Monday, October 29, 2012

Waiting for Impending Doom

I am not a patient person.  I don't like to wait.  I don't wait in lines at attractions (except Disney World/Land which is a given).  Patience is that ever elusive virtue in my life.

I'm waiting for the end of the world to hit.  Sitting here on the couch with my daughters (watching scary movies) waiting and waiting.  And waiting.  Do we eat the food before it goes bad?  Watch tv?  Start a movie that might die in the middle? I am not good at this.

The biggest mistake was watching the news.  Thankfully we did that only briefly.  Just long enough to see NJ drowning and NY about to be sucked up into the sky.  Okay, maybe not really but it feels that way.  The majority of my friends and family are right along Sandy's path.  My friends are without power (as we are preparing for as well) and have flooded basements - all along the east coast.  We're just waiting to see what happens here.

I am looking forward to Thursday.  Everything should be done by then.  Maybe school will be back in session.  Maybe the federal government will open again (hopefully both on the same day).  Fingers crossed.

And toes crossed that being stuck indoors for days on end with no power and two tween girls will not make me batty.  Uh huh.

A week in the life: Saturday

This was the most interesting day of all!  Zombie day!

We woke a little late, which is unusual.  Chocolate chip pancakes are a good start to the day.

A quick run to the bank and a few errands keep us busy until it's time to start zombifing.

Mike (ex husband) came over full made up and with the girls bloodied clothes.  That was weird.  Then, using liquid latex, he gave them wounds.  I added make up and in a pretty short time, they were full on creepy. Mike helped me with my scars.  It felt weird.  It was wet when it went on but as it dried it felt like egg on my skin.  Odd feeling.  Then he made the scarring.  Even weirder.  Painting on the blood was cool.  Adding the make up was fun.  I like that part.

My boyfriend and another friend joined us.  Amanda did her own make up (she passed on the latex goo stuff).  Andrew let me give him a few scars.  Mike painted him in blood.  It's like a modern day Brady Bunch, only Adams family style.  Very odd indeed.

The girls and their dad, the mastermind behind this weirdness.

The six of us went to an early dinner at Piratz.  We were the best dressed bunch in there, but it was early.  After dinner (Mike, Andrew and I did brain shots - shots of something not too bad with gummy brains at the bottom.  The funny part of that was A) my ex, current and I doing shots together and B) Mike told Amanda it was the first time (in over 15 years of knowing each other) that he'd ever seen me do a shot.  That's true but still made me laugh.) we walked over to Ellsworth Ave - the heart of Silver Spring.  That's when the true creepy factor of it all started.  

Mike showed A the clip of the movie "Come play with us.  Forever and ever...."

The girls did it really well.  Super creepy really well.  They kinda freaked me out.  Well, no kinda about it.  They freaked me out.  I was proud.

We spent a few hours getting out pictures taken, getting stopped as we walked by.  The girls did their "Come play with me...." thing at a mom.  She was completely weirded out and then looked at me and said "You didn't let them watch that movie!!  Did you??"  Oh hell no!  I won't watch it!  Really?  People think I would do that?  Well, given how they were dressed, I guess that was a legitimate question.

We had fun freaking folks - especially the ones in restaurants.  As we walked down the street, the girls would stop in front of the restaurant windows and just stare.  A few patrons clapped.  They were certainly a hit.

A fun day indeed!

A week in the life: Friday

Thank God it's Friday.  Yeah, not original but true.

You know the breakfast routine now.  The girls got to school on time.  I got to work early so I could eat breakfast there.  I like their breakfast better than my own.  It would've helped for me to look at my schedule first.  I was on the wrong side of the complex and had a technical meeting at 9 am.  Who schedules things like this on a Friday morning?  Clearly not someone who asked my opinion.

I was not on my A game for this job.  Lucky for me my client wasn't on his A game for staying away.  It all works out nicely.

