Thursday, January 15, 2015

To Chip, Or Not To Chip...

The Husbandly One and I have such awesome communication skills sometimes.

I only have two lunches to make in the mornings now, the Impossible Son's and the Husbandly One's, so it's not such a frantic thing as in the past.  As such, I'm a little more relaxed in the mornings, which is a good thing, considering how creaky the autoimmune thing makes me now.

So this morning, I'm making the Husbandly One's lunch and I admit, I was a still a little under-caffeinated and moving a little slowly.  Sandwich was done and it was time to add chips, so I hooked the step stool with my foot (because I'm fun-sized, yo!) so I can get to them.  They are kept on the top shelf of our cabinets which are, of course, way above my head.

As I stepped up to get them, I looked over at THO and said, "You know, I had quite a fight to hang on to these chips yesterday," as I reached for the bag of sour cream and onion potato chips.

"Yeah?" he said sort of absently, because he was at the table, drinking coffee and surfing Facebook.

"Yeah," I said, pulling the bag down.  "Your son discovered the bag and practically emptied the damn thing in a 'small' bowl.  He's doing the 'eating everything in sight' thing again.  I had to confiscate the bowl and rescue the chips!"

Both THO and Mr. Impossible love sour cream and onion chips.  Thing is, where THO has learned moderation and to ration them out to himself, Mr. Impossible is still at the Hoover stage of his appetite and will eat an entire large bag at one sitting if we let him.  So THO basically hid this particular bag of chips so he'd have them in his lunches this week.

I had opened the bag and was about to put some in his lunch when THO turned around and said, "Oh, we have chips at work, so you don't have to put any in my lunch.  Unless you just want to."

I frowned at him.  "So..."

"You can put them back," he said, watching me.

"Okay," I said slowly, rolling the bag up and clipping it, then getting back up on the step stool to put them away.

They are in my hand, about to touchdown on the shelf, when he says, "Or you could throw them in my lunch... if you want."

I stop, stare at him, then slowly start to take them back down off the shelf, preparing to unclip them again.

"Honey, we have chips at work," he said.

Breathing slowly and evenly, I don't unclip them, and start to put them back on the shelf.

"Unless, you know, you just want to put them in my lunch."

I study his face.  He's not teasing me.  He's entirely serious and has no clue. Okay.  I start to get them down again.

"Honey,  I said we have chips at work!  You don't have to put any in my lunch!"

"AAAAAUUUGHHH!!!  Will you make up your mind???"

THO looks shocked.  "What??  What did I do??"

"We have chips at work, unless you want to put them in my lunch, but you can put them back because we have chips at work, unless you want to put them in my lunch, which one is it??"  I glare at him.  "I have not had enough caffeine for this!!"

Yes, he apologized, and thus he has survived to live yet another day.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

"Ring them bells with an iron hand so the people will know..."

A Facebook discussion group was established for our small town/county a little over a year ago, and I have to say, it has been a hugely positive thing for the most part.

I am sure there are people who work for our small school district who don't feel the same way, but after having a child in the schools here for twelve years, through good and bad, having a visible forum for local parents to air concerns has forced our district to change.

No longer can they count on problems just going away as soon as parents leave the building, or as unsubstantiated rumors.  It's right there on Facebook, in black and white (and blue), and everyone can see it.

I wish we'd had this discussion board years ago, like when Mr. Harper, the wonderful AP Physics teacher at the local high school, finally gave up on being treated right by the district and left to teach where he'd be happier.  Or when there were no textbooks for the math and science classes.

I'm glad we have it now.  I'm seeing more and more parents posting about the issues at the junior high that have been continuously swept under the rug for years.  The bullying issues.  The huge fights that happen on the Maple Street walking path after school.  The inconsistent way things are treated.  It's infuriating, and I'm glad it's getting a spotlight.

I'm glad some of the policies at the elementary school my son used to go to are being spotlighted, too.

