November 24, 2010

Will he EVER learn???

It's been almost 20 years.  You think he'd have me figured out by now.

He hasn't.

I have had a bad day (for no particular reason.  Ladies, you understand, I'm sure).  I come home.  I'm pissy.  He asks what is wrong - and I tell him.  I tell him vehemently of all the things that went wrong today (there may or may not have been some slamming of things around - just to get my point across, you understand).  All I get is, "It'll be all right" from across the room.  Then he pipes in with, "Well, tomorrow will make you feel better."  And then I begin to cry.  Not a lot - just a bit.  Because I'm in a foul mood and just a tiny bit stressed.

AND, can someone please explain to me how having a houseful of people is supposed to make me feel better?  Although I do love these friends and their children dearly - please tell me how having my friend (who may or may not be going through a divorce) with her three boy children (who can be extremely wild) and her mother (who brings a whole 'nother set of issues with her) and my other friends (who have two really small children) is supposed to calm me down and keep me sane?  On Thanksgiving?

And while I don't have to do the majority of the cooking (thank GOD!) - I am supposed to come up with the desserts; which can someone else please tell me how I am supposed to do that when the Chef (Hubby) is downright SELFISH with the kitchen and the ovens?  And all this is supposed to calm me down!

No.  None of that will calm me down and make me feel better.  You know what would?  A hug.

That's it.  Nothing complicated.  Just a hug.

I've told him this repeatedly through the years.  But, apparently, upset women and tears must frighten the beejesus out of him.

So now that I've spilled it to you - without all the gory details and the smeared mascara on display - I feel better.

Enough to go to battle for an oven or two.  So that we can have desserts after dinner tomorrow.  And it will be great (especially if there is enough wine - and there will be, I will make sure of that).

So if I don't get around to see you before - have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Sorry I've been dumping on you guys so much lately.  You've all been wonderful.  I count each and everyone of you as a blessing when I give thanks and will do so doubly tomorrow!  Mwah!!

November 20, 2010

Year of Wonders

As I sat down to write this post, I realized I haven't done a review since August!  Not that I haven't been reading - I have.  I just haven't read anything FABULOUS.

The book I'm going to tell you about today is a departure from my usual reads.  It's a historical novel.  Occasionally, I will read historical novels - but generally they don't catch my eye when I'm looking for something to read.  But on the recommendation of a friend I read this one.

by Geraldine Brooks

This novel is based on what happened when the bubonic plague struck Eyam, a small English village, in 1665. In an interview with Ms. Brooks it comes to light that there isn't much of a written record about that happened that year - not enough to create a non-fiction book.  So her imagination took over.

Imagine, if you will, living back then - when the medical field was primitive at best.  Living in a small village that has been hit by the plague.  Imagine the terror - never knowing who would die next.  Very few people who contracted the plague survived.

As was the way - the village was centered around the church; which meant that the rector was a powerful leader.  When he suggested that the town should quarantine itself to keep from spreading the disease - most of the town agreed.

Word was sent to the surrounding towns and a system was set in place where the villagers could receive goods and pay for them without any contact.  It was called the Boundary Stone.  In this stone they dug out holes and filled them with vinegar.  Then they would put coins inside the holes - they believed that the vinegar would cleanse the money - and leave a list of staples that were needed.  When the villagers from Eyam left the stone - then the merchant from the other town would come to collect the lists and the money and to drop off supplies.  This was the only "contact" they had with the outside world for an entire year.

As you can imagine people began to go a bit crazy.  People were dying left and right.  It was possible to fall ill in the morning and be dead by evening.  Whole families were wiped out.

Some people were convinced that this was a punishment sent by God and felt that they must atone for their sins.  Others claimed it was the work of witchcraft.

Others became extremely greedy and opportunistic. Taking advantage of their neighbor's plights.

While this book tells the story of the plague - there is also a story of great friendship.  This thread of the story shows us what we can become if we have someone in our lives who believes in us.

The book is 308 pages long but is a fairly quick read as the author has done a great job fleshing out the characters and tells the story in a way that encourages you to read a bit more to see what happens next.

