Thursday, January 29, 2009

How about a little whine with breakfast?

You know, I can't help but wonder, can anything be done about the terrible Wednesdays in our house?

You may not know about Wednesdays at Wits' End. We all go to church on Wednesday nights. Man-Cub has his Pioneer Boys, Redheaded Snippet has youth group and The Viking and I are enrolled in a two-year Discipleship course. It's a great church and the programs are excellent. We are very grateful to have such things at our disposal.

So what is the problem? We live 30 minutes from the church. I know, a church that's alive is worth the drive, I keep telling myself that as I feel the tension tightening my head and neck during the struggle through traffic every Wednesday night. Church starts at 6:30. Which means, do the math with me, we have to leave our house at 6:00 to get there on time.

Okay, fine, just round everyone up and leave at 6:00! Problem solved!

Oh, ye foolish babes, if only it were that simple. NOTHING is ever that simple around here!

Problem #2: The Viking has a 45 minute commute and doesn't get home until 6:30. If we were to wait for him to get home, we wouldn't get to church until 7:00. And he wouldn't get to eat any dinner. So he meets us there and I always pack his dinner for him. I know, very loving and wifely of me, but, I'll admit it, a giant pain in the bottom!

Problem #3: Redheaded Snippet plays on the school's athletic teams. This cannot have escaped your notice. In the Autumn it's field hockey and in Winter it's basketball. Last year she chose the school play over Spring softball, but we'll see about this year.

I really do not have much to complain about concerning our school's athletic programs. Everything, practices and games, is after school, there are no weekends involved and the cost to us has been minimal. Redheaded Snippet has loved playing and my family has loved the social and entertainment aspect of spectating at her games.

However, and now I am finally getting to the problem, there is practice every day after school unless there is a game. Practices are over at 5:30, games anywhere from 5:30 to 6:30. Which means any given Wednesday I have no more (and often drastically less) than 30 minutes to get my girl home, changed, cleaned up if need be, fed and back out the door in time to pick up her friends and get to church.

If there is just a practice, I can sometimes manage to feed myself and Man-Cub before we pick her up, feed Redheaded Snippet when we dash back in the door and pack a container of food for The Viking to eat once we meet up with him at church. Most of the time I'm not that put together. I usually just pack my dinner, too, and feed the kids before we scramble back into the car.

Sometimes, all the fates align against me. Sometimes there is a game on Wednesday night. I'm the kind of Mom who likes to go to all my kids' games. I feel something is just not right if my child is playing on a field, court or pitch and I'm not there to see it. I've missed two games in the four years my kids have been in sports and those were because of illness. I'm very proud of my record. Anyway, when I go to a game, I can't be at home preparing dinner! And there certainly isn't enough time to make it when we get back. So, if it's a HOME game, I do Crockpot, Thermowell, or Cooking-With-The-Gas-Turned-Off meals on those nights. And I dish up containers for me and The Viking, shove plates in the kids faces and then fly back out the door.

But there are other times, and last night was one of those times, when it's even worse. Sometimes there is an AWAY game on a Wednesday. Those take even more time. We have to get to the game, watch the game, get packed up from the game and get back home from the game. If Redheaded Snippet rides the bus it takes her even longer to get home than it takes me. Most of the time, the other school is so far away there is not enough time to get home from the game, wait for the bus and then get out to church.

So what do I have to do then? I have to write a note to the school asking permission to escort my own daughter from the game instead of allowing her to ride the bus under the care of people who did not give birth to her (don't even get me started on that one) so we can go right to church from the game. And I have to make dinner and have it packed up for all of us by 3:00 because I won't have any other time to get back home before church. The kids eat in the car and The Viking and I eat at church. It's maddening. I have to think of a meal that doesn't need to be kept hot, that won't turn disgusting once it has cooled a bit, that will travel well and that the kids will eat.

Last night was even worse because I had stupidly scheduled a doctor's appointment for 2:00 and realized, too late, I would have no time after it to go back home for my stuff. So, yesterday, I had to have everything packed up by 2:00.

I won't go into all the details of my terribly stressful day yesterday, (aren't you grateful?), but I will say I was in a state of mild panic all day long, had a splitting headache by 6:00, and had fallen into the exhausted sleep of the weary by 10:30.

We've been doing this for almost two years now. And I just don't know how much longer we can do it! Wacky Wednesdays are starting to spill over into Treacherous Thursdays because we're all so crabby from getting home and to bed so late (we don't get back until 9:30 once we've gotten everyone rounded up and dropped off at home). If we have to go to a game, Man-Cub can't get his homework done (have you ever tried doing math problems in a gym with a basketball game going on?) and I have to write a note to his teacher explaining the whole thing. And it really does sound like I'm making it up. I'm sure they don't believe me.

