Wednesday, March 28, 2007

As real as it gets...

Since Melissa opted to tag whoever wanted to be tagged, I'm choosing to take the tag and run.


Sometimes, real moms freak the hell out.

It can happen when the kids are loudly bickering over nothingness - Mom, he's TALKING to me - in the back of the car while you're rushing to get to a job that you don't really want to have but need to have and are already running later than you should be for the schedule you are supposed to keep, and you just snap, shouting the dreaded and forbidden "shut up" at the windshield. This incident usually follows a lack of sleep, too, usually many nights lacking in sleep, in fact. You then quickly take some deep breaths and calmly explain the need for some semblance of peace within the confines of the car while driving so that momma won't test her ability to become the Gravedigger of paved roads.

Often, real moms doubt how good a mother they really are.

When you get a report from daycare that he's telling others, kids and teachers, to "shut up", you immediately remember the guilt from those infrequent yet emotionally-charged outbursts. What have you taught him? And, now they've written him up for hitting one teacher and kicking another. Why is he so angry? You don't know, but you haven't hidden your emotions from him, so he's seen you happy, sad, frustrated, excited, concerned, worried, scared...those times of frustration could have been viewed as angry. But, hitting and kicking? Maybe. It doesn't help that the director is speaking to you as if he's a virus. "We often see this type of behavior spread from one kid to the next to the next." Or when she insists that this defiant attitude has become increasingly common for him, even though you haven't heard but of that one other "shut up" incident a month ago. Then you leave, nearly in tears because you don't know why he's acting out like this at school but can't help but feel blamed. He's not perfect, you can admit that, but he isn't by any means vicious or frequently disobedient at home. They have no information for you. No pattern for the behavior, no suggestions as to what you can do to help them, just a tone of your kid being so awful they sometimes can't handle him. But, you know he's not awful. You are his mom and remember all the other times anything has been written about him. You identify a likely trigger. Back when he was biting other kids, every incident resulted from a scuffle over a toy. The "shut up" back talk from last month? That began with the desire for a specific toy, too. This one as well, although no one bothered to document that aspect on the report. Going only by the information written on the report, he's just a little, mean bully. You only know why he got so upset because you asked. So, you go back the next day and let the director know that it seems that his frustration stems from toy-sharing and describe how sharing is approached at home, by counting to have a turn with the toy. They'll think about doing something like that, maybe with a timer. You're now also finding it a bit odd that these last three - because there was another incident yesterday - "aggressive behavior" reports all came from the afternoon teachers. Hopefully the consistent lectures about being respectful to others will encourage him enough that you'll never have to question whether or not some of his teachers a part of the problem. The constant nagging to be a better mother will remain regardless, but that is good. You can always be better.

Always, real moms need to accept that while they are not and can never be perfect, they are great moms.

You may freak the hell out sometimes and doubt how good a mother you really are often, but the proof you're doing okay comes when complete strangers approach your table at Panera and comment on what a pleasure those boys are, when the people in line with you at the grocery store remark how they have never seen such well-behaved children, when the lady at FedEx says frankly, "You're a great mom," supposedly because you managed to convince two toddlers to stop climbing on top of the table to destroy the blinds without yelling or crying or sitting on top of them despite the fact it is almost 7 o'clock at night on a weekday and none of us have had dinner yet. Even with all the onlookers expressing their awe and envy for both you and your children, it's the laughter, the hugs, the kisses, the hand-holding, the pictures specially drawn and colored, the treats shared, and most simply the smiles with sparkles in their eyes as they look into your eyes, dousing you with a wash of greatness and immediately calming your stresses while squashing your fears of inadequacy with a lead foot, that allow you to accept the imperfections of being a real mom.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

He's funny...


This is what J was doing on our way home this evening. It's no wonder M was cracking up behind me, almost breathless as he shouts with glee between snorts, "He's funny! Brother's funny!!" J acts amazed that everything appears to be red;>

While out for our walk with Big Dog, we see a Jeep with its hood open. The word Jeep is embedded into the inside of the hood. J's reaction?

"Mom, what's that say? J...E...E...P...spells car!"
"No, hun, it spells Jeep."
"Jeep car."
"Sure. That works, too."

At least I can try to prepare for the worst...


bleak - Not hopeful or encouraging; depressing

That is the adjective NS used to describe the schedule for his boat, the one he'll talk to me about when he gets back. This isn't very much information. Bleak for who? Bleak for the boat itself doesn't have to mean bleak for us, but it could be both. It could also just be bleak for us, meaning that he'll be gone a lot, but I don't know how that's possible. As it was he's only supposed to be back for 3 weeks and then out for another 8 or 9. Maybe it's the schedule coming after that. I wonder if it's bleak enough to be affecting our move, which has already been delayed until next March. I don't know, but bleak is obviously not a cause for happy thoughts and celebration. Or, maybe he was just being sarcastic...I doubt it.

On a somewhat related note, email is great and all, but when it is the only way you can communicate with someone, and it takes days to go back and forth, sometimes not even arriving, it compels me to furiously refresh Yahoo! over and over and over and kind of makes me anxiously spastic and preoccupied. Guess it's still something to be thankful for since without it, I'd have nothing but silence for as long as he's gone.

Monday, March 26, 2007

I just want to trip the prom queen...

gothic prom queen
Figures...I join my first book club, you know, one of those that read a book and then discuss amongst themselves, and the one book the store didn't have is the one that was chosen. The other two choices? Yep, right there. Now, I'm going to be hunting down this book and will most likely have to order online, which means it will be sent via media mail and take the slowest boat around the globe to get to me, maybe just in time for the discussion to start. At least I'll have the book about women and porn to keep me occupied during the wait;>

Friday, March 23, 2007

MIA...