All in all it was a very good book.  I didn't care for the ending - but I can understand why the author felt that was the way to end it.

November 15, 2010

I'm having a nervous breakdown....seriously.

Hello!  And welcome to your ringside seat whereupon you get to witness me have a complete and total meltdown.
It’s that wonderful time of year again – where I begin to stress over holiday stuff.  Why?  I don’t know – most of it I could do in my sleep.  But if I don’t stress – then where is the tradition?
This year – to add to the fun – we’ve had Man-Child take the test for his driver’s license; Junior Year Parent Night and work issues.  All within a week of each other.  Yay!
Although, the very prospect of sending my one and only child off – in a car; by himself; on the INTERSTATE to school every day is enough to make my head spin and my stomach nauseous - but still, I could deal.
Junior Year Parent Night – (for the uninitiated – JYPN is when the school has a meeting with the parents of the Junior class to tell them about the processes and timelines of what needs to be done prior to the Senior year to prepare for college.  Who knew that so much would need to be done this year?!?  The most laughable part was the way they kept reiterating that we shouldn’t do all the work for them – yeah, right.  Like any self-respecting 16 year old is going to take it upon himself to look up financial assistance, fill out forms and work on their resume and various applications without any nagging  "help") could also probably be dealt with without too much trauma.  But this meeting did slam home the fact that pretty soon my nest will be empty.
And the work stuff?  Well, let's just say that I’m sick of office politics and managers who can’t make a decision without a Magic 8 ball.  All I want to do is come to work – do my job and cash my check.  I don’t need or want to be embroiled in all this other crap.  For the most part, I love my job - but right now?  Right now, I just don't need all this drama. I’m hoping it all comes out in the wash soon without involving me any more than necessary.
In and of themselves, I could probably deal with each one okay.
But – something else has been going on.  Something I just couldn’t put my finger on.  
And then it hit me.  Not only is Thanksgiving NEXT WEEK – which in turn, kicks off the official “holiday season” – but this week we’ve hit the 6 month mark of unemployment.
Needless to say, this realization caused me to begin to hyperventilate.
Despite all my protestations that “everything will be fine” and “we will be okay” and blah, blah, blah and here let me sprinkle some fairy dust on it and all will be well – today it hit me.  Unemployment is due to run out soon.  

And no matter that Hubby’s idea for a business venture is a good one – there have been no bites.  And no matter how much I tweak and fine tune that resume and no matter how many contacts Hubby has – the fact of the matter is there aren’t any jobs out there to send the damn resume to any way.
And when all this came bubbling to the surface – I found myself in my car at lunch sobbing.

Not that sobbing ever really fixes anything.  And to top it off?  It didn’t even make me feel better and I had red eyes when I came back to the office.  They probably think I’m having  “liquid lunches” now.
I think what has me so wigged out – is that there isn’t anything I can do to “fix” the problem.  I can’t make jobs magically appear out of thin air for Hubby to apply to or clients to fall from the sky for his business venture.
I hesitate to even share my distress with Hubby – because he is the worrier.  If he sees that I’m wigging out – how much will that freak him out?   Like he doesn't have enough to deal with without me throwing gasoline on the fire?  I hate to dump on to you – because you all have your own issues to deal with and frankly, I’m generally a pretty private person.  So odds are good that this post will be deleted before it ever gets published.  But then, what is the point of spilling my guts?  I will still end up holding on to all the worry.  That huge rock sitting in my tummy will still be there.  What, then was the point of this blog - which I started just to get all this stuff out of my head?
Since I haven’t taken much vacation time this year – I have thirteen days that I must schedule before the end of the year – or I’ll lose it all.  So this means that I will be home for 2 ½ weeks at the end of the year – with a couple of other days thrown in before then.  I can already tell you that all this time at home together will just drive up my stress level – I just know it.  How can it not?
Because of all this added stress and drama – I have made a momentous decision.  
This year, I will not be sending out Christmas cards. 
(I can hear you all gasping collectively)
I mean it.  Not one.  I spend far too much time and money in doing so every year.  And although I do generally enjoying doing them this year I just don’t have it in me to do it.  To be honest – right now, I don’t have it in me to do any of the holiday stuff.  The things I’ve done so far have been done out of obligation and necessity.