It was a packed day.  Here's the summary:

Leave work.
Stop home to change.
Take care to the shop for the endless list of things that need to get done.
Pray the bill is under $400.  It was (barely).
Lunch at Max's - best schwarma and falafel in town.  The 20 mins in line proved I am not alone in this thinking.
Waiting for parts for my car - enough time to run to the grocery and get things for the impending doom that's about to hit here.  Bread, coffee creamer, chocolate.  Done.  Ran into Amanda there and bitched for 5 mins (each of us).  Ah....friends are awesome.
Picked up the girls from the bus stop and went back to the shop.  Waited.  And paid.
Off to the thrift store to find something for my zombie outfit.  Chef's jacket. Done. 
Over to University of Maryland for Physics is Phun.  Dragging but making an effort.  That was cool.  Pause in the summary.

So Physics is Phun is an awesome program put on by UM for 31 years now. That's pretty impressive.  They have all sorts of fun things to do.  They girls love it.  I'm humbled by the fact they usually know more about what's going on than I do.  At some point, the guy giving the presentation asks for a volunteer.  M nearly dislocates her shoulder shooting her arm so high up in the air.  She gets chosen.

I took video of this and have been struggling for a few days to try to get this uploaded.  Because all technology hates me, this isn't going to happen.  Trust me.  It was cool.

The guy does something with a cool machine that makes M's hair stand up.  A memorable day indeed.

And a tiring day!

Back to the list:

Dinner at Chipotle with bf.  Lots of laughs.

A serious need to sleep.....

Friday, October 26, 2012

A week in the life: Thursday

Thursday was a yo-yo day.  Certainly some ups.  And some downs.  And a little bit of everything in between.

Again, it was an uneventful morning.  No phone waking me at 2:05 am but an alarm ringing in my early shortly after 6.  I decided to set it a little early so I could cook something for the girls' lunches.  Turkey pesto paninis.  Coffee and paninis done by 6:30am.  Not bad.

I drove the girls to school.  I hate the school bus.  They hate the school bus.  I would never let my kids ride in a car without seat belts but here I put them on this bus that doesn't have enough seats for the all the kids so they're not only without seat belts but also without seats.  So when possible, I drive them.

Lucky for me, my work didn't start until 10.  That means I get a real breakfast!  Pumpkin pancakes.  Trader Joe's pumpkin pancakes are this family's weakness.  I like getting them all to myself once in a while.

Work was uneventful, which was welcome.  I've spent a lot of time in physical therapy following my barely-an-accident rear ending event in August.  I still can't believe that something I could drive away from could hurt like this.  I thought I was on the mend.  Apparently I'm wrong.  Today was a painful day.  Hopefully it will be the last of those.

There's always the challenge of figuring out how the girls are getting home from their after school activities.  Today was rough.  This is the hardest part for me as a single parent.  There is no one to share rides with (not that there was when I was married).  I rushed to pick up the girls so I could meet the plumber who was finally coming to fix my bathtub drain.  I was giddy happy at the thought of having a properly draining tub. It's been a while, which is gross at best.  This has been an ongoing problem in this house for years.  The super nice plumber fixed it and we're making plans to replace the pipes so the problem really gets fixed.  SO FREAKING HAPPY!  Plus he's a dad of twins.  Plus - and here's the really good part - he is in charge of the toilet decorating contest at the Montgomery County Fair!  We're decorating a toilet next year!  How cool is that!

Following all that excitement, we were left with the zombie question again:  What should the girls wear for the zombie walk?  Their dad came and took them out to shop.  They returned with full outfits.  Pretty impressive.

While they were out shopping, Andrew brought me dinner (Peruvian chicken - yum!) and we admired my neighbors decorations.

It was a fun, productive and busy day but boy oh boy, I am in need of sleep again.  The story of my life.......

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A week in the life: Wednesday

Wednesday is Zombie day.

Not the I-didn't-get-enough-sleep-so-I'm-walking-around-like-a-zombie kind of zombie day.  I'll explain in a bit.

Our morning routine is pretty standard.  If all is well, nothing changes.  This is exactly what I want. Today was a decent enough morning.  A new cereal made the girls happy.  Coffee makes mom happy.  All is right with the world.

