I’ve read this before

1 06 2010

I’m reading The Spire by Richard North Patterson.  Contrary to my title, I’ve not read THIS book before, but the story is similar to others I’ve read.  I can’t pinpoint which book I find it similar to right now, but I’m sure it will surface in my brain eventually.  It’s a memoir type of story that mingles with a new murder and some theft and college frat boys… I’m not bored with the story.  I just think someone else wrote it first and that I’ve read it and it’s somewhere in my library.

My title actually refers to this monotony of mommyhood I’ve found myself in.  It’s comforting and fucked up at the same time.  I’m living the life I worked so hard to build.  I’m at the end result of what I had planned.  The next part of the plan is “live the life and enjoy it!”

It’s just  hard to quantify joy.  There’s no number or date or even data that can identify joyfulness.  You can’t make a joy graph.  Well, I’m sure you could, but it would probably be boring.

I’m an analyst.  I’m a very smart analyst trained in problem solving.  There’s no problem and now I’m a little lost.  Sure, there’s this lupus and fibromyalgia thing, but that’s more handling the symptoms as they come and trying to live a lifestyle that doesn’t provoke the symptoms.  The first part of problem solving is to identify the problem.

So back to the monotony as it is.  After midnight last night, I didn’t sleep well.  I need to clean the bird cage.  My pain level is small enough that I haven’t taken any meds today other than my morning dose of Lyrica.  The wireless keyboard on the right side of my desk got some fingernail clippings that were left in the clipper in it (yuck) and now some of the keys stick and sometimes the space bar makes two spaces where only one is needed.  My calendar tomorrow is a little stressful, but manageable.  The kids are on summer break and I reinstated afternoon naptime.  (Yay, nap time!)

Earlier I took a bath and Nola, our Great Dane, opened the door to my bathroom.  There’s a reason Great Danes are the inspiration for almost every cartoon dog in the American zeitgeist:  they really do act just like a cartoon.  They’re expressive, clever, gentle, and act pretty much like the dumbest kid in the gifted class.  They’re too smart to be retards but they’re too retarded to be smart.  They also have no clue that the rest of the world thinks this about them.  They’re mainly happy ass dogs.

MY cartoon dog can open doors.  She figured it out on her own… or she somehow communicates with Ernie, our half-Siamese cat, who can also open doors.  That thought is fucking terrifying.

Yes, I do need a baby gate.

So, Nola breaks in and looks at me with those big, dark eyes.  I say “Nola, go away.”  She turned around and tucked her tail as if she was leaving then turned back around and looked at me again.

Yes, our bathroom is so small that one turn of a Great Dane encompasses all the square footage.

“Nola, GO. AWAY.”  Nothing.  I’m largely ignored around here.

“You can’t get in here with me.  Lay down.”  I was hoping being on the bath mat next to me would be enough.  It wasn’t.  She started to look like she was going to get in the tub with me.  (It’s happened before.)  I snapped my fingers.  “Lay down.”

She sat and then she turned towards the door again.  “Ok, then.  Go away.”

She stood in the door, tail tucked and looked out.  I took this as a cue to finish up in the bath and investigate for myself.*

I wash my hair, get dried off, moisturize my face and wrap myself in my towel.  Investigation time.  I walk out to the living room trailed by a scared cartoon and find Ethan singing at the top of his lungs while drawing on the cat with two markers – thankfully capped – one in each hand.  From the scared dog, I surmise that he started on her.

The part that startled me was MY reaction.  I wasn’t shocked, surprised, mad, or anything.  I just said “Ethan, put them away, NOW.”

Then I got some clothes on, made lunch, and sat back down at the computer.  Absurdity has become monotonous.

*From this point, the internet ate my post revisions which made this post way awesomer.  Fucking internet.  I could fix it, but why?  WHY DO YOU DO THIS, INTERNET?

In all actuality, it’s Firefox that’s eating everything lately.  FF is about to be the major reason I switch to Google Chrome.  It won’t be because it’s awesome – it will be because FF sucked.

ignore it, commence

29 12 2009

The birds are still doing their mating dance.

The kids are playing some weird pretend game with legos that is really loud.  At least they aren’t bossing each other around since the last time I sent a dirty look in their direction.

The dogs are in their “I’m not a trip hazard, I’m just sleeping” positions.*

I just got up to throw something away and apparently Cali is my herding dog on duty.  Normally I get Abbie who is much more noticeable and Cali herds the kids.

