Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Total Phone Revisited

Does anyone remember the 80's when "Total Phone" came out?

Does anyone remember when you would call someone and, God forbid, they were on the phone and you got a busy signal?

At first we thought Total Phone was awesome - you had this thing called "call waiting" so we didn't have to worry about talking for hours on the phone and Dad getting angry because he couldn't get through. (Actually, it was Mr. Murphy who would get angry. The Murphys had 6 kids and lived two doors up. Many times around dinner we would get a call from Mr. Murphy asking us to run down to his house and "tell those damn kids to get off the phone!" (apparently he was trying to call Mrs. Murphy?))

One cool feature of Total Phone was the ability to get all your friends on the phone together. We figured out who of us had Total phone, then we'd call 1 person who didn't have it, and 1 who did. The one who did would call another friend who did, and etc. until we ran out of kids with Total Phone. Then all 6 or 8 or 10 of us would try to talk at once. Hilarious.

Last night, my sisters & 1 brother brought me right back to the 80's as we conference called each other. I had no idea my phone would still do that - apparently "Total Phone" is now standard. I was talking to my sister K, who had talked to Brother T. They hung up so Brother T could call Brother G & then get back to K. K called me, then T called back K on call waiting. She told him, "Hang up, we'll call you back." 5 minutes later and 10 failed attempts by K, I gave it a try and it worked. Then we realized we needed sister J on the phone. So Brother T tried it - we already ruled out K as a total failure. Oh My Goodness, that was pathetic. I am the baby of 5 and clearly the most technologically advanced, which is not saying much at all.

It went something like this:
T: What do I do?
ME: Hit flash, dial her number...
T: No no wait I have to write this down. Where's a pen. Damn that one doesn't work. Ok now I need paper. Yeah, this will do. Ok, What do I do?
ME: H-i-t Flaaaash
T: (writing) Flaaassh... (speaking) OK now what?
ME: Dial her number
T: What's her number? (she has lived in her house for 25 years!! Same number!!!)
ME: (tells him number)
T: ok then what?
ME: Hit flash
T: Do I have to wait until she picks up?
ME: (exasperated) NO! Just hit flash just like when you picked up your phone both K and I were on remember?
T: Oh yeah. Let me try this (mutters to himself "Flash, number, flash...")

Amazingly it worked. And I only pulled out a few hairs...

Very funny. I don't think we'll be trying that again. God Forbid I tell them about Skype or Oovoo!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Defining M.E.

This fall has brought bigger changes in my life than the fall 3 years ago when Ex moved out. This fall, my identity left. And I didn't know who I was. I'm still figuring that out, but finally realizing why I was feeling this was has gone a long way to healing me.

Thanks Captain.

Yes, you're right, the Captain and I have officially taken a break, but of course I still talk to him and he sends me the most amazing and insightful emails. And he suggested something last week that I have been mulling over. And like Charlie Brown shouts out in his Christmas Special, "THAT'S IT!!" I have had a revelation.

No laughing now when you see how obvious it probably is.

For 18 years I have been a mom. OK I've been a wife, a law student, a business owner, a lawyer, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a cousin, a friend. But first and foremost and above all else, I have been a mom.

I know how to do mom. I'm good at mom. At least I'm good at "full time mom." This far-away mom stuff? Not so good. I'm the kind of mom who bakes 125 cupcakes for the twin birthday - two classrooms, soccer practice, Brownie party, football practice. Yes one birthday they had ALL those things on their birthday and they wanted cupcakes for every event, so I baked. A lot. It was fun! And they were happy. We still laugh about that day and the cupcakes that were everywhere. I went to every game I could (which was almost every game). I volunteered in the classroom when certain teachers asked for such things. I went on field trips when the kids wanted me to. I played games in the backyard. I played video games, board games, taught them to sing & dance. I was involved. I tried hard not to be "that parent": the one who interferes. I made them stand up for themselves, sort out their problems with teachers, take responsibility for their actions. But I was always there for them.

Now they are gone. And along with all the things they took to college - their computers, posters, cds, bedding, shoes, and pjs - they seem to have taken my identity. I have been so focused on the kids, particularly this past year when I knew it was the last year, that I kind of forgot about me. All the sudden I have lots of free time and energy, yet I am so unfocused. I flit from thing to thing, from place to place in my head. Yet every day I keep searching for that elusive something.

Tuesday night, while I was home with the kids, cooking, laughing, joking, genuinely having a blast, the house full of their old friends, the feeling of overwhelming happiness, safety, contentment came over me. And then it hit me. The things the Captain said came back to me. He suggested that perhaps I have been so focused on the kids, I never truly dealt with my feelings about Ex, about the Captain, about my career, about my life. And now with the noise and bustle and chaos of the children gone, I am left with the quiet and the question, "What happened to me, Who am I now, and who do I want to be when I grow up?" Those are tough questions that I wasn't necessarily ready to face.

I think now I am ready to face them. Maybe that's what the bluster was about the day I proudly (prematurely) declared I was going to Take Back My Life. I was catching a glimpse of it, but only just figuring out where I really need to go.

I'm not really much closer to that goal today than I was that day. But I think now I understand some of the angst I am feeling inside. I'm still not ready for a relationship. I am taking baby steps trying to figure out M.E. But at least I feel like I have some direction, some sense of what it is I'm trying so hard to figure out.

Yeah, I know, OBVIOUS! But sometimes when you're in it, it's hard to see it. Like seeing the forest through the trees.....

Friday, November 19, 2010

Where Personalities Clash

I have teenagers - twins in college - and therefore it should come as no surprise there is a communication gap.

My difficulty lies in the fact that because I do NOT have a communication gap with Daughter, I feel slighted by Son. Instead of looking at the glass 1/2 full, I seem to be feeling the glass is 1/2 empty.

My head tells me my relationship with my Son is probably the "normal" one, and my relationship with my Daughter is just a crazy gift.

I suppose if I were still married that would be easier to swallow. Instead, I wonder. Does Son talk to Dad? Would he rather be with Dad than me? Does he complain to Dad about me the way Daughter complains to me about Dad? The secret stalker in me is dying to know.

OK the answer is obvious probably. I do try to keep communication open with the Son. I text him, call him, email him (not obsessively but enough once or twice a week to let him know I'm alive. And if he calls, no matter what time, I ALWAYS take the call, even if it means hanging up on a client). He is coming home tonight from college for Thanksgiving break. Es is picking him up this time (I picked him up from fall break). Part of me is sad about that - Ex arranged a ride through someone he knows at work. Ex has lots of connections to Son because it's Ex's alma mater. I can't help but feeling that Ex is smuggly content in his "leg up" on me. He refuses to communicate with me about anything. He has made lots of trips down to see Son this fall and I think he must have connections that get him hotel rooms in a town where you have to book at LEAST a year in advance on football weekends. He has lots of ticket connections, too, I think. I know he makes nasty references about me when I am not around. And so, I let the stress of a relationship with my Son - a normal stress for any parent of any college teen - be compounded by the interference (perceived or actual, who knows?) of the Ex.

I made some definite plans with Son to do things on Sunday. I let him know that he is free to bounce between houses but that I need to know if he's planning on being here because I care that he is safe. I let him know that he's spending Thanksgiving with Dad and that Mom would like to spend time with him, too. Not all his time - he wants to see friends and do stuff. But Mom wants to Do Stuff, too. Ya know?

My head gets it. The Heart is the one that needs some convincing.

