Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas laughs 2008

I always try to get the kids down for their nap around 1 or 1:30 and we all lay in my bedroom and watch a movie and fall asleep. We had planned on dinner at 4:30. At 1:30pm, the kids and I were asleep and Jeff was at the gym working out. The doorbell rang. I woke thinking I heard something, but put my head back down. Then there was banging on the door. The doorbell rang again. More banging. I get up and head downstairs in my Pjs. I was showered and had my make up done, but if I’m at home Pjs are so much more comfy and I still had a lot of cooking to do so I didn’t want to put on my clothes I was planning on wearing when company was here. So there I am in my jammies opening the door while the kids are napping. They had been sleeping for only about 20 minutes and you know, it’s Christmas, so it’s already been a busy day - they needed rest! I opened the door and saw my Mother in law and Brother in law standing there trying to peek in. I opened the door and rudely said, “We’re all napping, we weren’t expecting you until sometime after 3 o’clock.” My MIL just said in her way too loud voice, (man, I need to record her voice one day and post it here so you can here the nails on a chalkboard voice she has….just imagine a whiny high pitched and way too loud irritating voice and that’d be her), “Weeelllll, it’s Christmas.” I just said, “Come on in, I need to make sure the kids are still asleep.” She came in and said something really loud and I about hit her. I just looked at her and said in my best irritated Mommy voice (the one I use with the kids) “Please…keep it down, I said they are sleeping!” Then I went upstairs and they were in fact still sleeping. I stayed upstairs for several minutes, changed my pants and fumed. When I came back downstairs, Jeff was just getting home. After giving him the evil eye, I ignored Nancy and James, and Jeff and I just started planning the meal.

About an hour later, Jeff and James and I are in the dining room putting the leaves in the table and Jeff and I are talking about place settings. There I hear Jeff and James run to the front door and open it and in walk my two very young newly declawed kittens. WHAT? I looked and Jeff and said, “Who let the cats outside?” James immediately says, “Not me.” Jeff has always talked about the Not Me character from the cartoon strip Family Circus. He says he and his dad always used to talk about the Not Me in the house growing up and how his mom and brother would always deny doing anything. So Not Me evidently just left the front door wide open after coming in and going back to the car to get the gifts he was bringing in. Jeff pulled me aside later and apologized for the cats. Not that he did it, but he said when he walked in and I was upstairs still, the two of them were sitting in the living room and the front door was wide open. No big deal, right….it’s just fucking December and freezing outside; who cares if your ass is too lazy to close the fucking door after you come inside. So the cats of course got outside. I feel so lucky they came back. I think it’s because it was so cold and there was snow on the ground, they couldn’t have gone far. (Although Christmas day it was in the 40s) After Jeff told me that, I walked up to James and just said, “You left the front door open!!???!!!??” And walked away….I didn’t give him a chance to even stammer. I was so upset. I went upstairs and fought back tears. I kept telling myself the cats were fine and inside, but knowing what could have happened and how I would tell the kids just drove me to tears. We have coyotes walking through our yard every night. It’s still upsetting for me. But anyway….

Here’s an annoying fact about my mother in law. She has no social skills. She doesn’t know how to start a conversation or when it’s appropriate to say something or even when something doesn’t need to be said. She had a little tidbit of information that for whatever reason she wanted to share with us. Out of the blue she says, “You know it’s been so cold lately, a lot of restaurants have had problems with pipes freezing.” Now, to my knowledge, she knows of only one restaurant that had that trouble, but she didn’t know how to pipe in and just say James told me the Denny’s where he works had their pipes freeze on a cold night. She made it sound like she had taken a poll on all the restaurants in the area and determined that A LOT have had this problem. So being the bitchy hateful person I can be with her, I said, “Really, A lot?” And her reply was of course, “Weeeeellllll. Denny’s in Boulder did.” The she and James got into the story about that one place with frozen pipes and I ignored them both and started talking to my mom and Arwen who were sitting next to me.

A while after Joe got there and started eating he took a shot at her and said to me, “Stephanie, I think you’re cooking has really improved,” then he smiled and chuckled and winked at me. You may recall she said that very thing at Thanksgiving in front of our 12 guests as if to say I really sucked as a cook before but I’ve gotten better. I guess maybe she’s noticed how things taste if you actually prepare and cook them rather than open a can and pour. Later Joe told me that she said something to him about why she’s not having sex. WHAT?? Joe just said he tried to get Jeff’s attention and talk about guy stuff with him. He was laughing when he told me, but I could tell he was embarrassed a bit. He said, I guess she’s noticed me around a lot and she knows your mother and I are dating, so she’s probably explaining why she’s not bringing someone to dinners as well. I told him a few stories like Thanksgiving last year when she asked Jeff and I at Thanksgiving dinner if we were going to go have sex after everyone leaves. I also told him about the time she told me in front of a waitress at breakfast one morning that I’ll have to handcuff Jeff to the bed to keep him home. Then I said, I can glance at her and tell you why she’s not having sex; she doesn’t need to come up with a bunch of lines about how she doesn’t want to go down that relationship road anymore.