I’m still coughing up snot balls but I think my love affair with Mucinex will be nothing more than a one night stand.

So, what am I going to do about it all?  Nothing.

Nope, nothing at all.  I’m not going to interfere with the kids or try and drown out the bird screeching.  I’m not going to trip over the dogs.  I’m just going to ignore it all** and drink warm stuff and clean my room.  I want to get my closet cleaned out very very badly.  We have a new Goodwill about 5 minutes away and I so totally need an excuse to go!  Goodwill, today, I will have a bag of clothing to donate. 😀

I also need to figure out why my gamer suddenly doesn’t like the monitor that’s been on it for over a year. *rolls eyes* After that, I need to clean up the desk area, take some photos and introduce you to Patron.  Patron is my new Dirt Devil super sucker on a stick.  He’s totally awesome – he has no brushes or belts or anything.  He’s just a hand vac on a stick.  The first time I turned him on, he stuck to the floor like a suction cup and I had to pry him off.  I was going to name him Jose (after the jalepeno on a stick) but Shaun reminded me that I have a very bad time with Jose (Cuervo).  Jose is an asshole who gives me anger management problems and migraines.  So, Patron is the kinder, gentler intoxicating substance on a stick.  Or something.

Anyways, pictures soon.  I’m only 1/5th of the way through the Christmas pictures so it may be next year when you finally get to see Patron.

Other crap to do… combine lists into a master plan, figure out what gift cards go where and with who, and figure out what’s going on with LibraryThing and BookMooch***.  Fun stuff!

* Having shepherd dogs is great and they come with a factory setting that no firmware upgrade will override.  They herd things into groups and if you move, they put you back where you’re supposed to be.  If you stay put, they go to sleep.  There are times it’s really nice to be cattle – like if I’m having problems with my heart or if Shaun’s away on business.  Other times it’s like having a 60 lb hemorrhoid.

** Unless something the shepherds can’t handle happens – like the little shits figure out how to create an IED out of play-do or something.

*** BookMooch has been soooooooooo slow that I’m hardly ever on it.  It’s not that people don’t want my books, it’s that there’s nothing on there I don’t already have or that I don’t want.  So I have like 30 points with nothing to spend them on.  Anyone need a donation?  If so, comment me with your BM name and I’ll dispatch a few!

This nap is kid tested and Collie approved

8 12 2009

I may not have mentioned it before, but Chickpea’s psych eval says – and I quote – “this kid is too smart for her own good and if she’s not constantly challenged, she’ll create disaster and chaos every day of her life.”

So we signed her up for a dual-immersion charter school that teaches in 90% Spanish, 10% English and has a few hours of Mandarin Chinese a week. They do 9 hour days with no naptime in Kindergarten.

…and this, dear friends, is my beautiful angel not creating disaster and chaos.

After the afternoon nap, though, her reset button is hit and disaster and chaos reign once more.

*edited to add: her IQ is almost 30 points lower than mine. I was a TERRIBLE child even while learning Latin and Greek in elementary school. I could tell you with clinical accuracy how I was going to fuck shit up.

*also edited to add:  I really should reread my psych eval.  It was very entertaining to read the first time.  Our team at work had all our evals done and then we got team-building based on our psychological needs as a group…  yes, that went well.  Totally.

A uterus free life

31 08 2009

I’m 10 days post op.  All the bruising has faded (I looked like I’d been hit in the stomach with a steel donut) but I got a nasty infection in my belly button.  The antibiotics are making me loopy and sick.  Since the surgery, we’ve spent maybe $200 on medicine.  It sucks and what sucks worse is that the nurse who was covering the on-call line was a total ass hat and brushed off my symptoms when I called for more meds.  So, a day later, I’m back in the hospital with an infection, my pulse is at 120 and my temperature is dropping. The doctor at the ER took one look at my tummy and pronounced it infected.  I got ANOTHER EKG and told to drink plenty of water and to expect squirt poops from the antibiotics.  Seriously, I’m fighting for the world record of most EKGs in 14 days.  The memo must have gone out that mitral valve prolapse is a serious medical condition (um, haven’t I been saying this for 10 years?) and I must be triaged directly back into the innards of the ER to have sticky things stuck all over me and all the monitors turned on.  I’m not dying, I just have puss.

