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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

An argument that will never get resolved.

It is a gloomy day without sunshine. It has been raining for the past 15 hours. And as I sit in my office, one may be able to hear me quietly arguing with my husband on the phone. Arguing about something that neither one of us will ever win, but we argue daily about it.  I will get to that in a moment.  I know it was raining 15 hours ago because I was in the car at 1:00 a.m. transporting Jack (4) to the emergency room.  We live 2 minutes away from the hospital, but I'm not staying at home...still. We (being the 4 boys and I) are still at my parents until the house is clean enough for us to move back into. The dog and Don are staying there, * allegedly getting it ready for not only us to come home, but for his parents visit in 3 days.  The sanding that was done to get our kitchen floor refinished filled our closed up home with dust, and also got in the vents and all the dust is just being repeatedly covered when the heat comes on. 
Last night after going to bed a little later than usual (10:30) I was amazed on how well the baby was sleeping..he is in my room after all. Before I drifted off to sleep I said a little prayer, maybe a selfish one, but I prayed for a full nights sleep. That's all.  Oscar is getting to be too big for his pack n play so the previous night he had been up on the hour to protest his sleeping arrangements, so I was tired.  All was well until 12:15 when I thought I was awakened by a dream of the ocean, but the seal I was hearing was actually my son. I was confused, I looked in the pack n' play, the baby was sound asleep, where is this noise coming from? I ventured out into the dark living room where Jack was crying, barking and gasping for air. All while walking in a circle. He was panicking because he couldn't breath, he was crying which made his cough worse. By this time my mom was up looking at the two of us.  He was delirious, and wouldn't let either one of us hold him. Without words, I went and got my clothes on, to the emergency room we go.  We arrived around 1. The nurse didn't make us wait in the waiting room, which I wanted to hug her for her kind gesture. There are some sketchy people in the waiting room at 1 a.m. on a Tuesday morning. In the blur of me quickly passing the waiting room, I saw tattoos, pajamas, and teethless men.  Within minutes, we were in a frigid room waiting to see the doctor. The nurses seemed to eat Jack up. He is cute, I must say, but they showered him with stickers, compliments, grape juice and special treatment.   It was obvious he had croup and a breathing treatment was needed, we were just going to need to wait for another hour to get it. By the time Janet arrived, Jack had fallen asleep. He was awakened to her sticking a breathing mask on his face talking about Scooby Doo. Jack was not pleased.  It caused him to freak out again, which caused the barking to begin all over again. After holding him like a mental patient we were able to get the majority of the medicine in him. To the point he still had not uttered a word. It wasn't until he was given additional medicine that he told the nurse it was "awful"the only word he would utter throughout the entire fiasco.  We waited another hour or so for the doctor, nurse etc. and when it was all said and done, we had been there for 4 hours. I was able to catch up on late night shows, I had not seen since I was breast feeding.  Finally we were able to leave. I had to fill his rx before going home and was advised to get some food in his tummy.  Because I'm not usually cruising the streets at 5 a.m. I was amazed that there are not a whole lot of options for sustenance. Burger King was open and I was able to get Jack french toast sticks which he took two tiny nibbles of and I ended up eating the rest.  Not nearly as good as I remembered.  As I was driving home I wondered where other people who passed me were going at that hour?  Its  a different vampire world that I'm just not used to and don't care to get used to.  I finally arrived back at my parents and just as soon as I put Jack down the baby woke up and did NOT want to go back to sleep. I stayed up with him in a dark living room with the glow of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse filling the room.  By this time my mom was ready, she angelically offered to get the others ready, take Oscar and let me get some rest.  Around 6:15 I crashed next to the kid who sounded like an 86 year old smoker.  I had sent an email from my phone at 3 a.m. to my boss explaining that I would not be in to work in the morning. Within 2 min. he responded.  WHY is my boss up at 3 a.m.?  I don't know, but if this is a normal occurrence, it could explain a lot, and his crankiness. All along I thought it was just me.
