children, life

Stuff that Happened, Part 1

February was totally stupid.  The Mr. had a birthday that I can honestly say I can’t remember much of.  The day before his birthday was quite memorable, though. The kids and I got into a car accident. Here’s the best part:  everything has only been resolved and settled as of this week.  Literally 10 weeks to the day.  Ten. Fucking. Weeks.

A woman backed her car into me in a parking lot and tried to say that I hit her because she “has a backup cam so it couldn’t have been her fault”.  Yeah, okay.  She immediately called the police and wouldn’t say a word to me, which isn’t a bad thing.  Most insurance people tell you not to talk to anyone.  She hit on the passenger side where Josh sits so he took the brunt of the collision.

Speaking of collision, I forgot that I haven’t received the check for the damages for his physical injuries so FUCK I have to call Allstate again tomorrow.  *angrily scribbles on to do list*

ANYWAY, here’s the aftermath:

Position of our vehicles in the parking lot.

She pulled out so fast that I didn’t have time to react.   She hit square into the rear passenger door and the rear passenger quarter panel.

Photo of the front of my car.

She fought hard to say that I hit her, but when the police came, he saw exactly what I saw–no damage to the front of my car.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a car of the future so I can’t turn my wheels 90 degrees and slam into someone sideways.  The police report can’t officially declare who is at fault because it’s private property but the explanation was “car pulled out of parking spot and struck driver’s vehicle” so that’s pretty much saying who was at fault.

My poor car.
Angled view of the damage.

This picture was to show that the doors no longer lined up evenly and when I drove, I could hear the wind coming in as if the door was not fully closed.  I didn’t realize it until it rained but water leaked in everywhere on that side so the door was definitely not sealing correctly.  I had to have Josh sit in the front seat which as all overprotective parents know is not where young children should sit!  We did take Josh to the urgent care because his elbow was hurting; thankfully he was fine–just needed ibuprofen and rest.

Crack is whack

My car is old; 2005 and was the very first car I bought by myself (like an adult!) and it was new.  It’s been my reliable workhorse forever, but the bad part about that is they no longer make this vehicle.  Saturn stopped production and when I need parts, I have to get them used or pay an exorbitant amount of money.  So Allstate, the other lady’s insurance, was of course trying to do everything as cheaply as possible.  Their estimate was literally $1,000+ less than my repair guy’s estimate.  When I had my car assessed by Allstate, the guy was super nice and explained everything very clearly, and how if there was more internal damage, the shop would have to contact Allstate and have them pay for it.  He even cleaned off a big paint streak that I got on my car before the accident but that is another story entirely.  They gave me cash for their estimate and I was on my way.

Seriously.

Allstate provided a rental, but the main adjuster was such a fucking piece of shit to me every step of the way and I am still not done with her.  They don’t issue rentals mid week; usually only on Monday or Tuesday because god forbid I use the cheap rental over the weekend.  I had to schedule my car repair to start on a Monday so I could get the rental and since I know this person was either inexplicably vengeful or simply utterly inept at their job, I called Allstate to double check and make sure I was able to get the confirmation code for the rental.

Nope.  No rental for me!  I spent half of my drive to the repair shop trying to get this taken care of so I wouldn’t be stranded with the kids.  I got it worked out, buthe original time frame for the rental was 3 days.

It took 3 weeks to get my car back from the repair shop.  3 WEEKS HOLY BALLS.

Had a very cute rental, though. Cute and so tiny.

It wasn’t the repair guy’s fault.  Allstate refused the repairs over and over and over and even sent their own inspector out again.  He was there for 5 minutes and said APPROVED.  There were multiple incidents of this.  My rental was cancelled by Allstate on April 20…but they didn’t tell me or Enterprise about it.  Enterprise found out on the 24th and they contacted me.  So I had to go back and forth and back and forth with Allstate again.  I ended up having to pay $124 out of pocket for the rental which Enterprise quickly and courteously refunded.  I’m so impressed with their service I’m going to write a letter to whoever needs to get it.  They were fantastic.

So basically this has been an entirely shit process and I would advise anyone to stay the hell away from Allstate as an insurance provider.   I can’t believe this stupid thing still isn’t over.

children, life

Field Trip!

This week the kiddos and I decided to go on a field trip to the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir and it was completely amazeballs.

From the parking lot.
From the parking lot.

