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[Apr 9 2019 - Tue|01:08pm]

Oh man. I'm so surprised and so sorry to hear all of this.

I can imagine it's very difficult to be so far away in the first place and then to have your family push away during a time you would expect everyone to be drawn together is a kick in the pants.

I hope it gets sorted soon and I think it's fine to keep attempting contact. Just make sure continued rejection doesn't do a number on you.


pick your poison

drills. the non-mechanical kind. [Mar 8 2016 - Tue|08:42am]

we're launching into good old springtime weather in texas. which means the usual crisp (kind of) and gorgeous days of shockingly blue skies and lush, green baby grass. and also the threat of having limbs forcibly torn off just before the rest of you is crushed by that half dead tree falling on your bathroom ceiling. or, in my case, having a heart attack because you're so incredibly worried all of that will happen to you. spring: a time for dichotomy.

violet woke this morning for school and reported a hurting tummy. which isn't all that unusual for her. i encouraged her to forge ahead to the bathroom and attempt a refreshing bowel evacuation. i was scrambling with my first and most important task of the morning: getting the coffee pot on the stove. i was very confused about priorities when i thought i heard her saying she was going to throw up and i guess that gave brian enough time, after i hollered did she just say she's going to throw up?, to get in there while violet spittled on to the floor.

look, i gotta get the coffee started on time if i'm going to have something acidic to pour into my stomach to kill a viral infection.

after spittling on the floor, she made a tiny spittle into the vomit bowl i had produced after starting the coffee. i put an assortment of rubberbands and clips into her hair and walked her back to bed. she was all warm and pale. blargh. i put her face on a towel and put the vomit bowl on the floor by her and reacquainted her on the proper steps for a successful throw up. convinced brian to scrub the long-suffering front toilet. i followed this up with a personal administration of probiotics, lysine, and vitB for good measure. popped some probiotics in oliver's face.

wait. i didn't come here to talk about spittle violet. she's fine now. she practically hopped in place while saying, "soooooo... you know how when i'm sick i get to lay down on the couch and watch tv?"

i packed oliver into the car to head out for the bus and i asked him, because of today's approaching storm, if they've had a tornado drill this year. he said they hadn't, but have had a lock down drill in mr. ruiz's class. and my stomach made a clench as it does whenever i hear the phrase lock down drill spill from the mouth of one of my children.

i asked him what they tell them about the drill and he didn't get what i was asking. he said they don't really hide, they just line up against the wall and stay quiet.

the reason i said uuuugghh up there was because this is the part where i learned that even though oliver has been doing lock down drills since first grade, shortly after sandy hook, he didn't actually understand the why of it.

"it doesn't make sense to have us stay quiet. if someone's breaking into the school and they think no one is in that room, they're going to think, 'hey! i bet there's a lot of great stuff to take in there. and no one is around to catch me.'". he postulated this because, "no one would want to break in to kill kids."

and then i have to cry. he doesn't know that's precisely why they have lock down drills.

i wanted to cry and sob really hard really bad. but, you know, oliver's in the car and we're sitting in the parking lot across from hexter now and so my eyes are just bursting from the pressure and leaking a little and i'm hanging on to my breath.

i stop myself from revealing the disturbing and grisly truth, even though i'm frequently pretty truthful with my kids about the ways of the world. but this one is just too much. too personal for him. too terrifying a prospect. in a weird way, too hurtful of feelings. breaking in just to kill kids?

i told him well, sometimes people react violently when caught in the act of committing a crime because they don't want to get caught. so that's why you want to stay quiet. and if they think no one is there, they won't run off quickly and that gives the police more time to respond to the alarm that someone will send and catch him.

and i stuffed the tears down, down, down, and put him on the bus.

well, great. violet just puked again. fuck this, i'm now wearing a mask. she's watching animal odd couples like nothing happened.
4 dead X pick your poison

larger than life slice of things that need doing. [Jun 12 2015 - Fri|10:54pm]
i've been realizing. i have all these boxes and containers on shelves. i have stuff all out of place on floors and counters and in corners. along walls. a surprising number of those containers are empty. i don't think brian even knows this.

i wasn't designed to handle these things.Collapse )
2 dead X pick your poison

sunset panic. [Jun 12 2015 - Fri|10:13pm]

on my way home, i remembered.

i panic when the sun sets.

maybe that's why i had started to cry at home. i wasn't sure. there were a lot of variables to account for...

the kids have been gone since monday afternoon. they've never been gone. oliver went away for one night once. i went away for two when violet was born. two more when bradley was born. another for ruby. another for samuel. i only leave leave them, begrudgingly, for births.

violet has never been away. not for an instant. and then five nights, straight out of the chute. no looking back. no panicked late night phone calls.

all my tethers had untied themselves. children gone. two schools abruptly left behind. the season changed definitively to the stifling summer heat. the rains stopped. our yard became a meadow. no work.

my husband left this evening. he's gone to get the kids. i stayed behind for some reason. none of this was my idea. i have the guts of spring cleaning to repair. cupcakes to make for the family party at my sister's. a star-shaped foil balloon to buy and put in the front yard with violet's new school sign. a car to have detailed while it's empty of carseats.

my husband left this evening. i calculated and searched: this is my first night alone in at least a decade. since before leaving my loft in deep ellum at six months pregnant. 2006.

i don't know how to process all this. how to feel. the children gone. do they still exist? if they did, it seems like they would be right here.

he left as dusk was approaching.

soon after, i panicked.

i burst into tears and sobs. i told myself i didn't know why i was doing this. i needed to get out of the house. i couldn't get out of the house like that. but i needed to get out of the house. something was wrong.

i got out of the house. it was getting dark. i put the window down and drove to the video store to take back the grand budapest hotel.

i panic because the day is shifting gears and i feel i have to hurry to make it count. i sense people going places and being together and feel myself falling behind. i can go with a friend to a bar and see it empty and feel urges to go to where all the people have gone. why did they leave this bar and go somewhere else without leaving a note? i go into social comas and wake a year later to see we're in the wrong place. everyone moved on to the next great thing. we're missing it. they're living life without us.

without whirlwind children here, i have nothing to occupy my mind. i feel myself left behind. i didn't go with brian.

when facebook exploded and everyone reunited and posted old photos, i saw how many had all my friends gathered together, but i wasn't there. where was i? did i know i had missed it? was i left behind on purpose? it's happened before. a boyfriend no one liked. another that everyone hated. and later on for reasons i never understood. it turns out, nothing is forever. forever can't and shouldn't be counted on. it doesn't exist.

i panicked because i don't know how to feel. i can't feel happy to have my children gone. i can't celebrate and mourn the same thing. they're coming back. i've had ten years SOLID SOLID SOLID of living inside a ball of static. zapping. pressing. always present. short circuiting my head. my emotions. my patience. my personality. my marriage. my ability to breathe. chest tight, waiting for the next ping to my person. the next request. the next fight. the next demand. the next requirement. the next detail not yet done. wave after wave of incomprehensible intensity of emotions. a rainbow. too much to handle and it grows from here.

ten years. first decompression. i don't know how to feel. i don't know what to do with it. i don't know how to make it count. i couldn't get my husband to do this with me. i dragged him along, sulking and grumping and too tired and i'm sorry about work and my throat is sore.

my days have floated anchorless. no schedule to hold me in place and create hatchmarks on my timeline. to tell me when to eat dinner. i've eaten lunch and lazy late afterthought dinners. no anything else. food untethered itself.

i drove to the movie store and there were some people in there. quiet, like they were in a library. which, they were. i placed the case on the counter and walked to the back wall to stare at it. i couldn't find anything. i walked to the front and back again. looked again. i didn't want to get something and then feel too anxious to finish it. i didn't want to connect the player back up to the tv. switching a plug from here to there was overwhelming. i finally left and stepped out to the sidewalk, warm air. the store sign crackled and radiated overhead. Ross "Pistol" Love glowed red to the left across the parking lot. i looked out to mockingbird and strongly felt where we were bobbing about in time. how this would all be gone. how it never was before. how all time is warmly, lazily layered upon itself in fuzzy-edged waves of concurrence.

i rolled two windows down. music up. i drove and ran into the ghosts of me. one putting ttyki down and begging her to help me. one slowly pulling into the parking lot on the back side of the block, oskar's body dead on my lap.

i pulled down the ramp to the lake. it was black. the water was rough and the chops broke the moonlight abruptly. i could see little. driving into fireflies. a bird stood motionless and daydreaming on the road ahead. passing people in the dark parking lot, hatches popped. what were they doing. how do people manage to have large groups of friends they go out with at this point in life. how do i still not know how to do this?

i circled through the lot at the park, children still running and screaming in the dark. back up the west side of the lake. dim lights on inside too-large houses. what were they doing in there? were they lonely or sad? were they home at all?

i didn't leave the porch light on for myself. my neighbor's car in the drive makes it look like there are more people here than there are. they've made themselves a new driveway and i've offered to come rollerskate on it for them.
11 dead X pick your poison

the blog of the angry mommy: i'm sending this with them when they bad mouth me in future therapy. [Apr 17 2015 - Fri|09:45am]
i have lost sympathy for my children.

this sounds terrible, but it's actually a workable tool. with sympathy, i sound like, "i know he didn't clean his room, but i'll feel so bad about him missing activity X."

and i sit here and think i'm completely not serious as my catchphrase is pretty much, " that's it, i've had it, i'm totally done with this!"

but yeah. there's a loss of sympathy that's usually more elusive.

this morning, i asked the kids if they wanted oatmeal, because it's a non-egg day and they pretty much just have granola or cereal or yogurt. and there were no takers on the oatmeal. so i finished constructing lunches and coffee and headed off to the bathroom to powder my nose.

oliver shows up. he says, "WHERE'S MY BREAKFAST?"

and i say, "you said you didn't want oatmeal, so there's yogurt..."

