Everything has happened, so let’s have a photo dump:
1. Halloween happened and it was awesome.
Moaning Myrtle married Harry Potter? Nah. I asked Robin what her back story was and she said her father murdered her right before she got married. What the fuck, kid.
Her dress is a Cheapos Thrift find for either $5 or $10. I can’t remember now. I believe it’s a size 4, so lots of alterations. I appreciate how the kids seem to be taking turns wanting homemade vs. store bought costumes which makes me very grateful. My wrists are 99% now and I can do things. Without pain, even!
2. Joshua became a Cobra Kai.
Okay, maybe not. His uniform has sleeves, so he can’t be Cobra Kai. Yet. He joined the intermediate black belt training, tested for his second level brown belt (red is next!) and started weapons training.
I’m particularly proud of how dedicated he is. $200 of his own money went to paying for gear (weapons, bag, pads). He is getting $25 a month back from Mom and Dad, but he made the initial investment. He’s more mature and responsible than I am.
3. There was an election of some sort which I deem completely unnecessary for discussion here.
4. Robin started with a new violin teacher. She’s also now in a 1/4 size violin. She also had a birthday and it was all good.
5. Christmas! I honestly don’t have any good pictures of the kids from Christmas because I’m an asshole I guess. But I have the next best thing:
6. We had a blizzard and it was horrifying.
In case I didn’t feel crazy enough, I’ve decided to do ChÜberlist 2017 – The Year of the Slug. It’s already a couple of weeks late so I’m off to a great start.
Most of my employment experience has been centered around customer service. In person, on the phone, whatever. I’m actually very good at it; that and technical writing, believe it or not. Which goes to show that just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you like it.
I sent out two emails today inquiring about price and availability of some fish and snails I want for my tank. Here are the responses I got:
Big difference in those gee’s. I’m sure you can guess where I’ll go to shop. Like that guy couldn’t have said that he’d get back to me on Wednesday, rather than make it my responsibility to get back with him? Come on, people.
I got a cross stitch done that took SO MUCH LONGER THAN I EXPECTED because I’m an idiot and get panicky and then screw up. I’ve also been searching for ‘just the right stuff’ to put into a care package that’s being sent to Singapore and I’m stressing out about that because I’m an idiot. Oh, a fun thing? Yes, let’s do this fun thing! AND FREAK OUT ABOUT IT.
Magnus is the cutest about trying to get fish. He’s terrible at it, mind you, and can’t even touch the glass where the fish actually are.
FACT: I started this blog entry on 8/12 and forgot all about it. So here goes a filler post before a filler post. Fillerpostception.
AKA: Jakey, Jake-Jake, Jake-Face, Toothy, Fluffypants, Jake from State Farm
DOB: c. June 2012
Adopted: June 12,2013
Weight: 14 lbs
Breed: Norwegian Forest Cat mix
Known litter mates: BK
chin scratches ear massage
the bottom left (foot) of the bed
the top level of his cat tree
trying to get outside
chittering at birds and squirrels
sleeping on clean laundry
eating foam (foam mats, flip-flop sandals, Nerf darts, etc)
hugs while I’m on the toilet
his green wool and catnip mouse
store bought toys
pulling on his long white ear hair
being picked up unless he asks
plastic bag noises
being in the car
my face in his face this vine
being closed out of the bedroom because if not this happens all night:
Not too terribly much more to say about Jake. He’s loving and sweet and a lap cat cuddler. He wants your full attention, regardless of computer, book, child, or food in your hands. He loves to sneak outside but just huddles on the sidewalk or under the hedges and meows. He howls like he’s dying but he just wants everyone to know that he killed his toy mouse for the 3,487th time. This generally happens first thing in the morning, dinner time, and in between the hours of 12-3 AM. He’s a creature of habit. He is seriously crazy when it comes to catnip. I clean his right eye of gunk every day. The left side never has an issue. He doesn’t give a shit about the fish tanks but he loves the smell of fish food. He sneaks licks of coconut oil from the lid of the jar and the ends of my hair. I use it for my hair and skin, not for cooking.
