Posted by: Tricia | Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My aimless musings for today

Every night when I tuck the RK in, I always ask him if there’s anything he wants to pray about. He never actually prays himself, but he’ll submit his request, and I’ll cover the bases.

It’s been snowing today since mid-afternoon, and there’s a healthy layer of snow blanketing the land. So tonight, when I asked the RK if there was anything he wanted to pray about, he gave me that look.

“You know, Mom.”

“Oh yeah. You got it.

Dear God,

Thank you for this day, thank you for our warm cozy house with our warm cozy beds. Thank you for our neighborhood and our neighbors. [The RK] has a special request for you tonight. He’d like to request that you keep the snow falling and the roads just slick enough for school to be cancelled tomorrow, but still safe enough for all the drivers that have to go out anyway…”

At this point, the RK looks at me and gives me a thumbs-up. Perfect, Mom.

One ability I think I’ve been blessed with is to maintain the mindset of a child. I know how to relate. I get what’s important to them. And I take every chance I get to validate both my boys and what they’re thinking and feeling. Even if there’s a big “But…” coming right after. For instance:

“I know homework sucks. I remember. I know. BUT…”

Or:

“I hate housecleaning, too. Lord knows I’d love to park my butt on that comfy couch snuggled up with you and the IB and watch Spongebob all day. BUT…”

And one thing we both agree on hands down is that getting up so early in the morning to get him on the bus at 7:00 AM BLOWS. We’re both pretty grumpy in the morning when our dang alarms go off. But that sweet boy…he soldiers through it with a maturity far beyond his years. Sometimes even beyond my years. It is truly a blessing to be his mother. And I tell him that all the time, too.

That’s one thing I learned from my mom.  But it was more like I learned what not to do.  She had no ability to relate to me as a teenager of the 80’s-90’s, especially since she was a teenager in the 40’s.  One time I remember planning on going out to a club having an under-18 night.  She hated the idea, wondering why we “just couldn’t go over to someone’s house and dance to records” like she used to do.  Or when I entered public school in the 7th grade after years of torment and ridicule from the rich girls at my private school…I desperately wanted to be ‘popular’.  Even now I can see how that’s a very big deal to a 12 or 13 year old girl.  Maybe even a little more so for me, since I was sort of getting a fresh start and wanted things to go differently than before.  I remember one time I mentioned that P word to her, and her response was, “Aaaggghhh.  I HATE that word.”  End of story.  Talk to the hand.

Nope.  Not with my children.


I have a wonderful bathtime fun idea for all you moms out there with little ones. Remember when you were in the hospital giving birth, and after it was all said and done, they gave you that little squirt bottle (aka “peri-bottle”) to…ahem…clean yourself up with? Hang on to it! Don’t throw it out! I’m talking hours of splish-splashing fun for that rugrat of yours who is the whole reason you have it in the first place! The IB LOVES it. He makes it rain. He squirts himself in the face with it. He squirts his belly button. And yes, he squirts me. He tries to kill all the suds. He can’t get enough of it! Best $20 (or probably more) that my insurance company ever paid.


I decided to wade slowly in from the shallow end with selling stuff on eBay. I put up the IB’s snow boots that I bought him last year, thinking I bought them big enough for him to wear this year, too; but I can’t even get them onto his feet. Oh, and did I mention that he really only had them on his feet once, maybe twice? Anyway, the auction ended tonight, and I’m pissed.

$3.25?????

Are you kidding me? That’s it? GAH!!! I’m so discouraged. It’s not even worth it for me to go to the trouble to box them up and mail them off!

Have any of you guys done the eBay sell-off? Was it profitable for you? Any tips or tricks you can offer me? I mean I’m REALLY discouraged. I just don’t have the time or the energy to take this on if this is going to be typical.  Thanks in advance!

That is all.

Posted by: Tricia | Saturday, December 13, 2008

Holy crap!

So I’m going about my usual life Thursday night.  Making dinner, chasing around the IB and trying to keep him out of trouble, thinking about heading to bed nice and early.  I sit down at the ol’ laptop and notice on this blog’s statcounter that I’ve had an unusual number of hits in the last hour. “Hmmm….” I think. I go and check out the ‘referrers’ section of my stats, and see that they’re all coming from one site.

And here’s what I discovered.

If you go back to the post Monica linked to, you’ll see that I even received quite a few additional comments, the first one being her own. When I first found her comment, I hadn’t yet realized she had linked to me, I just laughed! She went off on the IX right there in the comments section of my blog! And then I come to find out she actually found my post link-worthy over on her blog.

It turns out she’s quite the presence in her corner of the blogosphere, because here’s what my statcounter graph ended up looking like for Thursday:stats-graph1

Crazy, huh?  Things are quieting back down around here now, but I have to admit…that was AWESOME!  I even noticed that I got a hit or two from being listed at WordPress’ 58th Fastest Growing Blog!  I know I have my little core of readers, and any notch added to my statcounter is greatly appreciated.  But this has definitely given me some perspective of what’s possible.

