Sunday, September 30, 2012

Good Grief Charlie Brown

I don't even know where to start, so I'll just dive in.  I'm pretty sure if the kids were not in school and the camper were not in winter storage I would pack it up and disappear for a week or so until Hubby gets back from France.  If things get worse in the next week my in-laws may get a surprise visit.

Today Sonny Boy had a football game in about 30 minutes away.  Last night I declare what time we were leaving and that EVERYBODY (mainly meaning Mom) was going to go.  Alarms go off, I get kids up and fed, Mom up and coffee going.  Mom gets a cup of joe down and I proclaim she should hit the shower first as all her dressing stuff is in her room and she generally takes longer to get dressed than I do.  " I don't think I'm going, it's too cold"  I show her the forecast and current temp and wind speed - nobody can proclaim bad weather.  "I just don't want to go" this from the person who has spent not one but TWO entire days in her bathrobe this week.  I read her the riot act and then go get in the shower.  While in the shower I get even madder and I am determined her ass is going.  I come downstairs with a wet head, a robe and quite literally push her to the stairs to go get a shower.  She relents and goes up the stairs and gets dressed with me pushing her along because by this time we are running a bit late and I have Sonny Boy, a teammate of his, and Igor running through the house like a bunch of revved up dynamos.

We get to the ball field and the boys play a quite miserable game.  I honestly don't feel the other team was better, but if I hadn't known better I'd have guessed our kids had laid out all night drinking and were hung over this morning.   The coaches were more than a little disgusted and told the boys so, they were not mean about it, simply stated the fact not one kid played even close to their best game.  Sonny Boy wandered over to where Mom and I were packing up the chairs and he was hand dog and telling us the team was out of the play-offs.  I shrugged and told him "well that happens" having long ago determined I wasn't going to critique his sports attempts.  Mom perks up and starts telling him "Well ya'll played like a bunch of little girls dancing around out there"  "MOM, just HUSH" and she promptly shut-up.  To top that as we were walking out one of Sonny Boy's team-mates was being chewed on by his Grandma and she was saying "If you weren't gonna play football you should have come over here and sat in my lap and then at least you'd been doing something!"  Geez Louise, these are 9 yo boys, not grown men in the NFL!  Yes it's disappointing to go to a game and know your kid is consistently missing his blocks, and makes some bone-headed moves, but good grief.  I hope Mom got a decent picture of how unrealistic her reaction was because as soon as we got into the van Sonny Boy broke down into tears. 

Mom has been mad at me all afternoon and I really don't care.  I frankly told her how the cow eats the corn this morning and I was sick of her "woe is me"  attitude and her total lack of even trying to combat the depression.  Mom's doctor called and has her set up to see a shrink about the end of the month, mainly the doctor wants a better picture in order to fill out the paperwork for her disability.   The regular doctor added another anti-depressant to her present one and she's been on it roughly a week, hopefully we'll start to see some results soon, if not maybe the shrink we'll have a better idea of a med combination that can bring her back to the land of living.

My logical mind says "this is an illness, she can't help it"  but even so why is it so hard to do the things you know will make you better?  Mom is logical enough to see that getting dressed, going out and about running errands, going to the library, meeting people, getting some exercise will help at least to a degree with the depression but she doesn't do it.  It's like only taking half of the dose of medicine the doctor prescribes. 

I'm so tired of being everything to everyone right now.  On again/ off again single parent (not Hubby's fault just a fact of life) Maid, laundress, cook, secretary, bookkeeper, chauffeur, coach, teacher, mental health evaluator, life coach, football coach, referee ,nurse, medical researcher and gardener.  I know everybody dons a few of these hats at once every now and then but right now my head is heavy and my neck is about to go out.  When do I get a break?  1:00 am now and the kid's feet will hit the floor by 7:00 and it will be game on again.  When do I get a break, a vacation, a day in PJ's, a day to feel sorry for my self and do nothing?  When will somebody else take care of Halloween costumes, permission slips, and reading logs?  I'm now doomed to try to remember 5 people's medical histories when nobody can rember I'm allergic to sulfa drugs but me. 

