Monday, February 27, 2006

What the...?

2 search terms via which at least a couple of people out there found my blog today: "top secret rug cleaners" and "new husband store." Ummm...hmm. Well then.

Another bad habit

Okay, I know that I recently posted about nursing and probably came across as pretty ambivalent and perhaps even a bit...well, weary. Today's post will do nothing to disabuse anyone of that impression.

The delightful Baby Bean has developed yet another habit associated with nursing. Biting has mostly fallen by the wayside--mostly. She still does it when she's especially tired, or sometimes she'll nip me when she's done because she knows I'll put her down. My firm, "No biting!" is apparently a hilarious extra. Now, Miss Bean shall I put it so that the whackos don't find this? She also fondles me. She reaches down my shirt and fondles the one she isn't nursing from. I'm getting very tired of this indeed but have no idea how to make her stop. I should add that she's also begun doing this even when she ISN'T nursing. Like, say ,when I'm making myself a cup of tea, her hand will almost absent-mindedly find its way down my pajamas as she stares her zoney morning stare. Or we'll be standing in line at the grocery store and she'll be checking everyone out around us while stuffing her hand down my shirt layers. Know what else is fun? She does it to other women besides me, too. My friend who came to visit Friday. My mom. If you come visit, please do NOT wear anything v-neck. I'm just saying. Because this new bad habit is excruciatingly annoying.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Home alone

My weekend alone is nearly over, and it feels like it just flew by. Husband is returning from Atlanta tomorrow. Sister came back all happy and relaxed from my mom's house awhile ago, but then I had to take her to her dad's house shortly afterwards since he always has her on Mondays. Bean is here with me, but she's gone to bed a little early tonight, tired out from fighting an internal battle against the green snot monster. That stuff'll wipe a baby out.

I had a very pleasant Sunday indeed, and feel completely back to my regular self. All those tips I listed a couple of days ago for maintaining my sanity? They totally worked! In fact, I'm blogging right now on my second cocktail of the evening. So far no typos, 'cause I rocked my typing class in high school, but I may ramble a bit.

I spent both of Bean's naptimes today working in the yard. The weather here was a little chilly, but windy, clear, and gorgeous. I busied myself with pruning back all the honeysuckle vines and forsythia bushes that line a long stretch of our backyard for a good hour and a half, trying to make way for the fencers. It pained me to prune back the forsythia as much as I had to--all those little yellow flowers are just opening here. But if I'd left it to Husband to do, the carnage would've been far worse. I learned very shortly after we bought this house 3 years ago that my dear Husband is not to be trusted within a 10-foot radius of a pair of pruning shears. (Am I the only one out there whose spouse gets a terrible gleam in his eye at the prospect of taming some overgrown shrubs?) I also began to understand that there is a hierarchy of yardwork that I was previously unaware of. Pay attention, married female gardeners! Flowers and non-woody green plants are yours. Anything with bark that grows taller than your knee is the domain of the male. It doesn't matter one iota that your man doesn't have the slightest clue HOW to prune to make a plant healthy or shapely or less crowded in the center. Pruning shrubs and trees is just part of being a man, okay? Okay. So I had to sneak it in when he wasn't around.

I AM rambling, aren't I? Better go poke the fire and then poke around in the kitchen for some dessert...

Friday, February 24, 2006

Almost there...

I know I don't have a 9-5 job and all, but I just wanna say thank God it's Friday! This has been my week from hell, and I still don't have a handle on quite why things have become so crazy. Is it that the doggie takes up that much more of my free time? Is it the stupid Girl Scout cookie sale? Is it stuff having to do with Husband's father's estate? Maybe all this combined? Hard to say, but I'm glad this week is petering out at last.

