Tuesday, April 1, 2014

"I'm having trouble breathing in..."

I don't garden like I used to, though I have hopes that will improve.  But this song?  Duuuude, it's like she's been <i>hanging out across the street or peeking in the backyard gate!!</i>.  Because that's what my gardening experience has become... for reals.  I yank weeds, pull up the pecan tree sprouts the squirrels have planted in entirely inappropriate places... and end up having to go inside and take a nap.  After using the inhaler.


Well... here's hoping to improvement this year!!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Because excuse notes should be entertaining, right?

The Impertinent Daughter is a senior and will be graduating this year.  That's twelve years worth of excuse notes that I've written for her alone (because I home-schooled her for kindergarten), and I am so done with this school district.  Seriously.  

In fact, you could say I've gotten rather jaded, and after last year's experiences of having to go toe-to-toe with administration just to get the Impossible Son moved to a class where he wasn't being bullied by his teacher, and then this year, well... I finally just... let go and gave them the full benefit of my biting sarcasm and dry wit when I had to write excuse notes.  Or when I have to check the kids out of school.

Once, when I had to pull out the Impertinent Daughter to go with us to one of the Impossible Son's orthodontic appointments, I wrote in the check out slot, "orthodontic torture" for the reason.  When she started her period and was cramping so badly she couldn't stand up straight, I wrote, "uterine vengeance and gore."

Why not?

So one morning, when I was sitting there, trying to cudgel my not really awake brain into composing yet another bland and professional excuse note, I just... gave in to my inner demons and wrote this:

"Please excuse the Impertinent Daughter's absences on Monday, February 3rd, and Tuesday, February 4th.  We shall blame her grandfather for this one, because he was the one who decided to pass down the completely unnecessary and totally un-fun Migraine Gene.  He could have passed down any gene but this one.  Did he give her his green eyes?  No.  Did he give her the ability to imitate any bird call she hears?  No.  He gave her migraines.  

We have both decided this is totally unfair and wish to complain to the management.  Management seems to be ignoring us at the moment, and so, she’s had a migraine the last two days, and while she isn’t really over it, she’s attempting school today anyway."

I figured, what the hell?  What are they going to do, yell at me?  I'll just smile evilly and ask them what precisely is wrong with the excuse note?  It gives the salient facts in an entertaining and light-hearted manner, and if they don't agree, too bad.  Besides, I'm working on the supposition that these things are just as boring for them to read as they are for me to write.  Why not entertain everyone?  I figure it's a win all the way around.  I get to practice my creative writing skills, and they get to spew coffee all over their office!  WIN!!

Here's another one:

"Please excuse the Impertinent Daughter’s absences on Tuesday, February 11th, Wednesday, February12th, and Thursday, February 13th.  

There was an epic battle with a virus that turned into a secondary sinus infection.  Fortunately, the valiant Sir Zithromax came to her rescue, and destroyed the bacterium that tried to invade her sinuses.  This enabled her trusty White Knights to defeat the despicable virus that had brought her down in the first place.  Thus, she is able to return to school today.  Do not be startled by the barking.  It is not a werewolf.  It is merely Miss Impertinent coughing."

Or this one:

"Please excuse the Impertinent Daughter’s absence from school on Friday, January 11th, and Monday, January 13th. We were having adventures with possible mono, which most fortunately, did not come to pass. The doctor did not want Miss Impertinent to return to school until the blood work came back, due to Miss Impertinent’s unfortunate habit of biting people and trying to turn them into werewolves. We’ve had the werewolf discussion with Miss Impertinent. I don’t think she’s listening. Still, the blood work came back and showed no mono, just an opportunistic virus that had nothing to do with werewolves, and everything to do with making her queasy and tired. She should be fine for most activities, but definitely not werewolf hunting."

This is one of my favorites:

"Please excuse the Impertinent Daughter’s absence on Wednesday, January 8th. There was nausea. There was cramping. There was fatigue. And even worse, there came the Dreaded Noises We Shall Not Speak Of. Because of this, I, in my role of “She Who Must Be Obeyed,” decreed that the Impertinent Daughter should stay home and not inflict herself, nor her possible projectile vomiting (which thankfully did not occur) on the innocent populace of the high school. 

