Tuesday, December 30, 2008

If It's Tuesday, I Used to Be.....

an optimist.

It really pains me just to write that, because it's just not true anymore. I've done a lot of reflecting in the past couple of days because I joined Facebook. And while it may be the most addicitve thing on the internets EVER, it has allowed me to reconnect with a whole slew of long lost friends from my happier and carefree days in Orlando working at Disney World. Each one asks me what I've been up to, and it's just so hard to explain in a short little response how different life is now.

I was young(er), totally free of most responsibility and full of laughter almost every day. Each obstacle seemed a breeze to overcome. My mantra was always, "It'll all work out." Such feelings can be so fleeting, however. The worst thing that happened to me in those years was a truly disastrous marriage, but it was thankfully short lived and I recovered with the help of all of those friends around me, who were really like a huge family. In fact, I rarely even think about it. If not for the really nice photos, I might even convince myself it was a dream - or nightmare.

After my time at Disney, I married Toad and we kept moving closer to New Orleans to be near my family. We eventually landed in Jackson, Mississippi, where our first child was born. My mom and dad were there to welcome him. All was still right with the world. And then, the tables began to spin rather than turn. Oh, I was still an optimist, but reality began to seep in. My mother - my rock - was diagnosed with cancer. Our daily phone conversations got longer and sadder. I will never forget sitting in my cubicle at work with my crying mother apologizing to me for being sick. I promised her that everything would be ok, because I refused to believe anything else. And, actually, my mother beat cancer. She had surgery and a lung was removed - and her cancer was isolated to that one spot. She needed no chemo and no radiation. It seemed like a miracle - a new lease on life. I got pregnant again, and she was thrilled, although she was really hoping for a girl this time!

However, she was having lots of trouble with atrial fibrillation and the medicine she was taking made her miserable. And miserable to be around. The stress on my dad and siblings was awful. She could no longer drive. Her personality had completely changed at times. But she was still my best friend. I invited Mom, Dad, my sister and nephew to my house for Thanksgiving. I thought it would be easier for her than trying to do it at hers. My brothers also welcomed the chance to not have to go to two dinners. Mom and Dad stayed at a hotel near my house and came over every day. I could tell mom didn't feel good, but Dad said she was often that way. Actually, my mother was dying. By that Saturday she was in the hospital. By Sunday, she was no longer responsive to us. She died that Tuesday. She had sepsis, probably from a urinary tract infection. I was 6 months pregnant. I sat at her side and begged her to come back to me - to wake up and tell me what I should name the baby - to not leave me. And, then I just sang to her. I sang "Be Not Afraid" because I knew she was. And so was I. The last lucid thing she said to me was, "Gee, I hope I get to see the baby." "Of course you'll see him. Don't be silly," I said. I was, after all, an optimist.

My mother's death impacted me in ways I never imagined, and it was months before I could wake up in the morning without my first thought being, "Mom died." And, you can be as optimistic as you like, but when someone is dead, they stay that way no matter how hard you wish or pray it isn't so. Mom's death was also the first in a series of tragedies in our lives that have changed us in ways both good and bad.

My dad did not deal well with my mother's passing. They had been married for 50 years, after all. He began to drink too much and sleep too much. And then, he said he was going to marry her best friend. No, no, I'm going to marry this other person instead. He was so lost, and I was so angry that he wasn't grieving like I thought he should. It took a while, but we made some peace. We decided Toad and the boys and I should move down closer to him. We found a great little house right near Mom and Dad's, quit our jobs and planned to move. We closed on the house on February 11th, 2005. My dad was there because he lent me the downpayment as we hadn't sold the other one. It was a new beginning and he couldn't wait to spend more time with the boys.

The next time I saw my dad was a week later. He had suffered respiratory failure while visiting his fiancee in Lafayette. He was in a coma with brain damage. My brother removed his respirator as we all waited outside. When we came back in, my sister quietly sang Amazing Grace as he drifted off to sleep. And all of a sudden we were all orphans. It was a shock and frankly surreal. A funeral in the same church, with the same priest, and the same mourners, a burial in the same place - just all two years later. I am pretty sure the last full mass I attended was my father's funeral. I felt like God had some explaining to do.

Life went on, albeit in a haze. We moved into Mom and Dad's house for a couple of months to help clear it out while our little house was fixed up and a fence built around it for Daddy's dog. I loved our little house and couldn't wait to move in. The irony never left me, though. Here I was, finally home - and they weren't here. Finally, in May of 2005 we moved in. I was thrilled with my little raised Acadian with the enormous bedrooms and tiny kitchen. The boys loved playing hide and seek because there were so many closets! And, ever the optimist, I thought maybe everything was going to be ok.

When we first heard about Katrina, it was all the way in south Florida. My Ohio born husband was getting worried, and I told him - say it with me now - everything is going to be ok. Well, when the monster enveloped the entire Gulf, we caravaned with my sister to North Louisiana. After all was said and done, Toad found 5 trees on and in the house and the whole thing flooded from a busted pipe in the upstairs bathroom. We never spent another night in that house. We stayed evacuated in Jackson for months until we figured out what to do. Big D started his second kindergarten. I frequently pulled over in random parking lots to cry hysterically. The stress was incredible. My hands shook all the time. A therapist told me I had post traumatic stress disorder. I believed her. Not just my house, but my brother's, and my entire hometown had basically been destroyed. Every couple of days, I would look at Toad, pleading, "Honey, please tell me everything is going to be ok." "It will work out," he'd say.

I cannot describe what it's like to have no idea where you and your family are going to live in a month. To tell your kids they can't have Halloween decorations because "I'm sure we'll be home by Halloween." To not buy Christmas presents because you don't know where you'll be having Christmas. After about 5 months, we bought a second house in Mandeville, Louisiana and moved in 3 years ago tomorrow. I told Toad we would not ring in the new year as evacuees, and we didn't. We eventually hired someone to fix the other house. It took two years and over $100K. We paid two house notes all that time. I sold it 2 weeks after it was listed. I have never seen it again.

In the big scheme of things, I suppose it all worked out. But, my oldest child went to 3 kindergartens and still gets nervous when it rains. He came away with some serious emotional issues that we still deal with today. As in, "Mom, why does everyone I love have to die?" Of course, his other grandfather died this year, and I just waited for him to lose it. He did ok. And, when we evacuated for Gustav, Dubya asked if we would be moving to a new house when we got back.

So, you ask, Kelly, what have you been up to all these years? Well, I have been in the depths of a great grief and come back again. I have fought and clawed myself out of a hole so deep, I was afraid for myself and my family. I have lost a lot of innocence. I have updated homeowner's insurance. I worry much more than before. I often find myself waiting for another shoe to drop for no reason. When I get mail I don't recognize, my stomach drops in anticipation of bad news. When my sister tries 3 or 4 times to call me, I panic until I reach her because I think something's wrong. I am able to miss my parents and love their memory without tears. I have made a stable home for my now 3 children. I know my husband will stand by me through anything. I am no longer an optimist - maybe a realist? I am better - but, you know, for whatever reason, I still can't drive by that damned house?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

If You'd Like to Make a Call, Please Hang Up and Try Again....

We used to have a regular old house phone with three extensions. None of these was in a particularly convenient place, so they traveled a lot. I mean, if I am on the phone, I am generally not stationary, so the one next to my bed will probably end up in the living room, or, I confess, the bathroom. I promise I try really hard not to talk to anyone in the bathroom, but at times it can't be helped. Eventually, they would all make it back to their little cradles at night to sleep and recharge their batteries.

And then they began to disappear. P3 has always loved to play with the phone. Thankfully, I have some very patient friends who are not completely annoyed by the sound of a blabbering baby coming from the phone. She played with my cell phone so much, she finally broke it. It did not survive the afternoon swim in the dog's water bowl, which was ok because I wanted a new one anyway.

One day, I realized I was down to one phone in the house. I just could never find one! Finally, I enlisted the help of the boys - yeah, right. They went on a re-con mission to find the other ones. Big D says nonchalantly, "I think there's one in our bathroom." "Well, go get it, honey." He brings it to me and says, "Baby J dropped it in the toilet one time when she followed me in there, but I got it out." "Well, honey, did you try to get the water out of it?" "....Uh, no. Was I supposed to?" And there went phone #1. Phone #2 was the office phone, and it's been MIA for so long, we gave up. And, phone #3, the last of its kind, lost its antennae in an unprovoked random act of baby violence.

