Wednesday, January 27, 2010

And By the Way...

Can I just say, I really enjoy that Google has placed this ad on my blog in response to my "garbage cart adventure"?:

Nothing Doing

Not too much to report around this neck of the woods right now, which is primarily because we are all so busy that I don't think there is even a single, solitary spare second to to or say anything even remotely amusing or "blog-worthy". Between the hubbers stepping up to take on the role of Cub Master (and all of the additional work that entails for ME, ya know, the one that *didn't* volunteer for the position), my Daisy troop having their investiture ceremony, and normal kid's activity/PTO/Church stuff we are go-go-go all the time around here.

The Daisy troop has been an interesting experience thus far. Mainly because of the other leader. I have learned that I am not a terribly good follower. I know that I am capable of taking direction, and I am capable of giving direction. What I am not so good at is having NO direction. I am supposed to be the Assistant leader of this little venture. Unfortunately, the leader has no leadership experience. And is shy. And a bit disorganized. And not a good communicator. So I am staging a coup. Because this is too important to my little girl, and my friends' little girls. And it was making my teeth itch.

Don't get me wrong, I have tried to guide her and mentor her and offer her assistance and leadership advice. She doesn't ever take me up on any of it. When I was just letting it go, it meant extremely unstructured meetings that were nothing more than a weekly playdate for the girls, where they would color and play. Which is nice and all, but I have no desire to pay for. Nor do any of the other mothers.

I had set out *not* to be the leader because I wanted to have one thing that I was *not* in charge of. Now that is the case, and it is not working out for me. So I have grabbed a hold of the horns and taken off with it.

On the one hand I feel badly about running right over this other young woman. On the other, my kids come first for me, and I want all of our girls to have a good, solid program that they can learn and grow from. I want them to make memories, and learn to be strong, fair, independent women. So...she'll just have to either grab on and come along for the ride, or deal with the skid marks.

Start your engines....

Friday, January 22, 2010

Oh My Goodness...

I have just discovered that I am married to an 80 year old woman...

My husband just looked at my son, and asked him to go fetch him his 'housecoat'.

Understandably, my son looked at him as though he had just asked him to bath in a tank of hungry piranha.

He said "What sir?"

And he asked again for our son to go and fetch him his housecoat.

The poor boy looked helplessly at me and I simply said "robe."

My husband looked at me and said "What? It *is* a housecoat."

OK Ethel.


Have you ever had one of those days, where you were just waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel? One of those days when nothing is going particularly wrong, but it also isn't overwhelmingly right? Somehow though, despite the overarching mediocrity of it all, you truly believe that something good and right it meant to come of that day? Well, today is one of those days. Even the weather seems to agree with that fact, being at times gloomy and nasty and at others, letting small streams of golden light through.

And if you haven't ever had one of those days, just bear with me...humor me people, I don't get out much. Or don't. The door is over there ---->>.

Today was a dear friend's birthday. Unfortunately, her big day was overshadowed by the loss of her beloved grandmother. Though not a surprise, it is still very clearly, painful. I want to comfort her, but I don't even begin to know how to. I mean really? Is there anyway of comforting someone on the death of a loved one that isn't sort of meaningless?

I struggle with how to handle death of a loved one. Not really having any family that is aging out and passing away, I can't really understand what it feels like. My own grandmother passed away rather violently and unexpectedly when I was a small child. My mother has no conscious memories of her own father. My paternal grandparents have never really been known to me. I am aware that one of them is alive and one of them has passed on, and I have met them, but I have no connection with them. So how you are "supposed" to act and feel is a mystery to me. When I try to ponder it, by imagining losing one of my loved ones, I just want to curl up and cry. And the tears? I have never been good with the tears. They send me into a crazy place, where I just need to organize things. Someone starts to cry and I need to bust out with a list.


We did celebrate the occasion, but the celebration was decidedly subdued. Though my normal inclination is to make a birthday a REALLY BIG DEAL, and to go a bit over the top (go big or go least when it comes to birthdays. That's always been my theory) I kept myself in check, so as not to be disrespectful. We enjoyed ourselves to be sure, but I'm still not sure if we hit the mark on that one or not.

At any rate, as the day has worn on I have been busying myself with taking out parts of my neverending to-do list and writing my articles (all about nutrition today!! Wooo!!! At least there are no dildos on the reference site!), taking breaks between each one. On one of my regularly scheduled breaks, I checked in with one of my favorite bloggers. (Yes, I have favorite bloggers. They are like friends, and I have never even met them. Most of them I have never even gotten up the gumption to comment to, so they don't even know that I exist. So yes, I am a dork. See above re: I don't get out much...) Lo and behold, what should I see but that *my* blog has been added in her links of places she likes to go.

