Modest Leopard Kitty Girl was never anything of the sort, it turns out.
I was in the kitchen with the boys after school one day and they saw my mlkg accessories. Seth-7yr asked me to put it all on. Then he shook his head and gave a nervous laugh. Ethan-12 yr asked for details, which i provided.
when i got to the part where i get nervous and leave the party early without talking to anyone, Caden-8yr cringed and nodded in a “been there” sort of way.
Ethan-12yr listened politely and then said, “you are not a leopard.”
“OH! The package said leopard. But I knew you’d know the difference. What is it?”
Ethan-12yr can analyze any animal print anywhere and tell you the difference between cheetah, leopard, and jaguar. It’s a skill.
He looked at everything, and picked up a black collar with a rhinestone on it that I had decided not to wear and announced, “domesticated jaguar.”
Okay, that offended me.
“DOMESTICATED JAGUAR?” I gave him my best hissing paw batting pig nostril flaring action and he was unmoved. ”How’s THAT for domesticated?!”
(I’d had a hard day.)
He looked at the silly black rhinestone thing in his hand, dropped it on the kitchen counter, dismissively said, “THIS is a collar. The symbol of domesticated animals everywhere.” And he walked off.
What is it about preteens that can REALLY put you in your place?
(And species and genus and all of that too)
The housing crisis has been averted. I’ve pulled the house off the market, offered (pleadingly) it to Mike, and found the PERFECT little rent house. There’s a long and unusual explanation as to why this was the only logical decision. But I won’t go there. I’m just glad to get out from under a huge mortgage and if Mike can pay it instead and the kids can still be in this home part-time… win/win/win.
I kinda wish I could tell you all the details, simply because it was BREATHTAKING to see how God put it all together in a way that only He could. The landlord of the new place wouldn’t dream of offering me stripper heels. He said under normal circumstances he’d never rent to me in a million years. (thanks.) We talked family and faith and pets and how out of 26 people who wanted that house… 25 others who probably had FAR better credit and fewer pets and kids than I did… but somehow he knew it was mine.
There’s a very unusual, very specific, rare rare rare thing about this house that was a direct answer to a tiny detail of one of my children’s prayers. It was one of those things that I could point to and say, “look, babe. that’s something i NEVER could have done for you. But God did. Because He loves you THAT much, and He wanted you to know He heard you when you said that.”
So. The house thing? God totally took care of that. Of me. Of my kiddos.
We move next week. It’s a sweet little house in town. Big yard. 4 bedrooms. Cheap. LOVE it. It’s already so special to me. It has all the wonderful things about the first house Mike and I bought. Huge south facing living room window with tons of light pouring in, huge trees (that’s NOT a given here), older home with character…. looooove it. Am so, so grateful for this little place.
The mailbox is on the house. Not out by the street at the end of the sidewalk. So…. I could totally open the door, reach an arm out, grab mail, and not accidentally run into neighbors. IT HAS A MAILBOX FOR THOSE WITH SOCIAL ANXIETY. It was made for me.
Speaking of social anxiety.
It struck hardcore this weekend. As in, there was a party. I went, and brought a friend. Who, WHAT? Has social anxiety worse than me in some specific ways and I just did not KNOW? Yes. That is what happened. We were supposed to dress up. I do not normally observe Halloween in ANY way. Ever. I just don’t like the scary/evil side of it and generally just ignore it completely. But this was, for some reason, compelling and exactly when I was just starting to come out of my forever long divorce funk and somehow there was a social invitation extended and accepted. WEIRD.
I’m not a dress up party type. Or a dress up type. Or a party type. Or maybe even a type. It was confusing where to start. We went to a halloween store my friend recommended. INSTANT anxiety attack, good grief, there were CHILDREN in there, get them outta there and call child protective services what were those mamas thinking?! It was SCARY in there. Not a Party Store type vibe. A welcome to the Dark Side, Now SPEND vibe. YUCK.
Also? Women’s costumes are SLUTTY. As a rule. I had no idea.
Eventually I went for Modest Leopard Kitty Girl Next Door. My Friend went for Dark And Interesting Angel. No Halo. These were difficult choices. Because Leopard Kitty Girl In Heat was WAY common and easy to choose a costume for, but Modest Leopard Kitty Girl Next Door was practically impossible. Made it work, though. It was the same with Dark Angel, No Halo. Sordid would have been easier, but… ick.
We like jeans. Angels and Modest Leopards can like jeans.
Here we are in my closet. Smiling. FULLY convinced we are about to go have a great time. HA. Um… HA.
