Monthly Archives: March 2015

10 minutes………

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10 minutes………

Today was a great day….maybe I am getting ahead of myself with just under 4 hours to go but the first 20+ hours were good. It started kind of normal got out of bed 10 minutes or so after I “should have”. Got my kids up and to school on time (bonus) and picked up some friends for breakfast.

Now breakfast was a special treat. It was a fundraiser at a local B & B and it was raising money to build a playground for our neighbors to the east. A worthy cause indeed. I have driven by this place probably 1,000 times and have never been inside until today. There is something special about exploring places in your own town. My curiosity about the place has been replaced by a nice memory which included a good meal for which I did not have to cook or clean.

Next I was off on a shopping trip which included a stop at store I love, Marshalls. For those that are not familiar it is a large store which carries designer clothes and home goods for a decent price. It is a treasure trove for those that like to shop and save money….isn’t that everyone? Anyhow I only had 35 minutes to spend in there which was not nearly enough for a thorough trip, 3 hours would be good….but I scored something for my daughter which got me some serious points for the price of $5.99 (sound the crowds cheering LOUDLY). Added bonus,  I didn’t lose my mind when checking out 10 minutes later than my schedule allowed and oopsie a problem the cashier had to start over….she apologized. I said hey it’s my fault I was supposed to be out of here 10 minutes ago, we’re good. Left happy with my purchases and the fact that I didn’t get impatient with myself or the cashier. Called the doctor’s office and told them I would be 10 minutes late. No big deal….sometimes I get so upset about being on time and most of the time it is just plain stupid.

So I get to the doctor a little late but not terrible…..maybe 10 minutes late. It’s my gyno I called earlier this week because I need to get a mammo and in order to get the mammo I need to get a script…..in order to get the script I need to see the gyno….it’s the lovely merry go round of health care sometimes the protocol is a safe guard and a lot of the time it’s just bureaucratic BS but I don’t mind because I am very fond of my gyno we’ll call her Dr. Smith.

Dr. Smith always makes me feel like I am her favorite patient or at least in the top 10 and I really believe that I might be on the list. She brought both my babies into the world under stressful conditions. I credit her for saving my life because another doctor may have overlooked my symptoms but she didn’t. She listened, she cared, she sought out a diagnosis. She sent me for an ultrasound when I was 39 weeks pregnant because I complained of an ache behind my left knee. Turned out I had a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and oh yes that shit can kill you, quick. The planets aligned for me and my family that day and she was a big part of that. When I got pregnant a year after my son was born I could see the concern on her face but we got through it with some bumps along the way. Before my daughter was born I told her I wanted to get my tubes tied (because really two pregnancies, blood clots both times I don’t need to test fate anymore than I already have). Dr. Smith was visibly relieved I don’t think she could have handled another pregnancy with me.

So today I had my exam and after we just talked. Me in my paper towel dress on the table and her in her white coat….talked for twenty minutes like we were at Starbucks meeting an old friend. She told me about her granddaughter who was born 3 months premature and I could imagine the fear and absolute dread that she must have felt at the hospital with her baby’s baby is such a precarious situation. I felt genuine sorrow that she had to experience those feelings. I was equally thrilled and happy for her when she described her as she is today. A vibrant healthy one year old with an advanced level of thinking and clearly the apple of my friend’s eye.

Dr. Smith told me she was retiring although she was not that committal at first. She told me that she was going to take some time off to be with her granddaughter, maybe a few years. I smiled. Dr. Smith is at least 70 I know she is done at least at this level and I really am happy for her. We talked about museums and I invited her to my house and told her she could stay over and we could explore the museums of Philadelphia. Despite the sincere offer to have Dr. Smith over I doubt she will come….she’ll be busy with that baby. Here’s the thing though……if today is our last encounter then it is OK. I listened to her share some private moments, her dreams, her plans and she nurtured me as she always has. We exchanged emails and I hugged her and when I did……. I thanked her for bringing my babies into the world and I told her that I loved her. I meant it.

