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Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Years Eve

Gratitude Project Day 43 (for as long as I can) I'm going to post at least three things I am grateful for. Join me!; 1)That 2011 is almost over, it has been a difficult year and I am glad to put it behind me. 2) That the grocery store's play room was open so I could grocery shop in peace. 3)That I could chat with a friend form my teen years today. It was via the computer but it was still nice to catch up.

Tonight we end 2011 and 2012 begins. When the clock strikes 12:00 midnight another year is behind us. I find myself doing what everyone does and I look back at the highs and lows of the year. I have to force myself to not dwell on the lows. That however is difficult. It is so easy to sink into the memories of all the things that happened this past year that were upsetting. Why is remembering the bad so much easier than remembering the good? I am pleased that the year is ending on a high, my new job is definitely the best thing that happened this past year.

What does the new year bring? I am hoping that this is the year that I can finally move out of this house and this marriage. I don't have to worry about sticking to my conviction about this. Anytime I start to think that maybe I will stay my worse half does something horrible and I remember why I need to walk out. Today in the parking lot after grocery shopping he did something to P that obviously hurt my son. P was being too silly and it needed to stop, however my soon to be ex didn't handle it very well. He flicked P's head and P was crying. I would have handled it differently. I wouldn't have done anything to hurt my son. Once the kids were in the car I told him exactly what I thought. He looked down and didn't reply. I wonder if he even listened to me.

So the year ends. He is upstairs alone watching the hockey game and the kids and I are downstairs watching the Disney Channel. More and more that is the way things work out. The kids try to stay with me as much as they can.

Though tonight they may be with me because of the food we have down here. We had sushi (It didn't last long, yum!), potato chips, pizza, shrimp chips (very yummy), cheese, crackers and summer sausage. We may not have a fancy New Year's party to go to but we can have the tasty food. Later we will break out the shrimp, pop and the sparking grape juice. This is one of the few days (or nights) that I allow them to have pop.

Happy New Year everyone, this is the year I will finally get out on my own, just me and the kids. That is so scary. Once upon a time I was afraid of failure. The thought of me giving up on my marriage was something that filled me with fear. I was worried about what people would think of me. Now I think "Let them look!" I am doing what is best for me and my children. If my daughter was in a marriage like mine I would do all I could to help her get out of it. So I need to do the same thing for me and them. We need to get out.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Hand Made Christmas

A few months ago my children surprised me with a special Christmas request. They announced that they did not want electronic toys. They wanted hand made toys that helped develop their imaginations. My first thought was "Really?". For months before this all they wanted was a Nintendo DSi XL. Truth be told so did I? I had no idea how to pay for them and hoped that lay-a-way would be the answer to that question. Of course my soon-to-be-ex is completely opposed to lay-a-way. Then again he also is completely opposed to spending of money for anything.

The idea of buying hand made gifts was my first idea. I went to local craft shows hoping to find felt food like I saw on Etsy. It was often very realistic and I could see myself spending serious money on so many fun items. Unfortunately the local craft shows had nothing like what I was finding on Etsy. Christmas was fast approaching and buying items online and hoping they arrived before Christmas was risky. Plus I would have to hope the kids didn't see all the packages. So I shifted my thought process.

The kids wanted hand made toys, why couldn't I make them? I enjoy crafts, but I don't think of myself as crafty. It is an effort for me to make things because what I want them to look like and how they often actually turn out are very different things. Still I thought I could do it. I decided to make a puppet theater to hang in the doorway, a wood surface for P to drive his toy cars on. And for my daughter a play surface for her to play with her Littlest Pet Shop toys on. I needed paint, cloth, wood, felt, and glue. So I took the Christmas money and headed for the craft store. It was so scary to buy everything. What if I messed up? What if I spent all the money and the kids hated what I made? I was so worried!

One amazing thing happened my mom bought me a sewing machine for Christmas and gave it to me early. That helped make some of the items for the kids. When I threaded the needle for the first time I was thrilled. I knew that I was capable of getting these crafts done. I was starting to have faith in myself. I could really do this!

When I started working the job threw a monkey wrench into my plans. Prior to this I was working on puppets for the puppet theater at night. Now I had to sleep at night so I could work during the day. I was starting to get worried. Before this I hadn't even thought about what would happen if I didn't finish the items. I did have some other things to put under the tree but the items I was making were the big gifts. Christmas was getting closer and I was running out of time.

Okay it was now Christmas vacation, there were just days left and I hadn't even bought the wood I needed for the car board or play world for the kids. I left the kids with my Dad and headed to Home Depot. I walked over to were they had plywood and they had huge sheets, thin sheets, thick ones, small ones, so many different types of plywood. I thought this would be simple. Then a worker found me pondering several different pieces of wood. "May I help you?" he said and I think I audibly sighed in relief. I explained what I wanted to make and what sizes I needed and all I could think about was dollar signs. All this wood seemed to cost so much. I had underestimated the cost of wood.

The worker said he had something that was perfect for me and he showed me a thin sheet of plywood a little bigger than I needed but then he said the magic words, "I can sell you this for $2.00." Sold I said and picked out a smaller thicker piece for my daughter. He even helped me get the bar I needed for the doorway puppet theater so I could set it up and take it down easily. I paid for it and walked to the car to bring it home.

Remember when I said the wood was a bit larger than I needed? Well it also turns out that it was bigger than the trunk and the door to the back seat of my little car. There I was in the parking lot and of course it was cold and there was a bit of a mist in the air. How was I going to get this home? I had one option left, I put it on the top of the car. I had one bungee cord and a big yellow rope.