The other kind of funny and very annoying thing (at the time) that happened was she told Jeff and I she got Arwen the Barbie Castle dollhouse. I told Jeff we’d just keep it even though we had gotten Arwen a big wooden dollhouse made for the Barbie sized dolls. She never asked us for suggestions and I didn’t want to make her feel bad (hey, I am human) So I said we’d just keep it and Arwen can have two dollhouses….or we’d put that one in the playroom….whatever, we’d deal with it, no biggie. I sent my mom upstairs to see the huge dollhouse we got Arwen because it really is cool. It’s taller than Arwen. Zoe can’t even reach the top floor which is really cute. I knew Nancy wouldn’t go up there because she can’t do stairs, so I figured she’ll never see it and therefore never know that Arwen got two dollhouses for Christmas. Anyway, I told my mom to go look at the one we gave her and not to say anything because Nancy got her a different dollhouse, and I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. A few hours later Arwen opens up a Barbie Island Princess vanity. Not a dollhouse…but a vanity. Arwen loves it, so I’m not irritated anymore, but it’s freaking huge! And with the dollhouse, the giraffe and her furniture in her room, I had no idea where we would put a huge vanity. It’s nice and it’s plastic, but it’s like another piece of furniture. My first thought was this is not a dollhouse. My second thought was I thought it was a bit rude to buy something that big and not tell us. It’s like buying drums for a kid and not telling the parents.

When Arwen opened the vanity and Zoe opened her Little people sets, Nancy kept telling everyone how ALL the people in Toys R Us were watching her put these things in her cart and they all had looks on their faces, like ‘how could you afford all of that?’ I thought that was a little pretentious. I mean I know a lot of kids don’t get a vanity or Little People sets for Christmas from a grandparent, but a lot of kids get that and more. So I’m sure not many people in Toys R Us doing their Christmas shopping were looking at her like she was Donald Trump shopping on 5th Avenue. (I don’t remember much about NYC, is 5th in the shopping district?) I mean come on….really, people were looking at you with envy and wondering just how you could afford these three toys….well, four I think they gave Arwen a Barbie too. I haven’t looked up these prices, but I’ve seen vanities before and they are about $70-$80 and I can only imagine there was a sale. Each Little People thing was probably about $30. So let’s say her whole shopping cart was $140. REALLY?? EVERYONE was looking at you as if to ask how can you afford this? It just annoyed me and it was uncalled for…

The last hilarious thing with MIL and BIL was the Wii. I got Jeff a Wii for Christmas. While Jeff and I were cooking, he set it up and they started bowling. Nancy sat in the chair and told James over and over again his mistakes and how to do it. I told Jeff at one point that she sounded just like my four year old. “I know how to do it” when she’s never seen a Wii or the Wii remote before in her entire life. So she kept telling James how to do it and when it was her turn, she practically rolled herself down the lane and right into our TV. She had gutter ball after gutter ball. She threw balls instead of rolling them and every time Jeff tried to tell her how to hold the remote and when to let go of the button, she’d say, “I know how to do it. I have bowled before, you know.” Yep, ‘cause bowling on the Wii is EXACTLY like it is in real life. And I’m pretty sure you haven’t been inside a bowling alley in 20 years anyway! She’s such an idiot!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Will you be having sex after dinner?

The mother in law chronicles are long and in many places like written treasures. This was written after Christmas dinner 2008...and it's true and only a snippet of the fun she brings to my life.

Usually after a big holiday, you all read how crazy my mother in law is. This year I'm not going to say she's crazy...I don't have to; you already know. I'm happy to say she didn't find a way to hide a knife in toy she gave my children, she didn't ask Jeff and I at Christmas dinner if we were going to have sex after everyone left, and she didn't say anything about the way I look like I'm so big they need to tie me to the hood of a car like they did the grandmother in the movie Vacation or is there a chance I am pregnant again.
OK, so when she walked in, I had to ask Jeff to ask her to be quiet and then I had to tell her to be quiet because the girls were sleeping. Oh and the girls did wake up after only about a hour long nap, but what can she possibly say. She has the most shrill voice I've ever heard and in the Christmas excitement, I think it was so high only my children and the neighborhood dogs could hear her. She and my brother in law gave everyone great gifts, so who could complain?
So today, for the fans of my mother in law stories, I'm going to take a walk down memory lane.

