Tuesday, February 23, 2010

people I'm totally judging but trying to pretend not to judge

1. Scene: At the grocery store, trying to manage one of those massive carts with the child-friendly automobiles attached to the front of them. Do you know which ones I'm talking about? They are like 15 feet long and difficult to maneuver, but the kids love them with a burning passion.

My cart was particularly loaded up with groceries and I am trying to wrestle it through the aisles. Anyway, I ended up ACCIDENTALLY bumping into the back of this elderly woman's leg as I'm trying to get into the cashier aisle. But seriously, it was a GENTLE BUMP. Regardless, I was MORTIFIED and apologized approximately 17 times (not exaggerating), and she huffed and puffed and REFUSED TO LOOK AT ME OR ACCEPT MY APOLOGY. It was to the point that I actually gave her a minute, and then again walked around the cart to try to touch her arm and apologize again, sincerely, and she turned her back to me. And then when I went around to her other side, she turned her back to me again. And then did it a third time and she kept turning her head to avoid making eye contact. I had no idea what to do because I felt super guilty, but at the same time, I was pretty pissed because HELLO! It was an accident! I'm saying sorry and being sincere about it and you are being so rude! I actually switched to the aisle next to hers where she would have to look at me and kept watching her and she spent the majority of time paying with her back partially to the cashier just so she wouldn't have to acknowledge me. Wow.

2. Scene: At a playdate sponsored by our town's mother's group.

I'm chatting with a woman in our new neighborhood, and discovering all these things we have in common. Ages of kids, home towns, backgrounds, and I'm getting excited that we can hang out! Have playdates! New friends! Anyway, at one point I comment on how much hair her daughter has, because seriously, she has as much hair as me and she is only a couple of months older than Josie (who has NO HAIR). The mom starts saying that her daughter was born with this much hair, and she has to do it every day, and then she says, "Yes, she sleeps with hot rollers every night." I was totally confused at this point, because, um, what? I thought maybe she was referring to herself and I misunderstood, but further conversation confirmed that yes, it is indeed the 17 month old who sleeps with hot rollers every night. All night long. The explanation is because "her hair is too flat and limp and needs shape." Oh, okay.

3. Scene: Playdate at a girlfriend's house.

I have this girlfriend (whom I generally love) and she often makes comments about how her hair is sooooo straight and lacks body and how she can't do anything with it. Often in these same conversations, she will sort of indirectly criticize my hair, but in this strange way where I'm often left wondering if she is trying to compliment me and it is coming off badly, or whether she really is criticizing it. The thing is, I don't have many complaints about my hair (except for horrible haircuts, of which I've had a few). It is easy to care for, generally does what I want it to, and I think it is fairly nice. I wouldn't trade my hair with too many people, let's put it that way.

So the other day, she is again commenting on her hair and how it is so straight and so she doesn't bother to do anything with it and doesn't even dry it or anything, it always looks like this (and by the way, her hair always looks perfect, not too dissimilar from Jennifer Aniston, for example). A few minutes later, she offers to show me her something in her bedroom and we run upstairs and I happen to peek into her master bath and see, sitting on the counter, HER HAIR DRYER AND STRAIGHT IRON PLUGGED IN AND SEVERAL PRODUCTS lying out on the counter. Why? Why would you voluntarily lie about this?

p.s.- I'm loving the idea of this positive reinforcement chart thing. I keep throwing around the idea, but couldn't figure out how to put it into action. I'm a concrete person and I kept wondering how many stars/stickers, how many opportunities should I offer, how do I decide what to reward him for, etc. This is my type-a personality shining through, huh?

p.p.s.- I actually laughed about the idea of Gabe being out of control. He is not out of control, but he is three and very active and testing. I mentioned to his teachers and a couple of friends my complaints and they all laughed because he is exceedingly easy and compliant the vast majority of the time. But when he is a three year old, phew, he likes to shine in his misbehavior. We had his parent-teacher conference this morning and they said he is fabulous. Shocking to me, but whatever. I'll take good news when I can get it.

maybe electric shock collars would work


Okay, it's out there. I said it.

