Friday, October 31, 2008

only me...

I wrote this Wednesday night - in my internet deprived delirium.

Just remember that technology exists to make our lives better.


Let me tell you about my last 24 hours. There will be a quiz at the end and the only question will be this:

Is technology RC’s friend?

  1. No
  2. Hell, no.

It all started last night when the cable went out. Surfer Dude came in to the kitchen all pale and twitchy to tell me about it. Gumby was right behind him, looking a little off his feed. I told them not to get freaked out about it, since our cable has been known to be temperamental. It will go off for no reason, and then all of a sudden it’s back. As they left the room, heads hanging and noses warm, I thanked my lucky stars that I wasn’t completely addicted to that brainless little box.

Then the internet went out.

Well, now it became personal. But all my teeth gnashing and sacrificial offerings to the gods went unheeded. Neither the cable nor the internet came back on. (And in the supreme irony of the night, the wireless was connecting perfectly. It just didn’t have anything to connect with).

So this morning at work I called the cable/internet company hoping against hope that someone had hacked their system or blown up one of their transformers so it wouldn’t just be us. Nope. It was just us. The guy I talked to was very nice, but there wasn’t much he could do, since no one was home to fiddle with cables and wiring. Evidently their system and our modem were on the outs and refusing to communicate. They could send someone out to fix it, but not until Friday – since we had to have an adult home while they were there. I developed a little tic in my eye.

My head hung all day at work. To add to it, all the freaks, drug seekers, drama queens and frequent fliers imaginable showed up with a new list of complaints, complaints that all somehow included narcotics and nurse baiting. I did get on the computer at work. I checked my Yahoo! Account. I went on Facebook. I did not, due to the fact that I need to keep my blog and work totally separate, check my blog or my gmail. Now I was twitchy and my tail drooped. It was not a pretty sight.

(It isn’t like the technology at work is a walk in the park either. Take our little voice activated thingies that we clip to our scrubs. We can communicate through the hospital with one touch. They’re great – when they work. My classic story is when I called Dietary to order a sandwich for a patient, and the voice system called LifeFlight, which is the medical helicopter that takes critical patients to the trauma centers. Knowing that I would never in a million years live that down, I frantically managed to cancel the call before the chopper took off, although the temptation to spill the whole story and ask them to stop at Subway for a six inch tuna on wheat on the way over was almost overwhelming).

When I left work, I pulled my phone out of my bag. I tried to call Sasquatch, but accidentally dialed the FX. I hung up as soon as I realized it, before he answered. Then I called Sasquatch and asked him where he was. He didn’t know. How can you not know? I’m on the bus, he said. On my way home. Where is the bus? I asked. I’m not sure, he said. Then my call waiting went off. It was the FX calling me back. And as I tried to figure out which one to deal with first, my phone died. It probably had something to do with Sasquatch “borrowing” my charger and assuring me that my phone had been fully charged when he took it off the charger.

I picked Gumby up from play practice and headed home. Then I called the cable company and said okay, now I’m here. Tell me what to fiddle with. We fiddled and tweaked, then my landline call waiting went off. It was the FX wanting to know how the tweaking was going. I said I don’t know – we’re still doing it. He said okay, call me when you’re done. I said okay. We fiddled and tweaked some more, then my call waiting went off again. It was Sasquatch, who had managed to find his way off the bus and now needed picking up in a part of town I had just passed through. I told him to sit tight, and the tech support guy and I kept fiddling and tweaking – with no result. Evidently their system and our modem are really ticked off at each other, and it’s now going to take a service call to look into.

As the final coup de grace, Surfer Dude asked me to go out to the car with him, since he had left his backpack (and his phone) in my car. In the pitch black driveway, he pulled out his backpack and then realized (once he was in the back yard) that he was holding his backpack upside down. And it was unzipped. And he couldn’t find his phone. Anywhere.

And as we stared at a long driveway drifted high with fallen leaves, he looked at me and said, Uh oh. I think I dropped my phone in the driveway. Somewhere.

Right about now, I’m considering converting to an Amish lifestyle. I can’t think of a single reason not to.

You can take the quiz now.

Oh, but wait. It's Thursday now, and as you've noticed I have internet. I'll spare you the details, the phone calls, the very nice service guy who came out today while I was at work and poked around the wiring outside. You know what was wrong with our service?

The modem was unplugged.

Pencils down. Pass your tests forward.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Rotten Correspondent will not be posting again until at least the end of the week due to cable connection problems. She and family are all well and she will return as soon as she has the tech stuff worked out.

This public service announcement was brought to you by the Rotten Correspondents mother, who does have internet access.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

that's MISS fix-it, thank you

Let the wind blow and the ground freeze.

I'm ready.