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Some Sh*t I’ve Learned…….

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Some Sh*t I’ve Learned…….

This is something I wrote over the summer after a family member committed suicide. I needed a reminder today and I thought it would be nice to share…….

Trying to make sense of the senseless and just rolling through the emotional roller coaster and some random thoughts struck while I was in the shower…calling this “Some shit I’ve Learned (or am Learning)”
1. Life isn’t fair. I say that as a grateful American with hot, clean and always available water, electricity, shelter and a kick @ss military. Think of the places you could have been born….

2. There is a God and I am not It. Not going full on religious here just believe that there is “something” out there bigger than me and frankly I am thankful that I am not in charge.

3. Be kind. When you can’t be kind be quiet. The urge to be a jerk will usually pass quickly enough.

4. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger or bitter but you decide which way to go with that. Character building is a bitch.

5. Sometimes I am an @sshole. I hope that I catch this most of the time and apologize promptly…..however, if I have been an @sshole to you in the last 10 minutes or ten years, my deepest apologies.

6. I have a very thin filter and sometimes stuff comes through that I wish I could take back, I can’t though. I can also be very naive because I am a literal person and will believe someone if they tell me something regardless of how ridiculous it sounds…..this is a blessing and a curse. I am trying to look at this trait now as a child-like attribute and I have decided to embrace it for today…the alternative seems too cynical to me.

7. I know less now than I did when I was a teenager. I knew it all at 15 now I wonder about everything and I somehow recognize that as personal growth.

8. Pain is temporary, so is joy and everything else on this planet, adapt.

9. If you live life without regret then you probably didn’t take enough chances….sometimes you have to close your eyes, roll the dice and hope that you are making the right choice.

10. Have a short memory….forget the awful crap people have done or said and forgive them….if you don’t you will get bitter and it’s never better being bitter.

11. Forgive yourself and others.

12. Ask for help when you need it. Don’t expect people to read your mind or intuitively know what you need, that’s just stupid.

13. Don’t let anyone wipe their feet on you or live in your head rent free.

14. Choose happiness – you are the only person responsible for your happiness.

15. Kindness is NOT weakness.

Yeah I was bullied too…..

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Yeah I was bullied too…..

Wow this is a bit of a tinder box of a topic, bullies, bullying and all the bull shit that goes with it.  Total disclosure, I was bullied probably not extreme by today’s standards but consistent in nature from age 8 to 14. And while I don’t think I bullied anyone in particular, I did enjoy the brief respite when someone else took a turn at being the scape goat.  And if I am being completely honest I was a bit of a dick to my brother…bullying, sibling rivalry…..tomato, tomahto. He was a jerk too so there was some balance.

I got bullied for the typical reasons, I wasn’t very pretty, didn’t dress well (we were broke so I rocked the hand me downs) and bonus I was usually the new girl. One unfortunate day in 4th grade a milk bone dog biscuit was found in my desk.  It landed there because I used to give treats to a dog that I would see on the way home.  Let’s just say my dog loving ways were not admired and I was known as a “dog” from that day on.  This was before the “What’s up dawg” phrase became popular….this was the 70s when “dog” was synonymous with ugly.  The good thing about moving so much is that we didn’t stay past a year so I was ready to take on the next new class the following Fall.

I started 5th grade in a new town and nearly got my ass kicked from the start.  I don’t recall the particulars of how I managed to piss off nearly every kid in the class but somehow I did. Things got heated to the level where someone said they were going to beat me up and then another kid chimed in and another…..and so on. I don’t know how many kids were lined up to beat me up but at some point I yelled “Fine – you’re first, you’re second, you’re third……” and I started assigning an order to the kids I would fight.  Honestly it was a ballsy move and I’m not sure where it came from…I was probably up to the 5th kid when one of the most popular jock girls came to my rescue.  She yelled out “if you fight her, you fight me” and every single one of them backed down.  I never fought those particular kids and I gained a best friend that day. Heart of gold that girl, then and now.