Whooooo boy. I am either going to run away from home, start drinking, or lose my everloving mind. And soon.

Gabe is on a three year old rampage. On Friday afternoon he spit at me, got sent to time out, took off his clothes, and peed on the time out step. I'm not even going to tell you what I did, and what I really wanted to do, but suffice to say, I really and truly feared for his well-being. That is how angry I was.

Josie is teething multiple teeth complete with blood blisters on her gums. She is a non-sleeping, screaming all the time, demanding to be catered to, utter disaster of a child. A lunatic who runs head first into everything and will not be contained.

And Josh is away on a business trip.

I have been humbled, and I am exhausted, and I put the children down at night and then come downstairs and try to calm the anger that has been building throughout the day while I am endlessly patient and understanding and loving.

I gave the ultimate punishment to Gabe tonight and he went to bed without his pacifiers. Josh actually gasped when I called to tell him. Punishment courtesy of him asking to take down his "special" toys, the train and semi-truck we bought for him in Prague at an outdoor market from a hand carving toy stand, where I spent hours poring over the toys and picking out the perfect toy for him and his future siblings. After playing with both toys for 10 minutes, he stomped on the train and broke off the wooden hand carved wheels, and then walked over and stomped on the semi-truck and broke the wooden HAND CARVED platform where the cars are carried.

I could cry, I'm so angry. I know they are just toys, and obviously we have our health and our home and everything is good and happy and all that, but WHAT THE FUCK? I am at a loss. I'm so tired and frustrated and angry and I don't know what to do anymore. I am stern, I am strict, I have firm limits. I am positive and happy and kind to my children and I model good behavior, and still. STILL.

I need a vacation. Or a valium.

Monday, February 22, 2010

down the drain

And just when we thought it couldn't get worse, the downstairs toilet backed up AGAIN on Sunday night. Then AGAIN on Monday morning.

Poop. Toilet paper. All over the floor. BLERGH.

I'm still traumatized. I'm also still gagging, even though my saintly husband took most of the heavy lifting (i.e. picking up poop and scrubbing black stuff off the floor).

The plumber came by again and started spouting off about what the possible causes might be- tree roots in the pipes, uneven pipes, bends in the pipes, sediment resulting from a year of the house sitting empty, etc. I started sweating when he suggested we might need to EXCAVATE the basement and front yard to replace the pipes throughout the house.

And then, he pulled out a toy. One of Gabe's toys, and I instantly recalled a moment a few days beforehand when Gabe had informed me that the stick man went bye-bye in the toilet. We had a long talk at the time about not flushing things, but I didn't honestly believe he'd flushed a toy. Until now.

We had another loooonnngggg and stern talk about not flushing things, and he is now on lockdown when it comes to the bathroom. He is allowed to go in by himself, but he does not flush until I come look at the toilet.

Thankfully, it has been a week and we've had no more backing up issues (knocking on wood) and I'm praying the toy is the real source of our problem, and not any of those other major issues the plumber suggested.

$1000 later, though, and my dreams of sending Gabe to a couple of days of summer camp per week are down the drain (literally). It looks like I'll be looking for lots of free or next to free activities for kiddos. Ideas? I'm still saving pennies for a swing set, so I'm hoping I'll at least be able to throw them out back and sip margaritas from a lawn chair.

Hey, a girl can dream, can't she?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I never did get my bacon

We were walking out the door yesterday to attend our weekend breakfast tradition, and I stopped by the laundry room (which also contains a half bathroom) to grab a chocolate milk for Gabe. I walked through the door and was smacked in the face with a stench unlike anything I have experienced in the past. For a moment, I wondered what Josh might have thrown in the garbage, or what might be rotting in the extra fridge, and as I turned I got a glimpse of hell.

The downstairs toilet was overflowing all over the laundry room floor, and there was black stuff, and toilet paper, and TONS OF POOP. Everywhere. We never use that half bath, and this was way more poop than our little family could have produced, and the overflowing wasn't stopping.

