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Archive for January, 2008

As I sit here typing this, there are snowflakes swirling around outside my window.  Depending on where you live around here, the weather forecasters are calling for anywhere from an inch of snow to ten inches of snow. 

As a parent and businessperson, I cringe. 

We don’t generally get big snows in this neck of the woods, just little dustings from time to time.  Mostly, winter around here is overcast, gloomy, cold, and rainy.  Three months of that will wear on your nerves, let me tell you.  So anytime we get weather that’s a little out of the ordinary, people around here tend to freak out a little. 

To wit:  this morning on my way in to work, with snow just barely spitting on my windshield, I heard on the radio that a neighboring county had already canceled school for today.  My reaction was wtf? because it’s not supposed to get good and snowy until this evening.  Heck, over in that county it’s all farm ground anyway, don’t these kids know how to drive a tractor? 

I’m already preparing for Spawn to be out of school tomorrow.  Our immediate area is predicted to get one to three inches, which will be enough to keep the school buses off the roads around here.  I’m supposed to be off from work tomorrow anyway, so that’s no big deal for me, but I had some things planned to do that I just can’t do with Spawn underfoot. 

Since it’s Catholic Schools Week and they’ve pretty much been partying all week at school, I hate for the kid to miss a day.  They don’t get to do this kind of thing very often.  But if we get three inches of snow it’s a given they will cancel school tomorrow. 

The practical adult side of me is hoping that we don’t get the snow and life will go on as usual tomorrow.  But there is a kid-sized part of me that’s a little bit excited about the! possibility! of! snow!  I mean, I hate winter, but I also can appreciate the beauty of a fresh snowfall.  You know, just so long as I don’t have to get out and drive around in it. 

EDITED TO ADD:  just got word that they’re letting school out at 12:30 here today, in advance of this “big, bad storm.”  Give me a frickin’ break

— Mox

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Female physiology being what it is, there are things about my body that just perplex the hell out of me. 

To wit:  the wind chill is at -1 outside and yet I wake up in a full sweat in the middle of the night. 

And I know, I know.  I’m 40 now.  “The Change” can’t be too far off. 

I used to be one of those women who was cold all the time.  Then I got pregnant with Spawn and after freezing my ass off in the middle of June during my pregnancy, I got hot and I stayed hot.  In the weeks leading up to Spawn’s birth, I would regularly turn the ceiling fan on in the bedroom just to get some cool air stirring.  This of course would drive my husband under the covers, shivering.  It was January, after all.  But I figured, he could add layers and get warm; I was hugely pregnant and hot and frankly, he could just deal. 

Even seven years later I am more likely to be hot than cold.  I walk around my house barefooted pretty much year round.  It doesn’t help that my cold-natured husband has the thermostat cranked up to 72, either.  I’m up stirring around, and he’s sitting on his ass in front of the computer or the TV, so of course, he’s cold and I’m hot.  I maintain that if he’d just get up and move around a bit he’d be warmer but so far that suggestion has been met with flat-out ignoring. 

So yeah, he keeps the house just a little too hot for my taste.  Our bedroom has a separate thermostat, and there’s a good bit of thermostat wars going on in our bedroom in the winter.  I like it to be, max, 68 degrees.  He likes it to be, max, 72 degrees.  Except at 72 degrees I wake up at 3am with my shirt soaked through. 

This is nothing new.  Except lately not only have I been waking up in a lather in the middle of the night, but now I’ve got the added sensation of sleeping on a hot griddle.  The only cure for this is to fling the covers back, get up, and go flop in the recliner for a few minutes until my side of the bed cools off. 

This is, as you can imagine, not conducive to a good night’s sleep. 

And wow, I really get bitchy when I don’t get my sleep. 

Here lately the only good nights’ sleep I’ve gotten have been on the nights when he’s out of town.  I put the thermostat back down to a comfortable (for me) level and I sleep right through the night with nary a warm moment.  I also don’t get shaken, poked, jabbed, or otherwise disturbed for snoring.  Yeah, apparently I snore, too.