We won't be doing the annual party either - which is a no-brainer.  We just can't.  So at the very least, that's two stressors off my list.

I KNOW in my head and my heart that everything will be okay - one way or another.  But right now?  Right now, I'm just a tad overwhelmed.

November 11, 2010

Because some have a positive effect on others daily

I am not a teacher - and I NEVER could be one.

Oh yes, I love little people and love to cuddle and play with them.  But to stand in a classroom full of them and demand order?  To expect them to actually learn something that I could teach?  From other people's children?  Children that I can't ground, guilt or nag into submission?

It's laughable.  I don't have that kind of patience or fortitude.

It takes a strong and special person to be a teacher.

I saw this video over at VodkaMom's site (that for the life of me I can't get to "fit" where it's supposed to!  Apparently, I need an HTML teacher.....).

And it made me tear up.

It made me remember all the fabulous teachers that my son has had - it made me remember some of the fabulous teachers that I've had.  These men and women touch our children's lives daily.  They help us to shape and mold the people that our children are going to be.  These people help foster a love of learning in our children that will carry them through life.

So if you have a wonderful teacher in your life - go give them a hug.  And thank them for doing this most important job.

And then?  Then, thank God that I never went into teaching.

November 9, 2010

You have to have a lot of confidence to pull this off

Being in the midst of all things football here - this has to be, without a doubt, the best sneak play I've ever seen!

If it weren't for the fact that it's all over the news for our opponents to see, I would think it would be a great play for our guys to use at our first playoff game this week.  Those little guy's coaches are pretty clever - and that one kid is as cool as a cucumber to pull that one off.  I love the way the other team just watches him - not realizing what is happening.

For those that need a little explanation: the guy with the ball is acting like a foul has been called on the other team.  A foul usually means that the ball is moved back on the side of the field of the team receiving the foul - which puts the ball further away from their goal line and closer to the opponents.  The boy's acting like he's marking off yardage on a foul against the other team.  Good Lord!  I just realized that all this football stuff is actually seeping into my brain somehow!

November 6, 2010

It's the biggest secret we've ever tried to pull off....

I've mentioned before what a good kid I have - especially considering he's a teen. (Yes, I am knocking on wood furiously over here because I know that could change with the blink of an eye).  I figure this is my repayment for the fact that he never, ever slept as a baby AND had colic.  Needless to say, for the first year or so of his life, I was insane.  Because I'm not kidding or exaggerating when I say - he NEVER SLEPT!!

You may also recall that Man-Child recently celebrated his 16th birthday and is going to take his driving test this coming Friday.

So, being the uber awesome mom that I am, a long while back I asked my car guy (the guy who works on my car) to keep his eye out for a really good, safe and cheap car for Man-Child.  And he came up with one.  When this guy tells me that a little old lady has been driving the car, I can believe it.  When he then tells me that he's been doing the maintenance on this car and knows the history then I know that it's a good car.  And, bonus points, it doesn't look too much like an old lady car.  When he told me the price, I almost fell over because it seemed to good to be true.

Hubby and I had actually shelved the idea of getting him a car since Hubby isn't working.  But between the price of the car, the fact that Man-Child is such a good kid and hasn't gotten into any trouble (that we know of, anyway), he's kept his grades WAY, WAY up this year,  and the fact that once Hubby either gets a job or this business takes off he will need a way to get around (did I mention the price of the car is a total steal?) we decided to at least go look at it and see what we thought.

The whole thing has been insane as we had decided to keep it a secret.  We went to go look at the car two Thursdays ago.  I figured I would take off from work an hour early - we'd go look at it and we'd be home before Man-Child.  Man-Child is NEVER home from football practice before 6:30 pm.  Never.  So we had plenty of time.

As we were standing there talking to our car guy (who is also a personal friend) my phone rings.  And who should it be?  Man-Child.  At 5:30 pm!  Apparently, school let out early (yes, I get bad mom of the year for not knowing his schedule) so practice had naturally ended early.  I lied and told him we'd gone to grab a bite to eat.  Luckily, he didn't pick up on the fact that I don't usually even get home until 5:30 pm.