I decided that today was the last day I was going to run from room to room trying to answer the phone, only to get totally pissed when I found out it was the Fraternal Order of Police asking for money. I am not allowed to buy things with cords on them, so Toad and the whole crew had to go out in search of a new house phone. He chose one - with 3 extensions. And, now all I have to do is have him build some super high shelves to keep the baby from calling Singapore again!

I mean, truly, people without children don't realize how hard kids can make the simplest things - like answering a freaking phone! This is not supposed to be difficult!

There - I feel better now.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

And the Winners Are.....

Well, despite all of my efforts, not every gift is always a home run. Some early favorites have emerged, however:

Toad seems to like both of his - the cool Sony iPod deck with the sub woofer. I knew he would like this because I already have one at home, and he picked it out himself. He also liked his Magic Bullet, and I look forward to "drinking his milkshake" soon.

Big D must be the only kid I know who gets books on Christmas and stops opening presents so he can sit down in the middle of the floor and start reading. He got the first 3 books in the Redwall series. He also loves all of his Playmobil Romans.

Dubya is super easy to please. He loves everything, but especially his Bendaroos. Since he had a "Very Lego Christmas," he's spent a lot of time building. He does a damn good job at this, considering he's only 5. He built the whole Lego Service Station basically on his own.

And, P3 loves everything. Right now she's cracking up at her Little People Theme Park. But she's also spent a lot of time pushing a dolly in a stroller and trying to ride her new trike. The My First Dollhouse has also been a big hit. The boys play with it, too, but don't tell anybody....

My sister in law called me yesterday to tell me that she was cleaning her wedding ring in the cleaner I gave her. She was a little dismayed at the color of the water, though, and decided that her ring was a lot dirtier than she thought. I may pick up one of these for myself - or maybe my sister can give hers back to me, since she already had one!
And, as for me, so far I've only tried out my new perfume, Ralph Lauren Notorious, which smells lovely - and Toad picked it out all by himself, which makes it so much better. He also got me my big huge Kitchen Aid mixer, which I haven't opened yet because I need to find the counter space. We have now almost replaced all of our kitchen appliances lost in Katrina - except for the electric carving knife we never used much anyway.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Well, I Survived....

But I'm not really sure how. It must be another Christmas miracle. I am so tired I can hardly see straight. Princess Poopie Pants is playing with a new doll house. Big D is playing Boom Blox on the Wii. And Dubya is busy building a Lego Service Station and raiding the kitchen for leftover cake.

Toad is at work listening to his new iPod speakers.

Must have been fun.

And, I am SO glad it's over. Now we can move on to prepping for my real favorite time of year, Mardi Gras and SPRING!

Is it too early to take down the tree? .....Just asking.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

If It's Tuesday, I Used to Be.....

A traveller.

There are those times when filling out some survey or something when you come across the blank for "Interests" or "Hobbies." In my past life, this was easy to fill out, and "travel" was always one of them.

In college, I majored in European Culture and Language, which was my excuse to study all the things that interested me and avoid high level math classes. It also meant I had a good reason to travel every summer. My destination of choice was always Europe, naturally.

My first trip to Europe was a high school graduation gift from my parents. I went with a bunch of other Catholic high school senior girls and a very experienced and proper teacher of ours. Even though it was one of those totally annoying bus tours, it was great for a young girl of 17. There were a lot of senior citizens on our tour, and they enjoyed having us around to add a little spark. The only thing I hated was the total lack of flexibility, but as a Catholic school girl, you're kind of used to that anyway.

I spent a couple of summers on summer programs in Austria, always with a whole lot of travel to other places mixed in. It seems for a while, I went to Europe almost every summer. I was a self-conscious over-protected young adult, but still managed to find my way through the capitals of Europe many times.

I once went to Europe with my mom and dad - just us three. I left with $20 in my pocket and came back with $100. My dad said he was taking me along as his translator, but I am pleased to say that I know it was because my parents just really enjoyed my company. We took advantage of a shared interest and had fun on a trip that means so much more now that they are gone. The last time I went to Europe, it was when I was working at Disney World. They sent a crew of us to Paris to help during the grand opening of what was then called EuroDisney. Nice work if you can get it, I say.

I have also been to Mexico and Victoria, British Columbia. I've been to lots of places in the U.S., but, oddly, never to New York or Chicago except to change planes. I've always wanted to go to Budapest, Prague and Berlin. There were trips planned for those cities, but they were cancelled for one reason or another.

Fast forward to today. It is not so easy to go anywhere with the little SaidSos. They require lots more planning than a backpack and a train pass. We have managed to make the necessary trips to Disney World. They have seen snow in the Smokies. They have visited their grandmother in Ohio. They have been to Tampa for their grandfather's memorial service, where we threw in some time at Busch Gardens.

Sadly, my passport has long expired. I miss those days, but not so much that I would change a thing. I often say that one of the advantages to having children later in life is that I had the opportunity to live a really full life before they came along and made me whole. Sometimes I dream of taking the whole family to Vienna for Christmas or Venice for Carnival and showing them some more of the world, and one day it will happen. I will share with them something that is such a part of what made Mom who she is. Until then, we keep our feet planted on the ground and our adventures not too far from the nearest bathroom.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

P3 Meets the Big Guy......

She's met him once before as a baby. But here she was at my sister's Christmas party. She was surprisingly unafraid this time and kept crawling back in his lap and asking for hugs. This, of course, makes me think she will go off with any creep in a red suit at any old time. The look on her face has more to do with all of the other people than Santa. There were a lot of ooohhhhs and aaaawwwws when she was there. This is because I am the only person in my family crazy enough to have such young children, so they dote on them. Theirs are all way too cool for Santa.
Dubya joined in, too. But Big D was busy playing football in the backyard, and I think he missed him altogether.

A Sure Sign of Christmas......

Four out of five family members are sick. Yippee!

Never seems to fail. I picked up P3 from Mothers' Day Out on Wednesday, and they said that someone in the class had RSV. Then Dubya comes home from school Friday with a note saying someone in his class had head lice. Well, we have thus far escaped the parasites, but it seems we may have been tagged by the RSV.

Dubya and P3 have been coughing up various internal organs for a day or two, and Dubya has some fever. Of course, T and I catch everything because sick children feel the need to be in constant contact with one or both parents, thus facilitating a steady exchange of nasal secretions. And Dubya's inability to sleep in his own bed doesn't help.

Big D has one heck of an immune system because he almost never picks this stuff up. This is especially amazing to me considering that his diet consists mainly of peanut butter and jelly, yogurt, pancakes and Cocoa Puffs. Maybe I should try it. What on Earth are they fortifying that cereal with?! Actually, I'm pretty sure it's because he spent so much time in daycare when he was younger. He built a little fortress in those years that the germs just give up on. After all, Dubya is just a few feet away, and he's any easier target.

Anyway, let's hope they get better soon - and that I can keep being the family elf long enough to pull this holiday out of the commode at the last minute!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

My Latest Favorite Thing....

I am really into listening to music - lots of different kinds. If I had my way, there would be music on all the time in my house, but it seems to interfere with everyone's TV watching. Anyway, because of this, there have been definite trends in my life. In the late 80s and throughout the 90s, I built up a significant CD collection. In fact, I was the first person I knew with a CD player, back when my brother told me they would never last. My fist CD was Paul Young. I can still remember sitting on the bunkbed in my sorority house listening to that with headphones on. It totally and completely blew me away.

I've already written about my iPod Touch and how much I love it. I came very late to the iPod generation, but have completely embraced it. However, I came very early to satellite radio. T bought me my first XM for Christmas 2002. I have rarely listened to commercial radio since. In fact, I can't even remember the regular radio stations in town - which is pretty bad because I grew up here. My kids think all cars come equipped with their favorite station, 20 on 20.