I am beginning to see why at some point in a marriage, some people take to sleeping in separate beds. 

— Mox

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There are days, like yesterday, where I question the wisdom of even getting out of bed.  Then there are days, like today, where I don’t see any reason not to. 

Amazing what good nights’ sleep will do for your perspective. 

Of course the weather here is still crap.  And I’m still hopelessly behind on my to-do list. 

Is it too late to make a New Years’ Resolution?  Since Chinese New Year is coming up, I’m guessing no. 

I am going to learn to say NO to people. 

I’m on a couple of committees right now that I have no real desire to be on.  I’m on them because someone asked me to serve and I said yes.  So I’m going to finish up my commitment to them and say goodbye. 

It occurred to me yesterday that I am turning into my mother.  As much as I love that woman I had really hoped to not be so much like her.  You see, my mother is the Queen of Good Intentions.  She makes promises and then she doesn’t follow through. 

I’ve caught myself doing that exact thing.  Over the weekend my church held a planning event for families with children for the 2008 church year.  As a member of the Children’s Council at my church I should have attended.  Truth is, I didn’t want to.  So I blew it off.  And since I’m in a truth-telling mood here, the truth is, I don’t really want to be on the Children’s Council.  We are not that deeply involved in our church and I really don’t think I’m all that much help on this committee. 

So why did I agree to serve?  My pastor called and asked me and I said yes. 

One of the things that I believe is that God gently nudges me by sending me signs.  Some of these signs I don’t recognize until much later.  Now, when I say signs I don’t mean things like a single white dove descending from a rift in the clouds.  I mean I think that people and situations are put into my path for a reason, and I am to learn something from them.  So when my pastor called me about this committee I thought well, there is some reason my name came up, and so okay, I’ll do it. 

Don’t laugh.  People do all sorts of crazy stuff for less compelling reasons than that. 

I’ve gotten to the point, though, that I am searching more for the meaning in these signs more than I am just doing whatever it is I’m supposed to do. 

Why am I on this committee?  (Existentially, of course.)  At first I thought maybe it was a nudge to get more involved with church stuff, especially with Spawn in mind.  Then I thought maybe I was supposed to pull my husband into it too.  And there have been things that have surfaced in meetings that have just broken my heart and I felt maybe a nudge to forget myself already and wade in where it’s messy.  And as of late I think maybe it might be a nudge that I’m not really where I need to be, church-wise. 

Sometimes I just wish God would leave me a voice mail. 

So I don’t know.  I’m committed for the rest of the year to this committee and after that point I think I will bow out. 

Maybe the nudge is that I need to learn to say No. 

I just don’t know. 

— Mox

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Somewhere there is an unwritten rule that Mondays should suck. 

I am having what amounts to being a typical (for me) Monday. 

It started out, for me, with a lazy lazy Sunday, and as we all know the lazy Sunday is the undoing of the civilized world.  I usually use my Sundays to prepare for the upcoming week — getting all the laundry finished up, figuring up how many lunches I need to pack, assembling the necessary components to my laptop bag, setting everything by the door…

Not really.  I just sort of half-ass do things on Sundays. 

Which is why a lot of Monday mornings at my house resemble a Keystone Cops skit. 

Spawn and I both got up this morning with an upset stomach.  I think it was the fish we had the night before.  So neither one of us was moving very quickly this morning, and there was the added issue of What To Wear, since this is National Catholic Schools week and the kids don’t have to wear their uniforms to school this week. 

So yeah.  We were late this morning. 

I got to work before I realized that I had forgotten about half of what I had intended to bring with me.  I mean, I have my laptop and my purse, so all is not lost.  But it would have been nice if I had remembered to bring my grocery list, rather than have to try and reconstruct it from memory. 

