Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Little bits of random

I've kind of got thoughts that are bouncing around all over the place, so you're getting a little bit of randomness today. I apologize in advance.

** Yesterday (or July 26th, whenever that may have been for you, depending on where you live) marked an anniversary of sorts for the Mad Woman household. We have now lived in New Zealand for an entire year. It could just be me, but this year seems to have just flown by. I still vividly remember the many teary goodbyes with friends and then sobbing at the airport as I bid goodbye to my father. We're happy here though. The kids are settled and having fun, we've both got jobs and we're doing well as a couple and as a family. No regrets! We do miss everyone though!

** One of the things I have noticed as I lose weight is that aside from my clothes fitting differently and The Man starting to look at me in an even more horny manner, if that is at all possible, is that the wrinkles are starting to show. You see, I don't have as much fat to push them out. So, I am starting to look more my age. There's not many wrinkles, but there's a few. This became rather evident last night at a Zumba class. I had gone with Young Friend who is 20. Part way through the class, we were asked to divide into two different groups - one on each side of the room. As we did do, a woman looked me and suggested "you should probably be on the other side of the class from your daughter". I just about swallowed my tongue as I choked on that one! Clearly a bit of makeup and some anti-aging cream is in order!

** Have you seen that episode of The Big Bang Theory where Penny gives Sheldon a ride somewhere and he notices her "check engine" light is on? That was me the other day. It came on as I left a client's house and I drove around for a little while, happily ignoring it, until that episode popped into my head and I decided I couldn't go home and have The Man go all Sheldon on me, so I stopped and had it looked at. Turns out my car was just about COMPLETELY out of oil (as in, not even showing on the dipstick....which I guess makes ME the dipstick) and rather low on water. It's a wonder I manage to survive from day to day.

** I have realised that the spawnlets are never short of amazing one liners to make me giggle. The latest couple?

Girl Spawn talking about how cold it is in the house: "You know Momma, if we had enough hot water bottles, we could have social heating!"

We're pretty sure she means SOLAR heating which of course has nothing to do with hot water bottles, but I suppose she could mean a bunch of naked, social people cuddled up with hot rubber. You never know with her.

Boy Spawn after calling out to us to come and turn his light off for the night: "I'm done reading!!! *pause* Y'know, all this yelling at night is making my breath hurt!"

I tried to tell him that it's his throat but he maintains it is his breath that hurts and not the tube in his neck. I'll have to take his word for it.

** It occurred to me the other day how much I'm beginning to enjoy having women as friends. In the past, I've spent more of my time with guys because they can usually get ready quickly, don't bitch a lot and can skull a beer as fast as I can. But in the last few years, after a couple of drama queens and queen bees were left behind, I have begun to enjoy the company of women a bit more. It's a strange feeling. Really strange. Or maybe it's the women who are strange. Yeah, we'll go with that.

** Would any of you be interested in doing a guest post for me? I'd like to have a guest poster on a semi regular basis and would love if you'd drop me a line. Anything goes!

So, what random thoughts are floating through your brain these days?

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sometimes you just need to close your eyes and dream of a beach

There are just some days when I seriously start to question my sanity. You know those days where it seems like you're going the wrong way against the traffic all freaking day? The days where if your children walk the wrong speed or your husband breathes too fast, the ones where if you have to talk to one more person you are going to silently be digging their eyes out with spoons...in your head of course.

Today was one of those.

7:15 am - Alarm rings. Hit snooze.

7:25 am - Rings again. Stupid machine. Hit snooze again.

7:35 am - Rings. Again. Shit! Now I'm late getting up. Stupid machine. It really needs to be more assertive.

"Kids! Get out of bed. Now."

"No. Now. Not in 10 minutes. Get. Up. NOW!!"

7:45 am - Contemplate a shower but decide that long pants will hide leg stubble, headband will disguise some of the oily (gag) hair, and honestly I don't smell. Much. Get dressed.

"Why aren't you dressed yet? Get dressed! GAH! Are you TRYING to upset me this morning?!"

Thankfully neither of them is dumb enough to answer in the affirmative.

8:00 am - Wonder why The Man is sitting on his arse in the living room instead of making sandwiches. Like he does every other morning. Or pouring their cereal. Like every other morning. Stomp around and make unhappy noises til he does it.

