Archive for May, 2008

Do you think I can keep blaming Mommy Brain even though I haven’t been pregnant in 9.5 years??

Our route to church goes something like this:

  1. Leave driveway, turning left.
  2. Drive to stop sign (you can see it once you get out of the driveway) and stop.
  3. Turn right.
  4. Drive to church parking lot (you can see it once you turn onto the road) and turn in and park.

As simple as that sounds, apparently last night step #s 2 and 3 were just TOO MUCH for my brain to handle.

I got step one down, without a problem. Even pulled off the first part of step two without a hitch. It was the stop, and then the extremely complicated step 3 that was a doozy.

As I approached the stop sign, I knew I needed to be doing something before and/or as I got to the stop sign, and it seemed like it had something to do with the thingies on the side of the steering column. Oh, and also I think I’m supposed to be stepping on the brakes…yeah that’s it.

So as we kinda bucked to a stop (real smooth on the braking, I was!), I caught myself just before I put the van into reverse!

I guess the fact that the gearshift is on the RIGHT side of the steering column and I was needing to turn RIGHT somehow melded into a congealed mass in my brain. I dunno. I’m just glad I caught myself before I actually changed gears and let off the brake!

True, we probably would have been fine even if I had actually done it since there was no one behind us. Probably we’d have started moving backwards, I would’ve sorta freaked (which I did anyway!), stopped, and fixed the problem. No harm done.


It scared me, peoples, because…well…

I almost put the van into REVERSE so I could make a right-hand turn at a stop sign!

Also? In thinking/looking back? I think I was braking with my left foot. Why???


Work, work, work! But feelin’ good!

It’s nearly 8pm and wowsa! Aside from achin/burnin feet and the crick(?) in my neck, mild achin in my knees (real mild comparatively speaking) I’m feeling absolutely GREAT right now. This is so cool! Haha =)

I’ve also gotten a lot of cleaning done today. Kitchen and bedroom look better than they have in weeks. Coupled with the strides made in the living room, hall, and bathroom earlier in the week… MAN! =)

Still have the laundry room, pantry (yikes!), and dining room (TRIPLE yikes!!!) to tackle though.

The yard, however? Not so much. We have such a huge yard and with the schedule Mike has makes it REAL hard for him to get it mowed between rains and such. Not to mention the fact that he is OLD! ;-) He got a fair amount done today, I guess, but he still has a LOT to get done tomorrow. A LOT! =(

He HAS to get it done tomorrow, too, cause he can’t really work on it during the week because of work, and the city has sent us a letter stating that if it is not mowed by the end of the month we’ll be fined $1,000. Ummm, we so can not afford that. Like no way. Sooooo, it is going to have to be done tomorrow. Somehow. =(

I am from…

I am from popsicle sticks, from Kool-Aid and red dye #40.

I am from playing pretend and lip-synching. From Legos and ice-cream truck jingles.

I am from the air conditioner unit outside the bathroom window. Hot, sharp it droned it’s noisy tune: safe.

I am from the spearmint in my grandmother’s backyard, the ivy that sold a house, the pine tree that gave access to the roof, the Mimosa tree whose lightning scarred trunk offered a place to sit and think and dream.

I am from cousin couch pictures, candy canes on the Christmas tree, back freckles and neck moles, from Davy and Barbara and Michael.

I am from the puzzle-solvers and the stuff-creators.

From if it’s on the floor less than 5 seconds it’s ok and you can do anything if you put your mind to it.

I am from For God so loved the world. From Psalty, Agapeland, and Colby on old vinyl 78s.

I’m from Falls Church and Mickie’s Crew, dulce de leche and strong coffee.

From the bathrobe wrapped in a ringbox by my mother, the armchair my grandfather wore out galloping to Rawhide, the urine of a white tiger, the thigh-slappin’ beat of Crocodile Dundee, the wounds of a bike attacking a BMW, and the potty chair that wouldn’t work.