I was able to prove to myself today that I can, indeed, behave like a grown up when needed.  I had a job that made me nervous this morning.  I knew I'd be tired after the Alanis show but I had to voice a presentation for a client I really don't want to disappoint and would be broadcast on through a webinar.  So, yeah, I was nervous.  I ended up rocking the voicing part.  At the end of that part of the presentation, the other interpreter (who was sitting next to me) took over the signing part.  Then there was a smell.  Not a pretty smell.  Oh my god.  Did that interpreter just fart right next to me?  I was trying not to look at her and trying not to show anything on my face.  In front of me was my client, another person with a guide dog and a third person.  I'm trying to figure out the source of the smell that just won't go away.  Finally I realize what's going on.  It's not the interpreter!  It's the dog.  No, I didn't laugh.  I did hear Phoebe (from Friends) in my head singing "Smelly Cat".  (smelly cat, smelly cat.....what are they feeding you?) but I didn't laugh.

That was pretty much the highlight of my day.  That is a sad statement.

I lived through the rest of my work.  I lived through the super speedy talkers with accents who were making 20 minute presentations in 5 minutes.  I thought I talked fast.  I have nothing on those folks.  That was a challenge.  I was missing my uneventful day.  Thankfully it didn't last over 2 hours.

Now here's where the zombie part comes in.  I'm taking the girls to downtown Silver Spring for what was *supposed* to be the Zombie Walk this weekend.  I went with my boyfriend last year and it was fun.  I've been waiting all year to bring the girls.  And they sort of cancelled it.  Grrrrh.  They're welcoming zombies but there's no formal walk.  We're still going all dressed up and we'll see where we land.  But zombie girls need an appropriate zombie outfit.  So off we went to the thrift store.

Should they be school girl zombies?  Prom zombies?  Slumber party zombies?  So many choices!  But there weren't any outfits that seemed just right.  So we quit and went home.  Their dad came up with a great idea.  Remember the movie "The Shining"?  I've never seen it - I can't handle super scary.  Apparently there's twins in it.  With a few adjustments, the girls are going to be those twins in zombie form.  Uh huh.  

That's the goal anyway.  Now, where does one find creepy little blue dresses like that?

The evening ended with one of our favorite activities - a dinner picnic while watching Switched at Birth.  Trader Joe's is my favorite place for finger foods.  Spanikopita and kielbasa made for a nice inside picnic.  Switched At Birth is a challenge for me.  I love the Deaf culture aspect but the sex stuff this season is tough for me.  My kids, of course, don't have a problem with it.  Thankfully I had only one episode recorded and when it was done, it was magically bed time.  Not bad!

All in all, it was a good day.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A week in my life: Tuesday

You might be wondering, what is this "A week in my life" stuff?  Alissa over at is participating in Adventuroo's  "A week in the life" series.  So, because I like just about everything Alissa does, I'm doing it, too.  She's like my blogging mentor.  Or I'm like a puppy.  Take your pick.

Tuesday was at least a semi-interesting day.  It started at the butt crack of dawn for me.  Yes, that's right.  My evil phone decided once again to start waking me at 2:05 like it's been doing for DAYS.  I NEED SLEEP.  My phone is possessed.  After turning it off (which I'm not supposed to do because I'm on call but seriously folks, I NEED SLEEP), I did indeed fall back asleep until the alarm started to torture me at 6:30 am.  Even though I don't need to be up that early most mornings for work, I do the weeks my girls are with me.  Middle school starts way too early for me.

Thankfully the new rule of getting clothes and books and shoes all ready for the next day was in effect.  A few too many hits on the snooze button meant we were in a hurry.  But we made it out the door (mostly) on time.  The middle school news anchor made it to her desk on time.  Whew.

Work was uneventful.  Uneventful is good.  Sometimes it's just what I need.  Today is one of those days.