Would you like to hear about some of the methods of coping I used in the last 24 hours so that I didn't become hair-ripping, clothes-rending certifiable? Sure ya do. I know every one of you has been there before.
  1. I scheduled my mom to come pick Sister up for a weekend with her beginning after school today.
  2. I've decided to take my own advice to Mommygoth awhile back and have not 1 but 2 gin-based cocktails at night! The first should be administered before dinner so that it goes straight to the head with no food to dilute the effect. I swear, I tried this last night because things were spiralling that far out of my control and I was suddenly the best, sweetest, most patient mama in the world! During double-bath time and half-hour late pre-dinner preparations, too! Try it, y'all. I'm serious.
  3. I let Bean crawl around naked after her bath just so her screams of dismay at getting dressed wouldn't ruin my gin-induced equilibrium. She still wasn't totally happy, but an extra-large, crinkly truffle wrapper and a floret of raw broccoli did the trick. Everything is novel to a baby! Naturally, I was watching her and she didn't choke.
  4. I've promised myself that somewhere during this weekend I will go to the fabric store and treat myself to some new and beautiful fabrics. Not because I need to start another project--though I do have one in mind--but because fabric is a really pretty inexpensive pick-me-up.
  5. I'm allowing myself to blog and to read others' blogs right now rather than clean the house before my friend visits. Heh. I assure you, she won't care.
Feel free to purloin any or all of these Sugarmama-approved methods of keeping your sanity during your own wretchedly busy weeks. Especially the gin.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Are we really this desperate?

This is the description of a book offered for sale in a Scholastic Books flyer that came home in Sister's backpack yesterday:

"Mustang in the Mist, The mustangs are going to star in a rock video--until the lead horse gets sick! Advanced Chapter Book. Comes with Pearl Pony Bracelet!"

Has children's literature really fallen this low? Please, say it isn't so!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

No slack here!

I think my frayed edges are showing. Husband just asked me before he left for work, "Are you feeling o.k.? You seem a little stressed." Yes, yes, I am stressed! I actually avoided blogging yesterday because I was in such a poisonously bad mood I was sure it would transmit to any readers through their own computer screens!

I am just tired of picking up the slack these days. Everyone's shit lying all over the house that they just leave because they know I'm home all day and can clean it up for them. The dog requiring 2 full-length walks a day (plus pee breaks!) and me having to pick up his poop through a thin plastic bag while wearing the baby on my back. Running all over hell with errands out the ying-yang because I've told Husband repeatedly to let me do some things for him to lighten the load for him a bit. Dinners to cook and then dishes to wash because somehow I end up doing both now instead of our old arrangement of me-do-dinner, you-do-dishes. Stupid science night at school tonight that Sister will be begging to go to, but which is right in the middle of our dinner time and preparations for the girls' bedtimes plus it's rainy and cold. Stupid Brownie parents who STILL haven't called me to tell me when they're giving me their cookie money so that I can make a deposit by the deadline tomorrow. Everyone sucks.

Do you know, dear readers, that we have 8 creatures living in the Sugarmama household that require care? The kids are the first priority, of course, then there's Husband still dealing with his father's estate, plus this new doggie who requires some pretty intensive training and attention as we acclimate him to his new home life. I'm somewhere way down on the care hierarchy--maybe below the cats who are all but invisible in their new dog-fearing, closet-dwelling life, but slightly above the hermit crab who seems to thrive on fresh water and food given about once a week or so. I'm feeling the need for a little care at the moment, y'know?

Okay, some good things to remember though:
  1. My mom is taking Sister for the whole weekend, which is especially helpful because once again Husband is going to Atlanta.
  2. Maybe I'll see my friends on Sunday? (You know who you are.)
  3. I have 2 gift certificates to a day spa that total somewhere around $200, and today is the day that I will schedule those appointments so that I can have something to look forward to!
  4. My friend Pie Maker is coming over shortly with her cute baby boy to visit, and it will be SO nice to have an adult conversation. Maybe I'll sneak a little Cointreau into our hot chocolate.
  5. Also, another friend whom I haven't seen in a couple of months now is visiting on Friday. She's an older lady that I've known since I was a college student working in her vintage clothing store. You can say anything to her and she is never shocked and always sympathetic. She is a fabulous woman who's going to fill me in on all the latest town gossip and commiserate with me about Husband's dad. I can't wait.
  6. Husband promised me a back rub and a pushing of the mama reset button tonight. Heh. I'm looking forward to THAT, too.
(Deep breath.) I'm feeling better now, thanks.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Turning solids into liquid

We're just back from a gruelling weekend in Atlanta. Husband's father's house looks like it's imploded, turned completely inside-out, with the contents of closets piled up on rugs, hundreds of books piled up haphazardly in boxes or against walls, pictures taken down and leaning precariously in doorways. When I walked in, I was instantly overwhelmed.

