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[Aug 19 2013 - Mon|08:27pm]
i’m having some depth of sorrow stuff over here tonight.

it’s been building over the last week. the first real pangs of it hit when i turned to look over my right shoulder at violet sitting in her carseat. it’s been threatening to take hold the past couple of nights. when my defenses were low and confused.

tomorrow is violet's first day of school. it's her first day going full days.

i'm having all this sadness on one tier because, you know, of course. she's my last baby. this is a big step. it's a big deal. for the past four years i haven't been more than three hours in a day without her. three hours was a blip.

but the second tier, the one that's really tearing me to moist shreds is that this is the last year she could NOT go full days. she'll be in kindergarten next year. kindergarteners HAVE to go full days. (unless i homeschool.) but this year, she doesn't HAVE to. and yet, she is. and it's killing me. a lot. i'm giving away this chunk of her childhood when i don't HAVE to.

in montessori, second year primary is the year when they stay in the classroom after lunch, as opposed to going to nap, and begin laying the foundation of all these cool learning techniques. i confirmed this with mrs. baily last year at our last conference, hoping she'd shrug and say, "oh, they don't do so much. just keep her home." claire is going half days. maya is going three half and two whole. i felt kicked in the stomach when i realized this recently.

i've always felt such terrible guilt over having oliver in full days since he was two. just really terrible. i had started a new, full-time job from home and felt like i needed to, like i was supposed to, and it just went from there. now, i look back and two seems so painfully young to me. at the time, i felt lucky to have been able to have him with me full time for a whole two years. plenty of parents only get a couple of weeks, maybe months, before they have to return to a job.

i just finished carrying her, violet, to bed and tucking her in. i gave her kisses and hugs. i put a ponytail in her hair. she talked about crocodiles and sandwiches. i felt her ripping away from me. my daytime companion. my lunch buddy.

my face started to screw up against my will. i felt like i was swallowing pebbles.

"why do you look mad?"
"i'm not mad. i'm sad."
"are you sad because i'm going away?'
"yes. i'll miss you a lot."
"hey, mom. i gotta tell you something. i’ll be back."

the irony being she climbed off my lap and gave me a nest she had made out of construction paper this afternoon.





i just want to cry for all i'm worth.
12 dead X pick your poison

tornadoes. [May 21 2013 - Tue|09:29am]
god. so, all this tornado stuff.  layererd on top of everything else that can and does go wrong in this world, i just feel this incredibly heavy sense of doom.  there's a predator out there and you can't stop it.  maybe you think you can cheat your way out of it if you can just wedge yourself between a commode and a wall and hang on, but then you see blocks and blocks and blocks of buildings leveled.  there ain't a fucking thing you can do then.  trees have no branches.  massive oaks pulled from the ground.  you know.  you've seen.

and i definitely can't stand hearing about all these little kids. thinking of them terrified in the hallway with a useless social studies book clasped to the tops of their heads.  hearing a building tearing apart.  being crushed.  or drowned.  i just keep crying.  more missing, more missing.  9 children dead for now.  more coming. more coming.

that's what they teach us down here. hunker under a 25 pound desk with a book on your head and pray to god.  i'm not even kidding.  this is how we practiced (minus the instruction to pray to god).  when i was in elementary school, there wasn't even a hallway to go into.  they didn't send you to the gym or the cafeteria.  we schooled in a low-slung mid-century building on top of a hill... a string of classrooms with picture windows on either side.  book shelves on the bottom and miles of non-safety glass on top.  we would have been safer running down the hill and flattening ourselves into the bottom of the creek across the road.

i didn't want to take my children to school today, but i doubt it's safer here. we live in a matchbox house. i guess it's better than where i was a year ago, sitting in a second story condo closet with violet and hoping st james kept oliver safe and calm. but i am wondering if moving to a place called Old Lake Highlands was a smart move. i guess we think we're hot shit being on top of a hill. i'm hoping a tornado would just slide off of it.

we're a consumerist society.  we've made all of this stuff and then it literally blows around and does it's best to kill us.  a woman in texas last week, cleburne, i suppose, said she was dropping her kids in the tub when all of a sudden, shit was just punching through the walls of her house.  just cracking right through.  in moore, they said entire fucking CURBS just up and blew threw the air and landed at the school.  that school did not have its own curbs, initially.  a giant, steel oil tank flew half a mile.

as you may or may not know, brian grew up in okc (the city with the most tornado strikes in the US... a place to call home!) and went to college in moore.  until a couple of years ago, his brother lived in moore (now in okc, a few miles away).  brian's facebook feed is littered with horror.  one of  his good friends from childhood, scott, lost their home.  fortunately, he and his family weren't home at the time.  another friend lost a house she was renting.  i back-read her feed and saw her frantically trying to find out if her child, a student at plaza towers, was safe.  she was in the upper grades, which were evacuated.  someone he went to school with has a nephew missing from a daycare.  twice, i've seen photos from the national media pop up on an fb feed as someone's neighborhood or long-time friend.  like, this shit's real.  the obama administration didn't shoot it on a sound stage and sell it as an instrument of fear of climate change.

i feel totally helpless.  i've always been terrified of tornadoes. chronic tornado nightmares since childhood. i slept on the couch last night because we were supposed to have storms and i wanted to be able to switch on the tv, though there's a disturbing lack of weather information when it happens in the middle of the night.  i will stay awake for hours in the middle of the night watching radars during storms to make sure a funnel isn't just going to drop straight out of the fucking sky on to my house.  you really don't have a lot of time. we thought we were finally in the clear last week, when i spent two hours last week shaking and watching weather radars religiously before hiding in the bathroom. i was up to get the kids 30 seconds before the sirens even sounded... there was a protracted rumbling.  not thunder (i guess it was thunder), but it was rumbling on and on, like it was truck on the street outside our house.  they teach you here that the sky will turn green or yellow and then there's the sound of a freight train.  it was the freight train noise just going and going and i thought, this is it.  it's here right now.  it's right outside our house.

i'm shaving off time from my life with all this anxiety.  it's coming again today.  look at what my neighbor posted on my facebook.  i seriously wonder if i'm an idiot for not grabbing my whole family and driving away right now.  am i going to regret just sitting here?

if we weren't already mired down with the requirements to fix our foundation, replace our shower, replace our roof, replace brian's car, and pay for one hundred other things, i am not kidding that my ass would be searching for an underground shelter.  i don't see how else you're supposed to survive a mile-wide behemoth with a 2.5 mile debris footprint.

i wonder if the two texas ex-pats i saw on facebook lamenting the lack of tornado sirens in their life still feel that way.  one said he schedules trips home in an attempt to coincide.  that's not shit to mess around with.
5 dead X pick your poison

fun with kids. [May 10 2013 - Fri|03:59pm]
this morning, i don't know why, i told the children that oskar attends school and has for six years. after i drop them off, i help oskar dress in his school uniform and put on his four, little shoes and i take him to school and then i pick him up again before i get violet.

violet just asked if oskar was back from school. as she pet him. oliver wanted to know what he had for snack.

i like picturing oskar in a school outfit. he could pull it off.

violet says cute things. like,
tayota (pinata)
pumice (hummous)
feaver (beaver)
jenny pig (self-explanatory)

oliver says cute things. like,
i'm going to kill you
i'm going to cut you in half
when fairy eggs hatch, you have to hold them over the toilet because they pee in their eggs, but it's not yellow like ours... it's red... so it looks kind of pink through the egg

he is growing and learning every day.
6 dead X pick your poison

damn all these saints and martyrs and their holidays. [Feb 14 2013 - Thu|10:26am]
well, it's valentine's day and i seem to have survived. worse for the wear. i became an alcoholic this week. more on that later, maybe.

the killing of st valentine sure has managed to put a lot of stress into my life. i wonder if his killers realized to what extent their actions would run. fuckers.

this year, i decided we would make pipe cleaner-cupcake liner flowers. violet has about 25 students in her class and 3 teachers. and a headmistress and office manager. oliver has 20 students and 1 teacher. then there are a couple of friends and grandparents and aunts/uncles/cousins. some for each other and daddy. YOU DO THE MATH. just let me tell you the answer to the equation is one, really tense mother.