She is still pale, wobbly, and vaguely nauseous, but determined not to miss classes. Should she become horizontal and immovable, I shall arrive forthwith to whisk her away to the doctor."

On that last line, I ALMOST said, "I shall arrive forthwith to whisk her away to the voodoo practitioner of our choice, there to have beads rattled over her, and then to be suspended by one leg until the evil spirits be exorcised or fall out forthwith..." but I figured that would have been a bit much. Besides, l like to keep the excuse notes to one page, if possible.  It's best I limit myself, you know?

Lest you think I left the Impossible Son out, here's the only excuse note I could find (I think two others are either on the iMac, which is unavailable right now, or simply lost):

"Please excuse the Impossible Son’s absences on Tuesday, March 4th, and Wednesday, March 5th.  First he turned green.  Then he got the bulging eyes.  There may have been excessive salivation.  Thankfully, there was no projectile vomiting, though there were prodigious amounts of mucus.

Did I mention tonsils the size of ping pong balls?

Thankfully, it wasn’t some strange tropical disease, though that might have been quite exciting.  And the doctor tested him for strep and mono (which seems to be going around), both of which turned out to be negative.  So he should be good to go.  However, should he start sprouting excessive hair, well, it could be puberty, or he could be turning into a werewolf.  Please refrain from the use of silver bullets until I can come pick him up."

Fortunately, the staff at both the junior high and the high school have been getting a big kick out of these excuse notes.  I had the principal at the junior high run me down one morning to tell me how much she enjoyed reading a note I had written when the Impossible Son got his first migraine (ugh).  It reminded her of her mother writing a similar excuse note for her when she was in high school, so she thought it was pretty hilarious.  And the normally dour attendance clerk at the high school is cheerful and greets me by name when I call in now.  So... WIN!!!

And just think, they have at least five more years of this, until the Impossible Son graduates!

*evil smirk*

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Because This Breathing Thing Is Harder Than It Looks....

This has been a really tough winter for us.  First, the Husbandly One brought home the flu for Christmas.  We were extraordinarily lucky that neither of the kids got it, but he got the H1N1 version... and I got the other one.  For once, our kids took care of us, and wasn't that a switch??

While the Husbandly One was initially much sicker, getting a dangerously high fever one night, high enough that I was ready to drag his stubborn hide to the emergency room, he recovered much quicker than I have.  We both took Tamiflu to reduce our symptoms, and the kids took it as a preventative, and we got through it.

But the flu hung on to me a little longer.  And when it finally left, we discovered it left friends.

Say hello to Mr. Secondary Infection.  Oh, and Mr. Bronchitis.  And let's not forget Mr. Lingering Cough!

But, I did start feeling better.  And I was kind of getting back into the groove when what is known here in Central Texas as Cedar Season hit... early.  And this year?  It was a doozy.  Think... CEDARPOCALYPSE.

Yeah.  That bad.

Guess who's allergic to cedar pollen in this house.  Well... all of us, actually.

But guess who it knocked completely flat?

Yeah.  Me.

The Impertinent Daughter got a sinus infection.  The Husbandly One got a sinus infection.  The Impossible Son hovered on the edge of a sinus infection, but seemed to avoid it.  Barely.

Me?  Well, I have asthma.  Asthma that has been remarkably quiet in the four or so years since I started taking Dexilant for gastric reflux.  I haven't had to take asthma medications in all that time.  Except the rare use of my rescue inhaler because of nearby grass fires, etc.  It's been wonderful!  It was like having my life back!

Until cedar season hit and all of a sudden, I couldn't breathe any more.  And the next thing I know, I'm back on Advair, I'm back on the nebulizer, I'm back to using my inhaler every four hours, and shaking like a leaf all the time.

Finally, the Husbandly One whisked us all away to Rockport for the weekend to see if it would help.  And it did.  I was finally able to draw in a deep breath for the first time in two and a half months, and we were all better for the clearer air.