I'm participating in Shutdown Day tomorrow, so after midnight tonight, you can safely expect not to see or hear from me until Sunday...although I haven't been really out and about with y'all this week anyhow (sorry;>).

Anyone else participating?

Definitions of age...

I've been told more than a handful of times that I don't look like I'm in my mid-twenties, more like 22 or 23. I accept it as a compliment and then prance around as though my aging has finally reversed itself, much like my mother's seems to have done.

In the past, I've always been perceived to be older than I am. When shopping for my 8th grade graduation dress (age 13), the sales lady assumed the graduation dress was for a high school graduation. To clarify, I've had boobs since I was 7, been the same height - 5'3" - since I was 10; my weight has increased, my features are (I assume) more mature, and my hair has been different lengths and colors and, now, textures...but really, not a tremendous amount of change since then, so I could always understand people's misperceptions. I feel bad for my 10 year-old self because she always thought she was fat when, in reality, her body was just being an over-achiever, getting her so far ahead of the physical maturity game that none of the other girls resembled anything like her for several years. Hell, for what she had going on with the boobs and hips and thighs, she was probably underweight. Anyway...

From what I've been able to tell in the one picture I've seen of my mom as a teenager (she's hated having her picture taken forever, I guess), she also looked older when she was younger. The picture was captured when she was 15, but the first time I saw it, I could have sworn it was taken when she was 20. Now, most people think she's my sister, no chance she could be my mother, or think she's the mother of my boys, impossible for her to be their grandmother. When we went to lunch last weekend, the waitress was going on and on about how gorgeous the boys are and asking about whether I'd considered getting them involved with modeling. Only, she wasn't talking to me; she was talking to my mother, who was sitting across the table from me.

Can anyone blame me for wishing that good fortune is simply part of my genetics? That somehow the aging reverses itself from looking older to looking younger...I wonder if there was some magical year that she actually looked her age.

I'm not so sure that's what's happening for me, though. Truthfully, I still think I look older than my age. Seriously, what is so different about one's appearance at 26 versus 23? Being the poor, poor judge of age that I am, I wouldn't say there is anything noticeably different between these ages. Would you? Maybe I just don't know what defines age.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Tough decisions...


To love someone with all your heart, to want to grow old with that person, but to also have to contemplate whether the life you'd have with that person would give you all that you want from life, and to then have to decide which part you just can't live without, him or the other, deciding whether the love of your life will be the sacrifice so that you might get to fulfill another dream...it's unbelievably hard, and my heart aches for her to have to come to either conclusion. I just wish I could tell her the right answer to the question. Perhaps the fact she's had to ask it so often has given her the right answer. I hope so.

Super lucky am I...


Tuesday marked one year since the first day of my current job. I received the obligatory congrats with a company pin, almost assuredly meant for a lapel, Monday afternoon. While my mom was visiting with us at my apartment Monday night, I mentioned this not-terribly-significant detail to her.

You'd think I would have been skeptical of her request for my work address when she called me Tuesday morning. She claimed she needed it for paperwork she was filling out for her employer. This is such a good excuse to use for asking this question without raising flags of suspicion. But, considering it had just been used on me a week before with other intentions, you'd really think I might have had a inkling of a clue...nope, not me.

Sometimes it's nice to trust people have honest intentions, especially when the results of their dishonest intentions are pleasant surprises. I now stumble back a little bit whenever I enter my office...there's a slight floral scent in the air;>

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Struck by plague...


Marmaduke is swimming alone.

New and wiser Murdock died Monday night. When I turned on my office lights Monday morning, I was shocked to see very ill fishies in my aquarium. That ich is a white-spotted plague, I tell you. I bought the medicine cabinet Monday morning and began treatment. Murdock was not hanging in well. I'd thought he'd died many times during the day...since he was floating belly up, I thought it was a logical conclusion. As soon as I'd lift the lid, though, he'd swim back into the water and pucker up to something. This happened at least a handful of times that afternoon. I was pretty certain he was not strong enough to survive the night; unfortunately, I was right. Either my sense of smell has been very compromised by some recent stuffiness, or he hadn't been rotting long enough to emit the putrid stench of fish death for which original Murdock is memorialized. My fondness for this guy had really grown, seeing as he survived a couple weekends, but I believe he may have been tainted goods.

Marmaduke's taken to the treatment well - no more spots (QuickCure really does noticeable work in just 2 days) and coloring seems to be regaining its vibrance. Hopefully the secondary fin-rot infection will be on the mend in the next few days as well since there's already a bit of improvement showing.

I'm sort of thinking Petco might have gotten a bad batch of ich-carrying pleckos. When I bought first Murdock, he was one of plenty that filled two tanks there; he lasted the rest of the week but died over the weekend. Second Murdock was the only one left and in the same tank as the first; I'm sure he was the only one left because I spent several minutes, nearly long enough to give up, trying to find one of his kind only to finally discover him cleverly camouflaged, hiding in a cave. So, they may very well have been two from the same stock, possibly a stock that was carrying ich without symptoms - in case you can't tell, I read all about this ich stuff Monday morning. I may be shopping elsewhere when I look for the next generation Murdock just to be safe, even though that will be at least a month from now.

Monday, March 19, 2007

I'll have cheese and crackers with those whines...


Cheese, crackers, and a glass of wine are a perfectly acceptable dinner, right? I made sure to have a variety of both cheese and crackers. Most of the crackers were wheat-ish, and the wine was red, so I'm sure it could even be deemed a healthy meal. Most importantly, I have discovered that a full glass of wine right before the boys' bedtime makes it so much fun...even when they aren't cooperating;>

The aforementioned feast was for me only. M and J had chicken and rice casserole with peaches and chocolate milk - rich, chocolatey Ovaltine!

Does seem like everyone's doing it...