Monday, September 29, 2008


Since I have to endure my great friends talking about why they love Obama so much and hate Palin more than anything in this world, I thought I brave the waters and mention some things that cause me my beliefs. Many of my good friends know am Republican....though in this day and age, I'm not sure a registered party matters much to someone like me. I have very Democratic social views. I believe in pro-choice, I believe in gay marriage, I believe that a long time lover should be able to stand beside their loved one on their deathbed and say goodbye. I was granted that opportunity once in my lifetime and am grateful for it. I believe people in need should have a place to look to for help when they need it. However, I do not believe in living on welfare as a way of life and will not support anyone that believe lifetime welfare is an acceptable way of life. I remember a story Obama mentioned at the DNC here in Denver about a single other in Ohio with six of seven or maybe a slew of children. She worked, I believe, so I will give her that, but Obama mentioned the family and how because of our suport system, i.e. welfare, grants and financial aid, she was able to send her slew of children to college. Now this educational growth makes me happy and proud for an American; unfortunately, I was in a family that always made too much money to qualify for financial aid or grants fo college, so we had to take out loans or pay cash. My children in another 15 years won't qualify for grants or welfare, but I can bet we'll have those weeks when buying milk will be tight much less sending three kids to college.
As a family, we happen to be in a tax bracket that will take this year about $60K and on top of that we pay for our own benefits. And yet we'll 'make too much' to get the financial to send out kids to school when the time comes. (probably....seeing as that is a long time away) Speaking of benefits, I remember talking to a mother one day whose daughter was on Medicare because she didn't have health benefits for her. She managed to go out to dinner at least twice a week with friends, for coffee at least once a week at Starbuck for $4 a cup, she drove all over the city putting gas in her car at least once a week certainly if not more, but her priority was not giving her child healthcare. She didn't feel it was her responsibility. So she allowed the government to handle it for her. At first I was terrified to go out on our own with a personal business and have to provide health insurance for my family. She made me feel like we'll never have good coverage again. Then I found out she was paying $500 a month for three people in her family and I realized you get what you pay for. For a little more than double that, I have a PPO, no co-pay and 90% coverage. I got what I paid for and I paid more for what I got. I chose to own that responsibility instead of asking for a hand up. I'm not suggesting every democrat is like that, but it does seem that many people I have met like that have that democratic belief that the government should always be there to help you out as long as your not willing to help yourself out; where as I believe people come on hard times and we all need a hand every now and then, but it's not owed to us and we need to pay it forward always and keep it short and simple because there is always someone in line behind us. I was raised in a family that believed we should never take anything from the government. I never have and hope I never will....or rather am never in a place where I can't handle my life on my own ir with help of family or even friend first.
The basis of my republican view is less government. I don't believe many of the government programs actually help people as much as they enable people to stay where they are instead of striving to do and become better. However, in my later years I've become cynical of even the republicans and the party's drive. I think religion has overtaken the party more than political views. I don't actually remember when Kennedy was elected because I'm a child of the '70s, but I do know the outrage that a Catholic would be president. I am also aware of many of the conspiracy theories that reside in people's minds about his assassination from affairs with Marilyn to suggesting getting rid of the CIA or even banking conspiracies such as the ones we face today. For me, over 40 years later, it just proves that politics just gets dirtier over time and with each election I've been a part of in the last (gasp) 17 years, I have always felt I was choosing the lesser of two evils. It's sad that so many of us feel that way.
I'm not a huge fan of McCain. There are things I like about him. There are things I have always liked about him. When Obama threw his hat into the ring, I asked a few friends from IL about him and I've never felt satisfied that I know enough about him to judge make a well educated decision about him. I think as people we pick what we like based on the influences we allow in our lives. It's so comical to me how CNN is left and Fox is right. I love Glenn Beck (who is actually on CNN) and many of the things he says and believe will influence me much more that someone else...I'll keep the ones I'm not fans of nameless....not really out of respect but more because I'd have to look at their pictures to get their full names. Many others will allow other news anchors or news makers or talk show hosts to influence their decisions as well. You chose to watch the news channel you watch...because you like then anchors or the way they report the news...or the way they lean. And face it, the media way or another. I think even Bill O'Riley who claims to be in the no spin zone seems to inflate his own ego each night and lean every now and then...but he'll deny that.
So back to the lesser of two....whatever you wish to call it. McCain and Palin are not perfect people or perfect politicians by any means. I've never cared if anyone inhaled anything 30 years ago and I expect people's views to change as they grow and therefore they may seem to flip flop over the years. I have flip flopped....the things that were important to me once, like being pro-choice and for gay rights drove my voting decisions. Those things are important to me as is stem cell research and the such but not enough for my personal life to drive my vote. The environment is important to me as well, but like many things it's a double edge sword. Mother Earth is important and we've done damage to it. But I'm not the little girl going from house to house anymore spewing about plutonium in the dirt and local water. Scientists say our oceans are a degree cooler that they were ten years ago. We go through these cycles of El Nino and El Nina every few years. The polar bear population is actually up and they can swim for at least 100 miles without stopping. Many have been seen 200 miles from land or floating on ice in basically a pool of food available. I think things like global warming are over rated. I think our earth like our lives goes through cycles. There was a time with this earth was a ball of fire. There was a time when it was covered with ice. There was a time when all the land settled down near the South Pole. I don't believe any of this happened with people on the Earth, but just as any plant or animal, Earth is a changing being filled with motion, ice, water and fire. We need to accept responsibility for our actions as companies that polute the air and as people that consume too much food that generates waste. But things like Carbon this a joke? And someone please tell me Al Gore is behind this so I can laugh harder. Are people really buying a promise? So I can buy a promise that someone else in another city would not release greenhouse gasses? Even with the stock market down 700 points today, I'll keep my money there. Companies can really pollute Denver more because they are buying credits that can be used in Salt Lake City. So SLC houses a company that has better technology with cleaner equipment and the company in Denver doesn't need to upgrade their equipment; they just need to buy a credit from someone that is not polluting the air as much. What a joke....this is going to save the world? Go rent a pay for the car, you pay for the gas, the insurance and now you can buy carbon credits so when you pollute the city you are visiting by driving the car, someone else that pollute less will take the credit for driving a better car....and you pay for it.
I digress….there are things on a typical Democrats mind that is important to me, but I think like many things important to a typical Republican, they are one sided and blown out of proportion to the other things important to ones day to day life and future.