"I DON'T WAAAANT THAT KIND OF YOGURT!" like some kind of giant, mannerless baby.

and i spun around with the force of jameson thinking a finger is a carrot, grabbed his shoulders, put my face very close to his and, through gritted teeth said, "do not talk to me like that. you may leave here now." that's probably the censored version. with a speed matching that of jameson's bowels, i had him turned and out the door and the door shut and locked.

jameson is a guinea pig, by the way.

i came out of the bathroom to find violet had poured some granola. and then left the empty bag and the clip and granola sprinkles on the floor. and i asked her to clean it up. of course, she did not. i asked her five more times to complete her work cycle from when she was kind enough to go insane yesterday afternoon and start scrubbing floors and toilets with oliver's nail brush. i asked her to clear her bowl from the bar. she did not. by the time we left, there was food just ALL OVER THE BAR, and the bowl, and oliver's vitamin. and granola sprinkles on the floor. the granola bag was sticking three-fourths out of the trash can.

yesterday, they were just really into baby carrots. and violet kept hauling the whole bag out to the backyard. and i said twice, because once is about as effective as whispering it to my calloused big toe, i said, "don't take the whole bag outside because there was that time you people took the whole, full bag outside and just left it in the grass for the bugs."

and then, i later see the empty bag. just out there wafting in the grass. because our yard is a trash pile. it ain't the first time they've done this. thrown their trash in the yard. or dishes. oliver once threw a metal bowl, trying to hit the trunk of the pear tree, but since he has terrible aim, it instead flew over the fence into the recluse's yard.

then, oliver tells me his story about how the wind and rain finally removed his tub of spry gum from the roof of the shed, but he discovered after chewing a piece that the sun had worked to melt the flavor off of it, and i asked if he actually chewed a piece of this nature's creation and he had, but he spit it under the deck.

and i said, "!!!"

but, he spit it UNDER the deck so no one would step on it.

their rooms are a constant pile of shit (much like my rooms, but that's neither here nor there) and oliver's origami habit is just really out of control. there is always ALWAYS scraps of paper on the dining room table and floor. markers. crayons. tape. sequins. whatever. just ALWAYS. a rainbow of colors, textures, and dimensions... none of which register in the eye structures of young children, apparently.

so my sympathy stores finally evaporated.

without regret, i publicly shamed violet at school this morning while i regaled stephanie with violet's massive success at going out of her way to make a mess and leave it. and violet crouched down and i said, OH WELL. LOOK AT ME WITHOUT MY SYMPATHY.

i told the children i would have to cancel their imaginary playdate this afternoon. no tv for as long as it takes. no screens... no computer. and even though we've spent the past two fridays sneaking in thai food through our bedroom door and storing it under the bed when a child leaks in, i am going to sit right down tonight and eat that shit RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEIR FACES. EXTRA RICE.

violet is still deaf. so she likes to play the "but i can't hear" card sometimes.

during the winter of '13-'14, we began to notice she couldn't hear us. we hauled her in to the on call pediatrician new year's eve day for an exam and violet straight up lost control of her entire mind. that might have been the day she kicked the doctor in the crotch. and possibly hissed and clawed. it ended with the ped promising her ice cream (thanks!) and us restraining her while she screamed and cried, and the ped got about a two second peek in her ears. there was also an ineffectual attempt at one of those pure tone tests. it was inconclusive.

while i took my sweet time figuring out where to take her next, it cleared up.

she passed her hearing test at school last fall and then december arrived and brought the hearing problem with it again. we figured it would do like last time and clear on its own. surely it's sinus and allergy issues.

and it didn't. and it didn't. and finally, at the end of march, brian took her in and they did the pure tone test and then they did a tympanometry and something called an evoked hearing test, and found that nothing was coming back out of her right ear and the left ear was a question mark even after all that. they said she had fluid trapped in the eustachian tube, possibly because of swollen adenoids, and told us to squirt nasonex in her nose for a month.

it didn't seem to work, at least not completely. i guess. i don't know. what am i? a tympanometer? our recheck is monday and so we decided to douse her canals with hydrogen peroxide, even though the doctor said she didn't seem to have prohibitive amounts of ear wax.

but that fucking exam cost $255 AFTER insurance. because our insurance really sucks and exponentially so with each passing year. we thought surely brian's $7000 dollar kidney stone would clear out our deductible, but apparently there's still an individual deductible.

i've just spoken with her doctor and canceled the appointment and we've decided not to go to an ENT. i confirmed she's not at risk for anything beyond having a temporary hearing problem because i frankly do not want to pay for more tests just to be told to go to an ENT for more tests just to be told she should be put under and have tubes put in or adenoids removed and then have to pay for that as well. it's just weird to take that kind of medical risk for something so benign anyhow.

so here's to another month or two of the additional frustration of my child legitimately not hearing me on top of the complete complacence of not listening to me.
4 dead X pick your poison

ineffective strategies: i've had a few. [Apr 16 2015 - Thu|09:48am]
sometimes, i get a word stuck in my head, as we all do.

for awhile, it was demoralized.

it described my internal state of being. it still does, but i guess the word fell a little out of popular usage.

it's because of my children. or, if we want to expose the full cycle of responsibility, it's because of my ineffectual parenting skills, which causes certain childing behaviors, which causes more ineffectiveness (sometimes called "impatience" or "yelling"), which causes more intense childing behaviors.

today. this morning, i just. GOD.

-violet spent the first part of her morning defecating in our bathroom. i later went in and smelled something. lo, there were fluffy feces relaxing in the waters. she couldn't be bothered to flush. she couldn't be bothered to turn on the vent. she couldn't be bothered to not leave two feet of toilet paper dangling off the tube. decorated with spots of brown.

-violet dropped her dirty clothes on the floor. about two feet away from the hamper. they can never make that last push to actually put clothing IN the hamper. i suppose i shouldn't complain, since the other popular option is to shove dirty clothing in nooks and crannies in their rooms and then bitch that they don't have clean socks.

-i emerged from the feces-covered bathroom to find violet standing an equal, and short, distance between the trash can on one side and a pile of pistachio shells she had dropped on the floor and made the effort to try and scoot them under the cabinet.

-oliver had been busy throwing some pistachios across the room and when i "asked" him to retrieve them, he actually went to put them BACK IN THE BAG. after he redirected to the trash can, proclaiming hey, what, they're in the shell, i invited him to remove it from the trash can and put it in his mouth.

-before practicing pistachio-hurtling, oliver had pulled the strings from the clementine round of his breakfast and deposited them ON THE FLOOR. i guarantee there was no planned round of sweeping.

that was just in 20 minutes of my day.


yesterday, by some gracious act of nature, we were out the door a couple of minutes early to drop oliver off at school. as i was preparing to exit the driveway, violet erupted in number 3 of 31 of her daily dramatic meltdowns, initiated by oliver, saying he had acted like he was going to punch her in the face. he had so much motherfucking spare time during the act of buckling into the car that he thought he'd take a whirl at some needless aggression.

i was aces and put the car in park and remained so goddamn calm. and i said, "oliver, do you think it was kind of you to pretend to punch your sister in the face."

and oliver said, "yes."

i stayed so fucking calm.

"do you really think that's a kind thing to do?"

"yeah. i didn't actually punch her in the face."

