It’s in my coffee

25 11 2010

This morning I woke up not thankful at all.  I knew the Thanksgiving post needed to be written and while I sat on the toilet, I thought “I’m thankful for the normal things – life, family, toilet paper.  This holiday sucks!”

Thanksgiving is just a remembrance of one race taking advantage of another, peace treaties that end in bloody warfare, and gluttony “in honor of a new world.”  What it means more personally is stress, money trouble with the impending “holiday season” to give that budgetary shit storm some extra spice, feeling left out of one group or another for absolutely NOTHING of my own fault*, and needing pharmaceuticals just to survive smiling at people who dislike me for hours on end.

Yeah, I woke up this morning in bitch mode.

Then Coffee came into my life and the funk started to lift. Every sip I take I find something else that I’m thankful for.  I may be able to write this post!

I’m thankful for our children.  A few years ago, I was sitting in a room at the adoption agency crying because our placement fell through and I didn’t think I could survive another holiday season knowing that I was not yet a mom.  It was the week before Thanksgiving.  We had already bought Christmas presents for the girls that would have been our daughters.  Their rooms were ready.  Their clothes were in the closet.  We were waiting on one court hearing to happen THAT WEEK before they moved in to stay.

It didn’t happen and I was devastated.  The agency didn’t think we would get another shot with that particular placement so I told them I didn’t care if it was a foster placement – I just wanted kids in my house for the holidays.  (Up to that point we were straight adoptive parents.)  Three days later we got the call about A & E needing a placement.  I went to the family party that year with two babies.  8 months later, LJ came to us and now they’ve been legally and forever ours for over a year.

I am thankful for my animal masters.  For the birds singing to me when it’s time to get out of bed.  For the clean, animal scent I get when I bury my nose into Spooks’ tummy.  For how he has developed a habit for needing to be with me at all times.  For Ernie being a much needed comic even though he doesn’t really smell like a clean animal – he always smells like tuna even when he hasn’t had any for a week.  For Abbie who thinks she’s a person, Cali who loves the kids, and Nola with her big ass nose and her inability to be sad.

I am thankful that even though Shaun got laid off, the company didn’t screw him in the severance package.  We may not end up moving to the trailer park because of that.  There’s still a ton of stress associated with it (which is why I haven’t written in a while… how do you be honest and open about something so volatile?) but it could be worse.  I’m thankful that it’s not worse.

I am thankful for a warped sense of humor. The ability to laugh at things forms a tight bond.  It’s a stronger relationship than liking a sport or sharing a hobby.  We laugh at fucked up things and share an esoteric knowledge base.  Anyone who understands why I want a tramp stamp of the number 42 is a good person to know.  Anyone who knows why I fart in your general direction can be my friend.

I am thankful that my head is so small that I can wear kids’ glasses. Most vision insurance plans cover kids’ glasses 100% and adult glasses at a discount.  Last year I got hot pink Guess glasses.  This year I got some black Candie’s that make me look like a sexy librarian.  Also in the small head gift, I can wear kids’ hats that are cheaper and more adorable than the adult selection.

I am thankful for 50% off Halloween candy on the 1st of November.  However, my body doesn’t quite agree with me on that point.

I am thankful that Sprint gave me a new phone when mine died a premature death for the cost of repairing it.  $35 is much better than having to pay full price or having to switch back to my Blackberry.

I am thankful for the Internet.  Every single part of it – including the over-the-top seriousness of some sites and the absolute idiocy of others.  I love that I can pick and choose the sites I visit (because there’s always a choice) and be a part of the hivemind.  It doesn’t matter if I contribute or if I simply read the stuff in my RSS.  The internet goes on without me and when I feel able to, I take part.

I am thankful that Shaun is a good cook.  He also does the dishes and laundry, which makes me a damn lucky woman.

OK, that’s enough sweetness and sap for right now.   I’m halfway through this coffee and I need to do my motherly duties like pick out the kids’ clothes for the visit to the in-laws and make sure the cameras are ready to go.

*my parent’s families didn’t approve of each other while I was growing up.  I’m the spawn of the one they like (their genetic relation) and the one they don’t have anything in common with.  Now that the parents have been married for 31 years and the rest of them HAVEN’T, all I can say is “haters gonna hate.”  I’ve been excluded from other groups for various reasons that ARE my fault.  Those don’t bother me nearly as much.

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It’s way too early for my brain to be working

11 10 2010

I woke up at 4 am, back screaming at me and my brain cycling through the things I need to do.  The kids are on fall break so that means today and tomorrow will be spent watching TV and seeing if I can con the g’parents into watching a couple of them.  I may even bathe in sunblock and take them to my family’s communal playground.