My scrappy ways continued for a few more years.  Eventually the ugly duckling became a good looking swan and viola the teasing stopped.  Can I tell you it still bugs me that people are so fucking shallow.  Seriously nothing changed except I magically got pretty one summer and then people were nice, wtf??? Then the real problems started…..suddenly pretty mixed with years of a beaten down self esteem and a shaky family life tilted me toward disaster but that is a story for another day, focus…

So back to bullying….growing up in the 70s bullying was expected and accepted.  If someone called you a name you upped the ante with a more derogatory name (even if you didn’t know what it meant).  True story in fourth grade (the year of the dog) I was over heard telling some boy to “go suck momma moose cock”……clearly anatomically impossible but I heard it from somewhere so I parroted it out there when someone insulted me. The worst part was I was living with my grandparents at the time and I had to write down what I said and have my Nanna sign the paper (palm slap, hard). I’m cringing now with the recall. And if you physically pushed me, it was on. The fact that I weighted at least 20 pounds less than any opponent did not phase me….I would go spider monkey crazy on their ass. If I grew up with today’s rules I would have been kicked out of no less than four of the dozen or so schools I attended. SMH

There were some pluses to the bullying and I am reluctant to even mention this because again, tinder box.  Truth is I gained some valuable life skills dealing with bullies. I learned how to defend myself verbally and physically. It taught me how to read people and situations and come up with a strategies for dealing with undesirables. I learned who my real friends were and who were posers. Truth is it wasn’t all bad. Falls into the category of what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.  I know it doesn’t work like that for everyone and I am grateful that I could bend without breaking.

I do think bullying is different today than it was in the 70s.  On one hand nearly everything is considered bullying today. Mom Johnny said my shirt is ugly.…this is not bullying in my mind. This is Johnny having an opinion about a shirt which may or may not be ugly and Johnny may or may not be a jerk. This makes me insane. The pendulum may have swung a teensy bit too far. I get it, start young pays off later. Sometimes it seems like we are putting out a small fire with a tidal wave. Until middle school or whenever they get on Instagram, then shit gets real.

The social media pits of hell were not an issue for me.  I could suck it up for the six or seven hours I would be at school and then go home and refuel for the next day’s onslaught.  I was oblivious to the smack being talked about me on various tangled corded phones throughout the school district. Kids today don’t have that reprieve. They can be bombarded with shit 24/7 and that is too much. Honestly I wish I had a magic wand for this one, I don’t.  My kids are on the brink of middle school and I am afraid for them.  I have no idea what they will face but I really hope they come to me. I happen to have some skills – thanks bullies – and I think I can help them.

From an accidental stay at home mom

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From an accidental stay at home mom

I’ve been cruising around the Internet today and lots of heated debates around SAHM and ‘working” Moms, the fur is flying.  I think it is a really personal choice based on about 1,582 things that each person needs to consider (or maybe the choice gets made for you….). I was not supposed to be here, really I wasn’t.  My plan, our plan, THE plan was that I would go back to work after my son was born.  I took three months maternity leave and after two weeks of being back on the job, I got laid off…..lots of us did…..all Project Managers were “let go”.  Wow that was a lot to wrap my head around, now what???

Honestly, I was scared.  Financially we could swing it (thank you husband) but mentally the idea of not working was……well completely foreign to me. I hadn’t considered it before and it wasn’t a choice, more like an unexpected circumstance.  I worked my entire life at that point…from the time I was 16 until I got laid off at 35 and sometimes I worked multiple jobs.  And before I was legally able to work, I worked.  I raked leaves, shoveled snow, cleaned, babysat…I hustled because there was no money tree in our shabby little apartment.  I was raised by a single mom and we were broke.  I worked because I wanted clothes, junk food, roller skates and in order to get those things I needed to make money.  I mentally took in many lessons from my single mom.  She always said “don’t become a secretary” and the not always verbal but always present and paramount life lesson – don’t depend on a man.  Well shit now I have a 3 month old baby and no J-O-B and a husband OK with me staying home.