I feel terrible for Husband. It's so hard for him to pack up his parents' whole life in a few short weekends. I've mentioned before that our own house is small with very little extra storage space, and for once I wish we lived in a bigger house so that we could store a lot more of all the things that he's so attached to, that were a part of his growing up. He went through his parents' clothing this weekend to pack things up for donation and this seemed to be the hardest thing for him so far. His mother died 4 years ago, but his father's clothes still smell like him. China and silver mean nothing to Husband compared to the clothing he so vividly remembers his mom and dad actually wearing.

The worst thing for me was the estate auctioneer who was invited to peruse the contents of the house ear-marked for sale. This man is a friend of Husband's older brother, but neither Husband nor I feel like this means he's at all scrupulous about selling these things. We all walked through the house together, pointing out items that we felt were valuable, and enduring the cynical comments of this jerk--a box full of silver and pewter items ("Silver plate. And THAT thing is just stainless steel."), an antique rocker ("Yeah, it's nice, I guess, but no one wants them. I'll get about $25 for it."), REALLY nice woven wool rugs ("Your parents paid $800 for it? It's a beautiful rug. It'll probably go for $75 if we're lucky."), and on and on through the entire house. It was just awful.

At the end, this man said they might get a couple thousand dollars for their parents' entire household, because really their stuff was "pretty run-of-the-mill." This prompted Husband, who at this point was pissed and upset, to ask how the hell he made any money at all if he was only earning a commission on a couple thousand dollars for each estate sale. Was that really all there was to his business? Husband is convinced that these guys come in and quietly remove the really valuable stuff to auction off on ebay or sell to their antique store pals--if they don't actually run a store themselves--and never tell you what it was they skimmed off. It's true that they don't provide you with any sort of inventory of the estate, nor a list of what is sold and for how much. It sounds damn fishy, but given our distance from Atlanta there just doesn't seem to be another option.

And the final indignity is that it's quite likely that Husband and his brother will end up owing the auctioneer money! I look forward to all this being over.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Blog shorts 2

Another busy day as Husband and I prepare for our trip to Atlanta this weekend. He's driving down tonight, and I am flying with Bean tomorrow morning because she truly despises car trips longer than to-the-grocery-store length. Sister will go to school tomorrow, and then will spend a long weekend with her dad.

Bean slept through the night for the second night in a row last night! This is great, of course, but my hopefulness that this is a new pattern is tempered in a big way by knowing that it'll all go to crap when we travel this weekend. It always happens this way, I swear. I sometimes think she would've been one of those sleeping through the night at 6 months babies if we hadn't ALWAYS gone on a trip immediately following a night where she slept through. Sigh.

Sister has a playdate at the moment. I have absolutely no idea what those girls are up to in her room. They're being pretty quiet and the door is shut. Usually spells trouble, or at least a huge mess in the making, but I've had such a busy day and am also trying hard to give Sister a little space, so I'm totally ignoring them. Fortunately, the friend's parents don't read my blog! But jeez, they're both almost 8.

I think I have to finally confess that I have an addiction to this delightful item I've just learned about called "drinking chocolate." I thought it was fancy hot chocolate mix when I bought it, but when I got it home, know what it was? A container full of little dark chocolate curls! You mix several heaping tablespoons into your hot milk and stir until it's melted. Then if you wait about 10 seconds, some of it floats to the top and you sip through this 1/2-inch thick RAFT of melted chocolate. Also? I drink it every afternoon with SEVERAL Girl Scout cookies, because, you know, I'm the cookie mom and we have literally hundreds of them stacked in my kitchen at the moment. Hey, it's alright, I'm still nursing! And you can be damn sure nobody's getting weaned til all these cookies are gone.