I am from the movie room whose closet shelves boast boxes of slides from days-gone-by– other worlds beyond our family’s current shores, book after book of priceless glimpses into grey, orange, or punkadelic hued moments in time. From shelves of homemade VHS tapes with labels like “intelligent conversation”. From boxes of polaroids and pictures still in developer’s envelopes because life was too busy being lived to take time to sort and date and file and arrange and scrap.

I am from dolls, dice, fireworks, ping-pong and frisbee tournaments. I am from beauty make-overs and “no do-overs!”. I am from sleepovers and get-togethers.

I am from these things and now that I have my own branch of the nut tree, I hear and see their echoes all around me.


This is my own version of “I’m From”. If you want to try your own, Fragment’s From Floyd has a form. Be sure to read the original first.

Two thoughts

I had two thoughts today… (shocking, I know. Probably the ONLY two thoughts I had today. Keep reading and you’ll see why I say that….)

One: Matthew’s behavior has historically been “he’ll do ok for a week or two, and then he blows it and is right back to being a terror for a couple of weeks” That is something we’ve all said/noticed about him for MONTHS, if not years.

We were TOTALLY seeing a pattern, just in a broad kind of way. I kept looking for a pattern in the smaller things, like what sets him off? Anything can. Can’t find a pattern. He’s always been so volatile. Stupid little things might set him off, but great big things he might handle just fine.

The pattern isn’t in activities or events on a day-to-day basis. The pattern is in TIME.

He’ll have a couple of weeks in which he keeps the massive meltdowns and rages out of the picture almost 100% (maybe a few very brief moments of getting upset, but then getting over it again real quick before massive meltdown) and then have a couple of weeks in which that is pretty much the standard. The first week nearly all day every day, and then the second maybe better, but still not “good”. Like maybe only 2 or 3 big huge meltdown/rage/tantrum things, instead of 2 or 3 (or one looooooong one) a day.

Thought #2: I noticed that a lot of times I tell the kids to go do something and they get upset because they are doing something else I told them to do. The aha! part is that I’m telling them the 2nd thing because I’ve FORGOTTEN the first thing. No, I mean REALLY forgotten. I only realized it because tonight I caught myself. The kids have pointed it out to me before, but it never clicked what they meant. (I totally figured they were just trying to get out of doing whatever…)

I told Meagan to do something (I can not remember now what and it’s only been an hour) and walked by the bathroom door; saw her in there and started to tell her to go do something but then actually remembered, “hang on, I just told her to go do that other thing, so I’ll wait till she finishes that”.

Of course NOW, I have no idea whether I actually did tell her the second thing or not.

I don’t remember.

Dinner conversations at our house are NOT for the feint of heart

I’d like to say we eat dinner together as a family every night. I’d like to, but I won’t because that would be wrong. Because basically it would be a lie. A big lie. A big, fat, WHOPPING lie.

Upon further reflection I’d like to change the above introduction to read: I’d like to say my husband and I eat a nice quiet dinner, with meaningful conversation ALL BY OURSELVES miles and miles away from the nearest 9yo with an inquiring mind and nearest 10yo with a case of the preteen pouts.

The reality is we eat dinner together as a family a couple of times a week on average. Oh sure there are the weeks when I’m feeling very Carol Brady-ish all week long, but most of the time I’m feeling Roseanne-Barr-ish or perhaps Lucille-Ball-ish. So on average, twice a week.

I was feeling pretty Brady-ish today, so I actually got some chores done. Let me just say that any time mopping is involved you know I’m feeling Brady-ish, which is actually kinda weird, because didn’t Carol have a housekeeper for all the mopping-like chores?

When I’m in a Brady kind of a mood, you know I’m all about the home-cooked meal (again very weird since I’m pretty sure Alice did most of the cooking, but the messed-up workings of my mind are infamous, so there ya go!).