i made three trips to michael's for supplies. the first, i spent ten minutes outside the door with violet while she screamed and cried over her jacket, initially. she wanted me to put it on her, but i was like... i don't pay all this money to send you to a montessori school just so i can put your jacket on for you. and then i tried to persuade her to calm down by offering her a seat in a deluxe tiny cart and said people can't go into the store when they're screaming, just look at all these quiet people coming and going. and she would say she understood and then scream-cry I WANT TO RIDE IN THE CAAAAART. which would negate the whole transaction and put us back in line. to my credit, i did not freak out even a little bit. i just turned us around and drove the million miles back home.

i spent three sessions making flowers with violet. and over the course of all those flowers, she never got to where she was like, oh, and now i pick out two large cupcake liners and one small one. so for every flower it was, now pick out the cupcake liners. VIOLET. pick out two big ones and a small. VIOLET, PICK OUT THE CUPCAKE LINERS. and then oliver came home the first day and did his usual thing where he just takes over like it was his idea in the first place and, at that point, we still didn't even know whether or not we were supposed to make them for his class, but kind of decided to go for it. but instead of making them for his class, he made six to put on his wall to decorate for spring. which is why i went ahead and made a third trip to michael's, 'cause i'll be damned if i'd get down to the wire only to see we were short two pipe cleaners. i could make five hundred cupcakes right this second and still have enough liners over to wallpaper the dining room.

on top of that, yesterday was brian's birthday, so we needed to crank out birthday cards and make sure there was time for going out to dinner. i went to whole foods in the morning to get two dozen vegan mini muffins for oliver's school party and a tub of soy yogurt for violet's party (which i guarantee you will go uneaten, like 90% of the food at every single party, what a waste, why do we keep doing it), three vegan bday cake slices for me and the kids, a GF vegan bday lemon tart for brian, strawberries for vday breakfast (you can easily cut them into hearts, you know), and assorted candies for vday. i had already purchased cards at target. i also decided to boil some eggs and do that ridiculous thing where you rubberband them to a straw and slice them into egg hearts, i know you have all seen this on your facebooks. i did this and put them in the fridge and managed to find the spot in the new fridge where things will freeze, and one of brian's rubberbands snapped in addition to his egg having split in the first place, and i pulled them out this morning and cracked off their iceshells. it still turned out fine. kids have very realistic expectations.

so after this mad flower/card/homework dash, at 5:30pm, brian finally returned my pleas to tell me what time we were meeting at cosmic cafe for his bday dinner and asked if we could do it the next night because he had work. i told him no, this was his bday and valentine's day was the next day anyway, so forget it. and he said, "see you at 6:30." and he did. and we ate and barely maintained sanity with children and vamoosed and lit a candle and ate our cakes, except for violet who apparently went mad and decided chocolate cake with cookie frosting was not delicious, but only after demolishing the entire thing and making herself a nice chocolate cake roundabout goatee. we gave daddy cards and oliver made him this baby out of felt. for real.

i got up with the first alarm this morning because i had decided it would be a good idea to wait until the last minute to fill out the vday cards. actually, i had planned to do it during the time between sleeping on the couch and sleeping on the bed, but it just didn't happen. and children began stirring earlier than usual and i slapped them down on the table like i was running a relay race and I BEAT THEM ALL. and they came out and were pleased and ramen's vday packet cards were there as well and they spilled out treats when the kids tore them open. violet immediately decided she did not like her dark chocolate quinoa crisp fancy bar, just like she didn't like her dark chocolate blueberry fancy bar at xmas. more mommy. so she ate one of her heart gummies instead. and then nice mommy left and screamy mommy couldn't get anyone to get dressed or make beds or put clothes in the hamper or find their daily folder.

i found a flower by my computer and asked oliver if he had made that one for me and he said i could go ahead and have it because he noticed i had zero on the table for me. AND THAT IS THE LIFE OF A MOTHER AND WIFE. that's the rhyme that was inside my imaginary card. you would think someone would have learned his lesson last year after i posted the kids' vday cards to daddy on facebook and someone asked what i got and i said NOTHING. and daddy stole two of the vday cards i had made and wrote MOMMY on them took a picture and posted it on facebook at which point i learned he had left me with one blank card when i needed two and he said he'd pick up more at kinko's, which meant i picked up more at kinko's.

and then i took their picture holding all their flowers outside the house, where nice mommy was waiting.

well, gotta go to violet's vday party at school. i hear tell she has the day off tomorrow for winter break. let's see if i can remember to not take her to school. or take the right child to school.

vday flowers
6 dead X pick your poison

i suppose i could say something cinematic here about dorothy finding her way home, ... [Jan 14 2013 - Mon|12:46pm]
...but i would certainly choke on all that sap.

i just pulled into the driveway after picking up violet from school. there was a box truck outside dorothy's house (our next door neighbor). there was a man out there working on loading up walkers and a potty and an oxygen tank and too many other things like that to spell anything other than the obvious.

linda, dorothy's sister, stepped out on to the porch and i waved at her and asked if everything was okay. she said dorothy died a week ago saturday. i felt instantly terrible that we had not made it back over to visit and relieve some of the tension. we had been out of town twice and three of us had suffered through some level of the crud, the kids' version came with fevers. a person dying of cancer certainly doesn't need exposure to that.

i walked over to her side of the little, old fence and gave her a hug and wiped at my eye. dorothy had died peacefully at home as the pain had begun to grow. they said their goodbyes when she was losing ground and the chaplain-nurse told her it was okay to go and she took one last breath and went. just yards away from our home. all this going on right there.

i wish i had gotten to speak with her about what it was like to live there the past 50 years. find out who had lived in this house. who did that box in the attic belong to? the rusted pitchfork. the old frame. the cork-handled fishing pole.

while we talked, violet had brought me a 12-pack of toilet paper and then an amy's dinner. linda glanced at it and asked if we are vegetarians. i joked how the amy's tofu enchiladas are the obvious badge of the vegetarian. she knew because she and her husband are mostly vegetarian. i would like to tallk to linda more, too, but she'll be heading back to bryan soon. the house will go on the market. who knows what'll happen over there. maybe tea party debbie will come back and have peter flip another house and i'll spend months feeling uncomfortable about all the shit breaking around here while i smile at him and act like everything's swell.

i came inside. started some laundry, including the dirty underpants brian has left in my front floorboards since moving day. i made violet her veggie burger and i sat here feeling really weird while eating an amy's spaghetti. like someone died and i'm sitting here eating spaghetti. what if linda looked in the window and i was eating spaghetti like nothing had ever happened. i still smell linda's hug.

on the way home from school, violet told me her mom died of a bloody stomach caused by getting popped by a nail. but she was at the hospital getting it fixed and would be home in a few minutes when it gets dark.
2 dead X pick your poison

newtown. in case you needed to read any more about it. [Dec 17 2012 - Mon|09:45am]
the radio reminded me to be araid this morning.

i was already halfway to school when it happened. i think i could have told myself it's not that scary, it is really rare, and everything's fine. but, if my facebook feed is to be believed, there were two violent elementary school attacks and one threatened attack last friday alone.

newtown: no explanation needed.

china: in a country with very strict gun laws, a man attacked a school room filled with 22 children with an 8 inch blade. terrible violence. cut off fingers, cut off ears. they have all survived their injuries. they are all at home with their families.

cedar lake, indiana: a man tells his wife he's going to set her on fire as soon as she goes to sleep. then he decided he would rather kill her at the school, where she works in the cafeteria, and then shoot up as many jane ball elementary students as he could. oh, but he was just pretending. "bluffing". being silly. maybe just a little angry. thank goodness for sunk ships by loose lips and the fact that even the most terrifying people can find someone to marry them and report them. the police found a collection of 47 guns and ammo worth $100,000. despite him being on the loose all day friday in the woods surrounding the school, it appears they did not send the children home.

the 10 9-11 year olds killed yesterday by a land mine while gathering firewood in afghanistan just iced the tragedy cake.