The kids love love love made up stories and Jake has been the protagonist in many a tale. One thing that never really changes is his primary (cover) profession: biscuit maker. Jake has an amazing factory where he makes every kind of biscuit imaginable. Sometimes he has to go away because he’s needed for his ninja skills. I think only once did I make Jake the bad guy because ‘Hey, diddle, diddle, the cat and the fiddle…” He had to make money, so he played a stolen violin on the street corner for money. Soon he had enough to pay for a new violin and for whatever the reason was that he needed money in the first place. He really does lead an interesting life, that one.
Once he had a a terrible stomach illness, probably brought on by eating foam like an asshole. Diarrhea. So much diarrhea. When nictitating tissue is inflamed or doesn’t retract, it’s a huge red flag. I had to cook him chicken breast and brown rice for a week. He was a mess. I was in tears; just so overwhelmed and scared to death that this was going to be another Boris. He made a full recovery and we threw out all the Nerf darts and hide all the foam floor mats. Fyi, cat proofing a house is a bigger pain in the ass than baby proofing.
The rest of the time, he’s busy just being a cat. He’s very chatty. When he wants to be picked up, he doesn’t care if I’m on the toilet, eating dinner, teaching or any combination of the three. He’s shredded my shoulder on many occasion. He comes when he’s called, he suffocates me with love and a copious amount of fur. Love, love, love.
Fathers and mothers alike shield their children from it.
It looms, growing ever larger by the hour. Minute. Second.
Panicked whispers. Just be normal. Everyone, just be normal. Regular day, right? Right?
NO NO NO don’t say that! Dear God, you fool! You’ll doom us all!
La, la, la, anyway…so much to discuss! Our house is a zoo lately. Summertime boredom/lazies. I’m taking off the remainder of July to prep for the upcoming school year. My plan was to start on the first Monday in August, but that seems…lofty. So my plan is to start some time in August-ish. We still are doing daily journal, TKD, violin, and summer reading challenges. I’m tired and need a break and the kids as well. We’ve also had some distractions! The good kind!
Magnus Finnegan Chesterfield 12 weeks new. We adopted him from the Society of Humane Friends at PetCo adoption weekend. SO. MANY. KITTENS. Normally there is a $100 adoption fee but there were so many kittens they cut the price to $50. I used to think this was high but holy cow, Magnus’ mom was gone (died? ran off?) so he and his siblings were bottle fed until weaned. Bottle feeding a kitten is a time consuming adorable process. For that adoption fee, he’s also neutered and vetted. No worms, no fleas, no serious issues. Well, he’s got the most AMAZINGLY HORRIBLE DIARRHEA AND HE’S ON $48 VET FOOD but yeah, they really do a ton of work with these animals.
Jake is still my baby. My jealous baby. My hairy baby.
Poor Jake. He’s being really nice but he gets mad when Magnus tries to go to the bathroom with me (that’s Jake’s job). Jake has taken to calling for me and demanding hugs and cuddles. He doesn’t sleep on my head anymore, though. He sleeps at the foot of the bed near Magnus. Like he’s trying to set an example or something.
Magnus is full of energy. Annoying energy. Fireplace? I WANNA GET IN THAT! Waterbowl? I WANNA TIP THAT OVER! Small gap in the cabinetry below the double ovens? I WANT TO GET LOST IN THERE AND FREAK YOU ALL OUT! Still worth it. He’s also super cuddly and adorable.
But wait! There’s more!
The snails died and I have no idea why or how but gross. I think I’m done with snails for quite a while. I needed to get something to eat the choking algae in my tank so I thought I’d get a plecostomus and then hope he didn’t grow too fast. Yes, that was my plan. Yes, I know plecos get huge. They don’t get huge overnight or anything and decided that I would deal with that later. So, I went down to PetSmart (shop smart, shop PetSmart?) and waited and waited for help in the fish area and nothing happened. One of those feeder goldfish jumped out of the tank and flopped around until it died, but other than that, complete silence. So I left because it was hot and the kids and I were all so whiny. On the way home, I impulsively stopped at a place called Nemo’s Aquarium. It’s literally a little tiny place in a big shopping center and I’ve seen it a million times. I didn’t know what to expect and I wasn’t expecting anything really but HOLY COW. It was full of amazing coral and salt water fish. Beautiful and amazing. There was a small section of freshwater fish and the clerk helped me find something amazing:
He’s a butterfly loach. He’ll get about 3″ max so he won’t be some kind of monster beast. I was going to name him Butters (not South Park Butters, Polka Never Dies Butters) but Flapjack is more appropriate. HE’S THE COOLEST OMG I LOVE HIM!
