Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Love in the Time of Dirty Fridges

I already started a whole entry about all the insane fun I had this weekend with my friend CC in Phoenix. But Quake has been sick so I didn't finish it. Then life threw me a curve ball today. A small curve ball, but enough to completely disrupt the evening.

I dropped my cell phone today while getting something out of the fridge for one of the boys. The key protector popped off, and the actual little slip with the keys on it, disappeared. Under the fridge. Two letter magnets and huge case of "ewwwws" later, I realized that my tiny paintbrush handle was not going to be long enough to find my key pad.

It's not a huge deal. So I miss a few text messages. Oh, and all those calls from Quake's friends because that's the number I used as the RSVP for his birthday party this weekend. Fuck.

I convinced Monkey Man to help me out when he got home. He moved the fridge out. No key pad. We did hear a loud crack that so far doesn't seem to be related to anything functional (cross your fingers). I then convinced Monkey Man we could see better if we pulled off the front grill on the bottom of the fridge. There are no words to describe the grossness we found. Yeah, I heard once you were supposed to clean that stuff out once a year. That hasn't happened around here. Obviously.

So then we spent 20 minutes clearing a huge wad of gross out of the vacuum hose.

Monkey Man checked the floor in the pantry. I checked under the stove. Monkey Man checked under the crisper drawer when I told him the fridge door had been open. We grabbed more wads of gross out from under the fridge and then vacuumed what was left. Monkey Man tried to tilt the fridge to no avail.

Then I opened the freezer.

Just to check.

Because maybe the freezer had been open too.

Oh look, a key pad. Not only did Monkey Man not kill me, he didn't even scream at me! Now that's love.

Unfortunately my phone still doesn't work.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Silly Things Make Me Happy

This new bottle of soap I bought at Target is making me ridiculously happy. After I snapped this photo I also replaced the pathetic diffuser. Now my bathroom smells like mango.
This little bottle represents more than just a cute new soap pump though. Gretchen Rubin over at The Happiness Project has a commandment called "Spend Out". Basically she has a bad habit of buying new things to replace old things and then continuing to use the old things while "saving" the new ones.
I have a similar problem in that I never even bother to replace the old things so I don't even have new, pretty underwear.
I am trying to change.
The old soap pump in the bathroom hasn't worked in months. I looked for a replacement but never found one I really liked. Which of course is code for saying I never found one I liked that didn't cost $25. Haven't I mentioned that I'm cheap? You'd think the $10 pump that broke quite quickly would be a hint that it might be worth a little splurge. Anyway.
I spotted this in the soap aisle at Target. Not something I'd usually pick up because it was a few more dollars than the store brand. And remember that bit about me being cheap? But Ms. Rubin's meditations on spending out made me toss the bottle in my cart before I could think about it too much.
And every time I notice this pretty little bottle? I grin. And every time I use it instead of reaching for a grungy bar of soap perched on my sink (which has since been removed)? I grin.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Meet The Perfects

We spent Saturday evening in Phoenix at a little Easter Eve shindig that brother #3 put together. Basically he put slate tiles on his patio and needed an excuse to show off.

You may remember my earlier rants about my in-laws from these two entries: The Fat Sister-In-Law and I Wish I Had That Kind of Time. I've decided on a new nickname for brother #3 and sister-in-law #3 - The Perfects. As in Mr. and Ms. Perfect. As in I would weep with envy if you weren't so fucking smug about it all.

One of Ms. Perfect's sisters was there. She weighs about 90 pounds, soaking wet. Which would be totally normal if she were 4'5". But she's not. She spent a good 15 minutes when she first got there, getting confirmation that her new pants didn't make her look fat, i.e. wasting our time. You cannot imagine how tempted I was to tell her they did make her look a little chunky.

Oh, honey, just stand next to me all night. Actually, gain 30 pounds, stand next to me, and still have people think you're anorexic. I think the lack of food in her diet may have affected her creative problem solving skills.

A bit later someone make the mistake of admiring a picture of Ms. Perfect. Who responded with, "Oh, that was taken in my skinny days." To which I responded, "Fuck you." And then I snapped her skinny little neck in my bare hands.

Well maybe only in my head.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Things I've Learned This Week

  • Williams-Sonoma Meyer Lemon hand soap and hand lotion is totally worth the price.

  • Williams-Sonoma Meyer Lemon hand soap will not, however, remove the smell of vomit from a 4 year old's favorite teddy bear.