Lupus makes me have to be extra cautious but it also does miraculous things with my body.  That bite from last week?  Totally healed.  All that’s left is a small callous – smaller than the sharp end of a pencil.

Yesterday we had my nephew’s 4th birthday party and he’s ADORABLE.  Being a ham runs in the family.  We played at Chuck E. Cheese for a while then he opened his presents.  The one from us ended up being last and when he pulled it out of the bag he yelled “WHAT?? WHAT?!”  It was one of those new Hot Wheels tracks that have the robot obstacle course.  Then he grinned real big and said “ok, we need to go RIGHT NOW.”  LOL  No one even got a hug goodbye – he just escaped with his toys and made Grandpa put them all together.

It was really great to see our family all in one place again.  I miss my family A LOT.  Bob has been working insane amounts of hours and Sister has been getting married and moving.  Grandmommy works overnight.  I have 3 kids and a disease that I have to judge each morning on whether I can handle what I have planned.  The only person I’ve seen with any regularity lately is my Dad who works around the corner from me.

Halloween is coming up and did you know that Ben 10 costumes only go up to a size 8?  What am I supposed to do with THAT BS?  LJ is a size 10/12 at the smallest so it looks like I’ll be making his this year.  All he’s talked about for months is how he wants to be Ben 10, who is his hero.  Alyssa’s going to be a fairy and E-baby is going to be Bumblebee from the Transformers movie.  That means today I’ll be trying to figure out how to make a Ben 10 costume out of a T-Shirt.  I got a 6 pack of white tees, so I have some room for error.  😉

No word yet on if I’m dressing up but I found a slutty Ninja Turtle costume that looked ADORABLE.

Yesterday I went totally OCD and hung shelving, rearranged books, and totally let my crazy take over.  I would be more effective if I weren’t so crazy but I’m in the middle of stepping down on the dose of Effexor again.  It’s the only thing that has ever controlled the OCD so I may just have to get used to this new normal.  Oh well, it’s an asset when I have a job because I don’t screw up.  Screwing up is the most terrible thing ever to a person with OCD because that means the universe is about to dissolve into oblivion.

Cyndi Dollins:  Using mental illness as a tool since 1986.

On that note, I’m working on perfecting my resume so I can get it online.  I don’t know if I can handle a full time job but I’m going nuts not having a challenge.  My self-worth is definitely tied to what I can do and I HATE feeling like I reached the peak of my career at 26.  I also don’t want to be left behind by the industry during this whole get myself better/get the kids raised thing I’m doing now.

In the meantime, I’m going to work on learning everything I can about computer networking on a larger scale and I may even get my Microsoft Office certifications.  I’ve toyed with the idea of going back to school – my choice would be Breneau – but I’m not sure if I can get financial aid.  We’re in that weird middle ground where we’re not rich enough to pay for schooling but not poor enough to get them to pay for it.  I wonder if there are any grants out there for SAHMs with Lupus.

I have more of my sketchbook project to photograph and get online.  I think it’s coming along rather nicely and I hope I can finish by the deadline.  My current page is an interlude from ways to get revenge and it’s on things I hate with a passion.

Then I need to update our family calendar… and get Ernesto to the vet because he’s been limping on his front leg… I need to finish printing and putting together my sister’s wedding album… photograph and list stuff on Etsy… talk to my dad about getting a couple of computers from him… work on altering a couple of Alyssa’s uniforms… go through all the kids clothing and get rid of stuff that doesn’t fit…

And you know how it is:  when your brain is that full, it’s impossible to sleep.  So I took my meds, I’m sipping on some coffee and I think I’ll work on my sketchbook until I feel like I can rest a little more.  Later today, hopefully I’ll write a much less boring post, but no promises!





miracles

30 09 2010

This is just a small update after dealing with all the frustrations.

The oldest child had his meds upped and we met his new CSI last night.  It’s been going really well for him.  There’s still a lot of taking a step forward then falling right back down, but when he met the new guy last night he was shy at first but by the end of the visit was giddy and playful.

It helped that Abbie fell completely and totally in love with him.  A man that is good with dogs – especially serious, jumpy dogs – is a man I’d trust to advise my kid.  I trust Abbie’s judgement and she never barked or growled at him.  She went right up to him and put her nose under his hand.  Abbie just does not do things like that.  After she responded so well, LJ started responding well.

Anyways, a CSI is like a mentor with a degree and experience in therapy.  Chickpea has one and the results have been mixed, but she likes having the extra support during the school day.  I also get more reliable information ABOUT the school day from her CSI.