In spite of the fact that all I wanted to do today was curl up with

A. a book

B. a DVD, preferably of the chick flick variety

C. my knitting

D. a warm, gassy dog

E. Any combination of the above

I didn't give in to the feeling. I couldn't, really. This morning as my children followed the steam their breath was making through the house, I promised that I'd finish shrink wrapping the windows so I could turn the heat on. And I did. Nine big windows in three rooms - done. One of them twice, because it looked like the poster child of Home Maintenance: Don't Let This Happen To You. I even did one of the stained glass windows on the stairs, and I think I'm going to zap the other one while I'm at it.

It wasn't as hard as I thought, once I got going, but you'd honestly think I've discovered a cure for cellulite as excited as I am. Best of all, between the front storm door, the thermal curtains over my kitchen slider and the saran's warm in my house. And the heat isn't even up high. My kids are smiling and I can almost feel my toes. It got below freezing last night, and I swear it was warmer outside than it was in the house.

In a bit of movie timing, my final installment notice on last year's gas bill came in the mail today. I pitched it in the fireplace and watched it burn.

I feel warmer already.

(Even the wireless is doing its part. It has been going out for no reason all night, and every time it does, I get just a little bit hotter. I guess I should be grateful. Every little bit helps).

Monday, October 27, 2008

no cake please, just money

The boys spent the day with their dad today while I working, and they seemed to have a good time. It got off to a little bit of a rocky start when I called home mid-morning and found them still there.

"Why hasn't dad picked you up? He was supposed to be there an hour ago," I said.

"It's the time change," answered Surfer Dude. "He's late because today is the day we change our clocks."

"No, it isn't," I said. "That's next week. Nothing has changed today time wise. I would have known it when I showed up for work at the wrong time."

"Oh," said Surfer Dude. "Well, that's what dad thought."

All righty then.

And for some reason, I've had this mental image stuck in my head all day after that.

My half-brother in Michigan explaining to me how he turned one birthday a year into a never ending cash cow.

"It's easy," he said. "Every couple of weeks you go up to dad and tell him that he forgot your birthday. He'll pull out his wallet, hand you a fifty and tell you to go buy yourself something nice. It never fails."

There's no comparing the two in terms of dad-style. My dad was always more comfortable throwing money at you and hoping you would go away. It worked pretty well. I went away, all right. And got a really warped perception of money in the process. The FX isn't like this, and wouldn't be even if he had scads of money to toss around. But it's the little details that tend to trip them both up. (Past tense in my dad's case, since he hasn't been around to pass out fifties for six years).

And what in the world made me make that particular association?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

one dish wonders

I'm interrupting my lovely six days off to actually go in and work a shift today. Just one shift. How hard can that be? Especially since we tend to do potluck on Sundays, which I really like. I don't know what it is about a huge spread of food that I've only prepared a tiny part of that makes me so happy, but there you have it.

But it's also been a busy day around here. Two soccer games ( yes, the ortho guy finally gave Surfer Dude the green light to play with his cast), driving Sasquatch all over town, and going to see the play performance tonight that SD passed on. Not much cooking time to be found, and yet I really wanted to make something yummy.

Doesn't everyone have a couple of go-to dishes that can be pulled out of a hat - no recipe needed? Well, this is mine. Five minutes prep and one dirty bowl. Aahh.

Jalapeno Popper Dip

2 packs softened cream cheese
1 cup mayo
4 oz can diced chili peppers
2 oz can diced jalapenos
a slug of garlic powder
bread crumbs or panko
1 (ish) cup of parmesan cheese

Mix together the cream cheese and the mayo. Fold in the peppers and garlic powder. (I usually add in some extra parmesan cheese, too). Put in a shallow pan and top with bread crumbs. Toss parmesan cheese on top of that. Bake at 350 until it's browned on top. (Or you can nuke it. I bake it at home and then nuke it at work to reheat it). Serve with some sturdy kind of cracker. Easy peasy.

This tastes amazingly like a jalapeno popper and has met very few detractors once it's on a table. (Unless you accidentally double the jalapenos, which I did recently, and which I seriously don't recommend). That haunted me for days.

Anyone else want to play the no-brainer recipe game?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

my kid??

Gumby was trying to sell me on a new computer game.

"Come on, Mom," he pleaded. "You get to breed your own creatures and send them out into the world."

"I've already done that," I replied. "Three times. Why would I want to pay to do it again?"

"Because this time you could do it right," he shot back.

I couldn't help it. I cracked up laughing.

"Geez, Mom", he continued. "You think you're the only one in the family with comedic timing?"

Genetics are good, right?

Friday, October 24, 2008

adventures in surrealism

I ran into our local pet store yesterday to pick up some food for Gumby's rat. It was a nasty, wet day and as I first entered the shop, I stood in the entryway to wipe my feet and shake some of the rain off of myself. There's a little seating area by the door, and I noticed a lady in her sixties sitting next to the bench on the floor.

She was holding a baby and very carefully wrapping a blanket around it. All around her was strewn baby detritus - a bottle, toys, a knit hat - and I just assumed that she was there with another kid who wanted to keep looking around the store when the baby got fussy. As I walked by her, she laid the baby on her shoulder and started singing softly.