"would you think it kind if i acted like i was going to punch you in the face everyday?"

so, this went on for a good 6, 7 minutes. i talked him down to a more vague admission of it not being kind, but we were still oceans away from him taking any kind of responsibility for being an ass. i was still totally kiss-my-ass calm. i was a CHAMPION of calm. i was winning the day's parenting award.

he started to become agitated because he could see the clock and the fact that the first bell had already rung and we had been going in circles long enough to span being early(ish) to being late.

and then he called me brainless, because he sometimes likes to do this because he thinks he knows more about parenting and psychology than his parents do.

hey, to be fair, that's not exactly a high bar to hurdle over. but i ain't going to tell him that.

i attempted to derive from whence he had learned "brainless", though i admit it wasn't the first time he had used it. i asked if he had heard it from school, but i secretly wanted him to answer, "from diary of a wimpy kid," because i hate those books. zero redeeming value and just a menu of bad behavior. a juvenile delinquent playbook, if you will.

it was somewhere in there that i placed the car back into drive and placed my rage into overdrive. like, with that little button on the side of the gearshift that gives additional traction. and i railed halfway to school. maybe threequartersway. it was top notch and undid everything previously accomplished and i begged again for my children to explain to me why they preferred i holler my fucking head off instead of just cooperating when nice mommy is still in town.

i don't know if i've told you about oliver's penchant for stealing. i think i left off back when it was things like my peanut butter cup. underwear. daddy's security badge. violet's new xmas ornament. slices of bread. a whole potato. just weird, inexplicable shit. he eventually graduated to money and was initially busted spending one of violet's $20 bills. we were talking that shit out all the way to target, trying to get him to confess that it was not his. because i wasn't 100% certain, but all signs were pointing.

and because he is the type of criminal who enjoys eventually confessing his crimes, it came out that he had stolen it. and he had taken some of my gift cards and i forget what all else. then there was that time last fall when he tried to steal a one hundred dollar bill from my mother with only "50% remorse" after a talking to. we had a ciruclar argument about consequences, because he likes to blackmail us with additional bad behavior as a consequence to our giving of consequences. and then i get real life on him. and he still won't relent. and then i drive myself straight over a cliff.

well. after the $20 theft, i had them both turn in all their money to me to keep in my closet vault so that if he is found with any money, we can assume it isn't his. which is downright pathetic and maybe not the right thing to do. BUT WHAT THE FUCK DO I KNOW AT THIS POINT.

and then he upped the ante last saturday. i had placed $15 on top of violet's recital ticket form on top of my purse, by the door. as we headed out to class, as predicted, the $15 was missing and i asked oliver where it was. and he said he didn't have it. and i asked oliver where it was. and walks over and says, "oh, what's this that i see?" and he walks into violet's room. "i think i see something. what is this?" and he goes to the corner where the little, vintage adrienne chair sits flush on the ground because the legs somehow managed to get busted during a playdate, and he lifts the chair up to reveal the $15. and, his willingness TO FUCKING FRAME HIS LITTLE SISTER FOR THEFT.

and then i drove myself straight over a cliff.
6 dead X pick your poison

baggies filled with golden spoons. [Feb 6 2015 - Fri|10:19am]
my vintage golden spoons, which brian said i should buy, though i have no good reason for buying golden spoons at this present point in my financial history, arrived yesterday. they are especially golden. more golden than i thought would be possible.

stanley roberts designed them and he put his name in a curly cursive font on the backs of the handles.

they are marked "stainless", and i know steel isn't golden, so i worry-wonder lightly about what the golden part really is. i wonder-worry less than i would if they were modern day spoons, and subject to the litany of questionable materials people of low ethical quality might employ in the manufacture of golden spoon coatings.

i feel a small twinge of guilt handling my deluxious set of golden spoons, as my first thought of purchasing one was with the intent to send it to adrienne on the event of her 40th birthday, with the hope that she would use it to put something celebratory, and hopefully food related, into her mouth. i don't know why i was unsuccessful finding the golden spoon at that time. my skill set in the area has developed in the interim. and now i sit with my greedy hands coveting that which was originally intended for another. i am dirty.

i can see small divets in the backs of the spoon bowls, and i received the flash of an image of vintage teeth nibbilng into them. a close up of a mouth on spoon. tiny, tiny dings.

old things, time machines.
2 dead X pick your poison

florida and the breath of cherokee in me. [Sep 9 2014 - Tue|01:28pm]
i went to florida last week. i believe this was my 29th visit. i went with my family. brian, two children. we met my father and mother there, in florida.

since retiring, dad has developed this routine where he rents the best condo out of five buildings for the entire, off season-rated month of september. he keeps it booked two years in advance. he is very serious about this. it's a corner unit with two bedrooms. room 469. you can wash the dishes and look up to see nothing but ocean. but somehow, you always forget to look up when washing dishes.

i missed a handful of years back when i was doing things like having newborns and one year olds during the summer, and a stack of hospital bills. we took oliver when he was two. my last concurrent trip was the week i began suspecting i was pregnant with oliver. or, who would later become oliver. just me and dad. THAT WAS UNCOMFORTABLE.

brian would sit at his job in the old, now burned down condom store and urge me to find a reason to borrow my dad's car to go down to the drug store for a pregnancy test, which i would then urinate on and find out i was pregnant by myself in a condo bathroom.


i waited until i returned home and couldn't sleep and got up at 6am and then freaked out and cried to my sister on the phone about HOW ARE THEY GOING TO GET IT BACK OUT!? and then went around noon to tell brian, who was still sleeping soundly and not at all concerned with solidarity. i handed a box of ft walton beach saltwater taffy to someone dressed in socks, underwear, and a tshirt and told him he was going to be a father. i mean, PUT SOME PANTS ON instead of scarring my taffy memories.

i went to florida last week. second year in a row. dad now offers free accomodations, so we just pay $300 for gas, a beach umbrella with two chairs, and a couple of dinners out. it's hard to say no to a $300 paradise. brian was a little financially freaked out because the week before, he had to have a sonogram, or whatever they're called when there's not a baby involved, because he keeps urinating blood and having back pain the day after everytime our a/c goes out, and he started having other pains one day and our increasingly stupid insurance has a $1500 deductible and we just finished pulling the trigger on $1800 worth of insulation and radiant barrier and today, the $2800 dollar re-roofing trigger was pulled, and that's never mind about the way our house is still sinking into the soil two years later. brian asked for the babyless sonogram instead of the more expensive ct scan because maybe we'd be out less money. but after the inconclusive monogram, he went on to being violated by a more specialized lady doctor who signed him up for the scan anyhow.

we went to florida last week. i said i'd pick up the vacation tab, as it's a mid-term election year, which provides for fatter paychecks for me for a handful of months and i can briefly pretend i'm not taking a really long descent into moneylessness.

i stressed and floundered about leaving oskar and finally signed up andrea and darren to visit him daily and take him into the vet for fluids a handful of times. he did not die or deteriorate while we were gone, but did take to the new and curious habit of curling up on my motherfucking laptop keyboard. not to be outdone, ozzy began hanging out on a barstool and then realized how easy it was to haul himself up to the kitchen counter, where he will recline unabashedly for us to see. i do not understand why they are doing these things.

i made the epic drive a week ago saturday. the children did not fall asleep until 20 minutes before the lunch stop and refused to sleep again. for the entire remaining six hour drive. they slept through the crossing of the mississippi river, despite my best attempts at slapping their thighs from the driver's seat. after much fruitless searching, we stopped in vicksburg for lunch at mcalister's deli. every item off the children's menu is adorned with a packlette of teddy grahams. the applesauce side comes with not one, but two kinds of corn syrup.

i snapped on the radio just in time to go underwater via the bankhead tunnel in mobile so that we could hear it turn to static. i dutifully pointed out the battleship alabama and the first sightings of ocean water as we crossed the bridge. we made the usual extra stop so oliver could poop.

we finally rolled into the el matador parking lot at dusk and before removing a single piece of luggage, we quickly moved the few remaining yards by foot so that we could see the ocean disappear into the darkness.

our old lives fell quickly away. we have always lived here. on the beach. in the sand. walking in water.

despite my best efforts at applying sunscreen and wearing a shirt and sitting under a thick, canvas umbrella, i will quickly find myself adopting the appearance of a 42 year old, crinkly, brown paper bag. my melasma increased in strength.

on sunday, i skipped walking at 6:30am with dad and gave myself a break. i was exhausted from missing a night of sleep thursday in order to be with my niece and her boyfriend for the birth of her third child, samuel. and i had gotten up pre-crack of dawn on saturday.

on monday, i continued to give myself a break.

on tuesday, i woke up and before exiting bed, i already knew that my lower lip was rebelling against the sun exposure and had swelled to double its normal size, which is no small thing for my already large lip. it occurred to me the same thing had happened last year, but the sparkling sun-filled water memories had pushed it right out the brain door. i was too embarrassed to go out like that and chose, instead, to photograph it and post it to the internet.

this continued for two more days. i'm not sure if it was the sun or the water or a combination, but i couldn't dial back all that much. the weather was impeccable and the water was crystal clear, save for a few batches of trash, sunglasses, and jellyfish. i couldn't stop going out there. my fear of being in the same pool as billions of slimy, dangerous sea creatures could not assuage my desires. the threat of burning to a crisp and having my lip explode right off my face did not slow me down. the adventurous red flag days had subsided into smooth, rippling waters and, at one particularly glorious point, i nearly started singing the ocean version of the hills are alive, except i didn't know of one. i was spinning and pontificating about beauty to brian. i wanted to wrap myself in the water, but that would have killed me.

eventually, the face herpes began to manifest. i already looked like a waterlogged, stringy pile of shit, and the lighting in the bathroom was terrible, so i marched on and took it in stride and tried to roll my lip in when passing other people.

