October 28, 2011

Just WHO do I talk to about that?

I seem to recall at the beginning of 2011, I stated that THIS was going to be a great year.  I thought I'd blogged about it, but apparently not (which seems to be normal for me.  If I thought about it then surely I've blogged about it?  But it turns out that usually, I've just thought about it and never blogged about it).

But I do remember saying that.  That this year would be FAR better than last.

Well guess what?  It hasn't been.

This year has been full of stuff.  Icky stuff.  I'm sure there has been some good stuff - and if I thought about it hard enough I could think of it - but by and large, the majority of the stuff has been icky.

It's been far worse than 2010.  In 2010, my husband lost his job.  That was bad, and still is, but that was NOTHING compared to this year.

So far this year -

*  My husband STILL doesn't have a job
*  My dad had to have major surgery - and I couldn't be there for him
* My cousin was killed - and I couldn't be there for my aunt
* My son was injured in football
* My son has had more car accidents than anyone person should be allowed to have
* Another cousin died
* My co-worker's wife died unexpectedly
* I've been dealing with a friend and her divorce-that-will-never-come-to-fruition (which doesn't SOUND like a big deal, but they are close-enough-to-be-family friends - so yeah, it's been ugly for all of us)
* Other miscellaneous and random crap

and, as of tonight?

* My son has injured his OTHER knee in the last regular game of the season; on Senior night.  The night where Senior's and their parents are recognized.

As of now, we are hoping that it's no worse than the other injury.  But, the fact that he came home with even an even BIGGER brace AND crutches doesn't seem to bode well.  We will, hopefully, know more tomorrow.

Apparently, we are going to play-off's (how, I do not know.  We've only won 2 games this year) and now it appears, he is done.  No more playing this year.

I watched as they loaded him into the John Deere Gator-thingymabob to drive him back down to the field to watch the rest of the game.  He looked at me and started to cry.  He pulled his hoodie up so no one could see.

It broke my heart.  Seriously.

You have no idea.  It took everything in me not to start crying - BUT I did sob on the way home.  And I have  continued to cry sporadically ever since.

That boy has played his heart out this season.  He has worked so hard and come so far.  And it's NOT fair!

And don't tell me life isn't fair.  I KNOW it's not.  See the above list.  But come on already!  What did this kid ever do to deserve this much, this year?

So tell me - just WHO do I need to talk to about rectifying this?  Because dammit, NEXT year had better be a FANTABULOUS year or else....

If not for me - then at least for him.  Because he?  HE deserves it.

October 24, 2011

Wanna laugh? Read through the boring post to the bottom. Believe me.

Today I was on vacation (get used to that sentence - I have approximately a bazillion vacation days that I need to use before the end of the year) and had just ONE ambition.

To clean out the printer cabinet (aka where-hubby-hides-stuff).  That was it.  It wasn't a huge ambition but it was an ambition.  Something I've sorely been lacking lately.

When I went to bed last night, I told Man-Child that he would need to get himself up in the morning.  Because I planned to sleep in and then get to work on that little-bitty goal.

And then my eyes popped open at 5:00 am (yeah, I KNOW!).  After determining that more sleep was futile, I stumbled downstairs to start the coffee.

After drinking coffee, catching up on what you all had been doing while I was sleeping, and slowly coming to life I looked at the printer cabinet.

And then decided it would be cruel of me to open it and begin going through all the stuff that Hubby had squirreled away in there - because I was sure that the commotion of me exclaiming loudly, "SO THAT'S WHERE THOSE PICTURES HAVE BEEN!" would wake my slumbering giants far too early.

So I looked around, drumming my fingers.  What to do?  Quietly.  It was still too early for the paper to have come (and if it WAS down at the end of my VERY long driveway, I wasn't about to go tripping around in the dark looking for it) when it dawned on me....

College stuff!  Man-Child had FINALLY completed most (notice, not all) of the essays that one particular school required.  I decided to get a head start on that.  You can imagine my dismay when I opened up the application to begin pasting in the work he had slaved over only to discover that what they were looking for was a bit different than what he had produced. *sigh*

So, I put that one aside, and pulled out another application - this one he had written out, but never got around to sending.  Well, apparently, that worked in our favor.  The school had called the other night and gave us a special "code" so that when we applied we wouldn't have to pay the application fee.  So I proceeded to fill in the online application using exactly what he'd written (I know, I know - I SHOULD be making him do this stuff - but seriously?  If I nag him any more over anything else - one of our heads is going to explode - and it would probably be mine) and, let me tell you, hitting that send button?  It was amazing!