Edited to add: Thanks to all for the comments and to Mom for calling me up personally. You are all right (well except for that last "Anonymous" one who is too chicken to give a name and too shallow to know what this blog is about.) I think most of this was angst over my current personal situation with the Captain and some things I have come to realize, along with the incredible and overwhelming love I have for the kids and the desire to be what they need me to be that is best for them. As it turns out, Son and I had an AWESOME weekend, a great day Sunday, and he has been in and out a lot thus far over break. He went with me Tuesday to pick up Daughter. He is an amazing child. I know he does love me. I underestimated him, too, about Thanksgiving. He said to me the other night, "I want to spend some time here because I'll be with Dad on Thanksgiving." My Dear, Sweet Boy. Amazing.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dealing with the Hater

Ex still hates me, will always hate me, has a twisted version of the past and sent me a long letter a couple years ago about why he hates me. Actually, I understand his misperception and his feelings. I didn't say I agree with them, but I understand them.

So what's the problem?

Daughter is royally PO'd at her father for his hatred. She is hurt. She wanted me to go to Thanksgiving with them - and I would have been invited by my former Sister-in-Law, but Ex graciously said I could "celebrate another day." Daughter knows this. Daughter is angry, confused, hurt, annoyed, and feeling uncomfortable.

My challenge is dealing with all these feelings in the best interests of my kids. Part of me wants to scream out, "He is a JERK! An unfeeling, ego-centric, maniacal, narrow-minded BASTARD and you should hate him!" no no no no no that would be very bad for Daughter. And for me.

Instead I keep telling Daughter that Ex loves her and that's all that matters. Lately I had to swallow an even bigger one. When talking about Thanksgiving with Daughter, I said, "I understand Ex. I understand who he is, how he feels, and the way he is about relationships. I know that once he makes up his mind about someone, he will cut them off forever and never forgive them. That is just the way he is. You can't change that. I can't change that. So you have to accept that he's got it in his mind that I did something evil to him, and right or wrong, that's where he is. We will never be friends. He will never want me in the same room with him."

Daughter didn't like that answer. But it's the truth. I have prayed for him to have an epiphany for years. It ain't gonna happen...

Then I jokingly threw out there, "Maybe he thinks you're going to have two weddings?!" To which Daughter angrily replied, "NO F*ING WAY - UNLESS HE'S GOING TO PAY FOR BOTH OF THEM."

I think I'm taking the right path with this. She needs to love him, warts and all. Even if he didn't get her anything for her birthday....(I told her he didn't get her anything "yet" - he's a late kind of birthday-gift-buyer). She has to come to her own Truth about him, without my jaded opinions. I do try to give her strategies for dealing with him. E.G.: she says he never remembers anything she tells him and therefore he doesn't care. I tell her he has short term memory issues and therefore she needs to email/text him every little thing so that he can remember it.

He's not a terrible person. I think she needs him in her life. And I think as her mom I need to encourage what I think is best for her -and what's best is to love her Dad and try to improve that relationship.

Sometimes I wish I were that horrible, selfish, self-centered Biotch he thinks I am, because then I could really have some fun with this....

Monday, November 15, 2010

One Dilemma Solved

Thanksgiving Issue: Not an issue.

One of my friends who had previously invited me to Thanksgiving called me this weekend and said, "No Really I meant it - please come. You'd probably be the only one to help me anyway! No one else cooks!" This friend is a good friend, her daughter is my daughter's best friend. Honestly I had two major hesitations on accepting: 1) would Daughter feel weird that I was with her friend and not her? and 2) would I freak out upon being with this awesome, extended family (many of whom I already know) and think about my own family and turn into a blubbering idiot? [yes that could really happen. I'm a sap. S-A-P].

I talked to Daughter this weekend about the offer. She is royally P-O'd with her Dad. She sees no reason why I can't just spend the holidays with his family (yes I was going to be invited until he told his sister, "She can celebrate Thanksgiving some other day!"). I told Daughter that I understand Ex and that he will never forgive whatever perceived wrong I have done. Leave it at that. Daughter thinks me celebrating with this particular family is an awesome idea. She said, "I know you'll have fun! They are awesome. You should go." I think, as many have pointed out, she'd be more upset if I were home than if I were with her friend's family.

Why no I did not ask Son about this. The lovely yet ego-centric child has not given 2 seconds of thought to "what is mom doing on Thanksgiving?" That's ok. It's who he is right now and I know he loves me in his way.

And point number 2 about freaking out? I decided to be totally honest with my friend and shared my concerns. She said she understands but that I will feel like part of the family - heck in some ways they have made me so over the last couple of years. It's going to be a tough Thanksgiving for them - her very dear friend and neighbor passed away recently and she's having the friends' family over. I think she's counting on me for some support and comic relief. If I can be there to help cook, clean and crack some jokes, then maybe she needs me just a little bit, too. Being a Friend in return - that I know how to do.

Thanks to all of you near and far for your offers of places to go. The reason I don't want to leave the area is the kids are only home for a few days, and I don't want to miss that. I am hoping to hang out with them Wednesday and Friday, so I need to stay close to home.
Thanksgiving - no longer an issue.

Wow I am so silly sometimes!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Missing in Action - Again

Sometimes I get all good at the almost daily blogging thing, other times I get distracted. Obviously I have been distracted of late. Life is changing, throwing challenges and I'm just not sure how it all fits in. So I work hardly and on the weekends I play very hard to avoid decisions that must be made.

And then sometimes someone very close to you (niece) gets very sick and you are beside yourself. But then by the grace of God they get better and it's all good again.

It's been that kind of two weeks. All is well on the health front we think. But on the ME front? Not so good. And it should be good - I have a great job, got a great evaluation the other day, love the people I work with, have a kick butt family.

But something is missing.

or someone.

And as much as I am sure I need to be "not in a relationship" right now, that doesn't stop me from missing someone all the time. And I can't drag myself out of this funk.

It's only been 6 weeks. We dated for nearly 3 years. Yes, right after Ex moved out, the Captain came along and moved into my life. We still talk to each other (is that good or bad? I don't know? I think it's good?). We haven't seen each other since Labor Day. No plans to see each other ever again, although I think we both think that someday we will see each other again. But not until next year...

Last week I got a phone call from someone in Florida with a job opportunity. It was so thrilling and exciting and nerve-wracking all at the same time. Unfortunately they haven't called back so I'm thinking I wasn't the right fit (and probably I wasn't). But it awakened in me the reality that I really do hate being cold and I really want to move to Florida. It just seems like a gigantic undertaking to make that happen. And a scary undertaking because have I mentioned I have a great job and work with great people and I have a mortgage to pay and kids to put through college?? And no my firm won't move me to Florida. We've already talked about that.

Sooooo I wallow in my indecisiveness, wondering what to do with myself. I'm still missing the kids, not looking forward to the holidays. I decided, for various reasons, that it's in the kids' best interests to be with the Ex's family for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. I'll be with my family on Christmas day, which I'm excited about, but I haven't yet decided what to do on Thanksgiving day (my family is too far away). Yes I've had offers because people rock, but I just don't want to be with someone else's family, you know?

And so the blogging goes on only in my head....

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Stop Look & Listen

Today I finally made it back to church. Yet another step in Taking Back My Life. My church does studies in a series. Ironically, they've been doing "relationships" this month. And yet I've missed most of this month.

Today it was about "giving the gift of Presence." In other words - really being there with a friend when you're talking to that friend. It was a powerful message. The speaker (not our pastor - sometimes the Pastor turns the mic over to someone else for a message....) went through the bible and called out passages that highlighted times when Jesus/God "sees us." We also watched a clip from the Joy Luck Club where the mother says to the daughter, "I see you."

The message was powerful - and we even practiced talking to someone, doing active listening, and saying, "I see you."

Truly seeing someone - being in their presence - turning off your own "inner song" and hearing what they are saying - how hard is that sometimes? But today, he made it seem so easy if we just follow the three simple steps.