Obama…..won his first election in IL by getting his opponents off the ballot, has been close to man men in corrupt Chicago politics including a man that was convicted of stealing $4M in quarters (that’s a lot of freaking quarters) from toll booths and then hired into the city to work for the people again where he began bribes for campaign monies to buying his mansion from Tony Rezko, an indicted political fund raiser….there are things that I even think are petty, but demand questions of character like his grandfather’s military record. Obama once said something about his grandfather seeing dead bodies in combat lying across Europe in WWII and yet records show his grandfather never saw combat. He’s also said his grandfather signed up the day after Pearl Harbor and military records show the gentleman signed up in June, six months after Pearl Harbor. I see the commitment to our country Obama is trying to portray from generations before him, but much like the Clinton, “I smoked but didn’t inhale” comments, what is the benefit of lying…especially about something that can be checked out like military records?? Of course there have been many questions about his own parentage, but those conversations are old and worn by now, I’m sure.
His beautiful and eloquent wife….ironically wants universal health care or at least a health care system where anyone can come into a doctor or hospital and get the help they need and deserve as American people. I believe it was Nancy Pelosi that said at the DNC that it is every American’s RIGHT to be insured. Personally I don’t remember reading this under the bill of rights or anywhere in our Constitution. But Michelle Obama wants to work to make this happen. Until the people give her the power to do so, she will continue to work at her current job in Chicago…well, she did until sometime in May when she resigned to campaign with her husband. When she resigned she was quoted saying something along the lines of she’s where she is because she’s tried to not get to far ahead. Yet her promotion to VP of community and external affairs at University of Chicago Hospitals took place just after Obama was elected and included a $215K a year paycheck. That’s pretty far ahead if you ask me. But that’s not my problem. I think anyone that works that hard and is recognized for it by pay or promotion deserves a pat on the back. However, on function of Michelle’s was to turn way the uninsured. Now I would think one with values as strong as hers and beliefs that we all deserve healthcare would not accept a job the required her to turn citizen away because of their lack of insurance. The people that have those hardcore beliefs that I respect are the ones that open free clinics and work night and day providing healthcare and recruiting donations and doctors to help the people of the community. I can’t respect someone that wants to fight in Washington for healthcare for all if she couldn’t use some of the almost $20K a month she made to get healthcare to her own neighbors. (though I have seen a Chicago Sun Tribune that reported her salary at $317K a year I think the increase was after he was elected to Senate for the not for profit hospital - now that could create some donations, wouldn’t you think?? I’d expect to Michelle Obama free clinics all over Chicago by now if she actually practiced what she preached)
And as the night ends, and you are way bored with my writing if you are even here….I am reminded that in recent weeks we have lost Fanny and Freddie….an idea that never should have worked anyway and major corporations that many of us depend on for our 401K, or insurance or our life savings. I don’t think this is the time for me at least to place blame on any politician or party. Our country’s CEOs has become greedy and in any political environment greed cannot be acceptable behavior. This has been seen in Obama’s life several times. From his wife’s not for profit salary to her board of directors position at Treehouse Foods where the CEO reportedly made $26M in the year 2005; the same year Obama stood in front of union workers at Wal-Mart and discussed standing up and fighting for better salaries and benefits and fighting CEO salaries like the Wal-Mart’s CEO’s salary of that same year of $10.5M….much lower than that of the Treehouse CEO who then shut down a plan and laid off lower paid Hispanic workers. Obama has been getting advise from the three top execs from Freddy Mac and Fannie May. They not only contributed FM/FM monies to many democratic campaigns, but then before they failed enormously, the three execs walked out with over $137M in salaries alone…one has seen a bonus of over $700K! Bonus! That’s my mortgage and your put together (Ok, most of us at least) That was one bonus..and now these people that brought down a system that in reality was doomed to fail are giving Obama advise. On what? How to change our economy? On what not to do maybe? Over the last year Freddie and Fannie have lost $14B….and Obama has been receiving money from them…they have all walked out never having to work again, making more money that most of us will ever see.