Something else kinda cool is that this blog is just mine, and nobody in my real world knows I have it.  It was so hard for me to keep my mouth shut when I discovered this…so here’s my “Look what happened to me!” story that I can only share here.  It makes me think about what it would be like if I’m able to establish my own presence in the Blog World — those I come in direct contact with would have no idea.  But I also realize that the more my Blog Identity grows, the more likely that someone I know would find it.  I’ve taken some precautions in disguising myself by using nicknames, but still…if someone really knows me and knows what to punch into a search engine, it wouldn’t be that hard at all to find this.  Or if someone in MRW happened to come across this, they wouldn’t have to be a genius to figure out who was really writing it. I guess the best I can hope for is to keep trying to fool the search bots.

I’ve mentioned before on here that I’ve considered putting some AdSense on my blog and trying to turn this hobby/therapy of mine into a source of income.  Hopefully from this incident I’ve attracted a few new regular readers, but for the most part,  I know this…er, fame (?) is more than likely fleeting.  I also realize it doesn’t necessarily have to be if I put forth some effort from my end.

So stay tuned…changes may be coming.  I’m doing my research now.  I’ll probably be redecorating around here anyway…this look has grown tiresome to me.  The only thing I hate about WP templates is that I can’t find all the features I want in one template.  That’s one thing that was better about Blogger…the only thing different from one template to the next was how it looked…all feature options carried over from one to the next.  With WP, however, I can do whatever I want with my template if I know CSS (this is true for Blogger too, but for those layman bloggers, it’s much easier to add or delete certain features).  And if I pony up some cash.  Until I’m willing to do that, I’m at the mercy of the WP gods.  But I just might write Santa for a CSS for Dummies book.

So anyway…

Last night the RK and I climbed in my bed right after I put the IB to bed and watched “The Dark Knight.”  I was completely exhausted, so I told him I’d try my hardest to last as long as I could.  I made it through more than half, and had to call it quits.  But it was a great movie, and I plan on watching the rest of it before I mail the movie back to Netflix.  Heath Ledger definitely deserves the hype, and the Oscar.

Our weekend is going to involve doing some long-overdue grocery shopping, cleaning and putting the Christmas tree up.  I haven’t done any Christmas shopping yet…I’m planning on doing it all online.  I also heard on the news that December 18th, most major online retail sites will be offering free shipping!  Yeehaw!  The only thing I’m really worried about for my shopping list is finding Rock Band 2.  Haven’t even scoped it out yet.

Off to tackle MRW

Posted by: Tricia | Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The wild and crazy ride that is my life

I’m pretty tired tonight. I’m learning that I just can’t stay up very late, or else the next day is not good at all. I’m not as productive as I like to be at work, and then I’m cranky and short with my kids at home in the evening. It’s when I get in this cycle that the house starts getting really messy, because I don’t even have the energy to pick up around here. Nor do I have the energy to care.

When I went to pick up the IB at the babysitter’s after work this afternoon, she asked me what size the RK is. She said someone in her class has ‘adopted’ us for the Christmas season, and will be generously giving us some gently-used clothing and possibly some toys! The more I think about it, I guess we just might qualify for such charity…even though I still think about participating on the other side of the coin. While I will gratefully accept these gifts, it’s hard for me to accept the fact that I’m even in this position. I mean, I live in a beautiful new 2009 sq. ft. home!

It’s bleeding me dry, though. Once again, the thought enters my mind that this house is just more than what I can handle under my circumstances. Even though I’ve already had to sacrifice so much, and have been working so hard to keep this family afloat, I’m wondering if there’s just one more loss I need to cut to really get us on the right track. And it’s not so much the thought of giving it up that freaks me out; it’s of moving out! I loathe moving. I suck at moving. And I can’t imagine packing up all the contents and emptying this place all by myself. I would greatly miss this neighborhood, and the thought of taking my boys away from here also greatly saddens me. But honestly, it’s the physical act of moving that invokes the biggest negative reaction in me.

So if this is what it comes down to, what do I do about the house itself? How in the world would I unload it? With the economy the way it is right now, it seems to me that short-selling the house is probably my only option at this point. After all, my neighbors across the street have had their house on the market for almost a year, with little to no response. And not to mention my credit — this divorce has already screwed up my credit big-time; I hate to think of what a short-sale would do to it on top of that.

On the up side, dramatically reducing our housing payments (possibly in half or more) sounds extremely appealing.

Our financial status right now is bleak; but for now we’re just going to continue to tough through it. It still could be worse; my babies are still going to bed with full tummies each night, we all have our health (knock on wood), so we’re doing OK. Once the New Year rolls around, I should be getting quite a handsome tax refund back (but I’m a little concerned that the modification I entered into for my mortgage will make things more difficult in claiming the interest I paid), as well as profit-sharing from work sometime around March/April. A raise should also be coming around that same time, although I’m not expecting it to be anything mind-blowing or life-altering. But I’ll take whatever bit of slack I can get!

