Archive for September, 2010


Typical, typical

September 7th, 2010 at 4:58 pm » Comments (1)

Glimpses from Today:

*Family effort to find Seth-4yr’s tennis shoe before school this morning. He has one silverish shoe that fits that he won’t wear. He has one blue shoe that is 3 sizes too small that he WILL wear because he likes shoes that are too small. He likes the way they feel. But yesterday he and Caden-6yr threw shoes at the living room ceiling to try to get down a blue sticky ‘hand’ thing, don’t ask, and one blue shoe disappeared. No idea what happened to the silver one, but it doesn’t matter. He won’t wear it.

*Bugged a guy at the gym (who works there) to figure out why all the treadmills I like close up shop and spit me off at the 60 minute mark. If I’m not paying attention – and we all know I’m never paying attention – I keep running and splat into the front bar thing while the conveyor belt slows and stops. He figured it out eventually and now I have to relocate to another brand of treadmill. Which is too bad. I like where my old one was because I could look at the mommy duck and itty bitty baby ducklings.

*Ethan-10yr gets in the car the same way every day. Mid-sentence, mid-drama, mid-everything. There is no ‘hi Mom.’ There’s just  an instant Launch Into Whatever Is In His Head as if it hasn’t been 8 hours since we last saw one another. It starts the SECOND he opens the car door and knows I am within earshot.  Today it was the high energy, frantic telling of something highly adventurous in a book he was reading. I LOVE it that he does this. It’s so alive. So ten year old boy-ish. So wonderful. I wonder what he’d do if I ever burst into his bedroom like that.

*Caden-6yr just came in and said Duke (the dog) just did sign language for “I’m hungry.” And Duke (the dog) might have, since he doesn’t bark or whine or communicate in other forms so I’m hardly surprised. It’s about time the labrador started signing.

*Have spent much time today sorting out technical difficulties with an online class. Still not sorted. But perhaps not my fault this time, so that’s something.

*Caden-6yr asked how old I turned. I told him. He took a step back and went, “WHOAH. Not! what! I! was! ex! pect! ing!” And isn’t he just so cute? Mmm, charming, that one.

*Seth-4yr is off with Mike, having dad-son time. Seth-4yr is wearing shoes that match but do not necessarily fit. Mike’s footwear is probably fine.

*The cat has just arrived to announce “I’m hungry” and unlike Duke (the dog), this animal has no problem effectively and loudly communicating whatever he wants.

*I told Ethan-10yr he had to sit on his bed and read for basically forever, because he forgot his math book and can’t do his homework and I won’t let him do anything with Legos or touch/view/operate anything ‘with a screen.’   But I said it nicely. Maybe I should burst into his bedroom mid-sentence, mid-drama, mid-mothering spiel about responsibility. He might not find it as darling as I think his version is. But I’m not really going for darling anyway. I’m going for mild shock value. It’s important to mix it up in the mothering department regularly, dontchathink?

Anyway. I should go. I have a child to shock into shape, two pieces of blue sticky hand to pry off the ceiling, shoes to find, and two animals with opposing communicative styles who are both claiming hunger.


Long. But I’m Making Up For A Few Years, Here.

September 6th, 2010 at 1:23 pm » Comments (0)

Years ago when  I first started this site I had great ideas about how ‘real’ it would be here. This mattered to me, and mattered a lot. The concept of just saying what life was like around here – good and ugly and awful… somehow seemed right.

And then… I still value that, but I learned to just leave stuff out. Nothing wrong with that. But now I need to revisit something, and the only blog reference I have is from 2006. I’ve just ‘left it out’ in each subsequent year.

So. With the Real:

Mike either completely forgets my birthday, or worse, pretends to. (This year, it was ‘pretends to forget and refuses to acknowledge in any way until Way Too Late.’ Last year there was:  ”I did NOT forget, I just chose to not acknowledge it until 4 p.m. on a Saturday and that is different.”)

It’s the same, almost every year. The weird thing is, I’m SO easy. I don’t want things. Gifts are not necessary at all. Cake? I don’t even  like cake. And I’d just pass out and wake up punching if there were any kind of social thing given. I don’t like attention. That’s not me. ALL I need…? A kiss on the nose and a whispered “happy birthday” in the morning. That’s it. A sweet, free acknowledgment from him.

