Archive for March, 2011

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Writing Workshop: What I Know

March 31, 2011

3. What I know for sure. I actually thought I should start off by listing what I DO NOT know for sure… but I will try to be a bit more optimistic.

  • I know for sure God is real.
  • I know for sure His Son died to redeem me.
  • I know for sure I am unworthy but He loves me anyway.
  • I know for sure that all the blessing in my life come from Him.
  • I know for sure I love my DH with all that I am.
  • I know for sure that T1 and T2 are exactly what I needed.
  • I know for sure that I am who I am because of the trials I have faced—and I am stronger for those trials.
  • I know for sure that I am blessed to know the purpose of those trials.
  • I know for sure that on the whole, I like who I am and I like what I have accomplished in my life.
  • I know for sure that I do not like infants and no amount of therapy or pills will change that.
  • I know for sure that if I stopped cheating on the Torturer’s Diet, I’d have reached my goal by now and then some.
  • I know for sure that I love chocolate more than I like the Torturer.
  • I know for sure that I have no butt.
  • I know for sure that when T1 is feeling insecure, she asks for a hug. I also know that when she doesn’t want to go to bed, she tries this too.
  • I know for sure that T2 is one tough cookie and I forget sometimes that she needs a little TLC just because…
  • I know for sure that if the choice is between sleep and anything else, 95% of the time, sleep will win.
  • I know for sure that I do not like to share a bed; with anyone. DH is lucky I let him in the bed. I don’t like sharing hotel rooms either.
  • I know for sure that where I live “sure” and “shore” are pronounced the same.
  • I know for sure that no one will be able to convince me eating fungus is a good thing or tasty.
  • I know for sure that if I am cocky enough to expect good blood work results they will be bad.
  • I know for sure tomorrow is not guaranteed so live for today.
  • I know for sure that my tie-dyed K-9 shoes are cool—because the 4th graders told me so.
  • I know for sure that if it is a show that I like it will be canceled after one season, two at the most.
  • I know for sure that Mapquest will send your scout troop through a restricted weapons range if it is the shortest route.
  • I know for sure there will be gnats at camp this summer.
  • I know for sure that this turned out to be a fun list.

DH’s contribution: “I know for sure I will never know enough!”

This Week’s Prompts

1.) Compile and share a list of your favorite tweets.
2.) Share a story of a memorable dinner.
3.) What I know for sure.
4.) You stole WHAT!?! Spill it!
5.) The house that built me.

If you want to know more about Mama Kat’s Writing Workshop, click on that trophy over there…

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It’s Going to Be Rough

March 27, 2011

I was really hoping having DH home would give me the chance to rest and catch up; to recover from the stress and garbage heaped on me back in November as a result of a brutal attack from someone I should have been able to trust. Instead I have spent the last 80 days going from one illness or event to another and I am not rested by any means.

I had all those breathing issues–which could very well have been all from the stress or may be related to my heart condition or to strained muscles from E.o.t.T. I have had two sinus infections that have laid me out flat for days. I had no idea I seem to be so sick until everyone kept asking me at church this morning and commenting that my FB posts are one illness after another.

And I’m not bouncing back. Not when I have to play catch up to make up for all the down time. DH has totally picked up the slack. He has spent the weekend getting T1 and T2 through their science fair projects so that the experiments are done before he leaves. He’s trying to get pinewood derby cars designed and cut. I still have to give him my home business tax information so we can file by Tuesday.

If I were completely honest, the days that I lay curled in bed with a fever and my Kindle, with no one to see, nowhere to go, DH taking care of everything–getting the children up, ready for school, dealing with them when they got home, and even leaving the big bed for me to sleep in alone–I was happy in my own little cocoon.

I get enjoyment out of solitary things or even things with the family, just us. But everything else–scouts, church, PTA, soccer, volunteering at the school or even subbing–I have to work myself up into actually wanting to do them. I don’t want to do them and I really could care less. Even on DH’s trip, the most stressful day for me was the one with the spouses. I don’t want to be involved in any activity that puts me “out there”. I don’t want to be vulnerable to criticism and attacks. And when these “chores” are done, I crash hard and I need alone time.

Before I raise any more flags than I already have, those flags went up for me more than a month ago. I am taking steps to get out of this funk. This is not like me. However, the nature of what happened in November left me scarred and walls went up in a very normal defensive reaction for me. But the reaction has become so extreme and has lasted way too long. And I should have seen it from the start but I just kept hoping “once DH gets home…” It feels as if he came home just yesterday and now I’m working on the laundry to make sure all his work clothes are ready to be repacked. It also feels as if because of physical illness I am no better than I was.

I don’t know how I am going to meet the needs of my children. T1 is always very needy when DH goes to sea. I’ve written about that before. Now T2 is at a critical age (8 1/2) where I had issues with T1. All I can do is tell T2 to learn from example and really think about whether T1 got anything more than in MORE trouble for the back talking, the excuse making to try to justify bad behavior when we’ve been caught, and the sudden introduction of exaggeration and melodrama into all of our expression.