And another thought occured to me: this dismal economy could actually work to my advantage.  Although I am in dire straits with my home/mortgage  for different reasons that the majority of families across the country who are in this boat as well, the fact that there is such a widespread housing/mortgage crisis just might be a good thing for me.  There is so much talk of a giant governmental assistance plan being formed for those who are in danger of losing their homes due to this recession (GASP!  I said the ‘R’ word!), and I like to think that I just might be able to get in on that.  I’m waiting and watching with bated breath.  And crossed fingers.

But I do have so much to be thankful for. My issues are just a drop in the bucket to some out there.  There are so many people who are dealing with much more severe issues and trying to survive with so much less than us. I just watched a story on the news of a family here in metro Detroit where the husband lost his job and the wife was diagnosed with terminal cancer all on the same day. The thought of the burdens that family is carrying just breaks my heart! They even have a new granddaughter that the grandmother won’t get to see grow up. They showed the myriad of pill bottles she manages. They showed the sweet little fuzzy-headed baby all snuggled up in Grandpa’s arms. I just can’t even imagine the despair. They will most certainly be in my prayers tonight.

Thanks for bearing with me through all that.  I guess I’m just trying to gather my thoughts and weigh my options, and this is such a great medium to help me do just that.  Oh…and if any of you out there have any advice or suggestions, fire away!  I want to make sure that whatever ends up happening, my choices have been made in an informed and grounded manner, with all viable options considered.


On a happier note, I now must document some of the wonderful things my boys have done or said lately. First, the RK. Today he called me at work when he got home like I asked him to, and I asked him if he is ever offered a ride to the house from a neighbor on days with nasty weather. He said no. He just walks home (it’s not all that far…just a block or two). I know that one of our neighbors across the street (female) takes the same bus, so I suggested that he & she could keep each other company on the short walk home.

“She doesn’t like me.”

“WHAT? Why not? What’s not to like?” (Because my son is the most perfect, most likeable kid in the whole neighborhood, of course.)

“Uh…Mom! Difference in gender!

And that is a direct quote. Cracked me up. And then of course I repeated it to all my coworkers once he & I had hung up. He uses such fancy vocabulary for an eleven-year-old on a regular basis. One time he was playing an online computer game and I told him it was time to sign off. He says, “OK…just let me say goodbye to my colleagues.” There are so many more that I can’t think of right now. I’ll try to remember some more and put them on here. Oh, how I love that boy!

Now on to the IB. I’ve been instigating time-outs with him to try and curb his tactic of throwing anything and everything when he doesn’t get his way. The babysitter has also been putting him in the playpen for time-outs at her place, so he gets the idea. Here at home, we have a little kiddie stepstool that I have put in our entryway. Whenever the IB does not heed my requests to stop throwing or my threats of time-out, I plop him down on that little stool and set my kitchen timer for two minutes. And he gets it. He stays put. But here’s what he looks like for the entire two minutes:

Just be glad you can’t hear him!

But how precious is that?  The time-outs seem to be working, too.  He mellows out real quick once they’re through.  Lots of cuddling usually ensues.

Oh…before I sign off, one more picture. This one I call, “You can take the girl out of Texas…”

This is how I cooked dinner about a week ago or so.  Yes, that’s two big ol’ hunks of cow.  On the grill.  With snow all over the ground.  And notice it’s already pitch-dark — I took this picture right around 6:00 PM.

Was it worth it?  As we dug in with our forks and steak knives, the RK declares, “Grilling’s your thing, Mom!”

SO worth it.

OK…I’m off to beddy-bye.  Oh yeah.

Posted by: Tricia | Sunday, December 7, 2008

Another week in the history books

It’s been a very up and down week for me. I certainly didn’t mean to go this long without posting, and I’ve had about three different posts rattling around in my head these last couple of days. The phone conversation with the IX I spoke about in my last post freaked me out but good, and I’m so sad to say I took a lot of it out on my boys. We had one really ugly night this past week, but I think it was one of those horrible things that a lot of good ultimately comes out of. The RK and I had an unforgettable and relationship-strengthening talk after I had sufficiently vented and calmed down. I ended up being honest with him about our current financial status. I remember when I was a kid and my parents hit some hard times, they tried to keep me as isolated from it as they could. And I don’t think that was the way to go. It kept me at a distance and didn’t include me as a bonified member of the family.

So now the RK knows just how severe things are for us. He has such a sweet attitude about it, and we’re both going to help each other spend as little money as possible (as in we’re going to hold each other accountable when either one of us has the desire to spend money unnecessarily…like at McDonald’s), as well as help each other with all our other responsibilities around here. He is such a fantastic kid. He loves me so much, and he has this genuine sense of wanting his mom to be happy. I think I’m on the right track here…we’re in a partnership of sorts…of course I’m the senior partner, though. But we’re working together. And I feel like letting him in on the difficult situation we’re in and being honest with him is paying him the respect he deserves as a member of this family.