To complicate things further I had a very difficult delivery with life threatening complications which were discovered at 39 weeks pregnant.  So a part of me was just happy to be alive.  I had to talk myself through the not working thing, I really did.  Told myself that if this was my last day on earth….how would I want to spend it….working some job or taking care of my baby.  Truth be told I did send out some resumes but it was a half-hearted attempt.  Part of me could not justify making a choice to work and leaving child care up to someone else a big chunk of the time……simply because I HAD a choice.  It’s a different game all together if it isn’t a choice, I get that.

So why the hostility between SAHMs and working moms….my theory is guilt.  Only my theory based on my own experience not a universal truth peeps so calm down….your theory may kick my theory’s ass at recess….I don’t really care.  You see I had guilt as a SAHM because I was used to being financially independent and I had to constantly tell myself it’s OK, it’s best for the family (and it was best for us the hubs traveled internationally, no family help, we moved and starting a new job would have really messed things up if I could find a job).  I felt guilt for the lessons my mom taught me growing up. I was falling short by depending on a man.  I think working moms feel guilt because they don’t see their kids as much.  It’s just a hard frickan’ job if you do it right whether or not you work outside the home.

I had to step away from my practical always working self and do something completely different from what I carefully planned.  Sorry atheists….but for me being a SAHM was an act of faith.  You see at that time between the health issues, unexpected unemployment, moving and other changes I really felt like the universe was telling me to stay home, so I did.  Honestly it is not something I did gracefully.  It was out of necessity and circumstances that were bigger than me.

So fast forward 11+ years and how has being a SAHM served me.  If I am honest I got the perks and the liabilities in good measure. The perks are obvious, I haven’t missed a thing with my kids.  First steps, first tooth, first haircut, first day of anything – I was there for all of it (still am).  I walk into my kids school and I know half the faculty, the school board and 70% of the kids by name.  I have created a network of go to moms that can get me through the next 7 years of school in this district. I have volunteered for everything (exception: I refused to get on the school board that is just bat shit crazy).

The liabilities are pretty stacked too thankfully some of them have passed.  My first born was a colicky baby who had night terrors and did not sleep through the night for FOUR mofo years and that is the truth.  My kids are about 20 months apart and I got up with each of them every.single.time. During those years I fantasized about a fist full of Tylenol PM and a dark quiet hotel room ALONE. That was hard and I wasn’t “loving” the SAHM thing then….thought it would be good to get away from the little lovies a few hours a day but I couldn’t. I looked forward to medical appointments some days it was easier to have the blood drawn from a nurse.  What saved my ass was a small group of women in a Moms Club.  Their reasons for being home were more planned but the friendships made the hard times bearable.

Bottom line is every one is on their own particular journey and I really don’t think it’s my place to judge yours.  If you want to judge mine have at it….I learned a long time ago that what other people think of me is none of my business.

Just say no to the leprechaun trap (it’s OK we are NOT Irish)….

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Just say no to the leprechaun trap (it’s OK we are NOT Irish)….

This morning my personal facebook feed was riddled with pictures depicting the wrath of leprechauns throughout suburbia.  Green tiny foot prints on the toilet seat above a sea of green water….those damn gold coin chocolates tossed about with wreck less leprechaun abandon. I said NO (hell no) to the leprechaun traps, the awful candy and shamrock stickers this year. Next to go is the tooth fairy, that bitch is costing me a fortune…….and at the pace my kids lose their baby teeth I will be at this for another 30 years…..no more. Santa and the Easter Bunny are safe for now……not really.

Seriously all the fun make believe stuff was great for the first decade…..but when do you reel it in?  My oldest will be in Middle School next year. Wait, whaaat?  That’s right the big MS and he will have to get changed for gym, get the bus at 7am and I’m sure the homework will be insane.  Note to self…..eliminate all of the sponge bob underwear before September.  So we are at the tipping point here folks and I’m sure most people go through this……right???

