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Archive for October, 2007

Boo.

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I am still slammed with this office move.  Not only am I dog tired, I’m cat tired, too. 

— Mox

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Woof.

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I is tired. 

— Mox

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This week is Red Ribbon week at school, meaning there is a lot of talk going on about drugs, both in the classroom and at home.  And a six-year-old’s brain processes stuff at its’ own pace, ruminating and digesting information until the questions start coming like so many bolts out of the blue. 

“Mom?  Is alcohol a drug?” 

Oh, man.  At 7:30 in the morning, while I’m trying to get the both of us out the door?  I’ve got to get into this now?  Now? 

Stall. 

“What do you mean, honey?” 

“We’re talking about drugs at school.  Is alcohol a drug?  You and Dad drink alcohol.” 

Hm… thinking fast.  Because technically…..

“Well, alcohol is a little different.” 

“Different?  How?” 

“Well, alcohol is something that the law says it’s okay to have and drink, as long as you are over 21 years old.”  (Never mind the fact that I started at 19.  Let’s not get into that now.  Plenty of angsty teen years coming up to tackle that.) 

“21?  And 22?  And 23?  And 24?” 

“Yes, 21 and older.” 

This seems to satisfy Spawn for the moment.  I hustle both of us out into the rain, into the car.  But I feel like the conversation isn’t finished.  I need to talk about this, make a distinction between alcohol and “drugs.” 

Because I feel a little guilty. 

Because a six-year-old’s mind is a pretty simple machine:  Drugs are bad.  Alcohol is a drug.  My parents drink alcohol.  Does that mean they’re bad? 

Because I want to assure Spawn that Mom and Dad are not bad.  We are not bad.  We are responsible adults who don’t drink to excess.  And I need to make the distinction that alcohol is legal and okay, where other things, like pot, are not. 

Because Spawn’s “bubby,” my best friend’s oldest son, who Spawn adores, is a pothead. 

Here’s a challenge for you:  take what it is you believe and try to put it into language that is simple enough for a six-year-old to understand.  When you reduce your rationale like that, where you can’t hide behind big words and complicated logical arguments, it’s a lot harder than you think it will be.  Six-year-olds function best when what they are presented is in terms of black-and-white. 

So we’re in the car, slogging down the wet streets toward school.  I’ve got five minutes. 

“So, let’s talk about this drug thing.  Do you know what kind of drugs there are?” 

“No.  Like what?” 

“Well, there’s pot, which is also called marijuana.” 

“That’s bad.” 

“Yes, it’s against the law to have that.”  (In my mind I want to jump all over Bubby for being a pothead, but this conversation isn’t the place for that.  Spawn already knows that Bubby is doing bad things, things that are against the law.  No sense muddying the waters.)  “There are other drugs too.  Heroin, cocaine, crack, meth.” 

“Those are bad for your body.” 

“Right.  They are against the law to have, and they are not healthy.  They hurt your body.” 

I’m really trying to distance myself from the alcohol thing at this point.  Because God knows, I’m a legal adult who has never smoked pot a day in her life.  Believe that?  It’s true.  The closest I’ve ever gotten is inhaling the air at a REO Speedwagon concert.  But I do enjoy my adult beverages, and I am trying to set an example of what it is to be responsible when it comes to alcohol. 

And yet I still feel a little bit like I’m on trial here. 

But at this point we’re at school, so the conversation is over for the time being. 

I kiss Spawn and the kid jumps out and heads into school, and I hope that I have done and said the right things.  I hope I have eased the kid’s mind.  I hope I have rationalized my actions in the right way. 

I feel guilty for my rationalization.  I wish things could be black and white. 

It feels like I’ve just taken a massive parenting test, one that counts for 50% of my grade.  I hope I haven’t screwed up. 

— Mox

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Somewhere…

It’s been cold as hell here and raining for the past two days, but this was my reward yesterday: 

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Just gorgeous.  Now, if it were only about 80 degrees here, it would be perfect. 

— Mox

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Purging

My office is in the midst of a big move right now, and I have ripped the top off the time capsule that is otherwise known as my office.  There should be no logical reason for me to keep paperwork for ten years, right? 

Posting will be by necessity light, as I cannot wrap my mind around anything else except boxes and trash cans and heave-ho-ing a lot of really useless crap. 

I expect to feel about ten pounds lighter when this is all over. 

— Mox

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I have given birth to a creature that likes to be up early.  Obviously this is a case of genetics, since my husband is also something of a lark while I would prefer to laze about in bed until oh, noon. 

The thing I really hate the most about fall and winter is the getting up in the dark.  It’s unnatural to force my eyes open before the sun comes up.  Loud noises, such as those that come from the mouths of those who are up and at ’em, hurt my ears.  And consequently I am not a pleasant person to be around early in the morning.  Give me 30 minutes or so to come to, to deal, and I’m a lot nicer to be around. 

But Spawn is just so damn cute first thing in the morning, with the bedhead and the snuggliness.  I don’t mind that too much.  It’s when the kid gets up and is raring to go and asking me five million questions at six a.m. that I start to lose my shit a little. 

Most mornings I don’t have to bother with waking the kid.  Usually Spawn is up and moving under personal steam far better than I ever do.  It makes getting ready for school and work SO much easier. 

But there are the rare mornings, like this morning, where I have to actually go and rouse the kid from slumber, and it is during those times I see glimpses of myself.  The growling, the retreating under the covers, the whining.  All me.  And I can’t help but smile a bit because I get a little bit of perverse pleasure out of being the waker instead of the wakee. 

