to do next. His face is so swollen that he can't chew, he can't smile, and he is having trouble breathing out of his nose.
So for now - we are taking it easy for a few days - and not making any plans ! :)
A friend of mine's husband was basically being forced by his job to get the swine flu vaccine and the only way that they would be allowed to "opt out" was to have a letter from the pastor of their church claiming a religious belief that did not allow for vaccines. Well - me being the snarkiness queen, I wrote up this little letter for her to give to her husband.
Bob's Church of Judgment and Alien Understanding
2121 Oh Enlightened Way
All Places, All Times 90001
The date is completely irrelevant to our cause and is not needed
Workplace that imposes foreign matter on to employees
Dear stupid Earthlings who lack understanding,
A member of our beloved congregation has recently come to me in distress claiming that you, his employer, are forcing him to inject evil viruses and mind altering devices into his brain. As the leader of the ultimate group of chosen few who will one day ascend into the heavens wearing fur capes and pointy toed shoes, I seriously have to object to this practice, at least for my loyal followers. Here at Bob's Church of Judgment and Alien Understanding, we believe that only the chosen ones are allowed to push their ridiculous agenda on others and force them to behave in completely absurd ways. Therefore, we must demand that you allow our loyal follower and alien brother to be excused from your ritualistic injections of pig diseases so that he will be well enough to join us in our annual tin foil hat rally.
We also welcome you to become one of us and to embrace the knowledge that pigs are in fact so sacred that any illness they pass on to us is in fact a blessing and not a curse. As a matter of fact, we have made tin foil hats for them as well.
Apples and grapes to you and all of your loved ones,
Maybe it's because my daughter is soooooooo in love with the Twilight craze, or maybe it is because I don't find the thought of sucking out somebody's blood the least bit sexy, or maybe it's because those damn vampires are so damn pasty; but I just don't understand the big fascination with it all. Everybody and their vampire dog has jumped on the band wagon. Vampire books, vampire tv shows, vampire movies, blah blah blah. If people still carried lunch boxes then there would be some blood suckers on those things too.
I know that it's all fiction and fantasy which is the only real explanation for why they only have young, attractive, skinny vampires. Maybe I would be on board for the whole thing if there was a practical element to it all. You know that not all of the vampires of the world got sucked on when they were young and got to stay that way forever. There has to be some middle-aged, balding, stock broker vampires out there somewhere. Or the thirty something mom vampire who wears sweats all day and smells like baby puke. What about the geeky teen vampire who plays tuba in the band and spends his Friday nights in the basement practicing his karate moves (chicks dig karate). Oh no - all vampires have to have wispy hair, clothing that blows in the breeze, and glowing eyes. Just once, I want to see a menopausal vampire who has night sweats and is bitchy to everybody. Now that's a blood sucker that I can related to !!!
Who knows - maybe that is my calling in life. To write the perfect vampire book series. I am going to start with the grandma character and call the book "Menopause Sucks". The next one will be the overweight mom of five kids who prefers chocolate cake to blood sucking - that one is going to be called "Dieting Sucks". Do you sense a theme here?
For the past few weeks, every since that damn Twilight chick showed up at the MTV Video Music Awards with a new cute haircut, all I have heard about is new haircut, new haircut, new haircut. So I finally broke down and got appointments for all of the kids to get their hair cut - might as well get it all done at one time. So yesterday after school they all walked down to the local hair cutting joint and proceeded to get cropped. When I got there to pick them all up, Rachel was still in the chair and I admit that her hair did look really cute even though it did make her look several years older. All mothers of teenage girls understand that the goal is NEVER to make your teenage daughter look older !
Rachel spent the rest of the evening playing with her new hair do and sending pics of it to her friends via cell phone. However, she made the mistake of washing it and going to bed with it still wet. When she woke up, she was not looking like the star of Twilight at all - more like the star of Dawn of the Dead. That hair was everwhere !!! She tried and tried to get it flatten out and play nice but it did not work. So in desperation she decided to pull it all back off of her face and secure it to the back of her head with at least 457 bobby pins. This chick would be setting off metal detectors for miles !
I didn't see the lovely hair sculpture until we were getting ready to leave. I made several snide remarks about how glad I was that I had just paid all of that money for a cute hair cut so that she could pin it all to the back of her head. She made several snide remarks back and has not talked to me since. Ah ... the joys of raising teenagers ! P.S. they are few and far between
When the flat screen tv craze hit a few years ago we didn't go completely nutso and buy new tvs for every room in our house. We only went partial nutso and got one for the living room with our tax refund money. It is by far the best tv in the house. It has the cool sound system and the big screen. More importantly, the remote actually works every single time that you use it and you don't have to whack it against anything to be able to adjust the volume. You also don't have to run the dvd player through the vcr in order to watch dvds because the tv is so old that it doesn't even begin to know what to do with a dvd cable.