Since I’ve been on bedrest, I’ve watched about 1000 episodes of Project Runway and The Rachel Zoe Project.  This is COMPLETELY unlike me.  I do love fashion design and style but I hate the editing of reality shows.  It’s always “so and so is a bitch and we don’t like her” that’s totally blown out of proportion by the production company.  I just want to see what they come up with and how they do it.  I tried watching America’s Next Top Model but I couldn’t stand it.  It went way over my maximum threshold for flakiness.  I can barely stand Heidi Klum on Project Runway.  You can almost see the teleprompter reflected in her eyes.

My mom stayed with me all last week and took care of the kiddos so I had some time on my hands.  It’s odd the way children and dogs react to a new “pack leader” even if it’s temporary.  The kids out-performed each other with excellent behavior.  They don’t even try to show off for me, which is kind of nice in itself.  I’m just “Mom.”  Nothing special about plain ole Mom, she’s just Mom.  LOL

The dogs, on the other hand, did not take it so well.  They have these weird dominance fights about twice a year so apparently, with Grandmommy in charge it was time to redo the pecking order.  German Shepherd breeds (all of the pups are GSD mixes) are so interesting in the way they vie for dominance.  Grandmommy has only had little dogs and never more than one at a time, so she didn’t know that when the dominance play starts – make sure YOU come out on top.  Every time this happens they try and challenge me as pack leader and it’s super important to make it clear that they aren’t going to budge me.

So, dominance play is in session and the blood is shed over position.  Our GSD/Lab, Abbie, always makes sure she comes out on top.  She’s not as big as Nola, but she fights dirty and she’s strong.  Abbie has two cuts over one eye.  Nola, the great Dane, tried to fight both Abbie and Cali, the collie mix, but was quickly put in her place.  She has two cuts over one eye and one cut under it.  Oh well, the tube of antibiotic eye cream for the dogs expires this month, so I may was well use it up.  Cali walked away scot free and smelling like an angel even though she started half the fights.  She’s little but she’s a scrappy bitch.  Now that I’m up and moving, things have settled down with our little wolf pack with the pecking order being absolutely the same as it was last time.

Last week’s score:  Dogs – 1, Grandmommy – 0.

On the other side, Mom did great with the kids.  They made play-do pumpkins and dried them to hang up.  They made velvet art posters.  They played on the computer and went to the pet store to look at the fish.  Mom’s always great with pre-school aged kids and it was so nice to not have to worry about anything.  Mom thinks of EVERYTHING.

I finished some crochet projects so I need to take pictures and put them up.  I finished the uniform skirt for A, finished a bamboo scarf for Shaun, and repaired a ton of clothing that has been waiting on me.  I made Shaun take me to Wal-Mart to get some more of the Caron Simply Soft Eco yarn.  Hobby Lobby had like two choices from that line so I ended up getting some off brand made by Hobby Lobby and it SUCKS.  It’s too waxy and your fingers feel so weird after using it.  The Eco yarn is amazing and hey, it’s made out of plastic bottles.  I got some yarn off of etsy, and I’m still wondering if I like it or not.  The alpaca/soysilk blend is very nice, but the organic cotton is not what I expected.  I’ll have to work with it before I make a decision.

So what’s life like without a uterus?  Exactly the same as with one, so far, but at least I’m not bleeding!  I think it will take some time to realize fully that I will never have another period and I will never get pregnant.  It’s actually kind of comforting knowing that.  Absolutely Not is an answer I’m satisfied with because my mind doesn’t have to analyze it.  Shaun and I ceremonially threw away all the tampons and pads so now I’m just waiting to heal up.  😀  It’s going to be well worth it!

A quick post before hitting the road

11 08 2009

I have doctor’s appointments all day today.  We start out the fun with an ultrasound then I have a pre-op physical this afternoon.   I’m 9 days from Total Uterine Destruction! Shaun gets his CPAP machine installed today.  Yay for breathing while you sleep!

I know you probably shouldn’t be so excited about getting cut open and having an organ removed, but damn, I’m excited.  I need for NOTHING to go wrong.  The logistics are falling into place very nicely.