Now I close with McCain doesn’t yet have my vote. Politics are corrupt…sadly…true in more cases than many of us would like to admit..or hope at least. John McCain is not innocent and I’m sure there are many lobbyists working for him that you don’t agree with and campaigns monies coming from places we don’t understand. I know he has ties to Fannie and Freddie as well….it’s Washington; everyone’s in bed. I’m not trying to open a debate or change your opinion..just stating why I fee the way I feel. There are many more reasons…these are just a few.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Mozart, the Puma

I used to think kittens were cute. Soft. Cuddly. Sweet. When they crawl up on your shoulder and knead in your hair purring so loud you can’t hear the rest of the world….that is a sweet moment….if you are a cat lover. I have three cats. Well, one is just the essence of cat these days, blind, skinny and almost 20 years old. Another is 16 years old and should be worth his weight is gold and many times I wonder if we have gotten his life’s worth out of him in the eight years since spending over five thousand dollars to keep him alive. The third is a kitten. He’s not even five months old yet and has almost gone through his nine lives in the few short months he’s been with us. I say almost because he’s still here and even though I keep thinking he’s on his last one, he manages to stick around. Now he’s a really cute kitten. He’s soft and cuddly. He’s got these really cute tufts of fur in his ears and coming out from behind his ears. Arwen loves to cuddle with him and when he’s sleeping he’s just the sweetest little furry thing in our whole house.
But he attacks both the adults cats. The 16 year old now resorts to hiding inside a kitchen cabinet and the 20 year old is used to hiding whenever Jeff is not around anyway, but little Mozart manages to find him and pounce on him wherever he may lie. When you have two cats that are 20 and 16 years old, it’s almost like having children that are teenagers and almost but not quite independent. You no longer have cabinet locks on or baby gates on stairways, you don’t fret about medicines being accessible or cleaning products living under the kitchen sink. And then you have a baby. Suddenly all the baby proofing you let slide over the years is needed but forgotten. You forget that your new baby…or new kitten….doesn’t know it’s not OK to walk on kitchen tables or counters but sometimes deep in the back of your mind you almost wish you could leave the stove on just for a moment so he could learn a hard lesson. You forget that they nap all day and play all night. I think I have determined the thing that wakes Zoe up in the middle of the night is the kitten wanting to play. Though I tell him 2am is not a god time to interact with the children, he doesn’t believe me and continues to try each and every night. When my cat was a kitten, I remember him attacking my feet under the covers while I slept at night. I remember getting frustrated but thinking how cute he is in his own kitty innocence. When Mozart does it at night I am only frustrated that I don’t have an outside door leading from my bedroom so when I kicked him after drawing blood on my tender feet, I could kick him right out to the driveway. I am also a little angered by the view from the second floor in my house because so often I peer down from the hallway on the second floor and looking directly three floors below onto the basement floor, I can’t help but wonder how he would do flying down that far. His feet are huge and I’m pretty sure he’s part Puma, so I’m sure he’d just bounce right back up like on a trampoline, but I don’t have the heart to try.
I’m a mother of two wonderful children and pregnant with my third baby and the caretaker of three cats and a fish. I have no patience for the wonderful sweet babyhood of Mozart the sweet and cute and cuddly kitten.

But to those of you that are animal lovers, such as myself, but with patience, please know I will not hurt him, have no intention of kicking him onto the driveway or dropping him three floors below. But I did feel the need to bitch about him!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Pregnancy sacrifices