  • Being in a funk and being in a funky groove are nowhere near the same thing.

  • More exercise, better food, and fresh air will not cure my funk.

  • Long, funny conversations with a wonderful friend that make me late for picking up my son, will bring on a funky groove.

  • In the retail world, Easter is already over.

  • Sometimes, a cigarette really does help.

  • Shopping for little girls is wading into a swamp of gender stereotype issues. Thank goodness I have boys.
  • Toddlers will eat an entire strawberry, green parts included, if given an entire strawberry. At least mine will...

Sunday, April 5, 2009

More Reading

This past week I finished the second novel in my recent book buying binge. It was Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl. And once again I was surprised by loving a novel.
Pessl's reviews were all over the place for this, her first, novel. It's a bit messy, more than a bit over the top, and filled to the brim with literary allusions (most of which I'm sure I missed). But in the end I decided I liked it because it was just plain fun.

It did take me a few weeks to get through it; it's just over 500 pages, and you'd better be paying attention. Actually I'm sure I still missed quite a bit.

So I rounded out the week by reading my 3rd novel, Bones to Ashes by Kathy Reichs. I finished it in 2 days. I love a good forensic detective novel, and Reichs has delivered for me every time I've read her.

Friday, April 3, 2009

That Karma...She's a Bitch

Monkey Man called early in the day yesterday to invite me down to the University Main Gate. Our babysitter and her younger brother were going to be playing in a jazz band at 6:30 so he figured we could meet there, have a bite to eat, let the boys listen to the music. One more night I could avoid cooking dinner - great plan!

I'd been having a completely bipolar day with the boys. One minute I'm getting kisses and thinking about how I'm the luckiest woman in the whole world. The next minute I'm contemplating abandoning them at Target. I'm not terribly cruel - they'd have lots to do and plenty to eat. I was looking forward to sitting down for a few minutes and letting Monkey Man chase Quake's conversations and just literally chase Cha-Cha.

There's a small brew pub across the street from where the jazz band was playing, and Monkey Man had left work a little early to catch a beer with our babysitter's dad (with whom he works). I fight through terrible post-work, pre-party traffic, get the car parked, get the stroller and the kids together, and then contemplate how I'm going to get the whole shebang to the second floor of the brew pub where the grown-up boys are... Ah, look! There's an elevator!

Quake loves elevators. He pushes the buttons for me. We go to the second floor...

Nothing happens.

The elevator goes back to the first floor. I laugh, tell Quake someone else must have pushed the button making the elevator go down before the doors had a chance to open. We arrive on the first floor...

Nothing happens.

Quake pushes #2 again. We go up. We stop...

Nothing happens.

I tell Quake to push the "open doors" button. You guessed it...

Nothing happens.

I calmly peruse the elevator button panel looking for the call button when my phone rings. Cell service in an elevator? Now that's a miracle. It's Monkey Man, wondering where we are. I tell him we're on the elevator, that I think we might be stuck. He thinks I mean the elevator is just really slow. He pushes the button for the elevator, and...

Nothing happens!

You know it's not broke until a man can't get it to work.

I got to spend 20 minutes in an elevator with two small children I wasn't particularly fond of at the given moment. One of whom was a bit frightened, the other one starving. And me without fish crackers - bad mommy!

And then, they didn't even offer us free beers. Bastards.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Soccer is Hell

Oh, thank goodness the evil-that-is-soccer is over. Your kids love soccer? You love taking them to soccer? You love hanging out at the games and cheering on your little tyke? Good for you! Now I no longer have to pretend that I'm just like you. So far Quake has shown no interest in continuing with this experiment. Although he has been wearing his medal around the house. And to the grocery store.

I'm thinking about getting a whole batch of those suckers made up. I could give him one for every week of the summer during which I don't consider locking him out of the house. Now there's a competition I could get behind! Go team!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

More Critter Love

We have a pack rat (aka woodrat). Correction - we had a pack rat. He/she/it has not come back after we destroyed the lovely abode you see here. This was in the corner on our house and the fence.
I get the weeds and the lint. And although you can't really see it in this photo, there were also lots of little cholla balls (little pieces of spine enrusted cacti). Makes perfect sense. But where the hell did it get that corn cob?
Also? We have a dog, a pretty large dog. A dog who likes to poop a few feet from this very spot. She, who almost removed my arm once when she spotted a rabbit during a walk, she apparently never noticed this.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Preschooler and Their Pets

In case you can't quite make it out, that is a plastic spider. I found it making a home for itself in the phone pocket of my purse. Do I need to point out that I almost jumped out of my skin the first time I saw it there? Do I also need to explain why, after the skin jumping incident, it remained in my purse for a good two months? If I could figure that one out I'm sure my life would make a lot more sense to me too.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Go, Team!