He also knows that everything’s going to be OK, though. He completely believes that God is going to take care of us and provide us with everything we need…just as He always has. For now things are a little rough…but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be forever. I hope to show him too that we don’t just have to be victims of our circumstances; but can be proactive and work to get ourselves out.

Unlike his father. I found out today that he no longer has his bank account. And I realized that the IX today is exactly the same person he was when I first met him back in 1994. He had no bank account then, either..saying the banks “screw you over” with fees. That was because he was checking his balances at the ATM, withdrawing cash, only later to have checks he had already written bounce. Back then he had lousy credit, too. And now? Well…you already know. He’s not only financially bankrupt, but morally, emotionally, and spiritually as well.

It’s really sad to see how he hasn’t grown one lick in the 14 years I’ve known him. It just makes me realize more and more that our divorce was for the best, and that one thing he said to me more than once really is true:

“You deserve to be with someone better than me.”

I tried so hard to convince him that that could be him, but he just doesn’t see it that way. He has no confidence in himself that he can grow and change and be better. I think when it comes down to it, he is too afraid to look down deep inside himself and face what’s really in there. He just can’t do it. Won’t do it. And he has doomed himself to a life of un-fulfillment, regret, and sadness. I truly pity him.

I really did love him. I gave him all of my heart. And honestly, I still love him on some level. And it still shatters my heart to see him like this. Oh, don’t get me wrong…I have no desire to be with him anymore, and as I said earlier, it’s plain to see that this divorce was definitely for the best. But I gotta admit — if he ever comes to me full of remorse and finally ready to take care of all his shit so he can be the husband I deserve and the father the boys deserve, and if I haven’t yet found ‘someone better’, I would absolutely give him the chance to demonstrate as such. He’d have a lot of work to do before I’d promise him anything…but yeah. I’m open to it. I certainly won’t be holding my breath, though. I’m saying all this hypothetically in every sense of the word.

So now it’s the start of another week. I got a lot done this weekend while the boys were gone, and I’m feeling pretty darn good about it tonight. We don’t have our Christmas tree up yet, but getting the house cleaned up is in preparation for that. I just can’t even imagine putting up a Christmas tree in a messy house!

Until next time…

Posted by: Tricia | Saturday, November 29, 2008

You have GOT to be kidding me.

My boys are back! And my mood is so much better now. I’m so happy to have my house full again…full of laughter, full of sweet hugs & kisses, full of…kids.

And not even my stupid-ass IX can ruin it. Despite his efforts a little earlier. He called me.

“Hello?”

“How are you doing?”

“I’m OK.”

“I just wanted to check on you after you seemed so despondent this morning when I dropped the boys off.” [And kudos to him for using such a big word…and even halfway correctly!]

“No, I’m OK now. I just didn’t have the best Thanksgiving.”

“OK then. So…”

Excruciatingly long pause.

“So….I just wanted to gauge where you are about the boys. I was thinking it might be better if I had them full-time.”

WTF???

“I was just thinking I might be able to offer a more stable environment for them.”

“Excuse me?”

“Yeah…with two parents.”

I shit you not…that’s what he said. What an effing moron. I went off on him.

“You left us to be with her. She is your mistress. She will always be your mistress. She is not their mother. She could never be their mother. I am their one and only mother. Don’t ever refer to her as any sort of a mother to them. Are you going to pursue this in the court?”

“No, not now. I don’t have any money to do that.”

“Why are you doing this? Haven’t you destroyed enough of me already?”

“I just want to be a full-time dad. I want to be involved more in the lives of my sons.”

“Well, you had that opportunity, and you walked away.”

“Well, when [the RK] is 13, the court will listen to where he wants to live.”

“Not with that as the only factor, it won’t.”

“I just think I could offer them a more stable life, that’s all.”

Who’s to say their life already isn’t stable? We have a home, in a safe neighborhood, the RK has friends, he goes to a good school. He goes to bed with a full belly every night, in a house that isn’t in danger of having the electricity turned off or us being evicted.

I ask the RK if his dad has been talking about this with him. He says, “Yeah, in a couple of years.”

Again…WTF??

Who the hell does he think he is?

So of course, I feel like I have to discuss it with the RK as well. Lord knows what kind of shit the IX is filling the RK’s head with…I feel I have to do whatever I can to counteract that.

Oh…and then there was the part of this phone conversation with the IX where he brought the child support he pays into it. He says “he” pays the mortgage. No, I tell him, you pay child and spousal support. I pay the mortgage. I’m the one that sends the check in. Then he counters with: but you wouldn’t be able to pay it without those child support payments I make.

No, but I wouldn’t be able to pay it without my own income, either.