I’m all about the having the kids cheerily clear and set the table while I’m whistling and smiling contentedly (what? that’s not possible? leave me alone, I’m having a delusion of grandeur here!!) as I lovingly(?!) chop the veggies to go with our healthy salad, the kids and I patiently waiting on Daddy to get to the table to say the blessing (that just sounds so much nicer than the munchkins bickering at each other while I fold a load of laundry, don’t you think?), and of course… the delightful dinner conversation. Little vignettes of our happy, productive days being shared back and forth, with loving compliments on accomplishments being passed right along with the parmesan. (We had Upside Down Pizza for dinner!)

Yeah, right. OR…. the 9yo might have asked just how is it that a condom keeps the sperm from getting to the egg anyway…

Then, upon receiving an answer to that question, he just might have asked some other questions.

And it just might have evolved into a big, long discussion on just exactly what happens to all those thousands of eggs we females are born with if they DON’T turn into babies?

And being female myself I have to say that while we (ok, I) shared with our kids the ugly truth, I really do wish the truth were prettier.

About here my dahling 9yo asked if it hurt when we, ummm, get rid of unused stuff. At which point my not-so-dahling-right-now husband told him, “I didn’t feel a thing!” and laughed. He LAUGHED, ladies! Can you imagine?!

Don’t worry. =) Conversation soon turned to more pleasant things… what? You don’t believe me? Neither do I. How about pit bulls and how they have been known to tear poor little babies’ faces off? (This was because the kids had recently been offered a pit bull puppy. We were explaining just WHY this was absolutely, uh-uh, no-way, never ever EVER, gonna happen. To their little minds “FREE PUPPY” meant Mom and Dad would certainly say yes because after all, we HAD told them we would get another dog, and we ARE cheapskates, so FREE and PUPPY = New Friend!!! Right? WRONG!)

So anyhow, the whole pit bull attack thing, of course, led the kids on a google image search of pit bulls. And THAT led to (among other even sadder and scarier images that are just TOO horrible to reproduce here as they involve precious little children and I am now trying to scrub my eyeballs and heart free of those images, but which are probably included in the search results that will pop up if you click on that google link) — this:

Pit bull vs porcupine

Yeah, I don’t think this family will be winning any dinner conversation awards. I’m thinking it’s probably a good thing we don’t eat OUT together as a family more than a handful of times a year! Oh, and I’m also betting that the restaurants we visit are very grateful (whether they realize it or not!) that we do not own a google-enabled laptop with which the children can easily pull up visuals for the entire restaurant’s patronage to enjoy… because pretty much? I’m betting they wouldn’t enjoy. At all.

Bet you’re not eating dinner now, but if you WERE, I’m sorry for ruining your pizza. Truly.

One more thing. Do you think the conversation problem is because we don’t have enough practice with the whole sit-down eat dinner together thing? Or do you think we don’t sit down and eat dinner together BECAUSE of the conversation problem? I’m leaning towards the latter since right now just thinking about a repeat performance is making me want to run and hide.

One more, one more thing. Rest assured, this post really does NOT have a thing to do with the last one, although admittedly it could LOOK like it… The whole itching ovaries thing was not mentioned around the kids, though it IS common knowledge round these here parts that Mom would NOT be adverse to another baby or six. ;-)

The question that started this whole mess I think came about because we had a discussion on how/why identical twins look alike the other day that involved chalkboard drawings of eggs being fertilized and then splitting. That coupled with a prior knowledge that condoms = no babies, which could have been learned from a billion different places. I can’t remember how long back the kids knew that little nugget of knowledge. It is a shame, but it is the sad truth. Throw all that in the mind of a 9 year old boy, and let it stew for a day or two…

And ok, in hindsight I really CAN see how it would have been MUCH better form for us as parents to hand out a “that’s not polite dinner conversation, we’ll talk about it later” statement, and then follow it up… later… away from the dinner table. Thing is? My mind doesn’t work that way yet. I’m trying, but I’ve just not gotten there yet. Really, the only thing that crossed my mind when the question was popped was just exactly how NON-graphic could I make my response while still telling him the truthful answer.

Kinda explains this post, too, huh?