"Would you two PLEASE get yourselves READY?!?!"

8:30 am - Finally. Two kids ready, bags packed, shoes on and heading to the car. Now, where are my keys? You've got to be kidding me. *sigh*

8:45 am - Usher Boy Spawn into his classroom to offer his teacher a rather humble apology for his unusually appalling behaviour yesterday. Beat a hasty retreat before I start to feel worse because she was so disappointed in him as it is not like him. It must be a full moon. On Jupiter.

8:50 am - Head off to see a man about a penis. Can't get iPod to work in the car. Consider throwing a temper tantrum but realise there is not enough room to do this justice, so settle for a loud scream. It's winter. No one can hear me with the windows up. I think.

9:30 - 11 am - Build up my arm muscles maneuvering a 350 pound man around in a hoist & wheelchair. Get wet showering him because he thinks it's bloody hilarious to squirt me with the shower. Ass.

11 am - 12 pm - Visit home to change into some gym clothes and search out yet another pair of dry shoes. Ponder the value of keeping a pair of rubber boots and a raincoat in my car for work but realise it would be cheaper to just clean his false teeth with vinegar.

12:30 - 2:15 pm - Young Friend came with me to the gym. Treadmill tortured me. Rowing machine laughed at me and then made me play some stupid target game that I sucked at. Weights left me feeling like I'd been run over by a truck. Dripping in sweat by the time I was done, I needn't have bothered changing my clothes.

2:30 pm - Wet Day early pick up at school. Picked up spawnlets. Joked with Girl Spawn.

"If you've got an orange slip in your bag, you can just start walking home now. Forget getting in the car."

2:35 pm - Watched in horror as Girl Spawn dissolved into tears, spluttering that she didn't want to walk home and she was sorry but she had a RED slip (for REALLY bad behaviour) in her pocket. Apologized, listened to story and got upset.

Turns out, Girl Spawn (8 years old) was assigned work. Got up to sharpen pencil. Took forever doing that. Bell rang for lunch. Off she went. Substitute teacher found her after a while, asked if she'd finished her work, she said "yes" and then remembered that no, she actually hadn't. Sub decided Girl Spawn had been intentionally deceptive and handed her a red slip and 15 minute detention for tomorrow. Also, she didn't get her lunch. At all.

3:00 pm - Decided this punishment was bunk. At most deserved an orange slip for not finishing work on time. Red slips are for bullying, stealing, intentional deception....not forgetfulness on the part of an admittedly unfocused, slow working, procrastinator. Went in search of Principal.

3:10 pm - Had full on, and majorly embarrassing, meltdown in Principal's office. Big tears. Bigger sobs. Even bigger blush from the humiliation of crying over something so silly. Sue me, I cry when I get mad. And I was mad that it had happened. Slow and daydreamy she is, a liar she is not.

4:00 pm - 5:30 pm - Kids at swim lessons. I quietly read my book until an obnoxious Irish lady approached to tell me that I was sitting in her seat. Really? I'd been sitting there for 20 minutes. Seems she'd gone to help her son change and now she was back and wanted her seat. Fuck you lady. I just cried in the school Principal's office, I am not afraid to bitch you out at the pool. And I'm not moving.

6:00 pm - Home for a much needed shower. Headband is no longer even remotely disguising the oily (gag) hair. And now I do smell. Yum.

6:30 pm - Head off to see a man about an enema. For him. Times three. Not only do I NOT get sprayed with a shower, but I don't get shit on either. Bonus!! Things are looking up.

The rest of the evening went spectacularly. Took me three tries to start my car when I left Enema Guy's house. Almost ran over a cat in the grocery store parking lot though I can't for the life of me figure out where the cat would have come from. No houses nearby. Came home to find Boy Spawn asleep, Girl Spawn tired and grumpy, The Man tired and grumpy and STILL suffering from The Man Flu and the house looking like a bomb site because I haven't had time to do anything today.


How was YOUR day?

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Lessons in being cool...trust me, you need them!

I've noticed a few things lately, and I think I need to put on my teacher hat for awhile. So sit back, relax and take some notes people!