Where in the hell does he get off saying his child support payments are earmarked specifically to pay the mortgage? Why not our other bills…like heat, water, electricity, etc.? What a jackass. The court orders him to pay that child support…what I do with it is at my discretion. And yes, I use his payments, along with my own income, to pay the mortgage.

And all of our other bills as well.

I asked him a long time before all that if he was doing this for financial reasons, and of course he said no. But later on in the conversation when he played that ridiculous and completely unfounded child support card, and along with all of his own well-documented financial woes as of late, I’d beg to differ.

[Ed. note: There are two separate links above…one is attached to the words ‘well-documented’ and the other is ‘financial woes’.]

I have to admit, though, I’m scared. I have got to find a way to get out from under his thumb, financially speaking. The way it’s set up now, the only way he can stop his child support payments is if he loses his job. And surely he’s not stupid enough….no….he can’t be. God, please don’t let him prove me wrong!

Stupid, selfish, sorry excuse for a father.

Posted by: Tricia | Friday, November 28, 2008

A Thanksgiving to forget

I don’t really feel much like writing on here, but then again…I do.  I spent Thanksgiving in complete solitude, and those demons in my head are keeping me pretty sedentary.  And I hate it.  My financial situation right now is bleak at best, and with the holiday season upon us, it stresses me out beyond any measure.  I hate Christmas.  And I hate that I hate Christmas.  I’m so not the type to shun a festive occasion. But all the commercials! All the incessant advertising to spend spend SPEND!

The IX was scheduled to bring the boys back tonight, but I asked if he could keep them for tonight because I’m not feeling well. Physically, I’m fine. But emotionally, I’m a wreck. I’m trying to figure out how I ended up where I am right now. How has this become my life?

To pass the time, I was messing around on the online dating site I joined last year. I found P still on there, and he stated on his profile that he hasn’t had any success on there, but he’s still giving it another chance. That just about killed me. I stupidly decided that I just couldn’t hold it in, so I sent him an email:

“I’ve always thought that meeting you on match was a definite success, and it makes me sad that you don’t feel the same. You still pop into my thoughts quite often (like when I ordered my burrito at Chipotle totally in Spanish), and so much confusion still remains about what happened with us.”

And that was it. The entire email. Just had to get it out. Just had to let him know that I do still exist in this world, and while I might not have had any effect on him whatsoever, he did on me.

You ever just feel invisible? Like your existence doesn’t really matter? That’s kind of where I am right now. Oh…now I know that I’m everything to my boys, and how much they need me, but even that stresses me out, because I constantly feel like I’m not doing enough to give them the lives they deserve. I can’t even begin to think about making this house festive and cheery for the holidays. Ugh. But I want to…just don’t know if I can. Those demons again.

I’m just about to the point where I think I need some additional assistance of some sort. An appointment with the doctor might be in order. I’d like to think that a little tweaking of the juices in my brain is all I’ll need, because I can’t afford a therapist. If it costs more than free, I can’t afford it. And childcare issues arise, as well.

Just the thought of making that call freaks me out, though. But I don’t know how much longer I can live life like this. I’m wasting precious time!

I’ve said it before — I really hate blogging like this. But the way I see it is, I don’t want to be completely silent during my dark days…I want to record them as well as the happy times. It is the reality of my life, after all, and the journey isn’t always smooth sailing. So here I am, in all my patheticosity.

Please know that I am still reading all of what my faithful readers are writing over on your own blogs…even if I’m become a bit of a lurker. Finding new posts in my reader from you guys helps keep me going.

Oh, and by the way, I’m not contemplating joining the world of online dating again. It’s quite evident that I am certainly not fit to date right now.

Posted by: Tricia | Monday, November 24, 2008

The week before Thanksgiving

The RK is going to be up late tonight. He’s finishing up a science experiment report that he’s had more than three weeks to do, and I didn’t hear a word about it until I went to parent/teacher conference this past Wednesday. So I tell his teacher that I’ll get his dad to help him with it over the weekend, since this is his weekend with the boys. The IX did help him with it…the first part, anyway. But the little presentation poster is what he’s working on now. When I told the RK that he was going to be working on this at his dad’s, he said,

“Awww…but I just want to go have fun on my weekends with Dad.”

So I tell him,

“Look…this project is getting done this weekend, no matter which parent you spend it with. Dad’s place isn’t supposed to be all fun…he’s your parent, too, and if you have homework over the weekends you spend with him, you do it there. That’s how it goes.”

As I’m driving back to work after meeting with the RK’s teacher, I get more and more disgusted with myself that I’ve let myself be completely oblivious to it, completely uninvolved and not doing my part as the parent of holding the RK accountable and helping him stay on task with everything going on at school.

This project was something like 30% of his grade for the first trimester.

He’s staying up tonight as long as it takes so he can turn it in tomorrow. Period.