I grabbed the ridiculously overpriced rodent food (they're rats, for the love of pete. Rats. In the wild they eat garbage and rotting food. Why am I paying a buck fifty nine a pound for rat food?) and headed to the cashier. While I was in line, my eyes strayed once again to the lady with the baby. She was fussing with a bottle, and I noticed that the baby now had the hat on.

I was impressed. None of my kids was that mellow as a baby. None of my kids stayed that quiet and calm. None of my kids...

Was a plastic doll. The baby was a plastic doll. I looked. I looked again, through squinted eyes. It was a doll. The size of a baby. And she just kept fussing.

As I got in my car to leave, I peered through the window one more time. She was pulling a diaper out of a bag. The doll, hat on, wrapped in a blanket, just laid there. Was it some sort of social experiment to see how many people noticed? Was this woman simply off? What in the world?


Thursday, October 23, 2008

you go girl...

And on the sixth day...

There was a final divorce decree.

As of Friday October 17, 2008, I am officially the ex Mrs. Film Geek.

Shouldn't I be feeling something?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

humor me...

I'm going to be lucky to get a coherent sentence or two going here, so I'm not going to push my luck.

I have a request.

I'm so confused with bloglines and google reader and bookmarks and all that crap. I have x number of readers on one and y on another, and yet I know that a lot of readers are on neither. So today, just this once, I'm trying to get a head count. If you read this blog, could you just leave a simple little comment, even if you normally don't? It doesn't need to be fancy. Honest. I'm just curious.

It's De-Lurking time. And since I know most people don't read every day, I'll keep checking back.

Thank you.

I'm going back to my Chardonnay now.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

confessions of a non-sensical correspondent

I'm a little punchy, but I seem to be amusing people in the process. I'm pretty sure they're laughing at me and not with me, but am too far gone to care.

A few examples:

I sat in front of a computer today wracking my brain for a word. It just wouldn't come. I grabbed another nurse as she walked by. (It should be mentioned that I think this particular gal is just about the best nurse I've ever met in my life. I want to be her when I grow up. She's about ten years younger, so that could be problematic, but you get the idea. She's not only near perfect, but she spends half her life pining for the ocean, too, only she's from New Jersey and thinks the Atlantic is a better ocean, which is plain silly, but I don't think that has anything to do with my original point).

Anyway, I said, "Help me. What's the word for the skin breakdown that we see all the time? It starts with an "I", but I'm totally drawing a blank. What the hell is it?"

And before she even had a chance to open her mouth, it popped in my head and I said, "Cellulitis! That's it!"

And she said, "Um, cellulitis doesn't start with an I."

Well, who the heck knew? Maybe on the West Coast?

Then my nursing school buddy was giving me hell about my stated intention to give up men for the rest of my life. She seems to feel that this is unrealistic, not to mention an all-around bad idea, and the more adamant I become, the more pig headed she gets. It's a vicious cycle for the both of us.

She was really letting me have it, partly because she thinks I've lost my marbles anyway for deliberately working five days in a row.

"Do you know what I'm going to do?" she asked, "when you're in bed with some drop dead gorgeous guy having the time of your life?"

"Take the magazine away?" I guessed.

She actually blew Diet Doctor Pepper out of her nose. But she left me alone after that. Thank god she didn't ask me how to spell magazine.

But I've left out the best part. Tonight as I was leaving, ten minutes before the end of my shift, our entire computer system at work crashed. It's still out. And I'm not there. Neener, neener, neener.

One more day. Heaven help us all.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Nagging - it's what's for dinner

My kids go to their dad's house for the weekend and this is what they do:

Go out to eat.

Go to the movies.

Buy new computer games.

And tennis rackets.

And soccer cleats.

And hoodies.

Go out for ice cream.

And go garage saling - which they love.

Then they come home a few hours before me.

And I walk in the door whipped.

And notice that the dogs have no food.

And there are dishes all over the place.

And overflowing trash cans.

And two dead mice in traps.

And a Sasquatch load of three items in the washing machine and my scrubs for tomorrow still in the hamper.

And a tv and two computers blasting.

There was a bright spot. A big one. Now I can turn on my heat.

Our dear friend Kevin - a Bunco husband in a million - putting up our new storm door. Custom sized, of course, for a 120 year old house. Not the door. Just the space the door goes in. It took him two days to build the surround. And all he wanted from me was the money for the supplies. $25. We argued over this and he told me I was a crazy woman, which made me laugh. People who live in glass houses...

I don't think my kids appreciate Kevin enough. Because if it hadn't been for him, they'd think even less of me than they already do.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

martha stewart doesn't work here

Any day you see more cops than docs in the probably isn't a good thing.

Any day where you see more than one naked ass running down the hall with gown flapping wildly behind them as they dodge probably isn't a good thing.

Any day where a psychotic eight year old uses your nurses aide's head as target practice from the top of an IV probably isn't a good thing.

Any day where you have so many people screaming at the top of their lungs in so many rooms that you can't even tell which is probably isn't a good thing.

