Sunday, December 30, 2012

My Dearest Target, I Feel So Deceived

Dear @Target,

I love your store. Truly, I do. If you had an opening for a person who shopped and delivered someone's order, I would totally do it. Like Peapod. But better, because it is Target, so, you know.

There is rarely a complaint that I have with you. The store I go to always has sufficient lanes open, is clean and well-stocked, and I never feel as though I'll be shot in the parking lot. Even in the dark.

I do, however have two tiny little complaints. Well, one is minor, the other one...you're messing with my feelings Target. And that's just not cool.

The first is that I wish you had larger carts. Not for everyone, of course, but for those who walk into your store knowing that they'll spend a couple hundred dollars on large paper products and other various household necessities and groceries. Kind of like how the grocery store has those little carts for when you are going to pick up just a few things, but...bigger. Can you get working on that? K thanks.

The second is that you shouldn't try to trick your customers. It's not nice. Let me explain.

Every couple of months, I go to Target and am thrilled to see that several of the things that I buy are on sale. But they just aren't on sale. If you buy two of certain kinds of items, let's say Bounty and Charmin, you get a $5 gift card to use on your next purchase! Yes! Saving me money and bringing me back to spend more! Genius! It makes me feel so warm and fuzzy inside when the cashier says, "And you have earned a $5 gift card, here you go." I tuck it lovingly into my wallet right next to my RedCard. (Oh by the way, thanks for the additional 5% off every time I check out. I have gotten so used to it I almost asked the cashier at the grocery store I sometimes frequent why my total didn't go down once she was finished scanning. Now that would have been awkward.)

I was thrilled today when I went in to get my usual stock of paper towels and toilet paper when I saw that the $5 gift card was ON! Yes! I shoved the 18 pack of Bounty onto the bottom of my cart and headed for my Charmin. I'm a tad particular about my Charmin. You see, I like the blue kind, but I don't like it when the roll is so big it doesn't fit in my little toilet paper holder in my guest bathroom. So I always get the double roll, as opposed to the mega roll. The mega roll is just kind of ridiculous. I always get this particular combination of Bounty and Charmin to get my gift card, and each aisle had the little red and white cards in front of the products telling me that there was a special. Since I do it all the time, I didn't think to look at the little black print on the little red and white card that was in front of the toilet paper. I knew how this worked.

Fast forward to check-out. The lovely cashier scanned the paper towels, and then the toilet paper, and moved on to the next item. Wait, wait a minute...where is my gift card? I want my $5! They always give it to me when the second item is scanned. That's just how it works! When I asked her about it, she told me that the Charmin wasn't one of the qualifying combinations with the Bounty, but instead I could get a free Charmin Freshmates. Um, no. I don't want a Charmin Freshmates. I want my $5 gift card.

Why the change Target? WHY? I've been getting this gift card for as long as you've been doing it, and I always get the exact. same. products.  If you didn't want to include the 24 double rolls of ultra soft toilet paper, then why run another special at the exact. same. time? So people will grab the usual and not find out until the get to the check-out, where there are four very impatient if not-too-bright customers waiting behind me?? (What? It was obvious how much I was buying, why get in line when half of my cart is still full? You have to know it's going to be a while.) I feel tricked, deceived, and kind of dumb. I don't like feeling dumb. It's like you knew I would just grab the same products and be forced to buy them even though they are not on sale once I got to the check-out. And, to top it all off, I didn't even get my free Freshmates!


I know what you are going to say. Read the fine print. Easy enough, but as a mom of two two-leggers and three four-leggers and a husband whose nickname is justifiably Workaholic, you can't expect me to read the fine print on the same special that I have always indulged in! . go to Target alone for a mini-vacation, not to squint my eyes and attempt to do math in my head. That's just no fun.

So can you do me this tiny little favor? Just keep the good old specials the same? Don't make things so difficult. Keep us busy moms in mind. And make some bigger carts. Please and thank you.

Have a good new year,
Gail


Friday, December 21, 2012

She Makes Me Proud...Sometimes

Ask any parent, and I bet they can tell you a moment in their child's life where that kid shone brighter than any star in the sky. The parents beamed from pride and there was a choir of angels singing "hallelujah". An aura formed around the child, and s/he was slowly lifted up in the air, set atop their pedestal, from which they would reign until the next big screw up on their part.

Those moments are few and far in between. Even the things that your kids do every day that are actually kind of incredible get boring day, after day, after day, after day. And then there are things that your child doesn't do so well, but you know that they'll come around and catch up, so you don't push it.

I've always thought that Charlie was smart. The light in her eyes tells me that there is a spinning brain in her head, full of thoughts of how to make my life hell exhausting. Unfortunately she really never gets to tell us how smart she is because Sam never. stops. talking. Lots of people say that the older child "talks for the younger child." I wouldn't say that is our case. In our case, Sam just talks, and Charlie never gets a chance to input her two cents.

This is especially evident in the car, where Sam will chatter on about the dead squirrel she just saw, and why did it die? When did it die? How did it die? And then she'll tell me how much she misses that squirrel, and she wishes it wasn't dead. For 10 minutes straight. Meanwhile Charlie is sitting quietly in her seat, probably wondering why the hell her mom hasn't changed the conversation to something more enlightening than roadkill.

Our house has had a touch of the flu lately, with fevers and aches and pains and coughs passing between the two kids but thankfully (knock on wood) staying away from me. I just get the midnight, 1am, 4am, 5am wake-up calls and then the 6am vomit. In my bed. On my side. It's been awesome.

When Workaholic got home from work today, he was in dire need of sleep and so was Sam. So they trekked up the stairs and cuddled on the still-sheetless bed for a few hours. Charlie and I were finishing up some holiday baking and then she started pulling things out of cabinets and drawers and bins. I started to see chaos and I could feel the breath being sucked out of my body as I envisioned the mess I'd have to clean up once she was finished. I couldn't take it. I also knew that I needed powdered sugar. And I knew that taking one kid to the store is cake compared to two. So we bundled ourselves up (which took 20 minutes) and drove to Walgreens (which took 3 minutes).

After finding out that Walgreens does indeed NOT carry powdered sugar, I thought we'd spend more quality time together, just the two of us, outside of the house. We headed to the next town to see some Christmas lights. There, I could go to another store to get what I needed and kill enough time so that she would be ready to go to bed when we got home. You know, since she had been up since 4am. 

We arrived at the local butcher shop and she beelined for the suspiciously low table chock full of candy. And I'm not talking M&Ms here. No sirree. I'm talking fresh, locally made gummy worms and chocolate covered anything and even just cubes of pure sugar. All packaged in these convenient clear tubs, spread out on the toddler-eye-level table. She snatched up a container of sour gummy worms and bolted for the nearest aisle. By the time I caught up with her, she had the lid off and was saying, "Look mommy!" as she dangled the worm over her mouth. And then it was gone. Since she had been so good in Walgreens and generally had a pretty good day, I decided that it would be OK for her to have them. They are seriously her favorite candy. She once ate two bags before anyone noticed she even had them.

This particular town has a very old and large congregation of Catholics who just built themselves a brand spanking new, beautiful (so I've heard) church, complete with gift shop. (I kid you not.) Seeing as how the Catholics own a majority of the main strip through town, they are free to put up as many Nativity scenes as they want. So they do, and I think there are five. In about a 3 block stretch. It actually is very nice, a constant reminder of the reason for the season, and they are beautiful sets. Not the plastic light-up ones you see on people's front lawns. Oh no, these are custom built wood mangers, just like where Jesus was born, with life sized figurines and straw and spotlights that illuminate them at night. There is also a star above, in case there are any additional shepherds that need to find their way.