I like this program quite a bit.  Mentors are a great thing but with special needs kids you need trained professionals with experience in the hard things.  You couldn’t take a normal person and ask them to deal with the things my kids go through.  Gentle support and unwavering availability won’t work.  They need advice and coping skills that WORK.  They need more than an older friend.

LJ has needed a male mentor for a while.  Shaun and I are great geek parents but as far as making friends or building social skills, we suck pretty damn bad.  We grew up wanting the same things LJ wants – friends, to be a part of something, someone to talk to who really knew us and had our backs.  We never really figured that out.

We also needed someone for LJ who could show him that he could be a sensitive male and still have male friends.  Boys at this age are assholes.  My response to boys (as a very small girl and later, small woman) was to “man up.”  I took my respect and kicked ass along the way.  I made sure that I could do anything they could do, and then I did it better.

In school, Shaun made sure he was the biggest threat around and then those who could stand up to him and WITH him got to see the real him.  The part that is smart and funny and kind.

LJ just doesn’t have that sort of camouflage.  I don’t know if I want him to get hurt badly enough to build it either – to learn to separate who he is from who he seems to be.  It’s a hard lesson and I’m not sure it’s necessary.

However it turns out, it will be fine.  He’s got a good brain and learns incredibly fast.  He’ll figure it out but now he’ll have a new tool.

Chickpea had her meds changed and she’s doing better.  She’s not as belligerent and restless, which is very nice.

I went to her parent/teacher conference a couple weeks ago and saw her work.  Now I know why her teachers aren’t that concerned with her.  Her work is head and shoulders above other kids her age.  Her handwriting is perfect.  Her Spanish is PERFECT.  Her writing skills are amazing.  Her comprehension skills are spot on.

It looks like she’s sloppy about things at home but I guess that’s just because she’s already bored with it.

She’s in a special school BECAUSE of her intellect and her knack for causing trouble if she’s not challenged.  (Sounds a lot like me, doesn’t it?)  She’s gone and blown it all away and now her challenge is in social skills.  I don’t think she cares, though.

When she got home from school that day I told her “if you keep doing work like I saw today, I don’t really care how you act.”  I’ve always believed that if you’re good at it, you don’t necessarily have to be good.  If you’re not that good at it, then yeah – your behavior is what your survival depends on.

Oddly, since that conversation her behavior at school has dramatically improved.  It may be the medicine or it may just be that she knows it won’t get a rise out of me any longer.  Oh, the joys of attachment disorders…  now she’ll have to come up with a new plan to piss me off.

The boys spent the night with my dad and we took her to get her hair cut and nails done as a reward for the good work.  She ended up having enough hair to donate to Locks of Love and she LOVES her new haircut – a chin length bob.  We went to dinner and had an actual conversation with her.  It was amazing.

This morning as we waited in line to drop her off at school, I was showing her my new purse.  Shaun was totally unimpressed with it, so I needed some girly reassurance. 😉  She saw my little rollerball perfume – Fracas – and wanted to smell it.  I dabbed some on her and now she’ll smell like Mommy all day.  She giggled and blushed.  I dabbed some on me too and I’ll smell like Chickpea all day!

The youngest had his intake to the therapy group last week and will meet with the therapists and psychiatrists in the coming weeks.  Hopefully it makes a change for him.  He’s having a lot of trouble at school in just about everything.

Last night I caught a glimpse of the little guy I held when he was 2 and first came to us.  He fell asleep in the floor before bath time and when I woke him up he was so cuddly.  His little angel face was just precious.  I got him bathed and then got his lotion on him and he kept falling asleep in my arms.  He’s so big and I can tell he wants to be small again and curl up in my lap.  It’s moments like that – moments where he’s completely trusting and relaxed – that I savor.

This morning he was snuggly.  He loved on everyone and gave big hugs and just wasn’t as mad as he’s been lately.  It seems like falling asleep in Mommy’s arms is what a lot of us need.

It’s definitely what Mommy needs!





how’d you do that?

27 09 2010

I busted a flipper last week.

Unfortunately, I’m not a guy and I can’t just use my other hand now that my left hand is fucked up.  I’m left handed and that’s just how I do things.  I write, sew, crochet, hold open books, turn door knobs, eat… and EVERYTHING with my left hand.

Since I now have a bright green brace on my left hand I get the inevitable question: how’d you do that?

Honestly, I don’t know.  I have no idea.