Any day you have to have a six person take-down of a violent patient, in the waiting room, for the love of probably isn't a good thing.

Two down.

Three to go.

This probably isn't a good thing.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

hell, no, this isn't me...

I've been researching places I might have to move come November 5th if things don't go my way on Election Day. For someone who loves the idea of living in a different country - as evidenced by the blogs I adore that are written by people living in a country that is not their native land - this is kind of a pleasant activity. I can't think too much about what would have to happen to cause it, because that gets me all worked up. But the idea of living someplace different has always been very appealing to me.

I've looked into a few places, some more in depth than others. (Did you know that Australia offers priority immigration to nurses? If only the terminology wasn't so different. "You wanted an enema? Not an breathing tube? Sorry, mate.") I got totally lost on the Ireland info page, but am determined to figure it out. Somehow. It's like every beach in the world is your potential oyster. The sky is the limit.

What fun to look at a map of the world and say, "You know, I'd really love to live there." What an amazing adventure that would be.

Where would you want to go?

Friday, October 17, 2008

why am I not laughing?

Gumby found this on a strange photo website and called me over to show it to me.

I chuckled briefly and then reconsidered.

Oh, my god. That's exactly how I feel right now.

I've never worked more than three twelve hour shifts in a row. Never. I've worked shorter shifts for more days. I've worked three, gone out of town for a week and gone straight back into another three - but never more. The fact that I brought this on myself almost makes it worse, except that I had no choice. My mom will be back from the lake next week for a couple of days before she leaves. The kids have days off school. There's some other conflict, but I'm too stressed out to remember it. I keep telling myself that I had no choice, but it doesn't help.

I've tried to do nice things for myself. There's a big bag of homemade trail mix with all of my favorite things in it - heavy on the dark chocolate. A bottle of chocolate caramel coffee creamer to throw in the fridge at work. A brand new skein of gorgeous yarn and new circular needles to make myself a winter hat, since sleep is always the issue in these long work runs and I know that I need something zen and repetitive to knock me out. I might even possibly have a big container of mint chip ice cream in the freezer. (It's right next to the big container of Cookies 'n' Cream).

Psychologically, I know that the first day is always the worst. At the end of the third you're pretty much flying on endorphins anyway. I have no idea how five is going to feel, but I'm about to find out.

And man, oh man, am I scared.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


My mother made a pot roast for dinner tonight. A four pound pot roast cooked in the dutch oven on top of the stove, surrounded by whole potatoes, carrot pieces and an ocean of beef gravy. I made a chicken and gnochi stew with shitake mushrooms, carrots and broccoli. For Gumby, I made the chicken stew with fake chicken, hold the mushrooms. The idea was that we would have food for lunches and dinner for the next couple of potential hell days. The reality was different.

Sasquatch and Surfer Dude polished off an entire four pound pot roast in about ten minutes. My mother, who claimed she wasn't hungry and wanted to wait a while, never had a chance. I hear a lot of complaints that I never make roasts for them to destroy, and this was why. My locusts had arrived. The two of them hoarded beef for lunches tomorrow, while at the same time pointing fingers as to who had eaten the most food for dinner. It was ugly.

As soon as I realized what happened, I made the boys pony up their lunch beef for their poor starved Nana. She declined, half incredulous and half gratified at the power of grandma food. I wasn't incredulous or gratified. I just kept walking around saying, "It was a four pound pot roast. Four pounds." This is why I put mushrooms in everything I want to eat. Locusts don't like mushrooms. At least my locusts don't. It doesn't taste so good when it's brownies I'm hoarding, but at least I know they'll be left alone.

My mom is now eating a bowl of my chicken and mushroom stew, and, fueled by a little pre-debate wine, looks up at me periodically and says, "They really ate the whole thing?"

I raise my own glass as I nod that yes, they did indeed eat the whole beefy thing.

Thank god for shitake mushrooms. I won't starve this week.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Inch by Inch

The wasps: Gone.

My leg: Back to its normal color.

The mice: Depleted, but still kicking. Luckily, I'm kicking harder.

Me: Pathetically grateful for all the encouraging comments yesterday. Thank you more than you know.

The house: Cold. I refuse to turn on the heat until it's weatherproofed.

The weatherproofing: Coming along. The storm door will be hung soon, I bought thermal drapes for my kitchen sliding glass door and have acquired a blow dryer to put up the saran wrap.

The boys: Snugly wrapped in brand new fuzzy, fleecy blankets that had them all purring with happiness. Even the teenager.

The Target card: Smoking.

The apples: Two big batches of them dried and a crockpot full of apple butter ready to go in the freezer in small containers. A world class apple crisp down our gullets. And a whole lot of caramel apples for snacks. Now we're down to thirty pounds still sitting on the kitchen table.

The past couple of days: Lovely. Absolutely lovely. Well, except for the wasps.