So when my husband called me this afternoon and explained that the house wasn't quite ready for us to move back in our argument began. I methodically calculated the total amount of time I had slept the night before.. 2 hours, and I even took the liberty to add up the total number of the previous week. And he explained that he hadn't slept well either. Wait...he was alone with a dog at home. It was not computing. He explained that he only got 4 hours of sleep. But knowing my body's sleep needs and his, that is like a full night for him.  Since we had children we have had this argument almost daily.  To the point where we have threatened to keep track of how many times each of us have gotten up the night before, but never following through with it. Mainly because we are too tired at the moment to do so. Today as I quietly screamed at him on the phone, explaining that I was the one who didn't sleep not him, which ended up on me abruptly hanging up on him.  It got me to thinking. Why are we arguing about who is the most sleep deprived?  Is it a badge of good parenting? Or a badge of bad spouse-ing?  In all the years we have been married, has he ever said.." you know, you were up all night, what an amazing wife and mother you are" in short...NO. He has never said that.  Have I ever said, " I noticed you got up with the baby to nurse him 6 times last night...NO because, (oh that's right), he CANT.    So why do we continue to argue about this issue that only a night vision camera could prove?
When it comes down to it, what I'm looking for is recognition...from someone other than my mother.
What he is looking for is............ for me to not seek sleep deprivation recognition.
What ends up happening when I'm deliriously tired is, bad style choices.  Several layers of concealer trying to put on the illusion to everyone ( except my husband) that I don't need at least 6 hours of sleep to function, along with extremely sensitive emotions and weird cravings.  Which lead me to the one positive discovery today..the Salted Carmel Mocha at Starbucks. It is Heaven in a cup that almost brought me to tears.
Maybe I should add slight psychosis to my list of tired symptoms.
At this point in my life there are few things I find myself coveting for, and one of those things is a full nights sleep.  Is that too much to ask? Obviously, (my prayers were unanswered with and exclamation point) so God must have thought so too.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Day 1 of our Staycation.

Staycation...there are few words that annoy me more.  However, this is what I labeled our visit to my parents house for the next four days.  I have a severe allergy to dust, which I think most people do, so while the final touches are being done on our renovation (the last being the kitchen floor refinishing) it seemed like a good idea to stay at my parents. Especially since we wouldn't have access to our refrigerator, or more importantly the coffee maker.
I packed up outfits for the boys for four days. In case you are wondering, that is 16 shirts, 16 pairs of pants, 16 undies, a package of diapers, 32 socks, 8 pairs of jammies. 4 lovies and 4 pillow pets. This does not include my clothing or Don's but he is a big boy and I figured he could fend for himself. If you noticed a little hostility towards my husband of 10 years in the last sentence, well, congratulate yourself because you are very perceptive to written emotions. Don decided that it would be better for him to stay at home so that he could get some "work done". If I would have known that, I wouldn't have dropped off our dog at the doggy hotel. As much as my parents love Graham (sarcasm font) they do not allow dogs in their home.
My parents live in the same house I grew up in. I have the same room with my name on the door that boasts that I am the 1983 #1 shoe tier.  Growing up it felt like our house was large, but when you add 4 of my boys to it, it swells and feels as large as a motor home.  I arranged the boys in my sisters old room and the baby was to stay with me.  Getting them bathed was a challenge because rather than shower curtains, my parents have shower doors.  Plus I couldn't figure out how to work the faucet.
If senior citizens are notorious for not knowing how to work modern technology, then I apparently can be noted for not knowing how to work ancient technology.  After spending hours trying to figure out which remote turned on the tv, my dad walked in and pushed the button on the television.  INGENIOUS!
The boys view my parents house as a local theme park. Filled with soda, chips and entertainment (a tv) in every room. They travel to various corners and gorge themselves on junk food.  Amazingly, I was able to get them in bed by 9:30 after they had jumped off the beds for the 200th time.  It was around this time that Parker said his stomach hurt. I explained to him that when you stuff yourself with chips and soda, the combination forms a combustible gas that could possibly make him implode.  I gave him a Tum and tried to sit down on one of the 3, very comfortable lazy boy recliners my parents had recently purchased.  With in two minutes I'm rubbing my son's back as he vomited what seemed to be an enormous amount of food for a boy whose stomach is suppose to be the size of his fist.
