About Me

Decent wife. Good Enough Mom. (I think, but you’d have to ask my kids.) Sporadic blogger. Crazy person. Chaos Manager. Finder of stray socks and missing shoes. Loves to cook, wishes it wasn’t demanded of her daily. Runs on caffeine.

Monday, March 19, 2018

First Day of Spring??? (And Freebies at the End)

Tomorrow is the first day of spring. And we are supposed to be getting some kind of Nor’Easter, winter weather snow storm. Seeing as how there have been several times this winter where we were predicted to get significant snow and we didn’t, I am not getting my hopes up or getting overly worked up. Although it would be nice to have some snow to sled and play in to get me out of my current funk. See yesterday’s post for that quick recap. But yeah. Snow. On the first day of spring. It wouldn’t be the first time in recent memory.

Actually, 3 years ago I had a meeting with my realtor/friend at a cute little cafe in a historic part of my old town. I remember clearly that it was the first day of spring and freezing cold, with wind and a snow/ice mixture falling from the sky sideways and leaving a slushy mess on the roads. I remember I was miserable because I had a horrendously bad cold and was so congested and my ears were plugged. I couldn’t take anything because I had just found out I was pregnant with baby boy, and I was kind of puffy and bloated so my clothes didn’t feel quite comfortable and right. I wanted to cancel this lunch but we had rescheduled a couple times previously and needed to meet to discuss a strategy for house hunting that would soon commence, as well as just catch up. I had Toddler boy with me who was 14 months old. Cute as this cafe was, it wasn’t a great choice for a toddler, either in menu or in atmosphere (artisian sandwiches, and tables close together/shared spaces.) I didn’t pick it and so was trying to go with the flow. I ended up having to hold Toddler boy on my lap, as we couldn’t locate a high chair and I wasn’t keen on schlepping through business people during their working lunch hour with a toddler on my hip trying to figure out if they had high chairs. (They did, we saw as we were leaving. From the second floor dining area) Neither I not Toddler boy ended up eating much due to the cramped situation and the fact that I just couldn’t taste anything, and I probably looked like a low-functioning human as well. I did buy some amazing carrot cake muffins on my way out, for like $20 for 6.

So, first day of spring. Rita’s Italian Ice is giving away a free small ice tomorrow from 12-9, and Dairy Queen is having free cone Day as well to celebrate if you have either (or both!) of those near you. We do, and will be visiting both tomorrow, even if it’s in the snow! If you do, enjoy!!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

When it rains

After having the most ridiculous and stressful day at work yesterday, I can home to find that our septic system had backed up (again). This has been an ongoing issue, cropping up every 8 months or so. We did a bunch of work last summer and thought we were safe-guarding ourselves from having this happen again. I guess not. Then we were given worst-case-senario news that what failed on our system is, well, the whole system. Basically a $10K repair. Oh, and we couldn’t use any real water since yesterday afternoon, so nearly every dish in my house was not only dirty, but the baby who is fighting a cold ended up coughing and puking before bed, onto my pillow and blanket, and several other things. Of which we couldn’t wash because we couldn’t use any water. It took me until 2am to get him back to sleep, and I had to be up at 4 for work.

This comes on the heels of a week that was stressful and upsetting in its own ways, the biggest thing being my 7 year old nephew’s PICU hospitalization and diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes. So I am well aware that my septic problems are solveable and things could be worse, and my stuff is truly a first world problem. But sleep deprivation make coping skills non-existent and I just want to curl up in a ball and cry. And my period decided to show up this morning as well, as just the icing on this craptastic weekend.

I have no idea where we are going to get $10K for this repair. Our tax return (that wouldn’t even cover this anyway) was used for some other bills that needed to get paid off and some other home repairs. There is no insurance coverage or otherwise that covers for this sort of thing. I doubt anyone will give us a personal loan of that size. I’m looking into county loan programs but so far am coming up empty. Most of what I have found puts us just above of any income-qualifying income. I don’t know yet what our options are with the septic company, but I am sure they won’t do $10K of major work on a goodwill payment plan.