when brian and i went on date night the last night there, i made him let me choose the spot where my lip sore would be closest to the wall at noonie's thai cafe. and then, i realized i was under a spotlight and facing where the owner had set himself up. perhaps they burned the forks after we left.

while seeing if noonie's still existed, i was reminded of this particular online review:

Wow, what a experience! The owner, tried to sale me heroin. And, I just meet him! Unbelievable! My advice, stay away, unless ur into drugs.

i held this information in my mind as we dined. we pulled up to a curious smoking fire in a can out in the parking lot. they use this for burning forks. i suspect the area might have been some kind of patio. once inside and seated, the owner commented that everything could be made vegetarian. he remembered us from a year ago. there were no other diners there as we ate, save for a very talkative patron, who apparently reguarly visited. he hopped up and recommended the sweet and sour with delicious pineapple before disappearing. he might have been there last year, and was rather tweakerish.

i thought, well, i suppose it might be really easy to remember some of the few people who actually came in for the food... if this was actually a front for a heroin operation. they launder their money in the pad kee mao. which is delicious, by the way. the literally tubular tables and chairs reminded me of malls in the early 90s and the small space has two dueling big screen televisions. while we dined and chatted, i noticed the owner perk up to a presence outside and he went thataway. he returned. later, he went out to talk with a woman i could see through a crack in the door who was wearing a bikini top. no food ever went outside with him.

they only accepted cash payments, the owner said as he referenced the non-existent sign on the door.

so. perhaps we ate dinner in a drug den. it's difficult to say.

we took one last turn through alvin's islands to purchase postcards of a bikini-clad lady with an impossible thong and naked cats (oliver was in want to make a billboard of florida cats for oskar and had already purchased one with his very own souvenir money). i made brian purchase these cards and a different bikini lady card earlier in the week, when the sales girl tried to upsell him to a cheaper bulk rate.

not ready to let go of utopia, we took beers down to the pool and i tried to imagine being 7. 10. 14. swimming in that pool. night swimming. we talked about what our dreams of the future had been before we met. did we want kids and a big house? i previously wanted to marry in the woods while wearing a red crushed velvet dress. 90s edition.

we left at 7am saturday and returned to dallas at 8:30pm. on the way out, i tried desperately to keep the radio tuned to 80s hits that would evoke the youthful angst of all my other beach departures, tucked in the backseat of a volare or a cutlass sierra. the radio provided. cars, everytime you go away, vacation (all i ever wanted). the three hour drive from shreveport to home threatened to push me over the edge.

our house felt weird. it smelled weird. it smelled really bad, i suppose from being shut up? but the litter was clean. what was that smell? is it always here? CATS. i blame it on the cats. foul creatures. maybe we have not found all the treasures from oskar's pre-vacation excrement fest where he pooped inside the plug on the air mattress and pooped in the path of the vacuum cleaner before i realized what was happening. if your cat is plugged up, i highly recommend greenie's intestinal treats and a small, closed room.

my lip is 65% healing herpes sores. if you are at all familiar, that means i am in the phase where they are crusting and chapping and bleeding profusely. where lip flesh is torn and curdled and raw and stinging. i have tried my best to remove myself from the public, but it is not working. i have to explain, "vacation was great! look at these sun allergies!" brian always says, "i can't see anything," and he is obviously lying or blind and i can never trust him again regarding appearances.
4 dead X pick your poison

i am 41 years old. [Aug 3 2014 - Sun|07:44pm]
i don't think i have ever managed to be so unaware of a birthday as i am of the one arriving tomorrow.

i suppose it's the effect of more work and less navel-gazing.

i have been telling this journal my age for 11 years. holy shit.

i am 41 years old. i am 41 years old. i am 41 years old.

i am 41 years old. holy shit. maybe tomorrow is the day i wake up and find myself 84 years old.
2 dead X pick your poison

HELP ME: a technical question. [Jul 17 2014 - Thu|01:30pm]
if anybody is still around here...

livejournal has switched me over to whatever new version it has worked up. when i go to my friends filter and get to the bottom of the page, where one might normally find the option to click on PREVIOUS ENTRIES, it will reload more entries a few times and then, it just decides it's done with that.

i can't even take the exhausting route of going directly to each, individual journal because i just get some weird cached page from 2008.

i can't find a place to go back to the old version and the help section is useless, as most help sections tend to be.

who has the magic bean here?
2 dead X pick your poison

oskar goes to the vet. [May 8 2014 - Thu|10:39am]
a note for myself, really.

i've just returned from a vet visit to check oskar's kidney values and weight. he's been out of the joint almost six weeks now and has been energetic and spunky, though still on the thin side.

as he's an avid pill-avoider, i haven't even tried to give him hypertension meds or pepcid, but occasionally wrangle an appetite stimulant into him (see night of the attempt to eat oliver's burrito dinner, facebook edition). he's struck a happy balance of snuggling without clinging. i rarely wake up to find him sitting on my arm while i'm on my side anymore.

during the past week or two, brian and i have finally found a balance with the IV routine. we scrapped the old IV harness after two failed attempts and i stopped warming the fluids, fearing i might be accidentally steaming him from the inside out. he puts up a little fuss, for the sport of it, and then he lets me catch him, he makes a mournful meow for added effect, and then i set him on the towel that is on his cat saucer beds. he settles in and lets me burrito wrap him. he really likes burritos. i clip it at his neck, for added security, and then slide the whole kit and kaboodle on my lap. brian sticks him while i coo and pet his face and head. i hold the needle. brian starts the flow. i coo and pet some more. a minute or two later and 100 units in, and brian removes the needle.

oskar has become so calm (or possibly highly mortified), that he no longer tries to run and i keep him a few seconds longer for pets before releasing him to the payment of one hip action glucosamine treat.

god, getting old. am i right, man?

so we went on in. his weight was down a smidge. the lower 9 pound range. less than a pound lost. i'm glad i waited to try the phosphate binder i purchased behind the vet's back, because his phosphates, which had at one time been literally off the high end of the chart, is now normal. he's still in the high range for BUN and creatinine, but has shown significant improvement.

yeah, motherfuckers!

she also reported he seems really well hydrated and has suggested doing fluids every other night for a trial run. i think we'll try taking every third night off. i don't want to fuck this run up.

now if he'd just poop already.

REPORT CARD, for my records: old on top, new on bottom.

pick your poison

oskar and the surprise of the kidney disease. [Mar 24 2014 - Mon|02:21pm]
after having committed myself to staying in bed all day saturday while he was still at the vet, i committed myself to staying on my bed, in my bed, since bringing oskar home at 8pm saturday night. he crawls on to my lap before i can even sit all the way down and pull the covers across my lap. and he stays there. but right now, he's gone for the second time today to sun himself in the foyer. this seems like good news.

when i finally was able to pick him up saturday night at 8pm from the vet, i cried out in the car while rubbing my hands across the gate on his carrier. i had been nearly convinced while sitting on the bench inside, waiting, that i was having a heart attack. i tried to think of how i could work in a stop at an urgent care center on the way home, with a cat.

it subsided some with the crying. it had subsided earlier in the day with earlier crying.

after each call from dr. debender, i would experience a torrential downpour of tears and fear and hopeless helplessness. sometimes, i felt myself make a kind of grunting scream. i imagine there's a better word for it in the language somewhere. a gutteral sound.

i told brian, and the air when brian wasn't there, i cried to brian that i didn't want to do this again, that i wasn't ready, that he is my baby. that it wasn't fair because just the day before, i thought i had figured out the magic solution to this problem that would make him the cat he was just a handful of weeks ago. it was just tooth pain and lack of eating. and then i would tell brian in a cry too soft for him to hear that i wasn't going to do this again. that i didn't have to and i wouldn't. and then i would catch a glimpse of oskar's little lamby cat bed in front of me, empty, and the wailing would take me over again. like he was already gone and not just down the street fighting.

dr. debender kept apologizing for giving me rough news. she wanted to be honest. she kept mentioning that in the morning, after the numbers from another blood draw, we would make "some decisions". and i would hang up the phone and cry, cry, cry, cry. and then i would go back to denial to get some relief. i watched the television. things i really had no interest in watching, but that would provide some level of anxiety-ridden distraction. a fist had formed in my stomach.

one thousand dollars later, late in the day saturday, dr. debender ran the numbers again. they had been hovering around sky high. his potassium through the roof, threatening to calcify his organs, his arteries, his muscles. sounding cruel. inhumane.

i sat for the short time in between one call and the next and made a little daydream that oskar might, like ttyki, have nine lives. i spent the last six years with ttyki, thinking over and over that i was on the cusp of deciding her fate for her, only to have her bounce back. i think i also had an alarmist vet at the time. the one who told me ttyki had diabetes the first time followed immediately with a story about how her family agreed to kill any pet of theirs who developed diabetes. ttyki had me so used to her nine lives, that i still had a certain amount of denial the morning i took her in for the last time. nothing but skin and bones and matted hair. ears turning yellow. unable to walk. lying in the kitchen next to her own urine.