STOP -just stop whatever you are doing. Stop focusing inward. Just. Stop.
LOOK - face another person. Look them in the eye. SEE THEM.
LISTEN - Practice active listening, "So what I hear you saying is this...." or "It seems like when that happened you felt...."

Give another human being the Gift Of Presence - the gift of truly being in the moment.

Such a simple idea, and yet so hard to do sometimes. This week, I am practicing Giving the Gift of Presence. Because everyone needs to know that God Loves Us - just the way we are. Always.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Because You Love Me

Women report all kinds of relationships with their moms: good, bad, ugly, pretty, manipulative, condemning, happy, sad.

I am blessed. I have the best mom in the whole world. I've said this before. But on Sunday, driving home from a great weekend with friends, this song came on the radio, and there I was,
crying again, thinking about how blessed I am to have the best mom in the universe.

This song sums it all up for me. Right now I am challenging myself to be a better version of myself. And I know that my mom is there for me, cheering me on. I wish I could get home more to be with her. I'm more than a little bit jealous of my siblings who live around the corner from mom and dad. So just because - not a birthday, not mother's day or a holiday - but just because I'm blessed, here is the ultimate song that reminds me how awesome, rock solid, amazing, caring and loving my mom is. And how lucky I am to have her.

Here's one for you mom. Thanks for being there for me, always. Love you.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Today They Are Adults

Sigh today I am officially the parent of adults. But they will always be my babies.....

Happy Birthday to the Best Kids in the Universe! Love, Mom

Monday, October 25, 2010

Stop Telling Me What To Do

Lately everyone seems to want to be my boss. And it's not going over so well.

The other day I was in the grocery store, zooming around trying to fit in shopping while running late for a game and preparing for a party later. You know, the regular "being a woman" stuff. I am careful when I'm in zoom mode not to cut people off, run them over or be rude. So I was zooming around people in the produce department and some old, slow man says to me, "Just take it easy and slow down." WTF? Did I say to you, "He pokey get the frick out of the way - try caffeine you might move faster than 0.0001 mph!!"

Getting gas, not wasting time. Some old dude says, "Take it easy there, just enjoy life." WTF getting gas is an enjoyable experience? Maybe I'd like to get gas and get out on the field where I can enjoy life. Did I tell you to get the frick out of the way and go home where you can't bother people? No I just smiled at you and muttered under my breath.

"Friends" are telling me not to be "hard" on myself. People are telling me who to date, what to think, where to go. Telling me what I "should" do, how I should do it, and at what speed I should proceed. I am not asking for advice. This is all unsolicited. What is it about a single woman that invites every Tom, Dick, Harry, Joe, Pete, Steve, Mike, Jeff and Marshall to think they need to give me direction? And yes the only people telling me what to do ARE MEN.

I have stopped smiling at them and nodding and keeping to myself. I have started firing back. "NO you know what I really need? To make my own decisions. To decide what's best for me. And I really don't like doing what you're suggesting. So I'm not doing it that way thank you very much."

Yeeesh what am I, wearing a sign that says, "Boss Me Around"? I thought I exuded a certain, "Don't Mess With Me Attitude." Apparently I need to work on that a little....

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Making Yourself Cry

Do you ever do really stupid things that you know are going to make you cry, but you do them anyway?

It's no secret (I hope) that I love my kids. I'm caught in this weird place where I am so happy for them that they are off at college, learning, experiencing things, loving life, but yet I miss them every single day so much it hurts. Of course I can't tell them that - when they call or text or Facebook chat or skype (I know, really, how can I miss them with all that going on?!) - I pretend all is just great with the world.

And then I hang up the phone, and do something stupid like pull out their scrapbook, or stalk their high school photos on Facebook, or listen to This Song. And I sit and cry.

I don't know why I do this to myself. I know I'm going to cry. My face is going to get blotchy. My nose will run. My eyes get red and puffy.

And yet? I can't stop myself.

Sometimes I think if I just cry and get it over with, then I'll get over it and feel better. But it never works. I just miss them more and now look as gross as I feel.

Am I a dork or what?!

That was a rhetorical question Big Bro' and Jo...you needn't answer out loud.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The One About the Captain

Once upon a time I married a man who turned out not to be such a great choice for me. He didn't speak to me, didn't treat me with respect, didn't love me, didn't like me. So 20 years later I finally got up the nerve to give him the divorce he asked for ...11 years earlier.

About that same time, I met a man who clearly was not real but had to be from a Fairy Tale. He was easy going, non-judgmental, wise, caring, loving, funny, adorable, handsome, handy, smart, creative, and he liked me for me, not who he thought I could be some day.

One day I woke up after spending a couple years flying around the country to catch glimpses of this Fairy Tale Man and began to wonder if it was all really true or if perhaps it was a Fairy Tale. I realized that for most of my life and definitely all of my adult life, I have fitted myself into another person's (Man's) life and taken on his life as mine.

One day I woke up and wondered what it would be like just to live my life. To figure out my goals, to manage my job, to tend to my kids, to deal with my own stress and triumphs and losses, without leaning on another human being (Man) to help me cope.

Because I began to wonder what I was really made of, what really mattered to me, and what I might truly want out of my life.

And so I told the Fairy Tale Man that I needed to let him go for a little while. Maybe even forever.

At first Fairy Tale Man was not happy with me. He did not understand, because he never pushed his life on me, or made me do things I didn't want to, or judged me. He just listened. A lot. And talked to me. A lot. And shared things with me. Always.

But then, because he is the amazing Fairy Tale Man, he managed to put himself in my shoes, feel my feelings, and totally understood why I needed to be by myself for a while. or maybe forever.

Which naturally made me think I was completely losing it, losing him, losing my mind, and taking a stupid, stupid step.

But I did it anyway.

And so, as part of Taking Back My Life, I am going it alone. For at least a little while. Although Fairy Tale Man manages to keep in touch in the most caring ways. And I manage to call him. A Lot. And he always answers. Because first and foremost, He is my Friend. I hope I am fortunate enough to always have him as my Friend. Even though I do not deserve that.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Heh, I THOUGHT I was taking back my life!

Well well well, didn't I go and get all ahead of myself with taking back my life?!

Dr said: Fractured ribs. No exercise for a month. WTH?! How am I supposed to lose 15 pounds?

So that made me just want a glass of wine and a large plate of cheese fries.

Instead I had sauted shrimp & garlic and a mug or 3 of peppermint tea. And a handful of vitamins (glucosamine, B, calcium, E....one of those is bound to speed the healing process???)

So maybe I took back a little of my life....

Sigh...One Day At A Time.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Taking Back My Life

For the past few years I have given the impression of being Large and In Charge. In reality I feel like I have been riding a wild roller coaster with no one at the controls.

On Sunday I enjoyed a glorious 3 hour ride through the hills of Virginia on my way to see Son play in a college Rugby Match. (insert gratuitous photo here....)

I had a lot of time to think, to watch the foliage, to count my blessings and tally up my faults. And I found the resolve to take back my life.

For months/years I have talked about fixing up/selling the house, making a career move, getting in shape, quitting bad habits, getting back on the spiritual path. But I couldn't get out of my own way or wouldn't take the resolve to dig out from kids, job, house, cleaning, relationships.

Somehow in the breeze of the fall day, I found the resolve to make the change.

Today I called the Dr. to deal with my bruised (?) rib from my game a week ago - no more letting medical issues run amok. I'm taking charge.

I packed a salad and drank water instead of diet coke. (I kicked the diet coke habit 2 months ago but was backsliding this weekend).

I put away the Margarita maker until I lose 15 pounds.

I started my day with prayers and made a plan to address my spiritual starvation. And I prayed for the strength not to let my aggravation with a certain coworker color my day any more.

I made a to-do list for work, got up early and hit the office before 8am.

I had a talk with the Boss about a game plan for work.