I was looking for things in the area to do with the kids that wasn’t crazy expensive -and- was somewhat educational.  When I came across information of the mandir, I couldn’t pass it up.

I don’t subscribe to any specific religion and I’m not converting to Hinduism anytime soon.  What I know about Hinduism comes from mythology and the only Hindu that I know, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon.

Classic.
I need the Kwik-E-Mart.

The campus is huge, gated, meticulous and incredibly beautiful.  We stayed outside looking around at every little detail before going inside to attend the midday Rajbhog Arti ceremony.  We were in the way back as to not get in the way of people praying.   The detail in the hand cut marble, inside and outside, is really awesome.  The kids were losing their minds at how big it was and how it was like a castle.

I would have called it a palace, but whatever.
I would have called it a palace, but whatever.
Artsy shot of the architecture.
Artsy shot of the architecture.
ELEPHANTS!
ELEPHANTS!
Reflecting over the reflecting pool.
Reflecting over the reflecting pool.
This is the closest picture I could get of the Mandir. No photos after that point.
This is the closest picture I could get of the Mandir. No photos after that point.

Now, while I know very little about Hinduism, I do know to be respectful and follow the posted rules.  One of the rules that stood out was the restriction on photography/filming inside and outside of the mandir.  I even emailed to inquire if we could bring sketchbooks (we could) because I didn’t want to be an asshole.

One of the best parts of our tour was a woman visiting the shrine.  She was blatantly shooting video on her phone which really aggravated me.  When the staff/volunteers began to approach her, she quickly put her phone away and made the “it’s okay” gesture at the men.  They made her delete the photos and videos.

Best. Day. Ever.
Best. Day. Ever.

We had a great time, though to no one’s surprise the kids were not fans of Indian food.  Too spicy or too bean-y or just too out of their comfort zone.  I actually wasn’t much of a fan either, but maybe it was simply because it was prepared in a snack bar/cafe instead of a restaurant…which really doesn’t make sense because the snack bar/cafe food is usually super good in these out of the way places.  No matter, a good time was had by all.

Did I mention I'm a child?  Yeah, every time I say the word, this pops into my head.
Did I mention I’m a child? Yeah, every time I say the word, this pops into my head.
children, life

Post Script: Dragon Con 2016

I’m glad he didn’t spend much money at Dragon Con.  He used the remainder of his money to buy some books and video games, but more importantly, he decided that he wanted to advance his Tae Kwon Do training.  New classes:  longer, more intensive, and more focused than standard after school classes.  New uniform.  New gear.  New price.

I am thankful every day that we can afford to support our kids with what they love, but we’re also not stupid.  He’s quite a serious kid, but he’s still a kid.  The biggest prerequisite for Mom and Dad paying out more money was that he had to buy his own protective gear.

Two hundred dollars worth.

I bought the uniform, though.
I bought the uniform, though.

$200 for protective gear and a bag (which is really nice quality, by the way), $100 for a new uniform, and $25 per month extra for the intermediate class.  The new classes are longer so it really is worth it and we can be much more flexible in our schedule.

Oh, and we’ll have to buy weapons, too.

WEAPONS.

My baby boy.  With weapons.

I hate everything.
I hate everything.

I’m dying here.  He’s growing up so fast–too fast.  he’s had to be too responsible in the past and I can’t take that back and make it right.  I don’t want a mama’s boy…but this is so hard for me.  It’s stupid.  I’m proud and I don’t want to ever hold him back but deep down, I just don’t want to get left behind.  I know he still needs me and he will always need me in some way.

He does love me, you know.

I wish my dad could tell me if I’m doing things right with my son.

Fucking hell.  I wanted to brag about my awesome kid and now I’m just sad.  How the hell do you learn to parent when you don’t have parents?

Ugh, not this shit again.
Ugh, not this shit again.

ANYWAY.

I am done with my second carpal tunnel surgery so I can type again; I have more important things to blog about than my weepy abandonment issues.

children, entertainment, life

Dragon Con 2016 –or- How to Disillusion an Appropriately Expectant 9 Year Old

Josh’s birthday was back in March and for his birthday activity, he chose to WAIT 6 MONTHS and save his money to go to the legendary Dragon ConAs I mentioned I was pretty jealous since Jim Butcher was a special guest author this year.  He was there on Saturday but the Mr. and the boy went on Sunday which was fine—I didn’t want my son’s day wasted on getting an autograph for his mom.