The things we give up when pregnant…margaritas, beer, cocaine…OK, some don’t give up any of those things, and I’ve never done cocaine, so that’s not really a problem for me. It’s always nice to never have to start something; then you don’t have to give it up at any point. For the first year of my daughters lives, I wished they would take pacifiers and bottles, but they never did. And though I would try as hard as I could, at the age of two years, I was so happy they didn’t have to go through the pain of giving them up. So cocaine is not the best example. Caffeine….there’s one! I totally, well, not totally because I do like chocolate, give up caffeine while pregnant and breast feeding. That means no green tea anymore….I miss that. Almost as much as I miss margaritas; actually maybe even more. No coffee or decaf coffee which I always say tastes just fine, but lately has sucked coffee ass. Did I mention beer? So, beer, margaritas or really anything else containing tequila and other alcoholic joys, caffeine that includes delicious green teas and coffees with rich flavor. I also give up peanuts and other nuts because my first daughter has a nut allergy and her allergist recommended I give up all nuts when pregnant and nursing any future children. So peanut butter cookies..mmmmm, my mouth is watering, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, raw almonds, which are good for headaches, peanut butter and celery, peanut butter on a bagel, Snickers bars, peanut M&Ms, Reeses Pieces, my favorite candy, peanut butter on a spoon just because…..I think of all the things I’ve given up, I miss peanuts the most. And I’m amazed at myself of giving up so much! On top of all the food items, we pregnant women give up comfort, sleep, backs that don’t hurt, boobs that don’t hurt, hips that don’t spread too far, ankles, waistlines, the joy of sex, dreams that make sense, the ability to balance on one foot while holding the other foot steady against the shower wall while shaving (man, I’m so grateful for the built in seat in my shower!) and on many days, we give up all rationale! So if I’m moody or bitchy in anyway, my husband will be happy to remind you that I am pregnant. I’ll be the one to remind you it’s because I am living without peanut butter!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

tornaodes to penes

Tornado one week, growing a penis the next. I am one busy person, let me tell you! The week I grew a penis was a hectic week. It started with a hail filled rainy holiday two days after Zoe flipped head first out of the top of her crib. I knew on Saturday when I awoke to the big boom and instant screaming it was time to graduate to a big girl bed. The next morning I walked into the nursery to find my little baby that was instantly a big girl standing on the top of her crib….ready to topple out. Sometimes life just gets in the way. We made a good effort to get a toddler bed, but ran out of time and out of luck, so it she was left to one more night in the crib.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


The excitement of a few tornadoes in an area where tornadoes don’t usually form was almost too much for me to handle Thursday, but after a day of being Mommy on a safety mission and a small meltdown when Jeff returned home safely from Ohio where he had to undergo tornado safety training before working in the plant for a few days, I am fine but still looking at our vast skies from the eyes of a four year old. Arwen spent the night in my bed and now says over and over that if a tornado comes, we need to go to the basement. That has evolved to if a spider comes we should go to the basement and if the cat bites us, he should go to the basement.
I think as a parent, I did pretty well explaining to my almost but not quite four year old daughter, and her baby sister, Zoe, who was just along for the ride and follows Arwen around like a little puppy dog.
The call from my frantic mother came over my cell phone around 11:15 am. I was on my way to pick Arwen up from school, which by the way is in temporary trailers while the school is being built. I answer the phone only to find out Mom has been looking for me for a long time. I don’t know, two minutes, maybe three?? She tells me to get Arwen then go home and get in the basement. Ummm, aren’t there spiders down there? But since we will be finishing it soon, I guess going down there to get it organized and cleaned up would hurt anyone a bit. And now knowing we are a mere thirty minutes closer to Kansas and one mile wide tornado closer to Oz, I think finishing the basement just moved to a higher priority. I think if it were finished, with wet bar, TV room, bedroom and bathroom and more, we could be down there all day and never miss a beat! If I ever have to go through another day like Thurday, May 22, 2008 again, the wet bar will definitely be in order.
So I get to the trailers to get Arwen, talk to the few parents that are lingering, the staff and head home. Before getting to the school, I stopped at a park and tell a friend to come over. She is so relaxed where I am so high strung, so she stayed and played and then drove home while I was calling her and telling her to come to my house and my basement. It was after two in the afternoon when I finally let my children go upstairs to nap or play in their rooms. There was no way I was letting them take naps on opposite ends of the house two floors from safety - just in case we needed to head downstairs.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Fly away home