Saturday, March 17, 2007

I'm it!

tagging
Dixie has tagged me for a research project.

The assignment:
1) Go to Wikipedia
2) In the search box, type your birth month and day, not the year.
3) List three events that happened on your birthday
4) List two important birthdays and one death
5) One holiday or observance (if any)
6) Tag 5 other bloggers to complete (optional, I suppose;>)

3 events:
*1942 - World War II: The first unit of the Women's Army Corps begins training in Des Moines, Iowa.
*1969 - Apollo Program: Apollo 11 lands on the Moon.
*2005 - Canada becomes the fourth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage, after the bill C-38 receives its Royal Assent.

2 birthdays:
*356 BC - Alexander the Great, Macedonian king and military leader
*1933 - Nelson Doubleday, American publisher and baseball executive

1 death:
*1704 - Peregrine White, first English child born in the Massachusetts Bay Colony

1 holiday or observance:
*Argentina - Día del Amigo (Friendship Day)

You're It!
Chebbles' Mama
Dr. Jeeeol
Eunice
Emily Snipes (Fenicle)
Heather (DKY Bar and Grill)

Friday, March 16, 2007

Just some suggestions...


Every couple months or so, knowing that I'll be moving in the next year, I check out the houses available in the potential areas. I did this today. A few observations:

- I don't understand why a realtor (because most of the listings on realtor.com are for houses being sold via realtors) would put up a listing without one single picture. I'm not inclined to traipse all around several neighboring towns to look at each and every house that might fit my needs. Getting just a glimpse of what to expect with a photo in the listing is all I ask.

- Along the same lines of no pictures, I find it incredulous to have a "showcase" listing that has no pictures. What exactly am I being shown? Reading all the fabulous details of your home do nothing for me if I can't see that you haven't chosen orange and red cabinets with gray marble counters in your recent kitchen remodel or painted the brick exterior a lively lime green.

- I don't know if your realtor's commission is lessened by only requesting one picture of your home, but the more pictures there are, the better my opinion of the home is, so I think it's probably worth asking for more. I didn't pay a hefty commission when I sold my home, and I had 5-6 pictures posted with my listing.

- If you're only getting one picture, please use the one of the front of the house. Having the only picture of the property displaying the side or back is disconcerting for me. My mind speculates...Is that really the best view? That isn't fantastic, so what the hell does the front look like? Chances are, I won't bother to find out.

- Again with the only one picture available, could you try to make your home the focal point of the picture? Seeing a picture of the house as if I was standing across the street, where trees are the now the main focus, does not make me want to rush out and see your home for all its glorious land. It makes me think your home is not the best selling point.

- Last issue with the solitary photo is that your one and only pictoral representation of this (supposedly) valuable asset should not be blurry or taken at what must have been night because it is so dark.

- There is a specific category for manufactured/mobile homes on realtor.com, so I don't understand why you are trying to trick me into thinking it is a single-family home. Maybe because your selling the land with it? Still doesn't mean it qualifies. I have lived in one of those types of homes and visited several others; they are not what I'm looking for, even if your selling the 6.19 acres with it (only because I'm not planning to build Dreamhome there). I tried to eliminate manufactured/mobile homes from my search, but there you all were, deceiving me (although not really since I knew even before I saw the "style" you chose). Why not just list it as land and advertise that the home is included with purchase? Now that might sound like a bargain. If I was looking for land on which to build Dreamhome, then I would find it very attractive to know I would have a place to live and store belongings during construction.

- Finally, I'm afraid I don't quite know what a 1/4 bathroom is. Full bath is a sink, toilet, and tub/shower/both. Sometimes what I'd consider a full bath will be described as 3/4 if there is no tub. Half-bath is a sink and toilet. What is this 1/4 bath you have? Just a sink? Just a toilet? I'm thinking it may be the "just a sink" theory, perhaps with a mirror, like a powder room. My modest search attempts turned up nothing.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Walking Boobs...

Random thoughts from today

I find walking to be a very enjoyable activity. It doesn't tire me out, and unless it's hot, a stroll won't cause me to break a sweat even if I walk for hours. Now, I'm not talking about power-aerobic-type walking; I'm walking with two 3 year-olds and a 10, nearly 11, year-old dog that is an easy 20 lbs. overweight...we can't expect much from our trip around the apartment complex. Walking around outside provides me a relaxing, peaceful break. We'll see how much I love it when it's cold outside;>

***************************************************

I don't know how chicks with big boobs wear button-up shirts. I may not be able to claim membership in the itty-bitty titty committee, but I sure as hell don't have enough boobage to make eyes bulge or mouths drool, and yet I cannot seem to find button-up shirts that fit my shoulders and waist without popping buttons open in my chest. Apparently women with breasts that protrude from their frame are only supposed to wear lingerie and halter tops...and while I'm perfectly fine with complying, my employer just won't allow it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

My office smells so pretty...


I should have known there was an ulterior motive to asking for my work address. I should have known because the Navy husband of one of my co-workers pulled the same trick on her, claiming it was for boat contact information.

NS and I shared a few very brief phone calls Sunday evening and Monday morning since the sub was in port for repairs...I swear that thing shouldn't be considered sea-worthy when they can't go out for two weeks without breaking half their parts. That was a nice surprise by itself, but these gorgeous flowers? Well, it's a nice physical reminder that he's thinking of me. It would be wonderful if they'd last until he gets back, but I don't think that's likely. So, I'll just enjoy their presence as long as I can, waiting patiently.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I've got to find my courage...

I need reassurance that I can't find. I don't think anyone can give it to me, yet I continue to search for it instead of taking the next step. I'm afraid once I take that step I will be disappointed with the results. Do I fight for what my heart knows is right if I'm not confident I'll win?