A one day pass was $45.  For a 9 year old.

Fine.

I thought he'd want to keep this, but he literally doesn't care if I throw it away or not.
$45 worth of plastic and sadness.

Eternal member badges are picked up in one hotel, general admissions day passes are for sale in a different hotel.

Okay, sure.

He should start going by Ober.
He should start going by Ober.

Josh has been dreaming of this day for a long time and and was able to take $300 of his own hard earned and saved money.  He was excited about typical convention things:  tabletop gaming, trading card games, dice, dice bags, cool shirts, posters, etc.  He is also a huge Battlebots fan, so when he saw there was going to be a Robot Battle exhibition on Sunday, that sealed the deal for the date of attendance.  Unfortunately, he really got none of what he expected.

The Mr. hasn’t gone in 16 years—as long as we’ve been married?  Coincidence?

*whistles innocently*
*whistles innocently*

So obviously, in that amount of time there were bound to be changes.  For a 9 year old with practically carte blanche to spend at will, he should have been in nerd heaven.  I expected him to come home broke and happy and exhausted.  The Mr. was sure he was going to have to use fatherly veto power at least a couple of times during the day.

He spent a grand total of $55.

I honestly can’t believe how bad it was.  To be clear, Robot Battles and Battlebots are not the same thing.  This was made painfully clear with the exhibition of “Ant class” and “Beetle class” micro-bots in the semi-finals.  The matches were broadcast via big screen so people could actually see the tiny things, but they were poor quality and black and white.

Actual and exciting footage.
Actual and exciting footage.

WHAT THE FUCK.  Was Charlie Chaplin running the battle bots track?  (The answer is no, because if he was it would have been very entertaining and possibly scary because he’s been dead for quite some time now.)

There was not one single booth selling gaming dice.  Not one.  Let alone a cool bag for said dice.  He has a nice assortment but we don’t have a cool bag to put it in.  I have been eyeing some cool dragon eye bags but he wanted to wait for Dragon Con so he could physically touch his options before buying.  He’s pretty practical about money—more so than many adults (me included).

Here’s what he did buy:  a new tabletop card game called Epic for $35 and a Fairy Tail tee shirt for $20.  The card game sounds fun and he got to learn how to play at the booth.  He has been trying to teach me how to play but I’m hopeless at strategy games.

Good times.
Good times.

Even more frustrating was that the tee shirt he bought was the same as the shirts that Robin and I saw at the mall.  Same design, same price.  So knowing that he could have just gone to the mall and bought the same shirt (and other cool stuff) he was even more aggravated.  She and I went to the mall that day and had a great time just goofing around for **6 HOURS**and spent too much money.

The best part of the day at Dragon Con for Josh was getting to play arcade games with Dad—Street Fighter, Mortal Combat, all the fun stuff.  For free.  Robin and I spent $25 at Dave and Busters doing pretty much the same thing.  We got home later than Josh and the Mr.  That’s how much fun they had.

Just so frustrating.  To see your child work so hard for something just to see them so deflated is really heartbreaking.  They had tons of other things like superhero stuff and comics but he went with specifics in mind.  Cosplay is fun and awesome and I’m always amazed at the dedication and talent that goes into really nice work but it seems to be the primary focus at Dragon Con now.  I saw a lot of reviews that said how much they loved it and to bring the whole family.  To the parade maybe, since it’s free.

I found an article from 6 years ago that sums it up well for someone traveling for an overnight stay; luckily, we’re local and they only wasted a day.  I feel like there aren’t many complaints about Dragon Con because the people that go are going for exactly what they want:  eye candy and cosplay.  There’s nothing wrong with that, but god forbid you are interested in something else, like games or something pedestrian like that.

children, home, life

Look at all the fish I killed!

Okay, first, the bad news.

I’ve had 2 deaths, and they were horrible.  HORRIBLE.

Since I have the new 40 gallon tank up and running (more on that in a bit), I put the 10 gallon tank downstairs so the kids could have a couple of betta fish.  We spent time deciding what type of betta, how to best divide the tank, how to decorate, etc.  We cycled.  We did our proper due diligence.  We spent way too much money.  And it was beautiful.  Let’s preface this by saying it’s a tank for a 9 year old (HOW THE FUCK IS HE GOING TO BE 9 IN 6 FUCKING DAYS HOLY FUCKING BALLS) and a 6 year old, so the idea was to keep it simple so they could eventually take care of it themselves.