I feel like a rockstar. At least in my own little world. And that my friends, is the light at the end of my tunnel for today.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The One In Which I Channel Oscar The Grouch

So, I really needed to vacuum today. Three dogs, 2 kids and all that will do it to you. So I needed to empty the canister on my Dyson vacuum. Which I did. Into the trash cart, out in our garage. Unfortunately, in the process of doing so, I also dropped one of the attachments to my vacuum into the trash cart. (gross)

In retrospect, I probably should have left it there.

But I didn't.

I tried to go in after it.

I lifted the lid, got up on my tippy toes, bent over the side and flailed about desperately, trying to retrieve it.

And then I fell in.
And the lid slammed shut behind me.
I threw myself out.

But wait, that's not enough mortification for one day. We eat embarrassing situations for breakfast here at Casa Pandora!

You see, the trash cart is neatly stored below my pantry shelf, in my garage. You can lift the lid *most* of the way, but not quite enough to flip it all the way open, so you always have to hold it open.

So, finding myself at the bottom of the trash can (did I mention: GROSS) I immediately jumped up and tried to fling the lid open. Only to have it crash back down upon my head. Which hurt. My pride and my head. Not sure which one most.

Regaining my composure, I lifted the lid again and attempted to climb out. But with one hand occupied with the business of keeping the lid lifted I couldn't quite get the leverage to get out.

At which point I got the brilliant notion to throw myself against the side of the cart in order to rock it over onto its side. Which would have probably hurt alot more than I ever considered, had it worked.

It didn't.

You see, the trash cart, as I may have mentioned, is in the garage. Do you know what else is in the garage? Cars.

I crashed the trash cart into the side of the car, with me in it. And the lid? Now was wedged under the side view mirror.

I was still inside the cart.

My thoughts? &^&^%^^#@^$#@$^#@$#@

I did finally manage to bounce it along well enough to get the lid somewhat open and scramble out. Which may or may not have involved me getting stuck, one leg in, one leg out for a rather longish time.

All I could think the whole time was that the kids were going to come home and find me in the garbage can.

really? There are not enough showers in the world to make me feel clean today.

Related: I tweeted about this...and Dyson responded! Apologized for what I went through, wished me well with getting it back and offered a URL where I could buy a replacement. I think they deserve a round of applause for being so quick to notice and to respond with a human voice!!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Who Needs Sleep?

From the Bare Naked Ladies Song "Who Needs Sleep"

Lids down, I count sheep
I count heartbeats
The only thing that counts is
that I won't sleep
I countdown, I look around

Who needs sleep?
well you're never gonna get it
Who needs sleep?
tell me what's that for
Who needs sleep?
be happy with what you're getting
There's a guy who's been awake
since the Second World War

My hands are locked up tight in fists
My mind is racing, filled with lists
of things to do and things I've done
Another sleepless night's begun

Seems that sleep has always been a somewhat fleeting phenomenon around the Pandora household. As a kid, I suffered occasional bouts of insomnia, whenever something exciting like going back to school was on the horizon. My husband was such an insomniac that he almost burned his house down as a child, reading with a lamp under a flammable 1970's blanket. (Yes, he's older than I am).

In college, I would routinely be up until 2, 3, 4 5AM every night. Every morning, as I dragged my butt to class (or didn't) I would promise myself that I would go to sleep at a reasonable hour that night. Every night I would fall well shy of keeping that promise, as some drama or other always seemed to beckon my attention.

As a young couple, many of our deepest and most passionate conversations took place in the wee hours of the morning, when most people were fast asleep. Our insomnia was an aphrodisiac of sorts - we fell in love because no one else was awake. The night we met, we talked for 36 hours straight. Then we napped for about 2 hours, then went our separate ways for the day.

Our first date started at 10PM one night, took us to Denny's, Walmart and the beach, finally ending at 7:30AM, when he could no longer put off leaving for work. And 100% of that time was "pre-intimacy". All talk, no action.

Pregnancy, though planned, took us by surprised. The overwhelming exhaustion of the first trimester was horrifying, as I became essentially narcoleptic. No matter how badly I wanted to regain my swerve after that, I just couldn't. The sun went down, and so did I.

When our first child was born, we learned how to operate on the worst kind of sleep - interrupted sleep. Many a night were spent jolting in and out of the jagged kind of sleep that comes from keeping one ear open for the inevitable cried that will rouse you from your slumber ever hour or so. The boy never slept for more than 2 hours at a clip. For the first 10 months of his life, he ate every hour and a half to two hours, round the clock.

When our daughter was born, she was a sleeper. Right out of the hospital, she slept an unbelievable 5 hours at a clip, ate, then put herself back to sleep. Right up until the very moment that I went back to work. Within less than a week, she started sleeping through the day and nursing through the night, as she deemed all bottles entirely objectionable.

We co-slept for most of the next year.