The after school rush was in full effect.  Homework done?  Check.  Everything organized?  Not really but we'll pretend.  I actually have plans tonight.  I have three concerts that I'm attending in a two week period - totally unheard of for me!  Last Saturday was the Indigo Girls in Baltimore.  Tonight is Alanis Morrissette in Silver Spring.  I've been wanting to check out the Fillmore and this seemed like the perfect show to see there.  So my friend, Amanda, and I are going.  Woo hoo!

My ex arrived on time to get the girls.  Everything is set.  And off I go.  Only I forgot my phone.  I did remember the tickets but I had to go back home (a whopping 10 mins) to get my phone because I don't memorize anyone's phone number and couldn't let Amanda know I was there.  Organization would be helpful here.  But, alas, no such luck.

The show was great.  She runs all over the stage.  Yes, she's got a lot of energy.  The audience was odd.  There were the 20 something girls screaming the words to You Ought To Know at the top of their (off key) lungs.  There were the 40 and 50 something year olds that looked a bit out of place. Yes, that is the pot calling the kettle black - I'm one of them!  (see previous post  There were the weird 30 something year olds on a freaky looking date.  It was an interesting night.

It was so interesting, in fact, that I couldn't sleep.  Midnight rolled around.  So did 1:00am.  But here's the great news!  2:05 came and went QUIETLY!  I followed my ex's advice and changed one setting on my phone and viola!  Success!  And sleep!  Not enough but some is better than none!

A Week in My Life: Monday

Monday is never a day I look forward to.  At least not most of the time.  Today wasn't a stellar day.

My day started at 2:05 am.  That's when my phone started rebooting and yelling DROID at me.  That continued every 5 minutes until 3 when I just couldn't take any more.  I don't care if I'm on call.  I need sleep!  So off went the phone.

Then the alarm started to taunt me at 6:30.  It took a while for me to realize I was not dreaming this.  It was really time to wake up.  Waking the girls up is always fun (not).

Pumpkin pancakes made.  Coffee made.  We're ready to go to school.  Then work.  Starting out in Silver Spring, ending up in Gaithersburg.  Driving back to Silver's a lot of time on the road.

On Sunday we designated Monday night an early-to-bed night.  A last minute change of dinner menu because M has a Very Loose Tooth.  Afraid it will come out mid-bite, she asked for soup.  Easy enough.  So it's dinner and a tv show or two and it's bed time - early tonight!  8:30!  I love that!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Being the wrong age

I have lived my life being the wrong age.  At every age, I'm the wrong age.

It started when I was young.  My mother told me I was born at the wrong time.  I loved everything about the 1920s and 1930s,  I was born to be a flapper girl.  But I was about 60 years late.

I was crimping my hair and dying it purple before it was popular to do.  I liked the way it looked but I got a lot of shit for it from the other kids in school.  Then a year or two later they were doing it.  I was ahead of my time.

I was the last of my friends to get married.  By many years.  But I think I was the smart one.  While it wasn't perfect and didn't last for forever as planned, I was still smarter for waiting.  I was an older bride.

When my kids went to preschool, I was closer in age to the grandparents than the parents of the other kids.  I hated that.  HATED THAT.  Now it's pretty much evened out as far as the ages of my kids' friends' parents.  I didn't feel old enough to be a parent of two.

Now I find myself realizing I'm the wrong age again.  I'm not mature enough to be a parent.  I love my children with all my heart but I'm not like a regular mom.  When they make farty sounds with their elbows, I still crack up.  I laugh at inappropriate things constantly.  I'm not a good role model.

I went to a concert tonight.  I was older than a lot of the people there, which was expected.  I wasn't as old (looking or feeling) as some of the other folks there that are probably closer in age to me than the friend that accompanied me.  Again, I'm the wrong age.  I feel younger than I am.  I'm annoyed when the occasional gray hair appears.  I don't have time for the arthritis that makes its presence known at inconvenient times.  I don't feel like half my life has been lived.