Guess which kid has which side.

On the left you will see Smaug’s home complete with gold nuggets, a treasure chest, a busted up castle, charred plants and scorched earth.  Plant’s on fire, yo. On the right, you will see Lily’s abode with treasure clam shell, sparkling jewels, lush, silky and plastic-y foliage and an umbrella of genuine dwarf water lettuce.  Bellisimo.

Smaug
Lily
Second shot showing how purple Lily’s body is.

Smaug was named after the famous dragon and Lily is a girl’s name even though Robin knows he’s a boy.  Lily was a good fit anyway, he was beautiful, as was Smaug.  We bought them, along with a betta for me, on Friday, along with all of the goodies to go into the tank.  Total somewhere around $180.  I know, right?  “What the hell did you buy at the pet store?”

Four days later they were dead.  Motherfucker.

Tank parameters were spot on.  I racked my brain all day and as a family, we came to the conclusion that it was the gravel and or the decorations.  Aquarium gravel toxic?  No way!  Yes way.  In the most horrible yes way.  When I was rinsing out the 20 lbs of black gravel, my hands were stained black.  This has never, ever happened before and I’ve bought tons of gravel over the years.  I washed until everything ran clear.  Same thing with the gold gravel.  So much glimmering water.  It took me about an hour to rinse them both.  My first reaction was holy shit, I can’t use this, but instead of listening to my gut reaction, I listened to whatever dumb ass part of me said “it’s made for aquariums, it’s not going to do anything!”  There was also glitter in the tank which I believe came from the treasure chest.  This is all just the dumbest fucking shit ever.  HOW DUMB OF ME TO PUT AQUARIUM GRAVEL IN THE FUCKING AQUARIUM.  WHAT A DUMB SHIT TO PUT AQUARIUM DECORATIONS INTO THE AQUARIUM.  To be fair, no where does it say that I am supposed to add fish to an aquarium, so there’s that.

The kids were not upset as much as they were disappointed.  They didn’t blame me even though I blame myself.  Josh was the most upset as he has had his heart set on a Smaug for weeks.  We searched for WEEKS.  Weeks might as well have been years in kid (and overly excited Mom) terms.

My guilt is compounded because my betta is still alive.  Meet Zenith:

Not like the VCR

He wasn’t in the poison tank, obviously.  He’s in the main tank actually, in a mesh box.  Gabrielle is going crazy because she has a crush on him.  He’s beautiful.  My guilt is tremendous, though.  In a way, I wish he had died, too.  That way it wouldn’t have been my fault, but that they were sick before we got them.  Or, if anything, because it would be fair somehow that all the fish died.  Crazy, I know.  I don’t wish him dead, but I do wish this guilt would go away.

Everything is out of the tank; heater, filter, tank and thermometer have been rinsed with boiling water.  The media was thrown away.  New substrate, new media (from the 40 gallon) and a re-cycling of the tank.  I need to get some carbon to make sure any residual death is taken out.  Once it’s cycled again, I’m going to put a little tetra in it for a week to see if it dies.  That makes me sound like a monster.  I don’t really know what else to do, though.

On the upside, I haven’t killed any of my fish and my new tank looks great.  I’m working on Zenith’s tank so I hope he’ll be in his tank by the end of the week.

children, entertainment, life

Photo Dump: Random and Belated

1. Jasper
2. This rock in my aquarium

resembles the planet Jupiter.


3. Dandelions


4. Long shots always look like an album cover to me.


5. This makes me laugh disproportionately hard

6.  Magnus is now 7.4 lbs at 5.5 months. He was 2.4 lbs when we got him 3 months ago.


7. Josh’s birthday was in March and I didn’t say anything about it.


8. We went to Medieval Times for his birthday (but we waited until after tax season).


9. Summer reading challenge dinner. They read while we waited for a table but I made them put it away before food.  

10. Playing so many puzzles on Facebook.  Because I’m cool.

children, health, home, life

Brain Dump: Mother’s Day Edition

Yes, I am back…I just went out for a pack of cigarettes…Right?

Don’t even talk to me if you don’t get this. Just don’t.