considering these were all within hours of each other, there isn't even a copycat factor to consider. so my brain, driving to school, says, "oh god. there's a copycat factor consider now. exponential things." my eyes drank their own tears while i walked oliver to the white top. i just kept trying not to think, "lambs to slaughter?" i began to panic. i tried to ascertain if there were plenty of school children who had been kept home. i wondered if it was too late to teach oliver how to hide quietly. how to say safe. when to run as fast as he could run and never stop. how to say all that to him without terrifying him for the rest of his life.

having children is so hard. SO HARD. and as many emotional surprises there are to stumble upon by having them, i guess you don't really consider this would have to be one of them. senseless, purposeless, randomly executed, utterly cruel violence. authors don't include that in guides to surviving parenthood and it is with great frequency that i wonder why i ever put myself in such a delicate place.

i felt illness for a fraction of a second as a passed the corner of a building and caught sight of a length of yellow caution tape strung up around a large area on the white top. my primal bits calculated another tragedy before my refined sensibilities realized the map of the united states had been repainted over the weekend. i don't know. maybe not the best idea to put up what looks like police tape all around where people are dropping off their children for the first time post-massacre.

i felt alarmed when i noticed oliver's class line contained only 8 out of 25 students. a meager 6 in the 1H line. i'm hoping children were inside due to the cold and not that i was supposed to keep him home and clutched safely to my breast while i googled homeschooling curriculums.

i noticed the first teacher coming to pick up her students. late 20s, early 30s. what was she thinking? was she wondering if she would ever be able to use her body as a shield for her students? did she wonder if she would have to?

i gave oliver a hug and told him i love him. as he walked away, i told him i love him again.

then i put violet in the car to do it all over again. it was her class who kept popping into my mind as mental surrogates for the newtown kindergarten class, though oliver's class is really the same age. you know, you personalize these things. what would it feel like if... i didn't want to think these things and i would quickly shut them down. but it was violet's class i would see. i saw the father in the car next to mine getting his son out. he was hugging him for a long time. i don't know... maybe the kid was just having a rough morning over something else.

i helped violet out of her jacket, helped her retrieve the pecans from her pocket. watched her hang it up. hugged hugged hugged her, which i usually do. tried not to cry until i got to the car. blamed it on the brisk temperatures stinging my eyes.

i didn't tell oliver about the news. he has an odd detachment when it comes to tragedy. a fascination about its underpinnings. i don't know. maybe it's not odd so much as one of the ways of being a six year old. he was more fascinated by the demise of big tex and seems to have no concept of the impact of something burning up. maybe he heard one too many jesus stories because he is entirely confident in the act of resurrection. he saw a huge truck loaded with twisted concrete and rebar the other day and assumed it was new big tex material. on the way home friday, like two minutes later, we stopped directly opposite a completely fresh wreck. large pieces of cars were on the road. front ends smashed in, a stunned driver with a deflated airbag in his face and the panel missing from his door was just yards away. oliver began calculating what caused the wreck. no horror. no fear. i don't know if it makes me feel scared or relieved. but anyway.

i didn't tell him. i took a caclculated risk, hoping not as many parents who informed their children of big tex would inform them of newtown. maybe the weekend would be long enough to soften the buzz. i don't know of what good could come by telling him. i don't know what bad could come by telling him.

all weekend, i would look at their little faces surrounding impossibly big eyes. i can't understand how anyone, ANYONE, could look into faces just like that, twenty different times, and do what that person did. each shot close up, more than once. i heard this morning he only used a fraction of the ammo he had brought with him. i can't help but think that even someone as deranged as he was couldn't live another minute with what he was in the middle of doing. a screaming conscience driving him to turn the gun on himself. body armor useless.

i made a couple of videos of the children. there's a voice recording of violet's interpretation of "santa's kwanzaa" last night. i keep thinking of the parents of these children. what are they supposed to do with the xmas gifts they bought? their rooms. their dirty cereal bowls in the sink? they waited in that fire house until no more children were there to be matched up. they just waited and then they knew. their babies stayed in there all night. they couldn't get to them.
pick your poison

[Dec 14 2012 - Fri|02:00pm]
it's the first rain over here. RIGHT NOW. i've finished wondering all the rooms, searching for signs of a water apocalypse. we discovered what appeared to be painted over water spots in the ceiling of our bathroom, the roof over which is "flat" and which has received recommendations for replacing. i don't remember the spots looking cracked. i stood on the edge of the tub and poked one with the handle of a scrub brush, but no water came pouring down like the last time i poked a ceiling with a stick.

clouds don't really do my energy levels any favors. we've been in here for 2.5 weeks and, though it looks way better now than on day one, it still looks lik a shit explosion. i know my sister would have been 110% unpacked after one week, so i keep bumping into that measuring stick and falling hopelessly short. the clouds and failed projects make me want to circle my wagons around a burrito and a pile of blankets. but i have children, so the burrito is all i get.

it's like. there are all these projects, but they aren't just STEP 1: buy kitchen cabinet from ikea and assemble. it turns into having to borrow a toyota highlander from a friend who lives 25 minutes away, meet at ikea, get it home, bust that shit out all over the floor, realize one side has not had the hole bored properly, having brian get a replacement the next day, discovering the ikea helper gave him the wrong size screw locks for the new piece, having him go back two days later to get them (and not the next day because we thought we were decorating the tree, but realized the decorations needed to be retrieved from storage), then setting the unit upright to discover the drop off in the floor is at least a one inch differential and despite getting a unit with leveling feet built excitedly right in, we have to figure something else out. i have been to home depot a couple of times and purchased different things and experimented with different pieces of wood, trying to find what looks the least shitty. then we need to decide how much trim to pry off so it will fit closer to the wall and put in the anti-topple device and do some other thing with a drill to the back and attach the doors and have severe anxiety over where to drill holes for the handles.

and this is how every single last project goes. i finally realized home depot had the exact right sized blinds for two of oliver's windows, purchased one set today, held it up to the window to confirm it is exactly right, drilled and installed the brackets, feeling like a total champ, and realized the brackets take up just enough room that i can't quite get the blinds in there no matter how hard i force them. then, i released the blinds and realized they are several inches too short.

we decided to put our cd cabinets in the foyer. a couple of days before moving, i realized a sconce needed to be removed. i emailed jason, our handyman friend, several times about how to do it and got all angsty about doing electrical work. the cabinet has just been sitting all in the middle up there and the floor is sloped (like all the floors) and i have to find feet to level and screw in another anti-topple bracket and, after several trips to home depot, found a junction box cover which might work (but i bet it doesn't) and i worked up the nerve to find the breaker for the light AND I CANNOT FIND THE BREAKER FOR THE LIGHT. so brian's mammoth collection of cds are just sitting in a mountainous lump on the floor.

the dryer finally got a dryer vent installed. did i tell you that the installers showed up and told us there was no dryer vent? they also told us the box in the wall with the hardware and line to hook the ice maker in the new fridge was not actually attached to the waterline. it took the handyman a full week to respond and get over here to install the vent. we were drying on our tiny drying rack. the dirty laundry was taking us over. and now, the dryer door doesn't register as closed, so i have to lean a board against it and a full magazine holder against the board and go in there every ten minutes to push on it again after it wiggles around. who knows when home depot will call to schedule to come out.

it's been a week since the handyman installed the vent and we have not heard back from him about fixing the master shower. the one that puddled all over the bathroom floor and by the toilet my first morning here because EVERYTHING the flipper worked on has something not quite right about it. this one being particularly egregious. i don't like showering in the tub in the tiny bathroom where brian insists on keeping this gigantic, black litter box that takes up half the tiny floor and i worry water is seeping around the gaps in the spigot and handles and that the patched hole in the floor of the tub is going to unpatch itself. the hot water smells horribly of chlorine. my nostrils are singed with it for an hour after cleansing myself.

bitch bitch bitch.