The whole time Charlie and I had been in the car, I had pointed out every house that had good Christmas lights, and asked her, "Charlie, do you see those pretty lights?" And she would respond, "Yeah," in that tone that says she is just humoring her silly old mom. I am sure by the 20th time I asked she was wishing Sam was in the car to ponder about roadkill.

We finally pulled up to a stop sign next to a manger and I was admiring the handiwork of whoever made it. All of the sudden I heard Charlie say, "Look mommy!", in the same excited tone I had tried to use with her when we were looking at Christmas lights. I turned on the interior light and looked back at her. I was so proud that she had finally noticed something, the beautiful lit-up manger on the corner next to our car. I even thought, briefly, that perhaps she would point out the baby Jesus, or the star over display. "How sweet", I thought to myself. The choir was starting to sing and I was preparing her pedestal.

When I turned to see what she was pointing at, I saw a truly wondrous site. Instead of pointing at the manger, she was holding up one of the sour gummy worms as high as her little arm could stretch. Looking in the exact opposite direction of the manger. I can only assume she was amazed that the light from a nearby streetlamp was illuminating each bump on the worm and highlighting the color change from head to tail. The worm actually shimmered in the glow of the nightlights. And while it was pretty, it was at that moment that I knew that we needed to talk about baby Jesus more often. And perhaps put the angels on standby. And keep the pedestal in storage. While kids are fantastic at making you proud, they are even better at giving you a reality check. Mine for the day is to not expect a two year old to notice anything but the candy in her hand. I'm sure I can call on the choir of angels tomorrow. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Vacation is Great

You know how I told you we went to Florida in November? Oh, I didn't?? Well, we did.

The thing about going on vacation when you have a blog is that there is so much fantastic shit that happens that you want to blog about, and then you forget it by the end of that day, much less remember it a month. However, when you do stupid shit, you usually don't forget.

When we go to Florida, as we do every couple of years, there usually isn't much of a game plan. Yes, we are going to the beach. Yes, we'll go to Disney or Sea World or the zoo or Busch Gardens. Once we get there, we decide what day we are going to go where for the big stuff, and for the rest we just wing it. Winging it isn't very smart sometimes.

On Tuesday, we got up and decided just to get in the car and drive. Workaholic asked me if we would wind up at the beach, and I said, "Yeah, maybe, but we won't swim or anything. We'll just walk and shop." Am I NOT the parents to two young children??

We wound up driving straight to the beach. Passing, sadly without stopping, the NEW original Hooters. (Yep, they tore down the first Hooters ever and re-built it on the exact same spot and call it the New Original Hooters. I think that is cheating.) Once we got to the beach, I suggested we go straight to the awesome playground they have there and let the kids run off their energy. Which worked out great. Until us adults got bored. So we convinced the children to "take a walk" along the beach. And to "go see" the ocean up close. How could I forget I have Charlie for a daughter?

This is what happened approximately 5 minutes of getting close to the water.

Here is the thing. Since we weren't exactly planning on going to the beach, much less swimming in the ocean, we didn't exactly have the appopriate swimwear.

Shortly after, this happened.

 
It was decided after a couple more minutes of this that Workaholic would take the girls back to the car to get out of their wet clothes and I would go buy us all bathing suits. So I did, which was stupid, because it took just as long to go buy bathing suits as it would have to drive to the condo and back and get our already paid for bathing suits. For the rest of the week we kept a bag in the car with suits and towels that we didn't have to use once. Lesson learned.
 
The rest of the week was filled with smiles like this...
 
A few  precious, peaceful moments where this happened...

And lots and lots of sisterly love.

Vacation is great.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

12-14-12

So.

Yeah.

I don't have to tell anyone in the United States what happened last Friday, December 14th, 2012 in Newtown, CT.

Sometimes it takes me a while to process things. I try to make sense, figure things out, when really there are no answers.

After 9/11, it took me two days to come to grips with the reality of what happened. To allow myself to feel grief, sadness, shock, fear, and anger.  After 9/11, I felt that life was so short. Live it up! Make the most of it! Love those around you. You never know when they will be taken away.

Last night the reality of what happened on Friday really set in. I stopped moving, stopped talking, stopped thinking of the next couple of weeks and allowed the sadness to settle in. (Well, it really moved in on its own, but whatever.) And an old feeling crept into my chest. The feeling I had for a long time after 9/11. Grief. Sadness. Shock. Fear. Anger.

There is so much information out there. On facebook, there is a page devoted to the victims, and they are respectful in honoring them. They have asked the families to post pictures and stories, so everyone in the world will know their children for who they were when they were alive. Not for what happened Friday morning.

Everyone immediately started asking the question WHY? And HOW? And then tried to answer those questions. I guess it is human nature. I did it too. And I found out that what I thought was completely wrong. Not that it mattered, but it was poignant to the fact that there are no answers. I tried my hardest not to engage in any type of discussion on facebook where politics would be involved. I didn't think it respectful to the victims, to argue about such things before a funeral can even be held. I kind of failed, but at least it wasn't a spectacular failure.

I tried to share what I could when I found information on the children and teachers who died.
Emilie Parker was the first picture I saw. The bright blue eyes took my breath away. According to her father, she was caring and loved art, always making cards and pictures for anyone who she felt needed a lift. Her father also told the world that his family was grieving not only for all the families affected, but also the shooter's family. Which is a very kind thing to say.

In each of the children, I see someone I know. My 6 year old niece's eyes, the impish smile of a friend's son, the startling resemblance of one of the girls to Charlie. There have been many random shootings in the past 13 years. Each one was tragic and sad. This one hit a little too close to home for me, and most everyone I know. Innocent children. In a place where they are supposed to be safe. Why would someone want to kill innocent children? Why?

Unfortunately, we live in a world where people kill innocent children. People have problems. With the fast pace of today's society, and often intense competition to be better than the next guy, oftentimes things slip through the cracks. In our country, it is extremely difficult to get help for mental illness. Especially if you have no insurance or anything but the best of insurance. No one is perfect, but the slipping seems to be happening more and more and is causing greater and greater damage.

A lot of people want to blame guns. Well, obviously guns are to blame. But getting rid of all the guns in the U.S. isn't feasible even if it wasn't against our Constitution. In my humble opinion, getting rid of the semi-automatic weapons, the ones that do the most damage, that might make a dent. No one, except the military and law enforcement, should have their hands on those weapons. You can learn plenty about gun safety and responsibility with a handgun, and you can shoot a duck perfectly fine with a shotgun. 

I wish the answer was as simple as ban on semi-automatic weapons. I don't believe it is. I suffer from depression. I don't get violent, and often roll my eyes when I get the questions from the doctor about hurting myself or others, because that just isn't me. Many MANY people in the United States suffer from some sort of mental disorder. No one is perfect. No one has the perfect DNA or the perfect parents and the perfect life. It just doesn't exist. As much as we strive to attain the American Dream, we just can't.

Over the past couple of days, I have read a couple of very enlightening blogs. One is titled, "I Am The Shooter's* Mother". (*I won't put his name on my page.) It opens your eyes to the life his mom probably lived prior to him killing her in cold blood. Then there is another called "I Am The Shooter's* Psychiatrist."  It spells out exactly what is wrong in our society and country. It explains how these people get to the point of losing their minds and killing random, innocent strangers before they get the help they so desperately need. I encourage you to read them, think about them, and then contact your representation in Congress to let our leaders know that people who need mental health in this country are in dire need, and the country is failing them. Violently failing them. Us.