Some days, small bumps seem like huge mountains to climb. Today is one of those days.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

This and that

We found a prom dress!!! The whole thing wasn’t as painful as I anticipated. It took us under an hour to be in and out of the store, the dress was on the clearance rack so it was under $150, the cut, color, and fit is perfect, and it’s modest, but still super pretty on her. It was also the only one in that color so likely no one else will have that dress. The most stressful part was that I let her drive in rush hour traffic on the beltway and it was pouring down rain. Not my best decision to date haha

Toddler boy started swimming lessons. He immediately graduated to a higher class after the first lesson, and is doing so well, they said he will likely be bumped up to the next class within a couple weeks. He is going twice a week right now, and I may add a third day in to speed up the progress even more. I also have some moms to talk to during the class, which is nice because I don’t know anyone who has small kids anymore. It’s also a pretty open environment so it gives Baby Boy free range to roam around and explore and I can still keep an eye on the lessons.

We found an affordable option for Pre-K for next year that I am hoping pans out. The private, church-based programs around me are very costly and hard to get into, and the public ones are income based and I don’t meet the criteria. I was thinking I was going to have to homeschool for pre-K (which I still might have to) but my friend with quads suggested looking into the local highschools because they have programs that the teens run which is where she sent her kids. Our high school does, so we applied, and it’s basically first come-first serve, but you don’t know anything until the fall. It’s a shame that pre-K isn’t publicly available, seeing as how the kids are older in K now and they expect them to know more than when I was young.

I ordered Strawberries from a school fundraiser, which coincided with us running out of strawberry jam (I make my own) so I made 2 large batches, which should last until strawberry season starts here and we pick our own. Making homemade jam isn’t as hard as it sounds (I didn’t try it for the longest time because I thought the same thing!) and I will write up a post with a recipe soon. I had my teen take a jar in for her Ag teacher (she’s taking Floral design as an elective this semester) who ran the fundraiser, and it made his day.

Toddler boy has been seeing pictures of German Shepherds and calls them all Karma and talks about missing her. He saw one of those “dog-shaming” pictures off a tear-away calendar and carried that around all weekend saying it was Karma, and he also found another one the other day and talked about how Karma looked sad and was lost and missing. Gah! It broke my heart. I miss my giant fur-baby, too. And no, we are not getting another dog. We still have two, and honestly my heart can’t take getting attached to another dog anytime soon.

My new favorite thing Toddler Boy does is that he comes up to me and says “Mom, I love your butt so much!” And then dissolves into a fit a giggles. I don’t know where he got this except for maybe hearing the older kids say “I love your face” and he changes it to butt because butt is a funny word to him, but it always makes me laugh and smile, and I always answer with “And I love YOU so much!” Sometimes he will even be silly and rub my butt, especially if we are laying on the floor playing. I have to say, it makes me feel marginally better about my super cushion-y rear end!

Monday, March 5, 2018

#Microblog Monday: Not Pregnant, Just Fat

It happened again. Probably the third time in the last year that I had a patient ask me about the baby I’m not expecting. It’s always older ladies that ask me. Being female themselves, you would think that they would already understand this to be an inappropriate question. Yet I still get asked it.

The first time I was thrown off by the question and was more embarrassed than anything. Just answered no and moved on, but not without feeing so very awful about myself. The second time I had a patient question whether I should be lifting her and when I said that it was fine, she said no but...bad motioned to my stomach and I knew what she was getting at even before she said it. Again, cue the internal self-loathing.

This last time, though...pushing a patient down the hall, she asked “when is the baby due?” And my heart sank. “What Baby?”, although I already knew. She quickly understood and apologized, and I was so embarrassed I didn’t want to look her in the face. And I also hope my coworker who was trailing behind didn’t hear this exchange. Once in the room she let apologizing and remarked “I should know better than to say anything, given how big I am” which just made it worse. I did what I had to do for her and just said “It’s ok” when really, it wasn’t. I looked her in the eye and spoke to her regarding her exam, but she looked back at me as if she knew how deeply her words cut me. As we were wrapping up, she said from her wheelchair “Can I just hug you to show you aim sorry for what I said” and so I hugged her and said again that it’s ok. Thank God my male coworker was oblivious, I think. Either than or he did overhear in the hall and was being extremely kind not to say anything.