in other news, we live in a house! it has some nice features! the yard is huge! we're spending money on things like we are loaded! we're going to spend xmas morning RIGHT HERE!
2 dead X pick your poison

the birthing of a home. [Nov 21 2012 - Wed|10:01pm]
brian is over there in my house right now. he's poking around and getting really confused about where i have previously told him furniture would be placed as if he has not spent tens of hours contemplating furniture placement. he doesn't like that the door will only open about 100 degrees before hitting a cabinet as if our front door now opens more than one hundred degrees before hitting a wall. he just wants it to swing free and clear until it bangs into that sliding glass door that's been converted into our entry way window. he wants to ditch our dining set because of the pine floors and bright sunlight. he wants me to accept an imaginary dare to spend a night in the shed for $5,000. he likes the buffet where it is, but doesn't think it looks good there. you see what i'm dealing with? he likes that the pachinko has been liberated from the back of the coat closet. another round of glory for the pachinko.

we'll get there. it will hurt, but we'll get there.

the cats are going to have a field day peeing on oliver's bed, mark my words, because he doesn't currently own a bedroom door. did i tell you that? he's in the one car garage-dining room-bedroom. i found a cat sitting outside his window next to a swarm of some kind of stinging flying things and i wondered if the new musty smell i'm smelling in there is stray cats peeing by the window. but those things are painted shut, so how could smells come in? it smells like old ladies in there. in the mothball way and not the rose perfume way.

oliver keeps sneaking into the shed and i'm waiting for him to stumble on to a rusty nail or broken piece of glass, both of which can be found here and there. or for all that lumber that's hanging precariously from the ceiling to come crashing down atop him. i've also caught him trying to climb the chain link, trying to pull up the wood from the raised beds, removing two thirds of the bricks forming a border around the crepe myrtle, misalinging the gutter, and upending this wrought iron bird feeder that my grandmother sent up with my father. what happened to my idyllic daydreams of the magical mommy-calming powers of land ownership?

i have little bruises running up my arms. my body is growing cranky. i'm making 3-4 trips in the mighty corolla every day to drop off small batches and rearrange boxes filled with art history and self-help books. you figure out who's artsy and who's angsty.

we're taking a day off to drive to killeen tomorrow morning to thanksgiving with brian's mother and stepfather and brother's family and ben. grandma was on her way up here monday to attend violet's grandparents' day on tuesday and violet got up hours early monday morning, thanks to a cold, and passed out on the way home from school and skipped lunch in order to sleep and let mucous drain straight into her stomach and after two hours of that, she woke up crying, i took her to pee, and then she drooled on herself and i spun her to the toilet and great gobs of bright yellow were ejected, despite her having had ants on a log for her school snack. she was parked on a pallet in front of max & ruby while brian left just in time to go pick up oliver and redirect his mother, who claims she was stuck in tragic traffic from 10:30am until 5:30pm, but brian and i have decided it was 2:30pm until 5:30pm, but still. you know.

oh well. brian is back. we're watching the television on the floor. we're not on the floor. just the television. we sent our tv furniture out the back door tonight on the back of craigslist and a small black man brian claimed sounded like a large redneck on the phone. i'm curious to see who gets their legs crushed on the stairs friday night while trying to take a five column expedit bookshelf down the wobbly stairs.

i always think i can't get myself to write. but then i start and it's like you just can't get me to shut up. i could go on for years. like, for the years before now which i have neglected. but i need to make another fruitless attempt to order blinds before the sunlight bleaches half of everything i own. too bad i ain't going to proofread this thing.
2 dead X pick your poison

The Move. And how it can no longer be escaped with any dignity. [Nov 5 2012 - Mon|10:49am]
we're still moving into the country club house. everything's real quiet on the buying a house front. strange after so much time and communication (and money) spent on getting to this point. eye of the storm. eye of the tiger. tiger by the tail. let's have buttery pancakes.

i've recently defined for myself, and for people carrying part of my genetic code, that there is a point during a major decision where you have locked yourself far enough in that escape would make you look like a caged animal breaking free and running out on to the highway, meaning it's just crazy enough to keep you from doing it, and it's at that point you have just enough psychological freedom to realize your feet are wrapped in blocks of ice. cold feet, that is.

as soon as we got through the offer process and the inspection process and the repairs amendment process and were just down to the part where we wait for the money people to tell us we're okay on the money, i started feeling kind of terrified and all what-do-we-think-we're-doing-ish. i didn't want to do any drive bys. i didn't want to see it online, for the most part. like, it was safe for me to start freaking out and hanging by a thread while i considered not selling our condo after all.

and then, last week, i was looking for the link to send to my sister when oliver, who has been very excited non-stop about starting his artcamp-turned-school-in-the-backyard, tumbled by and started looking at the photos with me. and then, he said something about how he would miss our house or didn't want to leave our house. and moments later, he was in the fetal position on the floor by my chair crying.

i'll tell you. he's a little guy, but he's next to impossible to break out of that position when he doesn't want to be. i gave him a moment and then acted like i was adrienne doing some of that olympic-style power lifting and i hefted him up mightily on to my lap, still curled up like an unbaked baby.

i had a long talk with him and explained how he is not alone in feeling that way and i laid out in detail my vast experience with moving and feeling that same way and how super wise i am for knowing that it is a temporary feeling and new memories will be made. i told him how pissed i was the day we got in the condo and i realized how over-the-top wonky that set of three, interlinked light switches are and how there was a scuff here and a scratch there and that cabinet door doesn't close and i burst into hot tears. brian stood there getting his feelings hurt that i wasn't bathing naked and six months pregnant in a stream of champagne. being a robot, he only can have so many feelings at once and he was already over-extended beyond the comprehension of where i was tumbling around. and then i told oliver we should list all the good things about where we are going and he completely did not remember that there is a playground right there at the end of the block.

that was the last of him freaking out. now it's my turn. i'm in that phase where i pack a bunch of boxes and feel like, whelp, there we have it. i have packed up everything we own. and i spin around and realize not a dang thing looks any different. and i imagine how much money we would have if we hadn't bought 75% of these things and i panic some more over the blight of over-consumption and how my little corolla is going to get most of this stuff over there even while making three trips a day for two weeks.

oh, the couple who has bought our condo and who thankfully asked to move the initial closing date from 11/9 to 11/30, thusly giving us those two glorious weeks of moving, finally sold their townhome and started asking us to give them back 9 of those days. sorry, but that ship has sailed. no indian giving around here, even though we are a house full of cherokees.
pick your poison

boiling candy. [Oct 29 2012 - Mon|12:26pm]
on the way home from school today as i quizzed her over the details of her morning, violet said, "HEY! stop talking!" which isn't unusual these days. then she said, "you're MEAN to me. i'm going to boil you into CANdy." after saying she was going to boil me into candy four or five times, she might have mentioned something about proceeding to eat the boiled candy.

i'm not sure if this should be blamed on another child or too many episodes of "how it's made."

we went trick-or-treating at the arboretum yesterday. maybe i'll post some photos. i should throw this journal out the window for the level of angst it causes me when i think of the things i have failed to post as a dutiful mother.
pick your poison

we'll live here forever. [Sep 20 2012 - Thu|10:22am]
we were getting 3-4 showings/week for the couple of weeks after dropping the price. nibbles, no bites. the girl who came through last wednesday said:

1 of the top 3 out of 27. She's going to be deciding this weekend.

and then we never heard a thing. even after offering $1000 cash back. okay.

nothing more materialized from the spoiled 20-something except further reenforcement that the home into which we brought our babies does not fit in with her youth and lifestyle. oh, well, PARDON ME. LET ME GET MY WALKER OUT OF YOUR WAY SO YOU CAN PEEL ON OUT OF HERE.

i don't want a hater living in my walls anyhow.

we decided to kick things up another notch and drop the price another thousand on monday. we had a showing last night that went almost well:

Showed very nicely. Buyers impressed but not having a utility room a negative. Do you know if the HOA allows condo utility connections?

motherfucking washers and dryers! are we the only people who can cross a narrow strip of asphalt to do our laundry? well, brian can. you won't catch me laundering outside my own home. so guess who's getting a second estimate from a plumber.

in a glorious moment of excellent timing, we had another showing scheduled for this morning. glorious because we'd be riding in on the place already being scoured for last night, for those of you not familiar with the vernacular of those living in the whirlwind of selling their home. and then, it was canceled. interestingly, it was with the agent of the spoiled girl. kristen followed up on the cancellation and learned it was a different buyer. he canceled because he decided he didn't want to live anywhere pre-1980 because he has "lead paint issues."

seriously. this is the new reason we are not selling our home. the phantom of lead paint.
1 dead X pick your poison

i love my realtor. she even gave me a calendar and school directory before i paid my pto dues. [Sep 12 2012 - Wed|10:13am]
I left the meeting early to get to my casa Linda neighborhood party and ran into the builder/remodeler of country club. Ricky and Julia put a back up offer on a house he redid in little forest hills plus he stopped by my open house on Lakeland one time.