I'm hoping this continues.  I remember the discussion when a bond election to build a new high school was coming up, and how many people in our town truly did not realize how badly it was needed.  In their minds (and there are still some people who persist in this belief) there is no need for a new high school.  They truly do not see that our schools are practically bursting at the seams, and the current building is falling apart.  It has reached the point where it's cheaper to build an entirely new school than it would be to repair the existing building and add on to it.   There are still people who think it is "too fancy" for us, and it is very hard for me not to laugh hysterically at them.

Really?  Are you kidding me?  We are so far behind other districts, in education, in facilities, it's not even funny.  And I just mean basic, bare-bones facilities, not the bells and whistles.

Maybe I'll raise these issues on the discussion board later, but for now, I'll simply be grateful that the district's dirty laundry is finally being aired.

Monday, November 3, 2014


So... I'm in menopause.

This presents my body a bit of a quandary where my thyroid issues are concerned.  See, because my thyroid is basically kaput, my internal thermostat is off kilter, and I spent a great deal of my time being cold.  This is great during the summer, because this means that while everyone else is sweltering and complaining about how hot they are, I'm usually comfortable.  Come on, I actually carry a jacket around during the summer, because I never know when I'm going to start shivering.

Of course, the flip side is that during the winter, while everybody else is saying how nice it is that it's cooler, I'm freezing to death.  Well... not to death because I'm quite obviously here and alive.  But, I get very, very cold, to the point where my hands and feet will hurt, and while the rest of my family is comfortable sitting around in sweats and maybe a long sleeved shirt, I'm wrapped in six or seven layers of clothing, with at least three pair of wool socks on, and a knit hat, and a scarf wrapped around my neck, oh, and don't forget the fingerless gloves!

It's kind of embarrassing sometimes, and there have been times when we've been out in public and I've had someone, usually male, look at me with false sympathy and say, "Oh, are you cold?"

I used to try to explain the thyroid issue, but now, I find it much easier to simply lay my ice cold hands against whatever bare skin presents itself.  If I'm feeling nice, I'll take their hand, or lay my hand against their cheek, and they'll usually respond with suddenly widened eyes and an, "Oh, honey!! Let's find you some hot chocolate/a warm place by the fire/heater/let me get you a blanket!!"

If I'm feeling irritated and, okay, let's face it, vindictive for being patronized, I'll lay my icy little hands against the back of their neck or, if they're one of those entirely offensive people who never wear jackets or long sleeves when it's freezing outside (of whom my son is one) and thus standing there with bared arms, I might slide my hand against their inner bicep or against their back.  That usually results in a shriek or whoop of some sort (seriously, y'all, my hands are really cold), lots of shivering and offers of hot toddies, blankets, heaters, anything just don't put your hands on me again, for gossakes!!

This has changed somewhat, though, thanks to menopause.  Oh, I still get cold!  I still wrap up and shiver and stuff, but... now...


Don't get me wrong, I am totally rocking the not having periods.  And not having cramps that my mother "affectionately" dubbed "The Screaming Mimi's" when I was a teenager.  If I had to choose between having The Screaming Mimi's again, or going through labor with my kids?

I'd choose labor.  Seriously.  That.  Bad.

So, I am really, really good with not having periods.  Really.

What I'm not good with are the thermostat issues.

I spend all day cold, bundled up and shivering, and by the time bedtime rolls around, I'm looking forward to bundling up under the covers and cozying up to my own personal heater, also known as the Husbandly One.

I slip into bed, snuggle up to him, and for about, oh, I'd say thirty seconds, everything is right with my world.  I'm snuggled up to my favorite husband, I'm blissfully, wonderfully warm, and my eyes start to drift closed...

And it starts.  Heat starts to travel up from the small of my back.  Suffocating waves of uncomfortable, not so blissful heat, and I start sweating, and I have to push away from my suddenly too hot husband, throw off the covers, and lay there, panting as I sweat and start pondering turning the ceiling fan up just so I can stop sweating.  I can feel it coming off of me in waves, and I wonder if I'm going to have to get THO up so I can change the sheets when... I start to shiver.   Goosebumps start on my arms and thighs, and my toes and fingers start to ache, my teeth begin to chatter, and I have to pull the covers back on before I start shaking.  Because... I'm cold again!!!

