Putting This Off

This morning I woke up, light streaming in from the edges of the blackout curtains hitting my eyes. I swore, stumbled to the bathroom, and heard the car engine start outside. I ran out and tapped frantically at the window of the small red car. My husband rolled down the window, a look of concern on his face.

“This life we lead is unmanageable.” I croaked, my voice decomposed from the lack of sleep.

“I know. You should go back to bed.” He reached a kiss from his lips to my arm with his hand.

“I can’t. I have to take the child back to work for opening shift. He had keys they need in his pocket when he left last night. No, this morning. ” I brushed my hair back.

“I have to go. The beef needs to be traded out. My sister is waiting.” His eyes are tipped down at the corners, stress of the day already pulling them down. It’s 8:05am.

“I know. Say hi to her for me.” I smoothed down the edge of last night’s dress as I turned to go inside.

I heard “I love you” simultaneously with the rolling of the window and the crunch of the tires on the driveway.

Things I do when my spouse is traveling

My spouse and I have been together since 1997, so when he’s out of town it is deeply weird. This time he’s in Houston for a few days, then will be back for a couple, then gone again for a few more. I have lists of food I’ll make for dinner, things we will do in the evenings, but it’s never easy when 2/5 of our household is gone.

Nights like this, I tend to draw back into myself. I read a book (tonight’s is for the UU book club: Memoirs of a Geisha) and listen to my favorite female musicians (Tori Amos, Sarah McLachlan, Indigo Girls, Jewel, Alanis Morisette, Juliana Hatfield, etc.) by candlelight while the children wander in and out, foraging for food or bidding for my attention in new and exciting ways.

Sometimes I indulge in long phone calls with old friends or family members. Tonight it was my birth family. I was trying to explain about my youngest wanting a piccolo for Christmas and how that was a wonderful thing. They said it would be so loud and off-putting, but to me, it’s music and comfort and safety because I can hear the melody and know exactly which kid it is playing and where my kid is and what they are doing. Their traumas are different than mine. I am terrified of not knowing what is happening to my children, of not being present, of moments unacknowledged. My goal as a parent is that my children never spend a moment wondering if they are loved or seen or acknowledged. I spend my days making sure that they know that they are welcomed and loved and seen for who they are, and that they know that however they may change, they are still loved. There is more about all that in the memoir I am writing, of course.

Tonight there was also a brief storm, so the youngest and I wandered outside and danced in the thunder and lightning, a tradition we’ve had since he was little. The rain drops were huge and we were quickly soaked, but it is what we do. We danced and sang and when we became too cold, we came inside and burrowed in blankets on the couch, listening to the midkid practice his French horn.

And now it is growing closer to bedtime, but I am unable to sleep. I never do when my spouse is gone. I will probably stay up and watch movies he would not enjoy, while listening to one of my kids sing his Region Band music, which is identical to music I and my friends played when we were in high school. It’s funny how things go around and come back to themselves.

This week isn’t going how I thought it would

Tuesday, I got up and was so hopeful. Sure, I had my Spiritual Practices class that evening, but I had all day to write, so it was going to be great!

Nope. Due to some not-quite-disclosable things that are in the works, I got caught up in not one, but two different side projects. One is writing adjacent and in the end won’t require as much of my time as some of the things I’m doing now, but there was a wrapping up of one set of things in order to hand them off to someone else so I’d be ready for the next thing. I know how vague that sounds, but that’s the way life is sometimes, right?

The other thing is not writing adjacent, except in that I am writing up minutes for a group that I had thought I wasn’t taking part in any more. So there was catching up for that group’s information and making sure I still had access to all the notebooks and cloud storage that I need to do that work.

By the time I completed both things, it was time to hit the gym. On Friday, I rejoined the one that is walking distance from my house, instead of the one that I only go near on the way back from taking kids to school in the morning (which isn’t a good time for me to write, due to my ADHD meds timing). I went and learned where all the new stuff was, which machines I could still comfortably use, and which ones are still out of my happiness zone. It was a good workout, and I felt better for having done it.

The rest of the night zoomed by (literally haha!). Wednesday I had two meetings scheduled, so I knew I’d have to make the most of my in-between times for writing. Unfortunately, by the time I’d gotten home from the first one and eaten lunch, a problem had sprung up.

