Friday, January 30, 2009

The roof, the roof...

... the roof couldn't possibly be on fire. It's covered in ice. There's this lovely phenomenon called "ice damning" going on. I'm exercising artistic license with the 'n'.

Ice has crawled UP my roof and under the shingles. As it melts, it's seeping into my house- up my vaulted ceiling, down my wall, and through my wood window casings.

But, hey, the husband does water damage for a living. All should be fine, right? Mm hm. And the shoemaker's kids have shoes.

Actually, as of right now, the husband's hands are tied. There's no point in doing the interior work until the roof is taken care of. And the roof can't be taken care of until the ice is gone, which the insurance company wants done "naturally". Tuesday's forecast- snow and rain. Lovely.

Here's the wall:Here's what was behind the walls on Wednesday:
And here is the length of the wall on Thursday:

I'm trying to look on the bright side. Really.
I'll finally be able to get rid of the textured ceiling. I found the person who built the beautiful wood casings on some of our other windows, so we can replace these three to match. We can better insulate the ceiling and the wall.
But, OMG, how am I going to get through this with 4 kids in our itty bitty house?! That's our main living area right there.

The husband and I are already at each other's throats. He can't understand why I insist on having every single detail explained to me. I can't cope with him being so nonchalant about the whole thing. He's spent two days on the phone with various people. I've spent two days trying to clean and pack everything away for the repairs.

Is it too early to start looking forward to 2010?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Gender roles

I'm really not a fan of gender roles. My sons have/have had baby dolls, and my daughters love trucks. They all pretend to cook. Their specialty is mud pies. Still, there are plenty of times when the girls seem "all girl" and the boys seem "all boy". And that's okay, as long as they're happy doing whatever it is they're doing and it doesn't involve destroying my house.

Me? I've been a working mother. Now I'm not. The husband has been the sole income provider for... holy cow, about 7 years now. I am the housewife. The stay at home mom. The family manager. Just please don't be like the census man who insisted I was a "domestic engineer". If I could kick someone's teeth out through the phone, I would have right there.

So, the husband and I have sort of settled into fairly stereotypical gender roles. Not intentionally. We're just doing what works best in our house.

There are exceptions. I've spackled walls, dug up my entire front yard by hand, and I enjoy checking the air in my tires. The husband changes diapers when he's home, washes the occassional dish, and isn't afraid to go to the grocery store (with a detailed list).

But exceptions can cause trouble. When you don't stick to concrete rules, you're bound to have a few things that each person assumes the other is responsible for.

When a toilet clogs on a Tuesday afternoon, it is logical to assume that is my responsibility. And I am capable of handling it. When a toilet clogs on a Saturday evening, there are two capable adults available. Who should fix it? My girly side assumes it should be the man.

When dishes are dirtied while I'm at an all day Saturday meeting, it's logical to assume that they're the husband's responsibility. And he (usually) does them. When dishes are dirtied on a Sunday, who should do them? Dh's boy side assumes it should be the woman.

And this is why our weekends suck. We've spent 9 years navigating enormous issues of serious consequence, but we still can't sort out our down time. As a big fan of counseling, I already know that the key is communication, but I feel like such a dork suggesting we discuss who's in charge of spilled milk. But I'm not about to cry over it. Instead, I'll spend another hour glaring at the recycling pile and pretending he'll follow my lead when I take the kitchen trash out.

Because, without a little bit of passive-aggresiveness, household chores would be extremely boring.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Big mouths

H and M were born to fulfill my mother's curse. She wished I'd have kids just like me, but I think she made sure the cosmos upped the ante.

My daughters have always been just like me- but at least half a dozen years ahead of the game. Sometimes it's like living with very short teenagers.

But they do have their moments. Moments that crack me up, and moments that stop me in my tracks. And the best ones are the completely age-appropriate ones!

I'm terrible at remembering to record these moments for posterity (and future humiliation), but it's something I really want to work on. So here are a few of H's from the past couple of days.

"I hear a banjo. Who in the world plays the banjo these days?"

Coming into the house after I had been cooking: "Why do I taste hamburger air?"

After harping on our dog for 20 minutes about every single little thing he was doing:
Me- "Why must you YELL at that dog?!"
H- "So he can hear me."

When asked who will be our President tomorrow:
"Rock Obama!"

Rock on, H!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Did I say that?

As boring as my daily life may be, I've always jumped into everything I've done with both feet and no regrets. I have the junk piles, pet hair, book shelves and marriage certificate to prove it.