The next couple of days: A mixed bag. My mom will leave for the lake on Thursday. We're planning a comfort food dinner tomorrow night in front of the fireplace while we watch the last debate and throw gnochi at the television. And then on Friday, I embark on one of the stupidest, most asinine things I've done lately. And that's saying a lot. Five twelve hour days - in a row - that I actually requested. I think the mice have truly sent me over the edge. I've never worked more than three twelves in a row. This could be fascinating.

My blog posts this weekend: Incoherent. Nonsensical. And possibly quite amusing. In a really not good way.

The good people of my community: Really want to avoid the ED this weekend. Trust me on this. Go somewhere safe. Like skydiving.

My mother: Sound asleep right next to me.

Me: About to join her. It's barely nine o'clock and I can't keep my eyes open.

Good thing I have a fuzzy, fleecy blanket all my own.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

bail now...

If you are reading this blog on a regular basis (or even if this is the first time you're slogging through it), you should know that I love you dearly for it. I love you for your loyalty, your good will, your fabulous hearts and minds. Most of all, I love you for putting up with me and my BS. So few people are willing to take that load on.

In light of this, in fairness, I have something I have to say.

Get out.

Get out while you can.

Because the cloud over my head is growing and I can't guarantee that it won't reach its little tentacly fingers out to those I associate with. Or those who associate with me. Or anyone in my zip code, tax bracket, gene pool, blog carrier or time zone. I'm well aware that it really isn't all about me...but I'm going for caution anyway.

On top of the mice invasion, we now have a wasp influx in Gumby's room. You're not seeing things. I said wasps. When my mom and I went in to deal with them last night, I ended up with one crawling up the leg of my pants and stinging me on my leg. I never even saw it. Oh, alright. I saw it. I tried like hell to kill it dead and then it slunk away unseen and crawled up my pant leg. And frickin' stung me. There I stood, ripping my pants off and yelling...kind of makes you wish you were me, doesn't it?

Get out while you can.

I'm pretty sure the locusts are next.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

in through the nose...

And relaxing.

Be back Monday.

Have a great weekend.

Friday, October 10, 2008

my mother looks NOTHING like this

Dear Mom,

Man, I bet you wish you'd never picked up the phone today, don't you? Such an innocent sounding ring, and on the other side of it your sometimes reasonable daughter in head spinning, bile spewing mode. I'm sorry. I truly am. I know I was supposed to phone you today - so I did. You're usually on to my dodging and hiding out routine, so I knew I was toast if I didn't call like planned. I had all the best intentions of keeping it together and not dragging you into my soap opera. Obviously, my plans fell through.

I totally blame it on the mouse.

It wasn't just the fact that my household is imploding in around me.

Or that my two days "off" have been a bill paying, chore doing, kid driving, teenaged feuding joke with me bleeding money from every pore.

Or even that in the two days "off" I've been to work three times - once for a committee meeting, and twice for doctor's appointments (once for Surfer Dude's cast and once for my -whoopee - annual exam).

It wasn't the almost seventy pounds of apples going south on my kitchen table because I don't have the time to do anything with them.

Or the pile of clean laundry completely covering my dining room table just begging to be folded and put away.

Or the fact that the guy I bought a bunch of firewood from vanished into thin air.

Or the bill from our "marriage counselor" demanding back payment from frickin' March. No note of explanation, no nothing. When I called him - incensed - he blamed the insurance company for being so slow with their co-pays and then asked me how the FX and I were doing. I'll spare you the rest of that conversation, but suffice it to say I'll get a big laugh out of it eventually. 2016 sounds good.

No. It was definitely the mouse.

A few nights ago, Gumby came into my room to tell me that he had mice crawling up his television cord. Being half asleep at the time, I hoped I had misunderstood. I hadn't. I've had two boys in my bed ever since. I went into his room to take a look around and didn't see any mice. I did, however, see the rodent equivalent of an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet on his floor. Dirty plates and cups (strictly forbidden) on his bedside table. A pizza box from the night of my Bunco - almost a month ago. Rat food - from his pet rat - spilled all over his dresser. It was the mouse version of Disneyland.

This was problematic enough on its own, but since you're coming Saturday for a visit, it created difficulties. You usually sleep with me. This would be difficult with the two boys and three dogs already edging me out. The mice had to go. (They had been forced out months ago, but clearly have found their way back).

I was standing in my laundry room looking for traps when a mouse ran across my foot in a panic. It wasn't the only one. I was hopping and screaming and flinging things through the air. I'd like to say I accidentally squashed the mouse with all my jumping around, but the only thing I did was smash my toes into the dryer.

Since I've "talked" to you, I've cleaned out Gumby's room and found enough mouse poop to launch a shuttle. I've laid traps all through my laundry room. And as I'm writing this, I've just watched a mouse creep out from under my stove and head toward the island before darting back to safety. None of the dogs even woke up. If I didn't know what my dogs might do to a cat, I'd have one in the house by the weekend. I can't do this all winter.