So we went. And then we were really afraid to actually get out of the car. And we watched Dracula smoke a cigarette while he watched the sunset. Then a black dog came and barked at us, like, “DUDE. GET OUT OF THE CAR ALREADY. IT”S BEEN TEN MINUTES. AND THE TALL ONE HAS SOME FEATHERY WING THINGS I”D TOTALLY LIKE TO SNIFF.”
The dog got us going. Dracula turned out to be the bartender. We roamed. Smiled. Nodded. Walked. Strolled the grounds. And then we sat and nervously wondered what the hell we were doing and then when we couldn’t stand it any longer we left.
We had spoken to lots of animals. Not people. Not other people dressed as animals. Just animals. And each other. And then we left. We tried to tell ourselves we’d been completely successful JUST FOR GOING. But…. yeah, whatever. We de-accessorized and went to Cheddar’s with altogether too much makeup on our faces.
Dark Angel, No Halo asked what we learned. I couldn’t come up with anything. She said she had absolutely faced a fear by going there. It was some sort of victory in her mind. And that was enough for me. She asked again what I’d learned and I said, “Um… well… I did something I’ve never done before with… er… eyeshadow.”
SHUT UP. It was all I could think of. Although now that I have time to look at pictures, I could have said, “I HAVE LEARNED TO SHUT THE STUPID LINGERIE DRAWERS BEFORE PICTURE TIME.”
Then I ate too many onion rings (GEEEEZ i love onion rings) and that was it.
That’s how I’ve been. In case you wondered.
(It’s better than expected, right?)
Looking for a place to live. I’d like a small, inexpensive rent house where I can save and rebuild my (who knew? i don’t even use credit cards) TERRIBLE credit. I just want to save and work part-time doing who knows what, and then buy a little house in a year or two, maybe three.
That goal is how I came to be at a small rent house last week with a friend and a dubious landlord type named Paul.
He seemed completely flustered by my tall gorgeous friend and couldn’t unlock the door. For TWENTY MINUTES. We were polite and then said we’d wait in the car “to warm up.” Finally he figured out how keys and locks work again and the house was fine. Not great, but I’m not looking for great.
As we were leaving he wanted to talk about the home’s previous tenants. At this point I’d already mostly decided that this house would work for me.
Paul, the Dubious Landlord Sort, changed my mind. He looked at my friend’s feet (he’d already looked at everything else earlier) and asked her shoe size.
He said a girl who lived there before had left a large box of shoes behind and they might fit her. She was a ‘dancer.’
As soon as he said ‘dancer,’ I yelled, “STRIPPER!”
I’m sorry, but COME ON NOW. I turned to my friend and reminded her that she HAD just been saying she wanted a new pair of boots, and then I sweetly asked Paul if there were any boots. There were.
He thought I was serious. He doesn’t know me. I love shoes more than the next girl, but I was actually pretty annoyed with him for offering my friend used stripper boots and thinking this was appropriate, or even generous. DON”T OFFER MY FRIENDS YOUR USED SKANKY STRIPPER BOOTS, IT WILL MAKE ME MAD. SHE DESERVES BETTER, HOW DO YOU NOT SEE THAT?!
She said, “Well. I could really use a pair of stripper boots in my life right about now.”
He thought she was serious. He doesn’t know her. But his eyes lit up in a way that I’d prefer not to have noticed.
We got out of there. The house was fine. The house’s history and now extra suspicious looking carpet stains were NOT okay, nor was the idea of Paul the Dubious having a key.
Couldn’t possibly raise my babies there.
I’m still looking. I’m ignoring texts from Paul, and am completely confident that the place we end up will be exactly where we’re supposed to be.
I’ll find it. It’s out there.
When life was REALLY stressing me out, and I wasn’t blogging at all, I had three minor car accidents in three weeks. And I ran a blazingly red light. Which I didn’t notice until after I’d sped through and a guy in a truck had honked, almost hit me, and then flipped me off. THEN I realized that light had been red.
I was ‘distracted.’ My lovely therapist lady said I was trying to ‘go on autopilot’ – as many of us do when we drive – but my autopilot feature wasn’t functioning. Too much other stuff in my head.
None of those events occurred with children in the car. NONE. Thank God. And none involved other people at all. (Except the guy in the pickup who was really quite rude.)
I rammed my car up onto a stupidly placed pillar at the bank. After exiting the drive through teller thingy. Smashed up on it on the left side. I rolled down the window and looked at my predicament. The teller yelled at me through the drive through intercom speaker thing and asked if I was okay. I said I was. He asked if I was crying. Asked if he needed to come out there.
UH NO. I”M LAUGHING. And the threat of additional human contact had me off that pillar faster than I could strategize how to minimize further damage. But it wasn’t that bad. Not really.