Well, XM was getting a little tired at times. It was kind of like cable - 200 stations, but nothing I wanted to hear. And, then, my friends, came the merge with Sirius. My new favorite station is XM44, also known as First Wave. I can listen for hours and maybe hear one or two songs I don't love. It is like going back to my favorite time on a musical ride. The Smiths, ABC, Elvis Costello, Big Audio Dynamite - they play it all. I crank the volume, open the sunroof and sing along - loudly. Each song brings back vivid memories, like listening to The Smiths in a hotel room in Amsterdam. "Take me out tonight. Take me anywhere. I don't care. I don't care. I don't care." Or The Psychedelic Furs serenading me after my first love broke my heart so savagely it took years to get over it. "Stars come down in you and love...you can't give it away." Squeeze - the soudtrack to my first years in college. "You've left my ring by the soap, Now is that love? You cleaned me out you could say broke, Now is that love?"

And, THEN, I find out that my all time favorite band from this era is coming in concert to New Orleans at the House of Blues - next month!!!! I don't care what it takes, I will be there.

I still love the English Beat.

So sad that these are now "oldies" to everyone else! Just like me, I guess!

Christmas Tag.....

Jennifer at Another Online Mom asked all her friends to play along with this tag. I'm up early, so I'll give it a shot.... I'm not really that much of a Christmas person, so this should be a challenge!

1. What is/are your favorite Christmas Movie(s)? I love "A Charlie Brown Christmas"

2. Favorite Christmas Song? O Holy Night - sung as soulfully as possible

3. Favorite Holiday Memory? Christmas at Mom and Dad's

4. What is your favorite cookie/treat to make? um, I don't make cookies, but I do make our family's artichoke dressing every year now.

5. Have you ever made an igloo? no

6. Do you love Starbucks? Like, not love

7. What makes the perfect Snowman? Mardi Gras beads for the mouth

8. Not sure what happened to #8 so we'll move on..

9. Best gift you have ever received? My iPod Touch from my husband

10. What is the snowman's name on Rudolph? Um, Is it Bumble?

11. Silver or Gold? I'll take either one. Preferably with diamonds.

12. What is your favorite Christmas decoration? I think it's my new Jim Shore nativity

13. What's your Christmas decorating style? late and disorganized.

14. Do you hang stockings? One for each little person

15. How many days do you celebrate Christmas? Hopefully only one.

16. What was your favorite ornament on the tree as a child? plastic ornaments from the Depression - they were my grandfather's

17. Where will you be spending this Christmas? Presents at home, then at my sister's

18. When do you open presents? First thing Christmas morning, but I let the kids open one on Christmas Eve just like my mom used to.

19. Real tree or artificial? Real - always. Love the smell. Hate the mess. I take the good with the bad!

So, tag you are ALL "it!" Please play along and let me know when you post your answers!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Princess Has a New Set of Wheels....

Santa found this hot little ride at Wally World just moments ago. SA-WEET!

I hope her fat little feet reach the pedals!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Everyone Else is Doing It....

And here I present the now ubiquitous South Louisiana snow photos.....

Have you ever noticed how similar everyone's houses look in the snow? It's like being in those subdivisions in Edward Scissorhands. (How's that for an out-of-left-field cultural reference?)

After a while, I stopped taking photos of the kids and had to start taking pictures of the fallen limbs in case I had to make an insurance claim. Snow's cute and all that, until it gets heavy, evidently. Good news, no damage to house. Bad news, T still hasn't moved this out of the yard.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


My friend Jennifer over at Another Online Mom tagged me a while ago. This is my long overdue response.

The rules are:

1. Show the icon on your blog

2. Tag seven others to partake in the fun times.

3. List ten random things about yourself.

I am all about random stuff, so here goes.....

  1. When I am 50, my kids will be 15, 12, and 8. Yikes!
  2. My husband complains he will be old when he turns 40 next month - I am 43 - nice move, honey.
  3. My house was destroyed by falling trees during Hurricane Katrina.
  4. I once won a karaoke contest singing Me and Bobby McGee.
  5. I was president of the drama club in high school.
  6. Many years ago, I spent the week after Christmas with Jimmy Carter and his family - and a slew of Secret Service.
  7. I speak German.
  8. I worked at Disney World for 8 years.
  9. I used to think I didn't want kids - especially when I worked at Disney World! :)
  10. I can cry at the mere mention of the movie "Terms of Endearment." "Give my daughter the SHOT!!!" It slays me every time.

And, so now I tag......

1. Life With Boys
2. Peanuts are evil and other crazy stuff
3. My Bayou Vieux
4. News from NOLA
5. Carty Party of Three
6. Southern Mom
7. Nine Months in Austria

If It's Tuesday, I Used to Be.....

a recipient.

"A what?" you say.

A recipient. A person who, on Christmas morning, woke to find disgusting displays of lavish consumerism awaiting her under the tree. I used to have to sort through a sea of gifts to determine what belonged to me and toss all else to my siblings. There were always some fabulous surprises in store - well into adulthood. My mother was a great gift-giver, with a knack for remembering some odd thing you'd mentioned 6 months prior and having it appear on Christmas as though you had placed the order yourself. For example, I once mentioned to her casually that I should have bought white dinnerware because the stuff I had seemed outdated already. I totally forgot about it. To this day, some 10 years later, I eat off of a really nice set of white dishes - 2 full sets for my then family of 2.

Sadly, they were usually repaid with just a token - a sweater set, some perfume, shirts for dad, a gadget of some sort. We tried, we really did. The best gift I ever gave my mom was a German class at UNO. I even gave her a backpack and took her to registration with me. We were like college buddies, and she loved it. That was a good year.

I'd like to think I was always grateful for the amazing Christmas gifts, although I do remember crying about my next door neighbor's awesome doll collection one year. I must have been about 7 or so. I went over to play after the big day and was consumed with envy. I still feel like crap about that, so I'm guessing I'm not a total heel. It's just, now I have 3 kids, and the sheer magnitude of what my parents did every year amazes me. And, now I know, they REALLY wanted us to love every single thing - because that's how I feel. I went shopping today, and I must have looked skyward in silent thanks at least 5 times. My sweet mom - how she loved her kids!

And, so now - I am the giver. I love to find just the right thing for the kids. It's not always easy - for them or for my husband. And, while T tries really hard, it is not in his nature to find "the thing." He got lots of points for the XM radio when it was still really new about 6 years ago. And he's still riding high on last year's iPod Touch, which ranks right up there with my all time favorites. But, one of the things I miss the most about Mom is that there is really no one in the world who knows me like she did. My likes, my dislikes, my hopes and dreams. And maybe that's the key to finding the perfect gift after all.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Best Monday I've Had in Ages!

I am alive, feeling decent. P3 is at that glorious thing known as Mothers' Day Out. And the angel I like to call the cleaning lady is working her magic! Ah, life is too good!

Today, Santa's elves who run the internets are going to help me with my Christmas shopping. If only Santa's friends at UPS were cheaper, this would be an even better idea.

The Christmas tree is up and decorated. P3 has broken 2 ornaments, which is half as many as the dog has knocked off with his tail. The kitten keeps trying to climb up to meet the angel at the top. Things do not look good for the tree this year.

I am trying to put out some more decorations. My goal is to make it look nice, use as much of my mom's stuff as possible and keep it from looking like a Christmas store threw up in here. T bought an 8 foot inflatable snowman at Target yesterday after which I informed him that the Christmas decorations should not be as scary as the Halloween ones. Really, nothing says class like a yard full of inflatables. If only we had Santa on a Harley to make a real statement.....

How nice to rejoin the land of the living. I have missed you, civilization!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

My Journey through My Nether Lands....

***Warning: This post uses every possible euphemism I could think of regarding a delicate subject, reader discretion is advised.***

I know there are a few intrepid folks out there who read me on a regular basis. Perhaps you have wondered where I have been all this time. Perhaps not. But, rest assured, I am expected to live - despite my almost 2 weeks in the 7th circle of hell. I started this post a full week ago, but have been unable to finish it until now.