Right now I feel as if I have one foot in one world and one foot in the other.  I am not fully present today. 

— Mox

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Recently Spawn had an opportunity to choose a birthday gift for a female classmate, and as I like to do, I made the kid pick the gift out rather than me assuming what I should get.  These kids today and their cartoon idols and movie toys… I am lost in the toy department anymore. 

Choosing a gift for another person is something that you really need to do yourself, rather than rely on someone else’s judgement.  This holds true even if you’re seven.  Ostensibly, you know what your friends like. 

So while I’m standing there in the toy aisle in Walmart, slowly losing my mind while Spawn is making a decision, I started looking at the Barbies. 

Now, I loves me some Barbie.  I was pretty deep into Barbie in the 70’s, when she had those huge boobies and that long, straight, blonde surfer-girl hair and tan.  And my Barbies had the clothes.  My grandmother made Barbie clothes for me and let me tell you, my dolls were pretty dolled up.  I am probably the only kid whose Barbie had a real mink coat.  Yes, my grandmother cut up her mink stole (let’s be honest, the moths had gotten into it anyway) and made me a mink coat and hat for my Barbie doll. 

Yes, I was a spoiled little kid.  What of it? 

Anyway, I got to looking at the dolls they had in the Barbie section, and one generic Ken-style doll caught my attention.  A groom doll.  Really?  Hmm.  I picked it up and read the box, and you know, as an advertising copywriter I understand why it said what it said, but on a deeper level I really got kind of disgusted.  I don’t remember the exact wording (borrowing here from the link above) but “When the beautiful Barbie Bride doll walks down the aisle, this handsome Groom doll will be waiting at the altar. He is wearing a stylish, elegantly detailed tuxedo, white shirt, and bow tie.”  The name on the box said something like “Dream Groom”. 

The tired and withered feminist in my heart rose up with a cough and sputtered to an impotent rage.  This is what we teach our girls?  That the goal is to have a dream groom and a dream wedding? 

Come to think of it, that’s the reason I’m in the fix I’m in.   

I’ve been thinking about my foolish youth as of late, and how back when I was in my late teens and early 20’s my big fixation was to have a man.  Had a man, I was happy.  Didn’t have a man, I was miserable.  I see the error of my ways now, of course.  Because after 20 years of having a man (and the same one the whole time, at that), I understand that having a man isn’t the be-all end-all my stupid young brain thought it was. 

My man, he’s a pain in my ass. 

Anyway, I got to thinking about the whole bill of goods that Barbie is selling these days.  Other than being a veterinarian, what else does Barbie aspire to?  A model, a rock star, a princess, a bride, a princess bride.  99.9% of which have nothing to do with brains and everything to do with looks.  And we give these dolls to our girls as something to emulate? 

I’m telling you, being a smart woman lasts a lot longer than being a pretty one.  Because, you know, gravity sucks.  Age will drag you down and take your boobs with it. 

The world is a lot wider these days than it was when I was a little girl.  And a man is not a plan.  Isn’t it time that the girls of Spawn’s generation get fed with something other than “pretty girl” pablum? 

— Mox

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Bull by the horns.

Something that I have been dreading is about to come to pass. 

Spawn needs to be tested for learning disabilities. 

I think that somewhere within any mother who is worth her salt, there is a little internal warning system that tells her when something with her child is not right.  Personally, my alarm has been sounding since Spawn was about three.  At first a chalked a lot of stuff up to Spawn being three, or four, or five, or hungry, or tired, or excited, or any other thing I could use as rationalization.  But in the back of my mind there was a nagging feeling that all was not 100% like it should be. 

Oh, it’s pretty obvious that Spawn is whip smart.  The kid is a quick study and has a phenomenal memory.  Vocabulary is through the roof.  Affectionate, sociable, creative.  All those things that you want your kid to be.  The grades are good, for the most part; the behavior is not. 