The next week I loaded up my car with a ton of trash (because it’s amazing how much trash one can sack when one is suddenly ready to move) and drove to the dumpster in the alley. I had on cute shoes. It was muddy. SURE the shoes were probably only $25 on clearance a couple years ago but CUTE is CUTE and so I dumped the trash and then backed out of the alley and smashed into a sign that has ALWAYS been there and I’ve never run into before in nine years. It’s one of those little orange ones that says “WARNING.”
Stupid sign. It’s just asking for it.
I broke off some useless looking cream metal-ish part that is supposed to protect the front end of the driver’s side running board. Not that I knew that. I reversed, smashed the sign, looked around to see if any of the neighbors saw it and then, relieved, returned to my driveway. And then noticed the cream abandoned car part in the alley and ran over and got it, all sneaky-like.
And noticed it really wasn’t that muddy and my cheap but cute shoes probably woulda been just fine and the ugly, mangled cream metal-y piece in my hand was probably a lot more than $25. Sigh.
A few days later I reversed into the garage door. I mean, SMASH. I’ve never done that before. that’s silly. It was ridiculous to have done it NOW. The garage door was on its way up and I don’t know why it took sooooo long that particular morning. But it did. I reversed before it was all the way up and the gigantic 4 foot long brake light that normally sits ABOVE my back window…? dangled and fell. And the garage door is really not as sturdy as it should be, it turns out. Good to know NOW.
It was so bent up that it wouldn’t open and shut correctly. I backed the car into the driveway, put my giant broken brake light in the floor board next to the previous week’s cream mangled metal-y car part and set to work on the garage door. It was in the open position, but wouldn’t come down because the car had bent it outward and it was being all picky. I got a giant long flathead screwdriver, a garage door clicker, and then pushed the clicker button and wedged the screwdriver up between the garage door and the frame and bent with all the divorce angst I had within me. Over and over. Playing chicken with a garage door, armed with a screwdriver. Not thinking about the nice cat in my mom’s neighborhood that sadly didn’t win his own garage door battle. (Not that he had a screwdriver.)
And when I bent it enough for it to clear the frame and then it closed again, I leaned and pushed and bodyslammed the door in the closed position so that it went mostly back to straight. I did not look around to see if anyone saw this. I was beyond that point.
you can hardly tell now. If you look at the garage door. The car is another story.
it’s got these scrape-y parts all over the left side, it’s bent-ish quite a bit, and there’s a dangly wire thing hanging down across the back window and a vacancy where a long red light used to be. But it’s fine. Sure it’s getting older. Going through a few scrapes. Looking a little worse for wear and most people woulda traded it in by now. So what if it’s falling apart faster than I can remember or afford to take it to the shop. WHATEVER.
That’s just life. And it goes on. And it’s okay. Getting better all the time.
(I’m back to previous levels of safety now. It took weeks of turning on the car, turning off the radio, putting the cell phone in the center console, praying a little prayer, and then saying out loud, “I AM DRIVING. THAT IS MY ONLY FOCUS. I AM A SAFE, SAFE DRIVER” – yes actually OUT LOUD – every time I got in the car. And now I’m okay. Re-focused. Less stressed. I haven’t smashed things in awhile. Dont’ worry, locals.)
It’s so awkward to start a post after a long break. Nothing flows. It’s worse when there’s so much to say and no real way to say it.
The boys got back today. Mike had taken them to Hawaii for 10 days. They’re tan and blond and jetlaggy and so they just let me snuggle them on the couch all evening until they started to drift off to sleep. SO sweet.
My mom and I have been frantically packing and cleaning and ‘staging’ and all of those other horrid things you do when you’re suddenly quite eager to sell a house. As I am. Like NOW. The house no longer looks like the one I’ve lived in. We moved all the big furniture out and put in smaller pieces. We de-cluttered. We gave the house a total makeover. Except the crazy painted walls. The online realty ad pics look okay, but the dining room positively GLOWS. The orange walls gleam a bit too much. Not photogenic, that orange.
While the boys were gone, my dad came out and stayed for a few days. He’s an electrical engineer. I handed him the yellow multimeter I bought on eBay and didn’t know how to use and off he happily went. He checked voltage in every electrical outlet and light switch in the house and outside also, and then he re-wired Seth-6yr’s bedroom. It’s always been weird and wrong. Now it’s fixed. Then he fixed my broken treadmill. I’d lost the safety key thing, so he re-wired it so it would work anyway.