This morning was terrible! Man-Cub whined and cried through the entire getting-ready-for-school process, losing his after-school playtime privileges. Redheaded Snippet snapped at him and bossed him around, making him cry even more, The Viking was grumpy because the kids had left their basketball sneakers/backpack/lunch box in the frigid car all night long and he had to be the brave one to retrieve them. We ran out of bread, juice boxes and granola bars, and Man-Cub broke one of the glass panes on the kitchen door by smacking the coat cupboard door against it in frustration and anger. Sheeeeeeesh.

The broken glass happened literally as they were stepping out the door. Man-Cub was getting his coat when he flung the door open. The Viking just stood there looking silently terrible (as only a very patient, self-controlled but angry man can do) and Man-Cub just dissolved into tears. At 8:05. When school starts at 8:15. I shooed them out the door anyway, "We'll have to worry about it later! Later! Go!" I can only hope Man-Cub pulled himself together in the car so he wasn't seen crying in the school yard.

I decided to vent my feelings in this post. It's only Thursday. And there is another bloody game this afternoon. Thankfully this one is a home game, but we have our very first meeting at the high school tonight at 7:00 so dinner is going to be another frantic affair. I've decided on fried rice which is very easy, fairly fast to make and ultra-cheap, not to mention one of the kids' favorites, so all I have to do is sink a pot of rice into the Thermowell before I leave for the game and stir-fry a mess of eggs and vegetables when I get home. But I'm not sure we have the strength for another day tomorrow. Man-Cub and I are dragging. I've been watching him sharply and I'm afraid he might be coming down with something. And all I want to do today is hibernate in my warm, cozy bed. But I've got clothes to launder, dishes to wash--oh, did I mention the dishwasher isn't working AGAIN?- and small fires to put out all over the place.

I just cannot wait for this week to be over!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Back to (what usually passes as) normal

I think it may be safe to say we're all better now. Phew. The Viking's sinus infection is still trying valiantly to hang on, but he's been throwing lovely antibiotics at it that are steadily, if slowly, doing it in. Somehow, I managed to sidestep a full-blown infection and just felt like a damp rag for four days straight. But that's all behind me! And, thankfully, the children did not get it.

So, do you want to know what I've done with my new-found energy and vitality? In addition to keeping up with my cooking and laundry duties, which are humming along nicely, if not perfectly, I have completed one of the most time-consuming and dreaded of all tasks in our home: cleaning out the files. I think you might know what I mean....isn't it dreadful?

We have two locations for files. All our current paperwork is kept in the file drawer of the computer desk, right in the kitchen, right at our fingertips, as it were. Bills, medical forms, important documents, bank records, all that stuff is kept close by. Stuff that is more than a year old but still needs to be kept on file goes in file boxes stored in the basement, high on a shelf in case we ever get a bit of water down there. The really important stuff (birth certificates, passports, etc) are locked in our secret, water-and-fire-proof vault. Miles below the city. Guarded by dragons. And managed by goblins. Okay, too much Harry Potter?

Every now and then, (usually once a year or so) the files in the desk drawer get full to bursting and cannot hold another single sheet of paper. When that happens, you would think someone who would have the sense to reason, "Hmmm, perhaps it would behoove me to sort through these files and relegate the older documents to the basement or rubbish bin?" You would also think it might occur to that same person, or, perhaps, another reasonably sane, perfectly capable and responsible person living nearby, to then take a quick peek into the basement boxes and clear out files old enough to be discarded to make room for the new ones.

But no. What all seemingly-responsible persons in this house do instead is to pile papers into the basket sitting on top of the desk which is supposed to be for papers needing our immediate or continued attention. Our household "in" box, if you will.

I don't want to tell you how high that pile in the basket had gotten to be. It was in serious danger of toppling over and burying a small child beneath its bulk. It was a nasty paper-cut waiting to happen! We hadn't been able to find anything for months!

I suppose it was the advent of tax season that prompted me to take a good, hard look at our filing situation. In our house, tax season begins right after Christmas. The Viking started making his annual tax-related grunts and groans and I knew a good, thorough file cleaning was on my horizon.

So, this past weekend, I decided to bite the bullet and just get it done. I had The Viking haul the boxes from the depths of the dungeon. I checked to see when the good programs were scheduled on PBS and parked my bottom on the couch in front of the tv, leafing, sorting, tossing and labeling. The menfolk were more than happy to dispose of the rubbish pile for me, dancing with glee around the well-supplied, paper-fed bonfire in the back yard. Man-Cub kept running back into the house, breathless, with cheeks and eyes aglow, to ask, "Any more for the burn pile?"

When those boxes were done, I started on the file drawer and repeated the process a second time. Man-Cub was beside himself with delight. Once I'd sorted the new-old stuff into the basement boxes, I decided I'd done enough for one night. There was much disappointment that fire time was over, but the hope that there would be more on the morrow sustained more than one faint heart.