His teacher says that he’s not very good about turning in his homework. Again…I heap all the blame on myself. I had no idea I was that out of touch! I check the class website for homework assignments everyday, and nag the RK into oblivion to make sure it gets done…but it seems to me there’s still a lot that I don’t know about. Or else I’m just not paying close enough attention.

He also has a bunch of math homework to do tonight, but right now it’s already 9:15 and he’s only about halfway done with the science thing. I guess he’ll just have to get it done over the Thanksgiving break.

The IX has the boys for Thanksgiving this year. He’s going to pick them up Wednesday night, and might possibly keep them through Sunday…I’m waiting to hear back. I’m glad they’re going with him, because at least then they’ll be with a big group of people; namely, the homewrecker’s sister and her family. I really do miss them.

As for me, I have zero plans. My mom is in Florida, and celebrating holidays just isn’t her thing anymore. She usually says she & my stepdad celebrate Thanksgiving by getting turkey sandwiches from Subway. So she’s in Florida…if she wasn’t there, she’d either be in New Hampshire, or even Texas. Might as well be the moon as far as I’m concerned.

Looks like I’ll have the house to myself, peace and quiet. No turkey, no dressing (my favorite part), no pecan pie. And no one to hang out and watch football with.

On the upside, no trashed kitchen to clean up; or if I was somewhere else, no forcing myself to stay awake at some relative stranger’s house even though my eyelids are so heavy I almost need toothpicks to hold them up. I can sleep all day long on my very own couch, in my pajamas if I want to…nothing rude or uncomfortable about that.

(That paragraph was just so I remain true to the title of this blog.)

Eh…there’s a first time for everything. So is the life of a single parent, I suppose. At least the Longhorns are playing Thursday night. And maybe this will finally be my time to get some stuff cleaned out and organized around here.

The IB was being so utterly precious tonight! He found his pockets. I had fun watching him stash little treasures in there that he wanted to make sure he didn’t lose (like the little Lego storm trooper guy). And then it was time to read before going to bed. He’s been really into this one ABC picture book. It’s a really big book (one of the RK’s old ones), so we plop down in the middle of the floor to look at it. On the insides of the covers are rows and rows of the alphabet, alternating upper and lower case on each row. So I start pointing to each letter as I sing the alphabet song, and the IB sings along with me. He doesn’t sing any of the right words, but he’s still singing! We reach the end with big fanfare, and applaud our own brilliant rendition of the ditty. Oh, how I wish I’d had the camcorder right then! I’ll definitely try to get that set up to record very soon.

And how I wish I’d grabbed the camcorder during dinner tonight when the IB was holding his little fork the grown-up way and eating his corn, and macaroni and cheese. Seriously…underhanded and everything! I really must start remembering that camcorder at such moments. And then I must teach the IB to just ignore it and continue on with his cute behavior for said camcorder. (He’s still at the phase where he wants me to flip around the viewfinder so he can see himself. I have lots and lots of video of that.)

The RK is now done with his science report, so I’m off to tuck him in. Sorry for keeping this blog a bit of a downer, but well…I’m a bit of a downer right now. That’s just how it is. I’m trying real hard to snap out of it. I feel like I’ve already wasted too much of my life being sad and stressed.

Posted by: Tricia | Thursday, November 20, 2008

The ramblings of exhaustion

I don’t really have anything in mind to write about tonight. I’m actually quite exhausted. I was on a bit of a self-imposed emotional roller coaster today, freaking out about money. Or lack thereof. I’m trying to talk myself into not looking very far into the future…for now, we’re OK. For now, that’s all that matters.

I caved and got us Wendy’s for dinner tonight. And the guilt about spending the $12.06 is killing me.

I’m starting to realize the job I’m at is the epitome of dead end. My boss treats us all like we’re idiots, and pays us as such. She doesn’t take the time to stop and listen to what we’re saying, and often creates her own version of whatever it is we’re coming to her with. She’s much more concerned with bigger money-making aspects of the business, and has a hard time giving our department the time and attention it deserves. I often wonder what would happen if we went on strike…how she would feel about us and the job we do for the drivel she pays us.

I definitely want better for my family. I don’t think I’ll ever get to a place in this company where I’ll be able to better our lives. $12/hr. doesn’t exactly cut it.

And to A, the 24-year-old little primadonna who thinks she’s got all the answers: ‘equal pay for equal work’ is NOT fair to the single mom with two kids, a house her husband bought with her and then walked away from, and who continuously feels like she has the weight of the world on her shoulders. I damn well deserve to get paid more than you, even if I’m doing the same job as you. You can’t even begin to comprehend the responsibilities I have, and to say I don’t deserve to get paid more than you is BULL. SHIT.

Oh, and I’m getting so sick and tired of listening to my coworkers bitch and moan about my other coworkers and the lousy job they’re doing! I wonder what they’re saying about me when I’m not around. Drama drama drama.