The dogs know something is up – Abbie mostly.  Last night, they laid lengthwise across the path from the computer chair to the bedroom door like they were rings of security.  Layers of protection.  I love German Shepherd breeds but they can get really annoying when they team together for the protection of their “package.”  (I’ve been reading military thrillers – can you tell?)  Like any good bodyguard, they don’t pay a whit of attention to what you tell them to do if it’s contrary to their natural instincts.  Right now, Abbie is laying down, but she’s between me and the door – facing the door – and I’m staying in relatively the same spot.  It’s been so lately she won’t let the kids come up to me.  That will be good in 2 weeks when I have stitches, but still, it’s a little excessive.

Cali’s been pulling her Collie tricks lately.  She’ll come up and push her head under my hand so that it catches in her collar and pulls.  She did this the other day when I was on the toilet because she wanted me to go see what the kids were up to.  Of course, when you say “what is it, Lassie?  Did Timmy fall in the well?” she just gives you that “are you retarded?” look.

I better get moving.  I don’t think there’s any gas in the Honda… dammit.  I need gas too!  Is there a Starbucks on the way?

Manipulation tactics

4 08 2009

Shaun and I were talking about manipulation last night.  It’s interesting how we all do it unconsciously and even children learn it very early – like in the first few months of life.  We have three children, three large dogs, two cats, and two diamond doves and all but one regularly manipulate us to get what they want. All but one step up their tactics or try aggression when manipulation doesn’t work.

That makes the one abnormal.  It’s really strange to see such blatant honesty lived out and she really doesn’t realize she’s atypical.  The one is our Great Dane, Nola.  All the other babies, human and fur, have manipulation tactics that range from playing coy, buttering you up, trying to get on your good side, using the sandwich effect*, and all the way up to blatant con-man tricks.  Ernie uses the whore tactic – make you think you’re the most wonderful thing in the world until he’s successfully stolen what’s on your plate and sampled your drink too.  Abbie stares and begs.  Cali pretends she’s dumb (she’s got the dumb act down PERFECT) then when you least expect it, she goes for what she wants.  Spooks has us all convinced that HE’S the master of the house and we should bring him gifts and attention.  Even the birds manipulate you – they repeat your coos and fluff up and act happy.  They know happy people give good things.  However, forget to pay attention or give them a millet spray, your ass is getting pelted with birdseed until you do it.

Nola just really is that happy.  I’ve read that about other Great Dane’s too – that they’re abnormally goofy and happy.  They want their people to be goofy and happy too… apparently so they can pretend to be lapdogs  and get hugs.  Nola LOVES hugs more than anything else.  She’ll come up, stand up on her hind legs so she can wrap her front legs around you and lay her head on your chest.  When she sees me or Shaun be grumpy, she looks so confused.  Like “what the hell?  You must need a hug.”

I’ve met other dogs who were just as happy but they were “touched in the head” as my Granny would say.  They aren’t all that bright and that’s ok too – there are plenty of dog lovers who love those big lugs.  We like dogs who solve problems and think for themselves.  This is a mixed blessing though – we end up with dogs who think up ways to get out of the fenced in yard.

But normally thinking dogs are more serious and sober.  Nola is neither serious nor sober.  Last night, Abbie was laying at my feet while I crocheted.  Actually, she layed UNDER my feet so that the soles of my feet were resting on her back.  Nola wanted me to play and I kept telling her no – the kids were in bed and to go lay down.  She laid down and then army crawled over right next to Abbie and set her head right ON TOP of my feet.  She rolled her eyes  up at me like “haha.”  Then she pounced me and wiggled her big but into my lap and tried to curl up.  Shaun tried to explain relative size to her but she just grinned at him.

* The sandwich effect is a business tactic.  If you have bad news or a message that will be responded to negatively, find two positive messages to sandwich the bad message in.

4th of July aka if this neighborhood kid doesn’t stop with that firecracker…

5 07 2009

When I was a little, little kid we lived in Pensacola between the Air Force base and the Navy base.  I’m from a mixed marriage:  Mom was active Navy and Dad was active Air Force.  They met in school while training to be meteorologists for their prospective fields of duty and married over Christmas leave 6 weeks after they met.  So Pensacola is a good a place as any because the bases are only about 70 miles apart and we lived in the middle in a little apartment complex.