It made coming back home a real bummer though.

And... I was back at the doctor's again today, because... now I'm coughing up yellow stuff, and for someone with asthma... that is a very bad sign.  So... now I'm on a antibiotic because the doctor informed me, as have many over the last few weeks, "You are absolutely not allowed to get pneumonia!"  Which would just be the total capper to the season, right?


The thing is, the very frustrating thing is, after you've gotten your life back, and you're used to doing things again, like getting out and doing stuff with your family, and going places, and just... being outside without worrying it's going to set you off or make you miserable... you kind of get to liking it and wanting to do it as much as possible.

And when you can't... it's very discouraging.  I have things I want to do.  My son will be starting his track season next week.  I would really, really like to go to his meets without worrying that I'll either have an asthma attack, make myself sicker, or have to go home after an hour because I'm too tired to stay awake.  Not to mention how crap-tastic that would be for the Impossible Son, because he wants his mom there.  He wants his mom cheering for him, taking ridiculous photos of him, and just being his best cheerleader ever.  Not curled up in bed at home.

My doctor, and my sister, who is a nurse and more than familiar with me, and with allergies and asthma in general, have pointed out that this was a huge shock to my system and I've got to give it time to... recalibrate.

My family needs me, and I need them.

Can you tell I'm frustrated?  Because I am.

I won't let this beat me.  But... it's very frustrating, inconvenient, and... did I mention frustrating?

Just breathe.  Just breathe.  Just breathe....

Monday, January 27, 2014

Dumber Than A Box Of Rocks... With Fur.

I have never claimed that the current version of the Triplicats were smart.  The original Triplicats... now those were some scarily smart cats, but they were raised by a dog, so...

The Triplicats 2.0, however... are dumb as a box of rocks.  But we love them, mostly.

Today, though, they're making that box of rocks look pretty damn smart.

So, I take my kids to school every morning, and when I get home, Calcifer, the orange tabby, is usually right at the front door, waiting for me to unlock it so he can either greet me with much affection... or make yet another escape attempt until he decides, "Hey, wait a minute... it's FREEZING out here!! LET ME BACK IN NAAAAOOOOOWWWW!!!!"

This morning, he wanted to slip out, so that meant me squeezing in through a barely opened door while blocking him with my purse, then yowling softly at him to make him back off.  He didn't back off far enough, because when I stepped back to lock the front door, I stepped on his tail.

Did I mention I was wearing Doc Marten's this morning?

He let out a truly epic cat squawk of pain, and I hastily lifted my foot while saying, "Well, if you didn't want to get stepped on, you shouldn't have gotten under my feet, you dumb cat!"

He streaked away from the door, a very unhappy cat.

In the meantime, Muta and Yuki came hurrying in on hearing Cal squall to see what was going on, and they see a cat racing away from the door.  Do they think, "Oh, no, our littermate that we've known and lived with for the last FIVE YEARS is hurt, we must check on him!"


All I know is, squalling cat running away from me, I lock the door, and turn to see Muta and Yuki both frizz out and go into full attack mode, racing after him while yowling their battle cries and slashing at him like he's the feline version of Public Enemy Number One.

Calcifer, already freaked out, is completely stunned and basically says, "Wait, what the fuck, hey, it's me, I'm hurt, WAIT, WHOA, OH, MY GOD, THEY'RE TRYING TO KILL ME!!!" and runs for it.

I grab pillows off the couch and fire them after the cats to distract them, because I can't believe they're actually attacking Cal.  Took me a minute to realize why they were attacking him.  It's... stunning.  I'm thinking, his scent hasn't changed.  His color hasn't changed.  Nothing about him has changed.  So why???

I figured they'd probably get over it and forget.  That later, Cal would come out of my daughter's room, and the other two would be like, "Hey, dude, where you been?  There was this other weird cat here, you should have been here, we would have totally kicked his ass if you were here!"

That... hasn't happened yet.