The next day was much the same. There wasn't as much burning, but enough to keep the natives happy and when it was all over, I had nice, thin, sleek files sitting comfortably spaced in the file drawer, equally nice, sleek, amply zoned files in the basement boxes, and a virtually empty "in" box on the desk! What harmony! What serenity! What zen!

Okay, once I again I get a little carried away. But it was a job well done and I felt great that I had done it.

Now if I could just figure out why the rest of the desk looks so dang cluttered and messy, I would feel really good!

Next week? My closet. Specifically, my shoes. I've been putting this task off for about five years. I'm serious. I may need to be medicated for this task.

I'm tired just thinking about it.

Friday, January 23, 2009

So, who's tired of being sick?

I tell you what, I am ready to be over this illness and back into my boring, unglamorous life! Yes, I am!

Today, I finally woke up feeling human again and ready to take on the world. But I was careful to take it easy so I don't throw myself into a relapse like The Viking did. He wasn't careful at all and now he has a full-blown sinus infection that has him blowing his nose constantly and coughing like a consumptive.

We also had a scary incident I thought it might be interesting to mention. Two nights ago I was up with insomnia again and heard rapid footsteps on the floor above me heading from the direction of our bedroom to the bathroom. That was not a good sign. I tiptoed to the bottom of the stairs (The Viking doesn't like me to hover when he's ill) and, sure enough, my poor husband was in there. I waited a moment before moving away from the stairs so he wouldn't know I was listening and then he called out for me. He has never done that before.

I ran up the stairs and found my strong, invincible husband, white as a sheet, lying on his knees with his head on the floor, "we're not worthy" style. The thought of grabbing the phone flashed through my mind but first I decided to assess the situation before being rash. He had woken up feeling nauseated and light-headed and when he ran to the bathroom, he almost fainted. He got down on the floor just in time and called me in to help him in case he did pass out (you know, to make sure he had pants on before the paramedics came).

Thankfully, the paramedics were not needed. He managed to make it downstairs to the couch where I propped up his feet, fixed a close eye on him and began questioning him. Interrogation revealed that he had begun taking a new blood pressure medicine two days before. And in true Viking style, he hadn't bothered reading any of the literature about it. And then he downed 400 mg of ibuprofen. And then chugged about a teaspoon of cough syrup. And then enjoyed a glass of wine after dinner.

I know. I've been after him for years to be more conscientious about his medications. He has been known to pop leftover antibiotics whenever he's feeling a bit off, chug cough syrup indiscriminately and has never paid attention to drug interactions. So I had a hunch when I found him balled up on the bathroom floor.

Turns out it was either the alcohol or the other substances he had taken reacting with the new medication. If he had bothered to check, he would have seen that he should have avoided both alcohol and ibuprofen. Whichever it was, it caused his blood pressure to drop a wee bit too low, hence the faintness and deathly pallor. Thankfully, it wasn't very serious, no one got hurt, and, hopefully, my Viking has learned a valuable lesson. Wasn't that a close call, though?

Do you have any idea how good it felt to be (cautiously) out and about in the world today? I was able to strip and remake my bed, launder two loads of clothes and get myself to my very favorite Mennonite/Amish market today! And I didn't feel like crap when I was done! I do intend to run at least two loads of dishes through the dishwasher and make up a weekly menu tonight, but all in good time, my pretties, all in good time!

As for the weekend, I've got big plans for my desk. More specifically, the overly large piles of paper on my desk. Things have gotten way out of hand and those unsightly, messy piles are going down! I've been meaning to take care of them for months now and I've decided their time has come. Let's hope there's a good line up on PBS for me to watch while I'm organizing! I could go for a good Miss Marple of even a few episodes of Rosemary and Thyme. Of course, there's always my Northern Exposure dvd collection of which I've only scratched the surface.

On that note, I must be off. I scored some plump, cleaned and de-veined shrimp for dinner tonight and need to find a good, easy scampi recipe before it gets any later. And, of course, there's the laundry and the dishes...

So glad to be back in the thick of it all!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Blahs

The blahs continue over here at our Wits' End. Sure, our computer woes have gone, but illness woes have moved right into the woe vacuum left behind.

The Viking is back to work, but I'm still down for the count, sleeping 11 hours each night and 2-3 more each day, lying on the couch too weak to do anything but flick impatiently through the ten channels we get on the tv or play the occasional round of Lego Star Wars. I'm trying a bit of "sit-up" time here at the computer, but I'm getting pretty tired and don't know if I'm going to have the wherewithal to get dressed and put on some makeup to go to Redheaded Snippet's basketball game this afternoon. Of course, if Mom can't drive me there, I won't be able to go at all. I don't think it's a good idea to drive this way.