Northern Florida is much like southern Georgia: it’s populated by a whole lot of stupid white people.  The whole upper half of GA is metro Atlanta but there’s a line right around the Macon area where you enter the twilight zone of the South.  We’re not just talking gun-toting conservative Christian racists – we’re talking about flatland and swamp folks whose general education level is around the 4th grade.  Around cities or military bases, it’s better, but still – there’s a reason we drive straight through the night when we go to FL (southeastern part.)  That reason is that people from the interstate are only good for two things:  buying pecans and advertising the greased pig festival so that you can sell em more pecans.

I know a lot of people who love south GA and northern FL, but hey, I’m a mountain girl.  I don’t trust flat places and if you’ve got to drive more than 30 minutes to reach the closest Wal-Mart, you’re too far out in the sticks.

Back on topic:  we lived in Pensacola and while base towns are normally more diverse, you still have asshole rednecks with guns and too much liquor.  You get those folks everywhere, they’re just called different things.  At this point, I’m about 3 years old and my brother was a baby and Mom had just sat us all down for dinner on the 4th of July.  Next thing you know, a bullet comes down through the ceiling and lands in the middle of the kitchen table.  Turned out one of our hell-raising neighbors decided to shoot off his .22 pistol in celebration of being free for another year.  This is not a good idea!

I have no idea what happens next.  This is the part of the story where my mom’s voice trails off and you get the idea that my Dad probably returned that bullet to its owner by shoving it straight up his ass.

Every July right about this time of year, we heard this story and as a kid, you start to duck when you hear firecrackers.  This is doubly true when you realize that until 2 years ago, any sort of firework or firecracker was illegal in the state of GA.  People would drive out of state to buy em, but still, it was a precious commodity and you only set em off after dark on the 4th when every one else was too.  Otherwise, setting off a firecracker was about the quickest way to have a handful of cops on your front porch and a whole lot of pissed off neighbors.

Firecrackers still startle me, but now that we live on the edge of some private hunting land, it’s not as bad.  We normally hear a couple of rifle shots a day during hunting season and during the summer, we hear the race cars down at Road Atlanta and Lanier Raceway.  Imports at Road ATL during the day, hot rods at Lanier Raceway at night.  In the spring, you hear the cows making their mating calls from a few properties away.  The mountains have a way of amplifying sounds, so we get it all, and it all becomes background noise.

We moved here exactly 9 years ago over the 4th of July weekend.  It’s a nice little starter-home community where you have an actual piece of land located in between two major interstates but it’s still out in the country enough to not be right on top of people.  It was a quiet little place in the very back of a quiet neighborhood with quiet neighbors who liked quiet things.  Now, there’s a school right across the street and a whole lot of development in every direction.  That means a whole lot of people who moved in around the same time we did either moved out of county or moved into one of the hundred McMansion subdivisions where you could reach out your window and touch your neighbor’s house.   Our direct neighbors are nice enough, but a few houses down some people with teenage boys moved in.

Teenage boys have two paths in life:  they either have something to do or they terrorize the neighborhood.  Apparently, these folks couldn’t find their kids something to do, so we have been terrorized.  Our house and cars have been egged, they’ve thrown stuff at our dogs (after coming onto OUR property where our dogs are fenced in), they ride up and down the streets at all hours on a 4 wheeler, and generally act like little ass-hats.

And now fireworks are legal in GA.

These boys are about to have a Come to Jesus moment if they don’t stop with the firecrackers.  It started about a week ago and they scare the shit out of our oldest dog.  Abbie, our German Shepherd/Lab mix was abused as a puppy with cigarettes so anything that smells like smoke scares the living shit out of her.  Shaun couldn’t even get in the bed last night because she crawled in the bed on his side and glued herself to me and just shook all night, even after she got her puppy chill pills.  Cali and Nola don’t like the firecrackers either, but they’d rather bark at the little shithead than hide behind me.

Last year, they shot off one of those little bottle rocket things and it hit one of our trees during a motherfucking drought!  At least ammo is so scarce these days, none of our local crazies decided to shoot off their guns last night.  The crazies are probably the only ones with ammo since they’re stocking up for the apocalypse, forming a militia, and are ready to defend their homeland from terrorists.

Someone forgot to tell them that their two little teenage twits are the only terrorists I’ve met in our little corner of suburbia.  I ought to just put the dogs on a leash and walk down there to remind them that their good, quiet neighbors would appreciate them not spooking the cattle.

If I get really pissed off, I’ll let the dogs poop in their yard.  What do you think?  It may just be better to invite them over for beer and then throw the cats at em when they least expect it.