I know you were really frustrated that you couldn't do anything concrete to help until you get here. But do you remember when you volunteered to sit in my living room with a BB gun and shoot mice? You don't happen to have one, do you? Or a cat I could borrow?


your frazzled daughter

p.s. Can't wait to see you Saturday. Hopefully after today, you feel the same.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

please, mister, please

A whole lot of years ago, on the same night that most of America was tuned in to finally find out who killed Laura Palmer on Twin Peaks, I heard my husband tell me for the first time that he didn't think he loved me anymore, that he wasn't sure, as a matter of fact, that he'd ever loved me. A whole lot of work later, a whole bunch of counseling under the bridge, a whole new perspective on his part, we put our marriage back together and began moving forward.

I don't think I would have had three children with him if I hadn't thought I was completely over that period of time, don't think I would have donated twenty years of my life to the cause, didn't think that the scars would run this deep.

But I'm finding out that they do. There are a lot of episodes in our marriage that will always cause me angst, always make me wonder what the hell we were thinking, but in hindsight this will forever be the one that sticks out the most. Because I think on some level I've always been angry at myself for not seeing it coming, angry at him for doing it, and, in the past year, even angrier to be going through it again. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice...

No woman should have to listen to the same man telling her twice in one lifetime that he doesn't love her anymore. Twice in one blow-out argument would be bad enough, but those are hard words to hear. And hearing them more than once doesn't make it any easier. Quite the opposite.

This all spun through my head a week or two ago, and was triggered by something I saw on Yahoo! of all places. It was an article about how people going through a divorce are very often at different stages in the grieving process, because the one who wants out has been thinking about it for so long. Since this was pretty much our story, it caught my eye. The line that skewered my heart went something like this: "You know all those nights when I was laying wide awake and told you that I just couldn't sleep? I was really thinking about how much I hate you."

I'm as ready as I can be for this divorce to be final, but I'm fully expecting to feel a kick in the head when I actually see it in writing, or, as I've recently thought about it "on my permanent record". Much like herpes (and thanks for that visual, laurie), it will always be there. You can run through a long string of boyfriends and no one can prove it, but a legal ex is a whole other story. It will never go away entirely. We will always have kids. We will have graduations and weddings and grandchildren. We will always, on some level, be intertwined. I'm okay - more than okay actually - about us not being together. There is no hope of a reconciliation. We're both way beyond that. And it's better this way. I think we get along a lot better in small doses.

And we're getting along quite well. Really almost too smoothly. He's certainly stepped up to the plate as far as kids and money and just general kindness. I guess we'll see what happens when it's final. I'm cynical enough to think that a lot may come to light once he thinks I can't get back at him or make his life miserable. It would be nice to be wrong. But I'm not putting any money on it.

All of this has kind of been crashing in on me in the last few weeks, as I've hoped every day that I would come home to something legal and definitive in the mail. I'll be a lot better when it's done, but for now I'm jumping out of my skin. How I can be so stressed about something that I think is ultimately- and already - the right thing is beyond me. But until it's done...I'll keep stressing.

Just sign the paperwork, Mr. Nice Sweet Judge. I'd like to take back that whoop-ass comment.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

sign me up

I'm watching the presidential debate as I write this, which means I have to write about something else right now. Don't ask me why. I can't walk and chew gum at the same time either. The political section of my brain is otherwise occupied and can't expand any more at the moment. Stay tuned.

I'm off kilter right now anyway. I'm tired from two ragged days at work and all I want to do is sleep. For a week. Surfer Dude's arm is still up in the air. Literally. We'll find out Thursday what the soccer forecast is for the rest of the season. Then there's the fact that I'm still married. This frickin' divorce was supposed to be final a month ago and it still isn't. Our papers are sitting on the judge's desk just waiting for a signature and a "see ya later, alligator". But noooo. He had to be out of town last week. And have a trial the week before that. Does he not realize that those papers are the most important thing on his To Do List? Dude. Buy a clue. Don't make me open a big ol' can of whoop ass on you.

Just sign the damned papers.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

live from liberal collegeville...

I should have been a middle child.

Because in spite of the fact that I do have pretty strong opinions on a lot of things, I don't write about them much. I guess my feeling is that if you're taking the time to read a blog, you probably don't need to be hit over the head with someone else's opinion. I'm pretty sure we can all come up with a strong opinion of our own. And when you come right down to it, I hate the idea of getting into someone's face and trying to shove my ideas down their throats. (Just as I would hate to be the one having the ideas shoved at them). Think of me as Switzerland. Neutral on the surface. Underneath...not so much. There's also the knowledge that there are people I care very much about who I know are on the opposite side of the fence. They know where I stand. I know where they stand. We like each other anyway. I don't want to alienate people. So now what?

This is why I avoid most current news items.

And hot buttons.

Save me from the hot buttons. Please.

Like gay marriage.

And abortion.

And the death penalty.


But tonight, with possibly the most important election of my adult life just four weeks away, I'm really tempted to dip my toes in the water. I know I shouldn't. No one gives a rat's ass about my opinion. No one should give a rat's ass about my opinion.