Lessons In Being Cool

(or Five Ways to Pretend You're Not As Stupid As You Really Do Look Right At That Moment)

1. When you pull up to the supermarket and realise, just in time, that you have forgotten to bring your purse or wallet with you, do NOT just pull out of your parking space to go home and retrieve it. This will make you look stupid. First, pull out your cellphone, put it to your ear and carry on a conversation with yourself. Anyone watching will be non the wiser. And you can pretend that you've been called away to something urgent, sending your shopping trip to the bottom of your already busy schedule. (Note: If it is summer and you have your windows down, make sure to mute or switch off your phone before attempting this. Should someone happen to call while you are carrying on your fake conversation, you WILL look more stupid than you did already.)

2. If you happen to have gotten from your car, all the way around the store, and made your way to the cash register before realising that you are seriously lacking a way to make payment, then the cashiers will likely be looking at you with contempt as they contemplate the potential ire of the 7 people lined up behind you as you run to look for your wallet. To avoid this, I suggest a solid patting down of your clothing and a good rummage through your purse as you frantically "search" for your wallet, knowing full well it is sitting on your coffee table next to the half empty bottle of Jack Daniels from last night. Once your pretend search is completed, sigh heavily and tell the bored looking teen behind the cash register that your idiot husband must have taken your wallet when he went to go buy his beer and that you'll be screaming at him later. Apologize for his stupidity and assure her you'll be back once you've rammed his head up his ass as punishment.

3. Assuming you were not stupid enough to leave your wallet anywhere, and are still standing at the cash register watching the emo behind the counter bite the nails on her overly polished hands, then you may proceed to the next step - paying. But wait! Emo pauses from her crunchy snack to inform you, loudly, that she's incredibly sorry but your card has been declined. Resist the urge to smack her. Ignore the titters from the people behind you, they're just relieved it's not them. Although you know that it is entirely your fault that there is no money in the account (those jeans were just screaming your name!), the key to avoiding humiliation in this situation is to start cursing your spouse's name. "Stupid man! I can't believe he used the debit card without telling me. AGAIN! Ugh. I can't believe this. What a jackass. He's gonna pay for this" And so on, and so on. Please avoid blushing....this does not lend itself to supporting your credibility.

4. As you walk down the sidewalk and trip over your own feet due to combination of feet the size of boats and a propensity towards clumsiness thanks to a genetic abnormality passed down from your father (known in scientific circles as "Clumsy Ass Syndrome"), do NOT glance around sheepishly and hope that no one noticed you. I guarantee they have. Instead, play cool (that is, after all, the name of the game right?) and look angrily at the ground while simultaneously shouting "Sonofbitch! Stupid city can't get anything fixed! GRR!" and then carry on walking.

5. You've been shopping at a big mall, been to the movies at a giant cinema complex or been to a theme park that isn't smart enough to label its parking lots with easy to see signs. You thought you'd picked out some landmarks but now that you've come back carrying those big bags of new clothes, your damn car seems to have been moved. I have one thing to tell you....Sucks. To. Be. You! Sorry, I have no constructive advice. Unless you have a high tech tracking device on our car that will not only locate you car but guide you to it, you're screwed. And you WILL end up standing in the parking lot, looking around, trying desperately to act like you're just waiting for someone. There is no way out of this one.

Now, I'm not saying that I've ever had an issue with any of these things.....I just thought that some of you could benefit from this knowledge which I came by from watching other people do these things. Not me. Nope. Definitely not me.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Blood & guts galore

Girl Spawn had to have dental surgery yesterday. She had hypoplasia on her back 4 molars and as it was severe, we were told they should come out. Rather than have them out at the dentist where they would have to inject her with freezy stuff, they chose the hospital.

We arrived at the hospital, as directed, at noon and got sent to sit in the waiting area/playroom. She was meant to be first in line at 1:30pm but as the afternoon wore on, it quickly became clear that something had been changed.

As Girl Spawn played, read books and practiced her cartwheels out in the courtyard, I tried my best not to throw up. The antiseptic smell was strong and I could almost taste it in the back of my throat. I've never liked the smell of a hospital and do my best to avoid them. Unfortunately, she needed this procedure and she wanted me with her.