That load on my shoulders felt just a tad lighter.

Giddy with a sense of accomplishment (something I haven't felt in quite some time), I moved on.  We still needed to send SAT scores to schools.  So I forwarded the information for the two schools we've already applied for.

(Here's the lowdown for those of you with rising Seniors - when your child takes the SAT, you are given the opportunity to send the scores to four schools for free...but only IF you send them immediately.  Mine took the SAT twice at the end of his Junior Year, before even knowing WHERE he wanted to apply.  Plus I didn't know this next bit of info.  If you wait to send the scores when you are ready - you will be charged $10.50 per school.  You're welcome.)

Now, on a near high, I moved on to the NCAA eligibility website.  If your child wants to play sports in college you have to do this part (at least here on the East Coast.  I don't know what the requirements are elsewhere).  We had partially completed this - but got stuck on the ordering transcript part.  So, I tackled it.  And finished it.  The only problem?  Somehow they seem to have messed up my order - instead of asking the school for MC's transcript - they are asking them for mine!  Which will be damn near impossible to get since I didn't go to school there.  I then fired off an email to the help desk and am anxiously awaiting a response.

(Also?  FYI.  If your child wants to play sports in college - most schools have a Recruiting page that you are required to fill out.  Find it.)

Then the boys got up and the hustle-bustle of the morning began.  Eventually, I got MC out the door and on his way.  Hubby, I worked around.  Now it was time to tackle that printing cabinet.

Which I did, in short order.  Finding, among other things, the football team photos that I had ordered EONS ago.

Hubby, bless him.  When he "cleans" the house for me that means he hides everything.  Apparently, these photos (that I had JUST sent an email to the coach about) got "put away" during a cleaning spree, before I was able to register their existence*.

Sometime during my foray into the printer cabinet, Hubby decided it was best to make himself scarce.  Which turned out to be a blessing.  Because once I conquered the printer cabinet, I moved on to cleaning out other drawers into which he has been known to "hide" things.  I was totally on an organizing HIGH.

Instead of boring you (even more) with the details, suffice it to say that I went on and cleaned out a total of SIX drawers today and completed a load (can you say 6 months or more) of filing.  Including stops to run to the bank, have some papers notarized, eat lunch and pick up some essentials.

My sense of accomplishment today is at an ALL TIME HIGH.

I cannot lay the blame for all of this chaos at Hubby's feet (though I REALLY want to!).  I have been VERY slack in this past year or so.  I know that I have been hiding from everything....paperwork, the house, friends, and everything else.  There's really no excuse.

Hubby may hide/hoard things - but if I had been on top of things - it never would have reached the level of chaos that it had.  Bless him, he did what he thought best while trying to help me.

But that load that has been weighing me down - it feels SO much lighter now!  I feel like I can breathe again.

In the past year or so, I've even quit penning my "lists."  You know, those things that used to keep me semi-sane?  But even without the lists, the number to "to-do's" and "need to-do's" have been piling up in my head; adding to the stress that I already have.

Eliminating some of those things has eased my mind much more than I would have thought possible.  I think I need to start penning some more lists.  Just to get them out of my mind, onto to paper, done and crossed out. So that I can let my brain worry about other things.

So what is on my agenda for the next vacation day?  THAT closet.  The one where Hubby hides the BIGGER stuff.

*A very funny side-note.  Those pictures that I thought I found?  They were from last year.  How do I know? Man-Child JUST walked in the door with this year's pictures.  Even funnier? I've got one of those old photos sitting on my desk at work - staring at me ALL day, EVERY day.  Even better?  A new guy just asked me about that picture last week.  And I told him it was a year old... yeah.....so NOW you have a VERY clear picture of how chaotic my life and my brain has been.  Feel better about yourself?  You should.

You're welcome.

October 18, 2011

Yo-yo blogging.....that *WAS* the original title to this post...then, somehow, it all took a very dark turn.

Yup, that seems to be me - a yo-yo blogger.  Some days I'm all up in here and then there are days where I'm not.

I'm not going to worry, I figure it's normal.  We are all regular people with sometimes busy, sometimes boring lives.  And sometimes?  Sometimes there is just NOTHING to blog about.