After discussing it, in snatched whispers, we decided that we would do it.  So on that Saturday, we somehow ditched Man-Child long enough to meet up and pay for the car and pick up the title.  Hubby was to go to the DMV on that Monday to have the title switched.

Another snag in our plan.  That Monday after Halloween was a Holy Day of Obligation.  My son goes to a Catholic school.  School was closed (my God is this kid ever in school???) again.  So Hubby devised some way to ditch the kid again - at this point it's a miracle he didn't develop a complex and start wondering why we didn't want to spend any time with him.

Now, as we all know visiting the DMV is it's own special hell on earth.  Hubby forgot the cardinal rule at the DMV.  They only take checks or cash and you are not allowed to question that policy.  Guess what he did not have?  Cash or checks.  Guess what he got for questioning the policy?  Nasty looks and snotty remarks.  He had to give it up and go back the next day.

It was my thought that we keep the car secret until Man-Child actually got his license.  But Hubby knows me far too well and knew that there was no way I could keep my mouth shut - so he put his foot down.

It's been very hard - because I am one of those people who buys a gift and then gets so excited that I can't wait until Christmas to give it.

On Wednesday, Man-Child received his grades (all A's; remember?) and I was raving about what a great job he had done - when he pipes up with "Since I got all A's do I get a car?" (joking, of course).  After a quick beat, I made a joke back.

We had decided that today was the day.  This morning, Hubby and I woke up very early and crept out of the house to go pick up the car.  We wanted to get it back here before Man-Child woke up.  We were successful!

The plan was to have Hubby go outside to do something.  I was to follow and then call back into the house that we needed Man-Child's help and then viola there would be the car and I would get the perfect picture.

But as with life - things didn't go according to plan.  Hubby went outside and before I could get out there Man-Child had followed him.  His reasoning - Dad was going somewhere - maybe he could tag along and get breakfast - it's all about food with this boy.  So he got to see the car and I didn't get to see his initial reaction.  I almost cried.

But - he is overjoyed.  And totally surprised.  He keeps repeating over and over, "I had NO idea!" and walking around with the biggest smile on his face.

And now?  Now he has the biggest reason in the world to pass that test on the first try.

November 3, 2010

Making the grades

Hello!!!  I'm here (see me waving?)!

I've not fallen off the face of the earth, contrary to popular belief.

I've things to say - but I'm in limbo over here.  I'm just waiting for a few things to resolve themselves.  Some I may be able to blog about; others I won't (only because it's work crap and nothing you'd really be interested in). I figure I'd rather wait and present you with the "finished" product on some of this and I don't want to jinx myself on the other part.  (and before you ask - no, it has nothing to do with the job search or business start up for Hubby, unfortunately).

Since I am here though, I will brag just a little bit if you don't mind.  Man-Child received his report card today - the first one of his junior year.  Can you guess why I'm bragging?  (Why can't I download ANY pictures today? Just pretend you see a picture of a report card here.)

Yes, yes, I know lot's of kids get all A's.  But y'all this is HUGE!  Man-Child hasn't done this since 4th grade, y'all.  Seriously.  And not because he couldn't get all A's - he just wouldn't.  He had this thing about not turning in his homework.  It seriously drove me bananas.  He would ace the tests, make beautiful grades for classwork and participation - but the homework (or lack of it) would bring his grades way, way down.

It drove me crazy!!  We tried everything.  Bribery.  Threats.  Punishments.  Begging.  Pleading.  Lecturing.  Everything.  Nothing worked.

Oh, his grades weren't anything to be ashamed of - but we knew he was not reaching his full potential.

We started to see a turn around in this trend when he started high school.  But Spanish was holding him back.  He just couldn't get it enough to pull an A in that class (and I don't blame him, I couldn't even pass Spanish, much less get an A in it).  But two years of a foreign language is a requirement for graduation.

But this year?  This very important year (where grades get sent to colleges) he is (so far) pulling down a 4.0 GPA.  And this mom couldn't be happier.

Hopefully, this trend will continue - because he is finally reaching his full potential.