So I will continue to laugh uncontrollably at inappropriate things (my kids call this O.L.D. - overactive laughing disorder).  I will continue to giggle when I see people be silly.  I will continue to be the wrong age.  I will be 46 soon and will still be drying my hair by the open car window and laughing so hard I snort soda out my nose.  Things won't change.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Acorn meet tree

I hear a lot of comments about how my kids look like me.  My friends say they are a lot like me - which is, in many ways, true.  They are outspoken and opinionated and (in my humble opinion) funny as hell.  I like those common traits (I crack myself up so that's why I think it's a common trait).  There are others that give me concern.

I'm a nervous person by nature.  I've had anxiety issues for as long as I can remember.  I always assumed it was because of growing up with a parent who died - it made sense to me.  But now I have a kid with anxiety issues.  I see the look on her face and I know the feeling in her tummy.  She recognizes it in me, too.  When my anxiety levels rise, no matter how hard I try to conceal it, she comes over to put her hand on mine, a move that always relaxes me.  She takes care of me as much as I take care of her.  The other kid is aware of all of this, too, but she doesn't have the same anxieties.  She has a confidence I envy.  The anxious kid handles it well.  I like to think I've taught her well but I don't know if that's true.  She might just be smarter than me.  And maybe this is genetic.

I dropped them off for a girl scout trip the other night and saw the look on her face.  One kid went to play with the other girls.  This one just stood by my side, very quiet.  I knew what was happening.  I try different strategies with her - they all eventually work.  It's just a matter of getting her to trust in that fact.  I let her shed a few tears and reminded her how much she enjoyed these trips.  I reassured her that as soon as the caravan left, she'd be okay.  She trusted me.

I had a similar experience to my nervous daughter's last night.  I was supposed to go see a show with friends - friends who don't know about my nervous tendencies.  Would they want to be up front?  I can't handle crowds like that.  Will they make a big deal if I need to leave early (I stayed until the very end!)?  My enthusiasm for the show waned before I got there.  But I went.  And I'm so glad I did.  I think my boyfriend explained it best:  it's an issue of inertia.  If I can get past my issues enough to get moving, all will be okay.  And it was better than okay.  I had a great time - just what I needed.

I'm waiting for the call saying the girls are back from their camping adventure.  Judging by the lack of calls and texts earlier - none saying to come pick up my child - I will assume both girls were fine.    Guess I'll find out soon enough.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Queen of Procrastination

I am the self proclaimed Queen of Procrastination.  This is my most honed skill.  It's amazing what I can get done when I don't want to do something.

When I don't feel like invoicing or billing or running payroll, I have super clean toilets.  When I don't feel like paying bills, my kitchen sparkles.  When I don't feel like doing laundry, the girls and I spent a lot of time at the park, Brookside Gardens or anywhere else.  It's amazing the things I can find to do when I'm avoiding doing something that needs to be done.

But at some point there comes a time when I need to be an adult.  I need to do the things I don't want to do.  If I wait long enough, that time will eventually come.

Until that happens, I will continue to scrub bathrooms, do dishes, go for walks and watch endless hours of Dexter and The Walking Dead in an effort to distract me from what I need to do.  So now I will turn off the tv and turn off the computer and make my way to bed.  Then tomorrow I will make my list of all the things I need to do and another list of the ways to avoid doing them.  I'm good at that.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Fine Line

My mother always told me there's a fine line between love and hate.  There's also a fine line between hate and ignorance.  There's a fine line between lots of things.

This point was driven home to me recently.  One of my daughters said that an educator at school had used the term "retarded" to speak about someone who did something stupid.  My daughter immediately corrected him.  "That's not an appropriate word to use!" He immediately apologized and thanked her for correcting him.  She came home and told me about it.  I was proud of her for many reasons.  I was proud that she felt comfortable enough to correct a teacher and that she knew to do it.  I was sad because it knocked him off the pedestal on which she had him placed.  I was surprised that someone in that profession would use that term.

While observing at school today, I decided to talk to this instructor about his choice in vocabulary.  It was an interesting discussion.  He explained why he used that word, why it was wrong and apologized again for it.  I left with the feeling that it was not said out of hatred but rather out of ignorance.  It's not an excuse but it does make a difference.

