some items for your consideration, version IX

  1. There are 18 peeping chicks in a plastic tote on my front porch.  They drink a lot of water and they poop a lot.  And their poop smells.  Bad.  However, none of these things will keep me from eating most of them.  
  2. Wee Man has learned to read, and really, I am happy about this.  Green Eggs and Ham is just not as thrilling the nine millionth consecutive time it’s been read to you, that’s all.  And also, sometimes I receive text messages that are not entirely appropriate for my children to read.  Mostly because it’s just none of their stinking business, but sometimes, well, you can imagine, I’m sure.  
  3. I actually lost followers after my happy effing Mother’s Day post.  Hmmm.
  4. The Mister took matters into his own hands and called the doctor’s office and got me an appointment on Saturday.  I’m taking LOTS! MORE! and DIFFERENT! drugs so hopefully my head will stop hurting and I will stop praying for death or decapitation.
  5. Just to be clear, I’m not actually praying for death or decapitation. 
  6. I built a compost bin using only metal stakes, pallets, and my own brute strength.  I also pulled several abdominal muscles and cried like a little girl.
  7. My birthday is on Friday.  Yes, FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH.  As it happens, I was born on Friday the thirteenth as well.  And my thirteenth birthday was on Friday the thirteenth.  That’s why I’m so FREAKISHLY AWESOME.
  8. I spent all of Friday the Fifth photographing the piles of items for my Etsy shop.  And I have spent hours and hours since then, except for when I was ruining my six-pack abs making a compost pile, sifting through photos and editing and listing items.  You should totally check out my shop and buy everything so I can finish buying my new sewing machine.   I even put up two photographs because I was feeling bold.
  9. Cute photo.

conflicted

I was watching the news tonight, as I’m sure many of you were, waiting to hear President Obama declare Osama bin Laden’s death.  I listened to the diplomatic analysis, the future safety of Americans analysis, the what-the-Pakistanis-think analysis, and I was surprised that I didn’t feel a little more excited.  
Because really, bin Laden was a murderous bastard and shouldn’t I be glad, at least a little bit, that he is dead?  
Miss O came downstairs, because nothing says “I don’t respect your boundaries for bedtime” like nineteen trips down the stairs to fetch nineteen different things, but I digress.  She wrinkled her nose and asked what was on the television. 
There was a terrorist, a man who crashed four airplanes into buildings, because he wanted to hurt people…
Mom, I know what a terrorist is.
It was kind of like a punch in the stomach.  I know my short people are superty smart, and I shouldn’t be surprised that she knows what a terrorist is.  We don’t watch the news, we don’t discuss war or murderous bastards or related subjects.  I try to keep that stuff off my people’s radars.  (People’s radar??? Where are the grammar police when I need them!)
We talked about the events of 11 September, 2001; I told her about the planes and the people who died.  I told her about the heroic efforts of the passengers of Flight 93 who prevented more death and destruction by giving their own lives.  I told her that bin Laden was proud of what he had orchestrated that day, and that he boldly took ownership of the carnage.
He pretty much had it coming, huh, mama?
Yep, kid, he sure did.
And yet I wonder: does anybody really feel better now that he’s dead?  Or are victims’ families going to wake up tomorrow and find that the news of his death leaves them with an odd sort of emptiness?  Their loved ones are still dead.  Al Qaeda is still there; al Quaeda still hates everybody.  
There is no safety that comes from this murder, justified as it may have been, and I say may have been justified because in my deepest spirit, I am not entirely sure where I stand on the issue.  My instincts hate that we kill people.  I hate the execution in the same way I hate the reason for the execution, and I cannot compare the costs of either.
My kid knows about terrorists.  I hate that most of all.

status.

It is quiet.  There is a Henry Boy nestled in my bed, a Jack nestled in Jack’s bed, and an Elliott in a new-to-us toddler bed.  The Mister and Miss O are reading a Redwall book in her room.  And I’m here.
Things are fuzzy tonight; they have not been fuzzy all day.   There was no fuzzy yesterday, but yesterday I forgot to take the steroids that dull the pain and cause the migraine that needs the drugs that bring the fuzzy… and today I took the steroids.  My face lit on fire and my scalp seared the roots of my hair and my eyes travelled in circles and my head spun and my feet shuffled and I became cross again.  So I took the drugs that make all of that go away.
But, at this very moment, I do not hurt.  
There was a doctor appointment in which many things were discussed.  Rheumatologist.  Blood test. Another blood test, and then some more blood test after that.  Geneticist.  Gastro-blah-blah-ologist (no offense to the gastroblahblahologists out there).  Procedures that finish and render impossibilities, while at the verysame time create opportunity.  Things with disease and disorder in the names.  
Things were fuzzy that day, too, but not because of the drugs that bring the fuzzy.  And not because of the disease and disorder, either.  Things were fuzzy because of the spark of hope that was kindled by the identification of which disease and disorder, and the knowledge that all of this is not created by my crazy brain.
I’m not crazy.  I’m not crazy.  This is real and I’ve had it my entire life and there’s a reason I’ve always felt tired and old and horrible.  There’s an actual organic cause to the antenatal depression I suffered when I was pregnant with Elliott, and I didn’t make it up and it’s not ever been faked or used to get attention or any of the things I was told when I was growing up.  It is possible that I felt that way  because that’s the way I felt and now I have proof.
Things are fuzzy, but the relief is so crystal clear and I am holding it close.