I strapped that piece of wood down and started for home. I drove mostly on side streets and of course went nice and slow. I could just imagine what other drivers thought as they passed me. I tried not to look at their faces. Eventually I made it home and hid the wood against the wall in the kitchen.

The item I made my son took two nights to make. The first night I painted the wood green. It took such a long time and I caught up on my missed episodes of Top Chef while I did the painting. Well that was until my worse half decided that he wanted to watch something different and changed the channel. I was busy so in his mind I wasn't watching tv. I ended up going to bed soon after that so we wouldn't get into a fight. The second day I added the streets and that was a lot of fun. It isn't perfect and there are some small imperfections but it was made from love and my son was thrilled when he saw it. It was the first thing he played with and the last before he went to bed that night.

The play world for my daughter was different. Again I painted it green, but that is all I did to the wood. All the decor on it was removable and changeable. I made lakes for her in several different colors including her beloved pink. I made stones out of foam so she could make pathways. I made trees out of pipe cleaners and pom poms. I had so much fun making these items and the best part is that I can make more for it because I didn't make anything permanent. She was also thrilled and has had so much fun playing with her animals.

The doorway puppet theater was the last large gift I made them. I picked some bright colored fabric to make it. Though I picked out fabric that was too thick. It broke my sewing machine's needle. So instead of sewing it together I used fabric glue. I even made the curtains for it tied back. The puppets for it were the most fun to make. I made animal finger puppets, I made, fun finger puppets. Some were not really anything, just figments of my imagination. I made people out of pieces of foam and attached them to popsicle sticks. I gave similar ones different facial expressions so they could be used for different emotions. They performed a puppet show for us on Christmas and it was so cute. They have wonderful imaginations and I am glad they chose to ask for gifts that allowed them to utilize them. It was a wonderful hand made Christmas and I can't wait to make more things for them.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I Have a Job (That I get a Paycheck for)

When I went to my son's school for his Parent-Teacher conference I never thought that it would lead to a job. I have interviewed and applied for so many teaching positions. I thought I had one in another state only to have the job offer rescinded. I have taught classes and been praised by the interviewer for my lessons only to never hear from them again. But when the Principal stopped me and asked me how my certification was going I had no way of knowing that that question would turn into a job.

I was hired by the district to be a substitute teacher within a month. Now I am working almost every day. It couldn't have come at a better time because Christmas is right around the corner and I always want to make it the best Christmas I can for the kids. One of the teachers asked me how the kids were handling the adjustment of Mommy going to work outside of the home? We all know that Mommy's are always working in the home. I thought about it and they are having no trouble adjusting. It is me that is having a bit of trouble adjusting.

Not that I am complaining because I love being a teacher. Plus I don't have to write any lesson plans or correct many papers. When I am in the classroom it is wonderful. Most of the time the students have been wonderful too. I love walking down the hall and having the children say hello to me by name. I am known as the teacher with the tarantulas. Even if it has been almost two years since Hannah has been to the classroom.

My problems with adjustment are amusing. I am not able to catch up with all my TV shows. Luckily I have a DVR but I have to admit the memory is getting mighty full especially this time of year. I admit it I am a sucker for the Christmas romance movies. Those added to the kids Christmas specials are taking up a lot of memory. Still I am slowly getting through most of them.

Sleep is my other issue. I was used to going to bed whenever. Some nights I admit I was up much too late, or was it too early in the morning? Yikes, even now as I type this I notice it is after midnight. Though I am only working a half day tomorrow (or today I guess) in the afternoon. Mostly I am able to adjust so I am going to sleep earlier and even manage to wake up in the morning. Any one who knows me knows that I am not a morning person, but I will wake up for a good reason, like a paycheck.

I was ready to go to sleep earlier tonight but I had to wash my hair. That is another of my amusing issues. I don't have a hair dryer and I don't want to go to school to teach with wet hair. My hair takes forever to dry, even with a hairdryer so when mine died several years ago I never bought another one. I thought the money would be better spent on food or some other essential. So I have to plan hair drying time into my schedule until I get a new hair dryer. Usually it is after the kids go to sleep and before I go to bed. I'm glad I remembered tonight because it cost $14.00 to go to the salon and get a blow dry there.

I have received my first paycheck and I bought myself a couple little things. Most of it went towards Christmas. Even hand made toys cost something to make. There is less than a week until the big day and I can honestly say that I am almost ready for it.

The best part of having a job (that I am getting paid for) is how I feel. I am so happy. Even my worse half has been in a better mood. He decided that since I am working that he will clean the living room. So far the kids and I have been doing it and he even got upset because he wanted to sleep and we were too loud cleaning. I hope this happiness stays with me. It has been a long time since I was this happy.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

One Week Until Christmas

Gratitude Project Day 33 (for as long as I can) I'm going to post at least three things I am grateful for. Join me!; 1) That we (My husband and I) went out for a nice dinner and there was no conflict. 2) That so far my Christmas shopping has been more even then I thought it was. 3) Chocolate! 'Nuff said.

One week left and I am almost ready. I need one piece of plywood to make the matchbox roadmap for my son. Ideally I want to make it a map of the city we live in. If I can't do that it will just be fun with roads. I have the paint all ready I just haven't been able to get that piece of plywood. I am making it big enough for him to have some fun with it. Ideally I want a piece that is 4' x 3'. I got the idea when he took the protective covers for my dining room table and put them on his bed so he could drive his cars on top of it. He was so upset when we put them back on top of the table. It must be so simple, just go to Home Depot and buy it. Of course Home Depot is not a place I usually go so somehow I always manage to forget to go. Now I have a week left and I still don't have that plywood.