I made plans for next weekend with a list of home improvement items to tackle.

Day 1 and counting. One Day at a time.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Memories Amid the Rubble

Two Mismatched Earrings in the Bathroom.

Wet Towels on the Bed.

One Piece of Pumpkin bread and 1/2 a serving of Chicken Marsala.

The oily plate with crumbs from Tortilla Espanola.

Shoes in the Kitchen.

flip flops everywhere.

The playing cards out on the counter.

Trundle Bed pulled out.

Wires where the XBOX was.

Dirty Clothes you don't need before Thanksgiving.

Ooops what's that - a cell phone?

Going from room to room, picking up the pieces the two of you left behind. If I listen I can almost hear the ruckus of you and your friends, singing, dancing, teasing, telling jokes, playing games, making me laugh. This looks nothing like it did Thursday night before your arrival when freshly baked favorites awaited your arrival, everything vacuumed, cleaned and polished. (And yes, you noticed!!) Now it's Tuesday and you've both left - one in a car, one on a plane. I know you'll be back in 5 weeks, but the silence? It's deafening....

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Monday, October 4, 2010

Balancing Act

The kids are in college - they are adults and yet, they are my babies.

Still trying to find that middle ground where it all balances out. I am working on it, yet I can't seem to find it. Have you found it?

For example, I went to see Daughter at school for Parents' Weekend. We had so much fun. It was great to see her in her environment - walking down the street calling out to pals, shopping and finding things for her, talking about her dorm, boys, food, parties. Parties. Listening as she shared with me in honesty what she was doing on the weekends. Trying hard to find the Balance - not condoning but not condemning. So hard to find that middle ground.

Then meeting the Boyfriend. He is sweet. He is well mannered. He is spiritual and thoughtful. He has a few (physical) characteristics I find unusual, but my Daughter accepts him. So I keep my mouth shut and find the Balance.

Son finally calls me -it has been over a week. I know something is up, but he hasn't told me. Finally he tells me - he dropped a class. A required class. I pause and swallow my instant response, "WHAT THE F* R U THINKING?" And chill out to the point where I can ask him, "Did you consult your advisors? Did you evaluate what this means for next semester? Do you have a plan to attack this subject differently next time?" Turns out he didn't ask me OR Dad before dropping - he just dropped. And he hasn't told Dad yet. Striking the balance - I am paying the bills, he must do the work. Wondering if he thinks I am condoning this? Or does he get it that this is so not cool?

Striking the balance. Letting go while still holding on.

And I still miss them so much, every day, I would give anything to have that Do Over.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Have you Ever...??

So have you ever gone to a conference and gone out dancing at a party thrown by a company in your industry where there's an open bar and lots of drinking and dancing? And you are hanging with a woman/potential client who, incredibly, doesn't like dancing so when she calls for SHOTS you do some with her anyway even though you never do them because you are a lightweight? And then you start dancing and entertaining her and end up dancing with an adorable gentleman who you realize is incredibly fit, particularly for his age ? And then he tells you he owns a fitness company and so yeah he has rock hard abs? And so you decide to do a little claim substantiation on the dance floor? But then you forget to get his name and really you wouldn't have remembered it anyway? And so the next day you're at your booth and wondering if you really had that conversation on the dance floor and figuring out of 3700 people you'll never see him anyway when all the sudden he appears at your booth? Or maybe it's him because you're not really sure and now he's in a gorgeous suit and appears slightly older than you remember in your haze (which is, thankfully, older than you are) - and he smiles that "I have met you smile" from across the booth....and starts talking to your Boss Man whom he obviously has known for a really long time?? And then it turns out 1) yes it is the same guy and 2) he's pretty famous and on TV and has trained lots of other famous physically fit people but apparently because you never watch TV you are the only human being on the planet who has no idea who he is?

Yeah, me neither.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Trying this again - it posted without my list! Ooops....

Even though I am a pathetic blogger lately, Lovely Katy still thinks I'm Versatile! Not sure what that means....my writing has no rhyme or reason? Yep that's true.... I'm totally A.D.D.? absolutely. I can juggle and hulahoop simultaneously? Yes Indeed I can....

Here are the rules:

Acknowledge and thank and link back to the award - bestower

Post 7 things about you your blog-readers might not know.

Pass the award on

Post the award on your blog.

7 things you might not know....hmmmm

1. I PASSED THE FLORIDA BAR (no "finallys" from the peanut gallery

please). I still have some pesky administrative stuff to do to get admitted, but baby, I'm In.

2. I am the wimpiest sick person ever. I hate being sick and when I'm sick everyone knows it and has to feel sorry for me.

3. I sometimes fall asleep blogging - because I'm blogging when I should be sleeping NOT because blogging is boring!

4. When I was little I thought TV shows came from random video taping of everyone's lives (who knew I was on to a huge money making hit?) and so I used to have running *witty* conversations with myself when alone, just in case the cameras were taping. The thought of them taping me in the bathroom weirded me out, so I tried to be extra witty in there....To this day, I find myself talking to myself in the bathroom. It's embarrassing when I catch myself doing it at work!

5. I hate it when people touch my nose.

6. I hate being home alone in the house at night and leave lights on everywhere.

7. I don't know what color my hair "really" is. Probably something in the brown family?!

As for nominating you versatile bloggers, you are all versatile and I think the few people left reading me have otherwise been named. If not, grab the badge and go!!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Apparently, I did something Right

Friday in the mail I received perhaps one of the sweetest, most thoughtful, most important gifts of my life: a letter from my daughter.

She wrote me a poem about the things I mean to her and have done for her. She included an envelope decorated with her poem. The last line of the poem said, "Thank you for....." with instructions that if I ever doubted that I am "the best," I am to reach inside and grab a reminder.

Inside are many (a hundred? more?) little strips of paper that say things like, "For setting the microwave timer for 30 minutes." [that's how long they had to practice piano, whether they wanted to or not. They both LOVE to play now and are thankful for my dictatorship on that point.] Some points are recent memories, "For the multiple trips to Target to make sure my dorm room is just right." Others are distant memories or things I had even forgotten. There are general ones and specific ones, funny ones and thoughtful ones. I have resisted the urge to sit down and read them all at once. Instead I will attempt to savor her gift and reach in the bag when I'm feeling less than my best.

And of course I'll only reach in when it's safe to cry. Because this gift? Brings tears to my eyes.

Apparently, I did something right. And I give all the credit to God for the wonderful gift that is her. I know I don't deserve her, but I do thank Him for her (and my Son) every day of my life.

Oh and? I'm totally stealing this idea....

FYI this wasn't a random mailing - it was part of my birthday gift.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


This Blogger has officially been Buried.....under an avalanche of work commonly known as the "back to school = back to court" lifestyle of the litigator. No I do not know why litigation is cyclical. Judges are back in the courtrooms, people are ready to sue. Stranger than fiction.

So Buffett pictures are coming, school updates are coming, life updates are coming.

As soon as I unbury myself......

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Someone's Going to Buffett

Lest you think I am all crafty-talented and such crap, let me assure you I AM NOT. My college roommate brought me a Law School Grad gift where she took one of those GIANT martini glasses and decked it out for Buffett. I have stolen her idea, violated her copyright privileges (heh, I know a good lawyer who can defend me) and made a few for my friends. The Captain graciously agreed to help me so that they came out looking somewhat awesome. (He freakin' SEWS people - no end to his talents!)

The one with the Shark is my Original - except we lost the Parrot a few years ago. Yes we really do drink out of these at the Parking Lot Tailgate. One drink is usually enough, or so it seems... (Yes you need a straw and I have awesome straws, too, of course).

MAJOR league burn on index finger. Hot glue guns and Rum might not be a good combination...