Did you know that I have the best children in the world? Did I never tell you that? Oh, I know I complain about them a lot, but, really, they are the best. Guess what they did last night? I had fallen asleep on the couch late in the afternoon. I was awakened by The Viking standing over me asking if I didn't feel like I'd been hit by a bus (he knew--he'd been there two days before). When I croaked, "ungh-hugh" (which meant yes) he followed up with, "and did you see what the kids did in the kitchen?" My eyes widened in alarm and I held my breath afraid to ask. I've seen the damage they can inflict on our living spaces in only a few unsupervised hours. But then he smiled. Wait, smiled? Yes, smiled. And not in a wry, "brace yourself, kid," kind of way.

My sweet, selfless, angelic little children had cleaned the kitchen for me. That's right. Cleaned it. They had cleared and wiped down the desk, swept the floor, cleared and wiped down all the counters, and Man-Cub was perched on a stool in front of the sink finishing the dishes and Redheaded Snippet was thumbing through my recipe binder looking for something to make for dinner when The Viking walked in. I was prouder than proud.

But you know what else? Now I know they can do it. They have foolishly shown themselves to be perfectly capable of cleaning the worst room in the house to Grandma's-coming standards with no supervision at all. Not that I would use their selfless act against them in this manner...or would I?

No, really, I was so touched and it helped so much that they had done it. Redheaded Snippet said, "I was bored and getting hungry and I knew Mommy wouldn't be able to make dinner so I decided to clean up and make dinner." Ok, so maybe it wasn't entirely selfless. But I'll take it. And it makes me gladder than ever I started her Domestic Engineering training last summer. [And it's one more point in favor of keeping a binder and making menu plans, right Leila?]

So, I haven't told you all about my sleep study! It I don't know, it was weird. I didn't like it. And I would certainly do things differently if I had to have another one. Like bring my husband with me.

I was given very little information beforehand, just told to bring whatever will help me to sleep as close as possible to the way I usually do. So, I brought my most comfy pjs, my bathrobe, my slippers, a few books, my crossword puzzles, a bedtime snack and bottle of milk and I wore my glasses so I wouldn't have to mess with contacts and cases and saline, blah, blah, blah.

Well, first of all, I was the only woman in the building. The other victim was a man and the two techs were men. Okay, fine. That's fine. There was no lock on my door and a camera on me. Okay...fine. Really, it's fine. They turned the camera away when I had to change and I could have changed in the bathroom (which did have a lock and, to my knowledge, no camera) if I really wanted to. And I suppose they can't have locks on the doors if they need to be in and out of the room to deal with wires and electrodes and whatnot. So, fine. The tech was really chatty and uncomfortably in my personal space. Okay, he has to hook up all these wires and he's going to be watching me sleep all night. Maybe this is a branch of "medicine" where there just isn't much room for personal space, right? But I like my medical personnel to be clinical; impersonal, detached and clinical. Especially if you're going to be doing delicate, potentially humiliating things. This guy was none of those things. I think he was trying to put me at ease, but I almost felt like he was flirting with me. Which is ridiculous because I had absolutely no make-up on, had dry, lank, flyaway hair because I wasn't allowed to have any product whatsoever in it, was wearing my faded, pink, shapeless pajamas with no bra on, and hadn't slept in about 6 days so all told I looked like the wrath of God (I don't know where I got that phrase but I love it). I kind of felt like he thought he was doing me a favor by flirting with me. Which is way worse. It wasn't until halfway through the wiring process that I realized the man was half deaf. So every time I said something, he had to stop what he was doing and literally get in my face and ask, "What?" That was frustrating because it took over and hour to get me wired.

So, this is waaaaay more glamorous than I looked that night, but do you see all the electrodes? And wires? And things in the nose? What you can't see is the two elastic bands around my torso, one above my bosom, one below (which further added to the allure of my unsupported physique), the denture adhesive-like paste gooped into my hair to keep the electrodes bonded to my scalp and the wires running down my shirt and pant legs and taped to my unshaven legs.

Speaking of unshaven legs, I had no idea they would be going anywhere near my legs! So I didn't bother shaving! Well, was I mortified! Not only did the overly chatty tech have to manhandle my legs about as much as a pedicurist with a fetish, but my pant legs were too tight to be drawn up over my tree-trunk calves! No one told me I needed loose-legged pajamas! I was so embarrassed, but I would NOT allow him to cut my pant legs as he was ready to do.

I was also unaware that there would be quite so much touching. If I have to be touched, I like to be warned. I wasn't warned. Wires had to be threaded down my shirt (I had to insist they be directed down the back) and instead of allowing me to put those dang elastic bands around myself, the tech had to do it with my arms raised over my head and his face practically in my chest. Say it with me, uncomfortable. He even hit me in the bosom once. Awkward.

By the time I had the 30th electrode secured and the second wire draped across my upper lip and over my ears, I looked up at the camera and said, "Ok, I'm starting to feel like I'm being Punk'd. Am I being Punk'd?" I would have thought someone would have given me an indication of what I could have expected! Of course, when I said that, the tech, for the umpteenth time, stopped what he was doing and bobbed his face into mine and said, "What?"

