Sunday, February 28, 2010

Good grief

Another bad weekend of problems with my father's health and this time my Mom is along for the ride. I got a call today that they are both in the hospital. So far, Mom is okay, it looks like a bout of the flu with a minor infection. She's been through a lot in the last few months and it seems to be catching up with her. I think they will have her on antibiotics and hopefully she'll be out in a few days.

With my Dad it's different. They'll do some things for him too but he won't get better from here. At this point his goal is to die at home in his sleep, so I'm sure he'll hang on long enough to get out of the hospital. At least I hope so, this dying business is excruciatingly complicated.

So I have been walking around weepy all day. I know it's coming. I know my Dad knows how I feel about him. We've had the talk. We've listened to the doctors together. We've pretended to understand. Yes, we're aware, but we are all also completely unprepared. Completely.

And today I had a good cry. It just seemed like the thing to do.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

For the record

The other day Girlie asked me "Do you like being a Mom?"

I side-stepped the question a little. "Of course, I love you two both more than anything."

And I do. But yes, I get a little hung up on the daily logistics. Do I like breaking up fights or playing with playdough or picking up little tiny Polly Pockets or saying things like - get your head out of the toilet, no really I mean it right now? Not exactly. A large part of mothering is damn hard work. Damn hard aggravating work. The kind that makes you want to sing take this job and shove it in your best Dolly falsetto.

But I also realize that years from now my kids might read this blog and think that all I do is complain about them. So for the record, yesterday was a good day. They actually played together for an hour without intervention. I made dinner without burning it, bought myself some earrings, got some work done. We had some good moments. We do have good moments quite bit and I don't feel the need to vent about them. Yesterday was one of those days, the good kind.

The day before, not so much, but let's not mention the details.

But good Lord I love my kids. Fiercely. I can't imagine life without them.

So do I like being "the mother"? Eh.

Do I like being their mother? Absolutely.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Today I had an interview with one of the bartenders at a local resort. It's not my normal gig over at the New Times blog, they usually leave those assignments to the twentysomething hipsters, but the gal who was doing them moved on and the assignment was up for grabs, so I volunteered to do the one this week. I left little guy with a sitter for a few hours and headed out to the resort.

The bartender invented his own cocktail for a contest and I was there to interview him and watch him make the drink. I love interviewing people. You always go into it with a few ideas, but you never know where the person will take you. Sometimes you'll talk for an hour before they finally blurt out the one interesting thing about themselves. Other times you know instantly what the piece is going to be about as soon as the person finishes the first sentence. Either way, it is always always fascinating.

So the guy makes his drink and at the end of the interview, I am obligated to taste it, of course. Yes, it was a smidge after 11 AM at that point, but it was my job people. The lunch crowd was starting to trickle in, so the guy moved on and left me sitting there sipping a really good drink, with my notes on the table in front of me.

And for about ten minutes, I pretended I was a young hipster resort guest with money to burn, instead of a late thirty-esque mother of two with a baby sitter at home. Then I got up from my cushy leather chair and headed home. Damn.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Today I ate a grapefruit from the tree in my backyard. The fruit has been dangling there for a few months, slowly turning a soft yellow, and though the kids picked them last week, they weren't quite ready to be eaten. Last week, I tried one, but left the rest of them sitting in a bowl in the kitchen. Today I picked another one out and ate it.

Sweet, only a little bitter, but definitely ready.

Everything in due time.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Moving right along

So much going on right now, but I can't wallow in it. Though having children doesn't take away from the stress of a difficult situation, being a mother also forces you to just move along. And that is the real beauty in it, and something I am really pretty grateful for.

Much as I want to lay in bed and stare at the ceiling, I have to get up and make the pancakes.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Send in the clowns

So yesterday my mother calls to tell me that my father had a pretty bad setback this weekend. He is back in ICU and spent the better part of Saturday and Sunday unresponsive. She is telling me this, choking out the news through tears, while the kids are playing in the backyard.

I notice Little Guy pick up the hose and turn it on, and I calmly signal, then tell him to stop spraying water. He ignores me, so I inch towards him, while still talking to my Mom. As I approach him, he turns the hose on me full blast. He then follows my movements as I sprint all the way to the turnoff, by which point I am completely soaked. I can honestly say that I have never been more angry at that child.

At that moment, my life felt like such a circus, complete with a clown wearing a trick flower on his lapel. Lean in for a sniff and you get the old squirt in the face trick. It's never funny.

I put the phone down and took Little Guy inside for a timeout. As I got back to my Mom and apologized for the interruption, I could hear her laughing pretty hard. So, maybe the whole squirt in the face thing is funny once in a while, hilarious even.

Today, I'm just not seeing the humor in it.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Dear Universe, Why you gotta BE like that?

So I was really looking forward to this weekend. My best friend of thirty years was coming in town to hang out with me. Despite the fact that it was Valentines weekend, and we're two married gals very much into our guys, it was the only weekend she could make it.

I reserved two nights at a local hotel so we could catch up, sans kiddos. We were going to spend the weekend hanging out, shopping, brunching, drinking and yakity yakking non-stop. I haven't had any time away from the kids in a while, so yeah, it was going to be Valentines weekend without our men, but I was feeling the love.

Yesterday I woke up to the sound of Little Guy throwing up in his bed, the first sign that things were not going to go according to plan. But by the afternoon he seemed better, held down fluids and a banana, so I thought I might still work it out. Hubs comes back from a work trip today, so at the very worst Little Guy might still be sick, but it was looking like I could still go.

Still, I wrestled with the worry of it all for the better part of the day. Would I leave a potentially vomiting toddler with my husband on Valentines weekend?