dr. debender called back. she used the word "shocked" when she told me about oskar's phosphorous levels. they had dropped to just above the high end of the normal range. his other readings were still high, but had come down moderately. i would take what i could get. i laughed. i giggled. after she suggested he could eat whatever he wanted to eat at this point in the game short of a pill pocket diet, i cracked a joke that he should take up smoking cigarettes and drinking shots of whiskey. she asked for a photo.

i was nervous picking him up. i wasn't sure what i was getting back. i kept thinking of "pet semetary" and how they're just not the same. he howled a few times on the way home. i carried him straight to my bed and opened the carrier. he sort of tumbled himself out and straight on to his little cat bed. if i hadn't read earlier in the day about what the toxins formed through acute kidney disease can do to a cat's limbs, i would have thought it was the most adorable thing ever. he smashed his little face all the way up to the top of his head into his bed while his little foreclaws curled around the edges and pulled it up close to him. like he had fallen to his knees and was kissing the ground. i was terrified it was a result of the disease.

he began panting. hard. i panicked. i ran for my phone and called and asked if dr. debender had left. she had. but brian was petting oskar and talking sweetly to him and while i stuttered and paused and left the girl on the other end of the line hanging, oskar seemed to calm down. i backed slowly out of the phone call.

as drifted to sleep on my lap later, i worried about whether the twitches were the signs of disease or just extreme exhaustion and stress. we would pet him and the twitches would subside for a bit.

the more i think about it, the more terrible i feel. for oskar, he was taken to a place he is utterly not used to and away from the only place he usually knows. he was abandoned by his mother with complete strangers who locked him in a cage near howling dogs and was delivered a barrage of needles in IV and syringe form. he was given an enema. feces were manually, digitally extracted. he was there for 30 hours. no explanation. no understanding. no knowledge of what might come next. it's pretty fucked up and it's no wonder he hugged his kitten bed and nearly passed out.

he spends the nights feeling restless. he switches between my legs and my torso. he walks in and out of the bathroom. it's another possible sign of a disease with lots of possible signs. lots of things to go wrong. lots of reasons for discomfort. a puzzle with pieces that don't fit easily together. pieces falling off the table and under the couch while you were working on the other edge.

i took him out on a lead in the backyard yesterday evening. he was a hair trepidatious, but he proceeded along with caution, sniffing grass and leaves, peering through the fence. trying to escape under the house... a real worry when you've got a cat who doesn't feel one hundred percent. maybe that's why he spent an afternoon and evening under the house several months ago.

to look at him today, he seems just about like the cat from a month ago. maybe a little slower. he appears slightly arthritic (the toxins screw with their hind legs and muscle coordination). he comes out in the morning expecting treats. his little bits of kitty candy. he dutifully eats up his homeopathic kidney support treats with a little urging. i offer him food 5, 6, 7 times a day. usually, with some praise and pets, he'll turn his nose up a couple of times and then commit to eating a spoonful or two. he drinks water readily. we give him subcutaneous fluids at home at night. he was feeling well enough last night to make a break for it, leaving the needle behind to stream IV fluids into my hair and across the bedspread. after a few days of forgetting pill pockets hide pills, he's figured out again to peel the layers off, leaving his quarter of a pepcid AC naked on the floor.

i struggle between the consequence of him not getting meds versus the stress of the cat burrito pilling method.

i give him lots of pets and my brain chamber echoes phrases like therapeutic massage, lymphatic massage. and i hope it's right.

i refuse to leave town anytime soon. i canceled with darren for the weekend. i canceled tonight with my sister. i removed myself from the annual family trip to austin in april. i worry that the stress of my absence during our trip to phoenix, combined with three visits from strangers pilling him, sent him on a downward sprial. i don't trust his fragile state. i don't know if tomorrow will be a different day.

i'm in a hurried struggle to learn some kind of acceptance of death. to learn an appreciation for the remainder of a life. to find some balance and a lot of courage for the heartbreak to come. i honestly don't know if it's a matter of days or months or years.

i don't know how to end this thing for now. so, i'm thinking THE END, which is what violet does every night after she makes up a story. this weekend, she told me a story about a ghost. it was very white, with invisible eyes. it went to the donut store and got a number of donuts that kept increasing. 100, 150, 380. lots of donuts. i think it shared its donuts with a friend. THE END.
6 dead X pick your poison

saying no to drugs. [Mar 7 2014 - Fri|09:25am]
it's day 9 of oskar's twice-daily antibiotics. and once daily hypertension meds. and once every three days anti-nausea meds.

he has some kind of kidney disease, though now i'm not sure if it's officially kidney disease until we retest him after the antibiotics. my vet doesn't feel very ... thorough? in her explanations. and she has this way of talking into the phone where i imagine the phone must be slipping off her shoulder every thirty seconds and muffling creatinine levels and blood in the urine until i point out i can't hear her. and i wonder how she hasn't corrected whatever this technicality is yet, considering she must make lots of phone calls every day. she's also one of those doctors who make you feel like an asshole for asking a question. she answers with a 'well, you know' intonation. kind of exasperated. maybe like that pediatrician we decided to stop seeing after violet was born because i was tired of feeling like her middle schooler.


last week, i desired strongly to have been the inventor of pill pockets. those gross little cylinder-shaped cat treats that give you a small amount of real estate for squishing a pill into. god, a brilliant idea.

oskar was having super fun times with his pill pockets. he's a treats-based cat. one morning, the pill fell straight out of it, but he was having such a good time, he just scooped it up and ate that, too. naked as the day it was manufactured.

somewhere along the way, he stopped inhaling his old pockets and discovered there was a not-tasty center. he began meticulously eating his pocket so that he peeled off layer by layer until the pocket was gone and the pill was there on the floor in a disgusting jam of saliva and dead animal phantoms.

he even managed to evacuate the half of a small pill from the pill pocket. like some kind of magician.

i turned to the internet and it showed me a vet pilling a cat so calm, i wasn't sure it was alive. she'd gently squeeze its jaws, gently open the bottom drawer, and just chatter away about pilling cats while that catue (that's cat + statue) just sat there. motionless. anyone with a cat like that sure as shit don't need to video on how to pill a cat.

i tried this with oskar. i learned he is part wild ferret. his bones are made of rubber. his anti-pilling resolve made of steel. i suffered an impalement in the palm of my hand. i, the christ of unpilled cats.

i turned to the cat burrito. i accepted the fact his tiny pawlettes were going to be swaddled under his chin, as he is the great houdini. come back as feline. there was much thrashing of head, but i managed to get the antibiotic down. we were both smudged in blue coating by the time it was over. his head would immediately stagnate upon consumption. perhaps he goes into shock. his tail hairs stay in shock for a good hour.

i was starting to feel triumphant after squeezing a few pills down this way. i got my confidence up. i gave him quality head pattings after, while he was still burritoed. the ineffectual cat-pilling video vet said to do this so he knows i'm not just some sadistic bitch in my goldening years.

today was the morning of three medications. i felt fairly comfortable that the pill pockets were no longer a sure fire way to administer health and i wanted to clear his mind of their trickery before we hop a red eye to phoenix saturday night and leave darren to pill the ferret.

i confidently grabbed oskar three times and slid his tearing claws across the bedspread and on to the tortilla before wrapping his neck like he was getting his beard set up for a hot shave. he pretended to be calm. and i thought. oh, no problem. we're sympatico on this. me and my friend.

the writhing over that blue pill was top notch. he could join the circus with those loose ligaments! he ejected it so far during one of the struggles, that it landed two feet away from where i thought it went. the little pills, he hid down in his wrappings. he did everything to avoid a pilling, just short of biting the fuck out of me, something ozzy wouldn't hesitate to do if you just pet him the wrong direction. ozzy, the cat who punched me in the eyeball the other morning for some kind of inexplicably illegal pet.

i thought i had finally at least gotten the large antibiotic down the chute before realizing it was on the bed a foot away, gleaming white at this point. i tried not to verbally berate him, but i admit i had begun to. i insulted his maturity level with my words.

in response, he mashed down on my thumb like his jaws were a car door. i yelped. i cursed. it wasn't until later i realized he had also punctured the side of my thumb. mind you, this is coming from a cat with no fangs. i had him defanged a year and a half ago.