Sigh. So then I was led into bed (by a strange man--it felt so weird), hooked up to a fancy machine and told to sleep tight. Yeah right! I couldn't move for fear of tearing electrodes and large chunks of hair off my scalp! And I had that pulse oximeter thing on my finger which had an even shorter wire and prevented me from even turning over without waking up.

So, all night long, I had to wake up in order to turn over. It was exactly like trying to sleep in the hospital, only worse because of all the electrodes. Every which way I turned my head, I could feel the little nubs of them all over my head. Just like sleeping with curlers in when I was kid.

The tech had to wake me up at 5:30 am so we had enough time to detach everything and get me home in time to get the kids off to school. I'd slept a total of 5 fitful hours, having woke up at least 4 times to turn over, had a sore shoulder and aching head and hadn't brushed my teeth yet, and still he was Mr. Chatty. He kept acting like I had no sleep issues whatsoever and he couldn't believe what on earth I needed a sleep study for. He kept telling me how well I had slept. I wanted to bop him one. And once those wires were off, I changed and packed up as fast as I could. I could not get out of there fast enough.

And now I wait for the doctor to call with the report. I'm crossing my fingers that the test was conclusive and I don't have to go back there again. If I do, I may ask if there are any female techs and ask for an appointment with one of them. Or I really am going to take The Viking with me. And I'm shaving my legs!

So there you have it. All the gory details. And now if you ever have to get a sleep study done, you'll know a bit of what to expect.

And that's all I have energy for today. I'm so tired and dizzy I don't even know how to tie this up in a nice neat package. I'm off to lie on the couch under my Scottish wool blanket in front of the space heater. Maybe I'll pop in a dvd and take a nap...

Monday, January 19, 2009

I'm Baa-aack! Again. I think.

I'm kind of afraid to jinx things, but I think I'm back. The Viking came in from the kitchen (where the computer is), looking like he'd spent the last 28 hours out in the barn helping Essie safely deliver a foal. "Everything's safe," he gasped, before removing his suspenders from his shoulders and sinking into his favorite chair, mopping his face with his big, red, spotted handkerchief.

Okay, I'm getting a little carried away. But he did plod into the living room and declare the computer to be finally safe and then plop into the recliner. Well, he thinks it's safe, anyway. He has done all he can, it's just up to Providence now. I have had a few restrictions gently but firmly placed on me, but as long as I follow them, things should be okay. Now we just have to worry about Redheaded Snippet toeing the line...

I hope to be back in top blog form soon. But not yet. You see, I've gotten sick just in time for my Triumphant Return. The Viking battled the war raging inside his sinuses and throat all weekend, and then, kindly, in the spirit of sharing everything with the bride of his youth, passed it on to me. I guess I should have been a little smarter and stayed away from my husband while he was sick. But he's just so cuddly and cute! Especially when he's sick and needs me!

So, I've got a sore throat, a scratchy voice, chest congestion, a yucky cough, my head feels like it's full of water sloshing all around in there, and I've got a fever off and on. Great fun. But at least the kids have off from school so I can make them wait on me and just rest on the couch.

One good thing about this illness? I don't have insomnia anymore! I slept most of the day away yesterday, and then did the same thing at bedtime! I actually slept at night! When the rest of the household did! Thank you NyQuil! I wonder if it would be habit-forming if I took it all the time...

Right. I'm off to convalesce on the couch. Redheaded Snippet is waiting with bated breath to get her grubby little hands on the computer and Man-Cub is wanting me to play Lego Star Wars with him. I know the time is coming all too soon when he won't ask me to play with him anymore, so I'm taking advantage of it while I can.

Be back when I've recovered...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

This really sucks

Oh this computer situation is getting me really cranky!

STILL no resolution for my poor computer. The Viking has been making progress, but is now laid up himself with an upper respiratory infection. So, he's sacked out on the couch looking peaked. Sigh.

Stealing a few minutes here and there on the laptop is hardly any compensation at all. I can't take the time to edit or polish and I really hate just dashing off quick posts and leaving them for all the world to see. It makes me uncomfortably squirmy. I like to take my time, re-write, re-fashion and hit "publish" when I'm reasonably satisfied with it. But who has time for that with a rapidly draining battery?

I'm also missing reading all my favorite blogs! There just isn't enough time and I'm getting so far behind! Just know as soon as I can get back, I will take a good, long, luxurious slump in front of the computer and catch up on everything I've missed! Hopefully it won't be too much longer!

I've been getting myself caught up on my overdue doctor's visits in the past few days. I even went for a sleep study to rule out sleep apnea (doesn't look like I have it). Let me tell you, a report on my sleep study could take up an entire blog post just by itself! What a strange experience--and not an altogether pleasant one. There was lots of touching, I was clad only in my pajamas and there wasn't a single other woman in the building. It was icky. Nothing inappropriate happened, but it was still icky.