I am not a patient person. I am even less so now and I feel so sorry for my children. I’ve already told T1 I will need all the help I can get and I expect the use of common sense. I’ve told T2 I will find time to have Momma-Child time with just T2. Oh, and this came on the same weekend when T1 was jealous and mad that T2 got her dream dress for Father-Daughter and not 24 hours later T2 expressed how much she hates getting hand-me-downs. I can’t win. If only they knew how jealous of each other they were.

I really hope that the very demanding schedule (I seem to enjoy being on the go) and the hopeful return of spring weather will help. I also hope that the busyness will help the children be less apt to act up–or at least I can just throw them in bed as soon as we get home so I don’t have to deal. The only problem that seems to be cropping up is a great deal of forgetfulness that I usually do not have.

Maybe I’ve started this blog at just the right time. The whole anonymous thing is part of that stress. I have a lot to share but I’m not ready for anyone close to me to know about this blog. I’m not sure what I’m worried about–except for crazy spam referer days or if I mention any Garth Brooks songs I only have 6 regular readers (yeah! I’m up from 4!). Oh, but three of you know who I am… well, you may get to know me better, warts and all.

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Children of the 4-legged Variety

March 25, 2011

We adopted a retired racing greyhound six and a half years ago. Cassie had a relatively long career of 4 years racing (her siblings all made it to mandatory retirement age–5 years) and she has enjoyed retirement. She has coursed at renaissance faires and runs when she wants to. She turned 10 on Valentine’s Day and we expect her to live another 2-5 years if she stays healthy.

I am a scatterbrained mom. I can barely keep up with the health requirements of my two-legged children that remembering the shot schedule of the dog is a near impossibility. About two years ago I missed a few shots but managed to get Cassie in for her rabies vaccination and finally get her registered with our county. We decided to get all her shots done at one time–one appointment equals less hassle. They also do all her pre-op blood work for her annual teeth cleaning which I schedule within 30 days. The first time I did this “all-in-one” I admit I was a bit stunned by the sticker shock (on average $500) but I am more prepared for it now. And I know the teeth cleaning will be another $500.

It’s March. I was starting to get nasty grams that Cassie was due for shots in February. Cassie started limping last weekend.

If you’ve ever talked to people who have adopted one of these consummate athletes I’m sure you’ve heard that “typical health concerns have been bred out of greyhounds. And the only real complaint is bad teeth because you do not need teeth to run.” Well, there is another concern that cannot be bred out of them–osteocarcinoma. For whatever reason, interestingly, the origin of the cancer will start in the front inside turning leg.

One of Cassie’s faire friends developed this horrible disease at just 8 years old. The family chose to fight the disease which included an amputation. Even with three legs, this brave dog would outrun Cassie who was just interested in chasing her friend and not the lure. But treatment only bought her 6-8 more months before the cancer returned with a vengeance.

I can only begin to calculate the costs of such treatments. Greyhound owners can be a fierce group of people, highly dedicated and almost fanatical about the care of greyhounds–from daily teeth brushing to freshly cooking their chicken dinners each and every night.

Okay, I lived for the day when T1 and T2 could brush their own teeth. Every now and then when I get a whiff of some stale breath and I sit anxiously at the dentist each check up because I know, just know, the dentist is going to say there is a mouth full of cavities, I think maybe I should be brushing their teeth for them. But that feeling passes quickly thankfully. So I’m not exactly about to clean the dog’s teeth every day.

Brush my teeth, Mom!

I tried. I did try. Then it became weekly. Then I just decided if I was taking her in for her monthly nail dremeling and ear cleaning, they could clean her teeth monthly too with the annual sedation teeth cleaning at the dentist.

Freshly cooked food? Daily? Are you kidding me? It’s only because of E.o.t.T. that we have stopped going through the drive-thru every other night when DH is at sea.

So needless to say, DH and I looked at each other as the limping continued into the second day. “Just so we’re on the same page, she goes out strong. She goes out happy.” I nodded, “Before she’s in too much pain.”

In between all my appointments (sinus infection again) and T2 asthma follow-ups this week I also–finally–scheduled Cassie’s annual appointment for shots, blood work, pre-op teeth cleaning work, and x-rays. DH would take her and deal with the news while I was on a field trip. In the back of my mind I kept telling myself she was limping on the wrong leg anyway. Maybe it’s just age.

Cassie took three shots like a champ. She let them do blood work and other tests. She even let them take x-rays without sedation. Now that I think about it, she once let them stitch her face without having to be restrained. She is one tough and mellow cookie. The vet was pleased we opted for the x-rays right away. Although they will be read by an expert early next week, the initial read is that it is just arthritis and there is no sign of tumors in the joint or on the long bones.

New daily pills. Restricted activity for a week till the anti-inflammatories have a chance to really work. We’ll be dealing with this for the rest of her life. But it’s nice to know that end is not in the immediate future.

