Wednesday, April 16, 2014

And Not To Yield.

...Even when good sense and everything that is good & holy suggests you should…

Everything that is good & holy:

It was a long cold winter here in Flyover Country and my running slowed & shrank to the point where I missed the March and April races I'd planned to run.  But spring has wrought its magical and I've been trying to get off the treadmill and outside occasionally, to breath actual air made with oxygen and pollen instead of mold spores from my basement.

I went on a "long" (relatively speaking, see above) run on Sunday.  It was raining when I first woke up so I hit snooze, but the sun was out by the next buzzer and the possibility that the early rain may have foretold more rain never occurred to me.  You can take a girl out of Cali but apparently can't take the Cali out of me.  The rest of the day was booked so if I didn't go then I wasn't going at all and we have Easter chocolate here that needs to be eaten.  This is the type of Life Balance I strive for.

Many, many years ago I bought Matt a book by a test pilot for the Air Force during WWII.  They traveled the globe looking for the most exciting weather to fly thru - they tried the Andes, the Rockies, and Alaskan glaciers.  They ended up here in the Midwest.

By way of example, it was 70-ish degrees Sunday afternoon.  On Monday it snowed.
Last stand
About a mile into my loop I heard thunder rumbling and saw a wall of black clouds approaching, but figured I had some time.  I wasn't really running that far.

At about mile 2 it started sprinkling.

Right at the half way point, the sky opened up and not only were there buckets of water being shot thru an air cannon at me, the thunder was drowning out my music and the lightening was close enough to have elicited squeals from the kids.  [Who were, lest there be confusion, safe at home].

This was taken later on my way to work.  Pretend it's darker & more ominous.  

I thought about ducking into a store and calling Matt but he would've had to drag the kids out into the storm in their PJs and, frankly, I would have never heard the end of it.  He delights in telling me about every runner who's ever dropped dead of a heart attack and cackles over the potential life insurance pay out (he does this is the nicest way possible though, I assure you).

And I really, really wanted to finish my run.  Having wimped out all winter I needed to earn back my tough girl stripes.  It's just a squall, it'll pass.  But then again, I was a prime target with my cell phone sending out little electronic invitations to the clouds, and wouldn't that just be the most asinine way to die?  "Woman Willfully Ignores Massive Lightening Storm, leaves behind 2 children.  Donations in lieu of flowers can be sent to…"  (Screw that, btw, I want flowers.  LOTS of flowers.)

But then again, I am rather well insured.  Matt could add music & hippo-therapy to The Girl's schedule, buy her All the Pretty Dresses, fund The Boy's college and his robot-lego-geeky-budding chef camps, and the cars really do need to be replaced.  He could even fix the Mariana Trench this beast created in our back yard:

Look at me, sacrificing for my family!  But no one will ever love this pain-in-the-ass dog the way I do.  Nor remember to charge The Girl's iPad every night.  Nor let The Boy run amuck with his various "experiments," destroying the house & kitchen in the process.  

Maybe I should stop & call?  After all, we've already been hit by a tornado.  Twice (sorta).  When pregnant with The Girl I had a negative quad-screen and THREE negative level II ultrasounds, with nary a whisper of an extra anything.  She's also the 10% of the 10% of the 10% that had to have her strabismus re-repaired.  And, of course, there is the freakish bit of bad luck that caused us to lose Brennan.

If anyone is going to be hit by lightening, it'll be me.

But then again…. The odds of all that happening AND getting hit by lightening?  Infinitesimal.  Even if I were hit, Matt would have one hell of a story.  He could sell movie rights!  Retire!  Move back to earthquake country!

Even better - on the off chance I survived a lightening strike, I'd have the most awesome blog post EVER.

That's how much I love you guys - I'm willing to risk six weeks off work streaming Netflix while someone else does the dishes  recuperating in a hospital room just to bring you a good story.

Alas, I was not hit by lightening.  But I did finish my run, got to eat candy, and considered the possibility that the universe may not be out to get me after all, so… win, right?