Well, there goes my battery warning so I'd better log off. DANG IT! Looks like that's it for me for the weekend. Maybe Monday night I'll get another shot at a fully charged lap top.

Until then, I am sorry this blog has become so dry and boring!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Ok, The Viking has been bringing his laptop home so I can get my bloggy fix (dear man) but the power cord isn't working which means I get an undetermined but always woefully inadequate amount of time in which to type furiously until it all goes black.

Deep breath aaaaaaaaaaaaaand.............plunge!

So, we took our sorry-looking dried-up, bristly, fire-hazard of a woebegone Christmas tree down. It did not go peacefully, retaliating by flinging its needles all over everything within a 5-foot radius. I'm sure the piano will never fully recover. We inadvertently left the tree skirt out, though, and I'm sure Nutmeg has been sleeping on it, the bitch (see, I mean that literally, cause she's a female dog, get it? I'm not really being vulgar--and don't bother to point out that she's not technically a bitch, Daria, I don't care)! That means Christmas is really over, even though the lights are still up.

Am still waiting for the snow that tease of a weatherman promised us. Don't even get me started. Rain in January is just insulting.

Man-Cub has been like an entirely different boy and all it took was for his parents to stop spoiling him and make him mind. How on earth I didn't see it sooner, I'll never know, but I'm glad we didn't waste any more time than we did! He has turned into such a delight and the whole household has been so much more peaceful! Thanks again, Daria, for having the courage and caring enough to speak the truth in love.

Basketball season is in full swing and taking over our lives. But Redheaded Snippet is playing so well we hardly mind it. It's so much fun to watch her!

I guess that's really all I have to report, if I'm to continue being succinct. Yes, those paragraphs up there are me being succinct. It's the best I can do. Of course, I have loads more I could write about, but it really needs to wait until I have a good, long, luxurious amount of time. But here's a hint: I'm thinking of starting an off-shoot diet and weight-loss blog. Now, don't roll your eyes, I think it sounds dead boring, too. But I have no choice but to embark on the most difficult, treacherous, perilous journey of my life and I suspect keeping a chronicle of the adventures, dangers, triumphs and disasters along the way could prove to be not only an effective means of keeping myself on course, but also a source of information, commiseration, warning or even entertainment for others. So keep your eyes open. After I'm back online in full force, that is.

Well, it's that time. I must go clean the kitchen and finish the day's laundry, maybe even getting a jump start on tomorrow's. Until next time, whenever that shall be (sob)...

Thursday, January 08, 2009


Well, I've really done it this time! It seems I have killed our computer. I was a fool and ignored my much wiser and more experienced husband's warnings and downloaded something I wasn't sure about. Sure enough, we got a virus! The computer won't cooperate at all and my poor Viking has spent the past three evenings scanning and sorting and scanning again to clean up after my giant mess. And has he spoken one word of reproach about it? Not a one. And I so richly deserve it! It would be so easy and so understandable if he even sighed a quiet but tender, "I told you so," but he hasn't. He is instead displaying a patience that seems everlasting when it comes to me and my foolish ways. I love that man.

So, I can only steal a few moments on The Viking's laptop which he has kindly brought home from work. And as I am not sure how long the battery will last on this thing (the power cord is temperamental at best), I may have just that, a few moments.

Suffice it to say, I will not be posting much over the next few days. Goodness, it might even be the next few weeks depending on the extent of the damage I hath wrought! I hope it's not a few weeks! But it will just serve me right if it is...even a few weeks blog withdrawal is not sufficient penance for my folly.

Just wanted to explain my silence. I have not gone away, I am not brooding in somber despair. I'm just a cotton-headed ninny muggins.

Hope to get caught up soon!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Happy New Year (sheesh this is long)

Yes, I realize it's not even January 1 anymore, but I liked this little graphic so much I decided to use it anyway.

Happy New Year! Another year gone. The older I get, the more bittersweet the passage of each year becomes. Another year of my children's precious childhood has slipped away, never to be recaptured. Another year of missed opportunities, of chances not taken, of friendships taken for granted, dreams not pursued. Crikey, that's gloomy! What is my problem?

Of course, it's also the dawn of a new day. If, as Anne Shirley said, tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it, think of the lush possibilities in the new year! A new year in which to make a fresh start, to right past wrongs, to avoid new ones, to strengthen friendships and make memories, to enjoy and savor and live purposely. There's something rejuvenating about the prospects of brand-new beginnings.