Did I mention that I haven't had a weekend to myself in over a year and that my pal and I were going to have brunch? Brunch, the meal made for leisurely lingering and endless sipping of cocktails. The meal that doesn't exist when you have small children.

Yes. I think I would. TO-tally.

And then my friend called to tell me her flight was canceled.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Can I get an Amen?

As of the last few weeks my evenings with the kids have gotten so much longer. We figured out that Girlie was having trouble falling asleep because she was in bed too early, and Little Guy has been waking up well before 6 AM for the same reason. We've been playing around with bed times, but it looks like Little Guy will go to bed around 8 PM and Girlie has her lights out by 8:30.

This is a huge shift for me, because for the last seven years I have been a huge supporter and devout follower of early bed. Early bed means the kids are always in bed at 7:30 PM. Early bed means that when Hubs is traveling, I have the house to myself and my sanity is within spitting distance of dinner time. Early bed means that when Hubs is home, we can watch an entire movie and still get to bed at a decent hour.

Early bed is my religion.

Now, without warning, early bed isn't working for us anymore, so my evenings are much shorter, or longer, depending on how you look at it.

I was telling this to a friend of mine, who thinks I am nuts about the whole thing, she has never had her kids in bed early. Her children are older, so she tells me this is only the beginning. "At some point, they are up the entire time that you are," she says "maybe even after".

I start to ask her about that, but then I decide that I don't want to know.

For now, I'll stick to my religion and pray for a revival.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I heart technology?

Girlie brought these home from school today and I am completely aware that even commenting on this clearly categorizes me as old, but my people, the times they are a changin'...

Monday, February 8, 2010

The real deal

Before Girlie was born, Hubs and I left Atlanta and moved to a much smaller town, Greenville South Carolina. He had been working there for about a year at that point, traveling Monday through Friday to consult with a couple of textile companies. Tired of being alone, I decided that I should move to where he lived. Our downtown Atlanta condo wasn't the ideal place to raise a family and we were starting to think about having a baby, so scary as it was to leave the city, it seemed to make sense.

When we were looking at houses we met a real estate agent who took us around Greenville. We finally settled on a house that she had listed and she became the dual agent, representing us and the sellers. We felt like it worked for us, she wasn't allowed to divulge information to the seller about our situation, but the couple who owned the house were a little annoyed that their agent now worked for us too. For this reason, dual agency is not allowed in many states, but South Carolina was not surprisingly behind on that law.

Anyway, we got to the closing and the agent was there, but the buyers hadn't arrived yet. She chatted with us about the difficulties of being in the middle of our deal. She was pretty proud of how she handled it, and looking forward to getting both pieces of the agent fees.

She said in the biggest low country southern drawl ever, "I'm a real negotiator now, y'all." As if she hadn't already been an agent, with her own company, really her name was on the sign, for years.

Hubs and I laughed about that for ages afterwards and it became a private joke between us. We changed negotiator up to whatever we were going through at the time. After Girlie was born, "I'm a real Mother now, y'all.", etc.

Eventually we forgot all about it. But the other morning, as I was getting up at 5 AM to sit at my computer and work on some writing it came back to me - the feeling of moving to that small town, that woman being amazed to be something she already was, and everything that came with the whole bizarre situation.

And I can't help saying it to myself, in low country southern, "I'm a real writer now y'all."

Friday, February 5, 2010

Art therapy

Years back I bought a large painting as a consolation prize after a business deal fell through. It was a painful time in my life, but I got through it, and ended up opening my own store. I came to think of the painting as a way of marking that time. It hangs in my living room as a reminder of the beautiful surprises that life has to offer. A door was closed, slammed shut really, but a new one opened.

When we moved to Phoenix and I sold my business, my life went through another painful shift. This time, I closed the door myself, but nevertheless, for a little while I hovered on the threshold unsure of where I was going. I knew I wasn't heading back into retail, the loss of our investments made sure of that. I started writing to keep my sanity and on a whim I registered for a writing class.

In that class I met Cyndi Coon who is an artist and fellow writer. Last summer, she and I met for lunch and a tour of some of her paintings, where I promptly fell in love with this one.

Something about the circular shapes just hooked me. The top sections are like a pebbled pathway, but the lower images seem to be floating along, much like I am now. After seeing it, I couldn't stop thinking about it, but also couldn't justify the extra money I would need to set aside to make it happen. I haven't been working since we've been here and we're getting by, but things are somewhat tight and bigger purchases have to be planned for.

Anyway, this weekend I took the money from my first editorial sale and made a down payment with Cyndi. She'll hold the painting for me and I am planning to make payments as I earn money for my writing. Soon enough, I will have this one hanging in my house too.

One door closed and another one open.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The waiting room

If you've been wondering where I've been - I am a little tied up waiting for this to happen.


Monday, February 1, 2010

You're not the boss of me now

This morning I got up at 4:45, extra early, to work on some writing I have due this week. By, 5:40 just a half cup of coffee and two paragraphs down, I could already hear Little Guy calling for me. His sleep thing has been all off kilter lately with a few skipped naps and fairly consistent early waking. I can't quite figure it out, but I am pretty sure it has to do with the uptake in potty training. My kids are both really good sleepers until some new milestone comes along and throws everything wonky.

I stopped what I was doing, saved my file and went in to get him. Sometimes I can coax him to stay a little longer, but the fact that I was working towards a deadline was a sure sign that wasn't happening. I decided not to be grumpy about it because the kids just seem to pick up on it and my day only gets worse.

I got him out of bed and we headed to the dark living room for a snuggle and some book reading. He picked out some books, pointed to the chair and told me "You sit there." I laughed and said "Right there?"

"Yes, Momma, it's your job."

Just in case I was confused about that fact.