I really can’t think of anything else even halfway worth talking about, so I think I’ll call it a night and go send my brain into shutdown. Sigh…

Posted by: Tricia | Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Don’t mess with Mommy’s laptop.

I was on fire when I came home tonight. First thing I did, I started dinner. Yummy cream of chicken soup/rice/chicken breast casserole. And cleaned the kitchen. Folded all the laundry I managed to wash over the weekend, helped the RK with his homework, bathed the IB, read a book with the IB, and got them both tucked into their cozy beddy-byes by 9:15.

I rock.

The only dim spot of the night was when the IB flew into one of his rages, and went right for the laptop and heaved it to the floor. Mommy freaked out, spanked his butt, and he then did a ginormous face-plant right into the carpet.

GINORMOUS.

Enough to bloody his nose.

When he finally picked his face up, there was a nice little trickle of blood coming out of his right nostril. Oh. My. Gosh. And then he wouldn’t let me clean him up. Just kept smearing it all over his cheek.

I certainly do hope this is just his two-year-oldness, and that he grows out of it. He pretty much has a perpetual bruise right in the middle of his forehead from slamming his head into things…the wall, the floor, the door.

I have NO IDEA where he gets this temper from. *sheepish grin*

That’s definitely something I need to work on…with the both of us. I’m pretty patient with him most of the time, but I could do better. Much better. But don’t mess with Mommy’s laptop.

After his nose stopped bleeding, and he had calmed down, he grabbed his boppy, stuck his little thumb in his mouth and snuggled with me on my lap for a while. Gave me a sweet little kiss right on my cheek. I love those moments, but definitely not what precipitates them.

When I went to put the RK to bed tonight, he mentioned Fun Fridays at school, and how he sometimes misses them because he has work he hasn’t completed yet. So I start making suggestions to him to make sure he doesn’t miss them…make an effort to keep up with work he needs to complete, ask his teacher about it on Thursday, etc.

He says, “Oh, but we already have a ‘missing work’ board.”

OK great. He agreed he’d step it up a little, though, to make sure he doesn’t miss out.

Then he gets a look on his face and says, “Awww crap!”

“What, baby?”

“Oh, it’s nothing.”

“No, what? Tell me.”

“I’ve been forgetting to practice my trombone like I’m supposed to do. Can I count the practice I did when I first got it?”

“No,” I say, “it’s a week-to-week thing. Not retroactive. Why?”

He gets a little quiver in his voice and says, “Because I’m tired of having nothing on my practice sheet for the last three weeks.”

“Well, sweetie, there’s nothing we can do about the time you’ve missed in the past. But what you can do is make a point from now on to make sure you don’t forget to practice so your sheet isn’t blank anymore. OK? How does that sound?”

“OK, Mom.”

And cue the Full House/Danny Tanner heartstring music. The RK’s gonna have to start seriously curtailing his computer time, though. We’ll see how that goes. But I’m really starting to see him seriously take responsibility for his schoolwork & his performance. I’m loving it. He’s really starting to care about it…that’s huge progress! I’m so loving being his mom right now.

So besides our little…ahem…hiccup, the night was great. I feel like I got a lot accomplished, even though you still can’t walk straight across my floor from the weekend tornado we had.

But hey — I managed to keep my kids alive for one more day, and that’s something. (Today it was a little touch and go, though.) We actually had a real dinner, my boys have clean clothes folded and put away in their rooms, my kitchen is even clean after messing it up to cook that real dinner, and the three of us said goodnight with warm fuzzies all in our hearts.

Hold on to your hats, folks, I just might make it.

Posted by: Tricia | Sunday, November 16, 2008

Oh boy, it’s coming

This weather has pretty much been the name of the game the whole day today.  Thankfully, the ground is still warm enough that none of it has been sticking on the sidewalks or driveways, so no salting or shoveling has been necessary so far.  But this is making me realize I better get out and pick up a bag of salt pretty soon!

I also asked my mom this morning (who just arrived in Florida for the winter) if she would pay for new tires and brakes on the Honda.  I told her I’ve put it off as long as I can, but this morning’s weather makes me nervous about driving on my almost-bald tires.  She readily agreed, thank goodness, saying I’ve got precious cargo, and she’d be happy to make sure we stay safe when travelling around town this winter.

I really hate asking her for money.  Not as much as I used to, though.  I remember when the IX had finally moved out of his home with his family and into the dumper apartment with his homewrecker, I called my mom and told her I needed $1500 to retain my divorce lawyer.  She started giving me a list of all the things she’s had to send money to my brother for.

My 58-year-old (at the time) brother.  (Yes, he was 24 when I was born.)  Who used to be in the navy, where he learned fluent Russian.  Right in the middle of the Cold War.  And pissed that away.  The one who’s had pretty much every job under the sun, but none of them for any length of time.  Well, except the warehouse manager position in Luling, TX, that he lost during the big petro-crash of the 80’s.  He has driven a bus, delivered mail, DJ’ed, worked at Home Depot, etc., etc.  He’s been fired from them all, and I wouldn’t even be surprised if he was fired from the Luling job and not laid off like he led us to believe.  He moved in and out of the house between jobs when I was growing up.  And now he works for himself painting houses, because he just can’t work for anyone else.