Once I decide to do something, I do it. Whether it's a short term project or a lifelong commitment, I rarely question my decisions. I think it's because I've always felt complete control over the outcome.
If my kids become dumb adults, it's because I screwed up. If the car I insisted on purchasing breaks down, it's because I didn't nag the husband hard enough to take it to the mechanic. If I pay full price for frozen waffles, I'm a moron.

I know I can avoid or fix the pitfalls of my choices. Usually.

When I think about my regrets in life, I don't come up with things I've done, but I do come up with plenty of things that I've said. My mouth and my hands don't always keep pace with my brain. With words being as powerful as they are, that can be messy.

I don't read through my previous blog posts because I'll spend weeks fixating on the worst parts- even if I were to delete them. I'll still know that people read them and that I can't wipe their brains clean. Instead, I just try to keep writing for myself and figure people are reading because they really want to, not because they're laughing at me. I'm still in control.

Recently, I relinquished control over some words. At the time, it sounded like a great idea. I jumped in. It felt good.
But now I'm freaking out. What if those words are received the same way my many foot-in-mouth moments have been? What if they're so transparent that people are able to see what a novice I am? Or worse, what if the actual message is disputed- and disputed well?

Nope, I won't start having regrets already. I still own my thoughts and my words. I can't control what others think of them. If I did, what would be the point of sharing them, anyway?

Maybe I'm not quite as much of a control freak as I thought I was.

Speaking of words, H just told me she's sweating her ass off.
No, I'm definitely not a complete control freak!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

We hear you lived through 2008

My family was one of the few lucky metro area families to come through 9/11/01 whole, and I'm very grateful for that fact.

Sometimes the husband is still a bit haunted, wondering whether his favorite WTC maintenance people or security guards were spared. Sometimes he dwells on the fact that he was working in Tower 1 on 9/11/00. But, even though it was a scary time, our little circle was pretty much left alone on that awful day.

The husband is no firefighter, police officer, or EMT. He didn't go rushing to try to save lives. He sat at home with me, watching the news, trying to shield 3-year-old J from the scariest of the details, trying to find a way to be excited about bringing a new baby into the drastically changed world (I'm guessing most of my fellow 9/11/01 positive hpt takers were feeling the same way.)

Life did eventually begin to get back to normal. The Towers were far from the only damage in the city. Surrounding buildings were full of rubble, dust, and a stench like no other, and somebody had to do something about that. Somebody like the husband.

Because the husband spent so much time decontaminating buildings, he was entered into The World Trade Center Health Registry database. Every so often, we receive letters and surveys so he can report back that he's alive and well. He wasn't a first responder, and he went in with proper equipment, so this isn't something that concerns us very much. Each time a new envelope arrives, I hand it over to the husband with a little "Just checking to see if you're dead!" quip. We have a really bad sense of humor in our house. What can I say? We saved sealed, radiated mail as souvenirs when anthrax letters originated in our post office. Everyone handles tragedy in their own way.

The only mailing that *I find disturbing is the annual Happy New Year card.
"Best Wishes... for a wonderful year! From the World Trade Center Health Registry Staff"

I don't know. I can deal with the surveys and the occasional phone calls. But there's just something about this "greeting card" that just makes me want to scream. They may as well write "Hope ya don't die in 2009!" Why pussy foot around what you really mean?

I can't decide whether this makes me under-sensitive or overly sensitive. All I can say is that I'm disturbed.

To the World Trade Center Health Registry Staff- Hope y'all live through '09, too! :-)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

We did it!

We started our mummy project! And I have proof!
See it here.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Chip couldn't chop chocolate chips 'cause Chip chipped his chocolate chip chopper.

I'm feeling guilty about pestering Judy to get back to blogging while I'm still slacking. I'm finally starting to get back into the swing of normal life, and Lorrie has provided me with a good jumping point to dive back into my blogs. As I continue to tiptoe back into routines, I'm hoping life will start providing me with more blog fodder. Hopefully, not TOO much!

Swinging, jumping, diving, tiptoeing... Two weeks ago, the though of doing any of those things would have been enough to make me cry out in pain. Now the thought just exhausts me, lol.

So I'm going to play the Alphabet Super Game. Lorrie blogged 10 of her favorite things that start with the letter J, and she's assigned me the letter C. Suffice to say, "cesarean" is not on my list. I tip my hat to those of you who've done the real deal!