The first daffodils are up in my neighborhood this week. In fact, both yesterday and today it was 60 degree weather, and I opened up the house to get a little fresh air in here. It's time for me to be thinking once again about my garden. I really don't know what I'll do about blogging once it's gardening season. I love planting things, and it may be that blogging time will become planting time once it's consistently warm here in beautiful NC. I took some pictures of my front yard garden last fall while it was still gorgeous and blooming, but I can't seem to find them in our Flickr pictures. When I do find them, I'll post them and maybe you'll see why it would be hard to stay away. I'm very proud of my front flower garden.

Alright, off to compose a salad to go with our take-out pizza for dinner tonight. I'm not likely to be blogging while I'm in Atlanta over the weekend because there'll be just too much packing up to do, I suspect. But y'all have your own great weekends without me!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

In which Barbie rears her perfect plastic head in our household

Sister and I had a doozy of a conversation about a year ago, when she was still 6 years old. It started off with her declaring, "I hate President Bush!"

I was unsure which route to go first--the easy, we-don't-use-hate one, or the harder one in which I explained how declarations like this would likely get her into trouble. I chose easy first. "Sister, we've talked about the word 'hate' before. 'Hate' is an ugly and awful word, and I really don't like hearing it come out of your mouth. You're too young to hate anyone, and I hope you never will!"
"Okay," she said, "I don't hate him then. But I really don't like him at all, Mama."
Sigh. "Well, do you want to tell me why you dislike the President so much?"
"Because he chops down all the forests and builds Barbie factories where all the trees and animals used to be," she told me with disgust.
"Sister, I just want to tell you that when you...what did you just say?!"
My ex-mother-in-law, a former hippie and a near-communist leftie, must've been proseltyzing again. This time, perhaps not so successfully as she might have hoped. Or maybe this was right on target? I don't know. I assure you that I don't teach Sister things like this.

I wasn't intending to turn this into a post about kids and politics, though perhaps that's a post for another day. Rather, this post is about Barbie. Sister has always had a simple relationship with Barbie. She's always declared in no uncertain terms that she just really doesn't like Barbies and prefers stuffed animals, thank you very much. She's had one single Barbie for about 4 years or so now, a premature gift from my mother one Christmas that she has seldom played with.

That is, until yesterday. Yesterday, there was a package waiting for her when she got home from school. It was from Husband's aunt and uncle who are nothing if not generous with the children's gifts at any holiday, birthday, or even season change. When Sister opened it, lo and behold, there was a brown-haired Barbie with 3 different outfits, including accessories like plastic shoes and fairy wings. I responded for her, "A Barbie! Well, I've always like Barbies, although I know you've said you don't care for Barbies that much." I looked up at Sister, who was still staring silently at the Barbie--but raptly silent and not disappointedly silent.

"I used to not like Barbies because their commercials are so...," and here she grappled for a word, "...girly. But I just changed my mind," she breathed. She slid off her stool to go unite the new Barbie with the other, older Barbie. My Barbie-hating daughter stayed back in her room, changing their outfits and making them talk to each other for the next hour. Then she took them on our walk with the dog. She laid them in the dish drainer while she set the table for dinner. She slept with them last night. And this morning, she brought them out with her for breakfast. Has my bug-loving, tadpole-catching, mudpie-stirring daughter just become girly? We'll see...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Beany weaning

I nursed Sister until she was a year old, at which point I weaned her with no fuss whatsoever. She really seemed not to notice or miss it. In retrospect, she was still very much a baby, though I don't think I saw her that way at the time. She had started walking at 10-1/2 months, and was speaking in 2-word sentences at a year. She just seemed grown enough to stop nursing, I guess, and apparently was.