I'M KIDDING. kind of. remember? his tooth fell out on the floor that one time? and the vet took out the other? and then neglected to tell me his creatinine levels were out of the normal range at that point and that dental issues are associated will ill-functioning kidneys? you didn't know that part, because i only just found out that part and i keep waiting for the vet to say that other vet fucked up. it ain't coming. it's sitting with the apology for not calling me for four days with urinalysis results.

bitter pills all around.
1 dead X pick your poison

hula hoops and macaroni. [Jan 16 2014 - Thu|04:50pm]
oliver gave himself a bloody nose today.

he had worked up what must have been some amazing hula hooping motion sufficient to cause it to go up and bang him square in the nose. he said you could see blood spatter on the ground.

he cried.

coach riley sent him face up with student violet to the nurse's office. she sat with him for a portion of what he estimates was 20 minutes before he returned to class with two kleenexes. kleenexes sure is a weird word.

i just finished honest to god convincing violet that one day each week while they are at school, i prepare macaroni and chreese with tofu and olives for oskar and ozzy. i told her they eat it with chopsticks. she also still believes that oskar goes to school every day. ozzy is a drop out.
3 dead X pick your poison

battle of the bulges. [Dec 11 2013 - Wed|02:47pm]
oh, livejournal.

i forsake you over and over again. with every minute of every day. your solitude weighs heavily on my mind. it is the number one sorrow in my brain and it produces a constant, frequently subconscious hum of neglect and ineptitude, painting every moment with grey cast. "there's something i should be doing there's something i should be doing."

there are one million other things i never get around to doing, but the fact that i can no longer manage to capture the moments i do accomplish makes me eternally sad. if i don't write it, it didn't happen. my memory cortex is made of soft cheese and it cannot hold on to these things on its own. it needs crackers. you're a cracker, livejournal. i've taken to photographing EVERY LAST THING EVER as a second line of defense. and then, i have so many photos, i can't bear the thought of processing them to add to the journal entry i never write.


i can't even remember what santa brought my children last year. i have nothing to refer back to. i watched some videos a took a month or two ago and thought, god, i barely remember that happening. without the video, it might as well have never happened. my memory is a mostly empty vessel. what remains is a serpentine path tracing phantom lines of confusion. i can never figure out if the story someone is telling me or the movie i am watching is making a new impression on my memory or if i have heard it three times before. my brain is dying. mark my words.

i blame facebook. for everything. it is the lazy man's journal. it is the CliffsNotes of life.

anyway. alright.

i became more of an old lady saturday morning around 10:30am.

we bolted out of bed at 9:18 after realizing the home depot kids' workshop was from 9a-12p. i had automatically assumed they wouldn't do that to a parent and would instead hold it during a respectable timeframe, like 1p-4p. we had been meaning to take oliver for years, but the times we actually thought about it were always days when something else was already happening, which is how it goes with children in one's life. and now, violet was already old enough to participate. so this was it. catie and maya are total home depot workshop veterans and they had firmly planted the idea in his head over thanksgiving break and he was not going to let us forget.

we were hosting jameson, due to the inclement ice weather, and since i'm the only one who thinks to take care of him, i was siphoning crudites into his carrot-shaped bowl. (you see, perhaps, why i'm the only one in the family who feels strongly averse to acquiring a new life form for the house.) so i had this piece of celery, it wasn't even a fully stalk, just this piece of celery, and i was bending about far enough to make one side on an equilateral triangle with a horizontal base, so that i could set it in the cage, which was elevated by our coffee table. elevated, not levitated. but wouldn't that be cool.

and then, as my head met the vertex, i had this sensation of one million tiny, hot explosions erupting straight across my lower back. like, where it tends to hurt when i stand for a long time and then finally sit down. the base of my swayback. i screamed. out loud. and then, i was kind of frozen in place, surrounded on every side by the promise of more pain. i was like jack tripper the day after he worked out too much to impress a chick in a french cut leotard. and the kids were maybe partially aware of my predicament, as kids tend to be. tears were coming out and i didn't know what to do with myself, other than continue squatting. i couldn't hardly breathe. i finally managed to lower myself the few remaining inches to the couch and continued gritting and crying. violet offered a hug and, remembering jack tripper, i declined, saying, "PLEASE DON'T TOUCH ME."

after getting no response from my screams of, "BRIAN," i begged oliver to encourage brian to get the fuck out of the shower already and oliver went to the door and hollered, "DADDY, HURRY UP!" and brian was like, "yeah, yeah. we'll home depot it out soon enough." in so many words.

somewhere in there, i managed to lean my torso to the left side. i kept crying.

sometimes, i think that maybe i no longer will cry if i get hurt, like a grown up. and then the kids wind up oskar on my lap until he takes off, shredding my twelve inches of my leg the whole way, and i learn: yes, as an adult, i will still cry. and scream.

brian finally came out of the bathroom and just streaked right on past me. i guess i always look like that when i'm sitting on the couch. bent in half the wrong way and with tears streaming down my face. so i pointed out to him that my back had just blown out. he probably helped me stand up. and then i made these ridiculouse tiny hobblesteps across the sitting area room place and down the two stairs into the kitchen, while holding on to the wall and counter. i eventually consumed an ibuprofen and continued to cry due to the pain and the ridiculousness and my immediate and brutal disqualification from the day's events and a deep down fear of becoming an old lady who felt this way at all times.

side bar:
toward the end of my 30s, i began to appreciate them for what they had been. a time of greater emotional stability and a time to learn just a whole lot about myself and the world around me. i decided to try and appreciate my 40s from the beginning. because it was either that, or cry wildly into my soup. gross.

in the past six months, i have developed a very deep, visceral understanding that, with any luck, i will become old AND DIE. i mean, we all know that. but it's kind of this wispy, fluttering fact. way off in the distance. it doesn't seem real. well, one night (these things always come under the cover of darkness), i just became very aware of it. it wasn't outside anymore. it was coming from inside me. my fate. inescapable. one of those moments where you feel like you can't breathe right and were sliding down a slope. into a pit. and you have to try really hard to shed just the right brand of light on the situation to try and turn things around. lemons into lemonade. accepting the things you cannot change.

so here was this back explosion. just staring me in the face. taunting me. showing how easily it can lift a finger a debilitate me. i hadn't been doing anything strenuous. something where i could say, "oh ho... let's not do that again!" oh no. it just chose a completely random, seemingly innocuous moment to flick its wrist and knock me down.

since everyone was running late, i had to pretty quickly admit a solid defeat and i retreated to the bed. i spent the better part of saturday and sunday there. fortunately, we had figured out that the simple act of shutting the door transforms our bedroom from a meat locker into an oven, so at least i was cozy. but every movement shot pain through my back. i began feeling like i had growing pains in my right leg, which was also the side that gave me problems when taking baby steps. getting up, getting down, adjusting my body, staying in one position for too many minutes... it all hurt.

my physical therapist friend said it sounds like a classic case of a bulged disc. and that just makes me want to throw up. i dared to google it and she seems to be making a good call. i made the mistake of reading about bulging discs where they are likened to rings of onion with jelly in the middle. barf barf barf.

aaron brought aidan over for a few minutes that afternoon. oliver had left his hat at their house during a brief playdate the afternoon prior while i spent time making childfree chili. they returned it and then accidentally introduced oliver to angry birds on our roku. his first gaming experience and he was hooked verily. we're going to have to channel that to something more constructive and restrained timewise.

after a brief nap, i poked my head out a bit to say hello and aaron sprinted home to bring me their heat up-able rice pack. our neighbors are really super nice.

i managed to stand long enough to make tofu ramen for children while brian battled the roads to bring me some of the best pad kee mow ever to grease up my mouth. that sounds gross.

i neglected to mention we were iced in for days. kind of. we technically only stayed in one day. but kids were out of school fri AND mon.

sunday, i finally left the house for the first time in three days to go see santa at violet's school. upon our arrival, violet was completely horrified by the prospect of being in the same general area as santa and she spent a lot of time standing behind me and pulling my arm, despite being a good distance away. oliver went with brian to listen to the story and then both children acted like they could not be more ready to go. brian was suffering with diarrhea and my back was aching so we said, fuck this, let's go. and oliver immediately decided he did want to get a photo taken. we stood in line, got a shot of him looking like shaun cassidy, procured his complimentary candy cane and magical jingle bell (it rings when santa breaks into your house!) and then drove way over to freebirds to pick up dinner. by the time we were driving back, i was about ready to cry again. it felt like my back was squeezing its own self.

we returned home to fire trucks on the other side of the block...Collapse )
2 dead X pick your poison

tubeworking. [Nov 8 2013 - Fri|09:00am]
yesterday morning, i acquiesced to violet's school's request to relinquish our germy toilet paper tubes to the mother's day out children so that they might fashion them into something festive. [WHAT COULD BE MORE FESTIVE THAN TOILET PAPER TUBES IN THEIR NATURAL STATE?]

i obligingly arrived with four toilet paper tube fingers outside violet's room and ms. kalindi muled up and offered to complete the delivery for me. their was a quasi-intimate transfer process where we both were wearing the tubes.

i had this thought this morning while i was in the bathroom. i wasn't toileting, for once, but was putting on my face or yellow birding my hair with the yellow bird hair dryer.

it's the next great idea in social networking.

everyone gets a toilet paper tube to carry around on their finger.

stick with me.

we've all got a toilet paper tube and when we encounter someone, like our cashier or a friend, you swap tubes. or someone with whom there is at least a small interaction. maybe even just passing someone and saying hello, though now that's making me think of earl and souring me. let's push through that.