My kids school had a potential shooting threat. They informed parents right at the same time the 504 coordinator called to ask me if we could postpone our meeting for that afternoon. Because of the way our high school sends out alerts (first in the form of a phone call from the school’s main phone line wherein a computer voice reads the entire body of the message, including the URL’s – letter by letter; then almost immediately as an identical text message, an identical email, and then as a link to an identical letter in our district app), and the fact that 90% of the more than five a week they send are either about buying football tickets or that the PTA is selling Chik-fil-a at lunch on Friday, I have stopped answering calls from the school. So I missed that phone call and drove directly to the school. It was a madhouse. Literally hundreds of parents had driven there to take their kids out of school. Since there’s only one way in and out not on lockdown, they were all in the same foyer I needed to check into in order to get to my appointment on time. I was speaking to the woman guarding the door about my having an appointment “Honey, everyone is saying that,” when the 504 coordinator called me again. Since I was already there and the coordinator was meeting me at the inner door, I was ushered right inside. I heard the scoop on everything potentially threatening that was going on, had my kids 504 meeting, and offered to take the kids home anyways, even though it sounded like there was nothing actually going on other than the parental mayhem out front. Both my kids declined. One didn’t want an unexcused absence and the other wanted to go to Writing Club (oh my heart!).

They both wanted me to keep close “on standby,” so I ended up hitting the nearby stores and doing some early Christmas shopping to keep busy, since I had no computers or iPad on me to write with in the parking lot (the notebook I’d brought for the meeting literally had two pages left and I used them during the meeting). Scooped up the first kid out, then sat in the car waiting for the second kid for almost an hour.

I was exhausted, physically and mentally, by the time I got home. I ate dinner and was just heading to bed, when a kid -the one that has never in his life sat still for a movie – begged me to watch a silly Disney movie (Halloweentown II: Kalabar’s Revenge) with them. Of course I had to.

Today was an early-to-school day for the kiddos, but I had all the chores I hadn’t gotten done Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday to get to work on, plus grocery shopping, so I did those things first. Then I had critiques to do for the Pineywoods Critique Group (which has a new website with a forum and blog here), along with hitting the gym again so I don’t turn into a stiff blob like I was all last year). I also needed to finish one last bit of an old transcribing project that I had promised someone ages and ages ago.

All of this is a long way of saying: it’s late Thursday and I’m still at 684 words for NaNoWriMo. *sigh*

“We started right here, in the ovary”

I hate giving subject lines for these posts, especially when I’m just updating about everything.  Maybe I should go back and retitle this “More of everything” Hmm.

David has been doing a lot of scouts stuff from his book, which means that all of us have been doing a lot of scouts stuff because you can’t have just one kid doing all the “fun” stuff.  The kids liked making family trees again (this time with phone calls to relatives to ascertain actual dates & real names) and finding the page in the phone book that has all the emergency info and calling different city officials to ask questions about how the city works and doing more of the recycling on their own (including picking out everything from their Happy Meals that could be recycled & taking that home to put in our bin rather than leaving it there with all the other trash “They waste SO MUCH, Mommy!  Why do they do that?”)

Ben is steadily growing stronger reading skills.  It’s been really hard getting him to read aloud to us at home.  He’s the second best reader in his class (behind Amy, whose mom is an elementary school teacher), but reading at home has just not been something he’s willing to do.  So now we just have him read a few pages out of each book we do at bedtime story time (in addition to whatever they send home as reading homework.)  Knowing that he only has a few pages and that we’ll fill in all the hard words seems to make it easier on him.  Ben has also taken to my old Cabbage Patch Kids lately.  He has a few that he especially likes and will dress up for certain occasions.  It’s pretty funny.

Greg is still climbing everything in sight.   He has ropes that he carries around with him nearly at all times and will tie to things.  He gets his brothers to help him tie them up higher than he can reach.  During the day when they’re not home to assist him he’ll do general kid stuff, but as soon as they get home, he’s back to finding new & better places to climb.  Oh, and when he paints stuff, he mixes all the colors & makes all his painting black.  He paints weird stuff, too.  like Oklahoma.