I want to yell at my body, "Hey, make up your effin' mind!! Hot or cold, hot or cold, you can't have both, so decide!!  Either let me snuggle up under the covers or lie on top of them, just make up your mind!!!"

Stupid hormones.

It's like being in the middle of Antarctica wearing only a light cashmere cardigan over your sleeveless tee, hurrying toward the thick heavy parka and mukluks you know are just right there, waiting for you.  And you've just managed to get the mukluks on and are struggling into the parka when BAM!! You're suddenly in hottest, most humid place you can imagine.  Like... the Amazonian rainforest or something.  Or Nairobi.    And just when you're stripping off your sweat-soaked sleeveless tee... BAM!!!  Antarctica again!!

And this is only at night.

If I wanted to sleep during the day, I could do it in perfect comfort under the blankets.  No problem.  I've done it, as a matter of fact, when I got hit in the face by the Wall of Fatigue and just couldn't stay awake any longer.

But during the night?  Ugh.

I'll survive this, but for now?  Not enjoying this aspect.

THO is properly sympathetic (he is, at times, a wise, wise man) and applies chocolate when necessary, usually to ensure his survival.  He is most fortunate that I'm not experiencing the extreme mood swings I remember my mother going through.

I don't even want to think about that.

So... while I'm enjoying the freedom from fertility, I'm not so much enjoying the wild temperature variations.  Oh well,  c'est la vie!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

"And That's Why I Almost Fainted At The Dentist's..."

I totally blame the show "Bones" for this...

I went to the dentist today to have a molar pulled.  It was one of those so-called "twelve year molars" because they tend to come in when we're twelve or so, the last to come in before the wisdom teeth.   Second molars, I think, is the official name.

My second molars were crooked and very hard to clean, and thus, they had issues.  I had the second molar on the upper right pulled four years ago because it had a cavity that went nuclear, to the point of needing a root canal.  My dentist poked and prodded around the tooth for some time before finally sitting up and saying, "Well, I could do a root canal on this thing, but... I should probably send you to an oral surgeon for that."

Now, you have to understand, I am a huge chicken when it comes to dentists, for a very good reason.  My first introduction to a dentist was the Dentist From Hell when I was four.  It was very traumatizing, to the point that even to this day, I break out in a cold sweat just thinking about him.  My parents found a kind, gentle, non-threatening dentist after that who worked very hard to help me overcome my fears.  When I hid under the dental chair from him, he plopped down on the floor and talked quietly to me, singing and telling me stories until I came out again.  He's the only reason I can even contemplate going to a dentist now.

And the dentist I'm seeing now is AWESOME, he totally understands that I'm a huge chicken about dental matters and why, and he does an awesome job at making sure I don't feel a damn thing when he works on me, and his work is faultless.  I trust him completely, because he's really good about warning me before he does something, and understands my thing about needles and works to accommodate that.  And really, that's all I ask.

So when this dentist that I trust told me he may have to send me to someone else, you can imagine my dismay.  So I asked why.  And he said, "Well, the thing is, I'd have to put you under anesthesia and dislocate your jaw just so I could have a hope of getting back there," he said frankly.  "And even with that, there's no guarantee that I wouldn't break your jaw, your mouth is just that small.  An oral surgeon would be a better bet for you on that front."

So I thought about it and asked, "Do I need this tooth?  I mean, is it necessary to keep my teeth in line or do I chew on it?"

"No," he said, after checking it again.  "In fact, I can safely say you've never chewed anything with that tooth.  There's nothing under it, either.  It can come out if you want."

So that's what I did.  He pulled it out, and after all the pain meds wore off, I suddenly realized a neuro-facial pain I'd had for years, so long I'd hardly noticed it anymore, except when I had a migraine, was gone.  The roots of that tooth had been pressing on nerves and I had no idea.  I still get migraines, but they haven't been so bad since that tooth came out!

So, recently, I started having pain in the upper left second molar.  Mostly just low level pain, but every once in a while, something would fire off the nerves on that side of my face and that tooth would hurt!!  It would cause major pain that would fade to minor twinges, then back again.  So, I went in to have it looked at in September and again, he found a cavity.