He will not or cannot do it.

There’s no other way to say it.

(If you don’t know him, let me be the first to assure you –  he’s a nice guy. Just not on my birthday.)

He may or may not do other things that he thinks should matter MORE to me – later in the day when I’m convinced he’s the most passive-aggressive creature on the planet and I’m not sure why he’s insisting on this route again...

And so I then  a) spend all day focused on not being hurt by this weird, predictable pattern b) failing at that, try desperately hard to have a good day anyway, and c) failing ALL of the above,  explain why this bothers me and listen while he feigns shock and says it will not happen again the next year and by then I’m just so tired and my eyes are puffy and I pretend to believe him rather than keep discussing it and telling him WHY I don’t believe it. It’s a pointless, annual birthday tradition, this discussion.

Background: In 2006 I am still battling baby weight, eating a lot of m&ms which cannot be helping the battle and I-can-see-that-clearly-now-thanks, and sounding oddly optimistic and naive.  If you’re annoyed that I seem to be trashing my dear husband on a blog, then please click and read the link below this paragraph. I AM kinda trashing my dear husband on a blog. I don’t usually do that. And let’s remember, he’s gotten off easy every September for the last few years when I’ve just “left it out”, and frankly, this realness is overdue and it’s impossible to address in such a way that paints him in a flattering light. (I’ve tried.)  In the next link there’s a really sweet and eloquent justification involving Befores and Afters that is so naive I wonder if I actually believed it when I wrote it. God help me, I’m afraid I did.

Right after I chew out a commenter named Ken (who probably went away and never returned), I lapse into Oddly Optimistic and Naive. And that’s a winning mood combination for a post, huh? I’m thinking I knew better, even in 2006.

And HERE is the post before that about the forgotten birthday of 2006. I wish I could find the pic of  the 8 Arrangements of Guilt Flowers I received, and I know it’s on this blog somewhere, but I couldn’t find it. If you have time, read the comments. The men, circa 2006,  really came out of the woodwork for that one. They probably fled after I chewed out Ken, though. And Geekwif, bless her, summed it up exactly when she said, “Personally, I don’t care if anyone else remembers my birthday as long as my hubby does. Everyone else can completely forget I exist, but if he forgets my birthday? The entire day is ruined.”

Note: The same is true, if not more so, when he PRETENDS to forget. It’s just weird and even if there is some really good psychological reason I cannot fathom – it just seems mean.

So this year. I restrained myself from sticking a communion cracker in Mike’s right ear canal during church. I wondered about how you’re not really supposed to take communion if you have a problem with someone that is unresolved and how serious God really is about that concept. I considered grabbing purse and scooting out of pew and leaving right that second.  Mighta if I were on the end. But I was stuck in the middle. At that point I was still trying to smile and pretend I was fine and I didn’t care about such a tiny, overlooked acknowledgment and I was probably being silly over the whole thing to even care. (That particular self-talk does not work. Still, I try it every year.)

So I told God that we both knew it was a victory all in itself I hadn’t done something unholy with that little white cracker and I hoped that was enough. (It’s not. I know.)

After church I told Mike I’d made plans and when I’d be home. He asked if I was mad. I did that smile/shake head no combination that looks very serene, but really means, “WE ARE IN A PUBLIC PLACE AND YOU KNOW I AM MAD AND YOU KNOW WHY I AM MAD AND IF YOU WANT TO PRETEND OTHERWISE AND ASK ME THEN I WILL PRETEND AND DO THIS STUPID SERENE SHAKE HEAD NO AND SMILE THING. ALSO? YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW LUCKY YOUR RIGHT EAR CANAL IS, BUSTER.”

So. I smiled and left. Got in car and totally berated self for letting one tiny inaction matter. I should be above that. Especially when I’ve had a whole year to get ready to be above that. Especially when I’ve had a whole marriage to get ready to be above that.

Mike called and asked where I was. Said he needed to ‘fix something.’

Note: That is not endearing. I am not a radiator.

He met me in a parking lot and did his version of “Oops, I Did It Again.” (It’s nothing like Britney’s, and isn’t even musical.)  I did not throw arms around him and act gracious and forgiving. 5 or 10 years ago I would have.