I discussed this with someone else who kind of chastised me for defending a person who uses hate filled words.  Normally, I wouldn't defend that behavior.  But this one was different.  After speaking with the teacher, I didn't get a sense of hatred at all.  Just ignorance.  Education seems to be what's needed here.  I'm proud that my 11 year old was the one to do the educating.

It lead me to think about other words that have become inappropriate to use and why I feel this is different.  Everyone knows not to use racial slurs.  More than one generation has passed since it was established that discriminatory words weren't appropriate and I'm thrilled that my kids have never heard most of those words.  It's not in their world so it's not in their vocabulary.  Success there.  I almost never hear people use words that are anti-gay or centered on people's sexual orientation.  Success again but that's taken a while.

The only words I could come up with to compare to this situation are "deaf and dumb" and "hearing impaired".  I think most folks know better than to use the D and D term.  It's been a long time since I've heard that.  Hearing Impaired still comes up quite frequently but when I politely say "the proper term is Deaf", that's the end of it.  No one argues.  Change happens, just slowly.

My children have someone important in their lives who has Down Syndrome.  Between that fact and knowing what I do for a living, they have a keen awareness of appropriate vocabulary used in the disability community.  Hate words are not used in their world.  It's interesting to think that their children will not have racial slurs, homophobic or discriminatory vocabulary in their worlds.  Or at least I can hope......

Friday, October 5, 2012


So often in my life, I want proof of things.  I'm not good at going on faith, though I have been known to try that once in a while as well.  Proof is preferred.

I try different parenting strategies with my girls from time to time.  When I need to make a change in my life (generally some sort of kick of my own ass), I usually share this thought with my girls and there are discussions and attempts at fulfilling whatever goal I have set forth.  Some are more successful than others.  Tonight I got proof that my determination to think in a more positive manner is working.

The girls had been separated all week thanks to different schedules for outdoor education classes.  This worked well for us - they missed each other.  After a bit of time together, A starts complaining about someone.  She didn't like something this other child did and felt the needs to share that in a pretty bitchy way.

This is where my proof appeared.

M said "I don't hear anything positive in what you just said.  Can you restate that in a positive way?"

A just stared at her.

Then she said "I prefer hanging out with (another child).  She makes me laugh.  I'm happier around her."


Pah!  There's my proof.  It made my otherwise grumble bunny day perfect.

I love my daughters.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Grumble bunnies

When my kids are grumpy, I call them Grumble Bunnies.  I have become a Grumble Bunny.

I am full on bitchy.  No, that's not right.  I'm sad.  No, that's not it.  It's a combo.  Bad.  Get it?  Bitchy + Sad = Bad.  At least I make myself laugh.

Why am I Bad?  Here, let me list it for you.

I have not had a good parenting week.  And what makes it worse is I've only had one kid (they changed in the middle) and they're staying with their dad!  That just sucks.

I do not feel like being a good daughter.  But I have to.  There is no one else.

Business is booming.  This is fabulous.  But it makes me work until the wee hours of the morning on a regular basis.  I am overwhelmed.

I am still in physical therapy, which hurts, for an accident that wasn't my fault.  This annoys me greatly.

I feel like an alien around those who should know me best.  I don't understand how this is true.

Now, none of this is completely horrible.  The fact is, it's been a decent week.  Why?  Here, I'll list that for you, too.

I had a few canceled/billable jobs this week.  That is always wonderful.

I got good medical news.  No more MRIs for 5 - count 'em FIVE!! - years.

I have a family that loves me.

I have friends I cherish and I know love me.

It's warm out.  This always makes me happy.

So my goal for the weekend, which will give me both girls back, is to breathe.  Relax.  Have fun.  No work, just festivals.  We'll (hopefully) hit the festivals in Germantown, the Russian one in DC, Takoma Park and maybe a market or two.

I'll give myself an attitude adjustment and a swift kick in the ass.  No more Grumble Bunnies.