Then I have to finish making the puppet theater. I have the puppets almost done. The puppet theater just fits in the doorway and I need a tension rod. At least I think that is what it is called. It fits in the doorway and the puppet theater slides on like a curtain. I hope they really like all the things I have been making for them.

When P sat on Santa's lap he once again asked for handmade toys. I made him a wooden car this year. Well, I bought a Melissa & Doug build your own car kit. I painted it red, P's favorite color and installed the wheels. I am not a woodworker but still I build that car using the love in my heart. I hope he likes it. When we went to the local science museum he played with the wooden toy cars in the Explorations room. When it was time to leave, because the museum was closing, he was so upset because he had to put the cars away.

Dinner last night ended up being better than I thought. The only down side was the chicken. It was like eating cardboard. I had heard so many wonderful things about this restaurant that I was expecting better. We all got a tree made of Godiva chocolate. It was delicious. The door prizes were fantastic, but they were all won buy other people. They could have spent the same amount of money and still gotten nice door prizes for twice as many people. One of the prizes was an iPad 2 and there were other prizes valued at more than that.

We even did a little Christmas shopping together last night without any arguing. For my husband and I to go in a store and spend money without an argument I always thought that the world would have to end. Still we managed to buy one more gift for our son without fighting. Then we went home and he fell asleep on the couch without much talking at all.

Today he again is in grump mode. I am upstairs because I want to avoid the fighting. I just noticed the time and I wonder if the kids had lunch. He usually forgets and I stupidly stayed up here. I hope they ate. I need to stay on top of that more. Of course it is possible that they did eat lunch. Wow, he bought them McDonald's. Of course he didn't buy me any, I still haven't had lunch yet. Oh well.

Drat, the kids just discovered the chocolate.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Give Me Strength!

We are going out to dinner tonight. It his his company Christmas dinner and I wanted a nice dinner. The restaurant is a local and fancy. I have never eaten there before and against my better judgement I said I would go.

Today I did some Christmas shopping, I have a job and I had just cashed my first paycheck in seven years. Already he is trying to tell me what to do with it. I told him it was my first paycheck in seven years and it is a week before Christmas so I am finishing up my shopping for gifts. Then as I am on my way out he tells me that he still needs to take a nap before the dinner.

I understand and I only went to two stores. I came back and he went to bed. Earlier this week he split up the jobs in the house since I am working now. I do the kitchen and he does the living room. My mom is coming tonight to watch the kids and the living room still hasn't been picked up. I didn't yell or scream. Nor did I try to make him feel bad that he didn't clean the living room like he said he would. The kitchen isn't perfect either, we need more dishwasher detergent.

The kids and I straightened up. P even volunteered to vacuum. They were having fun and I guess were making some noise. They are kids and they were cleaning. I had no problem with it and I didn't think it was in excess. So the time came to wake Daddy up.

What a grump! He was mad that the kids made noise, he said he couldn't sleep. But not once did he say anything to us about it. Then he gets mad because we ran the vacuum. Seriously, he gets mad when I don't clean, then when we clean he gets mad too. So I guess I can't win.

Now I asked him when we need to be there and he has no idea. So I hope this evening goes well. Already I am ready to scream. Please wish me luck. The food had better be worth this!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Spitting in my Face

Gratitude Project Day 23 (for as long as I can) I'm going to post at least three things I am grateful for. Join me!; 1) That I have good friends to lean on when my days get tough! 2) That my children have such wonderful teachers that help them when they need the help. 3) That I have enough common sense to walk away when I don't want to get in a fight. Sadly not everyone who lives with me has the same common sense.

I don't know if it is the flu, maybe I have a cold. I went to bed yesterday and slept for about 24 hours. I woke up to a husband who decided that I was an unfit mother. The house wasn't picked up last night because he went to work and I was asleep. There is some clutter, but it is not horrible. Still he sees it and decides that I am unfit because I keep the house spotless.

When we dated his house was worse than our house looks today. When we lived together we never had our house spotless. When we got married our house was not pristine. It was never an issue for us. When we moved into the house his mother owned we tried to be better. I managed and the house looked better but again not perfect. When I had people over I usually had the house looking nice.

When I was so depressed that I couldn't function, the house got worse. He did nothing to clean it because by then he decided that since I wasn't working that I was the only one who had to clean. The house got bad, I felt bad and it was horrible. When it gets to the point where you don't know where to begin because you see no way to make it any better. I gave up and he decided that I was useless.

I have seen our life and house beyond repair. I have seen it where I couldn't fix it and our house is no where near as bad today. It is comfortable for me to have some clutter around and I can clean it in a few hours so I can have company over. It is not perfect and it is no where near a hoarder house. To hear my husband talk it is hoarder level and I never do anything to make it look better.

It is not the spotless house that my Mother-In-Law has. In her eyes if I have something on the floor it is messy. She thinks less of a person if they have clutter on the dinning room table.I know this because she has told me just that. I believe he words were "A good mother does not have a cluttered dinning room table. She has it clean so meals can be eaten off of it." I believe it can be cleaned off and then you can eat there. Everything needs to be put away and not visible. That works for her, but in the 16 years that my husband and I have been together that has not worked for us. Now he wants me to change and be as neat as his mother.