I’ll take my victories, however tiny, however weak, wherever I can get them. 

— Mox

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Man, I knew this week was going to be pedal to the metal, but how did we arrive at Friday so fast?  Seems like we just barely got started. 

And since I don’t have time for pith today, I leave you with a golden oldie, apropos for the season: 

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— Mox

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Spawn does not, in the pediatrician’s opinion, have ADHD. 

So heave a big ol’ sigh of relief on that one. 

But with an asterisk.  The assessment forms that Spawn’s pediatrician had both me and the teacher to fill out were pretty closely mirrored on our answers.  However, there weren’t enough indicators for ADHD to form a definitive answer that yes this is the issue.  A definitive answer would have been to score 6 out of 9 in a couple of key areas, and the score for Spawn was 4 out of the 9 in those areas.  But the pediatrician also wants to keep an eye on things for another three months, to see how the kid is progressing in school.  So we will watch behavior patterns, grades, self esteem, and so forth.  If we start to see more marked degradation of these things then we’ll revisit the issue. 

Which is to say, yay, no need for medication.  No labeling.  But also, the conclusion the pediatrician came up with is that this is a behavioral issue. 

So now it’s all back on my shoulders.  What is it that I have done/am doing in raising this child that makes the kid so spacey, defiant, fidgety, argumentative?  Spawn has always been a very active child, very bold and intense and exhausting.  Is it my parenting, is it my laxness in some areas, that has created this specific monster?  Am I responsible in some way for the issues that we’re dealing with now?  Too much coddling?  Not enough discipline? 

I just don’t know. 

— Mox

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Everything’s broken

About a week before our vacation, I walked into the kitchen and noticed a huge puddle of water under the kitchen table.  Ordinarily there’s not a puddle of water in my kitchen floor, so I started tracing the root of the problem.  Verdict:  my icemaker was leaking.  After fiddling around with it for most of the day, my husband and father decided they had it fixed.  And sure enough, it was fixed, at least from the standpoint that it wasn’t leaking from the supply hose any longer.  But the next day, I was greeted with an ice floe in my freezer.  The menfolk may have stopped the water from leaking down the outside, backside of the fridge, but now the problem was inside the freezer compartment and it was creating an iceberg worthy of the Titanic. 

I went downstairs, shut off the water supply to the icemaker, and pulled out my old fashioned ice cube trays.  And that is how we have been operating for the past three weeks.  The problem being, only one of us seems to know how to fill up the trays.  Which is why we have an icemaker in the first place. 

See the problem there? 

And then of course our water woes aren’t over.  The very night we got back from vacation, I discovered that Spawn’s bathroom tub drain was leaking into the basement.  So I asked my husband to see what he could do about it, and the result was an even bigger leak.  Because the man has many talents, but plumbing is not among them. 

Night before last, I reached over to turn on the ceiling fan in my bedroom (because I am the lazy sort, I have a remote controlled ceiling fan) (I highly recommend them) and discovered that where previously I had three speeds of airflow, I was now reduced to two:  lazy and barely moving. 

Now my father has another home improvement project, in a home he does not live in. 

This is of course after he has fixed my vacuum cleaner.  When we got home there was a note from our cleaning lady (god that makes me sound so bourgeois) saying that the vacuum had just stopped working.  Turns out the plug was bad, likely from having it ripped out of the wall socket rather than being unplugged like the owner’s manual recommends it should be.  Go figure. 

And then there is the matter of the beautiful glass globe filled with seashells and sand that I purchased on my trip and had shipped to me to avoid getting it broken on the airplane.  What do you think I received?  Right.  I’ve already filed a claim with the carrier, and I’m trying to get a replacement. 

When it rains, it pours, folks. 

— Mox

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I knew that the week following my vacation would be a case of hit-the-ground-running, and so far I have not been wrong.  Not only am I working, I am also once again Sole Parent In Charge, with responsibility for swimming lessons, dance/taekwondo studio, parent-teacher conference, pediatrician appointment, and daily homework.  Plus my own calendar, which includes a meeting at church, a dentist appointment, salon appointment, and the usual grocery shopping and laundry to keep up on. 

And did I mention?  My office is preparing to move to a new location in two weeks.  So there’s the packing and the purging. 

Last week I found myself wondering who I’d be if I lived at the beach. 

There is a certain amount of “keeping up appearances” that you do when you live in your hometown.  People know you, relative of who your parents are, of where you work, where you went to college, where you live.  So you try to fit, to some extent, into the view that people have of you.  It’s a role that you help to write for yourself, and it’s enforced by working to maintain people’s expectations of who/what you are.  And maybe that’s silly or just plain wrong, but most of us do it to some extent. 

The temptation of vacation is this:  to bail on your old life and start over. 

I guess we all have these contingency plans in the backs of our heads, those “what-if” scenarios that we dream up.  If I were to walk away from my life, where would I go?  What would I do?  Who would I be?  It would be mighty tempting to get a simple job that requires no thinking, just working for the paycheck and having no responsibility.  Go back to my efficiency apartment, change clothes, and live my life. I could happily be a beachcomber. 

I entertain these fantasies every so often.  Like when I’m faced with a week of constant running. 

But now that I’m home, I’m reacquainting myself with the various responsibilities and people I need to deal with on a daily basis.  I’m being reminded that while there’s no place like home, there’s also nothing like a break from reality, too. 

— Mox

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