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 woke up one night and ate a cheese sandwich in like, 3 bites. And then there are all the times that I do things out of the ordinary.

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.

You never know what you’re gonna apples to oranges.

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?”

SO MUCH

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.

She started in September with a 1/16th violin. I FINALLY HAD A TINY VIOLIN PLAYING FOR ME

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?

This man is a TREASURE.

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.

The black snail is named Snowball. If it dies, I obviously have a name picked out for the next one.

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.

Before, in all his furry Norwegian glory.

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.

Oh my god, Karen you can’t just ask someone why their fur is white.

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 eventually got her bandanna caught in some thorns and almost strangled herself with it.

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.

Look how patient she is. “This isn’t my color, but I love your for making something for me!

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.

A picture from years ago. She looks so tiny.

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?

This is the life I wanted for her. Not my picture, nor my dog, but I see her everywhere I go.

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.

Did I mention she was patient? Wonder Wiener at her finest.

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.

Like looking in a mirror. The short angry one that just lost, the tall one and a pair of baby ducks to voice how great the loss was.

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:

Boxers and Saints:  I’m a big fan of Gene Leun Yang and all of his previous works.

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.

The Legend of Drizzt, Manga Shakespeare: Twelfth Night, and of course Injustice: Gods Among Us.  Love, love, love the library!

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.

He likes the Octonauts, okay? So do I. Vegimals are the butt of many of my jokes.

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.

I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and I’m okay with that, too.

 

children, entertainment, home, life

Everything

Scene:  Josh is sitting next to me in my king sized bed working on math review.  Easy stuff, addition and subtraction, regrouping, etc.  Robin is in trouble, standing in front of my dresser in time out because she refused to spell the word “four”.  Wendy is laying on a blanket on the floor in front of an overturned storage ottoman, repurposed as a dog house.  Jake is snaking his body around my head in an attempt to get me to stop typing.  He keeps bothering Josh and trying to stop him from doing his work, so one of us has to sacrifice.  Jake has just now moved to nap just close enough to Josh to periodically flick his tail onto his clipboard.

* * *

I’m in a lot of pain.  The knee thing has really progressed to the point where I’m in pain all the time.  It’s advanced osteoarthritis in my knees and I had an MRI done yesterday to see what’s going on with the soft tissues in there.  I’m going to assume some damage because when I walk it doesn’t just hurt in my knees, but up and down through the femur and tibia.

That’s no moon.

I’m not a rocket surgeon, but I don’t think my bones are supposed to be all jaggedy like that. My actual doctor agreed with me and sent me to the orthopedic surgeon who made a face when he poked around my knee and sent me for an MRI.  I have the MRI pictures, too, but it all looks like cross sections of ham.

Except my leg looks disgusting, and this looks delicious.

* * *

After some serious consideration about Wendy, we have decided to keep her.  I have been in contact with Dream Dachshund Rescue and while Wendy would be a good candidate for an adoption, there just isn’t anywhere for her to go right now.  There was a lot of back and forth on what to do with her, how to take care of her, etc and ultimately, I just feel like I need to redouble my efforts to take care of my dog and keep my house clean.  It’s not easy, but I love her and honestly nothing is ever fucking easy.  Ever.

Look at her scarf. LOOK AT IT!

* * *

In other news, my son took his green belt test for Tae Kwon Do, turned 7 and we all went to LegoLand.  It was a busy weekend.  To become a green belt, he has to join the National Taekwondo Federation:

So cool!

and he had to write an essay with his application:

I didn’t write it for him.
Proud Mom is proud.

 Holy cow.  I never get any good pictures of him testing because I try to stay on the furthest side of the room so I don’t distract him.  He is always the tiniest kid in his group though:

Miniature.

He just got moved to a new class, presumably because he just turned 7.  Pretty soon he’ll change classes again, I think, to be with the green belts.  I’m weepy and proud and excited for him.

He picked the yarn because he’s an old man.

In other news, I shouldn’t have a seven year old.  I can’t even take care of a plant.  He had a great birthday and I was happy to do all the work even though I was totally unprepared and literally had to take a bunch of narcotics to dull the pain in my knees.  I stayed up until 2 AM the night before making sure everything was done for his birthday, even running out to Kroger past midnight because I didn’t have enough candles.  Who doesn’t have enough candles for her baby boy’s birthday???

Laval and the happiest 7 year old ever!