some items for your consideration; 7th edition

1.  I opened the oven door to put the pizzas in (of the traditional friday night pizza-and-a-movie fame) and discovered that the heating element was no longer working.  This is the equivalent to having my left arm broken, I think.

2.  The Mister worked. And worked. And worked some more.  This working thing isn’t actually anything new.  But this week? It just seemed like a lot.
3.  I had an autoimmune disease flare of epic proportions.  (Did I ever tell you I have an autoimmune disease?  I do)  It started about two weeks ago, and reached its peak Friday and Saturday.  Everything hurt. And i had a migraine.  Only my joints hurt today, so I venture a guess that it’s going away.  I hope.
4.  The short people were super helpful, though.  They did laundry and emptied the dishwasher.  They even made more dirty dishes and! Refilled the dishwasher.  and!  Fetched things all by themselves.  Le sigh.
5.  I’m sorry I alarmed you with my post mentioning Secret Things And Stuff.  It’s all good, I promise.
6.  I am currently on a mission to commit clementine genocide.  You should fully expect to see me indicted at The Hague sometime in the middle of next week.  Genocide jokes aren’t funny.  But the words The Hague and indicted are funny.  So it kind of balances out.
7.  I got a new phone.  It rings when people call.  This is something new and very exciting, as my previous phone had stopped ringing about three weeks ago, despite displaying that a call was coming in.  I had to pull the battery out, put the battery back in, turn the phone on, wait for it to start up, and then call the person back.  It was somewhat tedious, and by somewhat I mean OH MY HELL THAT’S EFFING ANNOYING ALREADY.
What’s going on with you, my darling peoples?  

updatery

The storm is passing, and the seas are leveling considerably.
The sun, that elusive minx, flashed us a little bit here and there.
There is less water seeping in between the cracks and
working its way to my lungs.
The mutineers are losing steam, and the not-so-familiar
scritch-scritch
of pencils can be heard for hours any given day.
The deck is getting a daily swab
And the laundry is as caught up as it will ever be.
Because really.
Some things never change.

some items for your consideration, fourth edition

Item the First:  Thank you, so very much, for all the kind words you gave me this week.  Things do tend to look differently after bourbon, or in the morning, or in the morning after bourbon, which in this case is an air-quotes “in the morning” because it pretty much took until today for things to look upward enough to be convincing.
I think it’s important to say so when things are not good, just as it’s important to say so when things are good.  More than one IRL person told me this week they were totally surprised that I ever felt overwhelmed and inadequate.  Y’all.  Really.  I’m just a mama over here.  I might be a little more quirky than the mama over there and a little more straight-laced than the mama in the other direction, but we’re all just mamas, right?  
And when you said, You’re not alone, or I get this, or I know how this feels, you weren’t just saying it to me.  You said it to other hurting mamas who needed to hear it just as badly as I.  
So thank you.
Item the Second:  In addition to having a bad case of The Whatever That Was Last Weekend, I found myself having a case of the _____________ which led me to schedule an appointment with my midwife, who also performs regular vaginal maintenance procedures.  (And no, the correct answer to the fill-in-the-blank is not BABY IN MAH BELLAH, so pipe down over there.)  I just really don’t think that you need a clear description of All Things Southerly, so I’m just going to be a little vague, and you’re going to be happy about it.
This was not my yearly exam, because, well, I didn’t actually have a yearly exam in 2009, because I was doing something else that did not involve duck-billed anythings in my places.   Except it turns out that when you plan to attend the gyno only when you have a case of the ______________, she will take advantage of you when you are scantily clad and in a relatively immobile position to swish as many swab-ish things as she can in order to secretly conduct your yearly exam.  Big trickster.
But then?  Good news, people!  She upped my meds.  For those of you who don’t know, I flat out lost my shit when I was six months pregnant with Elliott, and started taking a low-dose SSRI.  Turns out that flat out losing your shit when you’re pregnant is an actual, serious medical condition called antenatal depression.  Time magazine wrote a really great piece about it last February.
But then?  Bad news, people!  She told me I’m fat.  No, she didn’t say the Eff word exactly (or the other eff word), but she said something about 20, no 25 pounds and so really speedy quick I stuck my fingers in my ears and sang the Smurfs theme song.  Classy, I know.  I can’t even help it!
Item the Third:  Christmas was nice.  Hope you had a lovely Christmas, too, if you’re a Christmas-er, or that last Saturday was a nice, plain old boring day if you’re not a Christmas-er.  And thank you to my internetty pals who sent us cards.  The short people would open them and say Who are *those* people? and we’d say Blog people, and eventually the short people would open a card, have a look, and say something ridiculous about Pretend People From The Computer.  Except for WRH‘s card… they jumped up and down and shouted about The Well-Read Son and The Well-Read Daughter and demanded to return to Philadeedelphia at once.  Heh.  Not with that attitude, missy.  And mistery.  Mystery… Oh never mind.