Yes, well, getting back into the swing of things around here has proved just a teensy bit more difficult than I had originally imagined. I've been moping through my days feeling sorry for myself because Monkey Man was so busy at work, and I'm tired, damn it!

Plus I'd been dreading the soccer-day-from-hell that had been planned for me yesterday. Quake had pictures at 10:30, then a game at noon and a game at 1pm. Two hours of soccer for a 4 year old? That's about 90 minutes more than he's interested in playing. Then Monkey Man told me he had band practice at 1. Then the nice man on the news told me it was going to be 90 degrees. Then I dissolved in a puddle of god-I-hate-being-a-soccer-mom-itis.

It was almost as bad I thought it was going to be. Monkey Man's cousin drove down from Phoenix to see Quake play so at least I had an extra hand to help with Cha-Cha (2 hours of soccer in which he is not allowed to participate is just about 120 minutes more than he's interested in watching). But the weather? Even if Quake wanted to play again, I'd tell him there was no more soccer until next November. And then I'd tell him all the parks were closed until then too. I guess it's a blessing that all he really wanted was the uniform.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Welcome to the House of Ick

The icky house of sick, that is.

Monkey Man had the flu all week and even canceled the trip he was supposed to take to Asia this week. I was the bad-ass momma Monday and Tuesday, keeping everything and everyone together and taken care of. Wednesday I started to slip. By Thursday I was sick as well. At least I only have a cold, a nasty cold, but just a cold.

Hopefully everyone (including me) will be back in the game tomorrow...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Look Before You Sit

I had nightmares as a child that a snake or crocodile would come up through the toilet and bite my ass. Actually I'm pretty sure I was still afraid of that as a young adult. At least when I was drunk. These days we should all probably be afraid of tiny little cameras, but that's a topic for another day.
Apparently I should have been afraid of plastic fish and octopus combs. Thank you Cha-Cha, but this is not just a small bathtub. At least he didn't try to flush them. And I found them before the 3am-in-the-dark piss.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My Daily Plans - An Update

A couple weeks ago I wrote about the list of 11 daily habits I was trying to integrate into my life. I held no hope that doing this would actually change anything. I own at least 50 self-help books (not to mention a long history with the library), and let's just say I know my way around this neighborhood.

Well color me shocked and amazed! Not only have I been filling out my little sheet, I've also noticed which items have a made a difference in my mood and which haven't. Morning pages keep me sane; meditation is overrated. It's like I'm a grown up or something. Please don't tell my mother.

Of course previous lists have included things like, "Do cardio for 60 minutes every day while eating sub-subsistence levels of food." Then I'd beat myself up for not being able to stick to my goals for even 1 day. Now that's just a little slice of heaven for a self-flagellating depressive, I tell you!

Favorite addition to my current list? Flossing. Little bitty baby steps.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

In Which I Actually Read a Novel

Last week I HAD to get away from the family for a few hours. After dinner I headed out for Boookman's, a local, used bookstore that is fabulous. I even printed out a list of books from my ever-growing excel sheet of books-I-might-like-to-read. I've been feeling overwhelmed by this enormous list lately, but I haven't been able to tackle it at the library. Turns out that once your fines get over $10, you can't reserve books on-line anymore. Yes, I know, I just need to pay the fine, blah, blah, blah.

Because time is an increasingly precious commodity to me, I elected to just print the fiction books on my list. I'm more likely to read non-fiction these days, but I couldn't bear the thought trying to figure out in which category each book might be shelved. And then checking for the same book in multiple places because who knows if I got it wrong or if they just don't have a copy. I'm tired just thinking about it.

There is a point. Kind of.

I bought three novels, and I finished the first one yesterday. It was Little Children by Tom Perrotta. I LOVED it! I may have to try Joe College and Election. Because the 460 books that I already have on my list might get lonely...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

How To Know If Your Toddler* Will Make You Gray

The boys were taking a bath tonight (I like them to get clean a few times a season). Cha-Cha starts crawling out of the tub, which is usually Cha-Cha-speak for "I'm done!" I sit an arms length from the tub because Cha-Cha? He likes to splash. Big splashes. The splashing? Not so good for whatever book or magazine I'm reading at the moment. So as I reach over to help the baby, who is not adverse to flinging himself onto the bathroom rug, he slips and rolls into the water.