Well, the boyfriend of our darling princess seems to come over and plant himself on the couch on the nights when they are allowed to see each other. They have been together nine months (including the two months that they didn't really see it other) and have yet to go out on a real date. I never thought that I would ever think this, let alone actually say it to my daughter, but I just want to shake them and say "GO OUT ON A REAL DATE ALREADY". I want my good tv back. I want to be able to walk around my house in my jammies. I want to actually be able to walk around downstairs in my nightie gown, carrying a mixed drink and passing gas without having to worry about offending the boyfriend.
So I broke the news to her and told her that for at least a few weeks, they were going to have to venture out into the real world and possibly have actual conversations with each other that didn't involve "what do you want to watch?" "um ... I don't know ... what do you want to watch?". She actually looked somewhat puzzled - as if the concept of a real date was somehow foreign to her and she couldn't understand this date thing that I was speaking of. She asked, "where are we supposed to go?". After I stopped laughing, I replied, "well honey, you could go eat somewhere or possibly to the movies." When the lightbulb clicked on in her little Easy Bake oven of a mind, she uttered "yeah - I hadn't thought of that". I really don't care if they wander the aisles of Wal-Mart trying out nail polish colors or sniffing the laundry detergents. I JUST WANT THEM OUT OF MY HOUSE !!! So be forewarned America - I am setting this highly intelligent specimen of an human free among the rest of you tonight. Muahahahahaha !!!!
For those of you sitting there scratching your stuff and wondering what the heck a picture of pesto has to do with the names of magazines ... well I will get to that in a minute. For those of you that were wondering why there was a picture of chopped up grass in a bowl with a spoon by it on my blog ... you need to get out more often ... that's pesto you big bunch of hillbillies.
For those of you who know me personally (aka the fortunate ones), you know my struggles with antidepressants and sleeping pills and hormones and alcohol, etc. etc. well if you missed out on the time when the combination of those things made me bat sh*t crazy then you missed out on a lot. What am I saying? If you had lived through the bat sh*t crazy years then you surely wouldn't be talking to me now. You would have changed your name, sanded off your fingerprints, and caught a plane to an undisclosed location by now. Oh yes - I was THAT crazy !
Well during my looney years (severe mania, impulsive behavior, irrational thoughts, etc.), I became obsessed with magazines. If it was in print then this chick subscribed to it. Oh look honey - Teen Beat is still in print - where is that damn subscription card? I would get at least five magazines a week, sometimes more. I am sure my mailman wondered where this lumberjack, literary goddess, Betty Crocker wannabe, doll collecting, fashionista lived because looking at me then you wouldn't have thought that I gave a damn about anything especially not fashion or hair combing ... although I did wear a lot of plaid and carried an axe so he may not have wondered about the Lumberjack Quarterly as much.
I am slowly weeding through the magazine subscriptions and stopping the ones that I don't read any more. Some of them I get in the mail and just have to wonder who does read this crap. Does anybody really care that there are 57 ways to make pesto? Do they really go to the store and buy all of the ingredients to have a Pesto Party. I can just see the invitations now "Come on over on Friday for my annual Pesto Party - a night full of Pesto, Pesto, Pesto - and a line a the bathroom !" I have yet to come across one of my many food and cooking magazines that actually has stuff in it that my kids would even eat. I would love to see magazine names that actually said what was in them like "Stuff that you will waste your money on and try to force your children to eat even though they will hide it in their pockets and then beg for Ramen Noodles" or "The pictures of the food in here look great but yours will come out looking as if some alien puked in your serving dish".
I have also noticed that I have a ton of subscriptions to magazines for clothes and make-up that I would have worn in my crazy years but no way would be caught crazy in now. Sure, a five year subscription to Dressing Like a Drag Queen sounded economical at the time but now it just seems frivolous. Well doesn't anything associated with dressing like a circus clown on crack come across as a little bit frivolous. I think so.
P.S. If anybody wants to read up on the latest logging techniques, which lipgloss goes best with a hot pink sequined jumpsuit with matching cape, or needs to know the 104 ways to whip up cole slaw then I am the chick to ask. In fact, I might even let you have the whole magazine. It's true ! Dare to dream !
I am sitting here on hold with our cell phone provider because I had called to activate my son's phone - was on the phone with them for over 30 minutes while the customer service rep talked to me like I was five and said "okay" after everything she said to me. We entered the handy code to activate the phone and of course the handy code is not handy as IT DOES NOT WORK !!! Now the old phone doesn't work nor does the new phone. Bambi - the new rep has now had me take the phone completely apart and verify that it was in fact made by 10 year olds in China and that I want to throw the phone through the window next to me. Check !
