Friday, March 16, 2012

Comfort-the Gold Standard

When I was in middle school, my godmother who also happened to be my aunt gave me a beautiful little pillow. It had a purple silk pillowcase with my name embroidered on it. I loved it. But to be honest, it was sort of flat and not that comfortable to use as an actual pillow and so it really just sat as decoration on my bed. Although as difficult middle school years transitioned into difficult high school years, I found myself cuddling with that pillow whenever I needed a little sob session or reassurance that someone really did love me. 

That little every once in a while habit turned into an every night habit in college. I squished that little pillow into the crook of my arm and soon couldn't fall asleep without it. It soon became a source of contention with Workaholic, as I preferred to snuggle with my little pillow than with him. (Hey, I can't help it that he can't be squished into the nook of my arm!) Whenever we got into an argument, he would prove how angry he was by throwing my little pillow out the bedroom door...which made me more angry that he would "disrespect the pillow." This pattern has gone on for years.

Until now. I think he finally gave up. That pretty little pillow that my aunt gave me all those years ago has become an unrecognizable lump of cotton. The silky purple pillowcase long ago was in tatters and had to be thrown away. I took to putting regular sized pillowcases on it and wrapping up the cotton to sort of resemble something that would be appropriate to sleep with. When I was pregnant with Sam, he bought me a gas station travel sized pillow out of desperation. It actually resembled the size and shape of the original little pillow, but hadn't yet been molded into the perfect arm pillow. However, it was perfect for putting in between my legs when I sleep! Genius! I now have 2 little pillows.

He continued to whine and mock me for the original little pillow, so when I saw the smaller pillow pets, I bought one. And you know what? It is perfect! Other than scratching my face on a piece of Velcro every once in a while, those little pillow pets fit the bill. I bought one for home and one for the cottage in Michigan, just so I didn't have to travel with it anymore. After about a year's worth of use though, the soft and cuddly small pillow pet wasn't as soft. So I asked for a new one for Christmas. Ask and you shall receive!

Are you keeping track here? There is the original little pillow, the gas station pillow, the first small pillow pet, and now the second small pillow pet. (Not to mention the two small pillow pets that we got Sam and Charlie for Christmas as well.)  And here is the thing. I might have missed the boat when it comes to replacing the little pillow. Rather, each new pillow is an addition to the collection. On or around my bed there are various colors, shapes and sizes of small pillows that are just right to fit into the nook of my arm. I just can't bring myself to throw away the tattered, pathetic, old pillows...they were so good to me!

Workaholic fought me on this issue until a few weeks ago. It was then that I brought home an old gold blanket from my mom's house. It was one that had been on my bed all throughout my childhood. I am sure that at some point it was warm. But not anymore. Now, it is a '70s gold blanket that is thin and the soft satin on the edge is no longer soft, but actually kind of scratchy. To be honest, if I think about it, the whole thing is kind of scratchy. But I love it.

I curl my feet into the bottom and pull the top up over my little pillow and snuggle in for a good night's sleep. I feel safe and warm (as long as I have the comforter over me too) and the distinctive but not terrible smell of the gold blanket lulls me to sleep. With the exception of Sam waking me up almost every night wanting to crawl into bed, I've had the best sleep I've had in years the past few weeks. (OK, maybe not, but whatever, I love that gold blanket.)

What is your comfort item? The one (or three) thing(s) that is torn and tattered but it would just kill you to throw away?


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Pictures from the Park

The weather here has been so fantastic! Eighty degrees in March. If it would only stay this way.

We've gone to the park, and generally just been having a blast.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Yes, I'm Talking About Poop

You know what is adorable?


And pets.

You know what is NOT adorable?

The bodily functions that come out of kids and pets.

Yes, that is right, I'm talking about poop, and other such things.

The other day, we were cleaning up the yard, and Sam came running up the hill. All of the sudden she stopped, dropped her pants to her knees, squatted and peed in the grass. When asked what she was doing, she just looked at Workaholic and said, "I had to pee!"

Duh, dad.

At least she didn't poop in the yard. At that point, I would have heard..."Gail! Poop!"

Did you know that two dogs poop twice as much as one? And if you throw in a cat and neighbor's dogs who occasionally like to use your yard, that amounts to a shitload of poop. (sorry, couldn't resist)

I just did a spring cleanup of poop in my yard.

It was an obscene amount of poop.

I just had to tell the internet that.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

I'm Losing My Hearing Due To Loud TVs

The other day, I looked in the sink and it was full of dishes. I had spent time that morning emptying the dishwasher just so there would be room for the day's messes. You know, so it didn't have to pile up in the sink. I thought to myself, "Self, that has got to be my biggest pet peeve, dirty dishes in the sink when there is a perfectly good empty dishwasher begging for glasses and plates and sippy cups to clean."