Why do people feel like this question is ok to ask random strangers? And why do I feel the need to want to go and explain to this lady why I still look pregnant two years later? Why do I fee so bad for her, knowing how ignorant her words were, no matter how well-intended? Why do I feel the need to apologize for myself, that it’s not her fault I’m fat. Each time I get asked this question, it does a number of horrible things.

First, it makes me feel like an ugly, fat piece of crap. Just like wow, my physical appearance much just be horrendous. Second, it a HUGE reminder that my stupid body isn’t functioning properly. That I had to be on a medication to keep having breast milk for my baby because I lost all my milk, and that medication caused me to gain a bit of weight, so that my now empty abdomen won’t lay flat(ish, it was never flat), and then that post-wean my hormones have run amock and a sluggish thyroid combined with the rest of my hormones have made it impossible to see any real weight-loss progress, that I can’t seem to even jump-start by cutting carbs or any other lose weight fast trick. That not only do I have that, but also my screwed up hormones won’t allow me to get pregnant. That it’s just another reminder of all that IF and loss have taken away. I can never get all those years back, and now I am at the end of my reproductive life. That my body is somewhere between trying to function and menopause, and we are having a horrible time trying to fix any of it. And lastly, that I really, really wish I was pregnant. And being asked about a non-existent pregnancy just kills me in a way words can’t describe. Because I wish so badly that I was pregnant, and not just fat.

Monday, February 26, 2018

MicroBlog Mondays: #Me Too

I am a little late to jump on this bandwagon, but I have a #Me Too moment I have been wanting to write about. I actually have a few things, looking back, that I could count as #Me Too, but one in particular stands out where I can be 100% confident I didn’t encourage in any way.

Over the years I have worked in so many workplaces where the atmosphere is particularly sexually charged...the restaurant business was especially true for this, but believe it or not I have found the healthcare setting to have just as many inappropriate conversations...

About 10 years ago I worked at an Urgent Care clinic. A job I hated but needed until I found something else. It was an odd mix of people who worked there, and lots of support staff were younger females. There was one older, foreign, male doctor who had a bizarre sense of humor. He would make weird sexual jokes (like he would pick up a pen and use it to make weird sexual remarks about size, stuff like that.) I was new at this place, and everyone sort of laughed him off as harmless, like “Oh, DrZ...” and shake their head at him. He was foreign and tended to mumble and talk low, so you couldn’t really catch half of what he was saying, although you would just sort of know he was trying to be inappropriate.

In healthcare, we work in close quarters and have to speak quitely, so there is a lot of up close contact...and people tend to be more touchy-feely than they would be in an office setting. After working at this place a while, it wasn’t uncommon to be shoulder to shoulder with someone looking at patient charts, etc. One night before I left, I was standing in that manner next to this doctor making sure he didn’t need anything before I left. I had put my hand on his back while leaning over to look at the chart. He put his hand on my shoulder and was mumbling something in my ear that I couldn’t quite understand, and grabbed my other hand and put it on his thigh and held it there until I pulled it away. I was a bit stunned but I just finished up and got my stuff to leave. I was near the time clock punching out, when he walked past to the front to pass of the chart, and on his way there stopped by me, put his arm around my shoulders and pulled me in to a side hug (I had a clipboard in my hands) and again he was saying something unintelligible into my ear. As he pulled away he grabbed my breast. I stood there shocked as he went to the front and handed up his chart, and on his way back past me, I confronted him. “What in the hell was that? Why would you do that? What is wrong with you?” He just sort of shrugged and said nothing.