Beth is upstairs screaming because she scraped her leg really bad yesterday in gym and pretty much tore off all of the skin down to her bony kneecap. The bandage that we put on it stuck to the sore and when she pulled it off, it took off more skin. So now I have Bambi in one ear, a screaming kid in the other, and if I had another ear it would have the other twin in it telling me that the first twin is upstairs screaming (as if I and the rest of the block didn't already know that).
Oh - I forgot to mention that I am also working on finding information about the locations of Big 12 football stadiums for a geography project while talking to the cell phone rep, pouring out Tylenol, making my dinner (reheated fish sticks and tator tots), talking on the cell phone to the daughter who is at the softball field taking pictures for yearbook, and trying to explain to my son why I am helping with the girls' homework. I refrained from saying "well son - I am helping with their homework because the class is taught (and I use that term losely) by a dumb ass coach who comes up with these assignments while reading the sports section of the local newspaper because he is a small town coach and cannot see past football season for anything". I refrained ! Who in their right mind would give two sh*ts about "Which two teams visiting Big 12 teams this week are located closest to one another?". I don't. Bambi doesn't. The 10 year old in China that made the phone that doesn't work sure doesn't.
I just want to scream but instead I will be nice to Bambi and try to get the damn phone to work, send Tylenol up to the screaming kid via the other twin and promise her that she can have a Nutty Buddy if she stops screaming, heat up my fish sticks for the 3rd time (a hot meal ? what the f is that?), calmly explain to my daughter at the softball field that she needs to be home by 7, and turn to my son and say "they just needed help - that's why". I am a mom - that's what we do ! Then we make a drink and sit in the bathroom floor talking to ourselves. Don't worry - I only drink on the odd numbered days. Oh crap - it's the 10th. Correction. Don't worry - I only drink on the even numbered days.
Well our little darling is officially ungrounded and now has her cell phone back along with being able to see her Romeo (or in this case, her Sonny). As a rule for having a cell phone, we (the parents aka the people who pay for the phone) have the right to check all incoming and outgoing messages. She is only allowed to send 30 messages per day, not because of what they cost (we have unlimited text - learned that lesson the hard way didn't we) but because that is the number that the outbox will hold. She has been told that if there are ever more than 30 outgoing messages from her phone on the bill on any given day then she will get the phone taken away. This prevents her from deleting a few messages thinking that we will never find out.
As we have been reading the incoming messages we have noticed a pattern of "babeness". He ends every message with the word "babe". As in "can't wait to see you babe" or "I miss u so much babe". It is everything that I have not to puke up my pretzels all over the phone when I read them. Doesn't that word just sound smarmy? As in, "hey babe run down to the Toot and Tote and grab me a carton of Marlboros" or "be sure and have dinner ready when I get home tonight, babe".
It's just one more thing that I am biting my tongue about. About to bite the damn thing off !!!
I walked out on to the deck last night to sit and read in semi-silence while the kids were all down at the park. I noticed that the Mountain Dew can that we have turned upside down on the deck for the bees to drink out of did not have anything on it, so I started to go back in and get them some tea or lemonade (they really enjoy the lemonade - or at least that's what they said in their thank you note - it was so small that it was really hard to read). Derek stopped me at the door and said "no - I already fed them some Mountain Dew today - they don't need anymore or they will just be hyper". Evidently, we are now parenting the bees and trying to control their intake of sugar so that they don't become over excited and oh ... flit around and buzz a lot. Don't they do that anyway ? It really cracked me up that he took the time and effort to share his precious Mountain Dew with the bees. It cracked me up even more that felt the need to monitor their daily Mountain Dew intake because we all know that the worst thing in the world is a bunch of honey bees doped out of their little minds on sugar and caffeine.
Question: Your cousin, Billy Don, had decided that this weekend would be the perfect time to take his two boys, Joe Don and Frankie Don, duck hunting. He has asked you to go along so that you can be a shining example of proper hunting technique for the new hunters (as long as you don't tell inappropriate jokes or scratch yourself). You have already promised your supervisor at the mobile home factory that you would work an extra shift this Saturday for a coworker who had a tragic greased pig wrestling accident (but that's a story for another day). If you work the extra shift then you will get time and half pay of $15 per hour for the 8 hour shift. If you choose to go hunting then you will need to buy more ammunition that costs approximatly $20, a new set of camo bib overalls that cost $135 (the d*mn skunk used your last pair to have babies in after you left them out in the barn - but you couldn't bring them in the house with vomit, beer, and creek water on them now could you - but that's a story for another day - d*mn skunk !), and two duck decoys at $30 each (note to self - when you are drunk do not use the duck decoys for target practice - kinda defeats the purpose of having them). Oh wait - you will also need to purchase at least one case of beer (well you will have to do that with either option so I guess you don't have to include that in). When you calculate the money that you could make by working an extra shift and compare it to the cost of going hunting with the "Don" clan - which is the better choice?