Nick continues to spend loads of time in Beaumont, but that will end on February 12th.  I can’t wait for him to be home for real, but you know what?  It’s going to be an adjustment.  I’ve gotten used to my weeknight schedule & I don’t know if I’ll transition back to Couple Time all-the-time very well. Currently I’ve been doing Monday nights as project nights, Tuesday nights as other-people-time, & Wednesday nights as TV time.  We’ll see if Nick likes that plan.

I’ve been writing, cleaning, etc.  When I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing.  (Writing updates continue to be at my dreamwidth journal)
Or fixing people’s computer woes.  Apparently word has spread that I have a way with computers, so I’ve gotten a few phone calls the past month or so requesting assistance.  Mostly over the phone “how do I?” stuff, but this weekend I went to someone’s house & set stuff up, then fielded calls/texts about it all across Saturday afternoon & Sunday morning.

Speaking of calls/texts, we’ve noticed an upswing in our phone usage in the last 6 months, not because Nick’s been gone (we actually talk less during the day, so the extra call at night just blends into the regular usage), but just, ya know, being friendlier or something.  I don’t know.  So we started running our usage stats, first through Sprint (who actually said our current plan suited us, despite our being $20-$50 over every month), then on our own.  We added in our wishlists of how we’d like to use our phones that we aren’t currently doing, looked up plan comparisons, phone reviews, etc, and found out that we’re better off staying with our current carrier (Sprint, which works well here all the way to CS) and getting smartphones with the unlimited family plan.  So once our refunds from last years medical expenses come in, we’ll be doing that.  We’re looking at the HTC Hero phone and the Samsung Moment (we haven’t actually played with them in store yet, but I’ll be doing that tomorrow if the sick kid goes back to school by then).

In other randomness, I’ve been drinking tons of tea lately, trying all different kinds from various places.  My favorite is the supergood ginger kind that my friends sister gave her from Teavana (more details once I’ve seen the canister again).  Republic of Tea’s Cinnamon Plum loose leaf tea is also very nice (but Blackberry Sage remains my favorite from them).  Lipton has a flavored green tea that’s orange, passionfruit, and jasmine that I like for afternoons.  I also have a new favorite otc bagel: Sara Lee’s Blueberry.  There’s something different about them now: they’re more lemon flavored than they used to be.  Mmm.

I have some news that I’m sitting on currently that I’m really excited about, but am awaiting more information before I can announce it.  Eeee.  I love having exciting news & I hate waiting to share it, but that’s the way it goes.

That’s it for this week’s update.  More later.  🙂
—————-
Now playing: Michael Mucklow – Pipe’s Canyon Sunset
via FoxyTunes

the rest of the day…

…was a bit less exciting, although it did involve making banana pudding from scratch (sugar, corn starch, egg yolks, cooking on the stove, etc), actually making it to the recycling center (toss! crash! toss! crash! toss! crash!), and me eventually leaving the house to go paint pottery with my friends mom’s group (cause mine was meeting the next night when I couldn’t make it).

Today was also a Study in Weird. Got up, shaved biggest kids head so he no longer looks like Zach or Cody (from the Disney channel), found another dollar so he could buy books at school, made three kid lunches, drove kid to school, checked voicemail and discovered some “new” 2 week old messages the system just left me, also checked regular mail (just arrived) and found letters dated February 22nd, drove other children to school, talked mdo into taking Greg even though it wasn’t his day (don’t tell the other moms, but they love greg best), went to my doctor’s office, get a call stating that ben is sick with a fever and headache, finally get in to see the doctor only to find out his computer system is down and he has no idea who I am or why I’m there, briefly consider lying to the doctor, recap my entire medical history in less than three minutes, leave without medicine of any kind (but with a promise that when my symptoms return—which they will— I can call for meds instead of making an appointment), pick up sick kid and baby, feed people, make husband change poopy baby (”He might be getting sick, too.”), hold cranky baby and attempt to fold laundry at same time for several hours while soothing middle child who is whimpering at the other end of the couch, pick up oldest kid who has note that we owe school 12 cents, attempt to feed children snacks, clean up large puddle of poop from new rug, change three wet-poopy diapers in a 9 minute period, clean up more wet-poop from elsewhere in house and on self and on child, convince middle child that he will not die of a headache because mommy hasn’t yet, convince husband that leaving work early to take oldest child to school program, get oldest child ready for the Waltz Across Texas program at his school, change more wet-poopy diapers, run yet another load of laundry (what? I didn’t mention the two earlier ones I ran and put away? *sigh*), empty/reload dishwasher, put away hand washed dishes (and wash more), snuggle baby who won’t stay out of dishwasher, call friend who wanted to go to Aggiecon to pretty much cancel trip, muse over the fact that despite Aggiecon’s changing dates year-to-year my children are always sick with a stomach virus on Aggiecon weekend (5 years running), talk children into eating dinner despite sickness, eat dinner with spouse while having real conversation while children do God-knows-what elsewhere, feed baby bottle while big kids get read to in another room (we watch Dr. Who), and then, of course, watch Scrubs with spouse until he leaves for bed, then read battles about bread on the internet until I realize I meant to post something, which leads us to here. Longest paragraph ever. Yay.
(at least I’m tired now)