I feel like we are in the sweet spot of childhood right now.  The kids are somewhat independent…I mean I am still the only one doing laundry….but I haven’t wiped an ass that wasn’t mine in years.  We are on the brink of a new life stage here and I am a little scared and sad about it.

Oh I had a birth plan

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Oh I had a birth plan

I was one of those doe eyed first time momma freaks who took the birthing classes, read libraries full of books and even (and I still chuckle at this) created a birth plan.  That’s right my dream birth plan included a leisurely stroll on the boardwalk whilst admiring the view of the Atlantic Ocean….followed by a trip to IHOP where I would consume whatever the hell I wanted.  Full disclosure…. I was a vegetarian when I became a human incubator and instead of embracing the new ageiness of it all I decided to reintroduce hot dogs and red meat.  I was of the mindset that if my body wants it, I must need it.  Idiot.  That aside, my birth plan included stacks of pancakes and bacon, glorious bacon……delightful, right?

At 39 weeks preggers I had this ache behind my left knee.  Whenever I tried to sleep on that side (I know who sleeps at 39 weeks pregnant) it hurt more.  I told my doctor about it and she sent me for an ultrasound, no biggie.  I worked from home at the time and I told my boss I would be back in an hour or so.  The ultrasound tech asked me to wait while she had the radiologist review my results….sneaky bitch didn’t give anything away.  Within 5 minutes I was told that I had a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and I needed to go straight to the hospital.

Sh*t got real very fast but I still wasn’t entirely clicked into how serious it was.  They left me in the room and I promptly went to the hospital (hey they told me I needed to go to the hospital).  When I arrived at the hospital I was greeted by the staff and scolded for not taking an ambulance, it was literally a block away.  The panicked looks on the scrub wearing faces around me started to clue me into how serious the situation was….a clot could have easily broken away from the DVT and killed me instantly. I was told to make one last trip to the bathroom put on a highly fashionable hospital gown and oh DON’T MOVE.

Within a couple of hours I was taken to a trauma unit.  The plan was to insert a retractable filter in preparation of childbirth (which BTW is fertile ground for throwing blood clots).  The filter would, fingers crossed….break up any clots before they got to my lungs, heart or brain.  I was petrified.  I sent my husband on an errand to distract him.  Told him I needed a tuna sub because the hospital food would suck and hey I never got my birth plan bacon so feed me.  I silently begged God not to take me or my son away…thoughts of my husband raising our boy alone….I can’t even.  So…..stone cold sober I am told to turn my head and then don’t move.  First they inserted a needle in my jugular vein to numb the area (thank you and next time a little Valium would be good just to ya know take the edge off) after that the retractable filter was gently guided in place.  I don’t remember how long it took….I do remember a sweet nurse holding my hand and telling me it would be OK while a stream a defiant tears were released.  I wanted to ugly cry with sobs and snot with hunching shoulders but the procedure did not allow for that.

So the retractable filter became my little get out of jail free card.  The doctors and nurses were pretty sure that I wouldn’t clot out so they immediately got into let’s get this baby out mode.  Shortly after the procedure (tuna sub, consumed) I was told that labor would be induced.  Well sh*t what first time mom doesn’t look forward to that.  OK so I get the prostaglandin insert which is basically a tampon from hell that is supposed to make you go into labor or at least get things moving….I had mine “in” overnight.  The next day was removal time and lucky for me they sent Freddy Krueger in for the process.  Bitch could not get it out despite her multiple best efforts.  Finally my OBGYN came to my rescue and removed it.  So then it was a waiting game.