But it might feel really good to just say it anyway.

Monday, October 6, 2008

time flies

Where did the weekend go?

This is not a rhetorical question. Where the hell did the weekend go?

I had a three day weekend and still can't figure it out. It seems like just a minute ago that I was flying out of work with the prospect of 72 hours of blessed freedom. And now I'm in the middle of the laundry catch-up/forced kid showers/weekly meal planning/picking lint of off my scrubs/whaddya mean you forgot to mention you have book report due tomorrow? go-round.

We had a productive weekend.

We picked 68 pounds of apples. (And got them free, thanks to the sweetness of a co-worker).

Surfer Dude and I went and had a lovely, very spur of the moment dinner with some friends last night and had a wonderful time.

I bought a truck-load of firewood to be delivered to satisfy the fireplace junkies that live in my house.

I braved the wilds of Home Depot to get a storm door and saran wrap for the windows.

Gumby was in a play on Saturday and did a great job.

We had a meeting in our (not) lovely capital city to learn the details of a 19 day Europe trip that Sasquatch has been invited to do next summer.

Of course it wasn't all skittles and beer.

I got a flat tire picking apples, which, although fixed at the time, meant that I had to buy a new tire unless I want to have a blow out at highway speed, which I'd really rather not. I can never get that steer into a skid/steer away from a skid thing down. Especially at 70 mph.

I'm still hungover from the dinner out last night. If you're going to hang out with the brewmaster of a kick-ass microbrewery, you have to be prepared to pay the piper. I have been. Paying the piper, that is. All day.

The firewood guy was supposed to be here late this afternoon to deliver the wood. He's either been abducted by aliens or he's off schedule. Or maybe he knows the brewmaster, too.

The concept of a full-sized storm door and a sub-compact car escaped me until I was just about to pay for the door and realized that I had no way to get it home. The FX graciously went and got it the next day, but I was very cranky at having to ask. I started out cranky at the cost of the door. Jeez. It's not like it's platinum or anything.

There is no downside to Gumby and his play, except that he decided that he wanted to do the next session since he'd had so much fun this time around. Ka-ching! Again!

Through a Seinfeld-esque comedy of errors we ended up not making the trip meeting. Surfer Dude and I were suffering through a three hour tire change that is worthy of a post all its own, or will be when my head stops spinning. I have to stop now or I'm going to need meds. Trust me. It was memorable. Now... breathe...

On the plus side, I'm sitting right where I like to be on a Sunday night. The house is full of food, the meals are planned for the week, clothes are clean (even if the house isn't), kids are washed, homework is done, and even though I know I'm going to cuss when the alarm goes off in the dark tomorrow...I'm ready for it.

Gumby and Surfer Dude have just made s'mores in the fireplace, by tomorrow the air will be thick with the aroma of cinnamon apples drying, and I wasn't even there when the tour leaders told everyone that this trip was going to cost twice what we thought it was. You'd think I'd be satisfied.

You'd think so. But I just want the weekend back.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

down time

I was at home by myself for a good part of the day today...and it was fabulous.

I did get out for a while to do some kid-free shopping, and of course I did my usual driving/wrangling/domestic diva routine after school got out. But the real zen moments were those few hours when the house was all mine. Dogs were sleeping, noise was muted, and I puttered around quite happily with not a productive thought in mind. It was just what I needed.

I drank coffee and read the newspaper. I fiddled on the computer. I shot down taking a nap, but only because I was enjoying myself too much to sleep. And around lunchtime I spent an hour doing my signature "oh my god, I have the house to myself" move. I made a huge bowl of popcorn and flopped on the couch with a book. A Little House on the Prairie book, to be specific. It's usually the same thing. Popcorn and Laura Ingalls Wilder. Sometimes I read something else, but not often. During these few hours of solitude, these tend to be the books I turn toward. What in the world does this mean? Is there a prairie/popcorn connection I'm not aware of?

Anyone else have quirky little rituals like this?

Friday, October 3, 2008

takin' care of business

With all due apologies to those of you on the West Coast who are in typically sweltering October weather, I've got issues.

Autumn issues.

Cold weather issues.

Financial issues.

And here's why. Last winter, in my big, drafty 1887 Victorian house, I got a $400 heating bill one month. I wailed, I moaned, I gnashed my teeth - I paid it. What else can you do? The next month, after watching the thermostat with an eagle eye, I got a $700 heating bill - which I couldn't pay. I'm still making installment payments. There's something that needs to be said about that period of time. We were never warm downstairs once. Not for a single minute. (And I don't count being wrapped in a fleece blanket over three layers of clothes in front of a roaring fire, either). A lot of the things that I wanted to do to make sure this never happened again fell through the cracks in the chaos that was my summer. None of the weatherproofing, new windows, yadda yadda yadda.