I tried not to dwell on the fact that my 8 year old would soon be sent off to sleep with the help of a general anesthetic. I tried not to think too much about the risks involved in any procedure where a GA is used. I did my best to recall what everyone had been saying about how well THEIR children did in the same sorts of situations. I watched my daughter, skipping around the courtyard and singing the tune (almost) of her favourite Lady Antebellum song, as she just carried on with her day without a worry.

At 3:00pm they came to get us, got her into her gown and explained a little bit about what would happen. Then we sat there. And waited. Again.

By 3:45 I was frustrated, she was tired and bored and we were both ready to go home. This is also when they decided they were ready for us. We were taken into the pre-op area to wait for the anesthetist. While we waited, the nurses decided to make a spectacularly stupid (in my not so humble opinion) decision and wheel the first little girl out of the OR into recovery and put her directly across from us. This might not have been an issue except for the fact that the girl was screaming her frackin' head off because someone had neglected to call her mother before she woke up and she was now disoriented and scared. This situation scared the crap out of Girl Spawn and she started to cry and question whether it was going to be that way for her. Thankfully, it wasn't.

Surgery started at 4, I was called to recovery at 4:40 and I was able to be there as she woke up. Quietly. *breathe sigh of relief*

10 minutes later we were back in her room and, chipmunk mouth aside, she was doing ok. Then she needed to go to the bathroom. Cool. Done.

By the time she got back to her bed, she'd lost all colour from her face. The minute she leaned back, that was it. Her blood pressure dropped. Big time. Her eyes rolled back in her head, she was in and out and she was pale & cold.

Did you know what normal blood pressure is for an 8 year old?
Systolic = 112 to 118, Diastolic = 74 to 78

How about normal pulse rate for an 8 year old?
75 to 105 beats per minute, with the average being 90.

Girl Spawn dropped to a blood pressure of 82/53 and a pulse rate of 74. To say the nurses were concerned would be a bit of an understatement.

First moment of panic? CHECK!

As they worked to stabilize her BP, they informed that she was not allowed to go home until she'd had something to eat & drink....and kept it down. We'd already seen the first girl go home. She was even smiling! So, surely this would be easy. Right?


Her mouth wouldn't stop bleeding. It ran down her throat. It upset her stomach. She puked. 250mls of mostly blood with a bit of saliva. Awesome.

Blood pressure still down.

7pm, the third little girl gets to go home. Smiling.

Try again with the food & drink.


Another 250 mls of mostly blood and some water. Fan-freakin-tastic.

Blood pressure still down. Nurses suggesting ice water & ice chips to help settle stomach. Girl Spawn looking awful. Me? Worried.

By 8:30pm she had thrown up a third time (another 250 mls), was still pale and the nurses FINALLY got a doc to prescribe anti-nausea meds. Her BP was finally coming up though!

It got better from there, she finally kept food & drink down and started to look human.

At 10:30pm, we were discharged. Ten and a half hours in the hospital was a bit much for us. She's sleeping peacefully now and tomorrow will bring more recovery adventures.

And me? I hope it will be a long, long time before I have to smell the inside of that hospital again.

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Celebrating Eight

It was quiet in the house last night. Relatively. The Man had left for his night shift (stay away stalker dudes!) and the spawn were tucked in tight, dreaming of sunny days and lollipops. I could hear the dishwasher running in the kitchen, the heat pump desperately trying to warm up my living room before I turned into an icicle and Girl Spawn was snoring loud enough that you would think there was a car in the other half of my house. CSI Miami was on the TV and I was trying not to gag every time Horatio Cane turned sideways, slid his sunglasses off and fed me a cheesy one liner.

All the while, the one thought that kept rudely shoving aside all others was that my little girl would be a tad bigger today. That one thought, that little piece of information, was making me restless. I was preoccupied with the realisation that today would usher in a new age.

Today, a birthday will be celebrated.

Today, Girl Spawn turns 8.

As I sat here yesterday evening and watched her interact with her little friend (we had a sleepover. I'm sure you can imagine my excitement!), I was struck by how grown up she seems in some ways and yet so like the little girl she still is in other ways. They giggled about boys and which ones were cute but when Boy Spawn brought up the subject of kissing, they both replied with a loud "EWWW" and eased my mind. I'm not ready for boys yet. Will I ever be?

The last year has not been an easy one for any of us but if I can say one thing about it, it would be that I am proud of how my beautiful daughter has handled herself.