So anyway, when I asked for the money for the lawyer, she lets me know she’s been having to send money to him for his own car repairs…”he has to get to his jobs,” she’d say.  HELLO?????  I’m trying to divorce my lousy two-timing husband who has moved in with his mistress!  She even suggests that it might not be necessary to file for divorce.

“Mom, he moved in with her.  Why shouldn’t I divorce him?  Please…I tried.  I tried my hardest to get him to stick by his family.  But he’s made his choice, and I want to start moving on.”

She sent me the money, but it drove me crazy that I had to listen to her say that my selfish, lazy, good-for-nothing, pot-smoking brother’s issues might’ve been just as important, if not more so.  He’s not married, (he had two failed marriages), and has no kids.  I’m a single mom, who had been a stay-at-home mom for a decade.  I have two precious babies (her grandchildren), who mean the world to me.  Don’t even say anything to me about sending him money “to fix his car” (buy weed).

When we first put our deposit down on this new home, my mom had said she’d buy a swingset for the RK.  I wasn’t yet pregnant with the IB, and I actually turned her down on the swingset, saying the RK was getting kind of old for one.  So this past spring, with another opportunity for much enjoyment from a swingset (the IB), I asked if the offer was still on the table.  And once again, I get the talk about her funds having dwindled thanks to my brother.  So here’s the email I sent to her:

I have been thinking a lot about our last conversation on the instant messenger, though.  And I just want to tell you that I will not ask you for any more money, nor will I accept any from you as a gift.  I want you to know that the times I’ve asked (and there haven’t been many at all) were my last resort.  And every time, you make a point to let me know just how strapped you are, or how you’ve been having to send money to [my brother].  I’ve never enjoyed accepting money from you to begin with, and that always made me feel just that much worse.  So from now on, I’ll find other ways to manage.

I’m just going to get it out of my system how I feel about this whole [my brother] situation.  I’m going to be blunt, but rest assured this will be the end of it.

You talk about how he had such a rough go of it ‘during the crash’, but that was more than twenty years ago!  Exactly how long should it take him to get back up on his feet without having to depend on his mother to get by?  You’re very quick to make excuses for him, as well as for your own continued enabling.  It’s quite evident that he’s put himself in this position he’s in by having a total disrespect for any type of authority, thus not being able to maintain any sort of normal gainful employment.  Just look at his track record!  It’s my suspicion that he has come to expect this money from you, and doesn’t do anything on his own to try to avoid it.  He has no kids, nothing to show for his life, and although he’s turning 60 this year, one would think he sounds like a 20-year-old if they didn’t know that little fact.

I know he’s ‘your baby’, but I am, too.  With babies of my own.  I’m having to start my life all over through nothing of my own fault, and while I am enormously grateful for your assistance to help me get through the worst of it, you still managed to make me feel like total crud for having to ask.

I feel like I am working extremely hard to get my life and the lives of my boys planted solidly on a new track.  So I hope you can understand how it makes me feel when you give me a hard time about asking you for a swingset for my boys (which you had initially offered all on your own), and you tell me you don’t know if you can do that because you’ve been having to send money to [my brother].  Yes, he has car trouble that costs money to repair, and according to you, that qualifies as an ‘extenuating circumstance’ right up there with me having to divorce my cheating husband.  And even when I finally psych myself up enough to ask you for that, you suggest that it might not be necessary and perhaps I should just stay legally married to him while he’s living with another woman.  (Yes, you did.)

So you can see how I might be a little bothered by these responses from you.

And frankly, it’s just not worth it for me.  I’m cutting corners everywhere I can in our household budget, and I know that one way or another, my boys & I will be taken care of.  So please…if sending money to [my brother] is really that important to you, I’d rather you just send him anything you’d normally send to me.  Just so you know, it’s not about ‘getting what’s mine’ or competing with him for your money…it’s just that I don’t feel like he deserves the help you give him, and then making me feel guilty for asking when I desperately need it and bringing his name into it just isn’t worth it for me.

Like I said, one way or another, my boys will taken good care of.  I’m up to the challenge of doing it all on my own.  So there it is.

She very humbly apologized to me after reading this letter, and let me know that anytime I need help, to please ask. I still don’t like asking, and I try to avoid it whenever possible, but I just can’t come up with any other way of putting new tires & brakes on my car. So I’ll go this weekend while the boys are at their dad’s.

It turns out, though, that this brother of mine has moved in to the house in Midland, no longer able to afford his apartment.  It drives me crazy the way he takes advantage of Mom, but like I said in that email…I’ve said my peace.  If she chooses to let him walk all over her, that’s her choice.

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