Item the Fourth:  It is bloody cold in my house.  This whole BEING CHEAP thing is not for me.  Thank GOD for my boyfriend, Colin Firth.  I pop that fella in the microwave for three minutes, and he warms me down to the tips of my toes.  Sometimes he warms only my toes, if I make him sit on my feet.  And you know what?  He’s okay with that.  And he always cuddles and never asks for anything more, no matter how hot he gets.  You should totally get your own Colin Firth.  (Spoiler alert:  shameless plug.)
Item the Fifth:  Laptop or iPod Touch.  Discuss.
Item the Sixth and Final:  Plans for New Years’ Eve are as follows:  Feed the children dinner.  Make some popcorn in our new Whirly-Pop thingy.  Pop a movie in the DVD player and cuddle in bed with the short people whilst The Mister mixes some random bar band and earns a pocket o’cash.  Bed by nine.  I know.  We’re terribly exciting.

so this is christmas.

And I am sitting here, at the computer.
I have a pint glass, full of diet soda and possibly quite a bit of bourbon.
Because I can.
It was quiet today, even though it was loud, louder, loudest.
The waking up!
And the gifts!
And the happy!
And the DON’T YOU DARE TOUCH MY _________ IT’S MINE I JUST GOT IT PLAY WITH YOUR OWN BRAND NEW _________.
Oy, and also vey.
I have reached a certain point with my short people.
A certain very critical point, possibly a crossroads of some sort, but who’s to say, really?
Because more than anything, parenting well is about realizing you are at a point before you can even give a name or a purpose or a reason to the point.
I long to parent well, and I fear I do not.
Do you fear that, too?  Because from where I am perched, right this very minute, I feel alone.
I look and I watch and I calculate and I plan and I judge and I watch some more and I try to figure it all out.
I feel like I have too many children to do a good job.
And this is not a life-long truth; it is not even close to being a good assessment of my life, our life.
Do you ever feel that way, too?  Just once in a while, even?
Like you are in over your head, or you’re soon about to be submerged by the requests and the needs and the I JUST WANT MY MAMA TO PLAY DINOS WITH MEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Because from where I am sitting, right here and now, I’m sinking.
They say it is a season, that things will not always be this way, but ohmygoodness.  When does the upswing begin?  And then they say, Heh. Well.  Enjoy it now because it only gets worse.  Who are these people whose lives suck more and more with each passing day, and why do I feel like I’m joining their club? 
I celebrate holidays with a full-out contemplation of my responsibilities.  I cannot explain it to you.  I cannot explain it to me.  I sat in my living room today amidst squeals of excitement and charming lovelies and warmth and full bellies and I feel…  I feel…  
I don’t even know.  Inadequate, I guess.  And I hate inadequate more than anything.  Because those four little people do not deserve inadequate.  They don’t deserve adequate, either, for that matter, and that I’m not even coming close to meeting the standard is causing my heart to hurt very much.
What’s it doing to them?