Good Grief Charlie Brown, being a grown up sucks.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Little of This, a Little of That

Not much to report on, I suppose that's good because I can really use a break from drama lately.  Why I'm even bother to put up a blog post I don't know, I suppose the three people that faithfully read the blog might be interested in what's happening.

Last reported Mom and I both had nasty colds.  Mine is slowly abating, though I wish it would speed up a little.  Mom's morphed into some nasty chest congestion my guess bronchitis.  Mom had a doctor appointment scheduled on Friday for a simple check on everything which was good timing.  The doctor gave her some antibiotics and an inhaler for her cough and that's helped some.  The doctor also added another anti-depressant to her meds and I hope to see some improvement there in a few days.  The logical part of my mind understands that Mom doesn't really see that there is a problem with her behavior.  The rest of me lets it get under my skin and when I still see her in pajamas at 2:00 pm I'm ready to pin her down and dress her like I used to the boys when they were toddlers.  When I contrast Mom with Hubby's Grandma who is 92 it's like night and day.  Grandma has all the will and gumption to get up and go do stuff and her body won't let her, while Mom has no will and gumption and her body will let her do things.  I wish my mother would be more like Grandma.

Hubby is like a bad house guest this month.  Home for a few days, gone for a few days, home for few days.  Yuck, just long enough home to get his underwear washed, throw us out our "no dad routine" and then he's off to his next quest.  This week he leaves for France for a week.  Originally I had been planning to tag along on this trip (for years I had been planning on tagging along) but the lack of vacation time, Father-in-Law's illness and just general not knowing what to do about kid logistics, flights, and the whole thing we wrote off me going along.  To be honest I'm more than a little peeved, though it's nobody's fault.  When Hubby gets back from France, the next weekend he intends to load up Sonny Boy and meet Father-in-Law, Brother-in-Law and Nephew #1 in North Dakota for a few days of duck hunting.  Technically Sonny Boy is too young to hunt, however with FIL's illness he's going this year regardless.  Honestly we didn't think FIL would even be around this long, much less be up for going out to North Dakota.  I doubt FIL will do much hunting, though Hubby plans on putting him in a boat and dragging him around if needed.

Sonny Boy is probably the busiest person in the house.  Days at school, three evenings a week at football practice, mixed in with scout meetings, homework and Saturday football games and the kid's calendar is full.  I do my best not over schedule him but somehow things take on a life of their own.  Sonny Boy's football team did win their first game this Saturday 10-0.  Sonny Boy started out the game with a good solid tackle on the other team's running back.  I also taped one play on the phone and under further review we saw a really good block out of him on a kick return that allowed the ball carrier an extra 15 yards or so.  I wish it wasn't such a nightmare to actually film the games, we'd likely see more good things out of Sonny Boy but we often get so wrapped up in watching the ball and what's happening there we don't see the grunt work he's putting in on the line.  Either way he's having fun and learning football.  I don't see NFL in the future but maybe he'll get to play varsity HS some day.

Igor is trucking along.  He is really liking kindergarten (and so am I)  Igor's attitude has been a little nasty lately though but I'm chalking it up to all the changes with school and the like.  It's not horrible, just enough to get on everybody's nerves.  Soon I hope to sign him up for some swim lessons at the indoor pool.  I decided to skip the fall sessions in hopes of life settling down - yeah right - but in all fairness he should be able to pursue something outside of school too and since swimming is about the only sport he'll ever be able to compete in we should get him swimming like a person and not a tadpole.

As for me, busy, busy, being nurse, maid, driver, cook and every other hat you can imagine.  This weekend I put on my gardener hat and mowed the lawn, weed-eated, weeded flower beds that were woefully neglected the last month or two and generally started getting things ready for fall.  The leaves will soon start falling and I'll have that task to tackle but for now I'm going to pretend they will stay on the trees forever.  Mowing didn't do me any good though as I discovered that bum foot is not happy when forced to trod over our sloping yard over and over again.  This is the first time I've mown since I sprained that foot and I wish I hadn't pushed it now, should have made Hubby do it and I will likely for the final mow of the season. 