We understand that other owners will do everything possible–even fight cancer or give daily insulin shots–for their four-legged children. And I admire their devotion. Others are just not in a position to do so. For us, this goes beyond my lazy nature to thinking about our two-legged children and their needs and the financial burdens such a decision would mean.

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Who Do You Call? Parenting Together.

March 18, 2011

This post is prompted by Mama Kat’s response to her own writing prompts this week (Hour to Kill). I posted a response to her rather humorous story about what I have called DH for in the past and why. I also touch on this a little in my post “It’s My Turn“. I thought I’d expand on my response and give a little more insight on how I “deal.”

I also posted a series on “Opposites Attract” and my stable childhood was something of an attraction to DH while his exotic childhood locales attracted me. Both these situations made me decide from the get-go how we would work as a couple and as parents.

My mother was not quite June Cleaver but the house was spotless, chores were done like clockwork, and the children were to be quiet when Father came home from a hard day’s work. My father was, and still is, a workaholic.

My MIL was an officer’s wife in a day and age where communication with the ships, and even less with submarines, was very limited. It is my understanding that when not deployed my FIL made every effort to be involved in the family life and activities. But you just didn’t “upset the men” when they were gone and you did make an effort to have everything perfect when they came back home–at least for a few days.

Neither of these was an option for me. I told DH from the beginning it would be no-holds-barred. He would get the good, the bad, and the ugly. I wouldn’t even try to pretend to be above missing him terribly. I wanted to know without a doubt that I would always be the priority in his life, and that meant sharing in the bad and being my partner.

I’ve also posted about my bad luck with cars “Random Fact # 12″. My very first car accident happened just three days after he left. I totaled his “baby” and I was at fault (and yes, I have learned not to just hop out of the car and admit this). This was at a time when cellphones were the size of bricks, weighed almost as much, and the battery got too hot if you talked too long. Plus, cell reception was not the greatest so we’d have to wait until he was in port to talk. I did have the ship emergency numbers but I had been cautioned by my father not to call, and it was even suggested not to say anything as no one was hurt and I had a car to borrow for the interim.

There was no way I was keeping it from him. DH was great. After asking if I was alright, he asked me what kind of car I wanted to replace it with. He has never let me forget, however, how much he loved that car. I admit, I miss that old Sable too.

I knew things would be hard when we had children. Early on I let DH know that I was “not going to parent alone.” I saw no point in uttering the phrase “wait till your Father gets home” when that could be months away. To be honest, even though my in-laws come from a different time and circumstances, my MIL did not discourage me from this attitude, did not try to tell me I was being a bad sailor’s wife.

I think it had a lot to do with my FIL trying to be as involved as possible and that he had already retired from 30 years. They were in that critical time when a great deal of military families dissolve because of those resentments I talked about, because of lack of communication, because the wife learns to function totally without her husband, and they just grow apart and without the service giving them common ground they realize they have nothing and the children are grown. My in-laws are an amazing example of how to survive that.

One of the very first times I had to pull out the “Parenting Together” card happened when T1 was three years old. We had moved that summer and I knew trying to push potty training was a bad idea. We had time. DH had finally come home and we enjoyed a few months with him. Together we tried to come up with potty training methods that would work.

All the positive reinforcement in the world would not budge T1. In the end we finally did what every book was against–we used negative reinforcement once we found the one thing T1 wanted most in the world. Ballerinas do not wear diapers. I even threatened to give the ballet slippers I had bought to her older friend. As bad as I felt, I was doing the potty dance quite happily shortly there after.

T1 was old enough to understand that Daddy went away on the Big Boat. She would occasionally talk on the phone, but more often than not she would run away screaming. My in-laws were going on a cruise. It’s important to my MIL that “just in case” the children had a final gift and they would have a talk “to let them know how much they are loved.” Well, this talk also mentioned that they too were going on a Big Boat.

A three-year old has no sense of time. And T1 only knew that Daddy went away for a very, very long time. This news did not sit well with her. And she expressed it the only way she knew how. During the course of the day she peed on her bedroom floor, the hallway floor, and the last straw was a BM on the living room carpet.

If I had any sense of justice I would have tracked down my in-laws on their cruise and made them deal with their little darling… but I only knew DH was getting within cell range for the ship’s phone. Crying baby in my arms, crying but sheepish toddler in front of me, I dialed that ship.

They tracked him down. It took every ounce of my being not to scream. Through gritted teeth I said, “I am not parenting alone. Your child is peeing and pooping everywhere. You talk to her.” And I handed my three-year old the phone. I really don’t know what he said to her, but the problem was solved and the crisis was averted. Oh, I did let the in-laws know that if they ever did that to me again…

Once again, let me say that my hat is off to my MIL and all military spouses out there. I don’t know if DH was in a war zone if I would have called him about something so trivial. DH has said that when I share my highs and lows with him, when he can help me on a problem, it takes his mind off his work and the pressure of the job and lets him be connected to us. With a preteen and one fast on her heels, I know parenting together and the crises we’ll face is going to become even more important and challenging. I’m forever thankful I have DH and he’s just a phone call away.

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