The Viking and I, after cracking open a bottle of Lobelia's deadly good and strong homemade cranberry vodka for a New Year's Toast, had an impromptu assessment talk on New Year's Day. We discussed the children, where their lives are going, where we'd like to see them go, what we'd like to see them do. Redheaded Snippet is doing remarkably well for a neophyte teenager and is everything we had ever hoped she'd be when she was born. I keep waiting for that morning to dawn when I will have to resist the urge to chloroform her and lock her in her room for the next 5 years or so, but as of yet, she is truly a delight each and every day (with moments of stroppiness sprinkled in here and there, of course). Man-Cub, however, is still in his formative stages and is in need of some judicious sanding and chiseling. We fear we've rather spoiled him, despite our best efforts to the contrary, and are having now to make up for our failures in order to keep him from becoming the World's Biggest Brat and Future Prat. Don't get me wrong, we love him desperately, but we've been doing him a definite disservice letting him behave the way we have. The new year is a good time for a change.

We also talked about our hopes and dreams for ourselves, for us as a couple, as a family. We talked about habits, finances, diets, you name it. It was good to reconnect on that kind of level, to do the kind of talking we used to do all the time when we were dating. And, of course, we discussed resolutions, or as Man-Cub calls them, revolutions, which I think is actually a better term.

My New Year's Revolutions involve mostly housework. I resolve (sadly, Man-Cub's terminology does not work in verb form) to make sure the kitchen is clean every night before I go to bed and to have my chores done each day before I sit down at the computer. Whew, those are toughies! I tell you, the only thing I feel like doing when the truck pulls out of the driveway at 8:00 every weekday morning with its precious cargo is plop down at the computer with a steaming cup of tea and just eeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaase into my day. But no more! I have to remind myself how much better it will be to sit with that nice hot cuppa knowing the beds are made, clothes are washing and the house is tidied! I sure hope it works!

I also resolve to call those friends I've been neglecting for various, but stupid, reasons. There is one woman I was supposed to call months ago-months! I don't see her very often, but when I do, she always eagerly asks for a time when we can get together and I, being the neurotic mess that I am and finding reasons to be suspicious of her eagerness (like, what, a perfectly nice and funny person can't simply be interested in getting to know me better because maybe she likes my company?), I have put off calling her. And then, I literally lost her number. Twice. I swear I did not do it accidentally on purpose. So now she thinks I hate her guts. But I'm getting her number somehow and telling her flat-out what a dork I am and seeing if she still wants to get together for coffee then.

Another friend has been going through a rough time and I've been giving her space, only now I'm worried maybe I've given her too much and she thinks I simply don't care anymore. That cannot be. It's not true and I cannot abide even the possibility of her thinking that. So I'm calling her too.

Then there's the one from whom I was slightly estranged over matters completely out of either of our control. She made motions of reconciliation a while back and I have just been too paralyzed by fear to respond. I am such a doofus, it's amazing I have any friends at all. She's next on my list.

Then there's the doctor visits I have to schedule, the bookkeeping and financial matters I have to resolve, and the piano lessons I planned to start after the Holidays. All of those things need attention and now is the perfect time to tackle them head-on, don't you think?

Sigh. So, my new year looks somewhat full already. Not to mention Dharma is ready to have her baby momentarily and we're looking at a trip to Chicago somewhere in the near future, Redheaded Snippet starts her indoor field hockey league, basketball season winds back up in earnest now that Christmas is over, and Man-Cub's birthday is a mere two months away, as he was so kind to remind me just recently.

So, now here I am at the end of another long post and I've shared nothing about Christmas! Let's see if I can do this succinctly; it'll be a challenge, but I think I can do it...

Christmas dinner was sublime, in spite of being Thanksgiving Dinner Redux. Of course, the fact that our appetites were whetted by dinner being delayed an entire hour due to a gross miscalculation on my part of the number of eggs necessary for producing said meal resulting in The Viking having to forage into the far reaches of the kingdom for another dozen may have helped the food taste better. I know, how could I be off by a dozen, right? Martha Stewart would have had me flayed alive with a microplane zester for such an infraction, but I only had to suffer a few moments' panic until The Viking shook me back to my senses and everything proceeded as normal (only an hour late).

The children got a few of their hearts' desires this year, or at least close facsimiles thereof.

Redheaded Snippet got Emu boots from Santa and has, I think, found a way to permanently attach them to her feet. She scuffs around the house in them from morning to night. She wanted Uggs, but as we cannot afford to spend upwards of $200 for a pair of boots for a child (and wouldn't even if we could), we opted for the much more affordable and nearly identical Emus.

She also got an iPod (used, from her Gram and Grampa), a beautiful silver cross pendant from Man-Cub (he picked it out himself, the darling), a Juicy Couture pendant from one of The Viking's spinster aunts (she said got it on Canal Street in Manhattan so it's either counterfeit or hot--totally hilarious if you know his aunt), a lovely, warm, and soft scarf, mittens and hat set from Abercrombie from Lobelia and Lenny, a new Nancy Drew PC game from Daria, three new novels (Murder at the Vicarage, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and Edgar Allan Poe's Tales of Suspense) from Dharma and Vance,

and Boogie for Wii from The Viking's parents.