If you want to honor those who died on Friday, learn as much as you can. Try to remember their names. Their faces. Their stories. While, sadly, they weren't the only ones to lose their lives to gun violence on Friday, hopefully they will be the ones that make the difference. The difference needed to make this world, this great country we live in, a better place.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ugghh-GIRLS!

I'm going to start this by saying, I love my children more than anything, and I would do anything for them. They come first, no matter what.

That being said, they are about to drive me insane. They have already driven me to drink, which, let's admit, wasn't much of a stretch. But my little angels are full blown GIRLS.

I asked facebook last night if girls truly are more emotional than boys, even as toddlers, or if it was something I did to cause this. This...daily battle of meltdown after meltdown because YES YOU HAVE TO GO TO PRE-SCHOOL TODAY. The tantrums that are thrown when you tell a child that they cannot stand on a chair on top of the fireplace hearth to reach up and grab the ornament on the top of the tree that just happens to be made of glass. (Why oh WHY did I not put up only plastic or cloth ornaments this year?) (Like it would have really made that much of a difference, Charlie breaks everything.)

The general consensus was summed up best by my sister, the saint who is a mother of three darling little humans of the female variety, two of whom are twins. Her response was, and I quote, "Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes."  I presume one Yes for each of our girls.

One of my facebook friends said that it greatly depended on the child and parental reaction. Which, apparently I have two more emotional than less emotional girls. And as far as parental reaction? I have tried everything. From ignoring to calmly responding to screaming, to mimicking the tantrum at a lesser level, to putting them in their room or timeout. I've tried to sympathize with them, let them know that I DO feel their pain (which sometimes calms them down), there is just nothing I am going to do about it.(which gets them fired back up again) The only thing that consistently works is to give in and let them have their way. Which...no. Does not work for me. At least all the time. Life isn't fair, and I guess my kids are learning that young.

As the parents of four girls, I sincerely do not know how mine survived. One definite side effect is that my dad no longer attempts to talk if there are female relatives in the room. Sometimes he will raise his hand at dinner, but no one ever calls on him, so he doesn't get his turn to speak. Poor, poor man. My mom made us dinner every.single.night of our childhood. And she always kicked us out of the kitchen, saying it was too small for more than one person. Which, OK, maybe it was. But I see now that making dinner was the only alone time she really ever got. If there had been a door, I am quite sure she would have shut it. And put in ear buds if those existed back then. Poor, poor woman.

Another thing I remember from my childhood involved our parents getting mad at us for fighting. And the thing is, I am not even really there yet with my girls. What gets me is the attitude I get my teenager preschooler. She takes longer than anyone in the house to get ready. And when you tell her it is time to go, she responds with, "Ugh! I'm coming!" When I am trying to help her clean her room and all she is doing is talking about Baby Panda Bear and I am doing all the cleaning and so I start scolding her, I get, "Ugh! Mom! Why are you so mean? Just calm down!" She'll make a clicking sound with her tongue, "Well mom, (click) I know that we are going to get ready for bed now, but how 'bout I just watch the iPad for a little while until I get tired?" It is more of a statement than a question. And when I respond with a, "Yeah, that's not going to happen," the meltdown begins.

When the girls make a mess, they know that they must clean it up. And then we tell them to clean it up. Five times. Eventually, Workaholic gets mad and tells them he is going throw out everything that is on the floor. Which creates an instant and very loud negative reaction from Sam, and Charlie usually just wanders away. I supposed she figures she'll let Sam get the attention for this, and Sam is more than happy to be dramatic enough for both of them. Last night, I came home to two screaming, sobbing, clearly traumatized children. Daddy had "thrown out" all their toys. Workaholic said that when he got out one trash bag, Sam immediately ran over to the cabinet where they are kept and tied the handles together with a string, and then ran back to him to try to rip the bottom out of the bag. He was pretty impressed with her problem solving skills. I was less impressed with that than the endurance of my kids.  

I know that kids thrive on routine and positive reinforcement and all that jazz, but sometimes that shit just does.not.work. And what do you do then? Besides tear your heart out and chug a bottle of wine. I actually totally get why Brittany shaved her head, being the parents of two kids, especially that close in age, will make anyone want to do something drastic.

I know that in 20 years me and my girls will have an awesome
mother/daughter relationship. At least I hope.




Thursday, December 6, 2012

Giraffes and Tigers and Goats, OH MY!

So, hi! Whatcha guys been up to?

I went to Florida. With my husband. And my kids. And we drove. WE DROVE. Have you ever been in your car for 20+ hours with your kids and each other? Yeah, it. was. awesome.

And then we got there. And the weather was beautiful. And I got to eat cold stone crab claws with mustard. And we went to the Lowry Park Zoo, which is great for people with small children. We fed a giraffe. Well, we tried to feed a giraffe.
Can you see the lettuce gently falling to the ground?
Instead of being snatched up by that disgustingly long tongue?
 
The girls both LOVE turtles. They are obsessed with them. Do you have any idea how many different kinds of turtles there are in this world? A LOT. They are everywhere. And I am fairly certain that this zoo had every. single. species of turtle that exists. It seemed around every corner was another turtle, to which Charlie would scream TURTLE! and run away from us, with Sam yelling after her, "Charlie, you can't just run away!"
 
These particular fellas gave us some education on reproduction...
 
 
Then there was the carousel. Charlie would not sit still long enough for us to get a good shot. I think she liked it.
 
Ever since Sam was born, Workaholic has asked her if she is a squirrel or a monkey. Did you know there is such a thing as a Squirrel Monkey??
There is an actual, real Squirrel Monkey sitting on that branch behind them.
Maybe if I get a poster made, you'll be able to see him. Or her. Whatever.
 
A few short steps later, Sam took the opportunity while we chased Charlie around a tree to teach Baby Panda Bear all about orangutans.
She is actually pointing out the orangutan to him. Or her. Whatever.
 
Sam also wanted to take pictures, so we obliged.
It's a sleeping white tiger. She was perfectly happy that he stayed sleeping.
 
While Charlie fed a goat...

Sam did more important things, like read the map to see exactly where we were and where we would go next.

Which, as it turns out, was to see the wallabies.




 
After we visited the wallabies in their completely gated yet completely open habitat, it was decided that it would be best for all involved if we went home. So we did, and were happy with we survived another adventure to live to see another day. Specifically, the day we went to the beach. 


Thursday, November 1, 2012

My iPhone is Coming! My iPhone is coming!!

You guys. You GUYS!

I'm taking the leap. The huge, ginormous leap. It's like going from having two boys to two girls. From having two dogs to two cats. From two scoops of chocolate to two scoops of vanilla with chocolate syrup. 

I'm replacing Droid with an iPhone.

Two years ago, I started working from home part-time. In order to do so, I was required to get a smart phone. Workaholic had a Droid, so I got one too. I quickly became one of those people that is staring at their screen, laughing out loud at seemingly nothing, telling people how my new phone was the greatest thing since ice machines.

I took pictures, was/am constantly on facebook, and joined Twitter. I was/am a texting machine. I actually understand why people have entire conversations via text. I can't explain it, but I totally understand it.

In short, I loved my Droid.

And then, a few months in, things started to go awry. I would hit the screen, and nothing would happen for a second. And it would randomly turn off and reboot. And sometimes, when I would be texting, it would stop typing. It was more than annoying, it was super annoying.