"I could fill it," he said with a frown.  "But..."

"Let me guess," I said, "you'd have to dislocate my jaw just to get at it?"

"The cavity is on the back of that tooth right where you're having a hard time cleaning it," he said.  "It could be filled, but I'd have to send you to an oral surgeon to have it done, because I can't get to it without hurting you, and I refuse to hurt you."

So, after some discussion, we decided to pull it.  And that was what we did today.

Oddly enough, it wasn't as difficult to take out as the other one.  In fact, he sat back a lot sooner than I expected and said, "Okay!" and I frowned and said, "What?  That's it?  You're done??"

"Yep!" he said with a grin.  "And you came through it beautifully!"

Now, I almost fainted three times during this visit, which is unusual for me.  I usually manage to stay pretty calm, despite my anxiety.  My philosophy is this is something that needs to get done, there's no use freaking out, crying, or fighting because that just makes it harder for everyone involved and makes it take longer. I'm all for keeping it quick and efficient!

But today?  *sigh*

The first time was because of the needles.  This dentist uses a gel to numb the gums before giving a shot, which works most excellently.  And that was great, except on the last shot, I was very much aware of the fact I had a needle in my gum because he had to lay the syringe across my lip while the needle was still in my gum.  So after it was all over, I got all woozy and light headed and the dental assistant was quick to set the chair so my head was lower than my feet.  Yay.

She also distracted me with a cooking show that was on the Food Network, which worked excellently well because the cook (I have no idea who she was) was completely incompetent and doing things WRONG and I couldn't help pointing it out!

The second time, the dentist raised my chair a little too quickly, but you know, he was trying to reduce the risk of excess bleeding, and I'm totally cool with that. I'm just not cool with, you know, face-planting on that hard, hard floor they have in the treatment rooms!  I remember telling the dental assistant that my chair needed to be lowered before I pitched face-first off it and went SPLAT!

The third time was all "Bones" fault.

See, I could hear the moment the tooth released from my skull, could hear the faint crackle and cricks and thought, "Huh, wonder what the micro-fracturing looks like, and how long it'll take 'em to remodel?

And that's when my brain went, "Holy crap, are you actually analyzing micro-fracturing of your own friggin' skull???"

The world went kind of wobbly at that point.

I'm fine now, and recovering somewhat comfortably.  It's sore, but the pain is steady and bearable, as opposed to stabbing and acutely uncomfortable.

At this point, I'm ready for a glass of ice tea and maybe to take another nap, because the pain meds are kicking in and... oooooo, lookit all the pretty colors...

Monday, September 22, 2014

Out of the Bushes...

So this morning, I wasn't at my sharpest.  

Alright, let's face it, most mornings, I'm not at my sharpest.  Sometimes, there just isn't enough caffeine on the planet, you know?  But this morning?  Oy.

First off, when the Impossible Son and I stepped out onto the front porch to leave for school, he stopped and went, "Uh... Mom?"

"What?" I asked as I locked the front door.

"Look," he said a little too calmly, so I turned around and looked toward the driveway and my mouth dropped open.

"Where the hell's my car???" I asked, shocked, because it wasn't in its usual place at the end of the driveway.  Then memory kicked in and I looked up toward the garage and went, "D'oh!"  Because I'd forgotten that the Husbandly One had moved it to air up the tires.

Yes, I normally park at the end of the driveway.  Why?  Because there are billions and billions of little tiny birds that live in the red-tipped photinias that our predecessors planted alongside the driveway and (1) they are the most prolific poopers on the planet and (2) they have extremely accurate aim when it comes to the vehicles I drive.  I mean, I actually gave up washing the minivan when we had it, because I would have had to wash it four times a day every single day!

Everybody knew my van, because it was the red one covered with bumper stickers... and bird poop.  Not exactly a notoriety I was comfortable with, you know?