I talked to him about country club and he explained that the other partner debbie overpriced it and that he wants her to lower the price to $205 or $199k. I told him about y'all and he said Debbie had mentioned y'all and your condo and he told her she should buy the condo which is an interesting idea but when I told him how much it was he said that's probably too much. He basically told me he needs his money out of it and that Debbie has no problem sitting on it bc she is very well off. At least we know he is motivated so if you made an offer of bw 205k and $210 they would most likely take it.


we haven't heard back from the mom & dad or their 20 year old daughter buyers yet. we had a new showing yesterday evening and we have another tonight. i can't believe my rotator cuff hasn't torn again.

we've been having increasing problems with our dear, tiny child. the one named oliver. he's always been a handful, but he threw a full, metal water bottle through the cabin of my new car on sunday because we didn't snap around in our seats immediately to open it for him. i need to remember to collect a dollar from him for scuffing my car. i'm thankful the windshield wasn't cracked, nor any skulls. he time-outed alongside turtle creek. he playfully punched my front bumper. saturday, he hopped off his swing at the park on maple and hopped on the swing violet was waiting to board. he refused to hop down. then he refused to sit in time out. brian was going to take him to the car. then he spent five or ten minutes walking after oliver as he ran in giant, screaming circles around the entire playground. he finally sat while violet and i finished playing. we left when he began pacing.

somewhere in there, maybe after the turtle creek incident, he cheerfully told brian from the back seat how he was going to punch him in the face and stick a knife in his eye and pop it open, or something like that. he has also started telling us that he's going to arrest us and put us in jail, which might be partly my fault for telling him about things which are illegal, but boy howdy, he might have to put me in jail IF HE DOES NOT SIMMER IT BACK DOWN.

we sat him down at the dinner table sunday night to address these new sayings of his. this was very serious. i don't know that we've ever sat a child down at the table without putting a bowl under its muzzle. we even flanked him. we asked where he was hearing these things. octonauts? disneyjr.com? when we touched on school, he clammed up, squirmed around, and tried to duck under the table. when he does this, it just plain freaks my shit out because it feels like he's just pulled a giant red flag out of his underpants and started waving it around. and he WILL NOT TALK no matter what avenue you take to try and find his talk button.

we asked about the first day of school, when he said he got separated from class during gym. he said they were on the playground and then he clammed up again. we asked if someone had kept him separated or pulled him aside. did someone bully him. WHAT ON EARTH IS GOING ON.

i finally told him if he couldn't help me out, i would need to email his teacher to make sure he's safe. which also gave me the opportunity to piggy back off the email she never responded to during the first week about the nature of his small breakdowns she had mentioned.

her response was to offer a conference the following afternoon. i couldn't make it then and asked if she was aware of something troubling and she finally gave information that she knows of nothing and didn't know about any separation since she doesn't go with them to gym and she could have him talk to the counselor and the counseling dog and he does great and reads to her and everything else and the breakdowns seemed to be going to the bathroom and he would cry when she asked if he needed to go and she assumed that meant he did and she would personally escort him there. and she totally adores him.

so we decided to lay low, as parents, and chalk this up to him being embarrassed and hopefully not tortured.

and then i read things yesterday, like this, after having read months ago about some other wooden box room used to isolate small children. and now i have to search for things like seclusion restraint dallas isd.

oh, and then last night, he spit a mouthful of toothpaste saliva on brian and the floor and cackled off to bed.

kids! boy is he going to get it when we're 80 and he's 48! guess who'll be spitting some toothpaste saliva then!

violet's swell. i watched her walk to her second chapel session this morning. all the children were being verily choked by odd name tags by their throats indicating whether or not they would be communally sipping from the 100% silver cup of germ-anic death and destruction in the name of jesus christ. violet does not. she did spend approximately one hour night before last, post-bedtime, dying one thousand tearful deaths about put blankies on her because i had put blankies on her and she had chosen to get up and refused to put blankies back on herself. and then i put blankies on her after she finally passed out.

on a good oliver note, kind of, he saw this set of balloons and a balloon pump at old navy and decided it is his life's mission to become a balloon animal artist and he wanted that thing so bad, but he had blown all his birthday money on a bucket of k'nex and a k'nex rollercoaster and damaging my car and somehow, brian put it into his head that he could sell balloon creations at the park like that scary-ass austin clown and i looked sideways at brian and said, briaaan. and he said, what? he could.

and so now, oliver is intensely planning a pop up craft shop this saturday for the neighbors to purchase crafts he has still not made and he has told everyone who passes to keep their eyes open for the signs with arrows which he will be placing on their patios and in their gardens, and maybe right in their homes, and come buy crafts so he can purchse the balloon set up and then offer to sell balloon cats and dogs to his new classmates. we talked him down from $1000 per craft item to $6 to $.50-$1.00. i have been doing my best to extricate myself from being present at this because i really and truly cannot stand being a part of sales in any capacity since my days of selling rocks and doodle bugs. i did my time. this is brian's gig.
pick your poison

this whole house selling-house buying business is really working on my nerves. [Sep 6 2012 - Thu|02:00pm]
i'm hoping that our luck with getting a showing scheduled having a rather direct relationship to houses we love going under contract is able to work in reverse. because moments after getting notification that the house we love just dropped in price, i booked a showing for tomorrow. possibly a SECOND showing. our only second showing so far. it's with the realtor who came over a couple of days ago with the ageist young couple. either she talked them into trying again or she really digs our place and is going to club all her other clients over the head until someone buys it. either way, judith, i'll take it.

i'm in such a twist right now.

ps: the cat dentist just called. oskar is now upper fang free, but all the other teeth are in better condition than expected. he might be lower fang free in a couple of years. crossing my fingers they saved me the fang so i can have them both strung up on a necklace.
pick your poison

showing #11. [Sep 6 2012 - Thu|10:05am]
i tried to stay several yards back from oliver this morning while he was lined up, but he started to panic and was trying to wipe away tears so i had to move closer. he was still getting all worked up even with me a few feet away. sariyah was behind him and started putting her arm around him. i think i saw him trying to shrug her off while they were walking to class. the good part is i tried taking mockingbird to st james again yesterday and can get there with a few minutes to spare. so, whew. less white-knuckling the steering wheel.

before dropping anyone off, oskar went back to the vet for his dental cleaning. i'm sitting over here hoping he doesn't have a heart attack from the stress and that i don't have a heart attack from the bill. i'm so tired of being poor.

the day we went to my parents to pick up the new car, oliver became fascinated with these clam shells my father keeps with a bunch of beach debris in the pot of the sego palm. he convinced my father to go through the cds of his vacation photos to find the one he took of a clam still in its shell on the sand. they printed it out for him. back home. he had me find another photo of a clam and print it out. he cut the small bits of text off, cut the photo out, and made a two page book. then, he hounded us for 24 hours to take him to jo-ann to get felt to make a clam after deciding he couldn't knit one like he had seen in another online photo. i finally dug up some felt here and he made a tiny clam held together with tape. i think there was some more business in there about clams before it finally died down and he went back to planning his 10-student, 5-day arboretum camp about chihuly glass. this child does not pretend. he is very literal. he wants me to invite all these children i don't know from the first grade and have their parents pay to take them to the arboretum. oh boy. you don't want to crush a little boy's aspirations, but mommy can't handle that much uncomfortable social interaction at once.

anyway, he was really hot to go to florida to find his own clam shells, which broke my heart more than it was already broken by the fact he does not remember the beach from when he was two years old and dear violet has never even seen the ocean. we never have the money to go. it's never a good time. i hoped and hoped i could make it this month, when my father has a condo rented for all of september at september's super low rates, but then i got the truancy information for DISD and realized they would be knocking on my door after day five of unexcused vacation. now i'm searching for armpit hotels in galveston that will let me get away with two nights in october for less than $200. i'm going to have to take my own florida shells with me and seed the beach for the kids, because all i can remember being on galveston beaches is bottle caps and broken glass. ps: violet needs watershoes.