Also those ovaries aren’t itching near so much after tonight’s 3 and a half hour long getting-ready-for-bed battle. It’s 11:30pm for pete’s sake!! Sheesh-ka-bobs!

My ovaries are itching.

I can count on one hand the number of times I have held an infant in the 5yr since my very good friend and her newest bouncing babe moved 5hr away.

Three times. All in the last year. The latest was tonight and I held that bundle of binky-sucking sweetness for at least 15min.

I always wanted 8. At least 5 “homegrown”, because I’m one of those weird ones who actually likes the whole “being pregnant” thing.

I have 2, am very grateful for them, and love them to pieces, but I have to say…

My ovaries are definitely having an allergic reaction of ginormous proportions right now.

I’m just sayin. ;-)

Mother’s Day Then and Now

Mother’s Day 1998-

Mike had been working with my stepdad laying brick for a couple of days. It was going to pay more plus it was a DAY JOB, which was really nice. It was the first day job since we’d been together. Now that we had a baby, I was really not liking the night shift so much. Like not at all.

The day before Mike came home early from work because of really bad heartburn. He even had me drive home (his mom’s house which is where we were living) from my folks’ place. I had just gotten my permit and he had JUST started teaching me to drive, so I can’t say I was thrilled with the idea of suddenly having to drive my hubby and 5mo old home.

Mike moaned and groaned and hung out watching T.V. and popping Rolaids all night. His mother and I both asked him a few times if he wanted/needed to go to the ER, but he said no.

Sunday morning, Mother’s Day, I woke up and took the home pregnancy test I’d bought the day before. I had a sneaky suspicion we were soon to become a family of 4.

I was right. =) Happy Mother’s Day!!

It was so cool! My first-ever Mother’s Day as a mom and I found out I was going to be a mom…again! =) MAN! Is this going to make a great story someday, I thought.

Oh sure, but I had no idea just how crazy of a story. It gets so much better. (Can you hear the sarcasm dripping off that last sentence? Drip, drip, drip…)

I took the test in to show Mike and he didn’t say much. Not much at all, really. I think he mumbled “Mmmhmm, thought so” or something like that. I got the baby up, fed her, dressed her, so forth and so on, and then we were supposed to take his mother out for lunch after church.

When she got home, though, Mike was still wincing and trying to burp. (Fascinating, I know…) He totally did not feel like going out to eat and I felt like such a yietz because “what would his mom say??” I was freakin’ out that they would want me and baby to go eat with Mother and leave Mike home. Yikes I so did not want to do that. I loved Mother, great woman, absolutely! However, she was 80+ years, I was 19 and we had NOTHING in common. She intimidated me like you wouldn’t believe. I was always so scared I’d say or do something stupid. And to be sure I always did.

Thankfully, Mike did NOT suggest I “go on to lunch”.

Not so thankfully, he suggested something else. That is… he wanted me to drive him to the ER. UGG and YIKES at the same time.

So we loaded baby up, and off we went. The ER is only like 2min from the house, so it really was not long at all before we were in and he was whisked away after uttering those 2 magical words: “chest pain”.

I have no idea how much time passed after that, but easily an hour, before I heard or knew ANYTHING. Even then it was just that they were running tests.

I’d been trying to call my mom off and on for a couple of hours, and I’d gotten no answer. I was desperate. No one would talk to me and I had no idea how to get in where Mike was so HE could make them. I shook all the way, but I walked out of the ER, loaded Meagan up in the car and then drove to my mom’s. Illegally. Because I did not have a license, I had only a learner’s permit.

They weren’t home, so I climbed in the window, changed the baby, and borrowed their phone. I called the Dairy Queen. They’d left awhile back. I called the movie rental store. They’d just left. I called a couple of other places. They hadn’t seen them. FINALLY they pulled in and I basically fell apart. I went crying to my Mommy. I told her Mike was at the hospital, they said he had a heart attack and said something about waiting to transfer him, but to where? and how could they know, and besides I don’t know anything else because the doctor will NOT talk to me and I can’t get back to where he is. What do I do??