Answer: This is actually a trick question. We all know that going hunting is the better choice in all circumstances.
Be your brother's best man at his 4th wedding or go hunting? GO HUNTING
Witness the birth of your 7th child or go hunting ? GO HUNTING
Meet with your probation officer or go hunting? GO HUNTING
Have lunch with the President or go hunting? TAKE THE PRESIDENT HUNTING ! (Just don't invite that ex-vice-president fella - he is dangerous with a rifle !)
Derek has basically spent the past month working on fixing the damage to our rent house that was done by our previous deadbeat tenants. Evidently they were not aware that there was a bathroom in the house and that they didn't need to use the living room carpet for that. I can only assume that those stains were caused by a dog, but my goodness he must have been a Great Dane or a small pony. Derek took the boys over there to do some manual labor in the hopes of making them appreciate work. It didn't work. He said that they spent most of the time complaining and ignoring his instructions for how to get things done the right way. However they have become really good at doing two minutes of work and then requiring a whole Gatorade followed by a bottle of water. Things that normally would have taken him a few hours to do alone took twice that long with their "help". The day that they ripped up the carpet he said that he heard the words "gross" and "disgusting" at least a hundred times. So he started throwing out his own words. I am assuming that he meant they were of the curse variety.
In the hopes of getting the rooms all painted in just a few days, he decided to give them another chance. He gave them strict instructions on how to load the paint onto the brush, wipe the brush against the side of the can, and then apply the paint in even strokes onto the wall. Evidently their "parent to teen speak translator" was broken and they heard - dip the entire brush into the can all the way up to your wrist, don't bother wiping the excess off, and then slap the paint onto the wall as you are a monkey flinging your own feces. Evidently this caused Derek to proceed to throw out more of the curse variety words and the boys ended up walking home from the rent house (partly due to Derek's anger and disgust - partly due to the fact that they were covered in paint and he didn't want them in the truck).
Derek told me that we never have to worry about them opening a painting business together but if they do then their motto should be "McGee Brothers Painting - we do a bad job ... but we do it really slowly".
It's not ... I feed bees to bears or I feed bees to rabid monkeys ... no - I actually feed the little bees. A few weeks ago while sitting out on our deck under the recently purchased umbrella (that I now love - there I said it - and yes I have told Derek that I was wrong about it ... but alas that is another story), a bee came along and started "drinking" off of the edge of Derek's soda can. We knew that he wasn't going to bother us if we just let him get his drink and go - so we just let him be (pun intended). Well Derek got up to move the water hose in the yard and evidently our little bee buddy got selfish and flew down into the can. Can you see where this is going? When Derek got back to the deck, he sat down in his fave chair and proceeded to take a giant gulp from his can. He then proceeded to spew the soda along with the very traumatized bee out onto the deck. That poor little fella (the bee not Derek) probably felt like he had been swallowed by a fat, bald dude and spit back out on to a deck.
Of course, me being me, I go in the house and get some water to rinse the bee off. Nevermind checking the husband's mouth for bee stings - nah - he's a big boy - he can handle it. I slowly poured water on the little bee and he walked around as if he had had a few dry martinis for a little while, then flapped his little wings and took to the sky. I do remember hearing a tiny "thanks kind lady" as he flew away and I swear that he was flipping Derek off with one of his wings and vowing future revenge.
So now, when we sit out on the deck, I put out a little saucer of soda or tea for the bees to drink. Derek thinks that I am just luring them to our house so that they can form a posse and attack him while he sleeps. What? That's just crazy talk ! I would never do such a thing (insert evil, mad scientist laugh here). Actually, I have told him that I now consider the bees to be my little pets and that if he doesn't let me keep feeding them then I will just be forced to get either a dog or a small pony. He is thinking of names for my new little bee friends as I type.
I just can't help it. After the hell that antidepressants have put me through, when I see an article in a magazine about how great they are - I either have the option of screaming or writing a comment to the magazine. Sometimes I choose both.
A doctor actually suggested in an article written for a well known women's magazine that women should take an AD (the article mentioned one by name but I am refraining from using the name of the actual poison pill in this entry) in order to curb cigarette cravings - it made me want to scream but instead of going out into the backyard and throwing myself down in a hissy fit, I wrote them this lovely little comment:
Your suggestion that women should take (poison pill name here) in order to curb the cravings for cigarettes is just ridiculous. Antidepressants have serious side-effects. You would know that if you had done some real research into the subject. Taking any sort of pill to curb an addiction is the most ridiculous thing in the world to me. You cannot trade one addiction for another and expect to walk away "clean". It's like saying "I am going to start smoking pot to cure my alcoholism". It makes no sense at all !