Bean is nearly 10 months old and is still nursing. From the time that my milk came in, Bean has always LOVED nursing. I can tell that she finds it comforting in a way that Sister never seemed to. With Sister, nursing was useful in satisfying her hunger quickly. With Bean, it's all about snuggling up with the mama and getting warm and comfy.

I had it in my head that this time around I would likely nurse my baby a little longer than I had the first time. I'm a full-time mama at home, after all, and don't have a work-and-pumping schedule to complicate things. Also, I have the perspective that 1-year olds really are still babies. But 10 months into it I find myself a little torn. On the one hand, I also think nursing is sweet and comforting and deliciously snuggly. On the other, I'm getting to the point where I kinda want my sex drive sans nursing hormones and a little more personal flexibility back. It would be nice, for example, to go out for an afternoon to a movie and maybe an ice cream with Sister and not have to worry about whether Bean is hungry and whether I've got milk stockpiled in the freezer for Husband to give her. It would be nice to leave town for a weekend with Husband and leave the kids in the care of my mother who lives just 30 minutes away. I know this sort of thing will happen eventually, of course, but I'm feeling like I might want this back sooner rather than later.

So I'm on the fence about it. I mentioned to Husband that I was thinking about weaning Bean after her first birthday, and he was totally supportive. (He, too, would like my sex drive sans nursing hormones back, I suspect!) I'm sure all my friends would be supportive, too. But I think I would miss it, and I'm VERY sure that Bean won't be down with it. I've got a few months to decide, I guess, but it's been on my mind a lot lately.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Living by the list

Our days are wildly busy lately, as I think I've mentioned several times on this blog at this point. Thank God that it's the Ex dealing with Sister on this, the day before Valentine's Day. There were 24 valentines to make, but it won't be me needing to help! Phew!

I have no less than 3 lists I'm working from at the moment, and they are just barely helping me to avoid flying apart into a million pieces. Y'all know that feeling? I have a master list with several slightly longer term items to do on it--signing up Sister for Girl Scout camp, calling the vet to make appointments, coming up with a donation for a silent auction at the school next week, that sort of thing. Then there's my to-do today list I've been keeping, involving running errands to the grocery store, the dry cleaners, the fancy gourmet store for Valentine's Day treats, etc. Then there's the grocery list I keep scratching things off of and adding things back onto THE SAME DAY that I've been to the grocery store because I'm so frazzled and spaced out I keep forgetting to write stuff down when it occurs to me. 3 lists. Oh, and does it count that I have several emails I have re-checked as unread in my email box because I need to get around to thinking about and answering them? They're all from Sister's Brownie troop's parents, about the stupid Girl Scout cookie sale we're in the throes of at the moment. I am the troop's cookie mom. Stupid Girl Scout cookies. Another thing? Don't remind me that I'm flying to Atlanta to help Husband with his father's house some more in just 4 short days.

I'm just flat busy. My head is spinning even as I type this. And here I am typing! Blogging when I should be doing...oh, any number of things. But I'm having a cup of hot cocoa, which takes the place of a nap for me, which was something sort of on my mental to-do list today. (Also, the cocoa has squirty whipped cream on top. Mmmm, delicious squirty whipped cream...) And there's a fire in the fireplace behind me. Not because we need one, though the day is a little chilly, but because, "Move the wood pile for the fencers" is one of the things on one of my lists, and burning the wood seems easier and more satisfying than simply relocating it. Say it with me, y'all: I am not really procrastinating.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Girl with laptop

Ha! You thought I was off-line for some time, didn't you? I certainly did, but my sweet Husband, feeling riddled with guilt that he was taking the computer with him to Atlanta for so long--and would likely need to continue doing so for the next month of weekends--bought his blog-addict wife a used laptop! Isn't he a big sweetie? Did I say how much he rocks? He does.