So there’s the news. I have more to discuss but I’ve been overly obsessed with Civ IV because I’m old and boring.
Yes, I am back…I just went out for a pack of cigarettes…Right?
And I might have to go out for cigarettes again, so come close and listen…right now I’m sitting in my living room, two kids sleeping on the couch after a long, fun night of slumber party silliness. Cartoons until midnight? Stupid story telling time? Games and snacks and sleeping bags? All yes. Except they hate sleeping on the floor and have migrated to the couch and have sort of crowded me out. I’ve been laying here for over an hour not sleeping. Now I’m using my laptop sans USB keyboard so I get to go back and add spaces. Fun,right? Let’s begin:
Still crazy: The good news is that I have been seeing a doctor that may have me on the right medication. Bad news is the wait for an appointment is generally an hour+ after my appointment time. Add two young kids to that and it’s doubly tedious. To be fair, my kids are super good at the doctor’s offices since they have to go with me and i go all the damn time. Honestly, I am not doing the best job at mitigating my symptoms. I stay up too late, play video games too late, don’t take my medication at consistent times(I take my medicine, just some nights at 9 PM,other nights at 1 PM, etc). This really needs to change. I’m almost 36 fucking years old and I am not acting like a very responsible adult. One of the big things I really need to do is get a sleep routine. Currently,my sleep routine is ”play Warcraft until I fall asleep”, or sometimes “take an Ambien and play Warcraft until I fall asleep”.
I don’t stay awake for days nor do I have all the prior symptoms of sleep deprivation that I used to have but that’s not saying much. That’s like saying “all my bones are broken but at least I can blink now” or whatever. I’m bad at analogies lately, sue me.
So…yeah, I’m going to grow up eventually. The Ambien is great for knocking me out (as long as it’s taken on an empty stomach) but it kills me the next day. I’ve tried cutting the dose but I end up not staying asleep or not falling asleep on time and then sleeping late. Tonight for example: I am not, nor would I take Ambien when it’s just me and the kids. Since we’re playing slumber party, I can’t exactly be knocked out by 11 PM so I didn’t take any tonight. It’s currently 1:30 AM and I had been laying in the dark for an hour not sleeping. One thing I do is count backwards from 100 to 0, then 200 to 0, then 300 to 0. Obviously it doesn’t always work. Then I start thinking about shit from like, 16 years ago and think “What was my telephone number? Whatever happened to those shoes? Do I still have that ugly lamp?”
Kid stuff: school, school, school, violin, Tae Kwon Do, library, library, library, clean your room, don’t use up all the hot water taking a shower, you didn’t do your homework, practice your violin, blah, blah, blah. But it’s also: let’s take the day off and watch cartoons, let’s skip work and just make art all day, let’s play Monopoly/Pig/Operation/Risk/chess/Dungeons & Dragons/badminton, plant flowers, look for treasure, tell stories, read stories, make brinner, watch meteor showers, bird watch, solve puzzles. We’re nerds, so what.
The home school thing is going pretty well; I need to get them into something social though. They’re still young and happy to be with each other, but not having friends other than your siblings is not what I want for them. And it won’t be like that forever, but it’s just one out of the millions of things I worry about on my way to *not* screwing up my kids.
Mildly related: I hate the term “growing like a weed”. I get it (growing quickly) but I hate the idea of referring to my kids as weeds. They’re seriously growing so, so, so, so, much. Not like, pituitary gland much, but in the healthy-kid-why-are-you-so-many-inches-taller way. New shoes, new pants new shirts only because they’re not long enough. If I’d let them, they’d wear the same shirts forever because they’re not growing wider, just taller. The banana phase of growth, I guess. Robin is the worst because she wants to wear her old dresses and it’s always a resounding NO because they’re all too short now. I’ve already bought her some new ones. Long ones. I’d dress her like a small Amish boy if I thought I could get away with it, but I can’t. She has serious fashion sense and I don’t know where she gets it from. Maybe all of those Project Runway episodes while I was pregnant?