If I have something to say, then you will find a post from me.  If not, then....well...then you won't.

OR you will get something completely random...just because I feel like I *should* say something just to remind you that I'm still alive and have something to contribute...kinda like today, actually.

Which reminds me....this is actually one of my fears...

As most of you know, this is a fairly anonymous blog....I mean Hubby and Man-Child know (kinda, sorta - but more in the vein of they heard me mention it, but it hasn't broke through to the conscious-level of their knowing and comprehension yet) but no one else does.

And even at that, I don't think either one of them have actually found their way over here...much less figured out how to hack into the account to post an update on me.  (They are practically useless, I tell you!  I mean, really?!  Am I the ONLY one in this house who can figure out just what the others have been up to online?  Sheesh!)

Which begs the question....how will YOU know if something horrific has happened to me??!! (Just go with the macabre thought process - it IS almost Halloween, after all!  I'm ALLOWED to be macabre around Halloween.  In fact, it's practically a law!)

I have made some VERY good friends here in the past two years.  VERY good friends.  People with whom I email privately back and forth on a regular basis...you know what I mean.  People who would take you in at a moments notice if you showed up at their back door.  People who really care when you are going through a high or low period.  People who know exactly what you are feeling when you post something and have wise words to help you through it.  Yeah.  Those people.

It would not be fair to them (or, really, any of you who randomly pop in) to just NOT know about the horrific accident.  Or whatever may happen that will take me away from blogging for an extended period of time or... forever.

Obviously, I am going to have to come up with a contingency plan so you all won't think I've fallen off the face of the earth one day.  Because, as we all know, there is always a "one day" waiting for us (hopefully far, Far, FAR down the road...because, dammit, I've still got so much I need to do!).

I'll have to work on that tomorrow....at work.  Because this?  THIS is important - work, not so much.

Obviously, when I sat down to type I was picturing this going in a VERY different direction.  But as you know from the previous post....the words just flow from my brain to my fingers....and then I edit.

And speaking of the previous post, you guys?  You guys are the BEST for my little ego.  Thank you. xo

October 10, 2011

Apparently, I've lost my damn mind (or it's a vlog; I KNOW a vlog! From ME! The last person you'd EVER expect to put herself out there!)

I've done it.  I've finally caved and have done a vlog*.

Yes, ME.

Sometimes, I even surprise myself.

Will I do it again?  Who knows.  It was kinda fun...but next time around, I need to be better prepared.  And less fidget-y (that's probably because I was trying HARD not to have my hands flying around the screen, because - according to everyone I know - I'm usually very ANIMATED when I talk; i.e., I "talk" with my hands).  And have a better hair/makeup artist.....

And, obviously, I need a script.

*to be completely honest, I dithered on and on and on for days about whether to even post it.  But in the end decided, what the heck.  Now let's see how many people un-follow after finding out that I don't "sound" in real life, like I "sound" when I write.....yes.  I'm insane.  No need to mention it; I already know.   *sigh*

October 9, 2011

Detours (or exceptionally deep thoughts for a Sunday evening)

Just a week or so ago, we had to travel to an "away" game to watch Man-Child play football.  For the record, most of our away games are, at best, almost 45 minutes to 1 hour away in little towns that are off our radar.

At any rate, during our journey we hit an unexpected detour.

As you can imagine, this was disconcerting.  First, because we weren't expecting it and second, we had a "plan" and a "timetable."  We wanted to be at the field for the kick-off.  And with this unexpected turn of events, we weren't sure we'd make it to our destination in time.

Today it struck me.  Life is full of detours; looking back I've experienced quite a few.  Some of which has turned out great for me; others - not so much.  And obviously, I'm currently travelling a detour right now; one that I do NOT want to be on; but nevertheless - here I am.

We all like to think we have our lives at least sort of mapped out.  We kinda know what we are doing and kinda have an idea of where we'd like to end up.

And then, BAM!  You reach the exit you wanted to take and realize that you have to go another way.  A different way.  Down a path you've never been.  And that there isn't a choice in the matter.

And although, that first sign assures you that you are heading in the right direction; you are still apprehensive.  Mainly because, as with all detours, once you start down the new road the directional signs seem to disappear.

But you keep driving - because what else can you do?  

And eventually, another sign pops up to remind you that you are on the right road - thusly reassured, you keep driving.  And hope against hope that this new and unfamiliar road will get you back on track.