And how do I repay my dear spouse? My splurging at the Aveda store while he's gone, of course! Now, lest you think I do this routinely, let me assure you that I do not. I'm usually a soap and cheap moisturizer kind of girl. But I have an impressive crop of forehead zits that I'm beginning to think are a result of my poor facial hygiene, so I thought I'd spring for the fancy stuff and see if that helped. I want to thank Aveda for putting a name to the kind of skin that I have, by the way. It's "mature" skin. Not wrinkly and dry, still prone to break-outs, and kind of grayish looking if I haven't gotten enough sleep--"mature," thank you very much. Which is why I plunked down $32 for "Night Nutrients" and another $18 for "Intensive Hydrating Masque." Ouch! ButI'm quite certain that I will soon be gorgeous and youthful-looking once more. It's just a matter of days, or perhaps even hours...!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

2 Jokers

My evening here at the secret cave was a big improvement over this morning. I never did get a nap in, and Sister came home with a dour expression after a hard day at school. But Sister and I worked on, of all things, cleaning up her desk in her room and this seemed to relax us both. She had a stack of drawings and stories she'd written, plus some overdue library books and a past-due homework assignment in there, and we actually had quite a nice time looking through all her projects and organizing them.

The best thing of all, though, was the exchange of jokes between Husband and Sister at the dinner table tonight:

Husband: Okay, Sister, where do otters come from?
Sister: (her mouth hanging open in a goofy half-smile) I dunno.
Husband: Otter space!

Sister laughed at this, repeating "Otter space! Otter space!" to herself a few times, but then got a sly look on her face.

Sister: Okay, I have one. What did the shore say to the ocean?
Husband: I dunno.
Sister: Nothing. It just waved!
Husband: Ha! Okay, here's one. What did the mama buffalo say to her little boy buffalo when she dropped him off at school?
Sister: I dunno.
Husband: "Bye, son!" Get it? Bi-son?
Sister: Ohhhhhhh, 'cause bison is a herd of buffalo! Ha ha! Okay, what did Tarzan say when he saw a herd of elephants coming up over the hill?
Husband: I dunno.
Sister: He said, "Hey look, there's a herd of elephants coming up over the hill!" (Pause for much eye rolling from Husband.) But what did he say when he saw a herd of elephants coming up over the hill with sunglasses on?
Husband: I dunno.
Sister: Nothing. He didn't recognize them!
Husband: That sounds like one of your mom's jokes. (It was. My favorite one when I was a kid as a matter of fact.)
Husband: So, Sister, what's big and grey and wears glass slippers?
Sister: Huh? I dunno.
Husband: Cinderellaphant!
Sister: Ha! That's a good one. Tell another one.
Husband: (dramatic pause) Okay, but you have to promise not to tell this one at school.
Me: Uh-oh.
Sister: (looking ecstatic and very sneaky) I won't tell! I promise!
Me: I SO do not trust her! Look at that smirk!
Sister: (trying to surpress laughter and look sincere) No, rilly! I won't tell it at school!
Husband: You PROMISE you won't tell it when school's happening? You can tell it, but just not during school, okay?
Sister: Okay! Okay!
Me: (grumble grumble)
Husband: Okay, here goes. What did the fish say when his head hit a cement wall?
Sister: (eyes shining) I dunno.
Husband: Dam!

Sister was pleased as punch to have been told a risque joke, especially knowing that there are MANY opportunities for her to share that joke with her friends on the sly. Like at her Brownie troop's overnight camp-out trip this weekend, for example. I was just grateful that Husband was able to pull her out of her funk in his deft way. I feel like I hadn't been able to touch her this week. God love that man.

And sadly, my man is leaving town tomorrow morning for 4 days on the first in a series of trips to Atlanta to deal with his dad's house and belongings and lawyers and...well, all the rest of it, too. I'll be unable to blog for the next few days sans computer, I'm sorry to say, but I promise to get caught up on everyone else's blogs when he returns bearing the laptop again. Truthfully, it's probably a good thing he's taking it with him. I've got a bed quilt to start for Sister, plus a rag rug for her room, Girl Scout cookie orders to organize for a troop of 14 girls, friends to catch up with, Crate and Barrel to visit,.... I'll be keeping myself plenty busy.