DIA Gate C40, the blond in front of me is on her cell phone discussing how the speeding ticket she got on airport property is her father’s fault. Evidently speeding to an airport terminal is the same as speeding to a ER with an injured friend in your car. Traveling for her is obviously an emergency situation. National Security is at level Orange. Someone tried to blow up…or blew up….a military recruiting center. Or something like that. Men read newspapers around, a young man texts his girl friend assuring her he will be returning to her soon. The women behind the check in counter talk of missing pink tags for gate checked items. A woman needs one for her stroller. Her little red headed toddler is wandering away. I sit here wondering if a trip home for a few days is worth a trip away from my girls. Having been a business traveler for years and married to a man that works 1500 miles away, you’d think I’d be quite used to flying or the act of flying. Because of the 28 pound three year old I left crying in my car and the 18 pound toddler that refused to give me a hug because I wouldn’t take her out of the car when we arrived at the airport, I am feeling incredibly nervous. This break with my family will be so good for me, but it’s amazing how such little people can affect me so much. There was a man in front of me checking in that had what looked like brand new ski boots and a brand new ski bag for some really long skis. To profile him, I’d first say he didn’t appear to be a Colorado skier. Baggy pants with frayed cuffs and an expensive phone/PDA that kept beeping in his pocket. Every few seconds he brought it out, looked at it, every so often he’d text something back to whomever was so eager on the other end. Something told me it wasn’t a girlfriend that needed reassurance. Nor do I believe it was a ski bunny he met on the slops that felt the need to say good-bye, it was great getting to know you, several times. He doesn’t appear to me on my flight….at least I don’t see him near by texting the unknown. So I sit here nerves hitting a place in my heart that is reserved for my children. It’s a place where we sit and play circus games with Zoe’s Little People. A place where we read special books and cuddle after a long day. I don’t want these nerves in that special place. I want to be with my children. Cuddling because it’s not a special time, but because we can.

There is a toddler crying nearby. Unlike the other passengers in the waiting area, I hope she sits near me. I’d like to tell her that I have two very special little girls at home waiting for Monday to return when Mommy comes home from Virginia. Arwen asked me today where I work. One can only assume she is asking because she thinks I am going to work like Daddy does each week. I told her I work at home. I do dishes. I clean, I take her to school, I wash her laundry and make sure she’s not sleeping with too many dust bunnies or bed bugs, though she thinks it might be fun to sleep with a dust bunny. Goon Goon, is a dirty bunny, after all, do a dust bunny can’t be too different. And bed bugs sound kind of fun if you are three. They are probably like the little bugs on the show “World Word” with bright colors and the word BUG spelled out across their little bug bodies. After I explained all the work I do from home, I told her I am going to Virginia. She knows Grandpop lives in Virginia, but I’m not sure she knows I am going to Grandpop’s house in Virginia. I’m not sure can put those two together and I didn’t want her to think I was visiting Grandpop without her. But I am!

I know once I get to VA, I will feel so much better and I will miss my family when I leave, but I think I will not be as nervous to fly again because I will be coming home. It’s only a break for a few days, but it’s the first time I’ll be away from my kids for more that a few hours. They have been left in great hands; my husbands’s. I can understand in moment like this why so many reach to a high power. I’ve not felt nerves like this in years. The beautiful Italian woman near me is holding a beautiful rosary. I’m not Catholic. Nor is that a church I could ever affiliate myself with, however, it’s a beautiful rosary. And she is finding some comfort in holding it. Maybe it’s not the rosary itself, but the silent prayer she is saying while gently moving her mouth; speaking to someone at the other end of the rosary. Maybe it’s the same person on the other end of ski-man’s texts. Who knows. Me, I find comfort in writing this. In letting you know I am fearful. Of ski-man. Of not seeing my girls again. Of seeing change in a place I found comfort in for many years; because life changes everything. Trees grow, weeds overgrow, and life moves in place.

Made it to Cincinnati. Rode with a man that is at least five hundred pounds. At least he had to buy two seats, so there was a little room between us. I fell asleep on the runway while we taxied before take off. He coughed and cleared his throat. It was the sound that could only come from a man five hundred pounds. My book flew up in the air, the woman behind me laughed at me and I said, “Man, I can’t believe I was asleep already.” Note to self. When sleep deprived and sleep is elusive, Tylenol Pm is your friend at home, but an easier though expensive solution would be to get on an airplane. The drone of the engines will knock my ass out in a second or two.

Made it to Colorado. Sat next to a German man that was coming into Richmond for “Beezznuss.” He wanted to talk the whole flight, but didn’t know English very well. After telling my sister this, her idea was to start clucking at him like I am from some weird tribe. Wish I had thought of that while on the flight. But here I am in Virginia. It’s raining and about forty fie degrees. I miss my girls….

Friday, January 4, 2008

Bugs, bugs, and shit more bugs

I am done hosting the bugs of Firestone. You are no longer welcome here. I understand when we moved in here, we were moving in on your territory. However, we did not build this comfortable warm house for you. It is our house and you’ve have several months to relocate. Now please leave. According to Wiki, houseflies live from fifteen to thirty days. We’ve been here almost sixty days now and we are down to one super fly that refuses to go to fly eternity or wherever the little fly souls are that were once attached to the millions of fly bodies that litter my basement floor. Oh, yes…little dead flies everywhere…that’s why you’ve never been in my basement. They will be gone soon…as soon as my husband decided to sweep them up for me.