around 4:30 yesterday afternoon, i received a request for a showing from 8:15pm-8:45pm. which means we would be out of the house from at least 8:00pm-9:00pm. for a frame of reference, bedtime is 8:00pm. i had kicked around the idea of taking the kids swimming, but transferred my time and energies to cleaning instead. i vacuumed the whole house, steam mopped the bathroom, kitchen, and bits of other rooms, cleaned the bathroom, did a stack of dishes, fed us dinner (what a great day for cooking up a curried soup), did another stack of dishes because the dirty dishes never run out, tidied oliver's room, forbade oliver from going into his room or sitting on the green couch, propped up pillows, tried destinking the place, and about 40 other little things i do for each showing. brian showed up from work and changed the litter boxes. we put the kids in pajamas and loaded them into the car. we drove around, hoping they'd fall asleep before the call to go to starbucks became too strong to resist. brian retrieved toilet paper and paper towels from target and laundry quarters from the quarter store. oliver finally passed out. violet began complaining that her body hurt and she's in that phase where she just repeats herself ad infinitum, no matter what you say or don't say to her. she was the one i was hoping would pass out so we could sidestep her current routine of not staying in bed for a good 45 minutes after bedtime. we went back home and brian carried oliver while i carried other things not violet, while violet mournfully chanted, "mommy pick me up!" just working herself into a lather, she was so tired. and i picked her up once we were in the bedroom. i then worked for 45 minutes, skipped a much needed shower, and crashed so i could get up particularly early to take oskar to the vet.

i tell you this because i just received the feedback from last night:

We had looked at several others in the area and client decided he did not like the location. It was after CSS had closed so could not call to cancel, my apologies for the inconvienence.

oh. so no one came over after all. that is grand.
4 dead X pick your poison

to find another peg upon which to hang our hat. [Sep 5 2012 - Wed|10:21am]
potential buyer #7, the one who dangled hopes of an offer before our noses, has opted to keep looking. i reckon he didn't want old ladies stealing his underpants from the communal laundry.

the agent for buyer #10, the most recent, left this feedback:
Liked the unit but felt that the complex was too old for their taste. They are in their late 20s and want to live in a complex populated by people like them. The fact that the owner of this property most likely is EXACTLY that person just sailed right over their heads. Sorry.....

hey. who can blame them. some people move to a place because they actually want to know their neighbors. and i don't doubt they got an eyeful of old ladies and bob from the picture window in the front living room. they'll probably move to the block diagonal from here with its poolside cabana and non-stop parties.

it also seems apparent that i decorate like a 20-something year old. yep. i've still got it. it's all incense and peppermints around here. blue light bulbs and glass bricks. jesus candles and red velvet couches. thrill kill kult and ministry playing softly on the 200-disc cd changer. i've said too much.

on the playground before school this morning, oliver, all of his own accord, set his backpack and tiger box on the bench and strolled over to where paige was standing with her father and the lady dressed like a peacock and told her hi. then he stood awkwardly nearby for a moment until the whistle sounded and everyone scurred like cockroaches.

he began talking to me quite a bit about school over our vegetable soup dinner last night. i'm still confused by the trajectory of the details, but it seems on day 1, he managed to get separated from his class while in the gym. i think maybe that's when he peed his pants? somewhere very close to that time. he said another teacher saw him standing there crying and got the coach and somehow, he made it to the nurse's office to change clothes and then i think the other teacher got him back to his teacher and i had to wonder how long it was that his teacher did not notice him missing.

my eyes leaked when i went into the kitchen and pictured him, terrified and lost and crying to no one, his pants wet. and i wonder how his teacher could say he had a great day. and i wonder how it didn't come up in the email reply she sent me last week and is this what she meant when she said he has "small breakdowns" in new situations. can't wait to do this again next year.
pick your poison

such discomfort: it's like my water bowl has been relocated to the moon. [Aug 31 2012 - Fri|12:57pm]
hey! yesterday was dry pants day number two!

his teacher responded to my email last night and mentioned he has minor "break downs" in new situations. to me, that would warrant a follow up example. i have fished for one. she also cooks vegetables from the school garden for the class and sounds amenable to supporting oliver's diet in the classroom. hooray!

today, oliver got to wear his STONEWALL JACKSON tshirt. navy with a white star. they were supposed to have some kind of back-to-school field day at 9am, followed by a celebratory popsicle. we keep skirting the part of the dress code where you're supposed to tuck your shirt in and wear a belt. i heard the principal holler at one boy to tuck it in and i made sure to pretend i wasn't listening and became intensely paranoid she was circling us to judge oliver's shirttails and the fact he was wearing dark brown shorts instead of khaki. she knew his name by the morning of day two, by the way. that woman is good.

this morning, i chatted with paige's father while we stood next to the kids waiting in line for the teacher. she was the one who sits across from oliver, with the winning smile. turns out she's very shy and i said i was surprised because the two times i had seen her, SMILE. and paige turned around and looked at us and said, SMILE. just like that. he said she went to white rock montessori and they held her back a year. she turned seven as oliver was turning six. holy shit. i wonder if there are any ten year olds in his class. maybe he should be friends with paige.

on the way to drop oliver off this morning, we got a request to show the condo at 11:45. on the way to drop violet off, we got a request to show the condo at 10:30. both new buyers. we've been averaging a showing a week for the past two months and now this. i've just learned last night's prospect thought we had a washer and dryer connection. damnit. so we might lose yet again because of that. it could lessen the chances of the future bidding war, which has begun taking place in my imagination.

we had a few minutes to kill after picking up violet and her yellow playground flower and it occurred to me it was likely oliver was on the playground, so i pulled up on the side of the road behind the school and scanned the immense crowd of fast-moving little people. then, all of a sudden, something caught my eye. it was oliver with a lady hanging on to each arm and three more behind jockeying for position as he attempted to run full force, dragging them along like he was going to be quarted by ladies. these girls were all at least a head taller than him. they must have blown a whistle to line up because he managed to break away and his big hairs flew behind him as he ran, all five girls tumbling after him, hands grabbing.

i giggled and laughed and almost cried to see his legend continue and hoped he was enjoying it instead of trying to get the hell away from them. i also hope being the target of lady attention isn't another reason to be bullied by the boys at that age. my plan is that he'll be too small to be bullied. like, they won't even know what to do with him.
4 dead X pick your poison

we had our seventh showing tonight. [Aug 30 2012 - Thu|09:40pm]
and they have already left feedback.

i guess i'll just go spend the rest of the night having heart attacks.

showed well; buyer loved the spacious floor plan and location. We just started looking but my buyer is considering placing an offer. He needs a day or two to crunch some number. i will keep you posted.
8 dead X pick your poison

days two and three. less terrorful. more urineful. [Aug 29 2012 - Wed|10:15am]
on monday, after a day of not realizing my full potential due to a temporary case of first day PTSD, i was back on the white top, nice and early. nice and warm. whatever happened to horseshoe parking lots for drop offs and pick ups.

at 3:15 and after a couple of bells rang, i saw oliver's class following their teacher out of the building. i waved waved waved until he spotted me. he started wiping at his little eyes in this way he has when he's trying not to cry.

his teacher said he had a great day.

alright, swell!

we went back in through the delightfully ancient gym and located a single toilet restroom in there where i could empty out my coffee bladder before meeting with the school counselor. i encouraged children to do the same, knowing them as i do. during oliver's turn, he seemingly gleefully pointed out how he was wearing different shorts and i was temporarily flummoxed. it turns out he had been too scared to go to the bathroom and ended up peeing and pooping his pants. he was sent to the nurse to change into some size six circo brand lady undies and a pair of khaki shorts sized down with a safety pin.

dear god.