This is the response that I got:
Thanks for writing to (well know women's magazine name here) to comment on "The Healthy Woman's Checklist" in the September issue. The author of the article, (insert uneducated doctor's name here), recommended that smokers use an "anti-craving regiment of (poison pill name here) and nicotine patches" to quit. (Poison pill name here) is widely prescribed for smoking cessation.
I am waiting until tomorrow to write a response so that I don't pepper that poor woman's computer screen with "colorful words".
Rachel, the little phone call princess, is grounded for about another three weeks from the boyfriend. Her actual ungrounding day is September 1st. Since that doesn't fall on a weekend she has already had the nerve to ask if she can go out with the boyfriend on the weekend before. Um...no. This was her fourth bad phone bill. Fool me once shame on me. Fool me four times and it just makes me really pissed off.
Rachel's friend who just happens to be the boyfriend's first cousin just called out of the blue and invited her over for lunch and to see her new school clothes. They haven't talked to each other all summer but suddenly she invites her over. Does anybody else see where this is going? So Rachel comes to me and asks if she can go over there and the first thing out of my mouth is, "Is he over there?". I will give her credit - she did act genuinely surprised that I had figured that one out when she got back on the phone and asked if he was over there. Of course he was there - his whole family was there. Gosh - if only she had found parents who were actually as dumb as bricks then she would be getting to see him right now. Too bad. So sad.
So I am sure as punishment to us, she will not talk to us for the rest of the day. Jokes on her - we consider that to be a reward !
She took the test today. She did NOT pass. We are NOT surprised. Hmmm ... maybe mom and dad do know how to turn on the blipping turning signal. Maybe mom and dad do know where to stop at stop signs. Maybe mom and dad do know the proper way to change lanes. Maybe dad gets to get up again tomorrow morning at 5 am to take the little darling to take the test again because that is something that mom does NOT know how to do !
I let Rachel drive us up to the school on Saturday for the kids to take their physicals for sports and while they were in there then she and I went driving around. Notice I didn't say that we went for a "pleasant drive". There is nothing pleasant about driving with a teenager who is either scared to drive at all or punching the gas pedal as if she saw the checkered flag. Stopping at stop signs seems to be quite the challenge for the little dear. We either stop ten feet before the sign and then can't see the semi-truck looming towards us when we hit the gas to go or we stop ten feet on the other side of the stop sign and barely miss the semi-truck that is flying by us. She also seems to have yield signs and stop signs confused. Maybe it's the awkward shapes and pretty colors that are distracting her - who knows. She comes to a full stop at yield signs "just in case there really is something coming" and can't come to a complete stop at stop signs. It's such an adventure ! I literally fall out of the van and kiss the ground offering up praises to the god of driving every time that we make it home alive.
When we went back up to the school to get Riley and Emily after their physicals were done, I just had her pull in sideways in the parking lot so they could just hop in the side door on the van. They found the van (eventually) and Rachel didn't even look before pulling out into traffic. She was jabbering about something at school and didn't pay any attention to the car that was right beside us. I saw it ! I screamed "RACHEL !". She did not stop. I screamed "RACHEL!". She did not stop. I screamed "BRAKES! BRAKES!". She stopped and looked at me as if I had yelled "ALIEN ATTACK!". She seriously had no idea what I was yelling about. "Did you not see that car that you just hit?" She blinked Bambi style and said "oh - I wasn't looking". Um ... no sh*t Sherlock ... I figured that one out on my own.
Of course she pouted all the way home and I told her that she better get over it because if I hadn't yelled at her then she would have hit that other car. She said (through the curtain of well placed tears), "I didn't mean to". Well I will be sure to tell God that nobody should get hurt in car accidents where "she didn't mean to". I am sure that He will understand.
My loyal followers (both of them) know the story about our little darling, Rachel, and her uncanny ability to make a phone bill rise. If she were a superhero she would be Call Girl ... wait that didn't sound right . She would be the Text Tart ... wait that didn't sound right either. Oh h*ll - she would be some sort of superhero in spandex and a cape with a phone in her hand.
Well last night she came in our bedroom while Derek and were laying in bed cuddling (ah!) and watching tv. She wanted to know if she could call the boyfriend. We asked her when she had talked to him last and she said "last night, but I didn't get to call him twice last week because I went down to Houston to see Mel with Pam (Pam is my sister)" We then reminded her that missed phone calls due not accrue and cannot be used at another time. Then we had to explain to her what accrue meant. She was not happy. She huffed. Then she slammed the door. Then we laughed !