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Very Best Kind of Homecoming

On Wednesday The Girl was crying so much I finally to put her to bed at the unholy hour of 6:30.  And, to my great concern, she went to sleep immediately without complaint.  Passed out, really.

Clearly she was sick, right?  I was sure she'd be up puking at 3am but she actually just snuck in my bed around 4 and ground her teeth next to my ear until I stopped pretending to sleep.  But she was chipper & ate so off to school she went. 

Last night I picked her & The Boy up after work and headed to the store for a lovely rotisserie chicken & maybe some fancy foccacia or garlic sourdough.  Maybe a bag o'salad.  Did I mention Matt has been out of town again?  Cooking during these times is a luxury my sanity cannot afford.    

She was asleep in the back seat before we left the gas station.  Are they making her run laps at school?  What the hell?  [It will surprise none of you that fatigue without other symptoms immediately set off a tsunami of alarms.  The fact that I did not call the ped and immediately demand a blood draw yesterday is, I believe, a sign of my good mental health and maturity.  Well... that and it was after hours.]

So in lieu of a happy organic chicken raised on love & hand fed oats, humanely slaughtered after a simple prayer to the great poultry god, & slow roasted over an open flame of sustainably harvested hardwood, we hit the KFC drive thru.  

Oh, yes.  We did.  Because we'd had McD's the night before and nutritional variety is important.  

But there are some things that will just never taste as good as they did when you were 6:  bright orange mac & cheese, IHOP, ice cream drumsticks, and -turns out- KFC.  

The Boy, however, is not yet legally at the age of reason and practically licked his plate. 

Two hours later?  Puke.  From the "healthy" one.   

You know what we're out of?  Paper towels.  At least he hit the toilet….  mostly. 

Sadly for him, Matt had in the interim landed and made it back home - just in time to fetch a huge bowl and a trash bag.  Welcome home!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Mental Health Day

Yesterday I thought about taking today off but then remembered the three reports I have to finish by yesterday and decided against.  But by mid-morning today I felt like I'd had 2 pots of coffee and, while I don't technically have a history of anxiety, I was pretty sure that's what a panic attack feels like.

Did I buckle down and crank thru my work?  Ha!  No. 

Did I take compromise with a half day, go home, and efficiently fold laundry while watching old West Wing episodes?  No, I did not.  

I abruptly left and went to the very first movie starting, which turned out to be Noah.  Nothing like the annihilation of all living things to really put things in perspective, eh?  It was fine.  As infrequently as I get out, it was glorious.  I was in a dark theatre with a large medium sized bag of popcorn (old age is a bitch) and there were no talking animals or cartoons on the screen.  (No offense Kermit, you know I love you).

Oh, wait.  Except there were large stone monsters.  Er, "watchers".  I skipped Sunday school but later checked with Matt who assured me there were no rock Transformers in the Old Testament.  That's ok, what's a little creative license with the most quoted written work in Western civilization?  

It also got a little heavy at the end, what with all the genocide - and then he nearly killed the babies too (WTF?) but I was Alone!  For two hours! With popcorn!  I was happy.  (That sounds pretty bad, doesn't it?) 

I was also happy because I don't get good FB material that often, what with all the report writing & laundry hereabouts: 

I went home four hours further behind at work, a small car payment poorer, and the laundry still isn't done but I feel fabulous.  I can totally rock this working mom thing!  Sometimes, apparently, by not working.  

Query, and Friends over Forty

Would be weird if I actually befriended The Girl’s SpEd teacher?   Like not just “friendly,” but meet for coffee after hours?  She really is awesome and is one of those rare, rare people who seems to like me too, and I think she just accepted my casual invite/bribe to chat about ESY.  At Panera.  On Tuesday.  

It IS, however, entirely possible she just likes free coffee.   

I hit it off with one of The Boy’s teachers a couple years but she got weird when I invited her to a bunco group (Bunco, for the uninitiated, is the mid-west's excuse for a bunch of SAHMs to get together and drink too much.  There is occasionally dice involved.)  In retrospect she had good instincts, since I dropped out shortly thereafter myself.  If you can’t click with anyone over a bottle or two of wine there is no hope.  These are not the people you're looking for. 