Maybe I could except he won't pick up after himself and has decided that I have to clean up his mess. He won't have the children clean up after themselves because that is also my job. When I manage to go out and spend time with my friends I know when I come home the house will be a disaster and I will be the one who has to clean it all up.

Now I was hired by a local school district to be a substitute teacher. I have been on the sub list for 5 days and he is mad that I haven't been called yet. He is actually yelling at me because I can't even get a job where they call me to work.

Today he spit in my face again. I thought he was being unreasonable with the kids. He wanted them to stop using the computer because they were taking videos and the background was cluttered. They have no internet access but still he was worried that the clutter would look bad. I went upstairs because I thought he was being paranoid but I didn't want a confrontation. Too late.

He followed me up and blocked me from going back down stairs. I was a captive. It sounds harsh but he was between me and the exit and wouldn't let me leave. He yelled at me and told me that he was going to call his mother so I would be kicked out of the house. That is his threat, if I don't keep the house the way she wants it he will tattle on me. Seriously, it is like living with a child.

He backed me into my room and I turned the tv on. I turned the volume up hoping he would get the hint that I wasn't going to engage. He didn't like that I challenged his manhood at one point so he pinned me down on the bed and spit in my face over and over again.

It has been a long time since he got physical with me, I stood up to him and he stopped. Now he is starting again. I am so close to getting money so I can get out. I need this sub job to start calling me and I need to get out. Am I really sick or am I just giving up? I am so tired that I want to just sleep and sleep and not have to deal with him.

The closer I get to getting out the more of a jerk he becomes. I walk away to not fight with him and he follows me just to start a fight and make it worse. Maybe I will work tomorrow, I need to focus on the possibility of a good thing and not the despair my marriage is in now.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Two Days of Thanksgiving

Gratitude Project (for as long as I can) I'm going to post at least three things I am grateful for. Join me!; 1)That I had a nice Thanksgiving Dinner with my family. 2) That even at nine and with a very short attention span my son still enjoys me reading to him every night (We are reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone) 3)That I managed to get the one thing I wanted on Black Friday (a $80.00 wheeled crate, to lug all my substitute teaching supplies around in, for $20.00 with no shipping and handling) on line and didn't have to go out and face the insane crowds.

Usually for Thanksgiving we go to my in-laws house. I sit and chat with my Mother-In-Law and my Sister-In-Law and often feel ignored or am the butt end of passive aggressive comments. Often I suddenly am alone and have to find where everyone has settled. I guess I was used to it. If I stay at the table it ends up being all the men talking about sports and war. Not my favorite subject. I have tried to chip in and help do the dishes or clean up but there also never seems to be a spot for me to do this. I get subtly pushed out of the way and my help is often rejected or ignored. In fact still after 15 years I don't know where many things go in my Mother-In-Law's house. Oddly I have been told that they resent that I don't chip in and help clean up. I don't enjoy going there and I decided that I don't have to anymore.

So this year I didn't go. I bought myself some sushi and pot stickers and had a very nice dinner all alone. It sounds like it wasn't a good time, but I loved it. I got a lot of cleaning done. It turns out that when two children are not undoing all my cleaning the house actually can stay cleaner longer. I even got started on cooking for our second Thanksgiving Dinner to be hosted at my house on Friday.

What? Thanksgiving on Friday? That is unheard of! It actually was done to preserve our stomachs. Instead of trying to fit two Thanksgiving Dinners in on Thanksgiving when I was growing up we split them up. We went to my Nana's (my Dad's Mom) on Thanksgiving and then on Friday we went to my Grandparents (my Mom's parents) family Thanksgiving dinner. Sometimes it was at our cottage where we had the traditional Thanksgiving push my Uncle's motorhome out of the mud because he always pulled into the soft part of the grass and sink. Ah, memories!

Fun story about me baking my pies. I was making from mostly scratch (I used canned pumpkin instead of a whole pumpkin) my first Pumpkin Pie. I know that I bought all the ingredients. I had the recipe out and was mixing all the ingredients together. Luckily I tasted it before I cooked it, I thought it just wasn't right so I re read the recipe that I somehow was no longer following and discovered that I forgot the brown sugar. It was 11:30ish on Thanksgiving night and all the stores were closed. Yikes!!! Egads!!!

So I went on a brown sugar quest, I went to Walgreens, but they didn't have it. They had flour, granulated sugar and honey but no brown sugar. I finally found a store that I thought was open and I knew they had it at 11:58 pm. As I closed the car door the outside sign turned off and when I tried to open the door it was locked. The cashier was counting her drawer but still I tried. I knocked on the door and showed then that I had cashed. I pleaded and finally a manager came to the door. He politely explained that they were closed and they couldn't do any more transactions. Still I pleaded, I only needed brown sugar, could I leave the cash for it and then they can ring it in the morning. He agreed to my proposition. I didn't mind waiting outside and soon I had my brown sugar and back home I went.

I love to cook, there is something about starting with a recipe and tweaking it here or there to make it your own. Yes, I am a recipe tweaker. Usually I cook main dishes or side dishes. If I cook a dessert it is usually follow the directions on the box or better yet buy it pre-made. This year I saw a great recipe for a Pumpkin Pie that I decided to try.

Wickedly Yummy Pumpkin pie
By: The Good Witches Farm House Kitchen

1 small sugar pumpkin
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup real maple syrup
1 1/4 cups half-and-half cream
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
3 eggs
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie shell

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C)

Cut up pumpkin, and remove seeds. Place in large baking pan, and cover with foil or lid. Bake for 1 hour, or until very tender. Remove from oven, and set aside to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Scrape pumpkin into a food processor; puree until smooth.