I know that my husband is not to blame for this but somehow I would like to.
I can hear the pitter patter of little footsteps running up and down the hallway. I can hear the inner screams of my parents pleading, Why? Why?! And all I want to do is go to bed.  After Parker was finished, he returned to the bathroom for the grand finale which released anything remaining to come out of his body, only this time the other end.  As bad as he felt, he still was able to point out that I was wrong, he didn't implode, he exploded.  Touché.
Once I felt that my Vesuvius son had calmed down, I retreated to my accommodations that I had spent the first 20 years of my life sleeping in.  It felt smaller...well, there is a pack n' play in the middle of the floor.  I layed down on the same bed as I slept in in high school, under the same glow in the dark stars that I incorrectly arranged on my ceiling, beside my once beloved stuffed animals.  And as I rested my head to fall asleep.....I didn't.
After an hour or so of staring at the adhesive solor system I must have drifted off.  If my bedroom has one great quality it is that it is warm, very warm.
Having older parents means that they wake up at 4 in the morning, so pleasantly coffee was already made, along with a few extra hands to help make breakfast. Not to mention my parents staying home with a my sick son and happily doing so.  The fact that my mom palmed me 40 bucks as I left the door was reminiscent of the good ol' days when she gave me too much lunch money.
I actually made it in to work early today, I'm not sure how that happened, maybe I'm on PTZ the parental time zone which  causes one to arrive at everything 20 minutes early.
1 day down, 3 to go.  Who knows by the time Thursday comes maybe my parents will have decided to have a  staycation with Graham.

Friday, September 2, 2011


Way back on Thanksgiving 2010, while I was slothfully sitting on the couch with my sister and brother at my parents house, swollen with turkey and stuffing and wine and pumpkin pie etc. etc. we watched as our
(collectively) 14 children ran crazy, looting around our parents house, occupying every computer, television and square inch imaginable in their once quiet home. My dad was on his knees ferociously scrubbing the carpet trying to remove a  chocolate milk stain and my mom was in the kitchen cleaning dishes.  You have to know my parents, before judging me to think that I was just being lazy, they are OCD cleaners.  They like doing it..at least that is how I have justified it for the past 34 years.  Amongst the chaos, my sister turned to us and said,  "mom is going to be 70 this coming year, and we should really do something for her."   By this year, she meant 11 months away.  Nathan and I agreed and we planned to send an email thread to find out a date when he would be home next.  A few months past and I initiated the first email.  The date we agreed on was in August and it was 2 months prior to her actual birthday. It would be perfect. My mom insists on our family coming together and taking a big coordinated family picture every single year. She justified it  being annual because we kept having babies and adding another kid which my mom had to display in her Christmas card.  This year we actually went from 22 to 21 people... we lost one, not to death but to divorce, which is pretty much equal in my parents eyes, (we have a very strong family alliance, no matter what the circumstance) I have threatened Don with that several times in a Godfather Gangter kind of voice..."You betray me, you betray my family and you will be NOTHING in this town"...  Obviously this kind of threat doesn't frighten him enough to stop leaving a pile of his socks by the bed.
Regardless, we had an excuse to get together and it was a perfect time for us to plan a party. I quickly discovered that "us" really translated into "me". That was ok though, I still had 7 months to plan a get together. We were going to have a small dinner with my mom's closest friends and family, but even that would be a minimum of 50 guests, so, per my dad's suggestion, we needed to invite all of her friends.