She drove us back up to the hospital, where we found my MIL in the waiting room. She had come in after she’d eaten to see what was what. I had to tell her I had no idea. About that time a dr came out, recognized my MIL and started talking to her. They wandered off. I was really not liking the way this was turning out. Especially since I had NO CLUE what was going on.

This repeated at least one more time, and then MIL and the dr had a confab from which she returned and said they were talking about flying him out.

I was really getting fed up with this go-around the WIFE thing, so I walked up to the dr and asked him what was going on. He turned, told MIL bye and left.

A nurse told me I could come in and see him (FINALLY! First time all day, we’d only been there for HOURS!), so I did. MIL left to go home, and baby Meagan and I went in to see Mike in the little curtained off area they had him in. The dr was talking to him, so I just stood by quietly for a minute. When he paused, I asked the dr again what was going on, and he STILL hemmed and hawed and would not say anything to me. I told him that Mike was my husband, and I wanted to know what was going on. He shook his head and told me he couldn’t tell me.

Mike told him then, “She really IS my wife, and that’s our daughter, Meagan.” ugg!

I guess Mr. FamilyDoctorDude didn’t get an engraved invitation to the (non-existent) wedding and so refused to believe. Or it could just be that it was a little hard to believe this almost 50 year old being seen for a big-bad heart attack was married to a kid that looked maybe 16 and was holding a baby. =)

I was more than indignant at the time, though. Oh was I steamed. It was bad enough being a KID (a 19yo one, but still a kid) and scared stiff because my husband and father of my kidS(!!) and my provider was having a gas attack and people were trying to make it bigger than it was and just generally FREAK the kid out on her first Mother’s Day… but to then have the dr flat-out REFUSE to accept that you are his wife and therefore entitled to be told what in the tarnation is going on!! And I drove him in!

I wasn’t entirely STOOPID though. I knew I had some rights as his wife, and I knew that HE had rights as a patient. I also knew my husband trusted my judgement with medical stuff in general. So I fired the dr. Oh yes I did. I fired him and told him I wanted MY doctor called in. I told the guy 3 times I wanted my doc called in and 3 times he ignored me. Finally I spelled it out for him, “You Are Fired! Now call Dr. C in.” He looked at Mike and Mike nodded, so Dr. C came in.

When my doc got there, I was hoping (because he was a laid-back kinda guy) he would tell me how overblown everyone was making this gas attack and send us on our way. (Can we say DENIAL?!) Instead, the rascal confirmed that Mike had had a heart attack. A big enough one that they wanted to CAREFLIGHT him to a big hospital in Dallas.

Yee-IKES!! Do what?!?!

I was 19, pregnant, and trying to keep a 5mo occupied in the ER. Now they’re telling me my husband had had a massive heart attack and needed to ride in a helicopter (and how, pray tell are we going to afford THAT) to go to Dallas?

We wound up following the helicopter out a few hours later. Mom took Meagan and I to her place to pick up my little brothers (Bro4 and Bro5) and then to my place to load up clothes and baby paraphernalia and then drove us to my grandmother’s. My grandmother generously let us stay with her while Mike was in the hospital. He had one angioplasty and a stent put in and stayed about a week. He had to go back in 6wks to get a second angioplasty and stent put in. All his arteries were between 97 and 100 (the one that caused the attack) percent blocked. So basically I had married a heart attack time bomb.

I didn’t get flowers or a card or anything, obviously. LOL

That was Mother’s Day Then, 1998.

Mother’s Day, 2008 –

One quick preface, here. In the years between ’98 and now, it has developed into some sort of cruel joke that EVERY Mother’s Day Mike ends up going out to lunch with a friend of his (generally in payment for mowing the lawn) and sorta, kinda forgets about it being, in fact MOTHER’S Day. Oh I *might* get a card or a potted daisy that afternoon, but basically it is a day to take your buddy out to lunch… apparently.

So why should I be surprised at the way this Mother’s Day turned out? =) I have to laugh, it’s just too funny not to!