I know that I really just need to find a great attorney and make an appointment for a consultation regarding how to handle the situation with IFKAMH, but I can't seem to do this without already knowing that I've got the law on my side, and I can't find the evidence that it is. Sure, there's a possibility, but it seems most of the resources indicate the law will not weigh in favor of what I know to be right for my boys. Most of the resources indicate that the law will just want to try to keep both parents involved, provided the parents won't cause actual harm to the children.

My problem with this is: what constitutes harm? I would say the emotional trauma he's already put them through was harmful and trying to force his presence upon them by disrupting the life they have grown accustomed to in his absence is harmful. The fact that he wants to undermine the bond they have formed with NS by telling them NS isn't their "real dad" seems incredibly harmful. (Yes, that is exactly what he suggested I do in order to help the boys understand who he is.) But what if that isn't legally harmful?

Provided his sporadic and sparse phone calls don't qualify as consistent contact, I think I may be able to make a case for abandonment. I can't see a phone call made once a month (a generous average, I'd say, because sometimes they were less, but there may have been a month where there were two) to toddlers being considered having contact with them. Even if they somehow are, the frequency may still fall under the definition of "little contact". Of course, it may be determined the fact that I receive child support proves he has not abandoned them. I can't even explain how furious that would make me. Just because our divorce was granted in Florida, where they appear to have their shit together when it comes to child support enforcement, and the court ordered amount of support is forcibly witheld from his paychecks doesn't mean that he provides it. IFKAMH is not the kind of guy that can make "unemployed and homeless" work for him. So, you see, as long as he insists on having a roof over his head, he has to keep a job, and as long as he has a job, the state will take the money on my children's behalf before he ever gets his check; he doesn't have any choice in the matter. That is how I get my child support. Prior to our divorce, which was 9 months after our separation, I received only two financial contributions from him, neither of which was for the amount he had agreed to send every other week (they weren't even for the same amount), both of which were paid after the paperwork for our divorce had been signed and filed, so he knew he was going to have to get used to making payments. There is no basis for a reasonable person to believe that he would willingly part with his money and send regular payments to me if it wasn't for the intervention of the State of Florida. According to what I've read about abandonment, I would say he has. But would a judge? Would an attorney?

And, that is why my actions are haulted. I've only seen abandonment applied to petitions to terminate parental rights. What if I contact a lawyer to pursue disallowing his visitation rights and am told that there's no chance of a ruling in my favor? Do they even have cases that will disallow visitation without a removal of parental rights? Is what I really want going to be considered termination of his parental rights? I think it may. I don't want him to be able to question my decisions about discipline, schooling, medical treatment, etc. Any contact between him and the boys should only be at their request, in my opinion. So, I guess it is that I don't want him to have rights; I only want M and J to have rights. The right to contact him, the right to ask him to visit, the right to ask to visit him, those should be their rights and be things they choose to happen. The more I try to find the reassurance to take the next step, the more I am discourged by what I find, yet no two cases are exactly the same, so I can't make a truly educated judgement on where I stand. It pains me to believe that some stranger who thinks any involvement a biological father has with his his children is good for them would decide that IFKAMH has the right to barge into his children's lives whenever he has a whim of guilty conscience and a spare moment. Pains me to the point of nausea and fear and inaction.

I am so stressed about this, but I've barely begun.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Need to set up weekend surveillance...


The original Murdock did not make it through the weekend after his traumatic introduction, His comfort in my aquarium only last a few days, and I'm pretty sure he fried himself on the heater because everytime I'd look, he'd be suctioned so close he looked like an odd-colored fungus growing on it. That was a smell putrid enough to gag on and make me run for the bathroom; I couldn't get his carcass out of the tank fast enough. Since I wasn't a witness to his demise, I couldn't be certain it was the fish fryer. What if he wasn't aware of the algae tablets being placed on the gravel for his simplified and easy eating? Although he didn't appear to be mauled or mangled, there was also that possibility Marmaduke tried to go to battle with him. So, without a conclusive cause of death, I decided against replacing him.


That is until last week. Someone was going to need to scrape that stuff off the wall, and I did not have the proper supplies. A new (and apparently wiser) Murdock has survived his first weekend.

Unfortunately, the innocent and delicate Morwenna did not greet me with a wave of her fins this morning. Fish-creator in fishy heaven only knows what happened to her. She did not release the smell of death upon me, though, and for that, I am grateful and will remember her fondly. Perhaps there was just not enough peace in the tank for her to be happy; Marmaduke was bad about tormenting her during feeding time, not savagely attacking her but giving her the "you shouldn't eat that" treatment, only bothering to notice her while she was trying to eat. Whatever the reason, I think she had too much unappreciated oomph, and considering her lack of housekeeping skills, I doubt she will be replaced.


R.I.P. Morwenna

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Tired? Run, run, run, and then run a bit more...

How is it that kids react to exhaustion so differently than adults? Besides the crankiness, I mean. When's the last time you felt like you could barely keep your eyelids open, even if you were forcing them with your fingers, and decided you simply must run in circles, around and around and around? I don't do that...ever. Mostly because I don't run unless I feel it is a matter of life or death, but also because I realize that feeling tired means I should just be crabby and bitchy until I get to lay down and sleep.

Know how to tell the difference between M and J full of little-tyke energy and M and J running because they will fall into a coma if they stop? When they are running where they shouldn't be, like in the shoe department of Belk, and become fiercely uncooperative about settling down, they really need some sleep. Amazing how compliant they will be to a demand to sit still when they aren't tired. The fact that they refuse to sit still when they're actually barely able to sit upright leaves me perplexed;>

* One of my must-read bloggers, fringes, opened up her space for guest bloggers while she takes a vacation. Considering some of the comments I've left her could very well have been posts all on their own, I thought I'd take her up on the offer. You can check out my dreamy post over there.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Music uncovered...