Jimmy Buffett here we come!!!!!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Refrigerator Papers have Been Replaced By Web Papers

Remember when we were kids - if you did something really well you got a "refrigerator paper" and it got hung up for all to see. With 5 kids in the house, that was quite the reward winning some real estate on the precious Fridge.

My parents still post Refrigerator Papers - these days it's a good medical report. No I'm not kidding.

I still have some of my kids' best work on my Refrigerator - a valentine they made me in Sunday School (yes in 2010...we were teaching Sunday School together!); a poem they wrote me for Mother's day in 2009.

This week I got two awesome phone calls/emails, 1 from Daughter, 1 from Son. Daughter had to read something by Aristotle then write something. Apparently the Teacher posts the reading on Wordpress and the kids respond, then they all read them and the teacher might comment. This week she only commented on ONE paper. Why yes you are RIGHT she left Daughter this comment: "Awesome!" And as a totally unbiased, neutral party, I will say there's a reason Daughter got that comment. Because while the rest of the kids were trying to figure out what Aristotle was saying (some wrote their papers on the fact that he is "outdated" and "Makes no sense," Daughter dissected it and made it understandable. God Bless her High School AP Teacher!!!!

Then Son called last night - seems in his class of 600 (600 in one classroom is why I sometimes fear his choice of school....) he submitted a slide for his Astronomy class. Kids can submit some interesting topic and the teacher chooses a few and puts them up. Sometimes they go up anonymously. Yesterday the teacher put two up anon and then said, "After this one by AU. H. no one else will want to go..." and proceeded to show Son's awesome slide on some topic he happened to notice in the Wall Street Journal that day. (I did not KNOW my son even ever HEARD of the WSJ, never mind reads it daily!!) Son was thrilled to have been called out by name and apparently received many texts from Classmates about his "awesome" slide. (I think it's an electronic slide b/c Son said something about including a video and something else he prepared). I am amazed on numerous levels here 1) He Chose to Do the Extra Credit when he's Not Even Failing! 2) He did the assignment with Zeal 3) He called his Mama to tell her about it 4) He enriches himself not just with Volleyball and Rugby [He made the Rugby team this week, too!!!] but with the WSJ!!!

They are far away, but they are where they should be. 2 weeks in and still bringing home Refrigerator Papers. I'm done bragging now. For today.... thanks for indulging me.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Secret Men Keep

I've mentioned this once before, but Men are keeping a big secret from us. And I'm hear to blow their cover.

For years I stayed in the house, vacuuming, dusting, cleaning bathrooms, while Ex handled the "outside work," under the guise of "you stay inside where it's cool while I slave outside in the heat." Now I admit, I have a great vacuum, and love it almost as much as Suzy loves hers. (OK I can't find the hilarious post about her new vacuum - you'll just have to read all her funny stuff and find it!)

But nothing, oh no nothing, that I have for inside cleaning compares to the Power Tools Men Have.

They claim this is Work?? Are you kidding me? Saturday I bought myself a chain saw and tackled the tree that had fallen in my backyard weeks ago. Son was supposed to clean it up before he left, but didn't have time. So I researched, asked advice, bought the tools and cut the sucker down myself. It was so empowering! So awesome! FUN. Take that Power Tool and whack through a giant tree trunk like it's PAPER. Powerful. And no I didn't cut any of my own body parts off. Didn't even come close. (Not like when Ex was trying to cut down a tree, fell off the ladder with Chain Saw Running, fell 20 feet onto a split rail fence, which he split in 2 with his own girth, and then refused to go to the hospital.....)

Then there's the lawn. Fire up my new Toro Lawnmower - the one I bought myself to replace the pain in the a$$ mower Ex left me that you need to mix oil and gas. 2 cycle blah blah engine blah mix stuff blah. Nope my Toro you just dump in the gas and GO. Self propelled. Mulching (bagging is so passe). Do you have any idea how many calories you burn when you push mow 1/2 acre?? 374 calories an hour!! Calories burned vacuuming for an hour? 208. bah. Plus you get to be OUTSIDE in the SUN soaking up Vitamin D!

And my personal favorite - the Leaf Blower. Strap that sucker on to your back, fire it up, and blow the hell out of leaves, sticks, grass clippings. And voila! A clean back patio. Clean driveway. So much more satisfying than dusting where you have to pick up every knickknack and then vacuum afterwards.

Yes Ladies, don't be fooled by your Man. Tell him HE can do the housework. Grab those power tools and start having FUN!

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Momentus Move

She packed her bags last night pre flight...zero hour nine am...(that's elton john for you who are lost)

Last first day of school photo or something like that...hugging the doggies goodbye....

Many hours later, arriving at school number 1.. in the rain
Au takes charge and starts unpacking

Getting the loft in place and all the pieces put together....

saying goodbye and trying not to cry

And now college #2.....what a nice bed!

Psyche this is the boss's house at the beach...

the little room overlooking the marsh........

a long day of travel means we need to relax at the beach...so warm like bath water

alas time to move in..."Mom stop taking photos and carry the stuff!!"

Here's my door - can I open it....

We've dumped the stuff...now to organize it...

Sammy is the best friend ever - drove 1400 miles and moved us both in~!

Last hug for a couple months....have fun baby!!!!!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Calling a Do Over

When we were kids we played tons of games. we had neighborhood baseball teams (no coach just kids), played soccer, bike races, you name it. When something was too close to call, we simply called for a "do-over." Or sometimes someone wasn't quite ready and called a do over. You couldn't abuse it or you were ignored. But most of us chose wisely and saved it for a really important moment.

I'd like to call a do-over.

Now lest you think I'm a whiner I'd like to say this is the first "do over" call in 18 years. For the record I have embraced every milestone, every accomplishment, every new school, new teacher, new friend.

But I'm just not ready to let go.

So I'd like a do over. Not the whole 18 years. Just the last one. That senior year was awesome.

So God, I'm calling a Do-over. Please?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Letting Go

No words needed. Get the tissues before you hit play.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Who Knew Cheap Toilet Paper Had a Purpose?

I hate cheap toilet paper. I hate going potty at work or anywhere that has cheap toilet paper. I thought companies bought cheap toilet paper because they were, well, CHEAP.

I never understood why grocery stores sold cheap toilet paper. Who bought that stuff? And Why? My butt hurt just thinking about buying cheap toilet paper.

Until The Other Day. Now I am ENLIGHTENED.

The Other Day my basement had a minor flood. It would have been a major flood but I got lucky and made a trip to the basement right after my shower and saw the water coming up through the floor in the overflow drain. HUH?

I suspected the main sewer pipe might be backed up, so I had Son go upstairs and flush the [clean] toilet. Sure enough, water came bubbling up through the floor drain.

HElllllooooo RotoSewerCostMe$600andmyleg Company. They came out quickly, unplugged the drain, sent out two sweet 40-something camera men to snake a camera down my pipe (sounds kind of...well, you know. My mom reads this and so I have to stop right there)...and show me how my sewer pipe just might do this again.

One nice cute RotoCamera man said, "So what kind of toilet paper do you use?" Hell of a pickup line. But I had such a high class answer! "Why Charmin of course honey." And what does he say? "Oh no honey, that's a plumber's dream. Keeps me in business. You need to buy yourself that cheap stuff. The big, fat, soft fluffy stuff doesn't dissolve in the pipes which causes these backups. Better get yourself some recycled thin stuff."

Please tell me he was kidding.

Nope, he was not. He said if I didn't switch, I just might have to spend $7,000 to get new pipes laid (something about my 40 year old pipes being all gnarly on the inside and snaggy and catching the not-quite-dissolved paper. Quite frankly it all sounded a little too personal and I just might resemble some of those comments....)