Several days ago, Mike got a phone call from a long-lost (ok, newly discovered…not LOST) relative wanting to meet to share genealogical information. WHY, oh WHY is this such a huge thing for Mike?? Drives me nuts! I digress. So he makes a ‘date’ sotospeak. Next Sunday at 2pm, he’ll meet this distant relative that he’s never heard of before in a town not far from us at his hands-down favorite restaurant… Cracker Barrel.

Let me just state for the record, I do not like Cracker Barrel’s menu options. Sorry, I just don’t. I don’t care how enamored Mike is with their salt-cured ham and friend eggs (hmmm, perhaps that helps explain that massive heart attack!) *I* am not that partial to Cracker Barrel’s food. It’s ok, but I will NOT be seen parked outside their brand-new restaurant at 3am waiting to be their first customer. (Oh yes he did!) Their store, though, I LUH-OVE!!! =) I could easily spend 4 fortunes in there. No problem.

So Mike tells me about his scheduled meeting, and I tell HIM… haha No, I just asked him if he was aware what next Sunday was, and when he answered in the negative, I told him it was Mother’s Day, otherwise known as take Pepe to lunch day. (Pepe is what the kids call Mike’s friend.) So then Mike tells me that the kids and I are welcome to come if we want, but we don’t have to.

Ummmm. Oooook. How sweet of him to offer, huh? LOL Of COURSE the kids wanted to go, they want to go ANYWHERE. Me? Well it’s Cracker Barrel. It’s loud, it’s expensive, but it does have a cool store (that I can’t afford to shop in, but still…).

So Saturday rolls around and the kids tell me that Daddy has told them he’ll be going to church with us in the morning.

Wait. A. Minute.

Back. It. Up.

Daddy said WHAT?!?!

Daddy said he’d be going to church with us in the morning so we could just go straight to Cracker Barrel from there.

Umm. Ok. Dare I hope? I mean it IS scheduled to be Friends Day at church. I WAS hoping he would come, ok, I was PRAYING he would come, but I had not said anything about it. At all. Come to think of it, I don’t think the kids did either.

Kids? Did you ask Daddy to come to church? No?? Oooook…

I woke up this morning, got Meagan up and dressed (she likes to ride the church bus, so she leaves before Matthew and I), and made coffee.

I heard Mike’s alarm go off.

Ummm, maybe it’s for real?

I went and tried to wake Mike up. Told him his alarm was going off. He shut it off, and I went about getting dressed. I came out and told the kids I didn’t think he was coming as he’d just reset his alarm for 10am. We were supposed to BE there at 10am…

Matthew went into our room and came back and told us that Daddy said he would meet us later, and for us to sit in back.

Dare I hope? Did he REALLY mean it, then?

We went on to church. I was going to call to make sure he was up, but I’m glad my phone was deader than a doornail. Here’s why…

While I thought about calling to make sure he was up, I ALSO thought about how I had not said one single word to him about coming to church, and apparently the kids had not either. I had, however prayed, and so therefore I needed to just LET WELL ENOUGH ALONE and let the Lord handle this. That is what I thought, and yet I still dialed the house. I’m glad the phone shut off before he heard it, because now I can say that…

Mike came to church with us without me asking him or even saying anything to him about it…at all. I didn’t remind him, I didn’t call him. I did nothing except TOTALLY enjoy the fact that he slipped in beside me and put his arm on the back of the pew behind me.

That was such a TOTALLY cool Mother’s Day present. =)

I got another really cool present, too. Before church, Meagan handed me this:

A light box






It is a box made of popsicle sticks and tape, complete with a hinged lid and a cheese cracker box bottom. The note says:

To Mom, From M+M.

Here is a box you only put light stuff in. “Happy Mother’s Day.” We love you and thank you for everything! Love! Matthew R. C. + Meagan R. C.

That was Mother’s Day Now, 2008.

We’ve come a long way, baby! =) I’m lovin’ it! SUCH a better story, this year. I think so, anyway. ;-)

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