On December 1st, I had a surgical procedure technically termed a hemorrhoidectomy. It is known by many names in my house now - but I like to call it "Extreme Makeover - Butt Edition." Now, in my almost 44 years, I have been pregnant for about 28 months (though not in a row), had three c-sections, exploratory laparoscopy, my gall bladder removed, a form of tendonitis repaired in my left wrist, nodules removed from my vocal cords (which required NO TALKING AT ALL for a solid week), and a few more minor procedures, including two colonoscopies. NONE of these ranks anywhere near to the horror and torture I have experienced in the past two weeks. I am not exaggerating in any way.

I have discussed my butt by now with a number of perfect strangers, so I don't mind so much sharing here now. I had hemorrhoids. Sometimes there was blood where blood shouldn't be. Oftentimes they hurt. I developed a little known instrument of torture called an anal fissure. This made me cry a lot, especially when sitting, most especially when sitting and driving. None of this was life threatening, but it was unpleasant. Thus far, none of this seems worth the awful recovery from my surgery.

I went in last Monday knowing that the recovery would be somewhat painful. The rest of the day was fine, because I was still pretty numb. Day 2 the pain started, but I was also sore all over from what must have been some serious body contortions during the procedure. Thank God I opted for general anesthesia. Day 3, it became apparent that I may never naturally use the bathroom again. I was instructed to drink some magnesium citrate and call the next day. T ran out to the store to get this vile potion, and I am glad I only drank half of the bottle. Within an hour, it produced my first post surgery "activity," and I think I passed out for a brief moment. I feel sure that the neighbors heard my screaming, but were too afraid to call the police. I cried some, soaked in the tub, and doubled up on the percocet. On Day 4, I called the surgeon and requested that she take a look at my nether regions, because there was no way I could have escaped unscathed. I was wrong. She said it looked great - yippee. From then on, it became my goal to avoid complications in the "regularity" department. I ate a lot of cereal and simple food. And then the spasms began.

For one solid week, I spent my time either in bed, on the potty, or soaking in the tub. The spasms in my lower abdomen would last for hours after each time I went to the bathroom. It was torture. I read every catalog T could bring to me in the tub. I checked homework from the tub. I slept when the pain stopped. I stopped eating altogether. I sent the baby to my brother's because I still couldn't pick her up. When she had to come back, I hired a babysitter to play with her while I slept or writhed in pain. I started to cry a lot - mostly from exhaustion and frustration. The spasms were like dry heaves, but from the opposite end. The pain was excrutiating. I was too sick to play with my kids in the only snow they may see in years. On Saturday, I told T that I was going to have to go to the hospital. I was getting so weak. I put another call into the surgeon....

The doctor on call returned my call right away. I swear he saved me - at least my Christmas and maybe my marriage! He told me the spasms were common and to stop the percocet and switch to a regimen of ibuprofen. He also said to add in some xantac to fight the sour stomach and diarrhea. IT WORKED WITHIN HOURS!!!!!

Things are still not perfect, but I managed to go out with Dubya yesterday and drive Big D to a birthday party. Today we decorated the Christmas tree and shopped for decorations! I even did laundry! Oh, and I ate some food! I cannot tell you how great it is to re-enter the land of the living!

So, if you got this far - thanks for sticking with me! You now know more about me than you ever wanted to. I will try to catch up with everyone as soon as I can sit long enough. I see some have stopped by looking for my sorry self. So, now you know.... the journey through my own personal nether lands....

Thursday, December 4, 2008

They Try to Make Me Go to Rehab......

I said NO, NO, NO!

Since sitting down is still quite painful, I have to keep this brief.

Let me just tell you that I can totally understand why a person would get addicted to Percocet. It's the only thing that helps the pain, and it helps me get to sleep too. I guess when T goes back to work next week, I'll have to give it up, though. It's not exactly conducive to wise decision-making and that sort of thing.

And, can I also mention that my children are being REALLY good? I mean, I 'm glad and all that, but couldn't they give Dad just a snippet of the trouble they give me all the time? Could someone please argue about bringing lunch, what to wear, doing homework - c'mon people! Now is not the time to make Mom's job look easy! If I thought this was a permanent behavioral shift, that would be different. I know better. The demons will return with a vengeance on Monday. Maybe by then I can go to rehab.

You can thank me later for getting that song stuck in your head for the rest of the day!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

If It's Tuesday, I Used to Be......


I realize that "grooming" is a word best used for animals. but it seems to fit. There was a time in my life when I was kind of "put together." While I have always considered myself low maintenance, it seems motherhood has moved me into "no maintenance."

In the 90s, I worked mostly outdoors in Central Florida. This resulted in a short and sassy haircut which could be styled by hanging my head out of the window of a moving car. I totally loved it. And, because I hadn't yet developed my early 30s crappy skin, I kept make-up to a minimum. I could be ready for work in 10 minutes, easily. When my hair got longer, I went for a perm for a while. It was quite fashionable at the time. I had a bunch of fun clothes - most of which were chosen for their dancability! My friends and I went out at least twice a week, and danced until closing time.

Fast forward a few years.... I now sport a mom uniform. There are a couple pairs of jeans, cropped khakis, a skort and a variety of solid colored t-shirts. These are almost all paired with plaid converse sneakers or flip flops. On the rare occasion that we go out, I have a couple of baby shower-wedding-out to dinner outfits.

It's not just the clothes that have changed. It's also the fact that I never have time to do anything to myself. My hair is long and thick. On days I am lucky enough to get a shower, my hair usually air dries into a big frizzy mess, which is then promptly put in a ponytail. Unfortunately, the ponytail makes it much easier to see all the gray hairs around my hairline. I am really ready to cut it all off. Things are so hectic around here that I cannot remember the last time I applied makeup anywhere other than in the car.

My nails grow well, but are never polished. I can barely reach my toes, much less paint my toenails, And, I promise I have enough eyebrow hairs to share with two other people. The last time we went out, Dubya was completely fascinated by my dress and told me I looked like a princess. This cracked up the babysitter and T.

And, so it is, that I used to be well-groomed. Like most parents, most of my energy and effort goes to my kids. They have great clothes - especially P3 because her mom likes to shop at Gymboree. They are bathed regularly. The boys get haircuts as soon as it reaches their ears. They get new shoes while mine get worse and worse.

There will come a day when my kids are not so dependent on me and I will have more time for myself. But, by then, I will probably be completely stuck in the no-maintenance zone!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Quick Update

Surgery went as expected. Got home in the afternoon. Don't remember much from yesterday at all, except that my very thoughtful sister had a great dinner delivered to us.

Pain in manageable. The drugs help, but prevent me from typing any more than this.

Thanks for all the well wishes!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

It Only Hurts When I Breathe.....

Tomorrow is my surgery, and while I am not really nervous about the surgery itself, I hear the recovery is brutal. For the curious out there, let's just say I am having a procedure in a delicate area that's used primarily when sitting. I have had 2 colonoscopies where they found nothing wrong, so we are taking care of the real problem. I am just thrilled. The doctor says that, on a scale of 1 - 10, the pain factor is a 20. I also will need to soak in the tub 3 times a day. This ought to be a neat trick for someone who isn't even guaranteed the time to take a shower everyday.

And, so, T is taking the week off, although I'm not sure he won't regret this. I can tell the kids are already driving him nuts this weekend, since he isn't feeling great himself. I have tried to prep the house and its inhabitants so that this will be easier. There is plenty of easy to fix food. The new cleaning lady came Friday - and she was a dream come true. The kids have clean clothes. No one has a doctor's appointment or anything complicated this week. Tonight I will pack the boys' school bags, lay out their clothes, etc.

I guess the only question I have now is, do I need to do anything for me?

Wish me luck. If you don't see a post for a while, it means the surgeon wasn't exaggerating about the pain!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Walk in the Park

We took the kids to Fairview Riverside State Park last weekend for a little outside time. Despite my true aversion to little kids playing in sand, I relented, and they had a great time. Big D spent most of his time trying to dig the deepest hole possible, which means someone will surely break an ankle sometime this week. Dubya ran around releasing as much crazy 5 yr old energy as he possibly could. But, P3 is the one who really surprised us. She was completely fearless and went down every slide multiple times, even the big twisty one. Considering I thought Big D wouldn't go in a McDonald's Playland until he was old enough to drive there, this was an interesting change. (Not that avoiding the bacterial melange that is a public Playland is necessarily a bad thing, mind you.)