Man-Cub's booty included a GI Joe tank and action figure from Dharma and Vance, a Spy Kit, Robinson Crusoe, and The Prince and The Pauper from Gram and Grampa, a lightsaber (green of course) and small "talking" R2D2 from Redheaded Snippet, some kind of Legoesque robot that turns into a ball thing that I can't even begin to understand from Daria (he gets it and loves it),

Batman wings and a mask (the wings actually unfurl at the touch of a button with a 4-foot wingspan, pretty darn cool) from Santa,

some kind of Nerf Batman gun also from Santa (I'm wondering if Santa hates me),

a menacing-looking Nerf assault rifle complete with rapid-fire action and laser sight from Lobelia and Lenny (Lenny bought himself one as well for proper shoot-outs), and the Nerf N-Strike bundle for Wii from The Viking's parents. It was a very Nerfy Christmas.

But, in my opinion, the second best thing the kids got for Christmas was this:

Do you not already know about our Clue obsession? We love the movie, love the game, we play it all the time with an old board that was mine and my sisters when we were growing up. It's covered with at least 20-years'-worth of graffiti that we just keep adding to and Dharma, Daria and Lobelia had to make new cards and pieces as the originals were lost long ago, but that just adds to the fun. And I think our love for Harry Potter has been well-documented so when I saw this game sitting innocently enough on a shelf at Walmart last month, well, really I was powerless against forces beyond my understanding.

But the best gift for the children by far was the surprise arrival of Daria just before we all sat down to dinner! Mom had flown out to Chicago to spend Christmas morning with Dharma, Vance, and Baby Bee (who I'm going to start calling Bitsy from now on as she is a baby no longer and has a baby sister on the way) and was able to fly back Christmas Day in time for dinner at our house. However, unbeknownst to the children, she brought Daria with her. We managed to sneak her into the house right under their noses so they didn't see her until she was standing in the middle of the living room with her hands over Man-Cub's eyes. Redheaded Snippet saw her first (obviously, as Man-Cub's eyes were covered, duh) and though she didn't make a sound lest she give it away, her face was priceless. Man-Cub guessed right off it was Daria and literally threw himself into her arms as he burst into tears. It was such a Hallmark Moment. Or a Folgers Moment, remember those sappy Christmas morning surprise commercials in the '80's?

We had a blissful six days with Daria before she had to go back to Chicago. We sat around in our pajamas, ate scones, ate pie, ate leftovers, played games, behaved silly, talked, laughed, cried and went without sleep in order to squeeze in every moment together we could. It was the best gift the kids could possibly have gotten, one I don't think they will forget.

The Viking and I didn't make out too badly either. The children were able to buy The Viking a new watch, completely surprising him, Man-Cub bought him a keychain with a little flask on it, and Lobelia gave him a hamper of bottles of homemade ginger beer, the cranberry vodka mentioned above, and limoncello. We do Secret Santas in my family, as few of us has much money and there are getting to be a lot of us, and Lobelia had The Viking this year. He was thrilled and we are already enjoying having such treats to keep in our pantry!

Man-Cub got me a very cute jewelry set including heart-shaped earrings, necklace and brooch and Redheaded Snippet got me this hat from Victorian Trading Co that I've been wanting for years, the Jane Austen:

Sadly, the hat is a much different color in real life than it is in either this photo or that in the catalog and I'm afraid it won't go with my charcoal grey wool coat at all. Besides, it's too small and I'm sure it will give me headaches. So it's going back. And I think I may get this one instead:

Or perhaps this one, though it vexes me greatly that there is no photo of the front of it:

Now, though The Viking and I were not supposed to exchange gifts this year, he got me this:

And this:

Two of my all-time favorite tv shows. I had mentioned once that I would love these on dvd and he heard me and remembered! I was so surprised and cannot wait for a nice long dvd marathon!

Finally, my Secret Santa, my dad, got me a remote starter for my car! Can you believe it? Whether it's 29 or 92 degrees outside, I can start my car from the perfectly climate-controlled interior of my home, grocery store or church and have the car warmed up/cooled down by the time I'm ready to venture into it with just the touch of a button! No more shivering while waiting for the heat to warm up or blistering my hands on the red-hot steering wheel! It's the coolest thing! Quite literally, come Summer, Ha! The Viking is installing it tomorrow and I just can't wait.

Well, I suppose that about covers Christmas. We have spent the remainder of our Holiday lying around, fulfilling as few obligations as possible, spending time together, enjoying the company of loved ones, playing with new toys and gadgets, and eating completely unhealthy food! It has been quite the vacation.

I hope you and yours have enjoyed your time off from the world as much as we have. Our Twelve Days of Rest are coming to an end and all too soon we'll be back to the demands of work and school and alarm clocks and papers to be signed, but for now, I'm still reveling in the relaxation. May you find a few more stolen moments as well!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Dear Anonymous:

If you're going to call my daughter a shameful tart, you could at least have the courage to identify yourself instead of hurling insults from the shadows.