Measure 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and salt. Stir in maple syrup, half-and-half, and flour. Mix in eggs one at a time. Pour filling into unbaked pie shell.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 1 hour, or until center is set.

Okay I admit it I tweaked it a little, I thought I had more maple syrup and so I used 1/3 c maple syrup and 1/3 c apple cider. I also didn't have a pumpkin so I used 1 15 ounce can of pure pumpkin.

I poured it into the pie shell and it almost over flowed. I thought I pinched the edges down and I guess I didn't do a good job. In the oven they flopped backwards and drooped almost down to the oven grate. It also took almost 1 1/2 hours to cook. It may not have been the prettiest pie but it was the most delicious pumpkin pie that I ever had.

My parents were over on Friday for our second Thanksgiving Dinner. I told my traditional Thanksgiving joke to my mother. How many mice does it take to screw in a lightbulb? (Two but I don't know how they got in there.) I first told it maybe 15 years ago and my mother laughed so hard that she fell to the floor. In between gasps she tried to tell me that it was inappropriate to tell at Thanksgiving. I told her that it was hard to take her seriously when she was on the floor laughing.

The next year I remembered the joke and my mother's reaction so I asked if she remembered how she reacted the year before. She had no idea what I was talking about so I had to tell it again. She again was laughing so hard but didn't chastise me again. Since then I have told the same joke every year and every year my mom laughs so hard that she cries. The joke isn't why I tell it, it is my mother's reaction that makes it priceless.

This year was a wonderful year for Thanksgiving for me. It was low stress and because I used paper plates it also was a low dishwashing holiday. I am thankful for so much and I have to say I am thankful for all my readers. You help give me strength to stay on track. I love you all!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Learning to Let Go

Six months ago I received an email from my nephew, he invited us to his birthday party. The party was this last week, he was turning ten. He decided last May that he wanted it at a wall climbing center. I thought that sounds cool and over time forgot all about it. Last week I looked at the calendar and remembered all about it, yikes it was just days away. I pinned my brother down to find out the time and let my kids know.

My children can be as different as night and day, their reactions to this party showed me how true this was. My son was thrilled. He could climb walls! Where was this all his life? He couldn't wait. My daughter was excited about the party. She picked out a party dress, drew her cousin birthday pictures, planned how she would wrap his gift. She insisted I find out what his favorite color is and now is planning what kind of ribbon she will find for him.

B did decide at the last minute to bring a bag of play clothes with her just in case. It had occurred to her that a dress might not be the best thing to wear while climbing walls. Though I was sure if anyone could pull off a white dress with pink flowers while climbing a wall that she could. I am convinced that she will have grease streaks on her face as she arrives at prom with a bright pink frilly dress and hightop sneakers.

We got to the climbing center and my son was ready. He listened carefully to how to wear the harness (which was amazing in itself) and off he went with Daddy to hold onto the rope. However B wanted nothing to do with it. She hid behind me and refused to interact with anyone. This is a common occurrence at any place we go to where there are a large group of people that she has to interact with.

The part that amazes me, and sometimes frightens me is that with a group of strangers she has no problem interacting with them. She is outgoing and pretty spunky. But if we are in a group of people she knows or a group of people she knows and strangers she will hide and be super clingy to me. It was cute, but now I am trying to get her to embrace her spunk and participate at family or friend events.

My daughter and I walked to were P was climbing and I noticed the floor we were walking on was bouncy. I pointed this out to her and demonstrated how fun the floor was hoping she would un-cling herself from from my side. It worked and she started bouncing around like a kangaroo. Everyone was focused on climbing except for us. It was wonderful to see her happy and starting to break out of her fearful shell. She was thrilled that she could bound around and surprisingly the climbers had no problem with her bounding all over the place. In fact many of them took the time to watch us and smiles spread over their face. Occasionally she would stop and watch her brother climb and I asked her again if she wanted to try.

She ran to change her clothes and somehow the staff managed to get a harness to fit my daughters tiny body. She is almost seven years old and still weighs less than 40 pounds. Her brother gladly shared Daddy with her and up she went like a monkey. She was a natural! I think she went higher than P did. Like her brother she liked being lowered back down to the ground. I bet it was really cool, and no I did not climb. I enjoy having both my feet planted firmly on the ground. I was content taking photographs.

While climbing I worked on her to get her to leave my side. She was participating but still wouldn't be on her own. When I say I wanted her to leave my side, I tried to get her to go see her aunt who was maybe twenty feet away and within my line of vision. At some point I won't be able to stay with her as much as I do and I want her to be comfortable to join in the fun. I was so shy as a child that I missed out on many things. I see that starting to happen with B and I wish I could get her to learn to let go when it will help her learn to interact with her family and peers.

The day ended with a rare find. We went to a craft show and next to it was a small playground. You may think in mid November that a playground would be off limits. But it was an unseasonably warm day, I wasn't even wearing a jacket. The kids wanted to play and we thought why not. Soon the temperature will drop and the snow will fall. This maybe the last playground they play in this year.

In this playground was a small merry-go-round. This is something you don't find on many playground in our area. We had one in a playground near us but it has been removed. My children were thrilled to see it and excitedly ran to it begging Daddy to spin them. Then the air was filled with giggles and pleas for Daddy to spin them faster. They stopped briefly to use the slide one time, but that was not as much fun as getting dizzy so back they went to the merry-go-round. Now they can't wait to go back to that small playground. Funny it has much less to play on than the playgrounds near us, but that playground is all they are talking about now. I wonder if they will remember it in the spring?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Who is God?