And then, it almost stopped working completely. Calls were dropped, texts were impossible. I just couldn't take it anymore. I called them, and they sent me a replacement. A refurbished replacement. So...that was awesome.

And the refurbished replacement had the exact. same. problems. as my old one. They weren't immediate, it took about a week for them to kick in. So I called again, and I was sent another refurbished replacement. Which has...let's say sufficed, for the past year or so.

But now, NOW, I get to join the legions of people who cried when Steve Jobs died. The ones who tweeted, "RIP Steve Jobs" from their iPhones, while working on their iMac, and listening to music they bought off of iTunes. So yeah, maybe I'm a little late to join the party, but baby, I'M HERE!

Well, at least I will be in a few days.




Monday, October 29, 2012

Food Obsessed

I haven't really ever talked much about Kale on here, because, well, he is the second. And that is just the way things go. Here is a list of things you need to know about him...

  1. He loves food. Probably more than anything else.
  2. He loves to swim.
  3. He loves to run.
  4. He loves to go to doggie daycare and play with his friends.
  5. He understands that Kabo is the alpha.
  6. He loves to snuggle.
  7. He loves to "play" with Sampson, and Sampson often "plays" back.
The reason why I got Kale when I did was because I knew that Kabo was getting older and I wanted to have another dog that had all of his good attributes. Kabo doesn't run away when off leash, stays in our yard, knows a bunch of tricks like sit and down and wave, and generally knows when to leave a person alone. (If you pet him, he will be your best friend. If you don't look at him, he'll have nothing to do with you. For at least a few minutes. He does eventually try to win over even the hardest of non-dog-loving hearts.) Everyone who knows Kabo loves Kabo. And I knew that I would be raising this new dog in a totally different environment than we raised Kabo. I know that I wasn't solely responsible for his awesome-ness, so I knew that I needed help with a puppy.

When I went to get Kale, there were still six other puppies left out of the twelve in his litter. I was able to witness feeding time, and it was basically a black puppy eating frenzy. They were polite, no growling or such, but pretty much went in a circle around the bowl, perfectly synchronized, scarfing down as much food as they possibly could before any of the other puppies got more than their fair share. The first time I met him, the breeder brought him up from the kennel area and I attempted to see if he liked me. Because really, I liked him, he was a puppy, what was there NOT to like? But he seemed more interested in what was in the kitchen than me or any affection I might give him. He was sniffing at the counter and didn't want to be anywhere near the living room, where we were sitting on the floor. When we took him outside, the story completely changed, and that is why I chose him to come home with me...because he chose me.

Now, a year and a half later, Kale's favorite room of the house is still the kitchen. When the kids eat at the bar, he is positioned between them, staring up, just waiting for something to fall. He considers the chairs fair game if the food doesn't make it into the girls' mouths, and willingly cleans them off, whether the girls were going to eat that bite or not. When we eat together as a family, and especially when we have guests, I have to put him in the laundry room, because he literally cannot help himself. He knows that he shouldn't beg, yet he inches closer and closer to the table until you look down and his nose is right next to the hand which is holding your fork.

I've tried making him stay in a certain place, but to be honest, it is a lot of work. I have just a couple of minutes to eat my food as it is, and spending that time taking him back to the same spot over and over just isn't what I am generally in the mood for at 6pm. I used to crate him, but wow, he was really annoying with the crying. I have also since taken the crate down. So we deal with it. To the laundry room it is, unless his manners are working for him that day and he doesn't annoy me too much.

I feel like I should mention that no matter what brand of food, nor how much he gets, he always. wants. more. He gets almost four cups of food a day, which is more than the recommended amount on the bag, and that amount is for un-sterilized animals who have higher metabolisms. So yeah, he isn't starving. Around five o'clock, him and Kabo start to stare me down and follow me around, just so I won't forget to feed them. Not that I ever forget to feed them, OK, maybe just once.

Sam and Charlie LOVE to help feed the dogs. Charlie especially. She sees me pick up the dog bowls and she'll scream at me and cry if I don't let her put at least one of them down. She is very serious about the whole matter, s-l-o-w-l-y leaning down to put dishes in their designated spots. Since she loves to feed the dogs, I suppose it is only natural that she also loves to play in the dog food. Kale's food is in a container on the landing in our garage, which means that Charlie can just wander out there anytime she wants and attempt to pry it open. Usually she can't. The other day she could.

What followed was an experiment I had been wanting to try, but couldn't find enough excuses to do so. Charlie filled up one of the dog bowls to the very top, almost perfectly level. She then "accidentally" dumped it out onto the floor. It was probably eight or ten cups of food, and Kale heard it hit the ground. He was cautious at first, looking at me since I had let out a loud exasperated "Charlie!" when I heard the food spill. I looked at the food, then at Kale, he looked at me, then at the food, and I sighed and said, "OK." He dove.

He didn't have the same desperate drive to get all the food in his mouth as quickly as possible, especially since I think he knew I wasn't about to sweep it all up. But that damn dog ate every last kernel of dog chow that was scattered across the floor. He thoroughly checked underneath the refrigerator and obediently allowed Kabo to have a few bites when he approached, and I was so relieved that I didn't have to sweep up yet another mess.

But it just confirmed what I thought, if I accidentally left the top of the tub open, he probably would eat the whole damn thing. The first six months of Kabo's life I could barely get him to eat half of what was recommended, and even since then, he's never been so worried that he won't get fed. Kale, I guess it is just that survival instinct kicking in...eat as much as you can while it is there. Even if you know more is coming in 12 hours. I supposed that is juts one of the downfalls of being one of twelve.  






Thursday, October 25, 2012

Close Call

Today, I saved a life. Yep, I'm pretty kickass.

I stopped at the park for a few minutes over lunch since the girls were there with our nanny. This particular park is on quite a busy street. Cars go by every few seconds, if not more often. After parking, I noticed a little kid about Charlie's age and height running towards me. Since I was still pretty close to the street, I kept an eye on him as he realized that I was NOT his mom and turned to run the other way.

I kept watching him, and he kept wandering closer and closer to the street. Actually, the kid was making a beeline for it. I thought to myself, "He's going to stop, he's going to stop," (you know, because toddlers totally know to stop at the curb), but the kid was determined. I started walking his way and then had to break into a (pathetic) run to catch him before he hit the pavement.

Just after I put out my hands to stop him, a big white SUV drove past. There was no way they would have seen him, since we both were behind a car. I guess if they saw me running and put two-and-two together, but let's not bank on that.

The kid started pointing across the street and said "Mommy" and tried to get around me. Now here is where maybe I am weird. I didn't pick him up. I didn't want him to freak out on me and start screaming and draw all kinds of attention and make me look like some sort of child kidnapper. I kept trying to herd him back to the park, and after what seemed like forever, (more like 3 seconds) I look up and his mom is running. She thanked me profusely and was shaking and hugged him tight. He looked like he could give a damn about the whole situation.

At that point, I realized my heart was pounding. I'm not sure if it was from the 30 feet I had to run or the adrenaline that rushed through me when I realized what was going on. And what could have happened. We smiled at the new mom and went back to getting my kids to play on the playground.

And here's the thing. I totally get that your kid got away and you didn't know. Hell, I hope someday someone is there to stop Charlie from crossing the street before an Expedition rolls over her. I was totally NOT judging the mom, I was just happy that I was there and could help. But not 10 minutes later, while we were at the swings, I noticed the little boy again. He had wandered over and was trying to play with some little girls who had a wagon. Who were vehemently against a little boy joining in their game. And the mom was probably a good hundred feet away, in a totally different section of the playground, talking to some other moms.