And then I went to bed. (after loading the dishwasher)

And I remembered that I have a way bigger, much more importantly disturbing pet peeve.

Loud TVs.

As in LOUD TVS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Workaholic's father has been extremely hard of hearing since he was a little boy. So I guess their TV was always turned up really loud, so his dad could hear it. I get that. I do. And I also get having the closed captions on, so anything that he couldn't hear he could read and didn't always have to ask people what was going on. I get that too.

But once we got our own home, I thought that maybe, just maybe, we could turn our TV down. I mean, I compromised with the closed captions, I actually got pretty used to them. (There are some shows that you HAVE to watch with the closed captions on, otherwise you'll miss something. Like the West Wing. Sigh...I miss that show. Such a good show.)

However, as "we" have, ahem...aged, I've noticed that our TV is getting louder, and Louder, and LOUDER. I lay in bed at night as he hangs out in the bathroom, watching TV with the shower running, and it drives. me. insane. All I want to do is go to sleep, yet the TV is so loud I am forced to social network on my phone and post facebook statuses such as "Bored." Which people them mock me for the next day.

You know what he watches? A lot of there is lots and lots of bleeping and people screaming at each other. Then there is the Discovery Channel and the History Channel, so we get to "watch" (and by watch I mean he watches and I get to hear every. single. thing. said in each and every show) the same episodes of Pawn Stars and Hard Core Pawn, How It's Made, Swamp People, Ax Men, River Monsters, and Hogs Gone Wild over and over...just to mention a few. Usually, what I am hearing sounds a lot like this...

"I want my money b*tch!"

"How dare you insult me you bleeep!!"

"Oh SH*T! That's a big 'gator!"

"Bleeep! That hog is coming right for us!"

"Officer! I want that Bleep to go bleep and bleepity-bleep-bleep!!!!!!"


That is bad, but the worst is when we are watching TV together and a commercial comes on. Apparently, I have developed a nasty little habit of hitting mute for the break...and then leaving the room. For an indeterminate amount of time. I completely forget that I had been watching an especially enticing episode of "Gold Rush-Alaska. (How could I have forgotten???)

So NOW, Workaholic turns up the TV just to piss me off. Because I guess when I mute the TV and walk out of the room he doesn't like that much. Huh.  I like to combat his passive-aggressive nature by just turning the damn thing off. Ahhh...quiet.

But seriously...why listen at level 50 when you can hear perfectly fine at level 14?? If you can't hear...then just read the closed captions.

Am I the only one with this problem? Or are YOU a LOUD TV person?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Spring Fever

Am I the only one itching to get out of the house?

I look around my house, and all I see are walls and trim that need to be repainted, floors that need to be cleaned and refinished, and stuff. Stuff everywhere.

Charlie is a typical toddler. Meaning her one goal, her sole purpose in life is to destroy. Destroy a clean room, an organized closet, a neatly stacked pile of clothes waiting to be put away.

Sticky shit falls on the floor and doesn't get wiped up right away, and then it gets walked on, and dirt cakes on. Toys are strewn everywhere. Dog hair, O-M-G, don't get me started on the dog hair. (And yes, I am aware that I did that part to myself.)

We want more kids. At least I think so.

Do I just resign myself to a life of a messy house? Is it even possible to keep a somewhat clean, organized house with small children and large dogs?

I feel like every day is a losing battle. I want to paint and get the carpets cleaned, but a huge part of me thinks, "Why bother?" Toys get picked up only to come right back out. Dishes are done only to be dirtied again. Laundry is finished, only to be piled up a day later. A drawer is cleaned out and organized only to be pilfered a week later and now I CAN'T FIND THE SCISSORS.

I am not sure how to go about organizing things the way I want them because I am not exactly sure how I want them. If I do get them the way I like, "someone" undoes my work. I feel like a major childproofing project needs to be implemented, something to keep kids and husbands and dogs out of all closets and drawers and cabinets. I wonder if Workaholic would be up for that.

I suppose it is also possible that I just need a lovely spring day to throw open the windows and let the stink out. And then I can pick up all the dog poop in the yard too.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Miss Charlotte

Charlie turned 18 months last month, and her personality is coming out more and more.

It's always been there, she is just getting a little more....assertive.


The other night she wanted fruit snacks after dinner. Totally fine, except she had just thrown her napkin on the floor. When I told her to pick it up and throw it in the trash can (something I have seen her do a million times on her own), she threw herself on the floor crying. And kicking. I was like, "Seriously?"