As a matter of fact, now, they don't recognize each other at all!  I mean, here it is, seven hours later, and they ran into each other in the kitchen, and it was like, "Who are you? "  "No, wait... who are you??"  "Da fuck??  Who the hell are
There was a squalling melee in the kitchen, and now they're all hiding from each other.  All three of them.  In.  The.  Same.  Place.   Under my bed.

This should be fun.

My cats.  Are idiots.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Power of Vocabulary...

Reason number 253 why my son rocks:
Walking home Monday, a group of large sixth graders (meaning they were bigger than my son, who is a five foot tall 7th grader) tried to involve the Impossible Son in a fight by calling him names.
"Hey, faggot!!"
He stopped, frowned, and looked at them.  "Why are y'all calling me a bunch of sticks?  I know I'm skinny, but duuuuuude..."
They stared at him and said, "Wait... what?"
"That's what faggot means.  It's a bunch of sticks."
"No, it doesn't!" one of them said in disbelief while the rest stood there with their mouths hanging open.
"Yeah, it does," he said over his shoulder as he started walking away.  "Look it up in the dictionary."
He said by the time their brains finished processing it and they were able to move again, he was too far ahead of them to even bother.
And just in case you were wondering...
faggot or esp  ( US fagot  (ˈfæɡət) 
— n
1.a bundle of sticks or twigs, esp when bound together and used as fuel
This is what happens when you read fairy tales to your kids when they're little.  
Heh heh heh...

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Peeking through...

Every once in a while, little glimpses of the woman my mom used to be comes peeking through...

So, I was talking to her today, and while we were talking, Bets walks in to show her something.  The first I hear of it is Mom saying, "What's that?"

"It's broccoli, Mom," I hear my sister say.

"Huh," says Mom thoughtfully.  "Okay."  Then after a long pause, she says, "Is it supposed to be brown???"

I nearly fell out of my chair, but managed not to laugh out loud, because I was dying to know the answer, you know?

"It's dehydrated," I heard Bets say with exasperation in her voice.

"I see," Mom said politely.  "That's... interesting."

"I'm gonna take it back to the kitchen and put it on a plate so you can eat it after you get off the phone," my sister said.

"Okay," Mom said.  "That's fine."  And then, after a moment, when she was sure Bets was gone, she leaned close to the phone and said, quite emphatically, "I'm not gonna eat that."

Yeah, I completely lost it at that point.  And I don't blame her one bit!!  Brown broccoli??? WTF????? Do I even want to know???

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

That moment when you realize you helped raise the next generation of the village...

It all started because the Impossible Son said, "One of my friends is pansexual."

I blinked, because this was a definite non-sequiter not related to the conversation we were having, but I'm well used to this sort of thing because... that's just the way my kids' brains work.  And I admit it, I'm kind of that way, too.  So, I said, "Really?  What makes you say that?"

"Well..." he hedged.

"Do you know what it means?" I asked while keeping my eyes on the road, because I had just picked him up from school and wanted to not, you know, run off the road into a ditch.

"Yeah," he said, "it means you'll basically have sex with anything that stands still long enough."

Wow, I thought, and knew I had to nip that one in the bud.  "Nope, not even close," I said firmly.

"But... that's what my friends said it meant," he protested.

"Yeah, well, they don't know what it means, either," I said dryly.  "Being pansexual means you're attracted to a person, not their gender.  Gender doesn't matter to you, it's the person themselves that attracts you."

"Oh," he said thoughtfully, then he frowned at me.  "Then... why didn't my friends know that?"

I shrugged.  "Because a lot of folks don't even bother to learn what those things mean."

"I thought that was being heterosexual..."

"No," I said, wondering how the hell he'd gotten so mixed up about this, "being heterosexual means being attracted to someone of the opposite sex.  And," I said before he could ask, "being homosexual means being attracted to someone of the same sex as you.   And being bisexual means being attracted to either sex."

We kept chatting until we got home, and I think I cleared it up for him, but wow...

I shouldn't be too surprised, though, that he's mixed up.  Last year, the 6th grade assistant principal told my son he needed to keep some friction burns he had on his hands covered with bandaging, not because it was hygienic, or would keep them clean, but... because he could pick up AIDS from the surfaces of the desks in the classrooms and the tables in the cafeteria.