Of course, the drawback is that they think I will take them everyday now. And, of course, there was the sand in every kid crevice as well as all over the van. But, for free entertainment, it was pretty good.

So Very Cute.... for an hour at least

Thanksgiving was very nice and very brief. Princess could only hack it at my cousin's house for about an hour. Oh, and I owe my cousin a new booster seat.....

Still, they all looked adorable. I'm pretty sure the food was good. Since T and I took turns speed eating so we could tag each other out with the kids, it's hard to remember.

I hope chocolate pudding comes out of the collar of the new dress.

Friday, November 28, 2008

One More Day, Just One More Day.....

before this "week off" is over. While my kids are frequently cute and cuddly, they also bore easily. And, when they are off of school, that's what happens. And we all know who they look to for entertainment.... I am just not that entertaining, I confess. And, since someone at my husband's office is always taking a holiday week off, he works twice as long - usually out the door before they are up and back home after the toughest ones are in bed. This all adds up to a really tired and cranky me.

Monday, the big ones go back to school, and hubby is taking the week off. This would normally be great, except he is doing it to help out while I recover from surgery I am told is really painful. Yippee! The recovery time is supposed to be 2 weeks, but I have to make it in one, because that's all the time I could get some help.

As he assumes the role of Mr Mom, let's hope he is prepared to answer the following questions - over and over again....

The questions - as of 7:30 am

Is today a school day?
So I can wear whatever I want?
Can we go outside and play?
Do I have to take my medicine today?
Can I have some ice cream?
Can I have breakfast now?
Can I eat it upstairs?
Can I eat it in your room?
Is today Monday?
Does 20 go up to twenty-ten?
Can we have a sleepover for my birthday?
Can we go outside and play?
Can I ride my bike today?
Is Thanksgiving over?
Where are the scissors?
Why can't I have the scissors?
Is ten minutes longer than ten hours?
Can we go outside and play?

And, that's just in 40 minutes or so.... And only out of one kid, cause one doesn't really talk much and the other one is still asleep!

Patience, patience patience - I repeat this in my head over and over.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone has a nice and unstressed day!

I should perhaps list a few things I am thankful for to start my day off right.

  • Of course, I am eternally thankful for my beautiful children, who bring me more joy than trouble in the long run.
  • I am thankful that I am not hosting Thanksgiving dinner.
  • I am thankful I can afford to have a roof over my head and food to eat - and a bunch of stuff I don't need to go along with it.
  • I am thankful for my wonderful memories of my family from when I was a kid, so that, even though my parents are gone, I feel they are always with me.
  • I am thankful for my almost teen nephew, who spent the night the other night and reminded me that maybe I'm still pretty cool after all - for an old lady and all.
  • I am thankful for my new found writing outlet, which has turned out to be more fun than I thought and brought me some new friends.
  • I am thankful for my husband, who drives me insane, but puts up with me while I do the same to him.
  • And, most of all, I am thankful that, despite another year of trials and tribulations, joy and loss, we are still around to gather together and fight over something stupid, like who should have inherited the big turkey platter.

Have a great day, everyone!

Monday, November 24, 2008

If It's Tuesday, I Used to Be.....

In my quest to entertain my sparse but much appreciated readership, not to mention my need to just get things off of my chest, I will now feature a "Topic Tuesday." The topic itself is inspired by the name of a great blog by Lyndsay called "I Used to Be Witty." Anyone who reads her knows that Lyndsay is most certainly still witty, but I digress. The title always makes me think of things I used to be - single, younger, thinner, broke, a partier, edgy - what a list! So, for as long as I can manage it, Tuesdays will be dedicated to exploring something I used to be, for better or worse.....

And, now I give you -
If It's Tuesday, I Used to Be - COOL

It's true. This did not happen in high school, or even college, really - although I desperately wished it to be so. Coolness was not easily won in my school, most especially not by someone who parked her old postal jeep behind a classmate's Porsche every morning of senior year. No, coolness came to me sometime in my mid 20s, and it happened mostly on another continent.

My parents sent me on my first summer in Europe to get me away from a boyfriend they despised. I was there with a bunch of other spoiled Americans and a few who were genuinely fun and not necessarily looking for the nearest Louis Vuitton store. It was a life changing summer - so much so that I went back the next year. This time, I knew the ropes, knew some natives, knew the best places to go, and could manage to lead everyone to the Eiffel Tower and Dachau without getting lost. And then, the real test. I came home for a few weeks and convinced Mom and Dad that I really needed to go back for an entire year. And I did.

I spent a long time in Austria, learning my way around, travelling all over, learning German. I was the only American most of my friends knew, and I almost never spoke English. For a lot of that time, I went to Northern Italy by train every weekend to visit my Italian boyfriend and his family. They were native German speakers, so we could talk to one another - but I learned my share of Italian, too. There were 3 main TV channels we watched - two in German and one in Italian. Shopkeepers usually spoke both languages, but rarely English.

During this time, I translated a PhD candidate's thesis into English. I rang in the New Year with Irish and Austrian friends atop a mountain in the Alps. I often took the train to Munich to shop for the day. I drank wine with friends while two Scots we met downtown played guitar and ate our cooking. (The wine was from a friend's backyard vinyard.) I befriended lost American tourists who were always amazed at the fact that I lived there - and spoke the language! Until they asked, most Austrians assumed I was Scandinavian. Americans, it seems, don't often learn fluent German.

I filled my passport with stamps from all over. I swam in the Aegean Sea and could see all the way to the rocky bottom. I once rode on a motorcycle through the Brenner Pass between Austria and Italy, and it was so cold, I could not lift my leg over the bike when we stopped for a break. We rode to Pisa, Capri, Naples and Rome, where, oddly enough, I caught Bruce Springsteen in concert. I saw Mount Vesuvius from the back of that bike. I have never been so filthy in my life as I was on that ride around the Italian autostrada.

And, during all this time, I was cool. I was cool to my European friends because I was American, from New Orleans, no less. But I was one of them, spoke their language, translated popular songs and didn't complain about the lack of cold Coke. And, I was cool to Americans, because, well - I was living in freaking Europe!

Eventually, I had to come home. I willed my belongings to friends, shipped a lot of stuff, left my snowboots at my boyfriend's and flew out of Zurich back home. My family took me out to dinner that night. I was so exhausted, I couldn't think straight. When the waiter came to take my order, I stared back blankly because I honestly couldn't remember how to order in English. What are the odds of finding a waiter who speaks German in some seafood restaurant in NOLA? Not good, but thank God for this guy! We chatted a minute about Germany and that he studied there, etc. After I ordered, I looked up to see my whole family staring at me in disbelief. "What's wrong with you people?" I say. And my brother, still staring wide-eyed, finally breaks the silence, "Damn, that was SO cool!"

I'd like to thank the Academy - and Maggie

For my very first blog award! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Stop by and see Maggie's adventures at Life With Boys.

They have a lot of fun over there!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

"Those people are so lethargic.....

they can't even reach for their own coffee cup!"

That's a quote from my 8 yr old Big D while watching Wall-E. Um, I am quite sure I know adults who cannot properly use the word "lethargic" in a sentence. How I adore this beautiful crazy smart little boy! His teacher even e-mails me with some of the amazing things he says. T and I keep saying we're not surprised anymore, but it's just not true.

And let's not forget Dubya, my crazy five yr old, who can build whole Lego sets all by himself and started changing the batteries in his own toys at the age of 3. (Long story - I was napping.) He also used the word echolocation at the dinner table the other night - correctly.

These guys are just amazing. There are so many times that I literally stop dead in my tracks at something they say. (May I also point out that, from now on, I would like to pronounce the word literally like a Brit - LIT-tral-lee - I like that so much better.)

Anyhoo, think the point is (does there have to be a point?), I am so very lucky to have these children in my life. And, though I bitch and moan with the best (and worst) of them, being their mom is the world's greatest blessing. To think there was a time when I thought I wouldn't be able to have one child, and here I am surrounded by three.... They give my life meaning and purpose and so much joy. And, even on the worst day, I wouldn't change a thing.