I have three kids and three dogs and the Great Dane is skilled at mixed martial arts.  I’m sure I’ve pounded on a few walls and doors with that hand too (kids, dogs, etc…)  I need to come up with a cool story.

I was fighting ninjas because they don’t like the pirate stickers on the back of my truck.

I used my hand to muffle the sound of a slamming door while pulling off a cat burglary.

I fell off the stripper pole awkwardly.

I bitch-slapped Chuck Norris and broke a phalange on his chiseled features.

I broke the record for speed-typing.

I’m the back-up dancer in a Lady Gaga video and when I grabbed my fellow dancer’s crotch it was pointier than I expected.

The tranquilizer dart on the grizzly bear I was wrestling didn’t work as quickly as the package said.

I’ll probably just say what I said to the dude at the store on Saturday.  “I just like weapons.”  The look on his face was PRICELESS.  Then he grinned and said “well, for you, you get a 30% discount.”





maximum redundancy

16 09 2010

Maximum redundancy is a good thing.  Not only in data storage but in parenting… which is weird.

I say a lot that kids need to be more like computers.  Computers may speak a foreign language, but it’s easier to learn and it doesn’t care if you’re having a particularly crappy day.  Computers act in predictable methods depending on input.  Good data in, good data out.

Kids are more like “good data in, good data in, good data in, GOOD DATA IN, GOOD FREAKING DATA GOES IN, DAMMIT GOOD DATA FROM MULTIPLE USERS ALREADY!!!”

The odds of good data out and bad data out are 50/50.

User error has very little to do with what the kids end up doing.

Then, this week, my main server got a virus and reminded me that computers are more like children than I thought.  It wasn’t a regular ole get caught in the strainer virus – it infected the virus software itself.  Now every time I load or try and connect to a virus or mal-ware scanner it kicks itself of the internet.  Everything works FINE until a virus software runs.

The original software to get eaten was Avira.  Fail.  The virus even latched on to the uninstall exe.  Next was AVG.  Fail.  Windows security.  Fail.

I had 1.5 TB in that machine and now all are being quarantined in a cardboard box until I figure out what this shit did.  I pulled all the essential data off onto flash sticks and those went into the cardboard box too.

The moral of the story is that it’s OK to be OCD when it comes to your computer stuff.  You’re the only one who cares that you have 50 flash sticks with different info (and the same info) on each one.

Next I’m going to update everything onto another set of flash sticks and put them all in my fire safe with my birth certificate and marriage license.

If that wasn’t enough geekery, read on.

Why flash memory?

CDs and DVDs don’t hold as much information and the burn process (and surface) are easy to SNAFU.

Portable hard drives have a disc inside that can be shaken and broken.  (Try it.  It’s possible no matter what the geeks at the Apple store say.)  I have a flash stick on my keychain that has 800 ebooks on it.  It’s pretty hard to kill.

Flash on a USB 2.0 is universally compatible with all OSs and most machines.  It also plugs into quite a few car stereo systems, most video game machines, TVs, WD TVs, your mom…

Small amounts of data on separate but redundant sticks reduces the chance of a bad file killing all the other files on the memory.  If it does happen, the data is still safe elsewhere.

Flash is relatively inexpensive.  Target has some toys with flash memory inside that are $15 for 4G.  They’re also skateboards.

Skateboards with flash drives.

The world is a better place for that.

As for the kids… all I can do is keep on repeating!





I has smart

9 09 2010

It’s been a very suburban week and for most of it I had a dumb.

Today was much better.  I worked on my sister’s wedding photos, caught up on my email, listened to New York Hero, and finished TWO crossword puzzles while I waited to pick up the kids.

Speaking of kids, the youngest caught a smart and got a smiley face at school today.  He’d been grounded since Tuesday for pushing a girl, not listening to the teacher AND squeezing ketchup all over his head and body.  No one ever said my kids were normal… or boring.  We’re going to have him evaluated at the therapy group next week for ADHD.  He’s having a lot of trouble at school and can’t seem to block out the constant stimuli.

LJ is done being grounded tomorrow.  He’s had a rough couple of weeks and he seems to be coming out of the funk.  Thank. Goodness.

The girl child has caught a bad case of the dumbs though.  The psychiatrist did change her meds this week so hopefully we’ll see a difference soon.  None of us can go through this much longer and it throws off the entire family dynamic when she’s acting up.