Josh is also growing up too fast just like his sister, but emotionally. He “doesn’t need me” to sit in on his Tae Kwon Do classes anymore, so if I need to get groceries, I should just go do that and then pick him up. I’m not crying about that, I’m sure a pipe has just burst directly overhead. He wasn’t being mean, he is just growing up. I still go, but when I have to pick up some things, I go and do that, too. Bittersweet.
Animals: I have been murdering fish for months, but I finally have it down to zero deaths. Zero deaths since February, whoohoo! Seriously, that is a major accomplishment for me. I started out with a betta. He died. Betta number two. He died. Guppies. Dead. Snails. Dead. Albino bristle nose plecostomus. Dead. Aquarium plants. Dead. Now I finally have everything pretty much under control: two blood red swordtails (Zangetsu and Benihime), a small school of neon tetras (Spaghetti and Meatballs) and a black kuhli loach (The Loach). I ended up adding two snails (Pigwidgeon and Snowball) because I’m dumb. The loach is a bottom feeder, but not necessarily an algae eater. So,snails.
I shaved the cat. Don’t be like that, you’re not 12. Spring time equals death for me and this year translated to the most allergy sick pukes I’ve ever had. I mean seriously. Loud. Wretching. I’m such a delicate flower. Jake and his long fur is formal and dignified, but since I’ve cut his hair, he now looks like a cross between a poofy Siamese and an adorable little lamb. Having a a cat get a lion cut is not as bad as it sounds, but it’s also expensive as hell and I don’t like the idea of risking his life to be put under anesthesia just for a haircut.
So, in a long line of great life decisions, I cut his hair myself. I started with just scissors and a comb. He looked like he had some sort of mange. Then I thought “razor comb!” and that didn’t really work at all except for the fact that he loves biting combs now. I finally bought a hair clipper and wrestled with him. I did get enough fur off to make it worthwhile, but he never tried to hurt me while he fought back. He was actually chewing on my arm at one point, but not nearly as hard as he could. Obviously he didn’t like the clippers but when I’d let him go for a break and call him back, he’d come right back to me. There’s also something incredibly satisfying about buzzing off so much fur. I didn’t go as short as some, but he’s sufficiently short haired enough that I am significantly less sick. He now likes to lay on my pillow while I sleep, either to cuddle because he’s chillier with less fur, or he’s slowly killing me through my allergies.
The shitty news is that Wendy passed away. Goddammit that fucking dog. I wasn’t ready at all for this. In fact, I had taken her to the vet about a week before she died because she wasn’t eating and I thought it was her teeth (it totally was) but the $300 estimeate for sedation dental work was more than what I could do at the time. This wasn’t going to make her ill as long as we addressed it within a month or two per the vet. But Wendy was having other signs of distress that I didn’t pick up on.
She had been sleeping on the bed with me and sometimes in my arms at night. I had an arm chair next to the bed so she could hop on that and then up to her blanket at the foot of the bed. I started to notice that she started sleeping more in the chair and I didn’t know why. Jake would sit right in her spot and she was super intimidated by him (he was a grump) but even when he wasn’t there, she seemed to just settle for the chair. When I’d call her to dinner or to go outside, she would take forever to get downstairs. I honestly thought she was just dawdling or lagging behind. By the time she had gotten to her destination, whether it be up or down stairs, she was panting. She had been losing weight because of the teeth thing, but not an inappropriate amount–she was supposed to be dieting anyway, so the vet was happy that she was just shy of 20 lbs. I just thought she was tired. Or maybe she had been doing something bad and then was hurrying over to me to pretend to be innocent. Every time I’d check for signs (and smells) of mischief, there was nothing.
Damn. When I put it all out like this it sounds so obvious but it wasn’t at the time. I just thought she was feeling old and fat and tired. No one else noticed anything wrong, not even the vet. But we weren’t exactly looking for problems. One nigh I noticed how hard she was laboring to breathe. I stayed up with her that Friday night and then again on Saturday night. That Sunday, the Mr. took her to the emergency vet and they euthanized her. I didn’t go because I hadn’t slept for two days and I was a wreck.