Except for college and a few years in Chicago, my mom has lived in this area her entire life. She has several social circles. For example, her church choir friends, her salon friends, her tennis friends, her high school friends, her line dancing friends and not to mention every other person in this town that she has ever had any brief exchange with.  Being that it is 2011 I decided to make an evite (my first mistake) but I will address that in a moment.  I told my mom that a terrible virus was sweeping through the internet and I needed her password to be sure her email wouldn't be hacked.  She believed me and I was able to access all of her contacts. I sent out 150 evites.  A day or two passed and my family had all responded... a week passes, still a disappointing response.  I know it was 6 months away, but old people like to plan.  It was then that I received one of two letters.. in the mail.  SNAIL mail.  It was a note from a woman saying that she saw that I sent her a message on the computer but Burt couldn't open it and would I please send her a real invitation. UGH. That was the whole point of the evite to NOT try and find the addresses of a million people!  After I got the second similar letter I decided to bite the bullet and send a "real" invitation, opposed to the "fake" one I had sent on their "computer".  I had my dad photo copy my mom's Rolodex..yes, she really has one. And I was able to send out an additional 150 invites.  It was then that I had hit the senior citizen jackpot. RSVP calls flooded our voice mail.   It became a source of entertainment for Don and I. The rsvp messages were a minimum of 2 minutes and a maximum of 6 1/2.  Once they got my name right, they went on to give a brief monologue on how they knew my mom and if they were going to attend. But the exchange wasn't over just yet. They needed me to call them back to make sure that I received their message.  (You never know these days with answering machines, sometimes the tape gets raveled)  In the time it took me to plan this event, with the invites, menus and decorations, I would say at least 10 hours was made up in phone conversations.  And to make it more awkward, they all knew who I was and I had no clue who they were. Sure, I had heard their names before, but how can I know which Karen or Janet they were. What I was struck by was the stories people were sharing about my mom that I had never heard. Most conversations ended with laughter on both ends.  And what I soon realized was that everyone we invited was going to attend.  The room I reserved held 80.  Cross that bridge when we get to it.  When my parents took their snowbird hiatus to Arizona,  I snuck into their house and took all the family albums I could find.  Don took old home movies and converted them into dvd's. He made a 20 min. movie with over 200 photos of the 70 years my mom has graced the Earth.   The hard part was putting them all back.   On one of the trips to their house I had taken Jack and he discovered my Dad's chocolate stash (no wonder he was so quiet), then later that night told my mom over skype that he had been to her house and eaten Grandpa's candy... I told her that Jack was making it up and pushed him out of view.  Sorry Jack, you had to take one for the team.
The date came up on us pretty quickly.  We talked about how to get her to the place after the family picture. I creatively stalled with additional photos like, Can we please do a photo of us walking hand in hand across the grassy knoll. (no joke) It was actually her suggestion to go to dinner. We just had to reject all of her suggestions until she came up with the right place.  When we arrived she was was just as surprised as I had wanted her to be. She was embraced by old friends and said that I had invited an "eclectic" bunch from all parts of her life.  Turns out even some randoms, that DID open the evite who my mom had purchased some " holistic arthritic cream" from in a neighboring Amish town even decided to show up.
When it was time to watch the video we gathered (tightly) as it was shown on 2 screens.  I was over come with emotion as I watched a beautiful life unfold of someone who I had just selfishly seen as only a mother. She was a daughter, a friend, a comedian, a glowing wife and a proud mother.   She had an adventurous, fulfilled life before we came into it, and even with all her accomplishments, the one thing she wanted more than anything else was be a mom.  How am I so lucky to have been born to such a great woman? You don't get a chance to reflect on someones life until it is at their funeral.  This gave my siblings and me an opportunity to look in our mom's eyes, hug her and tell her how much we really do love her, a moment that is so often overlooked until it is too late. She was worried about all the work that we had put into it, but wholeheartedly, it was the least we could do.   It reminded me of a speech that Don gave at our wedding that had just been lip service prior to this moment.  Before we cut the cake he took the microphone to give a speech, and looked at our four parents sitting together and said " I would like to thank our parents, it is because of you and your love that we are the well rounded people we are today, and if we can emulate you, even a little bit, we are ahead of the game in my opinion" ten years later the words are even more relevant.
It was a pleasure, albeit stressful, to take this monumental task of planning a surprise party for 150+ people all while working 40 hours a week, juggling 4 boys, an insane dog and a sock leaving husband, but I think I may be on my way to emulating one of the most selfless women I know.