It was important to get that all down before we embark on a week of no school.... When they're making me crazy, I can come back and read this!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Here We Go Again......

It seems like I should be old enough for it not to matter, but I am an orphan. My parents are both gone - and have been for a few years. However, there is never a time when this is so very apparent as that great American thing known as "the Holidays." Most of the time, I can just cruise along like other people, participating in things with my own little family without really thinking about it. And then, here they come - those times when family is meant to gather for celebration and tradition and memory making. I can handle Grandparents Day at school - for which I recruit a sibling or in law to fill in. I hate it, but the kids don't seem to mind so much. But there is just something so wrong about having to figure out every year where you are going to celebrate Thanksgiving so you don't end up being the only family at the Shoney's buffet who doesn't qualify for the senior citizen discount. Since Mom died, we have had to wing it for Turkey Day. I know we did it one year at Mom and Dad's with a bunch of extended family to ease the pain. It actually turned out pretty good. And then Dad died, too. And then Katrina left two of us homeless. Yep, homeless orphans. That year my little family went to Tennessee for lack of anything better to do, us being refugees and all. The boys played in the snow and took a helicopter ride and it almost seemed normal. There have been two restaurant meals. And, now, we are going to a cousin's for dinner.

My cousin lost her house in the storm as well and they built a new one that I hear is beautiful. That is, until my kids get through with it. And, while I appreciate the invitation and am glad to have somewhere to go, I really want to hang around my parents' enormous house, drinking my dad's way too strong old fashioneds, helping mom make oyster dressing and waiting for her to burn the rolls again. I want all the little cousins to sit at a kids' table with my brother there to keep the peace. I want to wake up the day after and eat leftovers.

My kids never experienced this, really. My mom died while I was expecting Dubya, and Daddy died before the Princess was born. It is my job to make memories like these for them. I always joke that we are auditioning new family traditions. I just wish we could share some of the same ones.

So, when I say that I "hate" the holidays, you know why. I am not really a scrooge. And, while I know and have experienced the stages of grief - reaching acceptance in spite of myself, sometimes I just take a few steps back into anger. It will pass, I know. But, pardon me if the signs of "the holidays" turn me into a real bitch at first. I'll catch up to the rest of you soon enough.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Knights in Red and Black Satin.....

A while back, I mentioned how great the Renaissance Fair was. Well, I finally freed the photos from the camera. The boys wore their Halloween costumes again - which were a great hit. This was SOOOO much fun. I highly recommend it. I think there is one more weekend left. Check out their site here:

What a great thing for a couple of little boys! We spent almost 5 hours there, and could have stayed longer. And, while a Renaissance Festival does bring out some interesting characters, everyone was incredibly nice. I really liked the way everyone really engaged the boys throughout the day - asking them if they had slain any dragons, etc. This will definitely be on our list of things to do again next year!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Not So Funny Anymore.....

I have nothing funny or witty to say. At this very moment, my brother is having brain surgery to treat an aneurysm right in the middle of his head. I am a nervous wreck. I don't know how to pray anymore, but I'm giving it a shot. I'm waiting for the babysitter to come watch P3 so I can get there.

If you know how to pray, please say one for my bubby, who was my comrade in homeless orphanhood after Katrina.

Things went pretty well with the surgery. They put in some stints to try and straighten out the artery. They will need to go back in in January to coil it out. My brother's not happy to have to go into surgery again, but at least they didn't have to open his skull. And, I got to go to Marrero for what I think was my first time ever. So, you see, all is not lost!

Thanks for the well wishes!

Monday, November 17, 2008

If It's Not One Thing, It's Her Brother......

So, last night was going along fairly normally. We spent the day hanging around, took in a little retail therapy at Target, where T had to pick up the latest expansion pack to World of Warcrack, had a late lunch at WOW, that sort of thing. A little later, Dubya was lying in my bed watching TV and he started to cough. He has some killer allergies, so this is not unusual. But then he starts screaming, "I threw up in your bed!" "Dad, I threw up in your bed!"

Of course you did, honey.

So, once again, I spent the evening washing sheets and towels. This time, however, the one throwing up had the werewithal to be able to do it in a bucket most of the time. Hooray for independent minded children. The bucket thing worked great until he actually went to bed. He fell asleep in 2.6 seconds as usual. And, then Big D comes out yelling, "Mom, Dubya threw up again! He's throwing up everywhere!" Big D has a flair for the dramatic, so luckily it was not "everywhere." It did, however, mean a whole other set of sheets to be washed, prompting me to mutter over and over, "sheet, son of beetch," which had T cracking up.

So, Dubya spent the night on the couch with the bucket next to him. He only erupted once more in the morning. He was just sick enough to stay home from school, but not sick enough to be quiet for more than 4 seconds all day. It also means I missed doing what I had promised I would help with in his classroom today. I am the worst. room. mom. ever.

He's fine now, but I am wiped out. And, all of our sheets are nice and clean. Sheet, son of beech.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

What Happens When They Drive......

We have this thing called a "gator." It's a battery operated little John Deere 4 wheeler looking thing. My dad bought two to keep at his house when the boys were really little. They loved them then. When Daddy died, we took one and my brother took the other one. Well, his flooded in Katrina, but ours is still going. What's funny is that Dubya used to be the passenger and Big D was the driver. What a difference a couple of years can make......

But - not content to let anyone else drive her around, P3 decided she would take the wheel. She just doesn't know how to turn it yet.....

The neighbors all find this totally hysterical. Well, so do I, actually. This little baby driving this thing all over... She's nothing if not determined.

This Week's Cartoon.....

This one made me laugh today.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thar She Blows!!!

So yesterday I chapereoned a field trip to the zoo. I was in charge of three 5 yr old boys, one of whom I gave birth to. It was actually pretty fun, except for the part where one of them complained often and loudly that he was starving to death, or thirsty, or tired. But, we soldiered on. Since we had such a limited amount of time, I took a survey of one "must see" from each one so no one would be disappointed. As long as they got to see elephants, tigers and rattlesnakes, we were golden. They also each got to touch a snake. which was right up their 5 yr old boy alley. I used to work at a zoo, so I felt confident in my ability to impart some good animal info to these guys - all of which they completely ignored, naturally. I did, however, feel good for giving it my best shot.

After we had a delicious picnic lunch of a room temperature Lunchable, I was back on my way across the lake. New Orleans traffic is simply horrible nowadays, so it took me a full hour to get home. I had the sitter for another hour, but Princess Poopie Pants would not allow any nappage. After the sitter left, Baby J was sitting in my lap with her head on my shoulder about to fall asleep. I was totally enjoying this rare quiet time, and then I felt the tell-tale rumbling. And, just like Vesuvius it came - in spurts and waves. Princess Poopie Pants had morphed into Princess Pukie Pants - just like that. All over herself, me, the only decent rug in my house, as well as my cheap microfiber disposable sofa. I just held her calmly until she was done. And then I began the clean up process. First me (I had it the worst), then her, the rug, then couch. I made a blanket and towel pallet on the living room floor, and Pukie Pants laid down her little head, clad only in a diaper and nodded off while watching Elmo. And then, the sleeping volcano would stir slightly - and the eruption would follow. As a mom of three, kid vomit is a little old hat to me. I am SO much calmer about it than I used to be. I no longer react like it is burning napalm or some sort of acid bath. It all cleans up. It's just that confused look on their faces when they have lost all control of their functions that gets me.....

So, on the floor she stayed, still sleeping when the boys came home from school, still sleeping when Daddy (who had been summoned home a few minutes early) arrived. Of course, she woke up for Daddy, smiled big and began moving again, just to show him Mommy was full of it and she was fine. She almost had him, too, until she erupted one last time just for him. And then, just as quickly as the sleeping volcano came to life, it went dormant again. P3 was just fine by bath and bedtime, leaving only a smelly pile of clothes, towels and blankets in her wake. Ah, the joys of motherhood just never end, do they?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

So, How Was Your Day?