A little of this, a little of that.  Nothing earth shattering, just dull life.  Not a problem with it at all, I'll take it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Pick-Up Line

One of my favorite activities in life is people watching.  Particularly when you can people watch the same folks day after day you kind of get to know them a little bit.  Currently my favorite place to people watch is the pick-up area at the school.  The boy's elementary school doesn't have the best system in place for picking up the kids.  It's a neighborhood school built at time when I'm sure they simply opened the doors and told the kids "go home" without a thought of pedophiles prowling around.  Now days most of the moms drive or walk to the school to pick up their rugrats giving me a good opportunity to watch the kids and moms.

By far the vast majority of parents picking up kids are moms in mini-vans or SUV's.  Most of the moms - myself included - are dressed pretty simply, jeans, t-shirts, sweaters.  A few mom's are evidently just getting off of work and dressed a little better but for the most part it's a pretty casual bunch in pony tails and headbands.

The exception to the rule is a woman I'll call Ms. Lexus.  Ms. Lexus of course drives one, probably the most expensive vehicle in the pick-up line where an exotic vehicle is a newer mini-van.  Ms. Lexus's nice car isn't the most outstanding thing about her.  Ms. Lexus is dressed to the nines almost daily.  Last year I would see her picking up her son who evidently was in kindergarten (kindergartners must be handed over to parent or older sibling) as she would dart out of her car and come back with a little boy in tow.  Ms. Lexus would be dressed well, like VERY nice office well.  My first thought was that she must make a load of money and set her own hours to have such an expensive car and fancy clothes and be there to pick up her kid at 3:15.  I later changed my mind because last spring she pops out of her car in a strapless sundress.  Nothing wrong with that sundress, in fact it was very nice, just not something you'd wear to work and certainly looked odd picking up a kid from kindergarten.  This year school starts back up and I pull up behind Ms. Lexus and park the other day.  Ms. Lexus gets out to go greet her son and again is dressed up.  Whatever.  Monday, I notice Ms. Lexus was parked behind me and she walks past me again way dressed up but what caught my attention when she walked back to her car her son was sporting a Cub Scout Uniform for 1st graders.  A-HA, she'll be at the Pack meeting that night so I make a silent note of her clothes, again she is very nicely dressed.  That night at the pack meeting she brings her son and she had changed clothes from the afternoon.  Not to a more comfortable outfit, in fact she had donned another quite dressy outfit that consisted of a skirt just a tad short to sit comfortable on the bleachers in.  I don't know her story, but I know she didn't offer to volunteer for the pack committee!  I'm kinda curious to find out something about her.  Maybe I'll take up her career?

By far my favorite is a new vehicle this year with the window decals of "Dance Mom" in one corner and "Bee-Otch" in the other.  Really, you have young children, should you place that on your SUV and propagate the stereotype of a "Dance Mom" that portrayed in the reality show?

Well, that's just some general musings lately.

Life has been busy without major calamities.  Hubby has been traveling a fair amount lately and still has some to go, he's been in and out so much lately he doesn't even bother to unpack his shaving kit.  Mom and I both have a nasty head cold so we have just sat around and blown our noses for a couple of days.  Sonny Boy has been so busy with football and scouts he really just enjoys the days nothing is planned - I guess he enjoys fighting with Igor.  Igor is happy as a clam at school and tells me non-stop all evening about things they did at school all day which is the complete opposite from Sonny Boy whom I must pump information out of daily.

Well, I must go find some nasal spray.  I hope the Mucinex I took will kick in shortly.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Why is it?

Today Mom was watching some animal rescue show on Animal Planet.  You know them, the over dramatic rescues of neglected animals who are then showered with the best veterinary care, behavior training and then given to more responsible pet owners.

Mom sits entranced by these shows (seems she didn't have Animal Planet on her old cable).  She's a sucker for animals, and I can remember a string of stray animals we took in when I was a child.  While I'm never one to say that animals should be mistreated, starved or otherwise abused the show made me ill.

It wasn't just the over dramatization of the animals situations, or the general production values of the show - frankly that's pretty bad.  What got to me was that at least several times a day shows such as these are on television, but for every dog that is rescued from a miserable existence, every cat that is removed from some "crazy cat lady" there is a child, a real life human child living is conditions similar or worse.