I know that I'm not the only one travelling along a detoured route right now.  Many of us are.  Sure our detours are all different and unique to us; but they are detours nonetheless.  And detours are sometimes scary.

I know this one is.  We've been on this journey for well over a year.  And it has come at a most inconvenient time - this year is one that I already know will be an emotional rollercoaster - so the added drama really isn't needed.

But as with all detours - they are never convenient or expected.  And all you can do is to continue to drive - and eventually, you will arrive somewhere.  

It may not be the place you first thought you'd be - but maybe it's where you are meant to be and you will find peace with that.  

As for me?  I know that I am continuing to drive.  Eventually, we will find out where we are meant to be. 

October 3, 2011

How to make a Big Boy's birthday celebration special

I know I said I wasn't going to get all mushy, gushy over Man-Child's 17th birthday.....and I didn't then.

But let's talk about the aftermath.

First of all, you have to remember that I've had years and years and years of party planning for the little guy.  What kind of theme?  What kind of cake?  What kind of gift?  Who to invite?  The venue?  The decorations?

And on and on and on.

Then he got to be a "big" kid; but still the parties/events were a big to do around here.

Last year, it was a rather subdued event and I felt horrible about it.

So THIS was the year to make it all right again; finances be damned!

I asked and I asked.  Over and over again; what did he want to do?  What was the one "special" thing he wanted.

All to no avail.

I know this kid.  Celebrations of any kind are to be treated BIG!  That's the way he was raised.

But he was also raised to be empathetic to others - and he knows that we are in a bind.  So I knew that he wasn't going to ask for anything simply because he didn't want to put any guilt on us by asking for something we couldn't possibly provide right now.

I took last Friday off for the express purpose of dealing with birthday stuff.  When Friday dawned, I still had no clear idea of what to do for him.  It was making me crazy to the point of tears.

At one point, I had an epiphany.  In a random conversation earlier in the week, he'd mentioned a concert he would love to see - so I jumped online and saw that the tickets were super cheap.  As my finger was hovering over the "Buy Now" button I mentioned the gift to Hubby.  Ever practical man that he is, he asked when the concert was going to be held.  I replied on Friday, October 14th!  I was so excited, because THIS was a gift he would want and wouldn't have too wait to long to enjoy it.

Hubby immediately burst my bubble with the reminder that Friday nights are currently reserved for football.  I was crushed.  But I knew he was right - even though this was something Man-Child really, really wanted he would NOT skip a game just to go to a concert.

After spending the majority of the day between tears and determination to find the perfect gift, we decided cash was the way to go.

I was heartbroken.  How could this possibly be a great birthday with nothing planned and no awesome gift waiting to be opened?

Saturday came - a bright and beautiful day, albeit a cold one (which was a shock - it's usually not this cold this early in the season!).  Man-Child spent the day with us.  Hubby took him out to play pool for a bit (one of Man-Child's favorite pastimes) and for a little "guy" time.  When they came home, I harassed MC about what he wanted to do for dinner.

He finally picked a restaurant where we went and had a great time and a wonderful meal.

Upon arriving home, he ate the dessert I had made and declared it perfect.  And then went out to spend the evening with friends.  (Just because I thought it was HILARIOUS, I want to share this.....his buddies bought him a cake for his birthday.  But they didn't have any candles so they decided to light matches and just stick them into the cake.  Apparently, they didn't have any clue about how just quickly matches burn!  The image alone still makes me laugh!  Boys!)

But I went to bed with a heavy heart, somehow feeling that I had failed to make this birthday "special" enough for him.  I was especially sad because I knew that this would be our last birthday under one roof.

On Sunday, we had the "friends-that-are-so-close-they-should-be-family" over for lunch and cake.  MC has known most of these people for the majority of his life.  He doesn't get to see them as often anymore since they've moved, we've moved, certain family circumstances have changed and the fact that he is a teenager and has his own life now.

A good time was had by all, with a few hiccups along the way (which I may or may not address at some point.  For now, we'll just leave it with the fact that there was "surprise" guest).  And, I must note that one of the "younger" set (he's about 4) was convinced that Man-Child was turning 70 and not 17 - which caused much hilarity for the rest of us.

As I was headed to bed last night - still feeling a little sad - Man-Child pulled me over and gave me a big hug. And then thanked me for making his birthday weekend so special.

And I admit.  I cried when I got upstairs.

And I admit.  I might still be crying now.