In other news, in a random sort of fashion:

  • I got a ThinkGeek catalog, a Fredericks’ catalog and an Orvis catalog.  I can now order everything I need for a really fucked up Halloween costume!
  • The guys broke the windshield on my Durango while playing baseball.  Now we’re waiting to get paid so I can get a new one.
  • The back of the Durango has a brand new Star Trek fish emblem!  It’s made of win and awesome.  The Durango is a happy place.
  • Yes, the reflection is an oddfun house mirror reflection of me in my sweats and Dr. Seuss shirt.  I hope I’m not that lumpy in real life!
  • The existence of nerd rock makes me happy in places I didn’t know could be happy.
  • The clutter on my desk is breeding.  I clean it up every night but when I wake up in the morning it has multiplied.  It’s like I have a tribble farm over here!
  • My server got a virus that infected the ANTI-VIRUS software!  I took out the extra drives and now I need to work on the OS itself to eject the parasite.  I just haven’t worked up the energy or the amount of liquor it would take to do it and keep my sanity.
  • The birds have 11 eggs in their nest right now.  I think they were infected by my bad egg karma and we may never get hatchlings.
  • Chickpea needs a haircut really, really badly but I don’t want her to think it’s a punishment.  I also don’t want to take her to a salon and for her to think it’s a reward when she’s managed to get in trouble with every single adult in her life and quite a few of the children.
  • Silly bands are banned at one of the schools now!  I lied and told the kids that they were banned in both schools because I’m tired of that crap.  Kids are little monsters when it comes to who has what toy.
  • My bath fetish is temporarily on hold.  I have a bad sunburn on my back (damn you, medicine!) and it hurts A TON worse than a tattoo.  I’m not going to tell people tattoos feel like a sunburn anymore.  It’s not fair to the tattoo.

I’m so ready for life to be easier!  We’re heading into my favorite season and I’m hoping to have a lot of the bs that’s on my plate done with.  Then I need a date with my husband and a good, long nap.





frustration

3 09 2010

The youngest told me “my old mommy made me cookies and cake and let me eat candy.  You need to fight her for ‘world’s best mommy.’  When I grow up I’m going to make candy and feed it to all the kids with mean mommies.”  Then he told me that I should let him go to a sleepover because he was good ONE day this week.  (Never mind that no one had a sleepover planned…  I should still come up with one because he was good 20% of the time.)

The middle child gets in the car and throws a tantrum because she got in trouble at school.  An hour later the teacher called to explain the “disturbing behavior” she’d been seeing: being rude, talking back, being mean to other kids.  I told the teacher that yeah, we’d seen it at home too and yeah, I’d bring it up with her therapist and in-school help at our next meeting.  She’s also binging on food and self-harming again.  It’s been ramping up for about a month and I’m OUT of ideas.

The oldest is becoming increasingly afraid of the dark and is having crazy nightmares about people setting our pets on fire.  He’s slipping back into a fantasy world but at least can still tell the difference between real and fake when I ask.  He hates a girl at school that acts similarly to the middle child.  He says “I HATE her.  She’s SO mean!”

The extended family has more nuts than a brownie and is about as dark from all the bullshit.  They’ve always said we were going to need waders… but damn.

I grit my teeth so hard that I chipped a tooth.  I told the youngest that I’d  never be so mean as to stuff my loved ones full of poison that made them fat and sad.  I told the middle that she was grounded, not that she listened.  I told my oldest that the odds of a plane dropping out of the sky and landing on him were very, very low.  I made sympathetic noises to the extended family.

Then I distracted them with music videos on my phone.

I see the amazing things in all of them.  My brain hardly recognizes it because of the spasming going on in my neurons.  I have nice things to say but the words on my tongue start with “WHAT IN THE WORLD???”

This dude says he wants to be a billionaire so fucking bad so he can adopt a bunch of kids who ain’t ever had shit.  I hope he has some money left for nannies because DAMN.  Even kids who ain’t ever had shit aren’t grateful for what they get.  (The oldest was really upset to hear we weren’t rich even though Grandmommy has a good job at Wal-Mart. At least his expectations are low…)

I want to be upset but I remember being as big of a punk-nugget to my parents.

So I get frustrated.  I can’t stay mad because they’re just doing what comes naturally for kids.  I can’t laugh because they might keep doing it!

Nola tried to eat my new exercise stuff and has been digging under the bed but she’s fuzzy and doesn’t mind when I yell at her.  She loves me whether I’m fuming or laughing then tackles me and tries to eat my head.  Ernie bit me on the ass the other day because I wasn’t paying attention to him.  He still gets stoned on catnip and drools on my feet.  Cali chases  me around the yard while I bring in groceries and Abbie thinks “Barrel-butt” is a great nickname.  Spooks won’t let me sleep by myself.

Why aren’t people as easy?

Anyways, this song is stuck in my head: