Archives for May 2006

Recovery Mode On Mother’s Day

After a full day at M’s wedding yesterday (beautiful wedding, by the way – more about that tomorrow, probably), I woke up this morning at a blissful hour… 7 a.m. Now, pre-kids, this might not have seemed blissful, but seeing as how I went to sleep at midnight post-wedding, a 7 a.m. wakeup call means that I got pretty darn close to 8 hours of sleep. Lucky mama.

Today the mission was to chill out. And that we did. I did go for a walk this morning – I needed some alone time to decompress from being so busy and to work off some of my wedding gluttony (because face it, my goal yesterday was to bloat so my strapless dress would be tighter and stay on, so I was snacking on salt and cookies pre-wedding, then I happily dug into wedding cheese cake – which, by the way, is a fantastic idea – if you ever invite me to a wedding, serve cheese cake – it makes me blissfully happy).

I got an awesome card that The Princess made, along with some homemade bubble bath (courtesy of the preschool – I’m scared to use it because it looks somewhat scary). Hubby got me a sappy, gooey sweet mom’s day card, as well.

We decided to do our recycling (yay Mother Earth!) and we headed out for dinner. Of course, a dinner out with two young kids isn’t an elaborate, fancy affair. We went to our local Friday’s (again, my goal was to get something healthy – and as a tip, their new Shanghai Salad has this awesome cilantro lime dressing that is so tasty that sometimes I order extra so I can take it home with me!). At the restaurant, we got seated in this noisy section – four VERY loud women with about three LOUDER children. It was horrible -two of the women were doing the “cell yell” on their phones, and the other two were talking louder to talk over them. It was so loud, we couldn’t even carry on a conversation at our table, and our waiter couldn’t hear us and vice versa.

Our two kids were better behaved than the “grown adults”. Isn’t that special?

So, my healthy dinner plans vanished, because to compensate for seating us in the “Super Freaking Loud” section of the restaurant, they sent us on our merry way with a Brownie Obsession to-go. Free. Yay. Our suffering was not for naught, apparently. But, now the bloat goes on. Happy Mother’s Day to me.

In Case You Were Wondering…

Should you ever, for any reason, require both a MysticTan and a Pedicure… get the pedicure FIRST. Otherwise, said Mystic Tan could well get rubbed lighter by an overzealous salon person.

I’m NOT kidding. I Mystic’d last night, and Pedicured tonight and below my knees (where I got a massage on my shins and calves) is actually lighter from either the water, the lotion, the massage of my lower legs, or a combination of all of the above.

So, Pedicure first. THEN Mystic.

Ah – now I’ve done my civic duty – off to go watch E.R.

Moms & Daughters…

I have been so thrilled since the day I received my amnio results in December 2001 that I would be having a daughter. Likewise, when the ultrasound confirmed last spring that, yup, I’d be having another “little Princess”. I love the whole mom thing – I love the moms & daughter thing. I love painting my daughter’s nails and brushing her hair and not having to try to figure out how to make Transformers work.

But there apparently downsides as well.

Paying for proms, weddings and shoes (Hubby always harps on the number of shoes we’ll have to have in our house – and I hate to break it to him that really, I’m not that bad compared to most women I know – I don’t really have that many pair of shoes!). Watching my girls date – and probably more than once dating some bozo who isn’t worth the time she’s going to spend getting ready for the date! Hubby, of course, still harbors hopes that our girls might be so grounded in academia that they don’t give a thought to dating. Um… wishful thinking, dad. And “the talk”. Oh man. I dread that.

I have a few more years until I have to have “the talk” with The Princess and Pumpkin (and I hope that I have MORE than a few, to be honest). I was watching the Today show this morning, thinking, “There’s a big downside.” I’m likely going to be the one having these chats with the girls about birds and bees, and Hubby will be out playing 18-holes of golf while I’m sweating through the Q&A session!

I’m queasy just thinkin’ about it.

Where is the Time Going?

The past few weeks feel like they have been insanely busy! Getting things done for M’s wedding (this weekend already! WOW!) and assorted weird household stuff means that I have this insane week. The crazy/stupid part of it all is that the things I have going on for pre-wedding are not necessarily anything helpful to the bride (sorry, M!), but things like…. oh, getting a pedicure. And, Emily – I’m re-visiting the Mystic Tan (I didn’t post about my first experience but: You. Were. So. Right. It scared the be-jeebers out of me when that first spray hit – and all I could think of was, “Ohhhh, I’m sooooooo screwed if there is a tear gas emergency!”). Another fun note about Mystic Tan… It didn’t turn me orange (whoo hoo!). But for a few days, there is a smell that lingers. I can’t describe it, but I didn’t like that part.