I am watching a tv show about Muslim Americans and I am fascinated. Before 9/11 I never really thought about Muslims. I knew about them, but I knew very little about them. It was not a religion that I had taken time to learn about. I was raised Roman Catholic and I embraced it until I found I that I no longer agreed with many of its laws, rules, philosophies, doctrine. So I explored a little. I found one that fit me better and I stuck with it. Unfortunately like Islam it too is one that can fill people with fear and worry. Maybe it is because of this that now I want to learn more about Muslims. It is through ignorance sometimes that fear is spread.

As I was reading comments people wrote about the show and was disturbed by people claiming that our country is Christian. They took the phrase in the Pledge of Allegiance "Under God" to imply that God referred to the Christian version of God only. Where does it say that? I believe in God and I believe when I say the Pledge of Allegiance that it still applies to me. However I am not a Christian.

There is a old riddle about an elephant that in my mind is a perfect way to describe what God is, and no I am not implying that God is an elephant though that could be a valid and in some religions is a valid implication. Basically three blind individuals each are standing next to the same elephant. One at the elephants nose, one at the elephants body and one at the elephants leg. Each describes what they think the elephant is. Each one describes the elephant differently. They are all correct but they are all also incorrect because they can not "see" the whole elephant. Just because different religions have different descriptions of God does not make them wrong. Even if we could see God with our eyes, hear God with our ears, and feel God with our hands would our descriptions be similar enough that we could all agree?

Some of you may have noticed I have not used a pronoun to refer to God. Why? I don't think they can truly apply to God. Is God a male? Is God a female? Is God both? Maybe God is neither? I do believe in the masculine and the feminine of God. Still I find myself referring to God as a male out of reflex, that is how I was raised.

I want to know more about other's beliefs it fascinates me. In other countries and through out history wars have been fought over religion. Our country was formed as a country where we would have freedom of religion. We can have open discussions of "who is God?" and we can decide what religion we want to follow. Even so religion is still something in America that can bring a crowd to riot. Our religious beliefs can be so strong that we are willing to fight to express them. We also should fight so others can express theirs.

One thing the Muslims interviewed on Anderson had to say about Sharia Law, which I keep hearing hearing Americans refer to when they argue that Muslims should be watched and not allowed, is that a countries laws supersede them. They made a point to say that the Koran instructs followers to follow a nations laws above all. They are American's first and follow our constitution. These were not my words but words I heard on the tv show. Still they make sense to me.

So who is God? What are your beliefs? What would you think if after all is said and done you find out that God is the giant bird in the above cartoon? It is possible that we are all right and then again it is also possible that we are all wrong. Still I have no problem with you having your beliefs, please share that courtesy with me and everyone else. Maybe through respect and understanding we can care a little less about who is right and start finding ways to get along.

Monday, November 14, 2011

He's Back to His Usual Ways

I knew it was too good to be true, my worse half has been so much nicer these last few weeks. I was suspicious and knew it wouldn't last. This weekend the other shoe fell. He has become the Ogre that I am used to. Sadly it feels normal for him to be a jerk and for me to avoid him. I really didn't trust the nicer version of him.

He again is measuring my worth on how clean the house is. It a weakness of mine and I really try to keep the clutter picked up. That is not good enough, he wants the house to be spotless and so does his mother. He is upset that I have things in my room stored in bins. They are my teaching supplies, I am not getting rid of them. They are organized in labeled bins and are not in the way of anything. Still he wants them gone.

He is changing jobs and has been home for three days, the same three days as a long weekend for the kids. Add to that the fact that he is no longer trying to be nice to me (his words) means this has been a long weekend for Mommy too. He did actually tell me today that he has been trying to be nice to me these last few weeks and it wasn't working. How do I get him to understand that it will take years not weeks of him being nice to me for me to even begin to trust him again? Years I am not going to be investing.

He is upset because he thinks I am planning on leaving him. What gave him that idea? Oh I bet it was when I told him I was, maybe it was when I told the kids that as soon as Mommy finds another house we (the kids and I) would be moving. He was right there when I said that and he was part of the conversation. Now he is actually getting mad at me because I am going to leave him.

The only good thing to happen this weekend was the dreams I had last night. Mike Rowe was in them and I have to say that I will clean him any day. The dreams were wonderful and definitely cheered me up some. He can visit me in my dreams any night, during the day too. Hmmmmm, I wonder how many showers he takes? I bet he shows up tonight, he is happily on my mind!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Holding On

The last few weeks have been actually very nice. We have been getting along well with a lot less friction than I am used to. On one hand it scares me a little. Is this a calm in the storm? once I get used to the peace will he return back to the jerk that I am used too. Maybe he is back to the man I married so many years ago? It confuses me and frankly makes me uneasy.

In the midst of the calm I have time to think and ponder what am I doing. Why after so much bad have I stayed? I know I have no real place to move to, but I bet I could be resourceful enough to get out and find a place ASAP. Even after all the bad I still stay. I am not staying for him, I think it might be the house.

This house is the bast place I have lived in years. Our original house was a dump with no real yard. I broke my ankle there, got carbon monoxide poisoning when our furnace decided to eat itself one night. We had a level 3 sex offender 7 doors away and a drive by shooting close enough that I hear the shots and the car driving by my house as they drove away.

The last house I didn't like my neighbors, it started with our upstairs neighbor who made it her mission to be miserable and pass that miserableness onto us. Even after she moved out she still managed to be in our life and I still have to deal with her sometimes on the outskirt of my life.