Just two weeks after her birthday last year, we packed up our things into just a few suitcases and left all our friends and family behind so that we could move across the world. As she hugged her friends, I could see her holding back the tears. As she waved goodbye to her grandfather at the airport (and watched me blubbering like an idiot), they still didn't fall. Through school changes and more, my girl has shown a strength that would make many adults envious.

As she grows and learns, life is not always sweet however. Her attitude can be mighty sucktastic some days and she still greatly enjoys torturing her little brother. She will scream how she hates me in one breath and tell me in the next that she's sorry and actually loves me a lot and could she please, pretty please, have a biscuit and a glass of juice. She slams doors and flings herself down on her bed, but can be found reading a book to her brother in an effort to keep him out of my hair for a few minutes.

The good from this girl always, always FAR outweighs the bad....and the bad is only minor.

Saturday was her birthday party. We invited a bunch of her friends, rented a court at the local indoor sports centre, and supplied some food. For two hours they ran around like maniacs, screaming at the top of their lungs and occasionally taking a break to see how much popcorn and chips they could fit into their mouths before washing it all down with soda. I only needed a few aspirin to get rid of the headache later.

When we sent out the invitations for her party, she made a special request. I was to put a note into the envelopes for the parents. You see, Girl Spawn decided there was nothing she particularly wanted, and nothing she absolutely NEEDED, so this was to be a "no gift" party. Instead, she wanted to collect donations in a jar. These donations would then be split equally between the SPCA and the missions (for World Vision etc) that her school runs.

In the end, she ended up with just over $100. It makes me proud to know that this is the kind of girl she is becoming.

I am honoured, blessed and deliciously happy to be known as her mother and can only hope that as she gets older, she will want to continue this open and honest relationship that we currently have.

My wonderful daughter - may you have the happiest of birthdays today, and many more to come. I love you dearly and will try not to embarrass you too much in front of your friends as you get older. Note that I said TRY....I can't promise anything. I am, after all, merely human. (Plus, I think it's in the mothering contract that I have to embarrass you on a semi regularly basis over the next 60 years)

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Friday, July 9, 2010

The importance of remembering

I stood and folded laundry while she had her shower. She chatted away to me and asked me questions. She had an infectious giggle that seemed like it traveled from the tip of her toes, up through her body, before finally bubbling out of her mouth. She told me about her puppy and the games she liked to play with it. She told me naughty jokes that she'd learned from her brother.

As I readied myself to wash her hair, she started to clean her feet. Again. It was the fifth time she'd done this, but I didn't say anything. I knew that at her age it was sometimes hard to remember so many steps and which ones were already completed.

For the next few minutes I listened to her tell me about a fight she'd had with her brother. He's younger than her and doesn't think that he should have to listen to his big sister. She thinks otherwise. She called him a couple of names but I kept my thoughts to myself. It was the third time that morning that I'd heard the story, but it seemed to make her feel better to tell it. Besides, it was almost breakfast time and while she ate, I'd be able to busy myself with my own thoughts.

I felt like I should sit and talk to her some more. She'd been confined to the house a fair bit, thanks to the cold she'd had the week before, so she seemed like she needed the time. On the other hand, it was as if the more we talked, the more confused she got.

I suppose that eventually I will get used to this sort of thing. In my line of work I see a lot of people like this. This woman is in her 80s and, while she can remember a lot that happened 10 or 20 or even 50 years ago, she often has trouble remembering anything from 5 minutes ago. It makes me wonder whether it frustrates her or not......whether she even realises what's going on. It must also be hard on the families of these folk. Hard to visit and know that there's a big chance that you won't be recognised. Hard to spend time with someone knowing that no matter how special the time is, the memory of it may be gone 20 minutes later.

I hope that as I get older, no matter how frail and broken my body may get, I will retain my mental faculties. I hope that my family will be around to love me, no matter how forgetful I end up.

I hope that you will hug the old folks in your family and remember that although they may sometimes forget the times they've spent with you, that they still love you. Learn from them, support them, be there for them.

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Sunday, July 4, 2010

As a parent.....

As parents, we are privileged to watch our children grow, make friends, explore the world and learn new things. We try to do our best for them and help them along the way, all the while realising that there are just some things that we cannot get involved in. We help them traverse the unknown territory that is growing up and hope that we don't screw up too much along the way.