during the alpha stage of this project, like when you sign up with your tube from the recycling, you'll have some basic level of information on it. name, contact info. and you're swapping, swapping, all day long.

at some predetermined interval of time, say midnight every tuesday, everyone takes note of who is on their current tube and has a little lunch or coffee date with that person. it's like that guy who takes the photos of people on the street who are strangers to each other, but then he makes them pose with their hands on each others thorax and now they've grown their hearts three sizes.

now, not to demolish the delightfully primitive nature of this experiment... the beta version of the toilet paper tube could include a small, simple device that logs each interaction in a social family tree. a trajectory of the tube's travels. just so one can blow one's mind on occasion.

since we've introduced technology, the gamma version could include a function where once a month, it compiles a list of the members of the past X encounters and groups them accordingly and then sends out emails to make a group gathering. kind of like that documentary where the guy lives off craigslist and crosses the country for a month and then has a party for everyone when he gets back home.

i wanted to put this all out in writing to preserve my integrity as the idea-maker. [let's forget about the photographer and the documentarian, just for purity's sake.]

i heard on the radio last night that there were 12 people in the room when twitter was born, but one of them took that ugly, truncated baby and ran into the night with it. sold it on the black market for billions.
pick your poison

a little late for halloween, but maybe you'll take me more seriously. [Nov 8 2013 - Fri|08:35am]
my sister and i have started having monthly date nights at a starbucks in arlington. it was supposed to be monthly for some time, but i don't know, three months would pass with no klatsching. we got smart and started arranging our next date at the end of our active date.

anyway. we go to coffee about once a month. no children. no grandbabies. only short phone calls and texts, because my sister cannot be left alone. she's the family glue.

i have a bladder that likes to stay active, so i was in the restroom and returned to lisa, that's my sister, on a phone call with her husband, jeff. she reminded me about how they think their house is haunted and refreshed my alzheimers with the details from the past two years. ~~~~~~

-dylan, her teenaged son, heard lisa turn on the dryer in the middle of the night. it's on the other side of his bedroom wall and woke him up. he went to go turn it off, but it wasn't on.

-ashleigh, her early 20s daughter who lived with her until recently, had a couple of instances of going into her bedroom and shutting her door behind her and then finding it locked when she went to leave.

-a couple of weeks ago, ashleigh was there by herself around dusk and saw something black move quickly past the window near the front door. she said it was too fast to be a car.

-the following week, around dusk, my sister came home to find dylan sitting on top of a little tykes slide, holding a plastic bat. he had been home alone when the bell rang. they have a long entry hall and two of those skinny windows on either side of the door. he didn't see anything move past them and assumed kids were ringing and running. he went outside, checked the side yards, looked down the street, walked to the corner and looked up and down that street and found no one. he then decided it was a trick to get him out of the house so some ne'er do wells could get into the house. it's creepier when you combine this bullet point with the last one.

-one afternoon, lisa was taking a nap on her bed. she heard the vent fan come on and thought dylan had gone in there. it turned back off, but dylan had not been in there.

which brings us to last night and jeff's phone call. he had been home alone and sitting on their bed watching tv when the fan came on again. and then turned off a minute later.

so. i'm telling her to wiggle that door handle and make sure it isn't slowly getting turned to the lock position and get a ladder and check for loose wires in her exhaust fan before it burns their house down, etc. i mean, i used to watch ghost hunters. i can be a critical thinker.

i get home a little after 10pm and i'm standing in the barely lit kitchen with brian and telling him all that stuff up there and i get to that part with the doorbell


i'm thinking.

but my critical thinking skills haven't gone completely out the window of our dark, old house. because i installed this wireless doorbell way back, which managed to have the same frequency as the wireless doorbell that esteban just happens to have on his house across the street and we get his doorbells all the time in the afternoon. but at 10pm? that man has three small children.

brian sneaks up to our front door, with all its windows, and i've left the porch light on and no one is out there. and we realize esteban's front porch light isn't on, which it usually is, and we're straining to see if we can make out a person standing over and brian thinks he does and i think i don't. and we had to have been engaging in all this mania for at least a minute or two and i never saw anyone leave the front porch nor the front door open. and now i'm wondering why i didn't persevere. it was probably because i wanted a snack.

ps: ricky and fernando are shuttling up to mansfield this afternoon to stay with ricky's parents. ricky, fernando, and ricky's mom are total ghost magnets. i don't know why fernando stays in their haunted house. he had a shadow man strangulation event visit before last. he texted the living room for help.
5 dead X pick your poison

aug. 4, 2013: i had a birthday. [Nov 7 2013 - Thu|10:40am]
once upon a time, one million years ago, i turned 41 and made a half-baked attempt to chronicle the experience...

a field birthday flowers from my parents, with a violet in the middle.

i was sleeping it off on the couch sunday morning when oliver arrived from his bedroom and said, "mommy?"

i anticipated a request to watch television and said, somewhat unenthusiastically, "what."


and my day was made right there. he showed himself capable of thinking of someone other than himself, without prompting.

the night before, i had what is, these days, an uncharacteristic outing with darren. he had extended a birthday celebration the monday prior. he came to the house loaded with belated birthday contraband for the children and a belated housewarming for us.

oliver: jesus action figure, 3D puzzles that formed duck and rabbit figurines, united states bingo.
violet: a multi-colored tea set, marie antoinette action figure. i think her head is already missing.
house: a sturdy, party-sized cutting board, a packet of lettuce seeds, alessi bottle opener.
bonus bag, which i was instructed to give to children later (but later when?): melissa & doug three tiered cake, dinosaur cookie cutters.

we darted away quickly to the magnolia and all the perils of parking in the garage. as darren has typically already seen most all available movies, our selection was limited. we chose crystal fairy and the magical cactus and 2013. michael cera. hairy, naked gaby hoffmann. drugs. a beach. i expected a fast-moving plot, but it turned out to be slice of life. with a perplexing, out of place ending.

we moved on to meridian room, where i found it was just as lonely in there as the saturday night i spent there with ramen back in earliest of early june. same bartender. same lack of delirium tremens. i felt the occasion called for a mixed drink and i ordered the mojito, for a summertime flair. i keep forgetting that ordering the franziskaner on tap results in the delivery of a lumbering, headache-making vessel.

we began to head out. i played ms pac man/galaga on the dead machine while darren took the piss out of himself and then realized it was 11:50. i didn't want to be in a car when i became another year pickled. darren asked if he needed to buy me another drink. i asked the bartender for a cape cod with two straws. the bartender said, "what's a cape cod?" we took our annual drinking selfies and climbed in my car. back home, darren's car threatened to not start, but then did.

so there i was, birthday morning, feeling happy over my little boy's selflessness. i wandered off to my bed to try and catch a little more sleep, which is next to impossible once the children are up and the sun is streaming in the sliding door in our bedroom, curtain be damned. impossible, unless one is made of brian. the children brought in a pound of excitement and the birthday cards they had made for me.

brian got up and put television shows on for the children and then, i'm told, went to sleep in violet's bed. i think i managed to drift in and out of slumber before finally committing myself to settle the children's excitement regarding a birthday breakfast tea party they had fashioned out of violet's new wares and daddy's grape juice and some old droste dark chocolate pastilles from easter (i hope, and not xmas). but before exiting beddom, i opened the cards they had made for me.

over at the old dinner table,...Collapse )
5 dead X pick your poison

bully. [Sep 17 2013 - Tue|09:03am]
god. i'm totally unsettled this week, only two days in.

violet's school has really hammered down their policy of everyone buzzing in the doors before 8:15. i'm always there by 8:00. violet puts her lunch box away, puts her name card in a box and we walk up the hall to visit jameson, the jenny pig. yesterday morning, as we were standing at the jenny aquarium, a woman was being all frantic and dramatic knocking on the door we were a couple of yards from. the sun was streaming straight into my face and it kind of looked like she was pressing the intercom button, but i wasn't sure. so i smiled and made the universal hand gesture for PUSH THE BUTTON RIGHT THERE. she did the knock and what appeared to be the button push, but i didn't know why she was still knocking if she was pushing a button, so i repeated my smiley hand gesture.

to date this year, everyone's been totally patient with this process and good about not opening the door so they wouldn't feel guilty for not opening the door. so i was feeling rather comfortable at this point by not opening the door.

the woman was buzzed in shortly. she entered and in a kind of chirpy voice said, "why didn't you open the door for me?! couldn't you see i had my hands full?!?!"

and i was like ?.

i hadn't had time to prepare for my encounter and i'm really only good at encounters when they're playing out in my head ten minutes after a real encounter, which is probably for the best in order to save face later.

and so i said, "sorry, it's a school rule."

frankly, i hadn't seen her hands were full because she had put all these bags of class snacks on the bench and i was being blinded by the light and, frankly, i was not checking her and her situation out. i would have been happy to help the person who was buzzed in and said, "excuse me... would you mind holding the door open while i carry in these bags? thanks!" but apparently, that person had not arrived yet.

she hustled all her shit in and went away and i ignored her and later in my car, i became rather stressed out and irritated about it. i really don't enjoy interactions like that, AT ALL. did this woman not realize she's going to see my ass in front of that jenny pen every single morning for the rest of her life this school year?

the school administrator mentioned in an email yesterday afternoon that she had heard about it. this morning, miss ashley, whose room opens right across from jameson, said she had been sitting at her desk and heard. my feelings were very well validated and she made attempts to figure out who it was. i don't think she would take issue with shaming the culprit. she has her sunshiney ways.

at pick up yesterday, oliver's teacher kind of quietly mouthed into the air over his head that he had had some difficulties that day and she would email me.