This house I love, the only thing that makes it a little thorn in my side is that my husbands mother owns it and is our landlord. I do not like having my Mother-In-Law as my landlord. She is involved in my life too much and she meddles in areas that I think she has no business being in. I don't think we would let a landlord not related to us get away with what she does on a regular basis.

If she doesn't like something we, though it usually is me, do in the house she constantly tells us that she is kicking us out of the house. Still even with the threat of eviction if I do something that she doesn't like I still love this house. If I had the money I would buy it from her. The back yard is huge and wonderful for the kids to play in.

Leaving it is scary. Will I be able to find a place to live that will have a yard for them to play in. Will I be able to find a place to live that is safe, or will I have to move back to a neighborhood that I have to worry about crime in my face?

Still not having a real job also makes leaving scary. I have a substitute teaching job but they have not called me yet. What good is a job without a paycheck? I have a lead on another substitute teaching job but have not yet had it pan out yet.

I keep holding on and know that I have to let go. Will I land here and find a husband who has changed? unlikely even though the last few weeks have been happy for the most part. More likely I will have to let go and jump. I wonder where I will land?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Another Birthday Party, Another Fight

For weeks now I have been dreading my son's birthday party. For years now before every birthday party for the kids my worse half has complained about how much I spend on the parties and has picked fights with me before the party so he can storm off and leave me to set up the party by myself. This time I have tried to alter my party preparations hoping that maybe this party could be different.

I have been spending my own personal money on party decorations and prizes for games. My birthday just passed and I used money I was given for my birthday to get ready for his party. Money that he gave me I used for what I needed but any extra I used to get items for his party. Little by little I got what I needed and he either didn't notice or he didn't care. My son wanted a Halloween themed party and I was going to make it a good one.

I have been cleaning the house all last week. Getting furniture rearranged to accommodate 12 -16 guests. He was actually helping and I thought that maybe this party would be different. I told him all I needed was the cake, pizza fixings, snacks and drinks.

Then P and I went to the store so he could pick out a cake. Usually the cake cost almost $30.00, this is a usual cost and not a surprise. We went to the bakery and he picked out a made cake from their display that was only $10.00. I picked up a few other things I needed candles, drinks, some chips and went home. I was thrilled that he picked out a cake that saved us $20.00. When I got home and told him how much I spent he screamed at me. Once again he accused me of being reckless and I was over spending on the party. In his eyes I had spent $40.00 on the party so far and he thought that once again I was over spending.

I cringed knowing I still needed the pizza makings and toilet paper for a game. I made a list of what I needed and asked if he would go get them. I thought if he went to the store and saw how much things cost and could make the rest of the shopping decisions then he would go easier on me. He came home and still continued to yell at me. Still we managed to set up for the party and the party was underway.

Waiting for the guests

The Mummy Wrap Game

Bobbing for Doughnuts

The Cake

Making a Wish

Opening his Gifts

Finally most of the guest had left and Grandma (my Mom)finally arrived. She wanted to miss most of the chaos, very smart, It turns out 12 children ages 6 - 14 can get pretty loud. P could finally open her gift. This was a special gift that I had arranged. I wanted to give it to him myself but with my husband so tight with money I couldn't chance it. I asked my mom to give it to him and she agreed.

P for years has been asking for a Mexican Red Knee Tarantula and I finally found him one at a price that wasn't too expensive. He opened the gift bag and screamed with delight. He finally has the tarantula that he has wanted for so long and the party was over. His friends went home and Grandma left too. Now I can breath and hope that the next birthday party I throw for the kids will be in a new home with one parent hosting and the other parent as a guest.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Practice Run Flops

He was just offered a better job. This has him starting later at night and means he will be here for the kids bedtime which thrills the kids. They miss their Daddy, and love when he is around for bedtime. This is going to be a huge adjustment for me. I have been doing this on my own for over a year now. He also will be here for homework, another adjustment. I turn the tv off so they can focus on homework better. The tv stays off until they are in bed and falling asleep. This is how it has been for over a year now.

He is a tv junkie, more than me. If we are home for just a minute or two he has to turn the tv on. Yes it frustrates me. Tonight he called into his current job because he has personal days to use up before he leaves. I tried not to focus on him throwing off the routine. Instead I thought of it as a practice run for when he is home for prime time in just a few weeks.

He went on an errand for me so he wasn't here when homework started. My son did his homework no problem, but couldn't find his book for the rest of it. I am trying to get him to learn how to look for things better so I am having him look for him things for a while before I start (and usually find it). I don't know if Daddy being home was the issue or if he just was out of sorts but he refused to look. He cried and complained when I tried to get him to do it.

When Daddy came home it was like a circus. The kids want the bean bag toss game daddy brought home, it needs to be assembled. My son still hasn't found his book and when I walk by a table I saw it clearly on top, nothing covering it. Everything was getting louder, each child talks over the other one. Daddy wants to watch the hockey game and I want the tv off. He finally decides to go out to buy pop.

I was overwhelmed. My routine was off and my son was crying because now that I found his book I wanted him to finish his homework. He thought he would have the night off of reading because he couldn't find it. But my daughter had gone to bed. I promised her I would have Daddy go upstairs to wish her a good night when he came home.

Daddy came home and went upstairs. The upstairs tv is in the same room that B sleeps in. He didn't come back down and then I hear him cheering on something the hockey team is doing. So he is watching hockey in the same room as our daughter is supposed to be going to sleep in. P is finally reading but constantly asking me how much longer he needs to read.