After about 30 seconds of trying to reason with her, I gave up, and reminded her nicely every few minutes that she could have her fruit snacks if she just threw her napkin into the garbage. That was met with more tears and snot and screams.  Workaholic came home and asked what I did to her. He was doubtful that she "understood what I wanted." HA! He believed that for about 5 seconds, until he tried to do my bidding and was met with the same resistance.

About 30 minutes of tantrum later, she calmed down enough to find a package of wet wipes and start playing with them. As she pulled one out, I said to her, "Charlie, if you just throw that wet wipe and the napkin on the floor away, you can have FRUIT SNACKS!" As in YAY!! FRUIT SNACKS!!! You know what she did??? She looked at me, looked at the wet wipe, and THREW IT ON THE FLOOR.


Workaholic just sighed and got up, put her in the timeout spot, and let her calm down. It was about 15 minutes after that when he was able to go and get her, still crying, force her to bend down and pick up the wet wipe and force her to throw it away. Then he forced her to bend down and pick up the napkin, and made her throw that away. And then shut the door to the cabinet that the garbage can is kept. And then she got her fucking fruit snacks. And you know what? She stopped bawling immediately.

What is wrong with this picture?? 1) Over fruit snacks?? I mean, come on, they are good, but not THAT GOOD. 2) Over throwing away a napkin?? What the hell am I supposed to do with her in 15 years???

Our other issue that we are struggling with her is to get her to communicate with us. I would be perfectly fine if she would learn sign language for things like more and thank you and milk. But nooo, she won't even do the more sign. The easiest thing in the world that Sam will still do to this day.

A few weeks ago, my father-in-law walked in to my house and she ran to him and said "Papa!" Which was huge, considering everyone and their mother and their children are currently "mommy". Even Workaholic is mommy. We then tried getting her to say Oma, and she wouldn't.

She will, however, say full sentences that you can sort of understand, such as...

What is that?

I want to go to bed.

Where's the puppy?

Go Away!!

I wanna go bye-bye.

and the ever popular,


(OK, yes, I know a couple of those are only 2 words, but considering she still refuses to say the word YES, I want to go to bed is pretty impressive.)

I see a lot of myself in her, and it isn't just the eyes and the propensity for eating dog food as a child. I think we may be in trouble.

Any suggestions on how to deal with stubborn children? Or how to motivate them to do your bidding?

Half devil-half angel


I just got back from walking around in the dark, freezing rain.

For 45 minutes.

At midnight.

Why would I do this, you ask?

Because I was looking for The Fonz.

Let's back up.

We don't have an invisible fence at our cottage in Michigan. I have never really needed an invisible fence for Fonz, he always just sort of stuck around. When he was younger, he would wander off a bit, but always came back in a timely manner. Only once was he brought home by a stranger who had picked him up on the road.

Our cottage is set on a couple of acres on a lake, surrounded by trees, and the back of the property butts up against a trailer park. We take a long dirt lane to get to it, which is lined with woods. So basically, if you are coming at night, in the middle of winter, when it is half snowing-half raining, it would appear as though you are driving down the lane of a creepy old house where the insane man who eats children lives.

On particularly cold windy rainy nights like tonight, Fonz is usually in and out of the house about a thousand times. Give or take once or twice. I don't know if he gets cold or bored or what, but he comes in, stays for about 2 minutes, and then goes to the opposite door he came in to go back out. And he is persistent, using his nose to knock the doorknob to let us know that he would rather be outside. Like, now.

After a while, both Workaholic and I noticed that we hadn't seen Fonz for a while. We kept going to the back door, turning on the light, calling for him and whistling. But nothing. We started to get concerned, and went out on the porch, and called and whistled. But more nothing.

Now we were worried. He comes when called, or at least makes an appearance so he knows that we saw him. He is 12 1/2 years old, he is a tad arthritic, he doesn't have the best vision and even worse hearing. And we are a hundred feet from a freezing cold lake with geese on an island about 200 feet out. He likes to chase geese.

I walked the yard next to the lake. I stepped in big mud puddles. I had Kale by my side, but that was little consolation. I looked in the lake, noticed that our pier had been destroyed by the ice. Workaholic was driving the lane, shining the headlights through the darkness, trying to spot our blond boy. I headed to the back yard, skirting the edge of the woods next to the trailer park, calling and whistling. But nothing.

We decided to walk the lane. That long, dark, long, scary lane.