I felt absolutely violated. I was clothed, I wasn’t raped, but it felt like a total invasion. I am not a prude by any stretch of the imagination, but I felt awful. I didn’t give him permission or said anything that would make him think I wanted him to touch me in that manner. I was also very embarrassed, as if I had somehow brought it on myself. I did not tell anyone close to me, other than my husband. To this day no one around me knows.

I did report him to my bosses, and because there are cameras everywhere, they pulled tape and fired him.

I also reported him to the medical board that licenses us. The first step is a write up...I filed a written description of everything that happened. The turn-around Time is slow. I wrote it the day after the incident and sent it in. It was months later they called me. In between this time I had cared for and lost my father to cancer. I wasn’t in a good place. I was trying to take care of myself and my small children while mentally falling apart.

The next step is the board calls you in to interview you, and you have to sit in a room of people and tell your story and then they can ask you questions. I got asked about things I had said or didn’t say, asked if I have kissed this man...and they played the security tape and I had to give running commentary about what was happening. Which was hard, because the moment felt (and still feels) like it lasted much longer than it did, but on tape it was seconds and so happened faster than what I remembered. I also had to grab a woman’s hand the same way my breast had been grabbed (what position was his hand in? Thumb on top or under your breast?)

It was horrible. I can understand why victims do not want to report and testify. This wasn’t even with police or attorneys or criminal investigators, just with people from my Licensing board, and it felt like my character was being called in to question. I felt like I was the one under investigation. I didn’t feel good about this at all. I left feeling even more demoralized and victimized than I had when the incident occurred.

Some more months went by after that and then I was visited by someone from the board. I don’t remember why, but after the interviewed him, they had some follow-up questions. I remember I was in a really bad place mentally and I did not want to participate in this anymore, and the woman assured me that this would be it, but they needed closing statements or something so the board could make a ruling. She offered to come to my home. I don’t remember much except that she told me when they interviewed him he had nothing but wonderful things to say about me, which I thought was weird that 1) he would say anything nice, and 2) that she would even tell me that.

I think he ended up getting probation and a fine, since it was a first offense, and had to take some sort of classes about professionalism and sexual harassment in the workplace.

So that is my #Me Too story. I don’t think about it too often anymore, but it took a while for that to go away. The reason I reported him was that even though I was so ashamed that it happened to me, I knew I needed to tell someone. He needed to face consequences of behaving in that manner. The people he works with deserve to go to work and not have to worry about being harassed and groped. It was easy to sit and write down my statement. It was much harder to verbally tell my boss what happened. Telling those people actually helped to lessen my anger to a degree. At least I had done something. I feel like I would have held onto that much longer had I not spoken up.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Busy, busy update

Life is just moving at warp speed, so here’s an update in bullets!!

•Working on several house projects. Just got the attic finished (one side was already done when we moved in) and we got the extra room in the basement cleared out and everything put in the attic. Next up is to clean the room and paint, and makeshift an open space into a closet. We are going tonight to pick out the paint and closet stuff. Undecided on flooring, but may just use throw rugs for the time being. Next up is the garage...getting a bigger outdoor fridge and need to make some room, get rid of stuff, re-organize some of the shelves.

•Discovered our dishwasher broke after during the load we were running Monday night. We lived 5 years in a home without one, but it’s a real pain to not have one now. We keep a home warranty, so they have been out, found the problem, and we are waiting to see if they are going to order the parts or replace the unit. Either way we are looking at a couple weeks without one, so it’s back to paper plates we go. And I need to get out the bleach because it’s the height of flu season here.

•I have a meeting in a couple hours with my teen’s advisor to go over her senior year schedule, which feels crazy. When she started high school I was very pregnant with baby boy...so much bittersweet here. Hoping we can get her a few fun classes to end her year with, since she is entering the Navy right after graduation.

•We are also going prom dress shopping tonight. This is new for me because I wasn’t into it and never went to my prom (zero regrets, it’s not my jam) and I don’t do dress up at all. I also have zero clue where to shop and am floored by the prices people pay for a freaking prom dress. There is a local bridal shop that does prom stuff and you can book an appointment for a stylist to help you, so that’s what we are doing. They also had some stuff that was more modest (Plunging necklines and thigh-high skits on prom dresses?? Plus this new 2-piece crop top variety? Last time I checked these were still high schoolers...just UGH. That’s a whole separate post. But this place also had some more reasonably priced dresses, sonwe will see.