I get that kids get away. Some more than others Some are hell bent on giving their parents heart attacks. But don't you think that after your kid almost got hit by a car you would keep an eye on him at least for a few minutes? He was probably by us for 5 minutes before the mom came over to get him. She had no other children with her, so I couldn't give her that break. She was just really focused on the conversation at hand with her playgroup.

Am I crazy for thinking that she maybe should have been a tad more vigilant? I know that moms should support each other, and I am all for that, and that none of us are perfect, but her toddler ran away twice, and she didn't notice for several minutes

Now that I have put it out there, I am sure that Charlie is going to run away and have to be brought home by the police before I realize she is gone. Karma is a bitch. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Bedtime

There are lots of things I don't remember from when my babies were newborns. The first time they smiled, the first dirty diaper, the first time Charlie slept through the night.

I do however, remember the first time Sam slept through the night. I had heard all these stories from moms about how the first time their firstborn slept "through the night" (which typically means 6 hours or more), they would jerk awake and rush to see if the baby was still alive.


That didn't happen for me.

I was at my parent's house, and it was about 6:30 in the morning. I heard her cry, looked at the clock, and all I thought was, "Please, please sleep a little longer." It had been 7 1/2 hours. I should have been ecstatic, but instead I was really sleep-deprived. Luckily for me, Sam continued to sleep through the night, until about...oh...the past few months.

In those precious times, bedtime was a joyous occasion. We had a good routine with Sam, and she was pretty easy to put down. Bottle, swaddle, bed. As she got older it was bottle, books, bed. Sometimes Workaholic would put her to sleep and we would enjoy a nice, quiet couple of hours before going to sleep.

The reason I say those were joyous times is because before and after those times, bedtime is the worst time of the day. Worse even than getting up in the morning. My kids seem to save up all of their energy for after dinner, at which time they run screaming around the house, tickling and tackling each other, stealing each others toys, and generally being wild animals.We've tried to set a routine...sometimes a bath, then brush teeth, get into pajamas, read books, snuggle, sleep. Oh how we have tried.

The past few weeks have been, well...hell. Take tonight, for example. Workaholic is working, so it is just me. I give them a 20 minute warning, at which Sam protests. Charlie says, "OK!" only because I think she likes to say that word. When I announce it is time for bed, Sam starts whining and asking for things, and Charlie bolts. I chase her down, drag her into her room, and wrangle her into a diaper and PJs. I turn on the sound machine, turn down the lighting, and we read books. At least five every night. And then I tell her that we can either rock and snuggle or she can go to bed. At which she tells me no.

Eventually she wriggles out of my arms and climbs into bed. This is where the hell begins. (as if the fighting beforehand wasn't bad enough) We've gotten into a terrible routine of putting her in bed, me walking out, her getting up, me putting her back into bed. After about 15 times of this, she starts to get really upset. This isn't a game she wants to play anymore. She has figured out that I will rock her if she is insistent enough, and cries hard enough. I'm talking the can't-breathe-sobbing-pathetic cry that toddlers do that sort of break your heart. And it also sorta makes you roll your eyes because you know that they are just tired and WHY THE HELL WON'T THEY JUST GO TO SLEEP??

So I rock her, and then tell her that it is time for her to go to her bed. She goes willingly enough, and a few seconds after I walk out of the room, the crying begins again. And the getting out of bed, getting put back in bed routine starts too.This can be a cycle, I might give her more than one chance to rock and snuggle if she gets upset enough. I figure if she is crying THAT hard, there is no way she'll calm down enough to sleep. (I think I need to get a harder heart.)

Tonight, the process took and hour and half. AFTER we went into her room. AN HOUR AND A HALF PEOPLE. I could be watching valuable television, or posting witty things on facebook, or blogging for goodness sake. I could be trying to regain my sanity after a crazy day.

I am all for spending 30 minutes on a bedtime routine. But seriously, 90 minutes?? And that is just Charlie! Let's not even talk about Sam! The best part of the 90 minutes is when I came out of Charlie's room to see that Sam had fallen asleep waiting on me. In my bed, of course, but at least she was asleep. And this isn't the first time it has taken this long.

Sam's biggest complaint is that she "is not tired" and that she wants to sleep with us. Yes, we have caved more than I would like to admit and let her sleep with us. It started out as a necessity of staying in beds that weren't ours. Then it turned into her begging every night. And if she doesn't get her way (yes, we do say no most of the time), then she will often get up at 4 or 5 in the morning and want to come in and "snuggle" with me. (read:push up against me until I fall out of the bed)

So not only am I not getting my alone time at night, but I am getting woken up almost every night by at least one, if not both kids. I'm not sure how to handle this. I need my sleep. I NEED MY SLEEP. They don't get sugar or juice at night, and I am limiting how much they watch the iPad and TV. It doesn't seem to be helping.

Does anyone have any other suggestions? I just don't have it in me to fight both kids at night and it seems ridiculous that I have to. Maybe this is just karma being a bitch.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fall. No...Autumn!

The leaves are changing and falling off of the trees. The air is crisp, the wind cool, the rain cold. The days are shorter and it seems as though a lot more of them are cloudy days. I used to hatehatehate this time of year.

When I was little, I lovedlovedloved it. I "helped" rake the two billion leaves that fell in our yard from the giant oak trees that surrounded our house. I warmed myself by the fire when we burned them, or helped my dad drag the tarp loaded up with wet leaves to dump "over the hill." (only Woodcliff Acres residents will understand that) We carved pumpkins for Halloween and went trick-or-treating in the dark. I was a kid, and it was awesome.

A few years ago, I wrote an essay in my hometown newspaper about driving up a certain hill at a certain time of year, and how it would just take my breath away. The myriad of colors in the trees surrounding the river would brighten even my darkest day. That hill, those colors, they mean home to me.

But somewhere along the way, I started to dislike fall. All it meant to me is that the leaves would fall off the trees and there would be barren emptyness for the next 6 months. The promise of snow usually wasn't enough to pull me out of my funk, for there was far too little and far too much time inbetween. It would be too cold and too dark to go to the park after work, or even go for a walk down the street. Mornings were darker, harder to get out of bed, and cooold.

A couple of years ago, I realized that I really, really hated fall.

My neighbor loves all holidays. LOVES. I mean, she even decorates for Valentines Day. But fall and Christmas decorations are by far her favorite. As I admired her bales of straw and colorful mums and the adorable pumpkin arrangements that she and many other people set in front of their homes, I admonished myself for not decorating. I chided myself for being a lazy homemaker. But it always seemed just too overwhelming. I told myself that "next year" I would purchase corn stalks and gourds. "Next year", I would put up Christmas lights. Next year, next year, next year.

But I am on medication now. Better medication for me. I have started a gratitude journal. Do you know what that is? Every day, you write down 5 things that you are grateful for. Every day. And you can't. ever. repeat. Like, ever. The very first thing I wrote that I was grateful for was trees whose leaves turn red in the fall, and not just brown and fall off. It really is the little things in life that are the big things.

For the longest time, I thought that my kids were supposed to "provide" me with those little things. But now I know that I am supposed to provide the little things. I am the one who has to notice the beauty of the trees, the refreshing crispness of the air, the way Kabo loves to sit outside for hours because it is so comfortable for him. I am the one who makes decorations happen, no matter how little or extravagant. And then I get to admire the decorations as an accomplishment for myself and an addition to the neighborhood.