The hours ticked by and I happily took the epidural. The idea of biting on a stick or focusing on some object to get me through this seemed a bit ridiculous – at this point I was happy to be alive.  Eventually it was time to push.  I pushed and pushed and pushed some more, even crapped on the table (proof of pushing people). Two hours passed then three my OBGYN told me she had to go to NYC that night.  I pushed harder, she told me about the doc who would fill in her for her if things pressed on….four hours of pushing then five.  My baby wasn’t coming out and my sweet doctor stayed with me.  Makes me cry right now thinking about it.  I have no idea what she sacrificed to stay with me that night but she did and I will always love her for that.  Back to my non-compliant baby…… at some point it was obvious that my baby wasn’t coming out the “traditional” way and a c-section was in order.  Great let’s do it.  Whaaaaaat?  I have to wait for an operating room?  And oh wait for it…..there is a back up for c-sections and since my baby isn’t in distress I need to wait.  I understand that truly I do and I was grateful my baby was not in distress…….I on the other hand was exhausted.  About an hour later we got in and my son was born c-section.  I will never forget the relief I felt when I heard his cry.  I wept tears of joy and at that moment I knew that I would do it all over again….because that sound….he was fine.

Volunteering….

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Volunteering….

I volunteer for stuff. A LOT. Well it used to be a lot. I have scaled back tremendously and GeeZus has it gotten ridiculous to give your time for free.  The other day I registered online to have my finger prints on file for the FBI in addition to the forms I filled out for criminal background and child abuse clearances.  Cost an hour + of my time and about $40. for the privilege to do sh*t for free for other people…..SMH.

One time suck was the requirement to list every address I have resided at since 1975.  Seriously?  Now this may seem like a sweet little stroll down memory lane for people that have led a normal life and maybe moved 5 times.  I am not in that category.  I am also not in the category of “Army Brat” whose history includes exotic locals weaving a rich tapestry of experience into their own little patchwork quilt of life.  No my category is alcoholic broke mom moves a lot with a sprinkling of dead beat dad and one crazy inventor we lived with (and by crazy inventor I mean the man was crazy and he invented sh*t).  Not exotic at all.  Why did we move so much???? Not really sure but it spanned decades and two states NJ & FL- the two states featured most prominently on America’s Most Wanted.  Anyhow all this twitching and PTSD so I can volunteer at my kids school.  If pat downs and body searches become a part of the process I’m out.

Polluted Gene Pool

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Polluted Gene Pool

To be filed under more stuff you should know about me.  I don’t drink, ever.  Take a moment….I know that is a hard one to wrap your brain around.  Next question – WHY (dear God how does this woman get through a single day..)??? My standard reply is that my gene pool is a bit polluted (envision Chernobyl) so I don’t want to roll the dice at this stage. I decided a long time ago that I preferred the Merry-Go-Round to the Roller Coaster of life and I am standing by that choice.  I often joke that I will go straight to heroin at about age 80 but since that drug has made a rapid and deadly come back, I may have to rethink that one.

Please don’t worry that I am judging your drunk @ss, I swear I am not.  I will happily be your designated driver and pay for your booze when we split the tab.  I don’t care. My not drinking isn’t about you, honest. Most people don’t trust non-drinkers so I have to work extra hard to win people over and convince them that my sobriety won’t rub off on them.  Any idea how hard it is to win over a room of Pinto Grigio sippin’ soccer moms when your tossing back cranberry juice….it’s a bitch people.  I have to be extra awesome just to stay on the invite list.  Come to think of it I don’t get out much. Fahk.

Poppin’ my cherry……

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Poppin’ my cherry……

A few things you should know about me…..sometimes I speak before I think (or type).  I know, bad habit but it’s true so I own it.  My spelling is awful (I blame spell check for this, so do you) and there will be a slew of grammar errors….I know you grammar geeks secretly love that so you can break out your red air pens and have at it…..I’m friends with a few of you and I truly don’t hold it against you…..but I bet you are judging my dots right now…..take that….!

Back on track…..I am a married mom with the standard two kids and a large dog that sheds all.the.time. I love my husband and my kids and even the smelly dog and life is pretty good right now (yawn, I know b-o-r-i-n-g) but trust me, it hasn’t always been this way and that has given me my own little set of sh*t brown tinted lenses….or was that rose colored?

But I digress (again)….so what am I doing writing a blog?  I don’t know but I feel the pull, not sure if it is Kryptonite or potential yet but I am answering the knock at the door…..for now.