Anywhoooo, next trip to grocery store, I dutifully went to the TP aisle and bought, gasp, the Store Brand. And put it in the Kids' bathroom. The Good Stuff will stay in my bathroom where I can use it, throw it in the trash can, and take the can outside every night. Totally worth the trip.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Fragile Teens

They walk like kings and queens, relishing their soon-to-be freedom. They soak up the compliments on their achievements, seemingly ready to conquer their new school, make new friends, climb to the top of the hill again. They make friends quickly at orientation, figure out how to switch classes before I have even figured out how to read their schedule, confidently take you across the maze of campus to the next session, whiz through BB&B choosing sheets, comforters, message boards, organizational tools. You hold back the tears and the sadness and embrace their new selves. You cheer them on and hope you don't miss them too much.

Until they stand in the kitchen at midnight, crying and telling you how much college is going to suck. How they don't want to leave their friends, their past, their buddies. How they cannot possibly face these challenging new classes, live in a 12 x 12 "cage" and succeed at anything. It is all overwhelming.

And you want to shrink them down to a 5YO size, put them in your lap, cuddle them like you did before they went off to kindergarten, and tell them that it will all be ok. And you'll always be here for them. That life is full of choices and this is but one. If it works out, it will be great. And if this choice doesn't work out, another will come along, and that will be great.

Instead you hug them, cry with them, point out the benefits of going to college now with Facebook and Skyping and cell phones, not like I did, I had to WRITE SNAIL MAIL every single day to my best friend. I couldn't afford to call him. [this was unfathomable to the Teen] And I missed him like someone had cut off my right hand. But I did make new friends - friends I have kept for 25 years, even after moving around the world and back. You try to explain that their life is a big pot of mixing in ingredients, simmering the old, adding the new, making this great creation, growing this wonderful person. You admit it is scary and a little bit sad, but mostly an awesome opportunity.

And you send them to bed with hugs and reassurances, and then cry yourself to sleep wondering if you have done the right thing, given them the right tools, loved them enough so that they will know they can ALWAYS come home to Mama.

Friday, July 30, 2010


It has been a hot summer. No silly not hawt. Just H-O-T.

I love H-O-T. OK I love hawt, too, but that's another post.

After a few days of 100+ degrees, I got used to it.

After a few weeks of 100+ degrees and 99% humidity, I awoke to temps in the 70's. I got in my convertible...and turned on the heated seats.

Oh yes I did. Really. It was 76 degrees and I was freezing. I put the "Just In Case" sweatshirt back in the car, too.

Any questions remaining on why I need to move to Florida?!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Trip

I just spent 48 hours with the Ex. We went to dinner and out drinking together. We spent the night together alone in a hotel room. Yes you read that right.

No you didn't miss any posts. Our "relationship" remains pretty much as it was.

So what could possess him to spend so much time with me?

Son is going to college and it was freshman orientation. Son's college is 5 or so hours away. We both agreed it would be stupid to drive 2 cars. Then he suggested - yes him - that it would be wasteful to get 2 rooms. Money is tight + we're facing double college, so I agreed. Call me desperate for civility.

The week leading up to the trip was frustrating to say the least. The day before we left he finally sent me an email about the trip + wanted to leave around 3. I told him I had a hearing at 2 and likely couldn't go til later but wasn't sure. I offered to call/text when I got out, but he said no. So when my hearing was a mere 20 minutes and I got home by 3:30 he was still an hour away at his job. He didn't think I'd be home then. Oh well. He doesn't want to communicate, I won't.

So we weren't starting well.

I sat in the back of his little BMW, silently reading and working.

Son stayed with us in the hotel the first night, a buffer. We were polite.

The next morning we went to school. I had been apprehensive about Son's choice. Tech is HUGE. Too big for Son, even if he is in the honors program with "only" 500 kids. But orientation changed all that. The meetings were multimedia extravaganzas. The school is totally organized, offers more assistance and services than I could ever fathom. The dean of the honors program is as human and approachable as he is brilliant. Wow.

Son was so excited - they pumped him up and then took him away. The honors program makes all decisions his, they talk to him, just telling us (separately) what they told him.

Thursday night we dropped Son off at the dorm at 5pm for the night and then...we were on our own.

Did I tell you this is Ex's Alma mater?

So Ex took me on a walking tour of the campus. I couldn't stop saying, "Wow! Awesome! Gorgeous!" The school is breathtaking, dynamic, fabulous. I hadn't been there in about 20 years, and I don't think I ever really had a tour. Ex was very accommodating, cheery, talkative, informative. It was so weird, but nice.

Then I realized we were not really talking. He was sharing his vast knowledge of the place, enjoying his walk through time. I told him I appreciated the tour and making me feel better about Son's choice. He said he was happy to do so. But any "conversation" beyond that didn't happen. I tried. Nope.

After the 2 hour walking tour in 95 degrees, we headed to the alumni house for a parent reception. We were early and headed to the bar for a rum drink (or two) on an empty stomach. I thought we would talk. Nope. Couldn't get him to toast the success of our Son without twisting his arm. Oh well the bartender and I shared rum knowledge. Ex seemed perplexed with my new-found rum knowledge.

Then we went to the reception. We ended up sitting with 2 dads also sending sons to school. We shared angst, laughs and drinks. Finally I realized we needed food, so we headed downtown for dinner.

We shared sushi for dinner. Sushi. In our 20 years of marriage we Never. Ate. Sushi. Turns out we both love it, both discovering that After the D. Of course he opted to sit at the bar and eat rather than share a table. And talked to the guy next to him not me. Again No Matter - I made my own fun with the bartender and some other folks.

Then we went for "one last drink" at The Famous College Bar. We shared a table with a guy we had met at dinner. Again we didn't have to talk. I tried a couple times. But really we stopped talking years ago. Decades even.

It was so weird to be with him in so many ways. Honestly I'm used to being with the Captain and we talk about everything all the time nonstop. Hard stuff, silly stuff, it's all out there. We hold hands everywhere and kiss at red lights. I briefly forgot Ex doesn't talk about anything. He walks 5 paces ahead of me. He does not answer questions. We never held hands while married. Kissing to him was an obligatory 30 second prelude to what he really wanted. I don't miss any of that. I did miss the Captain. It would have been so much more fun.

Throughout the trip Ex was mostly cordial, as was I. But there were times His True Self came through (as, I'm sure, did mine). When he belittled me, ignored my requests, refused to discuss something, I simply ignored him and did things my own way. I refused to take his crap. When we were married, in the interest of "making peace" I took his crap all the time. Now, I don't have to. I didn't fight with him - indeed we both don't care enough about each other to fight any more. (think about that). No, instead whatever conflict was at issue I handled my way, ignoring him. The funny thing was, when I did that, he put aside his nasty self and turned back to the funny, accommodating tour guide. (he can be very, very funny). I wonder if I had been more forthright in our marriage, refusing to take his crap then, if perhaps we would still be together? Oh well, we shall never know. But I doubt it. And I have NO regrets - well almost none. I wish my kids' parents were still married. But I'm glad I'm not married if that makes sense.

The best part of the trip was the happy feeling I got walking around campus, going through buildings, seeing dorms, touring food places, walking by the duck pond, standing on the war memorial overlooking the drill field - and "seeing" Son everywhere, feeling him growing, learning and becoming a wonderful man there. It truly is the right place for him. I didn't get that feeling last summer when we toured New England schools where he insisted he wanted to go. Even when he thought he wanted to go to my Alma mater (ironic no?) I wasn't sure. I just couldn't see him there.

But now, he is embracing his triple legacy (grandfather, father and now Son - and Great Uncle) and he is poised on the verge of greatness. And that is all that matters.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Angry Blogger

I thought the Angry Blogger was gone. After 3 years of separation/divorce, I figured it would just be...well, just Be.

How long can one person be a jerk to another?