Happy Easter!

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More photos here.

We stayed in our town for Easter this year, which meant a bit of extra planning on my part to make the day something both predictable and unique.

We got up and had our baskets (filled with both toys & candy–in order to disguise the fact that they were light on candy). The kids got one piece apiece (the largest, naturally) and then we had breakfast. We were supposed to have both fruit & apple turnovers, but my thriftiness in the produce section this week killed that plan. The kids did not care in the slightest.

After breakfast we had the egg hunt, with a bit of a twist. I let Greg go first for three minutes, then Ben got to go, then David. I hid stuff at varying levels for each of them and hoped they’d find an even number of eggs. Which they didn’t. Even more strangely, they found more eggs than I’d hid. I still haven’t figured that out.

We went to church after that. It was…churchy. It didn’t really feel like a different service from the regular ones, other than the addition of extra people to the orchestra, which kind of made me sad.

Came home, had some casserole for lunch. Then the kids cleaned up their room (supposedly, I haven’t checked–but they’re looking for something specific, so you’d think they’d really feel like finishing). I managed to slip and fall on my way into the house at some point. I’ve got a bruised & swollen left knee, bruised left shin, swollen & scraped left foot, swollen toes on my right foot, and my right shoulder feels not-quite-right when I move it. Still, after a couple hours of rest, I’m feeling, if not great, then not too terribly bad. The pain relievers have helped greatly towards that, I’m sure.

Tonight we’re going to church for a live performance of The Last Supper, as envisioned by the men of the church. Half the men are from my Sunday School class. That should be interesting, at least. After the performance we’re coming home, where Nick should have dinner waiting (beef stroganoff–my mom’s recipe, zucchini, and Velvet Pear Salad–also my mom’s recipe). For dessert, I’m hoping we’ll have some homemade ice cream (Nick made it for the bbq, but it didn’t set up right, due to a lack of dasher situation at the time).

So we’ve had a pretty good day. Tell me about yours….

Ben? A two-timer?!

Today when I picked him up from school, a teacher stopped by to tell me that she saw Ben kissing on a little girl THAT WASN’T ZOE!!!  I told her that Zoe told Ben she didn’t want to marry him a couple weeks ago and that he’d been broken-hearted at the time and cried, but he was over it now.  At this point, Zoe walks up and says “I DON’T WANT TO MARRY ANYONE!!!”  And the teacher said to me “I didn’t think Ben would be a two-timer.”

(Zoe’s mom said “Good thing we didn’t pick out the china yet.”  hehe)

home again, home again, jiggedy-jig

I have no idea what poem or song that’s from, but my family has always said it.

The big kids learned to rollerskate/blade this week.  They wore their skates in the car the entire way back home, which made bathroom breaks interesting, to say the least.

Anyways, we’re back from CS.  For a bit, at least.  Nick and the kids are leaving for church in a little while, then David’s going to a sleepover/camp-out thing.

I have nothing of interest to say right now, actually.   Sorry.  I mentally wandered the entire way home and while I “wrote” posts in my head, nothing sounds good right now.  I think I need a nap.  Yeah. *sigh*