Just a note here. Unlike many parents I know, like, let's say a certain father who may or may not live in this house, I do not panic at these moments. Contrary to popular myth, the child will not drown in the 3 seconds it takes me to fish him out of the water. Do not email me to tell me what a terrible mother I am. I read while my kids take a bath - I already know I'm a bad mother.

Before I can get my arm in the tub, Cha-Cha's head pops up. Is he coughing? Is he desperately struggling to get air into his water filled lungs? Is he crying? No, no, no, no, no. My dear, sort-of-sweet, devil of a child is laughing. Gleefully.

And he's also not done.

He spends the next 10 minutes putting a foot up on the edge of the tub and then "pretending" to fall back into the water. A few times he actually does slip, and I watch him roll into the water. And then I watch him pop up laughing. Every time, laughing. The game only ended when Cha-Cha decided it could be made infinitely better by actually getting out of the tub and then back in. Even I'm not lazy enough to let him do that.

Cha-Cha will probably never be an easy child, but he's always fun.

*I am so not ready for Cha-Cha to be a toddler. Since he has decided to not talk, I've decided he's still a baby. And will be at least until he starts to drive. Or goes to college. Or turns 30.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Once Again Proving My Lazy Status

Yesterday we resorted to using swim diapers. Because driving the 4 miles to Walmart? Too.fucking.hard.

Just so you know, swim diapers will not hold an entire nights' worth of pee. In case you were curious. Or as lazy as me.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

In Which I Stomp My Feet And Pout

It's Rodeo time here in wonderful, oh-my-god-is-really-90-in-Feb Tucson. Schools are shut down, which caused momentary panic, but Monkey Man has the time off too. Yeah! I don't have to lock the boys in a closet to keep myself from going insane! Monkey Man actually had to take the time off as his company tries to save money so they won't have to have a layoff, but I'm focusing on the positive. I get help with the kids, and he still has a job. Everybody wins!

We took a walk/bike ride/scooter ride as a family this morning. Family time? Not spent in front of a TV? Crazy. It was so much fun, I was grinning like a fool the entire time. Seems like this is something we should do more often. But in some sort of bizarre, upside-down way, it's often difficult to make ourselves do the things that bring us more joy. I'm working on that.

I've been spending some of my copious amounts of free time reading the archives over at The Happiness Project. Ms. Rubin's ideas about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right really resonate with me. Just like most depressives, I spend a lot of time and energy avoiding feeling bad (which sounds counterintuitive; that's why they call it crazy) and end up never feeling right.

This manifests in my daily life when I avoid doing all those little tasks that would greatly increase my satisfaction with life. Taking the dog for a walk, washing my face before I go to bed, blogging. I won't even start the discussion about exercising and eating better. Because (cue 3 yr old whiny voice), "I'm too tired... I deserve this treat... I DON'T WANT TO!" Yes it's true, being depressed often feels like having a very bad tempered 3 year old in your head all.the.time. And when she and the uber-critical Super Bitch start fighting...well it's really no wonder that getting out of bed just seems impossible some days.

So I created a list of 11 things I'd like to do on a daily basis that will increase my sense of feeling right, and I'm tracking them. I hope that developing these better habits will not only give me more satisfaction but also lead to further development of good habits. Even when I.don'! Habits like taking a family walk?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

In Which I Decide to Be...Fine

Do you ever not know how you're doing? It used to be an easy question for me. Mostly I did crappy. Not that I ever shared that. My answer was usually, good. Or fine. Or some other not-helpful word that generally means, "Thank you for pretending to care by asking me how I'm doing but I'll be damned if I'm exposing my feelings to you."

And how are you doing today?

I had the double whammy of psychiatrist and psychologist sessions this afternoon. I'd been fretting since yesterday that when they asked how I was, I wouldn't know how to answer. Because they're really not keen on that whole "fine" thing. Geez, do I have to do all the work around here?. To be fair, I pay them to force me to be honest. Hmmm, that's sort of f'ed up when you think about it that way. So I decided to depend on their professional opinions.

Turns out I'm doing pretty good. Meds are doing what they're supposed to be doing. I seem to have fewer side effects than with the Zoloft. Although withrawal is much worse. Not that I did it on purpose. I'm just forgetful. You would think the spinning rooms and massive headaches would be a good reminder. Turns out I'm not nearly as bright as I like to think I am.