And with that, all of the sudden, my kids are more adorable, more precious, and even funnier to me. Their excitement is invigorating. It reminds me of my youth and makes me excited to make memories for my children. (I seriously cannot wait until the girls are big enough to rake leaves. That job really sucks!) 

By taking notice of the trees with red leaves, instead of the ones whose leaves have already fallen off and are bare, I am slowly, ever so slowly, starting to think positive. No longer do I dread the -20 degree days. Instead I look forward to hot chocolate by the fire. No longer do I dread the hustle and bustle of Christmas, instead I think of all the great deals I will get shopping online! Instead of thinking that I will continue to gain weight and be unhealthy for the rest of my life, I know that if I continue to make little changes, one day I will lose weight and enjoy the effects of *shudder* exercise. (Obviously, that day isn't quite here yet.)

For now, I am definitely enjoying seeing MY bales of straw, corn stalks, mums, and little-girl arranged pumpkins every time I pull into my driveway. (And Indian corn! Who can forget the Indian corn!) I am excited for Sam's field trip to the pumpkin patch tomorrow. I just know that the next 3 months are going to be better than they have been in a long time.

It's not much, but it is huge for me.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Respect My Right to Rant

I was all set to you give you folks a lovely post about sunshine and lollipops, but then the debate happened last night. More specifically, the comments on facebook and twitter happened last night. And so fuck it, I've got shit to say, and I haven't had a good rant on here in a damn long time.

This is a point where I'd like to tell anyone who is offended by profanity or bluntness to either brace yourself, or click that little red X on the top right hand corner of your screen.

This is also the point where I should mention that I know little about most issues. I know pretty much what the major news outlets tell me, and by that, I mean the networks of NBC. I can't help it, it's just the channel I watch the most. I have not made up my mind who to vote for, and honestly, that isn't anybody's business. I just know that there is no one person out there who represents everything I believe in, so I have to pick the next best thing. (Me being the best, obviously.) And I am not trying to start a political debate, I am more pissed off by the assholes out there putting words in each candidates mouths and completely skewing what they said.

So I watched about 10 minutes of the debate. I saw a woman stand up and ask about AK47s, and what was the plan to do about them.

President Obama stood up and gave a nice speech about enforcing the laws already on the books but also protecting the 2nd Amendment. 1 point for Obama.

Gov. Romney stood up and said many of the same things that Obama did. They seemed to agree on this issue. And then he went into how the reason for gun violence and murders is the degradation of society. And we need to fix that, and one of ways to do that is to strengthen the family unit. 1 point for Romney.

And then I went on Twitter, and someone said, "I missed the debate and just heard someone say that Romney said that single moms are responsible for gun violence?"

Are you seriously kidding me? Way to put a fucking spin on it, mysterious someone.

No, Romney said in the nicest possible way that the fundamental family unit in the United States has been breaking down for a long time. And with that breakdown, morals and values are lost.

Studies prove (I think) that a two parent household (on average) is optimal for children. (And I personally don't give a shit if it is two parents of the same gender...as long as they are two people who are invested in raising productive citizens. Did you see the kid from Iowa give a speech on gay marriage in the Iowa House of Representative?) So what Romney is saying is that more people need to be in committed relationships (like him and Obama and, you know, Ellen) when choosing to have children, so they have help in instilling morals and values and all the good shit parents are supposed to teach their kids. 

I am not saying that single mothers aren't fantastic. They are fucking superheros, in my opinion. But I also bet that those same single mothers would say that it is really fucking hard to raise kids by yourself and it just isn't possible to be everything to everyone. There isn't enough time in the day nor enough energy in one human to do that. And if they had the option to have a partner in raising those kids, someone responsible and moral to help financially and emotionally and logistically, those single mothers would jump at the chance. Because being a superhero is fucking exhausting and they just want what is best for their kids.

There may be some people out there (I don't know where) who deny the breakdown of society. They might think that we are advancing and being more open-minded and politically correct and all that bullshit. Here is the thing. Morals and values. I'm not talking about your stance on gay marriage or abortion or welfare or tax cuts. I'm talking about the Golden Rule..."Do unto others as you would have them done unto you." And if you have really low self-esteem, another good moral is to simply respect the life, liberty, and property of others.

Respect. Why can't we fucking respect one another?

I remember being in middle or high school the first time I heard the phrase, "Respect isn't something that is given, it is earned." I was like, "Oohhh...yeah. Totally."

And you know what? That phrase is bullshit. It was made up by someone who probably had a lot of people beat them down in life. And I'm sorry about that. But the number one moral that kids should be learning nowadays is that everyone deserves respect. 


I was going to say that until a person does something to lose your respect, then it is OK to do whatever. And then I realized that is bullshit too. Just because someone pisses you off doesn't give you the right to pull out a handgun and shoot them. Even if you have a permit for the gun. I guess as Jesus said, "Turn the other cheek." Or as my father-in-law would say, "Be the better person."

If all people in all societies would treat each other with respect, there would be a lot less war. A lot less murders. A lot less rapes. And I bet a lot less divorce. No one should be treated like shit just because. Because they are white, or black, or gay, or straight, or Catholic, or Jewish, or an illegal immigrant, or really old and driving below the speed limit on the interstate.

Have respect for others. Have compassion for others. Treat others as you would want to be treated. It may not be as fun as mocking someone behind their back or telling someone else to fuck off, but it really is better for all of humanity in the long run. This isn't a new concept. (See Jesus quote above.) But it seems more and more people believe the "Respect is not given, it is earned" quote, as opposed to believing in following the Golden Rule. And no one seems to like where this country is headed, so why not try something different?

So to all those assholes who are skewing every word that comes out of the candidates mouths...STOP IT! Seriously, just tell me what I need to know about each guy's stance on each issue, and quit going for ratings. Otherwise we are just going in circles, like a dog chasing his tail.The dog is getting older, and before you know it, he'll be dying and everyone will be like, "Shit, what happened to the United States, the most powerful country in the world?" 

Fucking Respect. That's all it takes. 

End rant.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

About Me

Did you guys know there is an About Me section?

It's a place where you get to know all kinds of random details and I get to talk about myself!


I updated it last night, so check it out...yit is at the top of the page, right in the middle, and is a link that says, About Me. You just might be more like me than what you think. Or not.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Little Girl-isms

Sam has always been a talker. Charlie...not so much. Well, she likes to talk a whole lot, in French. Or something else that we just do not understand.

The other day, while at the park, Sam fell running on a piece of playground equipment. She whacked her head on a metal bar in the process. When asked if she was OK, her response was, "Yeah. If I would just watch where I am going, things like that wouldn't happen!" OK...way to give yourself a lecture.

While forcing the girls to clean the playroom last week, Sam was literally walking in circles talking to her "friend" on an old cell phone. Which we seem to have in abundance in our house. When I told her to get off of the phone and help clean, she said, "MOM! Sshh! I'm talking on the phone!" And ran out of the room. Where I had to chase her down and rip the phone from her clenched little fist while she fought me and then threw a crying fit. SHE IS THREE.

Everytime Sam gets in our nanny's car, she goes on and on...
"Your car is so much smaller than our car. And you don't have a TV in your car like we do, because we are lucky."

"I've had a rough day."

"Mom, I can do it because I'm bigger than Charlie. I'm the big sister."

"Mom, Charlie is crabby today. I think we need to get her to bed early tonight."

Actually, just think of anything that a teacher would say to her students or a mom would say to her children, put it in a squeaky little girls voice, and you have it...a Sam-ism.