He replaced the spark plugs in my mower and then I immediately drove it into a muddy ditch and got stuck. The roofers on the roof across the street whooped and whistled and cheered. I ignored them and ran and got Daddy and he was THOROUGHLY annoyed with me for getting stuck there (and nice West Texans in trucks kept stopping and offering to help, and ten roofers just stopped working and watched) but he pulled me out of it and the roofers laughed and waved and cheered. I put the mower away for the day. The next day I mowed, and when we came outside, the roofers blasted a song about a crazy redneck girl. It was the only song they played for the entire three days they worked across the street. I refused to acknowledge this ‘tribute’ in any way. I am not a crazy redneck girl. I’m a boring MOM type who just happens to drive a john deere in a somewhat unconventional and possibly reckless LOOKING manner. There’s a huge difference. It’s not my job to explain that to the bored roofers.
At one point we were in the garage and a stray pit bull decided to come make his presence known. I thought of everything the adorable Cesar Milan would suggest. I stood taller. Held my ground. Established boundaries, and shhhed that dog out of the garage and made him stay on the driveway. But I haven’t really watched the Dog Whisperer lately, and I’m a bit rusty and that pit bull did not really see me as the authoritative pack leader that I was trying to impersonate. He saw the depressed, endlessly divorcing and somewhat pathetic mom in the messy garage full of stuff he wanted to pee on. So he did. And he kept jumping up on me. I HATE THAT. My dogs do not do that.
My dad sat on the garage floor with a vice he’d just bought at Tractor Supply, hammering a metal piece of tractor I had seriously bent out of shape last year when I broke my hand. The pit bull licked my dad’s face. It didn’t bother him at all. To my father, this was not a threat. And to me, it wasn’t at first, either. Annoying, yes, but not a threat. And then he got this icky pit bullish crazy-eyed staring thing going on and he started barking. This dog had the SCARIEST dog voice I have EVER heard. All pretense of being Human In Charge evaporated with about 20 of those barks aimed at me with the crazy eyed stare and I had that hot fear feeling spread over me. Any second he was going to jump on me again and rip my face off. It was imminent. Happens all the time. Pit bulls. I suddenly believed every bad thing I’d ever heard about the breed and was sure that it was going to all play out right then and there in the garage and I’d be faceless.
My father was far more interested in the misshapen metal. But I couldn’t stand it anymore. “Okay, Daddy. Dog’s really scaring me now.” I didn’t really know what he’d do, if anything, but I needed to say it. He didn’t say anything in way of an answer, but put the tools down fast and we went in the house and shut out the threat and stayed inside where our faces would not be ripped off. Not that he seemed to think there was any sort of threat. But I did. And that was enough.
He looked out the front window and when he saw the dog and knew he wasn’t in the garage any longer, he closed the garage door and we resumed working out there without the possibility of the scary pit bull returning.
THAT is where I’ve been. And can’t say.
Hang in there with me. You know I’m terrible with analogies. But this is as close as I can get, and it may not be seamless, but let’s try it anyway.
There are seriously scary pit bulls right now. Legal ones. Personal ones. Financial ones. EVERYWHERE. And there are new ones every day. The threats may be real or may not. They’re all seeming pretty huge and scary and about to rip my face off and do irreparable harm and I’ve been trying to stand there and bluff my way through. Shh them away from me. But then they got worse. Started barking. Coming closer. Jumping up, lunging nearer me. Feeling SO alone and unprepared for a wild eyed crazy scary pack of dogs.
This morning I cracked.
Or maybe it was yesterday. A friend texted and told me to shower and get dressed and she was picking me up but I was NOT going to sit at home. And I texted something back like, “NO. Hygiene is overrated. SCREW IT. Sitting here and crying if I want to, with nasty hair.”
She brought a movie over and ingredients to make me a bloody mary, and she tried not to stare at my hair. It hadn’t been brushed or washed in three days. We ate chocolate.
So. Maybe yesterday was the cracking.
Today was the “OKAY I”M SCARED DADDY” moment in this broken down analogy. I sat on the living room floor and freaked right on out. I’d stayed up all night trying to solve a thousand problems and failing. I was exhausted. Not going to church. Not doing anything except some really weird praying.
There wasn’t anything by way of an answer, as far as I could tell. But after I’d cried and prayed and snotted all over two very nice dogs and a cat, I was much more calm. And then I went and brushed the knots out of my hair, took a scalding hot bath, listened to Elvis sing gospel songs, painted a closet, and counted down the hours until I got my three boys back.
These aren’t my problems to solve. They’re too big. Too scary. Too many of them. They’re not your run of the mill divorce problems, these ones. OH, but I wish.
But I’ll be okay.
I didn’t know that this morning. Not really. I would have said I’d be okay if you’d asked me this morning. But it would have been a bluff. It’s different now.
Now there’s the peace of having put down the weight of trying to be something I’m not and just let the appropriate Father take care of it.
Take care of ME.
I’m going to go stare at sleeping little boy faces. And then watch the Amazing Race. And then I’m going to sleep all night long and not try to solve anything. NOTHING. I’m just going to sleep.
That’s the new plan.