some items for your consideration

  1. Elliott has learned the fine art of screaming MINE!!!!
  2. My church got itself a new pastor and due to a very long story that has no bearing on this story, which resulted in the sending of a few emails back and forth between New Pastor and Moi, New Pastor spent some time here.  And told me it was “interesting reading”.  I would rather get to know someone in real life through, you know, ACTUAL REAL LIFE, than to have my first impression be the dayton time.  And not because I’m somebody entirely different here, but there’s a line between The Actual Pamela Dayton Time and the dayton time.  Hello, awkward.
  3. Remember my What the Fark, Amazon? post???  (Please be advised I used my Bad Words, and lots of them… people were giving that disclaimer on the effbooks about that post… gulpish.) Anyway.  Dude got arrested.  Hooray, Florida Law Enforcement!!! 
  4. My official assessment of the current homeschooling situation in my house:  DISMAL.
  5. My official assessment of the homeschooling situation in my house come January:  BETTERISH.  At least it had better be betterish.
  6. I played Hair Roulette with my gal pal who cuts my hair.  I said Cut! Color!  And she went to town on my head.  Pictures later, after I’ve showered, and applied makeup to the black rings under my eyes.  Because right now I look a little bit like this:
  7. Wee Man has learned the fine art of Pushing People’s Buttons.  I have learned the fine art of NOT BEATING HIM.
  8. I mailed out Christmas Cards.  Not because I’m especially awesome, but because mailing Christmas Cards is the only item on my very long bucket list that I have accomplished this month.  Granted, I’ve only been cultivating the bucket list for about three weeks now, but still.  I’m one step closer to being able to sleep through the night without having a single, solitary reason to wake up.
  9. And yes, that was a little morbid.  But I am at the point in my life as a procreating person where I honestly believe I will be dead before I sleep more than three consecutive hours.
  10. Almost all of our gifts this Christmas are handmade by me, or us, or by someone else. Except the Legos for Wee Man, and the Stocking Snacks.  I am really happy about that.  And while it *totally* makes me look like someone who PLANS THINGS to say I started knitting for Christmas in MARCH, please know it was not on purpose and I just happened to be (illicitly) shopping for yarn and the first Yarn Purchase Justification I could muster was BUT I’M KNITTING IT UP FOR YOUR MOM. FOR *CHRISTMAS*.  And I’m pretty sure he knew I was grabbing at straws or strings or whatever you kids are grabbing these days, but it’s knitted up.  For his mom.  So there.

    it has been kind of a crappy week

    So I hurt my right shoulder.  That was annoying.  I didn’t even hurt myself doing something fun like having super-innovative s.ex.  Of course.  And then there was this.  Also annoying.
    But the most SUPERTY CRAZY MIND-NUMBING STUPIDLY annoying thing was communicating with my doctor’s office.  Now.  I know I have mentioned here before how much I really love my doctor and I love the way she does business and I love the fantastic customer service we have experienced in the past six years of being her patients.  If you are in dire need of a link to prove such pink-puffy-heartedness, let me know, and I will  look it up if I have been properly caffeinated.
    During one of my superty-crazy-mind-numbing-stupid conversations, I did tell the office person that I wanted to speak directly with my doctor… and that never actually happened.  Which, in all honesty, is probably a good thing because I was blisteringly angry for a few days about the Big Nonsense, and I probably would not have been able to have a Properly Adult Conversation about the Big Nonsense. 
    So.  Tonight after I put the short people to bed, I called the On-Call Service.  (One of the doctors at our practice is available every single hour of the day that the office is not open.  I like this feature.  Also?  I like that the doctors call you RIGHT FLIPPING THEN.)
    Turns out my actual doctor was on call.  So I had her paged.  I would have waited until another night if a different doctor was available.
    I talked to her about what is going on with my (still very painful) shoulder, and she agreed that the physical therapy appointment on Monday is a good idea, and then she said she would call me Monday night so that we could discuss what the PT said, and make some decisions about how to progress.  
    This made me very, very, very happy because I haven’t been able to actually talk about how to make me less broken since Tuesday.
    Then I talked to her about how frustrating it was to deal with the office staff this week.  I made it clear I was not complaining about anybody in particular, I just wanted her to know that I had made WAY too many phone calls and nobody had called me back and there was a certain snippy-ness to some of the people I spoke with and how, basically, the customer service completely sucked.  
    We talked about things for almost an hour.  She was very upset to hear that I was unhappy, and I mentioned that some of my friends (who are also her patients) were also displeased with similar issues.   She asked me about my perceptions of each of the providers in the practice, my experiences, what my children’s feelings toward going to the doctor’s office are… it was a wonderful conversation.
    This is why she is my doctor.  She really cares about serving her patients.  And she uses phrases like SERVING PATIENTS. 
    So.  Yes, it has been a pretty crappy week.  I still am having sharp, stabby pains in my shoulder, and dull, achy ick down the rest of my arm.  My fingers are still often numb.  I can’t really do my (million) job(s) in my home.
    But.  I finally feel like somebody actually cares enough about this little situation of mine to help me sort through it.  And that makes me happy.  Also, I am trying to find a way to describe the sudden wave of SUPER HAPPY that just washed over my little self, but it’s the kind of super happy that makes it hard for me to form coherent sentences and recite the alphabet backwards and walk the line.  So I will just go to bed.