Tomorrow, I’ll pick up my bridesmaid dress from fitting (now that I’ve weaned Pumpkin entirely, they REALLY had to alter that top down, since now most fourth graders have more of a bust than me!).

So the good news is, I have a few nights this week where yes, I’ll be out and about running around, but I’ll be by myself. I’m actually kind of looking forward to having an hour or two to myself each night. Gives Hubby a chance to spend some quality time with the kids and it gives me a (much needed) opportunity to recharge my batteries. I’m so looking forward to my pedicure – am I rude if I bring a book and ignore the person giving the pedicure? I always feel obligated to chat – I’m using a gift certificate to a nice salon I’ve been to several times before, and it’s not that I don’t like the people who work there, but an hour of uninterrupted reading time? How often does that happen? (Not much).

In other news, my attempts to prepare a dinner free of added sugars and other crud were a bust last night. Found a pasta sauce recipe from The Naked Chef in one of my family magazines (yeah – “Naked Chef” and “Family magazines” – seems like it isn’t the best fit… but he’s not really naked – the food is). Reduce several ounces of balsamic vinegar in a sauce pan, add some plum tomatoes, simmer and mix in basil… then cool and puree. The Princess met Hubby at the door last night and said, “Uh, daddy, there’s something really wrong with dinner!” I thought it was great, as did Hubby. I guess The Princess missed her high fructose corn syrup from our canned sauce.

The Thing About Small Towns

Our family lives in a pretty small town these days. It’s the town where Hubs and I both went to school (he was basically born and raised here, I came here when I was 13). It’s the type of town where most people either stay forever or leave and come back — the lucky few leave and never return.

We were the “leave and come back” variety. Both of us lived other places between graduating high school and when we returned. We both planned never to return. Small town living not the life for me – I can’t even watch “Green Acres” without getting claustrophobic. When we were selling our house, though, Stepson’s mom told us, “We’re moving to SmallTown.” [Cue sound of needle scratching on record]. WHAT?! I’m not entirely sure what possessed her to pick this place to live, knowing that as a small town, people would know Hubby and I and there would probably be no secrets and we’d find out everything anyway. Hubby and I made the decision then to move here too, so he could be closer to Stepson.

This town is too small, though.

I see the Ex on the road all the time – driving her car (“Mom’s Taxi”), or even out walking with her cell phone glued to her ear. If I don’t see her, guaranteed that my friends do, calling to tell me they saw her at the grocery store or at the greenhouse buying potted plants. Ugh. (Sometimes it’s funny – like the time my sister called to say she saw Ex dropping Stepson off somewhere, and “You should have seen the nasty pleather pants she was wearing! Ugh, not good!”).

In any case – it’s about time for Hubby and I to branch out again, and get our family the heck out of Dodge!

I realized it because last week was the Town Junk Day. I can’t think of what the official name is – basically it’s a spring cleaning event where you purge your garage of all the crap you no longer want, put it on your front lawn, and the township comes by with trucks to pick it up. All fine and dandy… except (and you knew there had to be an “except”) … prior to the township picking it up, the town’s “finest” come through with their pickup trucks and essentially “dumpster dive” at your curb. Now, I realize that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure — but these folks don’t even wait til it’s dusk to come driving by to root through your refuse. It’s more than a little creepy, and it’s what keeps me from participating in Junk Day. Last week, I saw someone take an old upholstered wing chair off someone’s front lawn and toss it into the back of their truck. Upholstery, people! Do you really want someone’s second hand upholstery? (Let me tell you: You don’t.) I’m a fairly clean person, but as the mom of two young kids and proud “owner” of a husband – even the cleanest people have dirty upholstery. I can’t even tell you how much formula has been spilled on our sofa. Goodness only knows what kind of crud you’re getting along with that free chair.

Ugh – I shudder to think.

Yup. It’s time to move.

In Lighter News…

Less than four weeks remain until The Princess’s fourth birthday (unicorn cake topper was ordered yesterday!), and while at lunch on Monday, she wrote her name on her paper placemat at the restaurant, darn near perfectly.


We are definitely in birthday mode – she tells everyone, “I’m almost 4!” Hubby asked the other day if we should get her a dog for her birthday (I don’t know who wants one more, The Princess or her daddy) – but I told him to hold off – that we could go look at the animal shelter and if we found one that might fit our family’s lifestyle and what we’re looking for, okay, but I wasn’t ready to make a full-fledged search for an animal right now (Obviously, we can’t take The Princess on a doggy hunt- she’ll fall in love with them all). Much as I’d love a puppy, I know that I can’t handle house training a dog right now – I’ve never done it, and I have my hands full right now.