Hope you all have lovely, productive, relaxing weekends!

Slack ass morning mama

This morning stands in stark contrast to yesterday, let me tell ya. I haven't done a damn thing so far except try to nap, which I failed at. I slept really badly last night because the stupid new doggie kept getting up in his crate--which Husband has placed conveniently next to our bed--and turning around and around AND AROUND to get comfortable. Plus shaking his little tags so that they jingled all night long. Between him and Bean waking at 12:30, 2:30, 4:30 and 5:15 I feel like the mean mama from hell this morning. Isn't it astounding what a little sleep-deprivation can turn an otherwise perfectly nice and creative mama into? Truly, I'm amazed by this. Frequently.

Our household has been quite stressed for the last week. Husband and I wrote a joint to-do list earlier this week full of tasks related to his father's recent death. There are stacks of bills and papers to go through so that we can find, pay off, and close various accounts. There are phone calls to make, faxes to send, airline tickets to book as we plan to go back and forth between NC and Atlanta, GA. There are moving vans to research and rent for the vast quantity of special family furniture that Husband wants to move up here. (And oy! Eventually, there'll be our own existing furniture to figure out what to do with. Our house isn't near big enough for it all.) I'm trying to help Husband--who also has a full-time job to worry about while trying to work on this stuff---but I really have to force my voice to remain serene and sweet by the time he gets home in the evenings. I'd like home to be a nice place to walk into, and the last thing he needs right now is a shrew wife.

Plus, on top of all this? Sister is going through one of her god-awful periods. I swear, sometimes I think my 7-1/2 year old child is already pubescing, given her sass and bad attitude for the past couple of weeks. Can I just shout this out into cyberspace since I can't say it to her? She's just awful lately, and it is no fun being with her. Horrible, isn't it? I love her dearly, of course, but I kinda want to farm her out to my mother or to the circus these days or something. Anything to get her out of the house and out of my hair. Sigh. I hope I won't be struck down for writing that, but really, it just has to be said sometimes.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Busy morning mama

Sister off to school? Check.
Dog well walked? Check.
Baby Bean soundly asleep? Check.
Dishwasher running? Check.
Laundry done and hanging out in the sun to dry? Check.
Bed made and bedroom tidy? Check.
Me all dressed and breakfasted and on my second cup of black tea? Check.
Extremely civil and polite email composed and sent to the Ex about summer camps for Sister? Double-check.

Well then. Hmmm. Too bad I've been so damn busy all morning I haven't actually been able to think about blog topics. Ha!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

News of the small

About Sister: That child brought home a perfect report card last week! It was all 3's on the academic stuff, which is the highest grade a 2nd grader can get, and plusses on the behavioural stuff, also the highest grade. The specter of ADD is fading, I think, though it lurks a bit in the teacher's comment to the effect that while Sister is much better at not distracting other children, she is still having trouble focussing. We'll find out more at her parent-teacher conference, but I am optimistic. And very proud of her.

About Bean: My sweet baby very clearly said, "Mem" 3 TIMES upon seeing me yesterday! Also, "Ba" upon getting into her bath last night. Okay, okay, it could be nothing, but I'm convinced she's on the verge of speech. SO exciting!

About doggie: He's settling in nicely, though still completely loses it in outrage whenever he catches sight of one of our 2 cats. Last night, Husband put the dog on the couch with us and pointedly began petting the cat, rewarding the dog with treats for NOT going ballistic. As I watched the dog watching the cat, though, he began drooling. Drooling! As if his 9# little body would be any match for our ferocious and hulking 10 and 12# cats. I fear he has a rude surprise in store for him once we finally let them have actual contact...