We went through this cycle of bugs. When we moved in, it was the month of the spiders. I was capturing…yes, capturing…and flushing, but not squishing, spiders all day long. Each time I would go into the garage for a box to unpack, I’d have to battle a black widow. Yes, I capture and flush and I battle black widows. It’s all true. Spiders really bother me. I’ve mentioned the little eight year old girl that still lives somewhere inside me and hordes this memory of a giant black widow coming to get her while she sleeps. That’s a memory I have from childhood. No, I can’t remember too much from back then, but that huge black widow trying to get to my room is so vivid it’s like it really happened. It was just a dream, and I was so lucky that she was so large she couldn’t fit down the hall to get to my room, otherwise, that little eight year old girl may have become spider food instead of the mom and wife she is today. So battle…yes, that’s what they are; battles. If you were to witness them, you may call them stare downs or anxiety attacks that force me to freeze and say out loud and over and over, ’what do I do, what do I do, what do I do?’
But to me, they are intense battles. I usually win because I have to and because somewhere inside I know I am the bigger and smarter species. It’s that small child that is dwarfed by the red spot on the spider’s belly that can’t seem to remember this fact.

So the black widow invasion ensued. But they seemed contained to the garage. After a few days, I just didn’t go out there any more. Jeff was instructed to check every box before bringing it into the house and I stayed away from any open box because I just knew I’d peer down inside only to find my shoes have been eaten by a new colony of red spotted spiders whose mission was to take over my belongings and my home. I know now that’s not a rational thing to think, but to keep those thoughts at bay, I just stayed away from it all.

Then the big freeze hit. Days of freezing weather, snow and ice. Our house was cozy and warm. Our garage was still full of boxes and bitter cold. Jeff told me he was finding little frozen bodies out in the garage. The black widows had lost the battle and I didn’t have to fight anymore. The weather got them. I win!! Right?

In the middle of the garage spider invasion, the flies begun taking over my house. I was thinking about pitching a tent on the back yard for a bug free haven in which to sleep. I learned quickly the flies liked hanging out in the kitchen. I think I threw more food away in that month that I have in the year prior. If it didn’t get eaten or wrapped quickly, the flies would swarm then hover over it and I’d have to toss it. They slowly met the end of their fifteen to thirty day lifecycle and many succumbed to the suction of my vacuum cleaner.

Somehow at the start of what we would think of as winter, the mosquitoes took over our house. The flies were dying off, the spiders were about to freeze, and the mosquitoes were discovering the bright yellow house on the corner of two country roads in Firestone. It was like a big mosquito trap. Only they were trapped in the house suddenly. The morning after Thanksgiving, I walked into the kitchen to see the few dishes we didn’t bother cleaning the night before. On the counter was a water pitcher and inside the pitcher was a bit of water and about seven mosquitoes. A new bug invasion. In the weeks since, I have managed to captured and flush about one a day. Yesterday I saw one sitting on a wall. I can only hope that one can’t reproduce alone like some oddities in the animal kingdom. I don’t know the lifespan of a mosquito, but if I can catch him, I can only say it won’t be much longer.

So we were swimming in flies that were literally dropping, dodging mosquitoes that are thinking this is their new home and quite certain the spiders are gone. Until Jeff goes into the basement to set up our exercise equipment. He came upstairs to tell me he killed two black widow spiders in the basement. I guess the dead flies were probably good food, but since they no longer fly, the red bellied spiders had to go find them. Now I’m freaking out again. My first time on the treadmill was exhausting, but not only because it was a great workout, but because I kept searching the walls and ceiling for black creatures with eight legs. Way too many if you ask me. Maybe that’s my problem. Four legs I can deal with, when you have six or eight, you need to stay away from me. Later that week, I asked Jeff to show me where the spiders were in the basement. Turns out one was not in the basement, but nesting on the staircase. She was coming to get me. I just know it. Only she was small. It a matter of weeks, she could have made her way up the other staircase and down the hall into my bedroom. But my husband got her! My husband is a great man indeed. Spider killer and garage fairy. Well, I don’t think he’ll like being called a fairy. But during Christmas, I kept throwing wrapping paper and boxes and adult proof toy packaging out into garage and magically it was all cleaned up. I kept calling it the garage fairy, but like Santa Claus, I know it’s really my husband that cleaned my huge mess. He also cleaned the rest of the garage. Enough so that we could put both my van and his truck in the garage…along with Arwen’s jeep, Zoe’s car, countless tools, strollers, yard tools and Jeff monster motorcycle. While he was doing that enormous job, Jeff told me he found and squished three black widows. He said one was a fat one.

I’m back to not wanting to spend any time out in the garage. It would seem the freeze didn’t get them after all. They just got smart and stored food and hid from the warrior. No, I’m not really a warrior. Let just call me box slammer. That’s the only way I could deal with them. Drop a big box of books on them. Now what will I do since all the boxes are gone?

Spring is on it’s way. Let the battle begin!