I'm sure I was mostly to blame since I'm never at my most adorable when confronting large and less than warm groups of people I don't know, so no fault of theirs for not finding me fabulous, but it just wasn't happening.  Even with the wine.  Did I mention the wine?  It didn't help.  

Ever since I’ve had it in my head that the social mingling of parents & school staff is frowned upon.  It probably is.  The potential conflicts could be legion.  Especially if you spend a little time with them and then decide you don't care for them that much after all?  Have you ever hit it off with a mom and tried to  expand into a couples' dinner and then you find out the couple bicker all night and/or over-share their bedroom fetishes?  


But still.  Making friends as a grown up is hard, especially for the socially awkward an introvert.  I have been blessed by several very dear friends and made more than I could've hoped for through this space.  (Most of whom I'm excited to see this summer at the NDSC conference!  Whoot!)

But as loved as I feel in general I don't think I can say I'm not hiring - any good company will snatch up quality people, independent of staffing levels, right?  


I guess I'm getting coffee on Tuesday!?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

On time & healing.

Brennan would have been 10 years old today.  A full decade has passed and I don't know if it's a tribute to my busy days or perhaps actual healing but I didn't think about it until Thursday afternoon, April 3rd, when I was staring at my calendar trying to sort out weekend plans.  Used to be I'd take April 4th, 5th, and 6th off because I couldn't stand to be around people who weren't rending their garments and wailing but I haven't for two or three (?) years now.  Vacation time is precious.  I'd stopped making The Saddest Cake even a couple years before that (more out of deference to my slowing metabolism & the scale but it counts, dammit).

Nor do I get agitated when people ask me how many children I have.  I say two and there's a little part of me that still waits for the adrenaline but my body has stopped reacting.

I am, however, having increasing difficulty remembering how old my two are.  I was in the middle of something at work a bit ago and exchanging pleasantries with someone on the phone when it came up.  I may or may not have mentioned fictional children two years younger than the actual ones residing in my  home.  Not ghost children, just a freak glitch in the time space continuum.  Someone should call Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

For the record, The Boy is finishing third grade and going into fourth.  FOURTH GRADE.  He'll be turning NINE years old next month, an astounding fact which I still feel compelled to fact check with him.  He plays outside unsupervised, googles rocket building, and cringes when I sing in the car.  Thirty seconds from now he'll be double digits and tomorrow morning he may just move out and go off to college.

We watch Cosmos together Sunday nights, he is obsessed with Minecraft, we finished Harry Potter and have moved on to Percy Jackson, and in addition to rocket building he's taken up cooking.  Today he made pancakes for breakfast and then a chocolate cake.  Yes, I know ladies, please restrain your daughters.

The Girl will be turning SIX this summer.  I still feel new to this special needs world but perversely I hardly ever think about her as having a disability.  She is funny, adorable, demanding, and woe to the poor soul that comes between her and -depending on the day- her Mickey, Sofia, or Doc McStuffins.

I think she's going to be effectively non-verbal and I suspect there will be many future soul crushing moments on the playground but she communicates just fine with me at home with ASL and her teachers rave about how fast she's picking up her speech app.  She acts out stories and tells me jokes and while not the norm, it works.  Her "where are your glasses?" routine, by the way, is hys-TER-ical.

We go on walks, have tea parties, and "go to the store" up and down the hallway and thru the kitchen on her tricycle, which she's somehow outgrown.  She's become obsessed with "pretty dresses" (I blame Princess Sofia) and rather particular about which ones are up to her standards. She insists on two books at bedtime, unless they are Sandra Boynton in which case she wants three.  When I come back from running she tries to clean me up with baby wipes.

Y'all are catching me on a good day.  The thing is I did give birth to three children and every now and then I wonder what Brennan thinks of the giggles and snuggles down here.  I hope he's in a good place.   I think we are.