So, my bloggy friend and favorite radio host (because she's the only one who has ever actually had me on her show), Greta Perry, likes to refer to herself as the Princess of Positive. (Wanna see? Look here: www.kissmygumbo.com) She prides herself on having a very sunny outlook on all the crud that drives the rest of us crazy. And, she usually suceeds. Anyhoo, I have named myself the Diva of Doom. Today is a perfect example of forces conspiring to stress me the hell out! As of 4:00 pm, the following has happened:

  • I forgot to give Big D his much needed medication, so the 2 littles and I had to chase the bus all the way to school to administer meds before he actually made contact with too many other humans. I did this dressed about 1 step up from my pajamas, so of course I saw people I know.
  • I got Princess all dressed for Mothers' Day Out and she pooped on her clothes.
  • Not surprisingly, Dubya and I were about 10 minutes late for his dr appointment.
  • I got a new prescription for Dubya for his ADHD which makes me nervous about new side effects.
  • I have an infected something or other on my lip which has caused it to be swollen to twice its normal size. It looks kinda Hollywood, except it hurts like hell. Naturally, I have decided it is flesh eating disease....
  • I spent my whole day doing kid related stuff and STILL didn't make it to the grocery, so we have NO FOOD AT ALL!
  • The boys just came home from school and are already screaming at one another.
  • AND, I just got the call that my brother is having freaking BRAIN SURGERY on Tuesday for his aneurysm. If that's not the scariest thing ever, I don't know what is. We've known about the aneurysm for a few days, and I knew surgery was necessary, but it's so real when they set a date.

So, there it is - the Diva of Doom does Wednesday..... If I go to bed right now, will it all stop?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Let Me Make Something PERFECTLY Clear....

There is absolutely no good reason on God's green earth to put up Christmas lights during the first week of November. This is especially important if your house is located within view of my back yard and you plan on keeping them on for 2 months straight, including at night. And, let's add to that the fact that they CHANGE COLORS from red to green to BLUE and then start FLASHING! I mean, c'mon people! It's bad enough I heard annoying Christmas music at Wal-Mart the other day. I mean, isn't Wal-Mart enough of a penance without the freaking Christmas carols on the first day of November?!?!

As I tell my boys, Christmas never starts at our house until December 1st. Don't ask for decorations or a tree before then. It ain't happening. AND, on December 26th, the tree is just trash and the rest clutter. I can never get it out fast enough!

It's going to be a long season, isn't it?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

What a Weekend!

We started our weekend pretty laid back. Saturday was spent just hanging around the house, cleaning (me), playing (kids), and sleeping (T). Around 2:00 I was in the middle of cleaning the kitchen and heard sirens - and they were CLOSE. I looked out the front window. I saw the kid across the street out in his driveway and opened the door and asked him what was up. He says nonchalantly, "There's a fire down there." So, I'm thinking trash fire, brush fire, whatever. But then - I see my 70+ year old neighbors shuffling down the street. This does not happen often (ever), so I KNOW something's up. I take a few steps out and look down the street and see THREE fire trucks, countless emergency vehicles and huge clouds of thick black smoke moving across the sky. Um, I'm thinking this is not a brush fire..... Then I saw the flames - taller than the trees and some angry.

I ran inside to roust the family. By this time the whole neighborhood is making its way down the street - on foot, bicycle, car, and even four wheeler (gotta love St Tammany). I am telling T there's a fire down the street, and he's like "So?" Evidently, he also thought I meant a brush fire. Well, as it turns out, there were 3 houses on fire. The first one burned down to the ground in about 30 minutes. The second one is almost completely destroyed, and the third has major damage. It was so sad to see these people coming home and realizing it was indeed their house that was burning. It brought back some awful Katrina memories for me, and I confess I shed a tear or two. Of course, it was also a little embarrassing that Dubya's response was so wholly inappropriate - as in COOL, a FIRE. Hey guys - LOOK at the COOL FIRE. I reminded him how bad we all felt when we lost our house and that seemed to help. But, to a 5 yr old, it's just a cool fire. And, of course, there were all the emergency vehicles and workers, and the whole block party atmosphere.... It was surreal, I tell you.

As of this morning, the houses were STILL smouldering, which was wild to me. No one knows yet what caused it. And, because it was on the news and all, we keep seeing strangers driving in front of our house - really slowly so they don't miss it. Uh - it's the one that's just a few blackened beams folks, a few houses down on the left.

Good news, no neighbors were hurt. Two firefighters had minor injuries, but they are both ok. The Red Cross showed up right away to help out the families. And, I'm taking this time to review a fire plan with my family.

It was a strange day, to say the least! And to top off our weekend, we spent almost the entire day today at the Renaissance Fair, which was AWESOME and highly recommended. More on that later!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My Little Dubya.....

He's getting in so much trouble at school. We have tried one ADHD medication and the results were disastrous. But, he needs help. I know he wants to be good. It's like he doesn't know how. I am spread too thin and questioning my effectiveness as a parent. I just don't know what I am doing wrong. Am I doing anything wrong?

Yesterday he didn't go more than 30 seconds without talking to me. He cannot stop - ever. I adore him, and yet, he is driving me crazy. He is so full of love and joy, but he does nothing in moderation. He is loud and curious and creative and messy and lovable and frustrating and smart and infuriating. When people tell me that Baby J is just like him, it gives me chills because I know what's coming.

I always thought Dubya would have trouble in real school. I also always hoped I'd be wrong.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Getting Late and I Am Tired

I got some disturbing news today about my brother, although it seems he will be ok. Nonetheless, it's been an emotional roller coaster today. I am thrilled at the prospect of an Obama presidency, but my joy is tempered by this bad news.

Let's all come together and hope for the best for our nation and the world.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


It was pretty quick and easy. The lines were not long. There were a number of cars in the parking lot with stickers for the other guy, which made me even happier to be there. I was also glad to get away from the phone. Today I have been called by the Republican Party, Steve Scalise, Jim Harlan and Mary Landrieu. How nice of all of them to check on me!

A strange thing has been happening to me lately. I have a sticker on my van for my candidate - first time I've ever done that. I am in the distinct minority in my district, so I guess people want to see what I look like. They keep speeding up to pull up next to me. Then they look directly at me - usually giving me a sheepish kind of smile. I figure, what the heck, and smile back broadly. After they pass I often see a bumper sticker for the other guy. I can't help the feeling that perhaps I am not what they expected.....

My kind neighbor looked after the 3 kiddos so I could go vote. He said he would have done it even if we weren't like minded. As a professor of history, he wanted to help me do my civic duty.

And now for the results.... I confess, I can't wait.


I am such a political junkie, this is like Christmas for me! Hubby already voted - was in line when they opened. I tried to vote early, but the line was too long for the Princess, so we bailed. That means I'll have to do it today. T plans to get home early so I can get in line before the polls close. I might not be able to wait that long. I just might have to take the munchkins with me. Big D is my "political junkie in training" and has always come with me to vote for the big ones. I even let him cast the actual vote. There is nothing more American than casting your vote. It is something so many of us take for granted, but so many people have sacrificed for.

Vote today for your children tomorrow. Pray for our leaders.

And, no, I'm not saying a word about who I'm voting for until the fat lady sings tonight. Of course, any of you who know me already know who I'm rooting for......

Monday, November 3, 2008

Someone Please Explain to Me....

How it is we managed to have such incredibly beautiful children? I mean, really! It makes me want to stare at them for hours on end. Until, of course, they begin to tear at each other fighting, and then I just wish for a pause button so I can keep staring......

Our Not So Scary Halloween Costumes

Big D as Prince Caspian and Dubya as King Peter from The Chronicles of Narnia. They were cool costumes, and D is actually reading Narnia, but I think the real appeal was the chance to carry big swords. Of course, we all know who ended up carrying them......

And Baby J as our very own Saintsation - only because I couldn't find anything else and I already had this at home. Let's not tell her about the 4-4 record. She'll just have a tantrum!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Well, it's that time again! I think Halloween is becoming more and more like Christmas, except for the grotesque excess present buying. There are parties in every classroom, lots of decorations, plans to make for the evening, costumes to buy, etc.

The boys have "Storybook Character Day," which means they are supposed to dress as a character from a favorite book. Every year, I make them follow the rules. Every year they come home and tell me about all the kids whose parents were nice enough to ignore the rules and send their kid in as Darth Vader. I stick with Harry Potter, Sir Lancelot (an especially inspired idea), etc. This year, they are Prince Caspian and High King Peter from The Chronicles of Narnia. This is a good compromise because Dubya is happy to be a knight of any kind, and Big D is actually reading these books now.