So when we got the CR-V, I made the decision to park it at the end of the driveway, before the bushes.  Results?  No more bird poop.  I'm the only one who parks in the driveway anyway, so might as well park the way I want, right?  *sigh*

So, the Impossible Son and I got in the car, my son chattering away as usual, I start the car, put it in reverse and check the mirror, preparing to back out.   All of a sudden, a tall, thin, grey-haired figure lurches out into the street from behind the bushes, slack-faced and dragging one leg, one arm swinging wide while the other is held straight down and in front of a stiff body.  The early morning light casts a grayish yellow pallor to the skin, and my first thought is, "Holy crap, the zombie apocalypse is real, WTF???"

Mr. Impossible says, "Mom?  You okay?  What is it, what's... OMG, Mom, is that... is that a zombie???"

The Husbandly One nearly got a frantic phone call to come home RIGHT NOW!!!
However, my brain kicked into gear and I said, "No, honey, that's the sewing lady who lives down the street."

"Why's she walking like that?" he asked, watching her lurch her way down the street.  

"She had a stroke a few years ago," I said as I plugged in the iPod to give my pounding heart a chance to slow back down to a more normal rhythm.  "We usually see her walking in the mornings."

"Yeah, but from the other side." Mr Impossible watched her go as I slowly backed out.  "Guess she decided to take a different route today."

"Yep," I said, and we made our way to school.  

The funniest part though is, until that moment, I never realized how much zombies in movies walk like stroke victims.  No, really, think about it.  The same stiff legged gait, the arms held out for balance, one swinging loosely, the other sometimes curled up close to the body, or held out straight, the slack-jawed face or dead expression with one side of the face drooping... 

Yep, I was definitely awake as I took off for the school.  Nothing like a couple of shocks to get the old adrenaline pumping!

I'll take a pass on that tomorrow, though, thanks.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Epically Awesome in Every Way...

So... last Friday night, after three days of worrying that it would rain and we'd have to move everything into a gym and much plotting about tickets, screens, and just how much humanity could be packed into three gyms and a band hall... this happened...

(photo by Jo Jandrok)

The Impertinent Daughter graduated from high school.

I am so incredibly proud of her, for so many, many things.  I am proud of what she's achieved academically and artistically, but... I am also proud of her for thinking for herself.  For doing things her own way.  For sticking to it when things got tough.  For being willing to ask for help, and for being willing to go beyond what her teachers assigned.  

I'm also proud of her class, for refusing to be intimidated by a woman who had been trying to squash them all into the same little boxes pretty much since they met her in sixth grade.  I'm proud of them for turning their graduation into a joyous, boisterous, yet controlled celebration of both achievement.... and freedom.

When the beach balls appeared during that particular administrator's speech, I knew this wasn't going to be an ordinary graduation!

(gif by K. Griffin)

The beach balls were rapidly followed by streamers, silly string, and confetti cannons.  A friend told me later that at previous graduations, when the beach balls appeared, they were rapidly captured by administrators and popped with a knife, which I find disheartening.  This year, however, when the balls were caught by administrators.... THEY THREW THEM BACK TO THE KIDS, AND EVEN ENGAGED IN PLAYING WITH THEM!!

I found that awesome and wonderful.  Like they were saying, "Okay, our job's done, you guys turned out just fine, let's just have fun!"

The best parts of the evening?  When the Valedictorian gave her speech, which was basically, "don't make high school be the best years of your life, the best years are yet to come, " she ended it with reminding her classmates of their plan, counting off, and leading them in a shout of, "DOBBY IS FREEEEEE!!!"

Most of us parents had no problem understanding that the reference went beyond Harry Potter.

The beach balls, streamers, etc. continued throughout the ceremony, much to everyone's amusement, and I think for us parents, the challenge was to capture it all.

(gif by K. Griffin)

The only thing that really bothered me was finding out the hug to the 12th grade assistant principal was required.  I'm sorry, but if the only way you can get people to hug you is to make it a requirement, then maybe you don't deserve to be hugged in the first place!  And I was concerned when I saw the kids were draping something around her neck, and wondered what the heck was going on.  When I found out what was actually going on later, though, I realized the kids got back at her in the only way they really could.  They were draping their IDs lanyards around her neck.

I hope she realized it for the insult that it really was, though I doubt it.