As parents, we hurt to see our children sick or in pain and know that, although we'd dearly love to try, there is actually very little we can do to take it away and make it all better. To see them bullied at school, or fall on the sidewalk, or have a medical issue - it makes us ache inside with the need to fix it.

As parents, we can sometimes struggle through the day as our children drive us up the wall and fill us with the desire to drink an entire bottle of wine in one sitting. As they whine, bug, fight with each other and mess up the house as they follow around behind us like a mini tornado, we can sometimes be found hiding in the pantry, taking deep breaths and counting to 10 in an effort to curb the adult temper tantrum that is brewing. Our patience can be tested regularly throughout the day and we often look forward to bed time when we can look at them and think "it's a good thing they're cute".

As parents, our hearts can swell with pride with every achievement and milestone, no matter how big or small. We save art work and certificates, we cheer from the sidelines at sports games while wishing for the other team to lose, we diligently turn up to school plays and parent/teacher meetings and we cheer when the report cards come home (assuming they don't have "should definitely attend summer school" written all over them).

Over the years I have watched, with fascination and dread, as the children have grown. I have been through everything I've just mentioned....even just in the last week.

As I watched Girl Spawn laying in bed sniffing away, I wanted nothing more than to make it better....if for no other reason than the fact that this stuffy nose that she's been fighting seems to have caused her to snore like a wild boar and it reverberates through the house.

When Hotty Hubby was trying to sleep before a night shift and the spawnlets were busily screaming at each other and steadfastly ignoring me, I locked myself in the bathroom and counted to 50 in the hopes of bypassing the urge to smack their heads together and lock them in the garage before finishing the bottle of wine in my fridge.

Every time one of them comes home from school with a certificate for doing something great, or a green slip for great behaviour, we are very proud. We enforce homework every night, we encourage reading and we attend all our parent/teacher interviews in an effort to better understand what is happening in our children's lives.

When we first moved here, we enrolled the kids at a local public school. It was easy, it was close (although everything in this town is close) and it was cheap. Girl Spawn settled in ok, made a few friends, but it was nothing spectacular. Boy Spawn, on the other hand, did not fare so well. He has always been a very outgoing child and has been able to make friends with just about anyone. Yet, somehow, this didn't happen. He's not really drawn to the rough and tumble boys. He is happy to BE rough & tumble, but not all the time. Neither of them really settled very well, so we started looking at other options.

Now they attend a local Christian school. It was a stretch for Hotty Hubby as he's rather the type that fears being smited should they set foot in a Holy place, but he's going with the flow for now. It's only got a roll of about 100 kids, compared to the 300+ at the previous school. They wear a nicer (and more expensive) uniform and there are only 5 classes. The kids have settled amazingly well and they couldn't be happier.

During the last two weeks of June, the school ran a Talent Quest. In the past, when I've been involved in a school Talent Quest, it has been only the kids that thought they had a talent worth sharing that bothered to enter. At this school, it was mandatory for ALL kids to enter at least 3 categories. Their philosophy (being a Christian school) is that all the kids have something to offer.

I wish I'd thought to take pictures of the work that was produced. It was amazing! 7 year olds painting beautiful pictures, metal work, wood work, sculptures, and more. Absolutely fantastic.

Boy Spawn (almost 6) chose to enter in a Connect 4 playoff, do some baking, enter the handwriting contest, play soccer and make a craft. He ended up coming second in the playoff, first in handwriting and soccer for his age category, first in the baking in the "slices" category for his Lolly Cake, and he made a terrarium filled with cactuses (cactii?).

Girl Spawn (almost 8) chose to enter in the handwriting contest, do some art, make some jewellery and do some photography. Let me tell you, I don't think she's ever going to be an artist (not in the painting/drawing sense anyway) or excel at jewellery making...but she sure had fun! Where she DID excel is the photography. She won FIRST place for her photo for best use of lighting. It's amazing what a kid can achieve when you let them loose in a graveyard with a digital camera (she chose the place). Here's the winning shot:

As a parent, I have spent a lot of time feeling incredibly proud of my children this past little while and feeling very, very honoured to be their mother.

What you love best & dislike the most about being a parent?

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