Why do we as Americans, and citizens of the world allow these abuses to happen?  Why do we tear up when we see sad doggy eyes in cage but don't reach out to help the least of these among us?  Why can we spend millions and billions of dollars to fight wars and inspect for illicit weapon caches in other countries but we don't say "LET US INTO YOUR ORPHANAGES AND INSTITUTIONS"  Is not a measure of a society how they treat their most helpless citizens?

I can't pretend to know all the answers to these questions.  I do know that the little faces I left behind in that orphanage in Ukraine haunt me.  Happily I know some of those children have been adopted and I follow their lives via blogs and facebook.  Some I do not know their fates.

I mentioned to Mom I don't care for the animal rescue shows because I know that for every dog that is nursed back to help there are 10 neglected and hungry children somewhere (not fact checked numbers, don't quote me on that).  While I'm not sure she got what I was saying, and how it relates to her own grandson I've been pondering the question all day.

This is my challenge to you.  The next time you are moved my an ASPCA ad, with teary music behind it, showing sad eyed animals in cages, imagine those animals as children.  It's not a hard leap for those of us who have seen it.  If your so moved to donate to the animals, donate to a human animal first.

One of the first charities that come to mind is Reeces Rainbow  Reeces Rainbow tends to work primarily with children with Down Syndrome and other special needs, some of the special needs are simply because the child is "old".   I always get sucked into the sight when I wander over there and found this little guy.


Ian #69-1

DOB: 2005
Marfan Syndrome
Ian was raised by his birth family until he was 19 months old. He was placed in a baby orphanage at that time. When he was 3 years old, he was transferred to an orphanage for older children, where he still lives.
Ian has Marfan syndrome, which is a hereditary condition passed to him through his birth mother’s side of the family. He has left-convex scoliosis, a prescription for glasses and is slightly anemic. He has no other physical symptoms associated with Marfan syndrome at this time. At 6 years old, he weighs 41 pounds and is 44 inches tall. Psychological testing does not indicate any significant delays or disabilities.
When he entered the orphanage, he had a very sad and depressed personality. After being transferred to the orphanage for older children, he began attending a mainstreamed daycare program in the local village and his mood and personality quickly improved. He is now much more confident and follows the directions of the staff. He enjoys being a helper and will assist the younger children with tasks. He enjoys helping out at the orphanage as well and will help pick up toys and set the table for meal time. He interacts well with other children at the orphanage and at the daycare. He loves to draw and has recently become interested in memorizing poems and songs. He likes to watch cartoons. He knows all his colors and can count to 10. He knows the seasons and the days of the week.

His diagnosis is not all that scary, In fact it is in the same family of connective tissue disorder that Igor has.  If Ian here piques your interest please contact Reece's Rainbow.  I would if our home circumstances were different.  Mind you I don't know what country Ian is in, Reece's Rainbow works in several Eastern European countries and in Asia as well.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Friendly Friday

Just a few pictures cause I'm really bad at putting pictures up so I do it all at once.

While up north a few weeks ago we went to the Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary.  It was pretty cool.  We took three vehicles of family up so we had quite a crowd along.  Everyone liked it.  If your ever up in northern MN certainly worth a look-see.

Yeah, the quality stinks as for some reason our good camera has landed in the camper and never made it back out so we are reduced to camera phones lately.

The boys started school this week.  So far so good.  Sonny Boy, 1st day of 3rd grade.  He's working his new duds.  God help me as he has an opinion on his clothes now.

Igor's first day of Kindergarten.  I can never get a decent smile out of this kid.

Mom had a blood vessel burst in her eye.  Yucky isn't the word.  We did haul into the doctor and frankly there wasn't much to do since there wasn't any pain or anything involved.  The doc did prescribe some eye drops to the tune of $140, but they were just to help the irritated feeling she was having likely caused by those clots.  The eye is starting to look a little better but still pretty creepy so she's been calling her "evil eye" and pointing it at the kids a lot.