October 1, 2011

He's SEVENTEEN!!!! (how did THAT happen????)

My very first thought this morning was that it is Man-Child's 17th birthday.  One of the later thoughts included one that went something like this, "Crap!  I should have started earlier and came up with a brilliant and loving tribute to the last seventeen years to post!"

But, I didn't.  I suppose I could go that route now, but to be honest, that might make me weepy.  I'm done with weepy.  These past few days have been good days and I aim to keep them that way, thankyouverymuch.

So instead of a mushy, gushy birthday post you get this instead - a post that is overloaded with pictures and a recipe.

First, I hunted and hunted and hunted for a picture of me and the newborn.  Guess what?  I don't have any pictures of me with a newborn!  No pictures of baby and me bonding in the hospital.  NOT ONE!

Then, as now, if I wasn't behind the camera then pictures usually weren't being taken.  So this was the first picture I came across of the two of us.  When he was ten days old already.  I can only assume my mother took this picture since I'm in it.

Hmmmm, not the most flattering photo for either of us.....we were both MUCH cuter; I promise!
Then I got busy.  I asked and asked and asked Man-Child what he wanted to do for his birthday.  What he wanted.  I got nothing in return.

Finally this morning he asked for a dessert that I made several years ago....ONCE.  Apparently, he loved it so much he's been pining for it ever since.  He's asked me a couple of times lately, for various events, to make it. But he couldn't remember exactly what was in it and I couldn't find it.

But the birthday-gods must have been smiling on me this morning; because I found the long lost recipe.  He looked it over and said that it "sounded" like this might be THE ONE.  So I set about making this birthday treat.  Along with a cake for tomorrow (when we will have our friends-who-are-so-close-they-should-be-family over to celebrate).

This has to be the easiest dessert EVER to make.  Here are the only ingredients you need

Ooops!  I left the milk out!
It's called Graham Cracker Eclair Cake.  I do not remember where I found this recipe.  But, apparently, it's quite memorable.

15 honey graham crackers, broken in half (30 squares or so), divided
1 1/2 cups milk
1 pkg (4-serving size) Jello Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding & Pie Filling
1 tub (8 oz) whipped topping, thawed
1 cup chocolate ready-to-spread frosting

Arrange 10 of the graham squares, overlapping slightly, in the bottom of an 8 inch square baking pan, set aside

Obviously, I didn't read the "overlapping" part!
Pour milk into large bowl.  Add dry pudding mix.  Beat with a wire whisk for 2 minutes, or until well blended. Let stand 5 minutes until thickened.

Anyone else singing Michael Jackson's "Just Beat It?"  No?  Just me then.
Gently stir in whipped topping with wire whisk until well blended.

Still singing.....
Spread half the pudding mixture over graham crackers in the pan....

I'm done singing now, you can un-cover your ears.
Top with 10 more of the graham squares and remaining pudding mixture.  Cover with the remaining graham squares.  Refrigerate at least 3 hours.  Spread with chocolate frosting just before serving.

While I was doing all this the boys (Man-Child and Hubby) decided to go out and play pool and do "guy stuff."

After they came home, Hubby succumbed to an allergy-medication induced nap (I forgot to get a picture!) while Man-Child surfed the 'Net while simultaneously exchanging dinner possibilities with me.

Once we'd determined where we would dine we headed out to an upscale Chinese restaurant.....and no, it's not P.F. Chang's (although we love them too! I think this one is only local, so I need to keep it under wraps - sorry!  But if you come visit me, I promise I will take you there!).

M-C, preparing to chow down.  Yeah, he dressed up.  Can you tell?
After a wonderful dinner we headed home.  Where M-C immediately began pestering me about dessert.  Seriously??  How could he even begin to think about eating more food?

So, I finished off the dessert.

It's not the prettiest thing - but apparently, it's amazing!
We stuck some candles in it (so what if it's not a cake?) and sang Happy Birthday....

I could only find TWO candles!  Gah!  I've GOT to get organized!  What is happening to me??
Took a couple of pictures to remember the occasion....

Man-Child & Hubby

Julie, add this one to THE collection.....

Then he tucked into the dessert.....

And it was EXACTLY like he remembered.....

So he ate it all in short order.....

And then asked for MORE!!!!!
And, according to him, it was a GREAT birthday.....before he headed to hang out with his friends.

Me?  I agree.  It WAS a great day!