As far as Charlie goes...well, let's just say that she is a little more stubborn and defiant than her generally well behaved older sister. Some of her favorite phrases...

NO!

I DON'T WANT TO GO TO BED!

Mm-hmm.(Instead of saying Yes, she says this in the cutest little girl voice ever.)

Beep-Beep Kale! or Beep-Beep Kabo! (just depends on who is in her way)

Soo-kee (her way of saying our new nanny's name)

I WANNA GO BYE-BYE!

I DON'T WANNA GO BYE-BYE!!

NO! I WANNA DO IT!!

Mo-om...I wanna watch George!

I wanna go potty. (usually said either after she has peed in her diaper or while I am trying to get her ready for bed)

I wanna brush  my teeth! Followed shortly by, "I want a vitamin!" (Flintstones really are the best, aren't they? I remember as a kid sneak-eating them, and way more than one a day.)

She is also one of those kids who thinks that if told no, then she has a better chance of getting what she wants if she just ASKS FOR IT LOUDER. Which, you know, totally works.

Fortunately for me, both girls have sort of potty-trained themselves. It is not an overnight process, or even a three day process. One day, Charlie just ran and peed in the potty all by herself. Then she started taking her diapers off because she just couldn't stand them after she peed in them. (Sometimes, not all the time. Which is why I am not pushing the potty training thing.) After she peed on the floor a couple of times, I started taking her to the bathroom about once an hour. Which actually works great. (It doesn't work great when daddy is in charge, and the timing is not quite right, and suddenly Kale is being accused of peeing on the carpet.) I've heard that potty-training girls is way easier than boys, and I totally get it. Sam was super motivated once she made up her mind, and Charlie likes to be just like her big sister. I just don't understand why she doesn't give herself lectures when she misbehaves.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Old Man

I didn't even get a chance to write Kabo's 13th birthday post. (no he isn't dead)

He turned 13 on September 21st, and he had his own little birthday cake and Kale had a donut. They loved it. I think even Sampson got to join in on the feast.

The nights in Michigan have been getting cool. Its like someone flips a switch on Labor Day and cold air moves in and the leaves start to turn their brilliant colors of red, orange and yellow. Septembers are always hard for me, the rapidly changing light, the hot-then-cold weather, the changing leaves...which means barren winter is ahead of us. I like green. I like color. I don't like brown trees with no leaves and naked branches stretched to the sky.

Since the nights have gotten cooler, Kabo has decided that he likes to be outside. Especially at night. For hours at a time.

One night the last week in September, he had been out for quite a while and then he knocked on the door to be let in. I don't even know who let him in, probably Sam. After a minute or so, Workaholic says, "Hey, what is wrong with Kabo's eye?"

I look up and sure enough, there is something there. I figured it was mud from rolling around like a puppy in the grass. He was just standing in the living room, looking at us, like "Hey, I'm tired."

As we got closer, I realized it was more of a "Hey, I'm hurt" look. He had somehow, in his nightly wandering, managed to cut just above his eye. Actually, he sliced his eyebrow. It was about an inch long and an inch deep into his forehead. It didn't bleed a lot, but there was definite cause to go to the vet. Not the emergency vet. I will only go there if I think my animal is dying, like, right now. And since my animal just looked like he'd been in a bar fight, I figured he could wait a day.

We go to bed and the next day he is seen. And sure enough, it needs stitches. Do you know anything about dogs getting stitches? By their eye? It requires them to be put under. Fan-fucking-tastic. While he is under, I consent to x-rays to see if he has arthritis in his hind end, since his control of his back legs has gotten a bit worse. I was pretty sure I had gotten these x-rays before, but really couldn't remember. (Yes, yes I have gotten them done before.)

So he gets to have "emergency surgery", which just means unplanned and immediately necessary. The vet calls me that night after 8pm to let me know he was OK and awake and I convinced her to keep him overnight. Two kids and a cat and another dog in one house does not exactly make the best environment for recuperation.

I get him the next day and he looks like an honest-to-God pirate. With an Elizabethan collar on his head. (we just covering all time periods here) He is a little down, but shows absolutely no symptoms of pain, unless lethargy is his way of saying "Ouch, I'm hurt."

I get his prescriptions and go over his after care, and confirm once again that yes, he has no arthritis in his hind end, the loss of function in his back legs is neurological and will get worse, rather than better. Fan-fucking-tastic.

I go to pay the bill and it is literally hundreds of dollars. Which I happily paid, seeing as how the office got me right in and took care of him well and basically did everything I asked. I was surprised by the amount though. It just seemed like a lot of money for a random cut over his eye. OK, slice. Slice over his eye. And no, WE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT HAPPENED. (that was for you, dear sister)

What is the point to this kind of random story, you ask?

If you get a dog, and are planning on it living a long, healthy life, get pet insurance on him when he is a puppy. The first 7 or 10 years of his life you may feel as though you are throwing money out the door every time you pay the bill. But one incident will probably make up for those years of paying for insurance. (It'd be way too expensive to buy it for him now.)


Vets are DOCTORS. Which means they went to school for years and years and fought for one of the few spots at a prestigious veterinary school and then incurred thousands upon thousands of dollars in student loans. They have intimate knowledge on several species of animals, get paid much less than what you would think, and have to deal with many, many clients who have to make (literally) life and death decisions about members of their family...based on finances. I LOVE VETS. I just really, really wish I had splurged on pet insurance when Kabo was younger.

But at least my old-man/pirate-who-got-into-a-bar-fight is OK. And back to his disappearing ways. (this was one day post-surgery, he is much happier now that the cone is off!)


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Never Forget

I will never forget.

Never forget when my mom came into my bedroom, waking me up by exclaiming, "Wake up! Two planes have hit the World Trade Center!" (I'm ashamed to admit that I wasn't 100% sure that the World Trade Center was in New York.) With my dad as a small plane pilot, I remember thinking, "How could a Cessna pilot run into buildings? They are huge! Must have been a really inexperienced pilot."

Never forget when I turned on the TV. The now familiar shot of the Twin Towers with plumes of smoke billowing out of them. Peter Jennings told me what he knew. Commercial airliners. Fire. Smoke. Thousands of people. Trapped.


Never forget when the first time I changed the channel, to CNN, and then switched it back to Peter Jennings...there was a huge grey cloud and one of the towers was gone. He was confused, thought there must have been some sort of explosion. And then everyone realized what had happened. It fell. Just collapsed.

Over the years, around the anniversary, I always always watch the shows. The documentaries. Last year I watched the documentary 120 minutes of September 11th. (Or something like that.) It went in real time. And I was taken back to that innocence lost, the time in my life where all I cared about was going out on Thursday night, and I could not even imagine not walking with my boyfriend to the gate of my flight to say goodbye.

The stories are endless. The heroes of the 88th floor of the north tower. The videographers who just happened to be following the fire battalion stationed closed to the towers. The people who saw it out of their living room windows. The first responders, the thousands of people rushing out, the guy who was saved because of Monday Night Football. And that is just what happened in New York.

Every December 7th, I think about Pearl Harbor. And I wonder if Pearl Harbor felt to my grandparents what 9/11 feels to my generation. I always think that 9/11 had to feel worse, because I just can't imagine being more shocked. More dismayed. More sad. The sadness was intense. Especially a couple of days later when it became apparent that there would be no more survivors. The people in those buildings weren't trapped at the bottom of a huge pile of rubble. They were part of the rubble.