Legoland was a total hit and very affordable.  We spent hours there, ate lunch, watched movies, rode rides, built stuff, tore stuff up, etc.  Perfect.  They even have an adult night which is awesome.  I love how adults are not allowed in unless accompanied by a child.  Because you know there are weirdos out there and that’s the last thing you need to see is a 30 year old man fighting with a  year old over the last Lego brick.

* * *

Josh is done with his work for the day and Robin is finally out of time out and working on subtraction next to me in bed.  I’m about ready for a nap, but I probably won’t get one.  My plans for next few weeks are:

nothing.

Here’s to keeping my plans.

children

Tough Mom

You are cordially invited to my pity party!

For me. All for me.

Let’s talk about Tough Mom, and how she subsequently became cry-baby-in-public Mom:

Without getting off on a tangent, I had a Tiger Mom and for the most part thought I was, too.  Until I realized that my tiger mothering has been pretty diluted by growing up with a Western/modern point of view.  However, compared to most parents that I’ve encountered, I seem to be pretty strict and non-permissive. I do everything I can to give my kids the things they need (first) and the things they want (second).

After our winter/Christmas break, Josh had been on a real tear of assholey behavior: mean to his sister, arguing about everything, the ever inflammatory silent treatment, refusing to do his schoolwork and he even threw a temper tantrum in the middle of the Wal-Mart parking lot.  This build up of shit behavior culminated in one of the worst punishments ever:  no green belt test for Tae Kwon Do.  Yes, worse than when I took Halloween away.

no.

The worst part is that Josh can be so good.  He’s very much a first born son and is fairly responsible and mature for his age.  So after the dust settled, he understood why he was not allowed the privilege to test at the beginning of January and would have to wait until the next cycle in March.  He is beginning to understand which lines not to cross and which ones can be tested.  And that when Mom lays down a punishment, she means it.

Yesterday the kids got their results back and had their in-class belt ceremony.  His friend got to test and he didn’t.  His friend is moving to a different class on a different day and Josh isn’t.

He wasn’t sad about not getting to test for his green belt, he was sad that he wasn’t going to see his friend for the next two months.

I’m a winner.

The rational part of me knows that it was his behavior that lost him the opportunity to test.  That he had been warned that the option to test was something he could lose.  I justify in my head things like “at least I don’t beat him with a stick like my Mom did to me”.

But fuck being rational, I feel like shit.  Watching my baby cry while sitting on the bleacher trying to put his shoes on was more than enough to make me cry.  His master instructor coming to remind him that it is not his technique but his behavior at home that kept him from testing made me cry.  Her reminder to me that what I did was the right thing made me cry.  Footnote: he refuses to talk about the green belt thing now, and didn’t even mention it in his journal.  I don’t know if this is a good thing (he’s totally over it) or a bad thing (he’s internalizing this and now we can isolate the tipping point for when his life was ruined).

children, home, life

Photo Dump: Home School Edition

1. Josh’s first poem:

Um…

A cat is in my hat.
The cat took my hat.
I got a bat and then I got my hat.

2. Josh’s first short story:

I’m a severe editor.

A cat was napping under a table.  A dog yelled at the cat.  The black cat ran.  Wendy ran after Jake.  Jake hid under a tree.  Wendy asked Robin where is Jake?  Robin said I don’t know where Jake went.  After Jake climbed down the tree, Jake went in a tent and slept in the tent all day.  Wendy found Jake in the tent.  Wendy slept in the tent, too.

The requirements I gave him: use at least two proper nouns, use adjectives, have a problem and a solution.  I use naps as my solution, too.  He’s currently reading a bunch of age appropriate Star Wars books and Where the Sidewalk Ends.  He’s also a big fan of Frog and Toad and Owl.

3. Comparison:

Day one: Poofy sleeves.
About a month or so later? Still digging poofy sleeves.

4.  Art class:

They asked how to draw cups.  I don’t care if they’re bad, they’re GREAT to little kids, thankyouverymuch.
Josh did a great job! (he gave himself check marks and smiley faces)
Mr. Funy Fase seems a little bit…funny.  Like, stoned funny, not ha-ha funny.
Robin’s cat is way cuter in that not-under-the-influence-way.

5. ‘rithmetic

Fuzzy balls. *snerk*
Addition and rounding, not D&D.  Not…yet.