It doesn't matter, really.  What matters is that after twelve years of endless reams of paper, pens, pencils, crayons, textbooks, YouTube math and science tutorials, endless excuse notes, two bouts of mono, four concussions, sketchbooks, Prismacolor pencils, gouache watercolors, algebra and calculus books from Half-Price Books, freezing in the stands for three years watching her play soccer, holding her when the coach turned out to be a clueless jerk, conferences and meetings with principals to argue against stupidity in administration, happy-happy-joy-joy dances with her teachers when something went right, endless discussions about science, politics, Shakespeare, history, or whatever else she was studying, after lots of hugs, love, many, many batches of double chocolate chip cookies, and encouragement... the Impertinent Daughter has graduated from high school.  My beautiful, wonderful, brilliant, talented, and just plain EPIC daughter graduated.

And I am so proud!

(gif by K. Griffin)

You go, Boo-Girl!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Because there's no way to really prepare...

I somehow never envisioned this day.

Well, I did, but far off in some misty, distant future, nebulous and untouchable in the land of Someday.  Because in my mind's eye, last week, my daughter was two and lurching around the living room with a very large dog and three attendant cats, chocolate smeared around her mouth from the chocolate chip cookie she was hanging onto with fierce determination as she headed for her goal; the front door.

Three days ago, she was pushing her baby brother in a giant Tonka truck across the kitchen floor while he squealed with glee, making "Vroom! Vroom!" noises while the Triplicats scattered out of the way.

Two days ago, she was waving impatiently at me to leave as I hovered outside her first grade classroom, her brother in a backpack on my back, hoping she was going to be okay, and that she would make friends.

Yesterday, she was playing in her first soccer game, stunning us both as she displayed a determination and ferocity that has gotten her through every hurdle that has been placed in her way.  I still remember having to hold onto the Husbandly One when a kid who seemed like a veritable giant loomed over her and looked like he was going to plonk a massive fist on top of her head and crush her as he stole the ball from her.  She looked up at him, sniffed derisively, then plowed him over as she took the ball back, and passed it to one of the forwards, who immediately took it and made a goal.  She then turned to face the boy and flounced past him to show how beneath her contempt he was and ignored him for the rest of the game.

It was very demoralizing for him.

Last night, I hugged my seventeen year old daughter for the last time, and this morning, I hugged my eighteen year old daughter for the first time.

The night the Impertinent Daughter was born was one of the most... ridiculous and yet wonderful nights of my life.  My water broke three fourths of the way through an episode of the X-Files, an episode I still to this day have never seen through to the end, and then we were rushing to the hospital, feeling woefully unprepared.  I mean, we decided on her name on the way to the hospital!!  Seriously!!

I had a C-section, because she was a breech baby, and I remember when I heard that first cry thinking, "Oh, my God... what have I done?  What have I done??  I can't be a mother!!  I'm too immature!! I'm not stable enough!  I'm gonna fuck her up, and she'll be lying on a couch by the time she's 25, spilling her guts to a therapist about her whacko mom and how she totally fucked her up and... and... I CAN'T DO THIS!!"

Meanwhile, they were cleaning her up, and the Husbandly One was looking at her and cutting the cord and all that, and then they laid her in my arms, wrapped up like a little burrito.  I looked into her tired little scrunched up face, her centuries old eyes looking up into mine, and felt my breath catch.  She wriggled a tiny hand free of the burrito wrap, then reached up to touch my face, stroking my chin, and suddenly, I was calm.

I could do this.

We could do this.  We would grow and learn together, and we could totally do this.

And now, here we are, eighteen years later.  She's got a driver's license.  She'll be graduating from high school in a few weeks.  And there's a part of me that's screaming, "No, no, I can't do this!  I can't let go of my little girl, my baby, my firstborn, I can't let her go out into the wild, crazy world, because she's not ready!  I'M not ready!!"

Today, she hugged me, and touched my face, and I thought, "Maybe... maybe I can do this."

Nah, not really, but you know... I'll give it a really good try.

Happy Birthday, Impertinent Daughter.  You have given the roller coaster of my life some really wild twists and turns, some of them utterly terrifying, but I hung on and I've enjoyed the ride.  And I can't wait to see where it'll take us next!!