Saturday morning I made the kids turn off the tvs and we kept them off all day long until we watched The Incredible Hulk together that night. It was a really good day. They went swimming. I sat out on the deck reading and writing and just relaxing. I let them go down to the little diner a block away to get us lunch. We had a great time ! The kids made drawings on some pieces of cardboards that came off of the back of some posters that we just bought for the girls room. They even designed guitars that they cut out and then "played". I have a collection of old Fisher Price Little People that they got out and played with in the living room floor. Not once did I hear the words "I'm bored" and when we finally went to bed that night, Emily said to me "today was fun".
Sometimes I think that I could live without a tv. We could have deep family discussions, could play games, and spend more time together. As long as we don't do it on Monday, that's Bachelorette night - or Tuesday or Wednesday, that's America's Got Talent night - or Sunday, that's The Amazing Race night. Well at least we watch those things as a family - that counts right?
Sorry that I have been away for a week - things have been well ... complicated. I didn't really feel like blogging until last night when my wonderful husband gave me something to blog about.
For those of you who don't know Derek personally, he is 220 pounds of pure manliness. When we first got married he was so thin and trim that we had to special order his Wranglers because nobody carried a 28 inch waist with a 38 inch inseam. He was in cowboy mode then and his shirts had to be pressed just so and his jeans had to be long enough to "break" a certain way on the top of his foot. He also NEVER left the house without a cowboy hat (straw in the summer and wool in the winter). He was a site to behold !
Well 18 years later, he is still a sight to behold - in a difference way. Don't get me wrong - I find slightly paunchy, bald men who wear shirts normally reserved for elderly Spanish men very attractive. It just amazes me how his attitude about his appearance has only gotten more comfortable as he has gained weight and lost hair. When he was slim and trim, he was very shy around people. Now that he is "more robust" he is friendlier and a lot more outgoing. Maybe it's the Santa Claus theory - being more round might just make you more jolly.
Well last night he went to the grocery store to get a few things that we were missing for dinner. My sister and her family were all coming over for a mexican meal and we needed more cheese and some sour cream. When he came back from the store, he had a huge grin plastered on his face. He said "you know that new chick that works at the grocery store - she was checking me out". My response was "oh really". I found it a little hard to believe that the "new chick" just couldn't take her eyes off of my 38 year old, bald, hunk of a man. He started laughing "yep - she was taking my items and running them across the scanner and then she told me my total - she was sooooooo checking me out". Isn't he cute ? Then he started dancing around the kitchen like a former Chippendale who had had a few too many drinks and said "Oh yeah - chicks can't get enough of my machismo". I quickly burst his bubble when I said "honey - yours is more like Ma-Cheez-Whiz".
My friends are always telling me to include pictures of myself on my blog - so there you go. That is me last night while watching the Bachelorette. I bet that you didn't even know that Ruffles came in the ten pound burlap sack. Well - they do !! and I ate the whole d*mn bag.
Each week on the antidepressant support forum that I belong to, I issue the members a challenge. Last week's challenge was to start working on correcting a bad habit. My bad habit is eating in front of the television. I lost a ton of weight last year when I was traveling through hell and back via Paxil withdrawal. Over the past few months I have started feeling it creep back on and I was extremely uncomfortable in my own skin. So I have decided to stop eating while sitting in front of the tv and to cut down on my portion sizes. Last night instead of eating while sitting in front of the tv - I stood beside it ! I think that I am making great progress !!
Last night after the kids got out of the pool, I told Rachel that she could make a pitcher of Kool-Aid. We usually only allow them to have one pitcher of Kool-Aid (one glass each) or one can of soda a day. The rest of the day they either have to drink juice or water or milk. Rachel got out of the pool first, took her shower and then made the Kool-Aid. One by one we sent the kids in to take a shower. Evidently the showers were so exhausting that each of them needed a big glass of Kool-Aid when they were done. Beth was the last one to get out of the pool so she was the last one in the house. She wasn't in there for more than five seconds before she came back outside crying. "They didn't leave me any Kool-Aid". Oh great - here we go again. It seems that the boys thought that a glass meant the Godzilla sized cups that we got from the ballpark a few weeks ago and they stood in the kitchen sucking down that cherry Kool-Aid as if they were Lance Armstrong after a race. Of course, the boys wouldn't admit to drinking all of it but there just happened to be two monster sized glasses on the table in front of their chairs.
Having five teens in the house, requires a lot of food. A LOT. They eat as if they are vultures attacking an injured gazelle and they don't come up for air until their plates are empty. The boys will eat at least seven times a day and are still hungry when they go to bed at night. Derek and i have started labeling the food that we buy for ourselves with duct tape and a Sharpie. So if you come to our house you might see a cookie wrapped in aluminum foil, then wrapped in bubble wrap, then wrapped in duct tape, with a boobie trap and a note on it that says "This is NOT yours - do NOT eat eat !!!". The sad thing is that sometimes it doesn't matter - the will disarm the boobie trap and chew through the foil.