1. I love my cocoon. While I may be a bit stir crazy right now, I'm still a genuine homebody, and I like to be left alone. I live in the boonies, in a gated community, on a quiet street, on a large lot, with tons of trees to hide my little house.
Even within my home, my bedroom is set apart from the rest of the house, the only real room on the second floor. Here is where I have my laptop, my TiVo, my favorite blankets, my own bathroom, and even a private balcony, where I can see all the way out to the Delaware Water Gap, but nobody can see me.
If grocery delivery service was available out here, I would be the ultimate hermit.
When this is your backyard, how can you not?

2. I love candles. I think it's a genetic thing. My mom and aunts love candles, too. I've branched out from wick candles though, and I've become obsessed with tarts. My favorite wahm tart maker has closed up shop, and I'm none too pleased. Something about wanting more time with her 4 kids or some such crap. The nerve.
I now get my tart fixes through The Tart Shack and Cat Lady Candles. Great prices, great products. If you happen to place an order, tell 'em TooOfEach sent ya.

3. I love camping. I've been doing it all my life. Tent, cabin, trailer, I've experienced everything from outhouses to full indoor plumbing. The only thing you won't catch me doing is digging my own "bathroom". Everyone has their limits.
I grew up in a campground. From Memorial Day to Labor Day (with occasional weekends in the off season), we pretty much lived on a working farm/family campground. I was building campfires at age 8 and sneaking out into the woods to make out with boys at 13.
No, my kids have not been introduced to camping!
Still, aside from the making out part, I really wish I could give my kids that kind of lifestyle. My sisters and I had a freedom that just can't be given in "the real world". Here, I don't really want The Village coming near my kids. There, The Village was a warm, loving, caring, wonderful family, and they still have a big piece of my heart.
PAC, represent!

4. I love children. Specifically, MY children. OPK (other people's kids) kind of freak me out. Sometimes it's because OPK are monsters in their own right, but it's usually because I don't know how to deal with them. I mean, I know when it's appropriate to tell my maniacs to shut up. I hear that some parents don't like to have that said to their children. I'm comfortable dropping the occasional F-bomb. Some are opposed to that. And I call kids out on their crappy behavior. That created quite a few issues when we lived in a large apartment complex.
I've been called a hard ass, which I find really amusing when I look at my dds' bedroom, where the walls are covered in crayon and the carpet is stained beyond repair. My sticking points are clearly WAY different from other parents'.
I don't have the needed skills (or bank account) to be another Michelle Duggar, but I truly love having a house full of loud, rambunctious, enthusiastic, curious maniacs. We've made no official decisions for the future, but it is entirely possible that another maniac may wander in somehow, someday, from somewhere. At this point, all I ask is that my uterus not be involved for at least the next few years, if ever.

5. I love my Keruig. Okay, that doesn't start with C, but the coffee it makes does. I've really only been a coffee drinker since becoming a parent, and I've become more of an enthusiast with the birth of each child. Number 4 drove me to my Keruig, and the ability to make the perfect cup each and every time in mere seconds. Green Mountain Dark Magic is my life saver.

6. I love cats, even my crazy ones. Sure, I love dogs, too. But my cats require almost no effort on my part. A little food, a little water, a little litter scooping, and they're good to go. And I have kids to feed them and the husband to scoop poo. So I just sit back and enjoy their antics. They score extra points for being unable to bark when the UPS man comes, or when the kids get even a little crazy. And they shed much less than two 90lb dogs!

7. I love loose change. Yeah, that's a weird one. But I recently discovered that the coin machine in one of our grocery stores can give you Amazon credits. I just think that's the neatest thing! Totally guilt-free shopping! Do not kill my buzz with mention of counting fees.

8. I love coupons. I've missed 2 weeks of The Grocery Game, but I've kept up on my coupon clipping. Now that I've learned how to use them most effictively, I'm kind of an addict. Not only do I buy 2-3 papers each week, but my in-laws hook me up with the inserts from about a dozen more. Am I crazy? Sure. But my grocery receipts can kick your grocery receipts' asses.

9. I love to have my cake and eat it, too. Just hold the icing, please. I'm not into sugary-sweet, but a moist, plain cake... Mmm. I guarentee I could eat an entire chocolate cake sans gloppy sugar in one sitting. Not that I've ever tried to do so. I spend all my time trying NOT to. This is where those little microwave cakes come in handy.

10. I love my Cricut Expression. I also love the deal I got on it on Black Friday. I've only been able to use it a few times since bringing it home, but it is the coolest thing ever. I used it to make a couple of cards at Christmas, calendar stuff for M, who really doesn't want to memorize the months of the year, cute little boxes to organize all of our flash cards, and I'm currently planning vinyl wall stickers for the girls' room and one of my big, blank walls. One of these days, I'll actually get back to scrapbooking.