I've often wondered how unsigned artists get their music heard and made available to the public. It seems the amount of dedication these artists must have to even break into such a competitive and fickle industry would be staggering and exhausting...and life-consuming. I can't tell you the last time I heard a radio station promoting an appearance by a local artist in my area; I don't think I ever have, to tell the truth. Oh, they talk about those people that came from here and are now signed to a huge record label...but what about those artists that don't have the record label's checkbook backing them? How do they do it?

I still don't know, but I have found a website that looks like a great way to find out about unsigned artists locally, nationally, and even internationally. I'd never before heard of trip-hop as a music genre, but after listening to a few samples from their registered trip-hop artists, I now understand it is like a mix of dance/electronica/hip-hop. Using the advanced search feature to find artists in my current favorite hip-hop, emo, and alternative genres in VA, I have now been introduced to some artists that I think are incredibly talented, ones I am disappointed not to be able to hear everyday on the radio.

Radio play may not be too much of a problem, though, since some of the features Unsigned.com is working to implement include the ability to create playlists with the artists' music and even an opportunity to produce your own compilation CDs. Can you imagine being paid to produce your own mix tapes? That is just awesome;>

If I had any musical talent whatsoever, I would rush to create a profile there, and as a listener, I am excited to have found a way to discover the music I've been missing out on. I can't wait for that playlist option to be available!

*Sponsored Post*

He's obviously never heard that story about King Solomon...

I'm in a icky funky mood as of late and haven't slept at all well since NS left, going on two weeks now...only 4 more left (bleh). So, I'm tired and cranky and missing my man. But, despite all that, I am not hopelessly depressed...this Reuter's story still made me laugh;>

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Addition and subtraction are actually the basis for math...

There are some people who, while probably not fitting the clinical definition for mental retardation, simply have an IQ so low that the pace of the world is much too fast for them to keep up. What are the chances of encountering three such people in less than an hour? Today has been a good day for me; perhaps I should buy a lotto ticket;>

I go to Petco for two items, only one of which I need help getting, not help as in expert advice but as in can you get that fish out of the tank for me, please? I'm sure they would frown upon me if I did this myself. I finally received assistance with this, and so I trek up to the checkout area. I suppose middle-of-the-afternoon-on-a-weekday shouldn't be a highly staffed time for Petco, but when you have one register open, is it really asking too much to have someone at that register? I surely didn't think so, yet there I stood, for about five minutes, trying to make myself visible through the employee breakroom that was just around the corner. The guy that eventually realized I was attempting to pay for my items was the same one that had walked through the store's entrance about four minutes before, where I would clearly have been seen standing at the empty register with a fish bag and a plant in my hands, yet he says he had no idea anyone was waiting. I'm not bitchy about it...hell, I don't even say anything about it; I have an hour for lunch, give or take a few minutes, and I'm only five minutes away. What makes me say this boy operates a little too slowly to function with everyday living? My total was $7.33. I start to hand him a ten dollar bill and realize I have at least three pennies I could give him...oh, actually I have the entire thirthy-three cents. He gets very confused, he stares at the computer telling him to give me $2.67 as if he's a five year-old trying to take a Calculus exam. He actually tells me that his brain doesn't know how to do math like that. Wow. Hon, if your brain can't do math like that, then it can't do math. I just smile and politely tell him the change is three dollars. I've been known to give some seemingly weird amounts of change in order to avoid getting pennies or to get all quarters back and such, but $10.33 minus $7.33 doesn't seem like it should cause such an issue.

My next and final stop before returning to work is Taco Bell. The line is a bit long, but not wrapped around the building or anything. There are three cars behind the one at the intercom, then me. First car moves up. Second cars moves up. Third car takes some more time but does move up as well. The car in front of me sits. My car pushes this line out of the driveway and into the parking lot, so I'd prefer to move up now that we have the opportunity. She finally pulls up, still leaving about half a car length in front of her. Now we are left with one car at the intercom, two cars in front of me. First car moves up. Next car moves up. Car in front of me sits. She takes a great deal of time contemplating how she should proceed. She comes to the conclusion that she must put her car in Drive once again and move forward...oh yes, she was sitting in Park. Car at intercom apparently is confused about where she is and begins to ask for details about every menu item. I honestly don't know how they took so long to place their order, so long that the other cars that had been in front of them disappeared. She figures out where she is and orders some stuff and pulls up to the window. Thankfully, woman in front of me decided against putting the car in Park this time, so she moves forward. But, she does so by turning the wheel ever so carefully, as if each placement of her hands had to be measured with deliberate calculations, and she creeps...ever...so...slowly...towards the intercom. Driving a car seemed to be quite the taxing task for her. At least she knew why she was at Taco Bell and ordered without as much hesitation as the previous car.

I traveled less than five miles, in a circle, from work to Petco to Taco Bell to work. This should not have taken an entire hour. Had it not been for the ghosts operating the registers at Petco and the unexpectedly lengthy line at Taco Bell, it realistically could have been just a half hour excursion.

The fish better not die; he's the whole reason I ventured out of my cave today.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

It may be time to make what's right legal...


After my post yesterday and the more-emotional-than-I-would-have-wanted conversation I had with IFKAMH several hours ago, I think it may be time to change our custody agreement. The current agreement filed with our divorce is for joint custody with me being the custodial parent. The only visitation arrangement is just that reasonable requests for visistation and contact are to be allowed. If he bothers to wise up and consult an attorney for any reason, he may be advised that he could fight for custody if I'm not allowing him to visit. At the moment, I haven't denied any requests to visit because they haven't actually been made, but he seems to think differently. I guess since I have now firmly expressed my less-then-enthusiastic opinion on continuing his sporadic attempts to be in contact with them, he feels that I have not allowed him to be involved. I tried to figure out when exactly had he wanted to see them, when had he made arrangements to see them, when had I denied these requests; he had no answer, just another promise that it would change soon.