I saw him today in the hallway before lunch crying and he looked lost so I called him over to me and he got real upset. I tried to talk to him but he wouldn't say. The other kids in the class did say a couple of things like " he just started crying for no reason" and "he always cries in her class." That might have embarrassed him. I don't know what triggered it. Ms. Cameron days he gets upset everyday almost. She can't tell what triggers it either.

sink, sank, sunk.

i had tried talking to him at bedtime, because i could see his nerves were up. nothing. he says he can't remember what upsets him.

i tried talking to him over breakfast this morning. he was talking at first, saying he gets upset when they have to change rooms. then he clammed up again. i couldn't even get a dependable head shake or nod out of him.

then, on the way down the sidewalk out front of his school, i saw some larger boys next to a group of kids on benches. the red head had the blonde in a headlock. at first i thought they might be goofing around. then a second, sustained headlock while being bent toward the ground. and i hollered sternly out ahead of me, "HEY. LET HIM GO. WHAT'S GOING ON?"

and he let go.

i can't stop being surprised when confronted with children who have no fear/respect for an adult. i don't know what to do with it. i'm totally clotheslined. sideswiped. aflutter.

again, i mention how i don't do well in these situations. i feel my nerves light up from my stomach to the top of my head. i feel warm. i feel light. but in bad, disconcerting ways. adrenaline launching upwards in a warm flood.

this kid, at least five feet tall, was standing there, looking me right in the face. telling me it's none of my business. pulling out what must be new to him, "you're not my mother. you're not his mother." GOOD ONE, SPORT. i informed him he was correct that i was not their mother and addended that i am not required to be anyone's mother to keep someone from being hurt.

i looked toward the school and there was not a teacher or administrator to be found. i tried hollering to the open far away doors, "IS THERE A TEACHER AVAILABLE?"

at this point, Red said, "i don't go to this school."

"why are you here?"

apparently, it's a bus stop. i guess for the middle school. that explained the hugeness of all those fifth graders on the benches.

i hollered again for a teacher and one of the girls said she'd go get one.

Red continued to talk, staring straight at my face, about how it's none of my business.

the victim had been saying something about how he didn't have any of Red's stuff.

a teacher came sauntering up saying something like, "so, Mr. LASTNAME. what's going on here?" obviously, he had had a reputation at the elementary school.

she didn't say thank you. i thanked her for her help and walked oliver to the doors. i explained that's what bullying looks like and we don't stand for it and we help people out and we tell a teacher. and that boy is a shithead.

on my way back up, i saw the kids had already boarded the bus. i thanked the teacher again. she continued to not give a shit. and i wondered if i had made things worse for Blonde. i wondered what was happening on the bus. i wondered if his mother would be told. i wondered if she'd kick his ass.

i hated that i hadn't been prepared for this. that an 11 year old got my goat. i would have liked to have explained that he should find an appropriate way to deal with other people. that surely he doesn't feel good about this when he goes to bed at night. that he obviously has something going on in his life that has put him where he is. hassling kids on the sidewalk.

jesus. it's only tuesday morning.
17 dead X pick your poison

oliver and the case of the missing jitters. [Sep 13 2013 - Fri|09:50am]
oliver has had a first week of school, a week of beach vacation, and a third week of school.

every afternoon, i stand outside trying not to sweat, and then sweating, and then picking him out of a line up while he looks anxiously over the tops of second graded heads for me. during the car ride to pick up violet, he answers all of my questions and indicates how things are basically hunky dory. he even has this new, little man way of answering me with these reassuring, what-else-!, high-pitched answers. "yeah!" "of course!"

the only moments where i've had concern, and nearly tears, are when he says he plays alone on the playground after lunch and i say,

"have you tried asking some other children if you could join them?"

and he says,

"mmmm, yes."

and i say,

"so, how did it go?"

and he says, his voice dropping down real tiny,

"they say no, they're already playing."

then he started mentioning a girl named violet in his class. i was quite excited to hear this, but also wondering if he wasn't making it up and at a loss for a good name for an imaginary friend. i have since confirmed she is not imaginary.

this week, he said he has been playing tag with a girl in his class named emma. she is very fast and he can never catch her. i asked if she has long legs.

he tells me his teachers are nice and none of the students are mean or unruly. it sounds like socializing ain't high up on the scale, but what can you do.

he tried to play hooky wednesday. told me he had a fever. felt nauseous. i called him out on it. he's gone straight back to dragging his feet in the morning. having to gather papers to shove in a binder to shove in a backpack when i'm already out the door. he came out wednesday morning dressed in a rabbit tshirt. he misplaced his homework sheet for two days and we were scrambling with the overload of ridiculous busy work thursday and yesterday. i've been really irritated about it. snapping whips.

wednesday night, i went to tuck him into bed and he was face down in his pillow. i said, "goodnight, oliver." and he didn't answer or roll over to give me a hug and kiss and a, "goodnight, mommy!". after a moment or two of prodding, i could see he was crying, or about to cry. and then he really started crying. i sat down. he crawled on to my folded knee. i started getting dead leg.

i asked him over and over why he was crying. he wouldn't respond. wouldn't respond. typical oliver behavior. i started with the 20 questions. and he finally started saying something about how he heard they how they were only going to be in ms. cameron's class the rest of the year and he said he didn't like her so much, but couldn't remember why, and i wasn't quite buying that. and he wanted to change classes, he didn't want to change classes. he was all over the place.

i told him i would email his homeroom teacher so he could see things are cool, and i did. and she said they had been discussing some small change in front of some students, which didn't seem particularly wise in my opinion, especially in hindsight.

He overheard another student say that today. We had a conversation that some students overheard about switching in the morning. We are trying to see what is better but we have considered not switching right away in the morning because it will allow for more instructional time once breakfast in the classroom starts. I didn't go into any further detail with students but I did tell the other student that they would be keeping the same schedule for now. Also, Ms. Cameron was concerned about Oliver today. She said that he began to cry when she told them what they were going to be doing in class for the day. She did have another student who has befriended Oliver to speak with him but he did not feel like talking. I have noticed this as well when I asked him about the bag you dropped off. He started to cry when explaining the bag to me. I keep reassuring him that everything is ok. I hav him sitting and working with a very helpful student who he seems to open up to more. I'm sure it will take him a bit to adjust. There have been a few changes to classroom routines that have thrown him off but the other student has been helping. If I can help in any other way please let me know.

i saw her response that night and it made me feel a little tail-spinny. the rug pulled out from under my post-vacation vertigo head. i had no idea he had been freaking out and crying. we talked about that treat bag that afternoon. did she get it? did she understand what it was for? he answered my questions like not a single thing out of the ordinary had happened.

i saw ms. cameron two seconds after sending oliver in the front door yesterday morning. she was RIGHT behind me, and i wondered if she had heard my is-ms-cameron-not-nice discourse during our walk up to the building. she made a face and some noises that made me know she was going to tell me about the crying and i let her know i had corresponded with ms. guerra. we chatted for a couple of minutes, which was nice. it's reassuring to spend some amount of time with the people who are with your children more during the day than you are.

just, anyway. my heart just totally sunk and i felt double plus XXL guilty for having laid into oliver REALLY HARD with my frustrations over the morning foot draggings and disheveled homeworkiness. i neglected to take my new daily walk. which made me feel worse. i ate my lunch for breakfast. which made me feel worse.

he came out yesterday acting all cool again. who knows!? who knows if it was all cool? 'cause i don't. i guess he'll get through it like he did last year, but it sure would be nice to have an accurate emotional barometer and know he isn't headed straight down the path to be one of those bottle-up-your-emotions guys.

i tried really hard and did pretty well yesterday afternoon and the during the two mornings to stay calm during all the frustrating behaviors. it took ALL afternoon and evening, up until bedtime to get him through the rest of his busywork. i even kept it together at bedtime, when i found another pile of stuff shoved behind his bed. my screwdriver. violet's missing scissors, after he said he didn't know where they were and was giving her guff over using his. hrmph.

i chopped up my hairs last night. they were bothering me. this morning, the right side of my hair looked like i put in some kind of fancy scrunchy waves, and i left it that way. but really, it just says what side of my head i lay on when i watch the nighttime television.
pick your poison

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