But now I have to get on it. So the front door just got measured for a storm door, which will hopefully mean that the wind tunnel on the stairs disappears. I'm going to Home Depot and buying the gross looking but very effective plastic saran wrap stuff to cover all of the windows in my front three rooms. (It was on the windows when we bought the house but I tore it down immediately. Something about it being ugly. At this point, I'd put avocado green shag carpeting on my walls if I could avoid an $1100 heating bill). I'm going to buy ceiling fans for upstairs to force the heat back downstairs and help us lose that tropical feeling in our bedrooms in February. And our friend who is my home maintenance guru is going to set aside some time to come and deal with all of this for me. He's not cheap, but he's worth every penny.

I don't even want to add up the cost of an odd size storm door, three (or more) ceiling fans, a boatload of saran wrap and the labor to install all of the above. (Except the saran wrap. The kids and I are doing that this weekend. Then, when we jack it up, I'll go buy more and pay to have it done properly). I'm not itching to give Home Depot my weekly check, but this way at least I'll have something to show for my money. If I give it to the gas company - again- I'll have nothing.

All in all, it's not a huge price to pay for being warm for once from October to March. And for the satisfaction of knowing that I'm taking care of unpleasant business. The gas company can pick on someone else this year.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

the sick sense

It's the auditory overload that really gets to me.

Smells don't bother me, I almost never max out on visuals, I'm fine with touching and being touched (except for fingers in my ears after sexual assault training), and one look at the size of my butt proves that there's no holding me back on taste. But sound is a real stumbling block.

My house is never quiet. Never. At any given point, there is at least one television going full blast, one computer at top volume, and a gaming system playing the same music loop over and over until I feel like I'm trapped in a fun house. My kids all talk loud, my dogs bark even louder, and every single noise bounces off hard wood floors and ten foot ceilings until you could go mad.

It was an oft visited theme in my marriage that I didn't get family dynamics in multi-child households. As an only child, I never had to shout louder or talk faster to get my voice heard. Well, that isn't the case here. If the TV is set at max volume, so is the kid's voice talking. The only thing louder is the kid trying to talk over them. They will then each get louder and louder, but it doesn't really matter because I couldn't hear them over the TV to start with. I smile and nod and look agreeable, but I can't hear a damned thing they're saying. Maybe it's a good thing.

Tonight was a perfect example. Project Runway - a show I legitimately love - was (of course) blasting on the TV in the living room. So was a laptop. Two kids were "watching" the show, but at the same time arguing about the computer game, asking me about my day, telling me about theirs, popping bubble gum bubbles, calling the dogs, reading me the (seemingly four hundred page long) specs on a superhero in their computer game, telling me all about who they did (and didn't) want to go home on PR...all at top decibel levels.In the meantime I was failing miserably at filtering out what I didn't need and hearing what I wanted to. There was too much going on. And it wasn't just tonight. It's every day. We have a house full of big windows in an area where everyone walks their dogs. My dogs bounce off the walls all day and night. All three of my kids feel they can't fall asleep unless the TV is on, which kills me. I like it dark and I like it quiet when I sleep. I don't get it.

During my Psych rotation at the Big Bad Scary Psych Hospital, they made us do an exercise devised to give us empathy for schizophrenics having hallucinations. They fitted us with these devices that simulated auditory hallucinations and sent us about a bunch of mundane, everyday activities. For hours. You would be writing a check to the electric company and all of a sudden someone would start screaming in your ear about how worthless you were or just laugh uncontrollably or hiss or howl. Did I mention this went on for hours? It was horrendous. And it just reiterated my feeling that, for me at least, sound is the weak link. Auditory overload can make me nuts.

With my life this is not a good thing. Am I the only one who gets bothered by stuff like this??

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

yeah, I really do think...

Well, isn't this ironic?

Ever since Surfer Dude and one of his best friends auditioned for a play, it's been a mess. To sum it up as succinctly as possible:

The friend got the lead and chose to do both the play and the soccer - a near impossible feat unless you have a clone.

Surfer Dude was offered the second lead and turned it down, wanting to focus on his number one love - soccer.

The chaos this has caused in our soccer carpool (all the way to the other side of town twice a week) has been enormous. And I'm not for a second jumping on the friend (or his parents) for doing this. I wouldn't do it, but I get it. I totally get it. They're ultimately going to be the ones tearing their hair out, and with the perspective of having older children, I think this is the sort of situation you have to get yourself into at least once - just to make you refuse to ever do it again. To add to this, they changed the times of the soccer practices, which sent normally even-keeled me into such a tizzy that I wrote a scathing letter to the soccer association. (Their response? A very PC version of "bite my ass"). Add in the rain-outs and the rescheduled double headers and it's been a very long season already. And we've only played two games.

So today, after Gumby had to come home from school at 10 am for an upset stomach, after Sasquatch came home from school at 6 pm and got all teenaged and hormonal on me, after Surfer Dude came in from his soccer practice sobbing in pain from a fall (and this kid never sobs. Never), after I spent my night off in my very own ER, the xray has spoken...

Fractured arm.

Out for the rest of the season.