His ability to live in his own version of reality blows my mind. He had the audacity to request a reduction in child support since he is making less with the new job (legally allowed, but he doesn't deserve it, in my opinion). I told him I can't agree to a lesser amount. The support that he has to pay now doesn't even cover the expense of daycare, a few cents shy of 2/3 of that check I have to write every week. So, while the money he has to relinquish may seem like a lot to him, in the grand scheme of actual money that has to be spent to care for M and J, it barely makes a dent. He swore that he would send additional money on his own. I didn't know whether to laugh or yell...I think it ended up being a slightly raised tone with some inaudible laughter. You see, that is the same thing he told me when the divorce was finalized over a year ago, that he would send more money whenever he could. I have yet to receive any amount from him that didn't come in the form of a check from the State of Florida's Department of Disbursement for precisely the amount that is required to be withheld from his paychecks. And now that he's making less, this should be different? I don't understand. He could not understand why I didn't understand. I could not figure out how to explain my logic of doubting his ability to send more money when he makes less even though he failed to do this when he made more. Made sense in my head, but then, his world doesn't necessarily function with the same sense of logic as the rest of us, I guess. I said that my trust cannot be given blindly, without action on his part. If and when he follows through on this new promise to send additional money without the wage garnishment, that would be the only way I could even begin to consider a revision to the existing child support agreement. I told him point blank that it was solely his decision to change jobs to one that pays less; he should have thought about his financial obligations before making the decision.

This somehow led to a comment about him getting out of having to pay child support, and I rattled off something about him giving up his parental rights if he didn't wanted to pay the child support. He said he would never give up his rights. I didn't push that, but I did try to reason with him (I don't even know why I still bother, except I don't know another way to state my case) about his desire to reenter their lives. I repeatedly explained how he is not really their dad anymore and that they have a dad in NS. I know it couldn't be easy to hear, but it is true, so it had to be said as frankly as possible. I'm certain I relayed nearly every point I wrote in yesterday's post as to why it wasn't in their best interest to suddenly try to reappear (even though I'm still not convinced he will manage to follow through except for the fact that he'll now be able to fly for free...but then there would still the issue of transportation and lodging after he got here). I asked why he was never able to drive for a visit if he so desparately wanted to see them. His response? Well, he only had two days off at a time. I questioned the truth of this seeing as he'd been with them for over a year, and I've known a major corporation (think major carbonated, non-alcoholic beverage company) not offering employees vacation time after a year. He said they did but he just didn't make the cut-off. I could hear the back-peddling in his voice. He had been there for over 18 months, there is no way that he just didn't make it to the one-year cut-off, but he just rushed passed my inquiries about this.

His only arguments were that he loves them and would always be their dad and that he's sorry for the mistakes he made before. I thought I might just have steam coming from my ears after that. I think I was almost in tears as I said that he should be very sorry for not being there for them and would be a horrible person if he wasn't sorry for the ignorance he's displayed in his actions over the past two years, but that doesn't mean he should try to come back to them now. Quite simply, he may have to suffer the consequences of his mistakes in that he's lost the chance to have the type of father-son relationship he thought he should have but that doesn't mean M and J should have to suffer, too. They shouldn't have to disrupt and adjust their lives to accommodate his regrets. That isn't fair to them.

The ending of our conversation included my encouraging him to focus on being involved with his daughter since I presume she's still in close proximity and doesn't have anyone else to fill that fatherly role for her. He didn't correct my assumptions, so I pleaded with him to be there for her since she needs him while our boys do not.

I am so angry at him right now. This phone call almost ruined my evening. Thankfully, I spent some enjoyable hours with my boys and had my spirits lifted. But now, after getting home and researching some points on parental rights, I have found that my denying him visitation could give him a legal means to take custody away from me, I feel a new agreement may be in order, one that grants me sole custody. Thank goodness he doesn't seem to be anywhere near rising above his status as "idiot" formerly know as my husband.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Real lives don't have magical reappearances...

Although I wasn't able to delve into all the logical details of my reasoning, I did manage to put off a request of IFKAMH's last night to put him on speakerphone to talk to the boys. So, I'm really trying to follow that advice I gave myself.

Because it was dinnertime, the finer points of my refusal could not be elaborated upon. I simply said I didn't think it was a good idea and that it was really quite pointless, seeing as they don't know who he is and don't talk back and such.

He's called a couple of times prior to this over the past couple of weeks. Once was in the middle of the afternoon on a weekday. The message he left on my voicemail was that he was just hoping to get in touch with me or the boys. Or the boys. Middle of the afternoon. On a weekday. I have to work + Boys can't come with me to work = Boys are at daycare. I don't know what he thought might be going on that they would be with me at that time or why he would call for any other reason than to speak to them, but I suspect his intentions had nothing to do with them, even though I just don't understand that.

Next time he calls is in the evening, what would be an appropriate time to be able to speak with them since it was after dinnertime but still before bedtime, yet he makes no request to speak with them. I wonder if the sound of NS's voice in the background had any affect on this, although he's talked at the boys with NS there before. He informs me that he is changing jobs. Oh, but not to worry, he will be paying for COBRA to keep the boys insured during the waiting period at the new job (um, he kind of has to do that to comply with our divorce agreement). I ask about the payroll-deduction for child support. He promises me that it will continue. He asks what he can get the boys that they need. I have no answer. I explain they need no clothing (we've recently just added two more sets of drawers to their room to accommodate the abundance of clothes they already have), they just got new shoes (bought by NS one afternoon while he watched them so I could go shoe-shopping;>), definitely no more toys (aren't three laundry baskets, a toy chest, and three lego boxes more than enough?). I don't outright tell him not to get anything, but I fail to be able to tell him anything he can get.