he was a little short on the details and i never learned where it happened and how it came to light for his teacher. i tried to reenforce how it's a heck of a lot more comfortable to ask your teacher to go to the restroom than to go in your pants. something i'm not convinced he agreed with. especially since he has to walk way on down to the other side of the first floor and it's one of those schools from, i don't know, the 30s or 40s with the gorgeous, yet imposing hallways. at least for the smallest, most timid kid in the school. so yeah, restrooming in his pants seemed a viable option. besides, he had not taken a water bottle to lunch, only sipping delicately on a water fountain sometime around playground time.

we stepped into mr. keith's office and barclay, the golden retriever counseling dog, was sprawled out in the middle of the small floor, looking luxurious in his well groomed, honey-and-amber-colored coat. he came slightly alive, looking a little agitated while remaining horizontal. mr. keith said barclay was having to retrain him to give a treat every time there's a visitor. i briefly wondered about barclay's waistline and glucose levels. he consumed his treat and barely moved the rest of our visit despite having a pair of size 9 sneakers in his face.

we had a short, feel good conversation to allay any concerns about oliver transitioning from montessori to public school. i asked about the transfer system and decided i would not even attempt to get one into stonewall, one of the most sought-after elementaries in DISD. way too stressful and unlikely.

the drop off on tuesday was out on the white top. brian came with us. we arrived ridiculously early. there were kids tearing it up on the playground and on the four square court. we sat on a blue bench on the edge of the white top and patiently waited for children to begin lining up with their classes.

oliver held my hand.

second day of first grade


eventually, a bell rang and people began organizing and we went to the line previously indicated to us by sariyah, a friendly classmate of oliver's. we stood with him and waited for his teacher and the second bell. before we knew it, we realized the line had already started moving. i pointed this out to oliver and he whipped himself around and frantically trotted across the arc the line was forming and i redirected him back to his spot in line. and off he went. wiping at his eyes, but not crying.

i returned home to clean for hours for a showing with someone wanting to know if the complex is approved for FHA loans. it is! i left early to pick up oliver and violet passed out, as planned, and i drove by the country club house to make sure no one was inspecting it and then drove myself to the starbucks for a latte and a non-vegan brownie. shhh.

i was still early to school and parked in the shade. which was not shady enough to combat the temps in the 90s. violet woke up and we trudged across the field to the white top and stood under one of those trees that drops mysterious wet things on you. the children began parading out and i immediately noticed oliver's shorts were SOAKED, dear god. i wasn't sure if we were required to get the teacher's attention before removing a child from the premises, but she wasn't seeing me and i'm pretty sure oliver didn't want to be seen and so we hightailed it out of there.

i was feeling pretty frustrated.

after much fishing for straight answers, i ascertained the accident happened on the way out and he confirmed he did find it more comfortable to restroom his pants than walk down the hall. there was much discussion and i tried to contain my frustration, but i mean. COME ON. basic stuff here.

i talked him up and down, trying to figure out how they handle the potty. he did his usual, incredily craftful dodging where he does things like convincingly answer a question two opposing ways and not at, all at the same time. like, he tells me the boys' room is under the stairs by the gym, which i know he knows because that's where we went when he pooped his pants while i was trying to fill out enrollment forms. did i tell you about that? and then he tells me how he knows where the girls' restroom is, but not the boys'. and he's also telling me about things called stop 1 and stop 2 and stop 3, etc, which i think i find out means restrooms and they're all over the place and so he knows where they are, but he doesn't know where the restrooms are. just go ahead and color my face purple-red.

brian is super irritated when i call to tell him and when he gets home, i remind him that mommy has already exhibited some frustration, so let's not have anymore. at dinner, brian tells oliver he's going to have to start paying for the laundering of his potty pants, which i feel uneasy about because the kid's obviously suffering a good bit. and robin says i should have some kind of dry pants championship and i like the sound of that, but have to think if there are any slippery slope offshoots. because everything's a slippery slope with kids. it's all tangledy.

i also learn he did not turn the laundered clothing back in to his teacher and he argues they have other shorts in there anyway.

i emailed his teacher for help, only to find out during the wee hours of this morning that i used the wrong email address. so... i suppose i should go ahead and throw a towel down in his carseat now.

i managed to get violet to school approximately 30 seconds before her classroom door closed this morning. she was five minutes late yesterday. this mess is stressful. two schools in the morning. two schools in the afternoon. and that extra trip yesterday to take the tiger's head lunchbox that was forgotten. i'm exhausted from all this newness and feel anxious, which freaks me out even more when i consider we're trying to sell our home. i want to go wipe our listing from the market and curl into a ball in the bathroom and shave my head.

ps: my mother found another corolla that isn't pinged to death with a cracked windshield. it is a 2011. one year newer. we went to tyler on sunday to retrieve it and swim in a pool. i park them next to each other and take their pictures. a tow truck is supposed to call me to make a date with the 2010. and then i will get some kind of magical check in the mail. then i will spend some of it on having my cat's teeth cleaned. THE LUXURY.
1 dead X pick your poison

first day. stonewall. THE TERROR. [Aug 27 2012 - Mon|11:06am]
i had high hopes for the possibilities a year's worth of maturing might bestow upon me and my freshly minted first grader. i've crossed my fingers for a year that, despite transferring to a new school and all new faces, oliver would not have a repeat of his first three days of school last year. falling on the floor, wailing, hanging on.

we had glass camp at the arboretum last month. he had been fine until we got into the door and then the tears began. but, after a couple of minutes, one of the teachers got him interested in building a tower and i was quickly forgotten.

fingers. crossing.

today is oliver's first day as a first grader. DISD. public school. stonewall jackson elementary. cream of the crop.

we spent a lot of energy preparing, thanks to getting three supply lists, the first two being incorrect, and having a platoon of paperwork problems. but, hey. i got it all sorted out. the new backpack was stuffed. the paper bag caught the overflow. his tiger's head lunch box carried shiny new containers stuffed with a requested pb&j, pear, wheat crackers, water bottle and a lunchtime note of encouragement. he put on his new navy polo shirt. brown shorts. blue sneakers. we brushed his luxurious, uncut (his request) hair.

i wanted to leave five minutes earlier, but what can you do. the side streets around the school were stuffed. i took the first spot i found on delmar. we walked. and walked. i thought my arm might come apart at the shoulder from the weight of the backpack. oliver helped violet cross streets and step off curbs by holding her hand.

we made it across school grounds and down increasingly crowded halls and finally arrived at the room farthest away. i could feel the shift in energy. there were a lot of children already in seats and i scanned quickly for a clock, wondering if class had already started. we came in. ms. pool was there to greet us and point us to his seat. the one farthest away from the door, my escape hatch.

as soon as we struggled with our bags over there, the tears and clinging began. i hoped they were just like the arboretum tears, but they weren't. he didn't care about the orange playdough on his desk. he didn't care about paige at the desk facing him. he didn't care about linda coming in the room to sit at the desk next to him, the one with the pink playdough.

minutes were ticking away and the tears were getting worse instead of better. i looked up to see kathryn and kate and i thought for the briefest of moments, WHAT LUCK... KATE IS IN HIS CLASS, as my eyes kept trying to make sense of her st. james embroidered dress. kathryn said, "hey, oliver! there are some friends here to see you!" and i looked closer to the door and saw chris, her husband, and landon, his buddy from st james. and i could feel my eyes wanting to cry, it was so sweet. their oldest was starting her third year at stonewall upstairs and they had brought the twins down to try and help.

my eyes started watering. oliver refused to turn around, so they began snaking their way back out.

ms. pool asked oliver if he would rather have a different color playdough. he wailed. i tried being understanding. i tried being supportive. i tried being empowering. i tried being firm. i tried telling him he was going to freak out other children and he needed to get it under control because everyone was looking at him. i felt less and less proud of my parenting skills and more and more frantic. i was wanting to cry at this point.

let me tell you. i get it. i know this anxiety. i remember that feeling. i know what's going on. and, frankly, i agree with him. i would be freaking way the fuck out to be in his shoes. he doesn't know one atom of that building or those people from adam. atom-adam, oh.

a mother (i won't speak for fathers here), a mother is designed to shield her child from these things. from these terrible, terrible feelings. you don't just drop them in this petri dish of unfamiliarity and abject terror, pry them from your leg, and waltz out of the room. it tears your fucking heart out that you're the one who's supposed to be saving him, but you're the one who is walking out the door and just driving the fuck away.