So I did what any rational person would do- I started screaming.

Josh came rushing into the room and stopped dead in his tracks when he saw the mess. We both stood there for several moments in silence, and I swear to you, I thought about moving out of the house and leaving the mess.

Instead, I walked up the stairs and called the plumber, who said he wouldn't touch a mess like that with a 10 foot pole, and referred me to some other company who dealt with sewer problems, because apparently that is what we had on our hands. Our main line had some sort of plug in it, causing sewage to back up into the lowest point of the house, the laundry room toilet.

$500 later, and our plug was cleaned out, although the mess remained. We've been cleaning for two days, and I'm still traumatized, and the mop is still coming up filthy. Josh took most of the heavy cleaning (i.e. picking up poop and toilet paper), for which I will be eternally grateful. There was a period of time where I was gagging just standing in the doorway watching Josh.

Remind me why home ownership is a good thing? I tell you, a condo is looking better and better by the day.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

i can't believe we have to worry about this

You watch the news and hear the numbers about unemployment, uninsured Americans, foreclosed homes, but it doesn't seem real.

Until it happens to you, I guess.

My mom is in a waiting game, hanging around until she gets the call that she's been laid off. It is a certainty she'll receive the call. She works in a California public school, and she's been told the call is going to come soon. Very soon.

She is also wading her way through the disastrous web of information regarding retirement, Social Security, pensions, and health insurance. Ahhh, health insurance. I never imagined I would hear so much about health insurance from my parents, and I never imagined it would hit so hard, so close.

My parents cannot retire, because they cannot afford health insurance. My dad has diabetes and some heart problems, and this makes them ineligible for lots of different programs until he is 65, at least, which means my mom needs to keep working for at least a few more years. Health insurance for them now is prohibitively expensive. We're talking $1,000+ per month, which would be bad for anyone, but especially for two people living off of Social Security and their savings. Even if one or both of them finds a part-time job, which will be hard because no one wants to hire older adults, they'll still be struggling just to pay their premiums.

My mom spends her evenings researching different health care possibilities, and even considers not going to doctor's visits because she doesn't want to be flagged with a pre-existing condition that will make it difficult for her to receive health insurance also. At least if it is only my dad, she'll wait a couple of years and then he'll be eligible for Medicare. She has a few more years before she'll be 65 and eligible herself.

Tell me in what world it makes sense for my parents to feel trapped and frustrated and worried and lose sleep and PUT OFF MEDICAL EXAMS because they are worried about health insurance???

It is crazy and infuriating and makes me want to cry because I know how worried they are about all of this. They've even talked about moving back to Argentina because health insurance is guaranteed there. So they'll leave the country they've lived in for 35 years, the country to which they are citizens, where their daughter and son-in-law and grandchildren live, just because they can't afford to live here if they have to pay for their own health insurance.

Totally fucking fair, that's what this is.

Monday, February 08, 2010

it's baaaaack

My nemesis. My archenemy. My foe. My adversary. My own personal terrorist.

The stomach flu, of course.


I kept valiantly hoping it was food poisoning when I started throwing up around midnight last night, but after spending all night and morning in the bathroom, I've been sporting a fever all afternoon and evening.

So far no one else seems affected, and I'm praying it stays this way. Keep your fingers crossed for us! Josh has to go back to work tomorrow, no matter what, and I don't think I can handle myself and two sick kids!

Monday, February 01, 2010


I need some help, my friends. I seem to have developed some sort of allergy to soaps and detergents, and it is driving me crazy. I am having these crazy allergic reactions to any and all soaps, and any and all detergents. I keep switching and trying all the hypoallergenic and free everything products and nothing seems to be working.

Has anyone had this experience? Have you heard of any detergent or soap that is particularly good for allergies?

I seem to be able to moderately handle sensitive skin Dove, but even that seems to be irritating me lately. The worst offender seems to be laundry detergent, which is a serious problem because HELLO? I need clean clothes!