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Feeling old

I'm at the point in my life where when I look in the mirror I feel surprised. I have wrinkles around my eyes and beginning to form around my mouth. I have quite a lot of grey hair if I'm not diligent about applying the red dye I've used since I was in my late teens. My neck has the beginnings of old lady-like crepey-ness. A little further down, I look...well, I guess lumpy is the right word. I have spider veins in my legs. My hands look corded and the skin on them resembles an alligator purse in texture if you look closely. They already have a few of those age spots that are so common on those of us honkies with the least drop of Scotch-Irish blood flowing through our veins. I'll be 35 years old this year--and holy crap when did THAT happen?!--but I still feel like I always have. When do you start feeling mentally old, I wonder?

The death of Husband's father has got me thinking a lot lately about my legacy when I die. Husband is busy going through all his father's poetry, his paintings and sketches, the letters he received, his email. I think he's discovering quite a lot about the kind of person his father was, his parents' relationship and how much they loved each other, their real interests, their real life apart from parenthood. I've been keeping a journal since I was 10 years old and have a large trunk full of them at this point. My fantasy is that my girls will find them when I die and read every word. They'll realize that I was a real woman like they'll be by the time they read them. I lived a rich and vivid life that I loved, and I was a complicated person apart from being their mother. I imagine that they'll suddenly understand me. Isn't that all any of us want in life? To have people we love who truly understand us?

But who knows if they'll bother. Realistically, those old paper and ink journals may not even be legible by then. The ink may have become indecipherably muddy and the paper dry-rotted. Or some future fire may consume them. A flood may turn them to pulp. Someone may just chuck them out with the trash even, not really caring what the hell they are but just trying to get the house cleaned up for sale, all the garbage thrown out where it goes.

I used to want to be a writer back in my 20's--a real one who published stories that were read and admired. I don't want that anymore, but I do very much want my girls to find those journals when I die. I want to write words in them that are so crystalline sharp and right that they'll just get me and my life. Because you know what? I love this life. It's so hard to think that it would just be over and my girls might not ever know that.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Normal life returning

First off, I want to thank everyone out there for their warm condolences and thoughts. I wasn't able to actually read any of your comments til today, but they gave me nice prickles just the same. Funny that can happen when I haven't ever even laid eyes on the vast majority of you, but it did. My sincere thanks to you all. It's nice to be back.

Husband finally came home from Atlanta last night, and I was so excited to see him. And not just because he was bringing the laptop back home either. I missed my husband sorely indeed. This house and our lives in it aren't the same without him.

Actually, our lives have changed quite dramatically over the past week and a half even without his long absence. Husband will likely be away for all weekends over the next month and a half as he and various relatives--and me sometimes--converge in Atlanta to work on the house. There's a deadline, too, since there's already a contract on the house with a closing date of St. Patrick's Day. Makes it a bit more stressful having a deadline, but on the other hand not having to deal with selling a house from out of state will be worth the pressure, I think. The hot Atlanta real estate market is a blessing to them right now.

There's quite a lot of stuff to sort through in that house. Husband's parents were married for more than 35 years, if I remember correctly, and you can amass quite a number of material possessions in that time if you're not paying attention. His mother died of cancer 4 years ago and they culled some things then, but Husband's father dabbled in painting, sketching, photography, and poetry. This means that Husband must painstakingly go through his father's artifacts and try to make a judgment about what should be kept. It won't be easy for my sentimental, packrat spouse. And it's not the kind of task you can delegate to just anyone, including me.

So there's that. And then there's this doggie I mentioned. (Somehow, I can't break myself of calling him "doggie" rather than dog. He's quite small.) Sister and Bean are both ecstatic at the new addition to the household. Our 2 cats are terrified. And I'm NOT looking forward to the long days ahead of me filled with naps interrupted by non.stop.barking.and.crying as we keep him temporarily isolated from the cats. Otherwise, he's a nice doggie and I'm sure he'll settle in nicely one of these days. Well, somewhat sure. Cautiously optimistic, maybe. You know, trying to be a good sport and all.

But dammit, it's hard when he wakes up Bean after a VERY short morning nap! Like he just did. So I've gotta go already.

I'll get caught up on everyone else's blogs soon. I hope. One of these days, maybe...