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Monday, July 27, 2015

Today Threw Up on Me

The Roomba ate my pajama’s today.  Bill ran over my toad house.  Then I had a doctors appointment where Ellie cried the whole time AND the receptionist gave me attitude about it.  (She didn't SAY anything but she was all like, ugh, you filled out this part of the form wrong..I’ll have to fix it now…) and if she had asked me to fill it out again with Ellie screaming beside me I probably would have chucked the pen right in her bored, obviously-no-kids-of-her own- eye.  RIGHT IN THE EYE.  Growl.   And I skipped breakfast and I haven’t had any caffeine YET today and you know what’s hilarious?  When I woke up I was in a GOOD MOOD!  I was like, hey, baby is still asleep, the sun is shining, life is GOOD.  And then the day threw up on me.  Threw up all the random, no-fun crappy stuff that happens to us from time to time.  I’ve never had a vacuum eat my pajama’s before though, that’s a new one even for me.  How did the filter come off the front?  What, it SPIT IT OUT so it could EAT MY PAJAMA's!?  And the toad house thing, that’s a first too.  I’m making little toad houses out of old flower pots so when I have my garden they’ll eat the pests and I won’t have to use all those dumb pesticides.  Anywhoo….

Yesterday Bill took Ellie for a daddy-daughter H mart run.  (That’s an Asian grocery store where we can get sushi-grade fish) and Asian sauces and other tasty things the Melba-white-toast HEB around here doesn’t carry.  They had them everywhere in Virginia but here in Conroe, Texas, they’re a bit scarcer.  An hour drive away.  So.  I had at least 2.5 hours to myself yesterday.  So, I made the (now broken) toad house and was quite pleased.  I cleaned the floors, tidied up, and did a half hour of Yoga a la Wai Lana.  Ah, bliss.  I don’t just enjoy yoga, I NEED IT.  Everything feels better and I don’t feel so tight in my heart as well as my limbs.  Why do I allow my life to be fashioned in such a way that the only time I get to do it is once a month?  Not acceptable.  So I was reveling in my new found insight this morning after a good night’s sleep.  I’m going to do yoga EVERY DAY.  Yep.  Ellie gets up anywhere between 4-6am BUT I think I can start training her to go back to sleep on her own.  If I can do that then I can do yoga EVERY DAY at 5:30am.  Or, train BILL to get up with her as he’s getting up in a half hour anyway….hmmmmm.  I cannot WAIT for the day Ellie is old enough to want to sleep in.  Oh boy oh boy oh BOY am I going to have fun with that.  BANG BANG BANG go the pots at 6am.  TWEET TWEET TWEET goes my weirdo nature music on full blast while I have my morning tea.  Hot.  I would drink it right away so it would still be HOT WHEN I DRANK IT.  Oh hallelujah.  Ah the small things a stay-at-home mom sacrifices for the happiness of her progeny.  Hot tea.  Sleep.  Forms filled out correctly.  A clean house.  An afternoon of cheese-it’s and a Harry Potter marathon.  The stuff of dreams….

Anyway who needs sleep and hot tea and not sharing my ice-cream cone and a peaceful morning?  Not this girl.  (This girl….)

All the time from the older ladies I hear ‘Enjoy it, it goes so fast!  Enjoy every minute!’ and I think, really?  EVERY MINUTE?  How about the one where she got bored sitting in her high chair and she gagged herself and then THREW UP ALL OVER HERSELF?  Or how about the minute she’s hysterically crying and kicking on the floor and she doesn’t want to be held and she doesn’t want to be down and she doesn’t want food or water or a pacey or something to chew and I am reminded I have no clue, absolutely NO CLUE WHAT I’M DOING and I’m re-thinking my basic intelligence and the ability to JUST GET THROUGH THE DAY!?  How about those moments?  Should I enjoy them too?  While I’m dirty and tired and bewildered and have lost my ability to tell whether that stain on my shin is chocolate or poop?  Honestly the last time one of those sweet old ladies said that to me I had the sudden overwhelming urge to RUB THAT BROWN STAIN ALL OVER HER SWEET SMILEY FACE.  It’s PROBABLY chocolate people.  Don’t judge me…

Well anyway the light of my life is having a nap right now so you know what?  There’s a Harry Potter movie on, the tea is hot, the ice cream is cold and yes, I’m going to enjoy everything all together at the same time.  You have to enjoy EVERY MINUTE you know.  Because it goes so fast…

Sunday, July 19, 2015

She Walks!