As Dubya's room mom, I have been putting together the party, which had me up until 1 am cutting out clothing for popsicle stick scarecrows. I have to admit they are pretty cute, though.

Baby J has no costume, and I guess she won't be getting one. I couldn't find anything I liked, so now I'm stuck with nothing. She'll be going as the cutest girl in the family. Easy enough. The boys' costumes actually look pretty cool, too. We tested the fog machine and strobe light out front last night, and it looked awesome. Once again we will succeed in making the kids work through their irrational fears to get their candy. I consider it neighborhood therapy.....

Hope to have pictures to post later.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

T is Sick! I am Tired!

T came home early from work last night with a fever. He looked like hell and sounded worse. He crawled into bed and tried to get some sleep. Of course, Dubya crawled into our bed later and slept the night there. I assume he'll have a fever by the weekend.

I finally waved the white flag.... I have someone coming to clean my house today. My greatest fear is that she will walk in, take one look, and just turn right around and leave. I know I want to sometimes.

Ahh, Princess Poopie Pants - she's messy, but she's cute!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It's Early and I'm Already Annoyed

In my role as The Decider, I am also tasked with getting everyone up in the morning and getting them all ready for wherever they need to go. I am tired of this job. My mornings usually go like this:

  • I wake up at 6ish - hoping to take care of some personal hygiene before the minions get up.
  • Poopie Pants awakes shortly thereafter, thereby shortening any bathroom visit I may have been attempting.
  • She gets her hygiene taken care of and breakfast served to her. (How nice.)
  • I begin the process of making coffee and waking up the boys. At least one will need to be physically removed from the bed. Much whining ensues - and not always by me.
  • I make their breakfast - after they change their minds five times about what they want.
  • I pick out their clothes; they complain; I pick out more clothes. I dress the Princess. She is, in fact the only one who should need dressing. (It's important to note that the boys wear UNIFORMS to school!)
  • I pack their school bags with anything they need, including snacks, lunches, homework.
  • I scream at them to brush their teeth and put on their shoes and socks.
  • I find their shoes.
  • If I am lucky, they make it out the door as the bus is pulling up.
  • If not, I throw on some clothes and drive them to school or to catch up with the bus.
  • Princess and I come home.
  • I collapse on the couch while we watch Sesame Street.
  • I finally brush my teeth.
  • I wonder again why it's so hard to get all this done.
  • I feel guilty about all of the yelling and threatening.
  • It is about 9am, and it's all gotta be uphill from here......
It never happens like this on Supernanny.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fall is Here


It's actually chilly outside! I absolutely love it! The only downside is that I have no idea what the munchkins are going to wear since they seem bound and determined to keep growing every year, thus making all of last year's warm clothes useless. I have already added a wardrobe's worth of sweatshirts and pants to the giveaway pile. It appears that W, the world's tallest 5 year old, has actually grown considerably since being the world's tallest 4 yr old. It looks like he now needs a size 7 pants - maybe an eight. He also refuses to wear pants that button - only snaps or elastic. Dressing him reminds me of Meg Ryan ordering food in When Harry Met Sally. "No buttons, please. These don't feel good. Not enough pockets. I need to put my pants on BEFORE my shirt. No long sleeves under a sweatshirt - that doesn't FEEL GOOD." He's just a little particular.

Well - Princess Poopie is waking up, so it's time to run. More later.....

It seems, as is so often the case with me, everyone had the same idea. I spent most of my day searching in vain for long khaki pants in little boy sizes. I kept running into other moms - some I knew, some I didn't - who were all doing the same thing. We compared notes and came to the conclusion there were none to be found. Let me tell you, Target could have made a killing on khakis today - as could Old Navy. I did manage to find a few things for the Princess, including some new shoes she was thrilled with. So, at least only 2/3 of my children will be inappropriately dressed for the fall/winter - as brief as it may be.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


OH, how I love Saturday! The weather is beautiful. No one is rushing to get anywhere. Hubby is usually home to help watch a kid or two. And, if I am really lucky, I can accomplish something.

Today, I hope to do some cleaning, get a shower (what a radical idea), and go to J's little friend's birthday party.

I was looking at D today - all 8 years of him, and was completely fascinated with how truly beautiful he is. He is all dark brown curls and huge brown eyes and such a sweet and happy heart. I love his long slender fingers and those eyelashes! I see my kids everyday, but other days I really LOOK at them and am amazed at the little people they are growing into. I can't help but think about how proud my mother would be if she could see him now. WOW, how she loved that child! She would just love to meet all of them.

Things I am thinking about today:

  • I miss my parents - it's just a fact, but I deal with it much better than I used to.
  • I want to go back to work at a job that pays.
  • I need to get a lot more done for W's school party.
  • I can't wait until the election is over.
  • I want a haircut, but don't love my stylist anymore and am afraid to "break up" with her.
  • Christmas is coming and I still really don't like Christmas - I know that makes me somehow un-American. It's just such a hassle!
I'm sure there are more, but I have 5 seconds to get something done, so I need to add more later.

It also occurred to me today that I could probably feed my family on the contents of my vacuum cleaner alone. I vacuum up so many bits of food - including, but certainly not limited to - Cocoa Puffs, Apple Jacks, crackers, bits of hardened cheese, dog food, cat food, dried noodles, smashed Doritos - the list goes on and on. Maybe next time they ask for a snack I should make them go digging in the vacuum bag for whatever they dropped the day before.....

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Things I Love Today

  • Chicken Piccata from CNO's - BOY, was that good! Artichokes, capers, cream sauce. Yum!
  • My DVR - which is currently playing Sesame Street.
  • Pandora on my iPod - which streams my favorite music to me -FREE- all day.
  • Febreze - which goes a long way to making my house SEEM clean, even when it's not!
  • LEGO Batman for Wii - which is a LOT more fun than I thought it would be. I love having little boys!
  • Going out to eat - which saves me from cooking and cleaning up afterwards - worth it!
  • Buying a birthday present for under $10 - which we will take to the very 1st party J has been invited to.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Early Voting

Well, I tried to vote early yesterday, but the line was too long for a toddler to manage. We decided to try again another day. The news just said the lines were even longer today! Well, since Election Day is a school holiday, I REALLY need to vote early. I'm sure we'll work it out.

Kitten Abby came home from the vet today, and she seems to be doing fine. Her little belly is shaved, and it's kind of pitiful, actually. J is happy to have a kitten to chase around again, and Cody can't seem to stop sniffing her.

All in all, not a bad day. T is sleeping. I still have to clean the kitchen and fold laundry. OH, and I MUST have a shower. Motherhood has really done a job on my personal hygiene.

Song That's Been in My Head Today:
Sand and Water by Beth Nielsen Chapman. Just a beautiful song. "Solid stone is just sand and water, baby. Sand and water, and a million years gone by...."


Yesterday was an interesting and frustrating day. I didn't get enough sleep and hubby had to work late, SO... I was so tired by the evening, the kids were working my nerves in a big bad way. Baby J had refused to nap, so she was a major crankenstein. Big D couldn't seem to concentrate on his homework. And all Dubya wanted to do was go outside to play.

I finally put the baby to bed after she refused to eat. Naturally, she started to cry and scream like a banshee. Then, of course, she threw up all over her bed. Yippee! So, while D and W ate (or didn't eat) a perfectly good dinner, I power bathed J, changed her sheets and pjs and put her back to bed. At least this time she went to sleep. W took a shower on his own like a big boy. D allegedly finished his homework. And, of course, T came home just in time to see everything already done. Just typing it all made me tired!

So, today is better already - phew!

People I admire today:

  • Cloris Leachman, who, while annoying, is one hell of a woman at 82! (Imanaged to sneak in some TV last night.)
  • My 5 yr old, who helped out and took a shower all by himself last night.
  • My 8 yr old, who came down and asked for another interesting book to read because he'd already finished all the others!
  • Colin Powell for speaking his mind about the GOP campaign with truthfulness and honor, even though he knew he'd catch hell from his own party.