Wait that was rhetorical. Obviously.

So that whole thing about not needing a blog because not needing to bitch about the big D? OK I lied.

Last Monday calling Daughter's health insurance to check coverage:

Me: her number is blah blah, id blah blah this is her mother.

Health Care: Sorry, she is no longer covered by us. Her coverage changed. You should have gotten a new card. You'll have to call Other Insurance Company.

ME: WTF???

ME: Call to Ex during work: "Can you talk a minute or is this a bad time?" [I always ask that question first Always.]

EX: This is fine.

ME: "I just tried to call Daugther's Dr but she has new coverage? AND YOU DIDN'T TELL ME? [angry but not yelling]

Ex: Well Maybe you should talk to your Daughter. [who is a MINOR]

ME: No maybe when my Minor Child has her insurance changed, one custodial 50% parent who is in charge of said health insurance should inform the other said 50% parent of an important change like a CHANGE TO HEALH INSURANCE.

dialtone - he is not on the phone. he hung up.

So I called him back. But he refused to answer. So I got Daughter out of bed and she bitched about it and I said, "Maybe if your father would talk to me instead of hanging up on me, I wouldn't need to wake you up. Sorry." [I never say stuff like that to them but now I. Am. Done.]

Then I emailed him - let him know he's childish and hurting his Daughter, not me. Let him know if this had been an emergency it would have cost HIM a fortune for not telling ME about the health insurance.

Then he emails me back - claims he "had to take a call from a jobsite" and had to disconnect. Like he didn't really hang up on me? Who the F*** disconnects without a quick, "Hey gotta run" or something? No one. And I always ask if it's a good time - I know he's at work. I wouldn't even have called except I needed to talk to the Drs about her health issue. What. A Freakin' Jerk.

I have not attempted to communicate since. [Oh by the way, this was after ignoring at least 2 of my emails about paying for college. I had to resend them twice before he "responded" and then he never truly responded. Apparently we are not going to discuss the mutual funds and college savings plans and decide together how to go about paying for college.]

Today Son said, "So how are you, dad and me getting to orientation at my College Wednesday?"

ME: I don't know - your dad will not speak to me. So I am not going to bother him at work. If he doesn't call me, you and I will get in the car Wednesday night and go. I have the hotel room booked. [which Ex is supposed to share - another blog post all its own if I could even figure that out. His idea]

If he doesn't want to talk, then we won't talk. My kids do talk to me. I have computers. I am not stupid. I do not need him to help me figure out all this college stuff. It would be nice to do it together. But apparently he has yet to figure out two important things:
1) I do not need him. for anything. At all. ever.
2) When he's a jerk, it only hurts his kids. Not me. Oh he makes me angry, but moreso because he hurts his kids. And blames me.

I'm hoping by blogging, the Angry Blogger can crawl back under her Rock and the Happy Me can return.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Preparing for LiftOff

For the past two years my blogging has helped me to look at life, to vent, to examine, to get feedback, to achieve vindication. When I started blogging, my divorce was raw, fresh, and constantly on my mind. I blogged to give family and friends a break from the constant complaining and sent my venting on the world, where bloggers could read or skip.

Right now, though, something else is all consuming and constantly on my mind, but I cannot face it and so I have not blogged.

I can't think about it without crying (like I am doing right now).

My head tells me it's a good thing. My heart however breaks.

Millions of parents go through it every year. It's a part of life.

It still breaks my heart.

Yes we are preparing to send the Twins to college. Two different colleges, one 250 miles away, one 550 miles away, both starting within a day of each other (at least the two schools are both south of home and therefore only 380 miles apart). There are medical forms, physicals, meal plan choices, cell phone upgrades, dorm room outfitting, budget talks, financial aid decisions, laptops, books, classes, schedules, transportation, hotels...the list seems endless. Multiply times two, add a divided household where Ex still refuses to talk, communicates when it suits him, emails but doesn't answer emails, and generally is an annoying jerk, and yeah, it's not really fun.

Add to that the kids are trying to get in their "last visits." Daughter will be gone for 2 weeks - one trip with high school friends, one trip with childhood friends. So this is my last week with her. I can't deny them their friends. But I want to say, "BUT THAT'S MY WEEK AND YOU CAN'T GO." Of course I won't say that.

And so I have nightmares of dropping them off and being alone.

I sit in my car and cry because I don't want them to see the tears.

Yes I am happy for them. Yes I am thrilled they are doing so well. Yes in a most twisted way I want them to go away to school, meet new people, travel new places.

I can't even type more at the moment....

Let me just say, I'M JUST GOING TO MISS THEM SO DARN MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Enough to make me Ride the escalator

I'm a walker - a fast walker.

Sometimes I smash into people accidently bump people in my hurry to get from place A to B.

I am an avid Metro (i.e. Subway) rider and there are rules about the escalators - "Stand Right, Walk or if you're TGND, run Left" yes, that's me running up the escalator - in heels.

But some lucky mornings there is one thing that makes me Stand Right and Ride.

At the top of the escalator just outside the Metro station are two gentlemen - probably in their 50's - who entertain me. I hear the melodies from far below in the station long before I see them. Instantly, a smile crosses my face and my day just got brighter.

One plays the violin, one plays the electric bass guitar. It might seem like an unlikely pair, but it works so well. And these guys are NOT making up the same ol' few lines over and over. They have music. I read music. I know complicated 16th notes when I see them. And these are very complicated runs, played beautifully.

And so, when I hear their music wafting down to the depths of the metro, I pause, Stand Right, and listen. When I reach the top of the escalator, I pause, watch for a moment, drop a dollar in their bucket and tell them how excellent they are. They always smile appreciatively as they play.

Someday I might even pause long enough to find out who they are and why they are there. Until then, I will enjoy the moment.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A whole new meaning for "PIP"

Twice in 2 days I've been called a PIP.

Something like this:

OR maybe This:

Images are not mine - found through Google images at denver dog. and Fondos.images.

Yes, My new nickname is PITBULL IN PINK. one client (a friend) called me that and one partner (female and friend) called me that. I don't think I'm offended. I'm pretty sure I think it's hilarious.

Today I'm all in black and professional in my sheath (no I'm not going to a funeral wise a$$), but with adorable Betty Boop shoes. A girl has to be a girl after all. Even if she's a pitbull.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Graduation means....Painting the Furniture?

The Captain came up the morning after the Prom and was promptly put to work. Yet another step into our relationship and another endearing quality. He scrubbed my Patio for 2 hours. Then he helped me paint the lawn furniture. This was a white table that I bought with Ex, oh, 18 years ago?

Ex and I also bought about 10 pieces of Wrought Iron furniture - used - about 5 years ago. We painted it all . Some are pictured below. (the magic of spray over rust paint I love it)
All the chairs were wet so we dragged some kitchen chairs outside for dinner....
(I had painted the table the previous year so it just needed touchups and we could eat on it)

And gave a toast to a job well done!

Whew. Oh yeah, and we did some gardening first....Told you he was an awesome guy....

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Tears They are a Flowin'

It all started just a few short years ago, or so it seems. Although perhaps their 4th year of life seemed like an eternity. But alas what started in 1995 when they were three years old in Spain....their First First Day of School.....has now progressed.

Those wild twins (ok one was wild and the other just had wild hair) have turned into THESE - and here is their Last "Last Day of School" photo. I cried that morning. I cried when I took the photos. I cried when they left. I cried when I uploaded them. And now. yep. sobbing like a baby.

I had better bring a truckload of tissues to graduation.
Yes, I'm proud of them and happy they are going on to do great things. But Damned I'm going to miss them.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

And This Is Why Sleep Is Optional

Yes it's Senior Time at the House Next Door and we've been busy. Prom was last Friday. Dinner for 17 turned into dinner for 17 and a party for the parents when the dinner got delayed because kids were late and the hairdresser was slow. OH well, it was fun!