Today is the day after.  The first day after my little girl, Ellie-belly-bo-jelly, has taken her first steps.  Ba ba baaaaa.  Confetti and rousing band renditions of ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ erupt!  Huzzzaahh!  I.  Am.  RIDICULOUSLY PROUD.  The feelings that washed over me were almost overwhelming.  Joy, awe, disbelief.  Joy.  (My baby is walking!)  Awe.  (Is she walking!?  She’s walking!  SHE’S WALKING ON HER OWN HOW DID THAT HAPPEN!?).  Disbelief and confusion.  (My baby can walk!?  SHE CAN WALK?!)  I freeze just before the tears of happiness can fall as flashes of an imaginary future Ellie at her first day of school, her first day of high school, her 16th birthday, getting her drivers license, graduating, LEAVING ME TO GO TO COLLEGE skim by my forebrain.  Well plus we’re with a group of people and good southern Texas/northern Canadian girls don’t cry in front of people.  Ever.  I was very stoic.  I giggled like a little girl as she walked into my arms.  I hugged her so tight.  I told her how smart she was and we all clapped with her.  (She was clapping, she knew she did something pretty cool).  Then I very stoically went around to anyone who wasn’t right there when this amazing event occurred and told them.  Ellie JUST WALKED!  Right now!  In Tina’s living room!  My expression was acceptably inscrutable.  I’m sure you couldn't see the joy beaming from EVERY CELL OF MY BODY.  They should bottle this new parent stuff and sell it on the streets.  Forget crack this new mom stuff is whack.  (reference to Whitney Houston quote- Crack is Whack?  No?  Too soon?)  Poor Whitney.  

Where was I?  Oh yes, not crying in front of people and also tripping myself up on my constant struggle to STAY IN THE MOMENT.  I live in the future, I always have.  I think it’s why I’m a bit of an optimist.  Like, Chris Christie is a bit of a midnight snacker.  (That was an easy jab and I apologize).  But I don’t like him so I’m not deleting it.  He said no to a bill that would have made it illegal (or really hard anyway) to keep pregnant pigs in gestation crates.  THEY CAN’T EVEN TURN AROUND.  It’s just while they’re pregnant they say, well, I have two things to say to that.  

1) HAVE YOU EVER BEEN PREGNANT YOU TINY HEARTED MORONS (I have and let me tell you if I couldn’t even turn around for the length of my pregnancy I’d be bat-poop crazy right now.  Ah, more than I already am).  

2) So you let them go after they’ve been pregnant once right?  Out into a field of green grass and poppies and rainbows and butterflies?  No?  Do you make sure they’re pregnant as much as you can so you can squeeze as much money out of them as you can?  Right.

Where was I again?  Oh yes, living in the moment.  I think the key to a calm heart and a clear head is living in the moment.  The past is gone, the future is never promised.  It’s just, I use dreams of the future as a way to cheer me up if I’m feeling down.  I imagine what Christmas will be in this new house if I’m feeling bored or frustrated.  When Ellie is teething and cranky I imagine what it will be like once Ellie is in school and I’m helping her with homework, or if she will want to play soccer or play the piano, or both.  It kind of lifts me out of the present doldrums, reminds me there’s more to life than the drudgery of right now.  I daydream, I always have.  But in doing so I think I may be missing out on what life has to teach me RIGHT NOW.  What there is to enjoy and learn from in this moment.  In this boredom, if I snap my attention back to what is happening right now all around me what a different person I would be.  If I could only pull my head out of the clouds long enough to look around and realize this is it.  This is my life, and it’s good.  

And then I think, ehhhhh there’s nothing going on here right now.  Ellie is leading me around the house for the thousandth time, holding onto my fingers as she navigates the circumference of the house again and again, her new favorite past time.  Toby is asleep in his bed, or licking his paws.  Bill is at work.  The deer out back are eating the grass.  The sun is shining (or not).  Life isn’t ready to teach me something EVERY MINUTE OF THE DAY.  Sometimes, life is just kind of boring.  And then it hits me.  Wait, whose life is this anyway?  It’s mine.  Don’t I decide what kind of a life it is?  And the answer is yes.  And I have a tendency to skate off into my head instead of stepping outside and letting adventure take me where it may.  Ahoy, adventure ahead my matey’s!

