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!