And the whole time, I was thinking about my black lab we had when I was a kid. Black Sheep. When she was 12, she wandered away, as she was wont to do, and she stood on the highway and was killed by a car. The same thing could not have happened to my Fonz. It just couldn't. Things like that happen to other people's pets. He deserves better, he deserves peace when it is his time. But even more important, he deserves more time, more time to play and swim and chase squirrels and geese.

We got to the road and turned and came back. No sign of him. We kept calling and whistling. We had looked all over the yard, all over our neighbor's yards, under our deck, in the woods. We couldn't find him. I decided to get in my van and drive through the trailer park. Workaholic went to check the yard...again.

And when he walked into the back yard, on the same deck that we had stood and turned the light on and off and called and whistled and gotten no response...laid The Fonz.

He was just laying there, looking at Workaholic, like "Hey, where have you been? I am wet. And hungry, I think I missed dinner."

He was wet, but had no mud on his paws, unlike our shoes.

I was just so relieved to see him, I hugged him, gently chastised him for disappearing, and fed him his dinner.

I have NO IDEA where he was, and he probably didn't hear us when we called, or if he did, he didn't feel like getting up.

Little shit.

Let's recap...midnight, cold, rain, missing beloved dog, thorough search, terrifying thoughts, dog randomly reappears.



Thursday, March 1, 2012

Crazy Thoughts

Every once in a while, I take the trip to my alma mater alone for a home basketball game. I love Purdue, I love Mackey Arena, and even though my seats aren't as good as my boss's (can you say courtside?), I love the view I have when watching a game. It is totally worth the trip. Especially if I get to hang out with one of my nephews in the process, like I was able to the other night.

The part that sucks about going down for the game is the drive home.

Sure, it is easy. Straight up the interstate for about an hour. Just count the miles between the exit numbers, wave good-bye to the windmills and hello to desolate, open farm fields. (Am I the only one in the world who knows exits on the interstate by their number? I mean, my parent's exit is 175, my friends is 178, mine is 249. There is 74 miles between my exit and my parents, and 2 miles between my exit and the first one I come to after I get on, then 7 miles until the next one. Doesn't everyone do this??)

After the red blinking lights at the top of the windmills faded in the distance, I noticed how windy it was. It had been windy on my way down, but I was way too focused on what time I would get there and where I would park to worry about much else. Oh, and keeping the car on the road.

But on the way home, the adrenaline from the win was wearing off, and as I occasionally cross the white line between me and the median I wondered what would happen if something happened to me. And, as always, my mind drifted to what would happen if I got home and something had happened to Workaholic or the girls.

The mind, it is a weird place. I rarely obsess or worry about if I died, how would my family continue without me. Or how would Sam and Charlie turn out as adults. Maybe it is because of that weird thing where I think nothing bad happens to me.  Or maybe I just assume that they would be OK. That they would be fine without me, as long as they had each other. 

What I do "obsess" over is if something happens to someone I love. If Workaholic dies in a car crash on his way to work, how would I react? Would I sell the house? Of course I would...I can't afford it on my own. But how would I get it in shape to sell? Would I stay in the town where I live or would I move back to my hometown? Would I find someplace to bury him in a plain pine coffin like he wants? Hopefully. How long would it take for the realization that he isn't coming back to hit me? Would I be able to work? How much time would work give me to grieve?

I am all about the stupid, minute details.

In a terribly shocking way, my mind drifts to how I would react if something happened to one of my girls. Which one would it be? Would I react differently? Would I be that mom on TV shows that drops to the floor sobbing? Would I just stand there? Would I talk at her funeral? I start to think of what I would say...and then I force myself to stop. Stop thinking like that. WHO THINKS LIKE THAT? And then I start thinking again...

Would I react differently if it was Sam or Charlie? Would I quit my job? How would I get through it? What would go through my mind? And immediately I know...regret.

Regret that I didn't spend enough time with them. Regret that I didn't teach them as much as their little sponge brains could absorb. Regret that I yelled too much or didn't read Charlie enough books. Regret that we would never get to have breakfast with the princesses at Disney World. Or teach them how to ski, or surf, or hit a softball. 

I shake my head and turn up the radio.

Taylor Swift pulls me out of my funk, and before I know it, I am singing "Dear John" and "Mean" as I exit at mile 249. 

I forget about the thoughts until I have another quiet moment, but then I don't let them take over. 

Am I the only one who does this?

Who else thinks of the stupid details if one of her loved ones dies?  

As I write this, Charlie's hour long temper tantrum ended and I put her to bed, with less than one book. It was all she would allow. Sam is watching videos of someone singing the alphabet on You Tube.

I'll just try not to think again for the rest of the night.