I have long suspected this, and with a more traditional educational setting it’s started to really show.  I allowed myself to be lulled this fall with an assertion by the pediatrician that Spawn was normal and just needed some coping strategies.  We tried the coping strategies; they only worked up to a point. 

But Spawn’s teachers and the school guidance counselor are saying, wait a minute, something’s not quite right.  And I have to say, I agree.  Let’s get the kid tested. 

But of course you know the testing procedures take forfuckingever. 

I’ve got two routes I can pursue.  One is the local school system.  This takes six weeks of just documenting behavior before paperwork can be filed.  Then there’s a referral from the school psychologist, and testing is supposed to take place within 60 days from that point.  The testing is specific and not inclusive.  All of this is at no cost to us, since we are taxpayers.  The second route is private testing, which is very thorough, very expensive, and very hard to get an appointment any nearer than six months out. 

Either direction, the school year will be over before we have definitive answers. 

I’m pushing for the private testing at this point, because I have no faith in the local school system.  If I had any faith in it I would have my kid enrolled in it instead of a private school.  And I want a complete picture, instead of just looking for specific issues. 

I have been on the phone and emailing all morning trying to get this lined up.  It’s frustratingly slow going.  To my thinking, there is a problem, so let’s see what it is and see what we can do about it.  And let’s get it done now.  Now now. 

I am not by nature a patient person. 

The hard part about this is my own maternal guilt.  I’ve pooh-poohed my own suspicions for… how long now?  Spawn’s first grade year is nearly over and I’m just now starting this process?  Why did I not listen to my little voice?  Why did I listen to my husband, who thinks all this talk of ADD and ADHD and the like is just so much hooey? 

Oh, but the guilt goes deeper.  It always does with a mom. 

I don’t even know what the specific problem is, or is not, yet.  But already I’m borrowing trouble by worrying over it, whatever IT is.  Did I somehow create this issue?  Should I have not had so many dressed double cheeseburgers when I was pregnant?  Should I have not let Spawn drink Diet Coke?  Is there a link between this and basic childhood vaccinations?  Is it my fault? 

Logically I know there is no productive outcome in these thoughts.  But just you try to be logical when your kid needs help of some kind. 

I’m trying to act rather than react at this point, but all the waiting waiting waiting for someone to call me back, or email me, or otherwise grease the skids a bit… well, it’s making me a tiny bit crazy. 

That squeaky wheel you’re hearing?  That’s me. 

— Mox

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The L Word

The hits just keep on coming this week. 

This morning on the radio someone said the L word:  Lent. 

Lent is early this year.  Ash Wednesday is February 6th.  Which also means that Easter is early, a full week before spring break, so there’s the silver lining in that cloud.  We might could actually get out of town for spring break this year and not have to worry about missing Easter. 

But Lent.  Ugh.  I am so not looking forward to Lent this year.  I am not in the mood for self-denial right now. 

Now, I generally “do” Lent.  Most people who “do” Lent, myself included, give up something for that 40 days.  In the past I’ve given up chocolate, caffeine, and alcohol, since those are my biggest vices.  I also try to supplement what I give up with a “good” habit, like exercise. 

And I really need to “do” that.  It would get me on the right trail again. 

But I just don’t want to think about it right now. 

Spawn as you know goes to a Catholic school, so the discussion is coming whether I like it or not.  It’s up to me, of course, how deep into all this Church stuff we get as a family.  My husband doesn’t care, and frankly doesn’t really support me in this, but Catholic school was something we chose because our public school options really sucked.  And I’m sure that my Catholic grandmother is dancing a little jig up in Heaven right now, that her lost sheep granddaughter is at least flirting with The One True Church, regardless of the fact that I remain Protestant. 

I’m kinda down on Religion right now too.  The man-made kind. 

You know what?  This is a bad week for me.  I’m in a bad mood and I don’t feel good and blah blah blah whinycakes. 

— Mox

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