Found these at Wal-Mart the other day and thought them a hoot.  Dress shields for men.   The packaging was just as funny as the whole idea of them because I've teased Hubby for years he needs dress shields when he has a presentation to give.  Now I know where to buy them!

That's about all.  I gotta get off my rear and actually do something around here today.  The quite is so wonderful.  I don't know if I'll be able to fold a load of laundry without the constant chatter of Igor telling me whose underwear I have in my hand.

Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Heritage Denied

When I was about twelve my father stepped out of my life.  With the gift of hindsight and wisdom, and many discussions with relatives I have come to the conclusion that he must have suffered from some mental illness.  His own mother is quoted as saying that he "lacked morals".  Honestly the stories that arise from time to time make me wonder as to just what the hell my genetic code contains. 

Even though my father walked away from me, and denied me a father figure in my life that probably wasn't his worse sin against me ( some could argue it was better he was gone).  I hold a grudge that I missed growing up with cousins, knowing my aunts and uncles - and loosing a rich heritage that total strangers know more about than I.

Occasionally when boredom overtakes me and I can't get the the gumption do anything really productive I start googling my great-grandfather.  My great-grandfather was actually quite well known in folk music circles and there are over 35,000 hits on google for his name.  I can't claim I would I have known my great grandfather, he passed way about 10 years before I was born, but it irks me that total strangers know more about his professional life than I do and what I know is pieced together from bits and pieces gleaned from the Internet and snatches of conversations remembered as a child.  Probably the thing that angers me most is that as a child my father had my great-grandfather's instrument (or at least one of them) and he had always told me that it would be mine someday.  Rumor has it my father was hard up for cash and sold it away to one of his cousin's ex-husband who then sold it back to the cousin.  I don't know the route that instrument took, I hope it's in a family member's possession, but I believe it should be in mine.  Overall I know that's only a small thing but find that really irritating when I dwell on it.

In a way my plight parallels what Igor may feel as he ages.  A connection to a place, a draw to a culture but with no real connection of having lived it, spoke it's language, or it's traditions beyond a a textbook or passing conversation.  I can see where my plight might be more in tune with an older adoptee as opposed to a child who comes home at a very young age.  How does one bridge that urge to be both the person you are and the person you would have become if circumstances had been different.  Do you even want the insight?  I don't know.  I know in my case I can hunt down relatives, I can hunt down people versed in my great-grandfather's work, and know more but will that bring me closer to a long heritage that I didn't grow up with? 

I'm rambling, it's late.  Like I've said before the blog topics come to me as soon my head hits the pillow and with Hubby out of town this week I have decided to get out the laptop and get them down before they fly away like a bunch of elusive butterflies.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Yay! school starts Tuesday!

Happier words can't be uttered in my household lately.  The boys are driving me to the brink of insanity with the constant craziness, fighting and general sassiness.  The last couple of weeks I've gone into "Nazi Mamma" mode with a general crackdown on all electronics - code to the TV was changed as sneaky Sonny Boy had figured it out (no doubt by watching his grandma who never even bothers to cover the keypad) and after a session of playing Wii last week and not returning games and remotes to their proper places I went bonkers and completely unplugged the Wii from the TV and hid it in my bedroom closet under a pile of winter sweaters with the commandment it will not be unearthed for a week.  I have also gone beyond bonkers when smarted off to and the edict of "I don't want to hear it, go to your room" is uttered 10 times a day.

What really makes me sad is that kindergarten kids have a staggered start date (so they only have to deal with about 1/3 of clueless 5 year olds at a time) so Igor doesn't really start until Thursday, but after that it's game on.

Last few weeks have been more than a little busy.  After receiving news that Father-in-Law has lost 8 more lbs in about a three week span we decided a trip north was in order so we traveled up last weekend for a few days.  It was a nice little get away and Father-in-Law was able to snooze in the shade at the lake while the kids played and go along on an expedition to a wildlife preservation thing - I'll post more on that later.   Hubby is going to sneak up alone in a couple of weeks as it may coincide with a work trip. 

The family trips north will likely slow down a little with school starting and Sonny Boy playing football.  It's difficult to pull him from a game when the team only has a couple of extra kids, a couple of missing players and they'd have to forfeit which isn't fair for the other kids.  Of course if things are dire it won't matter and I've already spoken to Sonny Boy's coach about the situation and he's understanding of course.