NS doesn't like that IFKAMH sometimes calls for what seems to be no particular reason, especially when it isn't to talk to the boys. Quite frankly, I can't stand this, either. I'd prefer not to chitchat with him since I rarely chitchat with people that haven't hurt me or my children, but I can't simply ignore him because there's always that possibility that there is a reason for the call, such as that last one. I tried to assure him I have already decided that what is best for the boys is for him not to reenter their lives at this point and that I won't be backing down on this.

Then, the call last night. The one where I finally stood my ground and declined to allow him to speak to them. Like I said, I couldn't really have the serious, important conversation with him that this warrants because of the timing of his call, but I will have it if he continues to try.

I am done waivering on this decision and doubting whether or not it is what is best. I know it is best; I know why I know it is best. IFKAMH has been uninvolved in M and J's lives for longer than he was involved. NS has spent nearly as much time with them as IFKAMH did, and honestly, NS's time with them holds greater value because of their age. Babies don't remember people that aren't consistently present; 2 year-olds can. They are now 3, which means that are starting to hold onto real memories. When I was explaining how daddy (NS) was on a boat for work and would be back after about a month, J starting reminiscing about my trip to the hospital 6 months ago and how daddy came with me. I guess it was his way of associating someone being gone for just a little while. They boys know NS to be their daddy because that is the role he actually fills for them. He is their dad. He buys things they need; he helps feed them; he helps take care of them; he helps discipline them; he teaches them to be good men and to respect and take care of their mom; he researches things for their future, like schools in places we might live; he plays with them and jokes with them. I can reassure them that although he is gone right now, he will be back; I couldn't do that for IFKAMH because he never followed through with the promises to see them...I am so glad I decided never to tell them he was coming to see them just because he said he would. At this point, the boys are both too young and too old for IFKAMH to reappear. They are too young to be able to understand that he used to be the dad that lived with us and sometimes helped with their care (I stress sometimes), that he left for reasons that had nothing to do with them, and that he hasn't been around because of his own laziness and stupidity (how exactly could I explain that? Because I don't think I can without sounding judgmental; I think it will eventually have to be explained by IFKAMH himself). They are too old to not be confused by the whole situation. What gives me concrete belief that his continued uninvolvement in their lives is what is best? The fact that his actions do not match his words. He often calls without requesting to speak with them, and his calls are still irregular at that, once a week for the past three weeks with only one request to speak with them, last night, but before was once a month, maybe. He has been saying for over a year that he wants to see them. He had consecutive days off with his job, meaning he could have flown to see them. Considering he had been at that job for over a year and that it was a major corporation, I'd also safely guess that he had vacation time allotted to him, which means he could even have driven here to see them if the expense of a plane ticket was just too much for him to bear, although I think he still had connections with airline personnel that could have gotten him dirt cheap standby tickets. And yet, he has not managed to see the boys in 22 months. Exactly 22 months today, as a matter of fact. I see no justifiable excuse for this. I truly believe he is still motivated solely by his own selfishness. I have previously explained to him in short details as to why I feel he should bow out of their lives until they are of an age when they can choose to allow him to be in them, but he acts as if he has never heard this before. It seems to me as though he simply doesn't want to be the guy that walked out on his children and didn't stay involved; what he fails to realize is that he already is, and he's been replaced by a better model.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Pantyhose and stockings, whores and sexy white boys, beds...

Never, ever allow the thought that pantyhose will work just as well as stockings enter your mind again. Ever. In fact, you should toss all the pantyhose when you get home tonight. They both slide down, but it is infinitely sexier to readjust a thigh-high stocking trimmed with lace attached to a garter belt than to be pulling up random spots of tinted nylon...or to resort to pulling the waist of said tinted nylon up to your bra, giving serious consideration to just tucking it underneath the bra to ensure it doesn't succumb to the forces of gravity again. Unless I wore this pair of pantyhose while I was pregnant with the boys, there's no excuse for them forming these giant rolls on my knees. Knowing that the dress code at work while I was pregnant with them still allowed denim and capris and sandals every day of the week, the chance that I ever wore pantyhose during that time is zero, at best. I really should have just taken the extra few minutes this morning to find one of my garter belts and put on the stockings.

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While I was running errands during my lunch break earlier, I drove past a car with windows that had been written on. This is certainly not anything overly unusual, but I must admit, I've never seen this type of stuff written on car windows.

Danielle loves him more than you ever did. You stupid whore. (on the rear window)

You are so sexy (for a white boy). (on window behind driver's)

I think there was another one, too, but I don't remember what it was, and he turned before I could switch to camera mode on my phone. Nothing about graduating or birthdays or getting married, not even a 'yay, team'. I was curious about how sexy he was, but I only saw his arm...definitely white.

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J willingly slept in his bed last night...all night, not one request to go back down to the floor. I hope I'm not jinxing this change of attitude because he said he liked it and wanted to do it again tonight. Going through the pictures on my computer to pull out the shots for yesterday's post, he saw the one of him jumping on his bed right after we'd gotten them. He seemed all excited to see a picture of the inside of his bed, enough to go racing in his room to climb into it, then announcing that he would sleep in it when it was dark outside. I gave him much praise for being a big boy and advised him to tell his brother how cool sleeping in the bed is;>

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Lesson for children: behave...get stuff you didn't even know you wanted




The power well-behaved boys have to weaken my will is amazing. I suggested to my friend, A, that we go to the Disney store to kill the time before Missalove arrived with her husband and baby girl. I thought we'd wander the store and maybe pick up one little toy for each of the boys if something looked like irresistable fun. I didn't count on racking up nearly $100 worth of treasure before we could get five feet inside the store entrance.