Finally, once our kids hit the year and a half and 3 year mark, both of them were sleeping soundly, for 12 hours a night. And we were free to go back to our own insomniac ways. Admittedly, having kids cured me of much of the night owl ways that I used to hold so dear. Days left running from work to mommy mode left me longing for bed sometime around midnight every night, which was like turning in when the sun was still up to my former self.

Now, with the kids 6 and 8, we suddenly have a sleep problem. The boy, it seems has developed an acute case of insomnia out of NOWHERE. He was fine. A regular Rip Van Winkle, for the last 5 years. Both kids had adopted the wonderful habit of sleeping for 10-12 hours, regardless of the time that you put them down. If they went to bed at 8, they would be up around 7. If they were up until 10, they were out until at least 8:30.

All of this suddenly changed for the boy on Sunday, January 3rd. He simply could.not.sleep. No matter what he tried, he was UP. Attempts to fall asleep were fruitless. Any slumber that he did drift off to, quickly interrupted. This went on until the wee hours of the morning. He finally succumbed to a good, deep sleep around 5AM. Just in time for his alarm to go off at 7:30. Needless to say, we missed the bus that morning.

The next night was even worse, with him in hysterics because he was so worked up over his inability to fall asleep.

That morning I took to Twitter and Facebook with my sleep deprived angst over what to do. I was greeted with a plethora of suggestions, ranging from giving him melatonin to rubbing him down with lavender. There were suggestions of massage, meditation and letting him read.

We decided to let him read. Which seemed to work. Sort of.

The first night with the lamp and the book he was asleep for good around 1AM.

The next night it was closer to 11:30PM.

The next night he was up about eleventy million times, but then Saturday night, he was asleep by 9:10PM and slept straight on through until about 8AM.

So we thought we were finally in the clear last night.

Not even close.

So now I ponder, what is at the root of the problem. Is something bothering him (he says no)? Or has he just inherited insomnia from dear old mom and dad? Do I move on to something more radical, like giving him melatonin, or do we just whether the storm, remain calm and keep the pressure off until his body regulates itself again?

This is the part of parenting that stinks.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Nature of Friendships and the Happiness Project

Recently, a blogger that I follow closely has blogged that she intends to embark upon a personal happiness project. I am not entirely sure what that means, but then, neither is she and as she has admitted repeatedly, she is making it up as she goes along. The first part of her project included creating a list of the 10 things that she likes most about her new, adopted hometown. At the end of her list was her group of friends, which are the reason that she and her family moved to the city that she now lived in. She qualified it by saying that although it was not truly about her hometown per say, she would be remiss to omit them. She then left an invitation to link your own "Top 10" about your hometown.

Which got me to thinking...

I love it here. I really do. And I am fairly certain that I could rattle off 10 highpoints with no problem whatsoever. The biggest part for me though really is the friends that I have made in the last 3 years, since moving here. I have some of the best, most fulfilling friendships that I have ever had in my whole life with the people that I count as friends here.

And I mean no disrespect to any of the friends that I have that are not from here. If you are still around, you are obviously an important and special part of my life. No, the "old" friends to whom I will be referring are, generally speaking, not really a part of my life any more.

I am the only child of an only child. I have step siblings, with whom I am close and I refer to them as my siblings, but as a kid, I was definitely by myself. Singletons have a different sensibility about us, as so many of our earliest experiences dealing with people are with adults. What this translated to for me was that any time one of my girlfriends and I would fight, and ugly words were exchanged, I took those words at their face value. After all, when a grown up says something to you, generally they mean it! I just assumed that rule applied to everyone. More than once, statements from my best friend that she never wanted to speak to me again sent me home in tears, convinced that she never wanted to speak with me again. My surprise was palpable when she would start talking to me again, the next day at school, as though nothing had ever happened.

For about as long as I can remember now, the friends that I have had have been great. Fun, funny, smart ladies (and gentlemen) that I really cared a great deal for. Funny thing though, nearly without exception, they have all been friends that, if I did not call them, I would not hear from them. With the sole exception of when they specifically needed something, every interaction that we have had, every plan that we have made, nearly every conversation that we have ever had has been initiated by me. If I stopped calling, there simply would be no friendship. I tested this more than once and in some cases am still waiting for that elusive phone call nearly 4 years later.

Today, not quite 3 years after moving to PA, I am truly blessed. I have made friends and all of these friendships are true give and take friendships. They call me as often as I call them. Heck, sometimes, when I am having a bad week, they call more often. When they call, it is not just because they need something, rather it is just because. And I cannot even begin to tell you how awesome that is. Having always been the initiator for so many years, I found that I became reticent to ask to do anything, for fear that I would become a pest. Today I don't think twice about calling up any of my girlfriends and saying "Hey, wanna get lunch?"

So if I were to make a list of the top 10 things I love about this town, you had better believe that my friends would take up quite a few of those spots!