The other night I went to make chocolate cream sauce to go on strawberries. A few days before I had run across a reciped in my Rachael Ray magazine where you mixed warm whipping cream with dark chocolate to make chocolate sauce for fruit. Yum !!! However, when I went to get the stuff out to make the sauce, I quickly discovered that I only had one chocolate bar even though I know that I bought two. These bars were three bucks a piece. We don't live at the White House so spending six dollars on chocolate bars was big money for us. Well, of course, nobody knew where it was and nobody had eaten it. The little scavengers don't even like dark chocolate but that didn't stop them from taking it. So either somebody is lying or we have a rat with very expensive tastes in food.
Last night my back was killing me so I broke down and took an Advil PM. Man - those things knock me out. I took it around 10 PM last night and it is nearly noon and I still feel loopy. I am usually very anti-med but broke down and took one. If I ever do that again, I have got to remember to take it around dinner time on the night that I need it. How in the world did I walk around like this for years when I was on all of those other meds? This is not a good feeling.
Yesterday several friends of mine sent the usual holiday greetings (always the same friends - always the same greetings). One particular greeting literally made me laugh out loud and I forwarded it on to about twenty other people. It said "Happy 4th everyone - proudly wave our American flags made in China". I found it to be terribly amusing. That is the kind of thing that he says - he is quite the character. Well some of the people that I forwarded it to caught the humor and the irony of the statement. Some, however, did not. I got a few messages telling me that I was unpatriotic and one that said that I wasn't normal - to which I replied "Thank God". Who the heck wants to be normal?
So all day yesterday while we were out shopping, I looked at American flags and sure enough - I did not find one that was made here in the good ol' USA. I find that terribly sad. We are using symbols of our pride in our nation that are not even made in our nation. What is wrong with this picture? I know - it all comes down to money. Why would we pay $2 for a flag made in the USA when we can get an inferior, cheaper one for fifty cents that was imported here from China. Sure the colors may run, and there are not the correct number of stars, or the little flag pole gives you splinters - but hey - you saved a whole buck fifty on that thing. That's a whole buck fifty that you can spend buying cheap fireworks (also made in China) that can set your grass on fire and blow off one of your kid's fingers. Or you could buy another beer so that you can make a real fool out of yourself on the lake yelling at women half of your age - because that is how our founding fathers must have wanted us to spend the holiday. Money well spent - I say !
I also find it terribly ironic that the people who are complaining about the state of the economy are the ones who are flocking to "supercenters" in droves to buy cheaply made crap that they don't really need. I challenge you to look on the packages of the things that you are buying to see where they really are made. Just because a company was founded in this country does NOT mean that it's products are made here. In fact the previous administration gave huge tax cuts for companies who transferred manufacturing to other countries all in the name of free trade. For example, when we decided to trade in our gas guzzling sport utility vehicle we did some research into where cars are actually manufactured. You would be shocked- we were ! We ended up with a Nissan. A Nissan that was made in the USA. Yes - it's a Japanese company but the car was made here. The "American" car salespeople couldn't even tell me where their cars were made. That didn't seem "right" to us.
My thoughts are that maybe we should be declaring some sort of Independence Day ever single day. We should be seeking independence from other countries for the cheap crap that we buy thinking that it is going to make us happy, when all it really does is fund poor labor practices in other countries and put our American workers out of work.
After all of the drama ended last night, the hubby and I had to go out on the deck just so she didn't hear us laughing. The end of the phone conversation with the boyfriend was "I will miss you so much and I cannot wait to see you again". It was like witnessing the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet. Yes - it was that touching - we were so touched that we had to walk outside before we spewed water out of our noses from laughing so hard. My thoughts to miss pretty princess were - well maybe if you hadn't spent nearly 30 hours on the phone with him in the past two weeks then you would be getting to see him !!! We also predicted that he would try to buy her out of trouble by paying the phone bill to which we replied "sure we will take his money but you are still grounded". It's not like she hasn't been given a second chance - this is her third second chance - so no more !!! We are in evil parent mode.
I think that when we are growing up we have this idea in our heads about the kind of parent that we are going to be. We say things like "if my child ever lied to me then I would ground them for life" of "my children will never be allowed to act that way in public". I said things like that all of the time. I had this picture in my head of perfect, well-behaved, little angels who never did anything wrong and when they did, I would be Super Mother and would swoop in with the perfect combination of discipline and love. Well - reality is totally different from that fantasy. I know that some people will say that we have already given her too many second chances and that she shouldn't have even had access to a phone but that is nearly impossible when she is at home babysitting and Derek and I are both at work. We do need to have a phone for emergency purposes so taking the phone out is simply not an option for us. She just needs to learn responsibility and to mind. So for those of you who think that we were too easy on her and that the punishment didn't fit the crime or that believe that she never should have been given that many chances, well - I was a perfect parent before I had kids too. We are doing the best that we can - and I think that we are doing a damn fine job !!!