I signed Mom and I up for the gym here in town.  After two trips I can tell this isn't going to work quite like I thought.  The first trip went fine, I walked her through how to use the machines, etiquette - wipe 'em down etc - and what she should be basically doing.  The second trip, I pushed her a little harder on the treadmill, showed her how to use some of the machines we had skipped over and she even upped the weights on her own.  The strange part is that she refuses to shower.  I kinda get she's not fond of the locker rooms, but frankly they are pretty nice.  The last trip on Saturday she said "I'll shower when I get home"  yeah right, she never did.  Today she didn't either.  So I know she hasn't showered or bathed since Friday.  REALLY?  The only excuse for not showering daily over the age of puberty is some sort of disability that makes bathing very difficult or dangerous to do on your own and she's not in that category.  Even is she were the showers at the gym are WAY easier to navigate than our old claw foot tub with the shower curtain ring around it.  Heck there is even a handicapped stall with a bench if she wants to use it.  I can't really decide if she's embarrassed to be nude in front of other women (which honestly she looks like a swimsuit model compared to most of them) or if there is some bizarre fear or laziness to actually bathing/showering and getting dressed daily like everyone else in the world.  I keep telling her when winter sets in she's not going to want to venture out in sweaty clothes and climb into a cold car, particularly when she hasn't an ounce of body fat for insulation.

I type this though in part as an example of the kind of stuff that drives me bats.  Some of it I realize is her depression, but honestly I think some of it is just plain old lazy.  Mom has another appointment with her doctor soon and I'll discuss another adjustment to her depression meds.  I don't know that Mom actually has an idea of what it feels like to live a normal life anymore and have an interest in anything.  The only thing she has expressed any interest for horseback riding which if I could afford it I would be doing myself.  Certainly she can come up with some sort of hobby that doesn't take a rich man's pocketbook to fund.  Cripes, scrap booking, knitting, crochet, sewing, cake decorating (even better on that one as I have much of the stuff) it seems she could find SOMETHING besides reading the freebie kindle downloads that are 99% drivel.  The only thing she seems interested in reading, which sure isn't bad, I read a lot too, but you gotta come up and enter the real world occasionally as well and I feel reading is her way to escape.

I plan on the new school year bringing lots of changes to the general running of the household.  How well it all pans out it yet to be seen.  The first few weeks I'm going to spend getting the house in order, closets cleaned out, some deep cleaning done, kids rooms thinned of junk - easier to do when they are not around- and that sort of thing.  I also have plans to curb the morning chaos by laying out the kids school outfits a week in advance and have a start on that project but I suspect Sonny Boy has specific plans for what he want to wear the first day of school, he's suddenly become fashion conscience on me.  Chore charts will have to the re-done as I don't see Sonny Boy having time to finish his more time consuming chores on days of football practice and scouts.  I'm debating making Mom a chore chart as well because frankly I'm tired of being the maid around here.  Honestly the boys do more chores than Mom does, and the ones Mom does do usually require a specific request and get done half assed even worse than the kids would have done them.

Gosh, just went back and read this and realized it's all a real bitch session.  Can you tell I'm in less than a good mood?  Ha!  Like Hubby's 92 year old Grandma told me the other day "Everybody's got problems, you just don't know what they are."  She's right, and sure some of my problems are beyond trivial, I get that and I get that this is just a crappy chapter in our lives we have to keep plugging away at.  This blog is my outlet, the place where I come to scream in words and thoughts, the place where I can unload the clutter of my mind so I can sleep without the crazy storm of worry that keeps me awake.  The place I can get stuff off of my chest and not burden Hubby with my craziness, because I figure with his father sick, a crazy mother-in-law living with him, and a job that requires smoothing over aggravated people and figuring out their problems he's stressed enough.

Well it's well after midnight, some thoughts are down, maybe I'll sleep.  Forgive the huge grammar mistakes or whatever.  I'll try to post some of the more interesting pictures of the last couple of weeks as soon as I can get them off of our phones - amazing never having a camera around anymore.