I’m so angry and frustrated. I feel like I failed her, failed her like I failed Boris. I couldn’t let her suffer and she was so far sick in her liver and her heart that treatment would have been astronomical, not to mention she’d be struggling and suffering. And treatment is never a guarantee. I didn’t want to prolong it, even if I had all the money in the world. I’m mad at myself, mad at the world, mad at the vets, mad at anyone who has groomed her, looked at her, been near her. Why didn’t anyone know?
Mostly I’m just mad at myself. I didn’t have her body brought because I just couldn’t take it. I’m mad about that, too. Being a sleep deprived emotional wreck makes decision making pretty awful. I regret everything. I should have taken her to the vet, I should have held her while she died, I should have carried her home and buried her in the yard. It should have been me. I miss her. A lot. Fucking jerk stinkopotamus dog with all the seizures and messing in the house and being so fucking needy all the time. I just fucking wasn’t ready. I only had three short years with her. That’s not fair. I’m still not ready. That fucking dog. I miss her.
In a real and rational sense, I know I did the right thing and I know I did the best I could. I tried to give her the best I could over the years and even tried to find someone to take care of here when I felt that I could not. I always seemed to find just one more sliver of strength to pull from and redouble my efforts in her care. She was the best snuggler and better for me than any sleeping pill. But reality and rationality were never my strong points anyway.
Nerdstuff: I’ve been playing Warcraft a lot (but not too much, really, I promise, I can quit any time) but I still only have one level 100. I’m not very motivated to get everyone else up to speed so I’ve been just acheivement hunting for the past few weeks. And playing Hearthstone. Having a good time being a filthy casual. Josh has been begging to play D&D so we’re all playing as a family now. I play their mom. I’m also a really crappy sorceress but my kids are half human, half dragon warrior and half human, half cat bard. So just like real life. Playing Risk usually devolves from a 4 person game to a 2 person game with a lot of staring at the board. We are doing movie night and game night on alternating Sundays and we have been playing things like UNO and Pig so there has been a lot of screaming and yelling and hexing going on. We are all competitive by nature and it’s hard not to yell with taunting glee when my 5 year old loses all her points.
I’ve been reading a lot lately, enough to make myself hoarse. I’ve been reading The Harry Potter series to the kids and using is as a discussion point for real life. We are waiting impatiently for the next and final book in the How to Train Your Dragon series, How to Fight a Dragon’s Fury. I’ve been reading from the library for myself, too, but mostly graphic novels because that’s about all I have the attention span for. Doesn’t matter, still excellent. Here are the ones I can remember off the top of my head:
The Mice Templar: I haven’t finished the series yet because my library doesn’t have all of them. WHY do they do this?! “Let’s get every volume of the series except for book 2″ What a great idea. I find this a lot, but usually only after I’m emotionally invested in a series. For some reason, I’m a huge fan of mouse featured works: Maus, Mouse Guard, Stuart Little, The Secret of NIMH, are a few examples,
CrossGame: I thought I was going to hate this, actually, but I was hooked immediately. I only originally picked it up from the library because it was big and I thought it would kill some time. Such a great story; I’m a big baby by nature, but holy cow, this made me bawl my eyes out.
The Graveyard Book: Volumes one and two. The story is told clearly and the art is wonderful. And it’s Neil Gaimen so there ya go.
I haven’t been very crafty lately. I’m just not motivated or feeling creative. When I do, the feelings pass before I can really get started on anything. I don’t know if it’s because of the medicine I take or if I’m just not pushing myself hard enough. Or maybe the medicine isn’t working as intended and my depression symptoms are coming back. At this point I really can’t care, I have more to occupy myself than I have in a very long time and I’m fine with that. The most creative thing I’ve done lately is draw some pictures on Josh’s birthday presents and that’s about it. I had great motivation not to screw it up and ruin his entire birthday.
Right now I’m pretty okay but I’m tentative about everything: kids, marriage, mental health, physical health. I don’t know that I’ll ever be fully comfortable with myself regarding any of those things, but maybe that’s good. With comfort comes complacency and let’s face it, I’m a lazy asshole. That’s partially the reason for the blog silence. Just lazy. But there was also a lot of focus on just living, reforging my marriage, parenting my children so I’m not exactly sorry. Also, can you believe how weird that sounds–“parenting my children”. I’m so old and suburban…but at least I’m also childish and irresponsible so it all works out. And if I don’t blog for another six months then I don’t blog for another six months and I’m okay with that,too.