•It’s hard to be a mom of girlie-girls when you are not girlie yourself. I didn’t (and still don’t) but into the conventional need to be girlie and get a dress and worry about a date and go to prom and do All the high school things. I wasn’t typical and still am not. I didn’t have a wedding I eloped and I don’t regret it. I don’t need/want jewelry (the real, fancy kind) I don’t chase my kids at the playground wearing tight jeans and those little heeled bootie shoes. I’m much more dark and cynical that all roses and sunshine. I’m a nice person, but I guess I’m very edgy. Prickly.

•Baby boy earned himself a crib tent to keep him contained and his zip-up pjs put on backwards. He pulls his junk out of his pull-up and pees all over himself otherwise. Wish it was a phase, but it’s been months of this. Playing with his junk is like his comfort thing, and proving impossible to break him of. (He does it in his sleep!!) We have tried everything. Switching out of a diaper to pull-ups worked briefly and can sometime still help contain the leakage, onesies worked until he found a work-around, and then the zip-up one piece pjs worked until recently. He isn’t quite ready to potty train, he doesn’t get it just yet. Before it got super cold we were leaving him in a pull-up all day because he was wetting so many clothes. Regarding the crib jumping, he will be moved to a toddler bed as soon as we get the other kids shifted around and have a space for him. So we are just doing our best to contain him, and his junk.

•One of my dogs has a nasty ear infection. She is more prone to them, but by the time I noticed it was already super bad so off to the vet we went. She is on 4 different medicines, including medicated ear was, oral and ear drop antibiotics, and an antihistamine. It’s getting better, but I will still be cleaning it and doing drop for several more days.

•I just ordered a box full of new board games so we can start doing family game nights again. We have a ton of games already, but we needed something new. We got out of playing for a while because some of the older kids weren’t as in to it, but now Toddler boy has actually started wanting to sit and play games, so that’s been more fun. We played Hearing Things (thanks to watching Ellen’s Game of Games) and it was a freaking RIOT. SO MUCH LAUGHTER!!

•Planning a few fun summer “trips” and also looking at taking the girls back to NYC this winter. Trying to see if financially I can make it work out. The last time we all went and drove and packed our food for the weekend and stayed not in Manhattan, but if I am the only adult going I am not sure I am interested in driving in NY. I mean, maybe?? But if I remember, taking a greyhound was MISERABLE, so not sure what the plan should be. Flying would be great but seems like would be more expensive, but maybe not?

•Hoping that we get one good snow that we can play in before winter is over. We have lots of winter weather, but it has all been icy, or just enough snow to cause delays/early dismissals but not enough to do anything in. It took us until the end of March last year to get a real snow, so wait we shall.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

10 years

It has been 10 years since you passed away, Dad. 10 years. It feels like a lifetime ago, and also like it was just yesterday. I try hard to remember, even though it hurts. I never want to forget your voice. Sometimes I am afraid that if I don’t remember to remember, that I will forget forever. My life is very much the same as it was when you left, but also so vastly different. I lost something when I lost you that I have never been able to get back. I don’t know how I have been able to live without you being here. You were the only one who I ever get truly understood me and always had my back, the only person I ever believed loved me unconditionally. Every single day of my life I notice in some way that you are gone. Sometimes, the memories ore more happy than sad, but when the laughter stops, it’s just the silent reminder that you are gone. I am so glad that you are not suffering or in pain anymore. I wouldn’t ever have wanted that for you. It’s just that I guess I wasn’t done needing you in my life. I don’t feel stronger for what I went through, not at all. I’m not stronger for losing you. You were my rock. Saying I miss you doesn’t begin to cover it. God, Dad, I miss you so much. It still hurts. You were everything to a lot of people, Dad, but especially to me. I love you Dad. 10 years. Oh, my God.