I don't ever want to forget. When I see any of the documentaries, and I see the South Tower fall, a part of me stands still. Frozen in time, my mind tries to comprehend just what happened. Even though I have seen the shows on WHY the towers fell, it just amazes me that something that big was brought down. And that people, many people, hated America that much to do this to us. I still don't understand.

We should never forget. I will never forget.    


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Light

Do you know where my husband is right now? Well, he's lying on the bed, but that is not where he wants to be. He WANTS to be at the Home Depot.

This isn't news, people. According to him, the Home Depot is the funnest place on earth. That's right...on EARTH.

Let me backtrack. A few weeks ago, our darling little Charlie started climbing out of her crib. Which meant that instead of playing quietly by herself for hours every morning, she rolls out of bed as soon as the sun comes up. And toddles her little pee-filled diaper into my room and climbs up onto my bed. On top of me. Effectively waking me up. And I am always too tired and lazy to take her back to HER bed, so I let her sleep the rest of the night (morning) with me. Except I never really sleep because all I can smell is pee and ew and I really should change her diaper but if I do that I might as well get up and I don't want to get up because I am so warm and comfy. Well, I was warm and comfy until someone woke me up and took over the middle of the bed effectively shoving me to the edge almost to the floor and on top of Kale.

This has happened every morning for weeks. WEEKS people. I have complained to everyone on facebook and twitter more than once about how I will never ever ever get a full nights sleep again. Like, ever. The sun wakes up Charlie every morning since her vertical blinds only half exist, and so she feels as though she must get out of bed and bother snuggle me.

Last night, our darling child also got up at 3:30am. So I rocked her until she was ready to go back to sleep and fell back in my bed. So let's just say I was NOT thrilled when I heard the turn of her door knob. Yes, I wake up now when the DOOR KNOB TURNS. And next thing I knew, she was next to me. I did the first thing that came to my mind, and something I should have done weeks ago. 

I kicked Workaholic. And told him to take her back to bed.

And you know what? He did. He did so gladly. Well, maybe not gladly, but willingly. I only had to kick him and tell him once. I drifted back to sleep for the whole 45 minutes I had left before my alarm went off.

She was still asleep when I left for work.

Tonight, Workaholic said to me, "You know what? Charlie wakes up every morning because of the sun. I'm going to run to Home Depot after dinner and pick up some blackout vertical blinds."

Are. You. Kidding. Me.

This is the exact same thing I have said to him every. single. morning since she turned two and started crawling out of her bed. As soon as it became his problem sleep disruption, he was aaalll about finding the solution.

Sheesh. Men. 

I just love when my husband fulfills the stereotype. It makes me smile. Even when I want to smack him upside the head.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Lost and Found

In the spring, I took a look at my calender and kind of went, "Oh shit." We have a lot of plans. The plan was to be busy little bees all summer, and then I decided to top it off by painting the inside and outside of my house, de-cluttering, and completely rearrange everything. I may or may not have lost my mind.

Between my cousin, a friend, and my brother-in-law getting married, that took care of 5 weekends. I had visitors planned for a few others, so really, my first truly free weekend would be in August. Maybe a lot of people live like this, especially once their kids get older, but this was my first time having such a busy summer. It was weird. Really, I'm NOT that popular.

Right about the time I realized all of our commitments, we decided to send the girls back to daycare. This involved a lifestyle shift in that I now was responsible for getting them up and out of the house every morning, instead of just me getting to work every other day showered and dressed on time. (The other days I work from home, shower optional.) So, yeah. Everyone else does it, but for me, it was a really rough transition.

I backed my van into Matt's van, twice. And then I took off my side mirror with a mailbox.

I lost my camera. The one that simply cannot take a bad picture. The best camera EVER. And then I found it. And then I broke it.

I lost my wedding rings. Yep, you heard right. My wedding rings. And also the ring that Workaholic gave me on my 21st birthday that I wore every. single. day. I remember the last minute I saw them, but there was a lot of movement in between now and then, and well, let's just say that I have not given up hope.

So it really should not have come as much of a surprise to me when I lost Sampson.

We were at the lake. It was late. I was exhausted. It had been a long couple of weeks. I just wanted to go home. The house was a disaster. Workaholic and I looked at each other, and he said, "You know what? I have to come back here tomorrow night. I'll just clean up then."

He was leaving in the morning, and I left shortly after he agreed to clean. This was no time to let
him change his mind! Sampson had gotten out and I was too tired to look for him before I left. We agreed to leave him in Michigan for the few days that I'd be gone, besides...Workaholic would be back that evening.

That Monday was hard. I was exhausted, the girls were exhausted, life felt even more out of sorts than normal. So Workaholic came home to help me that evening instead of going back and cleaning. And that is when he told me that he left Sampson outside.

"Umm...why would you do that? I hope he is there when we go back!"

He wasn't. I had been gone three days.

A feeling of dread overwhelmed me. I just knew that a coyote had gotten him. Workaholic just knew that some little 8 year old girl had found him and hid him in her closet so her parents didn't know that she had taken in a cat. He encouraged me to walk through the nearby woods and put up flyer's around the trailer park that is behind our cottage. "He'll come back."

That was 6 weeks ago.

At our small lake, someone writes a newsletter that gets delivered to all lake residents on Fridays during the summer. I kept telling myself to put a LOST CAT ad in the newsletter, but also thought, "What is the point? Even if someone has him, most people in the trailer park don't get it and I already put out lost cat flyer's. He's gone. Yet another thing I lost."

But then a guy lost his turtle. His turtle. And he put a LOST TURTLE ad in the newsletter. And I thought, "What the hell? Might as well give it a try."

So I sent a picture and ridiculously descriptive ad to the editor and waited. A whole week.

On Friday while at work, my cell phone rang with a number I didn't know. And they left a voicemail. HE'S BEEN SPOTTED! And then I got another call from a number I didn't know. HE HAS DEFINITELY BEEN SPOTTED!! And then a third and a fourth call came. The fourth call was the jackpot. Not only had this girl seen him, but she had played with him regularly and recently. Apparently the extremely friendly portion of my ad was the clincher.

On Saturday morning, I went and picked him up. He had tuna breath and I swear is fatter than when he left. Apparently he didn't go into the trailer park, he went through the woods and headed south, visiting anyone who would have him. And lots of people saw him, and played with him, and fed him. The young teen girls who captured him and handed him over were giddy with excitement. They'd seen him a lot over the course of the last few weeks, and were so happy that he had a home to return to. I was just hoping it really was him and I wasn't bringing home the wrong cat again.

For the first couple of hours after we got home, he was a bit skittish. And to be honest, I really don't know where he was. But then I found him on Sam's bed, and petted him for a few minutes. I wanted to hear his squeaky purr. (have yet to hear it) After that, he came out and parked himself on his spot on the couch and didn't move much for the next 36 hours. I guess sleeping while out in the forest all alone may not be that easy. He needed a good long nap.

I cannot tell you how happy and relieved I am that my family of seven is all back under one roof. (Well, sort of. We got home last night and Sampson ran out the door tonight. I guess he just couldn't handle not having a taste of the wild. Even after a 6 week walkabout.) 

Even though Sampson disappearing was pretty much Workaholic's fault, I still felt like I shared some of the blame. It was something else that I lost. But he is back! And he isn't broken! (that I know of) I know that we can't keep him inside all the time, he just won't have it and would be miserable if we forced it. But I hope that from now on, when he takes off, he can either find his way home or at least I try a little bit harder to look for him. He's a part of our family and I'm so grateful to everyone who helped him get back home.