My grandmother already picked up the Dora House for The Princess, so now we need to furnish it. Amazing how toy companies can gouge you – parents, grandparents and great-grandparents happily open that wallet for goofy stuff like this.

Almost daily, The Princess changes her mind as to what kind of cake she wants – she goes back and forth between chocolate fudge and strawberry – then once in awhile says she wants a vanilla cake with vanilla ice cream. I guess I’ll be holding out until the LAST possible minute before even thinking about the cake!

He Was Lost, But Now…

My brother was missing this weekend. For at least 24 hours, no one knew where to find him, where he was, how he was doing, or if he was even safe. Sounds ridiculous to worry about a nearly-32-year-old who hasn’t called his mother in a day… but my brother is not “normal”.

You can tell within minutes of meeting him that there is something not quite right about him – and though I can’t tell you the names of his “conditions” – because I don’t know them – there is a laundry list of things that are wrong, things with his brain, his adrenal system, the way his body produces or doesn’t produce certain hormones, and so on. The best way I can think to describe it is that IQ-wise, he’s similar to Forest Gump (and that’s not an exaggeration – my brother’s IQ is, I believe, 5 points lower than the fictional Gump) — the key difference is that Forest was more functional on his own, and my brother doesn’t have Forest’s tendency to speak in profundities.

There are a handful of medications that he must take daily. He is living on his own in an apartment with a cat. He works in a grocery store making just above minimum wage and has been at the same store for years.

And Friday he disappeared.

Saturday, Hubby went to my brother’s apartment, played the messages on his machine and heard several threats to my brother’s life from someone who was likely drunk or stoned (possibly both). The threats were pretty graphic, I’m told – but I asked not to hear them. My brother’s apartment was a state of filth – pizza boxes (both empty and containing remnants of pizzas from days/weeks past), granola bar wrappers, crumbs ground into the carpet, just.. filth. Bills from a year ago were found, unopened (and now, obviously, unpaid and past due). His medication was found – he had not taken it in several days.Word of an evicition notice received was mentioned by his neighbors.

And we never knew.

I called hospitals. He wasn’t there. Hubby and my mom’s husband knocked on the doors of the neighbors to try to find out if anyone had a clue where he might be. They came up empty and called the police. They filed a report – the police said, since he was living on his own, he was obviously (?) able to function and they would put a missing persons report out but really there isn’t much they can do for a 32 year old who doesn’t call his mommy.

Can’t say I blame them.

The sick feeling you get when you know someone is making threats to the life of someone you know. The sick feeling of when you know he hasn’t taken his medication and that it’s likely going to land him in the hospital – but not knowing where he is or who he was with and would they know what to do if something happened, would they care enough to do it, would they do it in time?

Growing up with a special needs sibling wasn’t easy, and to be honest, this past episode could be one of the first times I have truly felt sick about what was going on with my brother – where would they find him – would he be alive? When you have a sibling who so requires attention for so much – reminders to bathe and brush his teeth, constant nagging to get his homework done in school, having to be told how and why to do things, it’s hard, when you’re a kid to not have some level of resentment, and I would be lying if I said that didn’t impact why my brother and I have such a weak relationship. I became a fiercely independent person, used to fending for myself, and picking up pieces – in large part because my parents were constantly picking up my brother’s pieces.

But this past weekend, I heard about these threats, and I felt sick sick sick. Not knowing where he was – and if the person issuing threats would follow through or was just trying to scare him (which it did because he did disappear to escape it). All I could think of was, “What kind of sister am I?”

My mom got a call from a neighbor who heard he was in the hospital on Saturday night. He’s in the hospital not because of something anyone did – but because he threw the hormones and the balance of his own body out of whack by not taking his medication again. It’s like we’re relieved he’s okay and mad that he’s done this to himself again – but knowing, that he can’t really help it – he doesn’t know better.

And the fact that he doesn’t know better – that he needs to be told when to shower and brush his teeth, that he needs to be told that he needs to take his pills or he could die, or that he needs to go to his doctor’s appointments because they are there to help – well, it’s time for him to get more help. My mom spent a lot of time with social workers yesterday and they are helping her now to get him the help he needs. The coming weeks are going to be filled with getting his health restored (he’s in an ICU right now, severely dehydrated), having him declared “incompetent”, my mom having to obtain guardianship of him, and finding him an assisted living facility.

As a parent, you think at some point your kids will leave the nest – that you give them the wings and they will leave the nest, fly away and do their best with what they have been taught – and sometimes they can’t leave the nest entirely – and so that is something that as a family we struggle with. We’re glad he’s been found, but now we’re treading a new path and finding our way, and trying to move forward — and it’s totally foreign to us. I know my mom feels guilt at her frustration, as I do about my not being a better sister.

Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.
– John Lennon