Then again, in the last five years I’ve married my soul mate, had the cutest, smartest baby girl on the planet, (miss K you are not a baby girl anymore but are certainly the smartest, cutest LADY on the planet...) moved two countries and two states.  Maybe I’m due for a few ‘boring’ years.  Well, if I am I’m going to make the most of them.  I’m going to have some AMAZING adventures.  Even if they are all imaginary…or, maybe I can figure out a way to make running to the HEB and Target exciting.  I could dress up in a giant chicken costume, that would sure make my errands more interesting.  May risk Ellie being sent off to a foster home.  (Take the baby AWAY from the lady muttering to herself in the giant chicken costume…)  That’s not a risk I’m willing to take.  Maybe I could get a mohawk.  Get ELLIE a mohawk, ha ha - ah, no.  No, no, no, no.  Boring is good.  I will embrace boring.  Boring is awesome.  Boring is quiet evenings cuddled on the couch with Bill watching Amazing Race.  Boring is tucking Ellie in at night and still, after 14 months, be amazed at her absolute perfection.  Boring is walking by Toby’s bed he sleeps in 23 hours a day and stopping to scratch his ears, or tell him he’s a good boy.  Boring is…good.  It's sweet.

Monday, July 13, 2015

For Parker, and all the furry loved ones who are no longer with us

We had some friends whose dog died today. His name was Parker. Parker was a good dog who had a rough early start. They did the right thing and adopted him from the shelter a few years ago. They gave him so much love and peanut butter sandwiches in such a short time. He was adored by his kids. I didn't know him long but he made his way into my and Toby's heart too. It's always sad when a loved one passes and particularly sad when it's a pet. We love them so much, and they love us back in full. Saying its a pet makes it seem a step removed. Like, it's just a goldfish, just a pet. A dog is never just a pet. He's a part of the family. He/she never blows you off to work late or hang out with other friends all day. They always greet you with excitement no matter how long you left them, one hour or 8. Or if you forgot to feed them breakfast. (Only once! Ok twice...)

I can't help but think of Toby. Prince Toby. Prince Tobias Henry MoMofuku the Third. The sweet little dog who has followed me through two relationships, two countries and two states not to mention the birth of my first and possibly only child. We've been through a lot together. He's never been mad at me. Never held a grudge except for the shoe-poo incident of 2010. And really, I deserved it. He's getting a little older, his face fur a little whiter. He needs his anal glands squeezed. (Too much information? I don't do it, those lucky vet techs too, ha ha ha). Ew.

I pulled a mat of bird feathers from off his snout today. He sniffed a puddle with feathers floating in it and couldn't get it off his nose. I took off the probably diseased with West-Nile/Ebola feathers with my BARE HANDS and thought, that's love... I disinfected them with alcohol then washed them like 5 times then washed Ellie's milk bottles and worried about communicating bird diseases to my daughter. That's just neuroticism. Probably. Right? I'm a hot mess. But I'd be worse if I didn't have Toby here with me. It's a burden yes (traveling is a little harder when he's with us like this weekend) but it's a burden of love. In exchange for all the joy and love and happiness he gives by just being his own joyful, silly dog self, I'll battle a little bird disease/germ phobia/hotel issues from time to time. If I don't die of Ebola, this is going to be good for me.  If I DO die of Ebola, it will have been worth it - died from a complication of love.  I like the sound of that.  I'm also feeling a little morbid today.  And thankful and grateful I still have my little prince with me.  And grateful for all the princes that have been in my life, starting with Lady, the first prinCESS, and Hamlet, then Mr.Toby.  Thanks guys, (and girl) for all the love you gave and the life you shared with me.  My life is richer because of you.  And more sad.  And that's life in a nutshell isn't it? Like Miss Glenda says in her blog and in her wonderful book, it's Brutiful.  (Brutal and beautiful).