There are lots of C-named people in my life, but I didn't think it would be fair to name them. My favorites know who they are. And I do happen to consider MYSELF a pretty great C-person! :-)

Care to try this little exercise? Let me know, and I'll assign you a letter.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Homeschool blog/giveaway!

I really thought all this down time would lead to lots of writing, but I guess I've been too cranky to focus. I bet I'll be writing up a storm once I have other things I should be doing instead!

I did finally manage to get my homeschool blog up, even if it isn't completely linked or fully decorated yet, but maybe a free magazine will make up for that? You be the judge.

The Relatively Well-Trained Minds

Sunday, January 4, 2009

I am one in a million... or thereabout

Warning- this post may contain TMI. But it's TMI I think everyone should hear.

After C was born, I got the Mirena IUD, and loved it from day 1. I catch pregnancy more often than colds, so a 99.9% efficacy rate with no effort was a great thing for me. Until I found myself in the .1%. On December 5th, I had a positive home pregnancy test.

The husband and I were in severe shock, without a clue as to how to react. We had recently talked about the idea of having another maniac in the future- the much-more-than-9-month future.

I immediately went through bunches of tests and had the IUD removed, but still couldn't wrap my mind around the situation. Before I was able to, I was miscarrying. Or so we thought. More tests, more needles.

My hcg levels kept rising. Dec. 17th had me in the hospital, diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy. Treatment was methotrexate, a chemo drug. And it's a giant needle!

Those 2 weeks were hell, but we felt we were reaching the light at the end of the tunnel in time to celebrate the holidays. My family came up from Georgia on the 23rd and it was a whirlwind of red and green to the 26th. The 27th was our day of rest, and we headed out to visit the inlaws on the 28th.

That afternoon, as we sat down to eat, I started to feel "off" and left the table for the bathroom, where I nearly passed out before lying on the floor in an instant pool of sweat. Within minutes, I was having my very first ambulance ride!

Despite having the doctor call ahead, I waited around for a few hours for more tests and needles. Long story short (and details fuzzy), I was told that everything seemed to be fine. I stayed in the ER until 3am and in a recovery room until 11am being "observed" before heading home feeling great and starving for real food!

I took it easy on Tues, Dec. 30th, while the husband went to gather the maniac's from Grandma's house. He was on his way home when I found myself in my own bathroom, feeling much like I had on Sunday. He scooped me up and hauled me out to our regular hospital.

I almost considered not going. It had been a big hullaballo over nothing the last time, right? But I did, just in case. A good decision, considering I was whisked off for emergency surgery where my fallopian tube was removed, along with a liter of blood from my abdomen.

I spent New Year's Eve in a morphine fog. I spent New Year's Day vomiting. I spent Jan. 2nd willing my body to keep water down. And I spent Jan. 3rd begging to get home.

I did manage to come home yesterday, thank goodness. J came home with us so I won't be alone when the husband has to leave the house. The littles are still at Grandma's and I miss them terribly. I'm sore as all get out, but I'm finally eating like a real person and I've managed to get somewhat comfortable in bed with my laptop. I'm headed into the annoying stage, where I'm all snippy and bored. Most importantly, this nightmare is almost behind us.

In the end, I'm still a fan of IUDs. I won't be getting another one now that I know how much lightning loves me. I will continue to play the lottery, though!
I want to share this story because I know that many women experience the pleasure of doing away with their periods with the Mirena. If you are one of those people, or you know one of those people, please be aware of the importance of stocking up on home pregnancy tests and using them monthly, just to be certain. Despite discovering my pregnancy and its circumstance early, I experienced complications with NO warning signs. In fact, all of the markers were positive. I hate to think that others might go much longer without intervention because they're 99.9% sure they couldn't be pregnant.

There will be more than enough women in the .1 percentile. I wish I could spare them all from being even rarer freaks like me!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Here I am!

Ya know how I said that December was basically the month from hell this year? (If I didn't, just pretend I did.) Well, tack some more on to that. I just got home AGAIN from yet ANOTHER hospital. After a week of almost no solid food AND having stuff REMOVED from my body, I am 14lbs heavier than I was going in, just to add insult to injury.

I'm wiped out, mentally and physically, but I do plan to share the whole story once I'm up to it. In the meantime, thank you to everyone who has been keeping me and my family in their thoughts. Big (but slow and gentle) hugs to you all!