I really have to accept full blame. They were sitting still and calm in their stroller, not trying to grab stuff, not even asking to grab stuff. I saw the Nemo swimshorts. I asked J if he would like to have them. Well, of course he did. The curtains had now been lifted, and all the Disney store goodness became visible. The Nemo bubble-blowing set that was on a shelf above the swimshorts grabbed his attention. He simply had to have this. I'd thought it was cute when I first saw it, too, but when I saw the price, I didn't really like it that much, but now, now that my sweet boy's face was pleading for it (without his voice whining or screaming for it), I couldn't help but cave...at least I can hide it until Easter time. Next thing I know, M is at the rack of Cars stuff and is pulling out a shirt (4 sizes too big), swimshorts, sandals, basically everything he found in that little section. I grabbed the right size of swimshorts and the sandals. J also wanted sandals, so I grabbed another pair of those. As I distracted M with the Cars bubble-blowing set (it was only fair he have one, too), I placed the oversized shirt back the rack.

None of this was too ridiculous, in my opinion. They would need the swimshorts and sandals, so they might as well get ones they'll have fun wearing, and the bubble things, well, like I said, I can keep those hidden until Easter, and now I'll only need to get candy for the eggs in their baskets. We (or more like I) don't see anything else of great interest and head to the back of the store to pay. That's when I spot the tiny lights spinning in a circle.

"Oh, how cool! And, look, there's Nemo!!" Did I really just say that?!?

Yep, totally my fault again. We went through every last one of those Nemo twirling light gadgets before finding one with juicy batteries. Then, I had to find one for M. They just happened to have a few Cars ones, and even one of those that still had enough life left to make full gloriously lit circles. How lucky can we be? At least those kept them entertained while we stood outside the store chatting and while waiting for dinner and during the car ride home;>

Friday, March 02, 2007

I guess the fact that I can write this without fear means I am still relatively free...

When I first learned about this Dove Pro-Age commercial not being aired on U.S. television networks, I was upset. It's beautifully and tastefully done. I'm appalled at our country's flawed attitudes of decency. As long as nudity is protrayed by young people and only in a sexual manner, it's fine for airing in commercials and television shows and movies, but let it be a mature person in a natural pose...well, that is apparently unacceptable for us to see.

Then, earlier this week, I read this post by schnozz*. I could feel shame burning through my blood. Working to ban the sale of sex toys when you can't be bothered to muster reasonable gun control legislation? Really? Can't we set some priorities, people? I wondered how we can possibly still be called the land of freedom.

I know people in a civilized society can't be allowed to police themselves entirely, but when things that aren't actually harming other people are censored and outlawed (a commercial with gray-haired women sitting on a floor doesn't cause blindness, and masturbation is the only truly safe sex), I have to question how free we really are. On one hand, we are so sexualized that we can't see nudity without thinking it relates to sex and then because it involves older people, who obviously aren't allowed to have sex, it's not fit for our viewing, but on the other, we are such prudes that we can't allow someone to buy a phallus-shaped vibrator because that encourages deviant sexual behavior like quickly-fulfilling masturbation. I can't imagine why, unless the sight of an age-spot on a thigh causes everyone's eyes to melt or women giving themselves orgasms with a dildo immediately forms brain tumors, a network would choose not to air a commercial with such a positive message or a state would be permitted to pass a law that so clearly infringes on the individual rights of their people.

Where are the reasons not to flee to Canada or England?

* Seriously, the title of that post is possibly the best one I've ever read;>

Thursday, March 01, 2007

When my world was still untainted...


The warm, Memphis-in-July air was flowing through the screen door. The sun was shining brightly through the windows, creating pale amber stripes on the floor. The sky was clearly giving beauty to the crayon named, "sky blue".

Everything was calm and relaxed. I puttered through the house, knowing Sarah and Josh shouldn't take too long to come over so we could start the party.

That cake! I could hardly wait to taste it. Where did she find it? It's so different. Who knew frosting could look so weird? I love Cookie Monster!

The square, folding-leg table they used for late night card games with the neighbors was covered by a white table cloth and had birthday paper plates with some napkins, forks, and cups. Not many, though, because there weren't many of us. The only true decoration on that table was the Cookie Monster cake. The brilliant, truly Cookie-Monster blue wasn't even a shade off, and somehow the frosting actually looked like it was shaved off the back-side of that famous Sesame Street muppet. His eyes were big, round, and precisely askew. And, those two giant chocolate chip cookies shoved in the mouth, half in and half out? Perfection.

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That cake was given to me on my 7th birthday. The memory of that cake is so clear to me, and I remember it being one of the happiest memories of my childhood. This post by fringes today had me recalling that day once again, as I have so many times when people recall fond moments from their childhoods. I never really gave much thought as to why that cake stands out so much for me, why it is permanently displayed in my "happy thoughts" section of my brain. I can't really recall if I even loved Cookie Monster so much before that day, but I know that I have always loved him since. I believe I have finally figured out why that day was special enough to create that lasting impression.

At 7 years-old my mom and dad were together, happily together it seemed. They had fights, but the fights hadn't gotten violent yet, at least not in my presence. Our dog didn't limp from his hip-joint replacement because he hadn't been thrown across the room into a wall by my father. My mom was perfect; she hadn't gotten to the point in physical suffering that she had to go to the hospital for a hysterectomy, during which I cried and worried more than I knew I could because the hospital and surgery were scary things that didn't always turn out alright. My dad was just my dad; he hadn't yet decided to teach me about his anatomy or intimate interactions between males and females, things I was not allowed to tell anyone else about.

By my 8th birthday, none of those things were still true.