Anyhoo. My 20 year high school reunion is in June. And I've got way too much emotional baggage being dumped in my psyche for me to believe that, as I like to claim, I just don't give a rat's ass. And when I realized that, I started beating myself up for not getting on with my life. 20 years? It's time to move on, damn it.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Why Are You Crying, Mommy?

Last week, while the boys were in the bathtub, Quake holds up the baby shampoo/soap* and says, "Mommy, can Cha-Cha use this soap?"

"Sure. Wait, why?"

"Because I want to wash his hair."

So I helped him wet Cha-Cha's hair, and he went to washing the baby's hair. He's on his knees, massaging the shampoo on Cha-Cha's head, saying, "Does that feel good, Cha?" I only cried a little bit.

*method baby squeaky green hair + body wash in rice milk + mallow - love it! You know I'm cheap so this must be fabulous if I'm willing to pay for it. It doesn't have that cloying baby powder smell, and the lid is a cup

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Okapi Dreams

Last night I dreamt of okapis. Seriously. A whole herd of them going through my backyard at dusk. I'd love to tell you that I had recently being reading about this strange creature, but I haven't. No, my mind managed to dredge up this bizarre little tidbit all by itself.

In the West it was once believed that okapis were a mythological creature. Or at least extinct.
So as far as dream interpretation goes, either something once hidden will be revealed, or I'm moving to central Africa.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

They're Getting More Than My Blue Eyes

Earlier this week Cha-Cha ran off in the general direction of his brother at the school playground, and I lost sight of him. It's an entirely enclosed area, but Cha-Cha has a bad habit of wandering into any open door and joining the class in progress. I asked Quake where Cha-Cha went. The response? Not what I was expecting.

"He got in the car and drove away."

Yeah, go ahead, laugh it up. I did. It's hilarious. My own smart mouth has come back to bite my own smart ass.

Quake has since made several attempts at repeating the performance with little success. Until last night. When asked, "Hey, Quake, do you know where the remote control's at?" he barely pretends to acknowledge our existence, he says, "Cha-Cha put it in the toilet."

I'm so proud. Is that wrong?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Officially a Cliche

Life as I once knew it has come to an end. I am a...

Soccer mom!

Quake had his first practice Wednesday night and his games start next week. Oy. He's playing with the 5 and 6 year olds even though he doesn't turn 5 until April. He's still one of the three tallest on his team, but he's no longer the fastest. Athletics come quite easily to him - he totally gets that from me. Well, me in a previous life maybe. Shut up! It's my dream. The competition will be good for him. If it doesn't utterly destroy him. Just saying.

High waisted jeans, here I come...woohoo!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Closer to Home

Yesterday the bad news about the economy came knocking on our door. Monkey Man will be taking a 7% decrease in pay for at least the next 6 months. I am so grateful that he still has a job. And I can stop beating myself up about not feeling like we can afford to put Quake into private school next year...because there's no question about it now!

It's amazing how having kids has changed my view of the little things. Like recessions. I can no longer listen to or watch any news reports that talk about the economy. It just sends me into a tailspin. So now I can't watch TV or movies that use the abuse or neglect of kids as a narrative device, and I can't watch the news.

Cool. More time to persue my own personal growth as a human being who is not only a parent. Or more SpongeBob. Whatever.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

In A Valley

I am in a foul mood today. I thought it was because I was dragged out of bed at 4:45 by Cha-Cha who then went on to cry for an hour because he was in a foul mood too. But then after dropping Quake off at school, Cha-Cha and I both got a great nap. I woke up feeling fantastic. But I'm back to crappy.

I'd just like to say to that hyper-critical voice inside my head that keeps telling me that I'm fat and lazy and basically a joke for a human being..."Shut the Fuck Up!"

I switched meds about 6 weeks ago. Good-bye Zoloft, hello Effexor. It was going really great until this week. Now I'm suddenly feeling dangerously close to that evil edge of despair. Are the drugs not working? Or am I just falling into "comfortable" thought patterns, the way of existing that I'm most familiar with?

Monkey Man has been in California for a trade show this week. Maybe the stress is just getting to me. My mother-in-law was here the last 2 days too. It was nice to have some help, and I really love her, but I have noticed that my self-loathing seems to get worse when I'm around her.

Maybe I just need a long, hot bath and a good cry.