*watches the collective jaw drop*

Yeah, that was pretty much my reaction, too.

So, going by that shining example, along with the fact that what passes for sex education in the schools in our small town is of the abstinence variety, it's no big surprise that my son's friends have no clue whatsoever what any of those terms mean.

No.  Really.

There is a disturbingly high rate of teen pregnancy in our little town.  My son is in 7th grade.  There's already a girl in his class that is expecting.  A girl at the Impertinent Daughter's high school went into labor on the first day of school.

I have news for all those parents who keep saying that they don't want comprehensive sex education taught in the schools because it might give their kids ideas and make them want to have sex.  Your kids have gone way past having ideas and they're already doing it.  Not knowing anything about it hasn't stopped them.  They're doing it, and they're getting pregnant, and getting STDs because you're too stupid to give them the tools they need to prevent it.  You're preventing them from knowing enough about it to make an informed decision, and you know what?  It's been proven that kids who take comprehensive sex education classes tend to delay having sex longer than kids who don't.

Anyhow, moving on, later in the evening, I was discussing this with the Husbandly One and the Impertinent Daughter, and she said, "You know, Mom, I'm not surprised at all, because my friends used to pop out with stuff like that all the time.  I'd come ask you about it and you would explain it to me and then I'd go back to school and explain it to my friends.  I mean, I knew they were wrong, but sometimes, I didn't know why, or I didn't know how to explain it.  So I'd go to you, you'd explain it, and then I'd go and explain it to them!"

That sort of boggled me and I laughed and said, "Wow, kiddo, you make it sound like I'm responsible for providing all your friends with sex education."

The Impertinent Daughter snorted as she headed to her room and said, "Duh, Mom, haven't you noticed?  None of my friends are pregnant!!"

Holy cow, she's right.  None of her little circle of female friends are pregnant, and none of the girlfriends of her male friends are pregnant.

That... is pretty stunning.  And you know, all I have done is say things like, "It's easier to prevent a baby than to raise one," and "don't depend on the girl to provide contraception unless you're prepared to be a father," and, "if he doesn't love you enough to wear a condom, then he doesn't love you and he's not worth your time," and "No is a complete sentence all on its own.  No.  Period.  End of story,"and "You have a perfect right to refuse to engage in sex if you're not ready, but it doesn't hurt to develop a good left hook, too."

It's not that hard.  You start when they're old enough to start asking questions.  You tailor it to their age, but you answer their questions.  You don't tell them the stork brings babies or that you go shopping at the hospital.  You tell them it takes two people to make a baby, and the process that goes into it.  You tell them about the changes it makes to a woman's body, and what it takes to grow one, and how it comes out.  And... you tell them what it takes to raise a baby.  Money, time, and patience.  A stable job, a good home, a willingness to love, nurture, teach, lose many, many, many nights of sleep, to sometimes go hungry so your child can eat, to forgo new shoes so your kid can have new shoes, or a band instrument, or piano lessons, or whatever they need.

You talk to them about relationships and what it takes to build them.  What it takes to build a good solid friendship with their buddies, then apply that to a relationship with a girl/boyfriend, a spouse, a lover... you talk about what it takes to learn to live with a completely different person than they're used to living with, sharing books, records, a car, a house, money, or a dog, and you talk about how it all changes when you bring a child into it.

You talk to them about responsibility and respect, for themselves, for others, and you talk to them about how to treat other people.  How to recognize when someone genuinely cares and when they just want to get into someone's pants.  You teach them how to put a condom on themselves, or on someone else.  You teach them about other forms of birth control and how to talk about it with another person.  You teach them about drinking responsibly, about knowing the people they're with and making sure they have a designated sober person in their group.  That they have a signal to let their friends know when they're leaving a party/bar/social scene willingly and when they're in trouble.  That they should have someone they check in with regularly when they go on dates, so that if they miss a check-in, their friend will know something is wrong and will react appropriately.

Doesn't everyone do this?  If not, they should.