I drove away wondering what about this pattern was in my control, and thus changeable. The problem is in HAVING to rely on him for that one small thing. If I could just not care… but I’ve tried that and I do. So what else…?

If I’d listened to some of y’all in 2006, I woulda known. Y’all said “go away”. “Be on a trip.” And I remember thinking y’all were kinda hardcore. But driving away yesterday I came up with that idea, too, and didn’t remember it was suggested here until I read it last night. And we’re right. I’ll try that next year. Wake up in some sweet town with no one there to NOT kiss my nose and whisper happy birthday, not because it’s his choice… but because it’s mine…?

It’s not ideal. But clearly, I can’t have ideal. No one promised “ideal.” And waiting around isn’t working.

So next year I’ll take a little trip.  I just wish I’d listened to y’all sooner.

I’ve always wanted to learn to surf… is September too late for that? Or… I could go back to that place in Marble Falls with the amazing pie… in my family there’s a tradition of chocolate birthday pie instead of cake…

Next year will be great. There will be less than ideal other tiny, inconsequential things to worry myself about, but this will not be one of them.


Wake Up Call

September 3rd, 2010 at 2:04 pm » Comments (4)

Mike got home last night from a long trip. He’s been gone a whole lot lately, and this morning…. I noticed a definitely brand new addition to his morning routine. Guessing he picked it up sometime in the last two weeks.

I was shocked.

It was both adorable and yet so very shocking.

We had both been awake and up for a long time when I went back into the bedroom for something. Mike’s phone was by his side of the bed, and it started to sing. Not ring. Sing. No one was calling. It was some sort of alarm that he had set, and he hadn’t turned off when he’d gotten up earlier.

This song was… soothing. The voice sounded familiar. The lyrics were very… sweet. It was a song called “After the Rain.”

Mike came in the bedroom and saw me standing by his side of the bed, hands on hips, mouth hanging open. I turned to him and said, “Really, Mike?”

He shrugged.

“Isn’t that Laurie Berkner…?!”

“I don’t know. Who’s that?”

“Um… she does kids’ music {WITH HAND GESTURES} on, like, Nick Jr. Her target audience is maybe aged four.”

He kinda glared at me.

I wasn’t calling him old. I have no idea how old he is. I forget, because I just don’t care.

It really IS a nice song. I mean, it’s not my personal favorite Laurie Berkner hit, “Boody Boody Ya Ya Ya,” or even “Choc-o-lot in My Pock-o-lot,” but it’s nice to wake up to, I suppose.

He was walking down the hall with his back to me. Not a good sign. Mike is a great communicator, particularly when he’s been gone for pretty much FOREVER and it’s early in the morning and I’m following him around questioning his musical tastes before he’s even had time to shower. This sort of thing makes him really want to stay home and be near me more.  He tried to explain. “I wanted something… not…you know.” And then he makes frantic arm movements.

the Direct Mike Translation for the above sentence is: “I went through your iTunes and found a soothing lullaby to wake up to, mixed in with all the Willie Nelson and hard hitting crazy metal stuff you listen to while you are running or kickboxing. I didn’t want any of that. Now back off, lady, you’re making me feel self conscious and I’m concerned you might blog about this.”

But I find it all to be extremely endearing, and knew you would, too, so how could I not? What’s your financial advisor waking up to? Probably not Laurie Berkner. Just sayin.’

The man get serious points for Originality.


Brief Study Break

September 1st, 2010 at 8:58 pm » Comments (7)

So…. apparently when you take college classes, it’s work. And it’s time consuming. And all of, you know, that effort stuff.

I had no idea. My first (and second, and maybe my third) forays into the college world, there wasn’t really a time commitment. I remember walking around and looking at trees a lot and definitely not looking at people. (some things never change. I like trees.*)

I did one of those test for 3 hours credit things this morning and that went well.  Subject: criminal justice. It’s only appropriate at this time to acknowledge the positive effects of my early crush on Erik Estrada.

And now back to the studying. And the work. And the time.

How you people do this with families and full time jobs is beyond me.

(thinking of you, Nurse Chris!)

* Oh! There’s a tree at the gym I really really like, but I can’t identify it. I’m always amazed at the stuff y’all can do. If one of you has a special tree identification talent, please lemme know. I’ve tried the websites where you categorize by leaf shape, orientation on stem, blah blah blah and no luck.