That's Daughter on the right in the top photo, in the blue.

Yep three tables (and if you counted ok there were only 16 or something because one date went to the wrong house? " I dunno" as the kids say)

Here's my baby Girl with her Prom Date who used to be her boyfriend but now they're friends (yes that's OK by me AND her!)

Son made a quick appearance with his date so that I could take a photo then it was off to his place of dinner (that was a potluck so I made a tortilla espanola for him, too). No I didn't think to take a photo of Son and Daughter together. Things were a little hectic....
They posed as I took 99 photos. Yes. 99.
Then the limo bus "Chariots for Hire" showed up with the REST of the group.

Someone said there were 26 in all. I didn't have time to count.....

Now I'm uploading photos from the last 17 years onto my NEW laptop. The one Son cannot get within 10 feet of or he will be shot on sight. And when the photos are uploaded, I will work on graduation gifts. (What did Son do you ask? Click HERE)

What's that you say, Graduation is Friday? Yeah that's why I'm up at 2:30 am.

Sleep? Is overrated.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

When Credit Card Security is TOO Secure

What? Yes I really am going to rant about too much credit card fraud protection.

Hormonally imbalanced much? Or Stressing about Graduation? Yeah so what....

Here's the thing - at the grocery store last night - the same grocery store I shop at perhaps 20 times in a month (no joke) for the last 11 years. And my credit card is flagged "call in." It was a large order - prom dinner for 17 tomorrow night. And this card gives me 5% back on all grocery purchases, so I really wanted to use it.

But I couldn't for some reason so I used another. Fortunately, the customer service rep helping me knows me (ya think? after all these years? Hell they open up a special line just for me when I come through I kid you not), so she said, "Hey try another card" instead of embarrassing me right there.

Today I got a frantic email from Credit Card Company saying, "We are trying to reach you and are going to cancel your card." So I called. Apparently they called the house and the kids hung up by accident so they considered this "proof" that the card had been stolen.


I said, "What activity suggested the card was stolen?"

Answer? "A strange computer code from your grocery store - the same grocery store you've been shopping at frequently."


As I said, when Credit Card Security is TOO Secure. All fixed now. And they owe me $17 for my 5% cash back on last night's order..... as if.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Professional Painting and Expectations

Quick Question for you all about expectations:

I hired a nationally known professional company to paint my kitchen, hallway and a bedroom.

I was told prior to the job and on the day of the job, by the owner of the franchise, that the Foreman would be here "90%" of the time. He might have to leave for paint, but he was in charge. The Owner showed up this morning as promised, hung out with the Foreman as promised, then left. So far so good.

About 2 hours later, Foreman leaves. 3 hours later he is not back. This is a 1 day job.

Now the other painters seem to be doing their jobs. They are polite, quiet (they pretty much don't speak English, but I was told the Foreman would be here, who does. And yeah I speak Spanish anyway), seem to be working. But we have 4 different colors going on. We have spackling, trimming, repairing. How do I know that the right guys are doing the right thing? How do I know they are being thorough without monitoring them?

Isn't that what a Foreman does?

So when I call Owner and say, "Hey you told me Foreman would be here 90% but he's been gone for 3 hours - what's up with that?" And he explains that Foreman had to go somewhere else but I was also told Other Painter was good, too, and all painters are professional, all employees not day laborers, yaddah yaddah yaddah. I wasn't necessarily questioning Painters' work. I was trying to say that the expectation set by Owner was that Foreman would be here 90% of the time to supervise, etc. If Foreman had emergency and needed to make someone else in charge, why not tell me before he left 3 hours ago??

And why doesn't either Owner or Foreman (who has now returned and wants to know what the problem is) why don't they understand any of this?

Am I being picky?? Wait aren't I paying pretty heftily for the right to be picky? So that this will be done TODAY and I don't have to go back another day and complain?


Monday, May 17, 2010

And then he RAN OVER my laptop so there will be no more photos...

Just when you think things can get no more hectic and that teens can be no more shockingly negligent - WHAM - they run you over. Or they run over your laptop.

It started with a lovely dinner - just me and the Captain, a bottle of wine, some awesome fillets cooked on the grill on Saturday night.

Over comes Son from Next Door, takes away our empty plates and our steak knives and says, "I need to talk to you."

He sits down far away - purposefully.

"Thursday was a really bad day mom. Really Bad." Ut oh. I was away Thursday. In San Diego on a conference. Far Far Away.

"You see, it all started with the Scholar's Project. I put my musical composition on your laptop and had to take it to school. But the Powerpoint locked me out and I couldn't use it anyway so I had to do my Scholar's project on a white board and wing it [Wait - your big project that is a whole year's grade? Are you going to graduate? Wait you skipped on by - this is apparently not the bad part?]

"So after school I was hanging out with some friends and I had the laptop in my book bag and we decided to skateboard and then I went home. Without the book bag. Ihaveneverdonethatinmylife. So I zipped back to school and broke in and got caught by the janitor. " [wait are you suspended are you going to graduate oh this is not the bad part?] "The janitor helped me look, but we couldn't find it."

"So I'm thinking I'm screwed and then a friend shows up Friday with my bookbag - and the laptop and the wallet and everything. Oh except someone ran over the bookbag - because I had put it down in the parking lot while we were skateboarding -and now it's in pieces....."

So this is the bad part - my laptop, with all my photos on it - prom, first and last days of school, Spain trip, Jamaica trip, Christmas - all gone?? And you took it to school without permission and simply forgot the screaming fits I had when I found it precariously perched in various parts of the house over the last few months because of how important it is to me and how if you're going to borrow it you have to ASK (even in the house) and must guard it with your life??!! YOU FORGOT ALL THIS?

Yep, that's the bad part.

The Good part? I didn't yell. I took deep breaths. I cried. I talked about lessons and learning that something may be material but may have priceless value attached to it that cannot be bought again. That he's going off to school where it might be a girl that he must treasure, or a friend, or a life.

Took the laptop to my genius neighbor who says hard drive is bent - needs a forensic specialist. For 3 million 48 thousand dollars.

Good news? My backup hard drive is only....16 months out of date, so any photos before January 2009 aren't on there.

Oh but there's more good news - my Norton online backup is there and only ran out of room that I failed to upgrade in ... June 2009. And first day of school and Spain? I uploaded them onto Picasa. And Easter 2010 and Jamaica? Some are on Facebook, some are still on the camera!

So waiting to spend the 3 million on the forensic. Going to go back to neighbor to have him build me a computer.

And? I have a slave for the summer - Son is now an indentured servant. Forever.

And then my head exploded (as a favorite blogger of mine often says....)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Another kind of Spring Cleaning

Today I tackled another Spring Cleaning job - this one a bit different from the usual ones. It involved the following tools (among others)...

Which yielded a whole hellofalot of this:

Which in truth looked a whole lot more like this:

And then, poor Queen Bee got put in the tub. Which she stepped into willingly because she IS the best dog in the whole world....

And after shampoo and conditioner and drying her off in the tub and then commanding her to "SHAKE" (yes while bathing she waits for you to tell her to shake - at which time you draw the shower curtain in a feeble attempt to keep at least part of the bathroom dry), and then towel drying (the first of many towel dryings) you let her out to this.....And Stinky Butt is saying "no No No don't tell me I'm next!!" because stinky butt's brain is so small she forgets that she already had her bath - it takes 3 minutes in the kitchen sink, no deshedding, no trouble. 9 pounds = 3 minutes. 70 pounds and long hair = 90 minutes....

after which time we are left with a bathroom that looks like this....

Sigh. But they smell good. For at least 5 minutes til they go outside and roll in more deer poop...