Monday, July 06, 2015

The Fireworks over the fireworks

I like fireworks as much as the next person.  Usually.  But when it goes off RIGHT NEXT DOOR for TWO HOURS when your 14 month old is terrified and can’t sleep because of the BOOMING SONIC PERCUSSIONS, my approval wanes.  I watched minute after minute as they shot them off in the air, some of them shooting sideways toward their house and into the crowd, followed by a scattering of drunk people and laughter.  Idiots.  I kept hoping one of them would catch on fire and then the party would be over.  (I get mean when my baby can’t sleep).  I waited as long as I could, but then when the inevitable darwinian destruction didn’t happen I marched over to my new neighbor’s backyard party, shook his hand and told him my baby is terrified and can’t sleep, and he needs to shut this down.
 “Oh, did you get a chance to see some of it?”
“Couldn’t have missed it if I tried.  You’ve got more impressive fireworks than the last city I lived in.”
“Yeah, it’s pretty cool.”  (Men have an oblivious gene, and when they drink, it’s all that’s turned on.)  
“Well, normally, maybe, but I’ve got a 14 month old that’s crying and terrified and can’t sleep right now.”  I’ve never actually SEETHED with anger before, but I was seething.  There was definitely seething happening.  

Picture me, five foot one and a half, glaring up at my neighbor, surrounded by his drinking friends, or co-workers, or both.  Picture him, six foot body-builder (or massive spinach-eater a la Popeye) with tattoos up and down both arms and onto his neck.  Feet planted wide in the kind of ‘man stance’ that men get when they’re feeling particularly proud.  Or unstable because he’d been drinking too much, it’s hard to tell.  

Being a mom has changed me in ways that surprise me.  I was just as alarmed as my husband when I found myself over there in the middle of a party full of drunk people I don’t know (in TEXAS - where EVERYONE has a gun, even the cute blonde mom over there with the bulging diaper bag…) and angrily asking them to shut down the fireworks.  I am not confrontational by nature.  I will walk five miles AROUND a confrontation if I can avoid it.  But when my sweet baby girl is scared, boy you better run the other way.

Anyway I survived that particular incident.  No one shot me, except maybe dirty looks.  I suppose it helps I’m little.  Maybe if I were bigger I’d get into more trouble.  I get underestimated a lot, which is fine by me.  Less confrontation that way.  But, I was thinking maybe I should get like tattoo sleeves and large planform shoes to wear when I’m feeling particularly momma-bear-ish.  Although I might be more susceptible to bullet shots that way.  Or confrontation in general.  I’m not sure which would be worse.  At least with a bullet shot I can just like, sit down and relax.  No need to participate in a confrontational argument when I’m like, bleeding out.

I’ve never had problems with a neighbor before.  Maybe I’ve just been lucky and it happens to everyone eventually.  Well, this is our ‘forever’ home and he’s just renting so…i think we can last him out.  Not for nothing but he has a big (beautiful) rotti that he does NOT keep on a leash.  I’m a dog lover so it doesn’t bother me but when he lunges for my tiny Chihuahua mix, well, you get the picture.  No confrontation this time though, he put the dog inside.  Leash, people. leash.  Dude needs a swift kick in his over-trained heinie, and I’m just the one to do it.  If I can kick that high.

Lastly and completely off topic it’s my birthday this week.  Last year a certain Mr Man I am married to completely forgot about it until like 2pm.  It took him until noon to figure out I was mad at him, another two hours to figure out why.  So this year, I have reminded him every day for the last week.  Also, I’ve decided not to depend on someone ELSE to make my birthday special.  With my parents so far away I have had to figure out how to do that for myself.  It doesn’t feel as sad to me as it sounds right now as I write this, I’m actually kind of excited.  I’ve given myself permission to buy myself a big ice-cream cake, to go to the mall and buy what I want, to make a totally indulgent massage appointment with all the extra’s.  I’m also making him take me out to dinner someplace nice in Houston.  Also, I’m going to use my birthday as a yearly check-in to myself.  Am i where I want to be?  What do I want for the future?  (looking at teacher accreditation courses at University of Houston).  What about my health?  I haven’t had a check-up in a year so I’m scheduling that too.  I want to be around for Ellie’s grandkids and that includes taking care of myself now.  As long as I survive all the new confrontations I apparently will jump into for Ellie’s sake.  Wonder if asking for a bullet proof vest for my birthday would be pushing things too far?