i said to ms. pool, "i think this is going to have to be physical." she said she understood, but she didn't quite understand. so i tried again. "are you allowed to hold on to him? because i'm not going to be able to walk out of here." she said she can't, but she thought the nurse probably could.

i turned to oliver and said, "you have a decision to make. you are not going home with me. you can either stay here while i leave or we will have to go to the nurse's office and she will hold on to you while i leave. i will count to five and if you haven't decided, we will go to the nurse's office."

i began counting. i think he shout-wailed, "NO!" in desperation, but kind of started letting go.

i began to leave and he tried to hold on again. all along, ms. pool was in the background, serenely saying, "oliver, we don't want to have to go to the nurse's office."

he tried to latch back on and i said, "okay, let's go see the nurse then." he let go and i had to quickly leave, pushing out an "i love you" back over my shoulder.

i was crying. it was leaking out everywhere. i had to snake back through all the halls, which were thankfully mostly empty at this point. back across the white top and through the playground, filled with parents pushing school-less children. back down a couple of blocks. oh, god. i had violet with me all this time. i was dragging her along by the hand at warp speed. she re-entered my consciousness by shouting, "THERE'S A DOG!" when one passed by in the passenger seat of a car.

i tried calling brian to let him have it for choosing a meeting over this and leaving me alone again for another first day. no answer.

i got us in the car and started crying more. i called brian. no answer. i tossed the phone down in the passenger seat and thanked him a lot.

i took the mockingbird route in order to deliver violet to st james. it was already past 8:30. i cried in fits and starts. i saw chris getting back into his car after dropping off the twins and was thankful to just miss him, you know, so i wouldn't start crying in his face. i handed violet off to mrs. bailey, who was wearing a hopeful look, knowing previously of my first day impending doom possibilities.

on my way back home, i noticed a plume of thick, black smoke. i began fearing it was either my house or oliver's school. i decided to follow it. on the way to the source, the radio said:

A former Texas state representative has been found dead in Harlingen three days after he was reported missing from an assisted-living facility in the city.

Harlingen police spokesman Sgt. John Lee Parrish said Sunday that the body of 78-year-old Don Lee was found by one of his sons in a brushy area just under a mile from the facility that reported him missing on Thursday.

Parrish said an autopsy has been ordered to determine the cause of death. He said police also will investigate how Lee, who suffered from Alzheimer's and other medical conditions, was able to leave the facility.

Lee, a Democrat, served three terms in the Texas House representing Cameron and Hidalgo counties in the 1980s.


found dead in the brush by one of his sons!

the smoke seemed way too close to both the condo and the school. there was a helicopter hovering up there. i finally got to an angle where i could tell it wasn't going to directly affect my life. it started looking like it was on the other side of 75. i passed university place condos, temporarily losing sight of the smoke, and went the couple of blocks to whatever that road is you turn on to get to central market. as soon as i rounded the corner, i could see a fleet of firetrucks and police cars lining the second half of the long block. it was the apartments. three blocks from us. someone's life was going up, up, up in smoke.

i was directed to take a detour by some weary looking firemen and made the block. i waited to turn right on lovers lane and the radio said:

The Taliban, meanwhile, cut the throats of 17 civilians — including two women — in a rural, Taliban-controlled district of Helmand on Sunday, Afghan officials said.

i felt like i was being woven into a case shaped like a basket.

i came home, walked down the corridor to the courtyard, and stopped to look at the helicopter hovering just over the roofline. up the stairs. i opened the windows. the chopping of that giant sky fan filled in the nooks and crannies left behind by the sound of the cicadas.

i went into the kitchen to pour my coffee and feel little wounds tearing, then out of them popped, with a complete lack of expectation, the ghost of ttyki. i had some racking sobs, while i realized that she had died within weeks of the end of school. her ghost had followed me heavily then, but the constant presence of children during the intertwining months had crowded her out.

and then, there she was. following me into the kitchen. safe from little people. wanting me to feed her wet food and treats. following me into the bathroom, her arthritic legs pumping stiffly as fast as they could go, one foot falling heavier than the others behind me. expectant eyes. hopeful mewing.

brian called back. i told my story. the one up there in those first paragraphs. i got to some part of it and began sobbing again. he switched to his cell phone and called back. i told more of my story. he said i couldn't blame oliver, which was the farthest thing from my mind. i was living in the place where mother abandons child. and then sobbed again.

oh, well. there aren't any classroom photos, like everyone else on the planet seems to have. that would have been too cruel.

IMG_20120827_075337IMG_20120827_075346IMG_20120827_080437
3 dead X pick your poison

my day. OH, MY DAY. [Aug 15 2012 - Wed|02:24pm]
i felt some anxiety coming into today. it's a good thing i didn't know the full tilt of it until now.

i did more bodily harm this morning by cleaning again what i had already cleaned for a showing yesterday. today, from 9:30-noon, we were scheduled to be on some kind of secret realtor tour where they hold these open houses every other wednesday. i gave myself some more vacuum- and steam mop-induced carpal tunnel and got out of here at 9:15. we drove by the country club house and then made our third trip to the social security office. the first trip was last week at 3:45 and that's when i learned they close at the luxurious hour of 3:30. the second trip is where i learned i cannot get oliver a replacement card with his insurance card unless it shows his date of birth. today, i learned i cannot get oliver a replacement card with his vaccination records unless the doctor signs it and rubber stamps it with her left ear.

i tell you, it has been quite a feat trying to get him enrolled in public school. our first trip was in the middle of their lunch hour, at the end of which some woman hollered down the hall at me that in addition to my enrollment form, i needed his vaccination records, ss card, birth certificate, and two utility bills. she didn't even take my form.

the second trip, a lady actually sat down with me and gave me ten more forms to fill out, which i started to do until oliver literally shit his pants and we had to go home.

the third trip, a lady made check marks on sheets and i got things turned in and discovered my second utility bill was only showing my online bill pay address. GOD.

after that, i drove around and around and got gas and oliver napped and it turned 11:30 and i met christian and stephanie and his parents and their children at their traditional lunching at blue goose cafe before they head back to old bishkek. we left promptly at one. i returned home to see no one had signed into the open house and the only excitement to be found was piss on our bed, which has happened so many times, it's hardly exciting anymore.

then i realized i had missed a call from my realtor's mom, who is her co-realtor. she had someone who wanted to see the condo and so we scheduled for 3:30, which happens to be when i'm leaving for the kids' wellness check ups at four. so i ate a frozen rice bowl, which i had heated up, and tricked the children by eating leftover praline almond ice cream right there in front of them without them knowing it and then i sauntered into the front living room and shrieked, thinking i had just happened upon some kind of mutatnt, armless salamander which ozzy had had his way with. it looked bloody-mouthed and oliver claimed it was missing an eye and i shrieked and shrieked and gathered up a paper towel and scooped it up and thought about trying to ID it or save it for brian to ID or maybe throw in the trash and then it rolled off the paper towel and back on to the floor with a CLACK. and i thought, well lordy be. it sure kind of looks like an entire claw. ONE OF THE CATS LOST AN ENTIRE CLAW.

and then i remembered how for years i thought it would probably be prudent to take oskar and his teeth to the vet because his fangs didn't look so pearly, but then i would think about the last time i took him to the vet a million years ago and how he was so fucking freaked out i was nearly certain he was about to have a heart attack, all panting and trying to find places to hide on the sparsely populated vet counter. and that was that, i never took him again. because he's so hale and hearty, aside from the fangs.

well, it occurred to me that OSKAR'S FANG HAD FALLEN STRAIGHT THE FUCK OUT OF HIS HEAD. and boy did it look nasty, like a chewed up, inch-long, armless salamander. OH MY GOD, REALLY!? a prime example of instant karma for the pee, right fella?

and then he went off to eat some kibble and consider peeing on the fresh bedcover.

now, i have an appointemnt at the vet at 6:30. because i have not had enough appointments today. i wonder how that will go, poking around the mouth of the strongest fraidy cat in town. i wonder if i'll have to pay for relaxing gas.
1 dead X pick your poison

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