I printed out the phone bill today so that I would have ammunition when we talked to Rachel tonight about the long distance charges. The more I looked at it, the more mad I got. As was mentioned in my previous post, we had been allowing her to talk to the boyfriend for 10 minutes per day when we were home in the evening. This was a compromise because she was actually in trouble from a previous phone issue and we were trying to be nice and let her actually talk to the boyfriend. Well nice no more ! I looked down through each day on the bill and started adding up the minutes to see how long she was actually talking to him each day.
One day she talked on the phone for a total of 376 minutes. Over six hours of talking time. Six hours ! What the h*ll could they possibly be talking to for six flipping hours. Is she working on the global warming problem? Have they found a way to end world hunger? Is she working for NASA and we don't know about it? I couldn't talk that long to Oprah or President Obama. I just wouldn't have enough to say to spend six hours talking to somebody - anybody. I don't think that I could talk to myself for that long (and I used to be crazy - I know how long a person can talk to themselves). Granted this was not one continuous phone call that lasted that long. She did have the common courtesy to break it up throughout the day. One call was for 48 minutes then they must have taken a potty break and she called him back three minutes later. Then they talked for thirty something minutes - must have taken a snack break and then she called him back twenty minutes later.
Obviously by this point the President must have beeped in to put in his two cents about global warming or the recession because they then did some three-way calling with somebody else. The phone company isn't able to tell me who the third party actually was but I have to assume that for $2 per three-way call that it must have been somebody of extreme importance - possibly Al Gore. I guess we will never know.
The really scary thing is that the phone bill cut off on June 6th and I did not discover the long-distance usage until June 28th, therefore we now have another three weeks of unknown bill to deal with next month. Oh joy !!! I get to relive this feeling again. Well not only is she going to have to pay the bills back but she is also going to have to reimburse me for the box of wine that I am going to have to drink to keep me from seriously injuring her little dialing fingers.
I had already decided that I was going to try my hardest to make today a good day. Derek and I are both pretty upset about the fact that our deadbeat renters now owe us $800 and neither one of them have a job and they don't really seem to care that we are about to kick them out. So we are now late on some of our payments and are going to have to do some creative budgeting to get through the next month or two. Plus the renters are chain smokers (they can't afford to pay their rent but they sure can go to the smoke shop) and have torn up the carpet. That means that when we finally get them out then we are going to have to repaint every room in the house and replace all of the carpet. I just get so tired of nothing seeming to go our way.
Anyway - I sat down at the computer this morning to check the SSRI forum that I belong to, see what is happening on Twitter, and read my emails. In hindsight, I shouldn't have looked at the e-mail that told me that I had a new phone bill from AT&T. After that viewing, I can guarantee you that I am not going to have a good day. For those of you that know me, you know that I have 5 children who now range in age from 16 down to twins who are turning 12 next month. I am beginning to think that it was actually a lot easier when they were all little and were running all over the place like rabid monkeys.
Rachel, my oldest, has a boyfriend that she has had for 7 months (I know that it has been 7 months because I hear about how long they have been together at least once a day). Rachel also used to have full cell phone privileges and was allowed to text (up to 250 texts per month) and call people on her cell phone. However, with her last boyfriend her ability to do math went right out of her brain and she sent over 4,000 texts (mostly to him) in one month. Therefore, we took the cell phone away for quite a while and she basically ended up grounded for a year until she worked off the $1,200 phone bill. Evidently - she didn't learn. With this new boyfriend, she has already been in trouble once for sending texts when she wasn't supposed to and talking on the phone with him for too long. We have told her that she is allowed to talk to him once a day for 10 minutes. I guess that her telling time function has also been lost because when I got the phone bill today, those were not ten minute calls.
She has been calling him during the day while Derek and I are at work and talking for at least 30 minutes each day. We have a long distance phone package that has a certain amount of long distance minutes on it and she has passed that by a long shot. The bill is $100 more than it normally is and right now is not a good time to have to pay an extra $100 on a bill. I called Derek at the fire station and informed him and he agreed with me that we have given her chance after chance after chance and she is obviously not getting the message. So now she won't be allowed to see him for a month and she will only be allowed to talk to him twice a week for ten minutes each, with us in the room. She is not going to be happy but I really don't give a damn.
That little duckling has pecked us one too many times.