Finally P finishes his reading for the night, he goes to bed and daddy comes downstairs. I tried to talk to him to explain why it wasn't a good idea to watch tv in the same room that our children are sleeping in. He just watched the hockey game and said nothing. Nothing infuriates me more than when I am trying to calmly talk to him about something and to have him blatantly ignore me. He stared at the tv, and said nothing. He gave no indication that he even was aware that I was speaking.

I got his attention, he told me he ignored me because he was going to get yelled at either way it was easier for him to just watch the game. His hockey his the focus of his life, he will find a way to watch the game if he isn't working. Tonight he kept our daughter awake so he could watch his precious game. When we were dating I didn't mind the hockey, now 16 years later I HATE the game. Not because it is a sport, but because it is a higher priority to him than his family.

We started to yell, I let him get to me and I was upset. Then he stormed out calling me a bitch. When he comes home he will tell me how horrible I was and take no responsibility for the argument. In his eyes he did nothing wrong tonight. No one thing he did was wrong. It was little things added to little things and it was how I dealt with it too. But we can't work on fixing it if he just keeps running away.

What is it going to be like when he is home every night of the week again? How am I going to handle it? I'm sure we will establish another routine, but the adjustment period is going to be rough if tonight is any indication. It also doesn't help that this is occurring during hockey season. He will see that as as a priority over bedtime and homework.

I did remind him that I have been asking him to move in our extra tv from the garage since we moved here. That just made him swear at me because I guess I shouldn't nag him about it even if he hasn't done it in 18 months. Oh and he still hasn't taken out the last two air conditioners after I dropped the one out of the upstairs window. I thought a tv in the basement would be a good solution. He could be down there and watch his hockey and I could attempt to keep the routine with the kids.

So the surprise dry run of his new hours was a huge FAIL tonight. I hope we can get it together and get through this shift in his schedule. Where is calgon when I need it?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Flowers, Friends , Cookies and an Exploding Egg

The day started off unusual. I was enjoying sleeping in when I heard my daughter's gleeful voice, "Mommy, Mommy, open your eyes Mommy!!!!" So I did. She runs into my room bubbling with excitement. She is almost bouncing and then in walks my husband carrying a bouquet of flowers. Honestly my first thought was what did he do? In our 14 year marriage he has only bought me flowers maybe three or four times. I'm honestly not a lover of cut flowers, but I have to admit that they are pretty. This bouquet was all pink so I suspect that my daughter had something to do with it. Still for him to buy me a gift for no reason is almost unheard of. Why now? I don't know, but I'll take it. Anytime he does something nice for me is a welcome surprise.

My mom took me out shopping for my birthday. I had a choice to be responsible and let her get me clothes for subbing or going shopping and spend the money on things I normally wouldn't have the opportunity to buy. I did think about it for a couple days and I chose to have fun and shop. I still have the clothes I student taught in and I am sure they will be just as good for subbing.

We spent the early afternoon shopping and talking and it was really nice. I really enjoy shopping without my family sometimes. Okay most of the time with my husband. He is not fun to shop with. His goal is to spend no money and get out of the store as fast as possible. This is usually opposite of my goal. Not that I go out of my way to spend money, but I accept that money is designed to be spent. While I do try to keep cost down, I accept that in order to function money will have to spent and things will have to bought.

I even left the stores with money left over, that's right! I bought some decorations for Thanksgiving. I hosted Thanksgiving Dinner last year and did such a wonderful job that I get to host it again this year. I told my mom, with a smile on my face, if I had know that last year I wouldn't have tried so hard.

Then I came home and checked Facebook. I thought I might have found a friend from long ago and I did. He had messaged me back and we started catching up on Facebook. That lasted for a few minutes then I gave him my phone number and he called. When I heard his voice it brought back so many memories from when I lived in Kentucky. We were neighbors and became fast friends. So many nights we stayed up late and talked and dreamed. It is funny how some memories can be so clear after almost twenty years that it almost seems like they happened just last week.

Talking with him was just as easy as it was. Ever since I moved away I had wondered about him. We met before internet was an everyday tool. I am not a good letter writer, actually I have no trouble writing the letters, it is getting them to the post office and mailing them that I have trouble with. I don't remember if we tried to stay in touch with phone calls or not. We lost track of each other but we never forgot each other. Over the years we both thought of each other often.

When we finally said goodbye to each other my children had discovered the cookie mix that I had bought earlier in the day. We decided to make the cookies before bed and got out the ingredients. B set everything up on the counter top and P got the butter and eggs out of the refrigerator. I put the butter in the bowl and P handed me the egg. It felt oddly cold and a bit off. I pondered out loud that it would be funny if the egg was frozen. Surprise!

I demonstrated how I could hit the egg hard on the countertop and the shell cracked but no liquid came out. (Can you see where this is going? I couldn't.) I turned around and walked to the garbage to toss out the offending egg. My son said he wanted to try and before I could say "NO!" he smashed the egg on the countertop. The egg he used was not frozen. The egg was crushed and shell mixed with egg white and yolk went all over the kitchen. Of course P and B thought it was hysterical.

Clean up was another ordeal. We haven't even started making the cookies yet. I thought using a box mix would be less work, oh well. Of course the phone range, it was Daddy. At least I could have him bring home more eggs. While cleaning up the children discovered another egg that wasn't frozen. Silly me I thought that there would be less mess as they cleaned not more. Somehow cleaning up two eggs used up most of a roll of paper towels. I would have preferred them to use less paper towels, but I have to admit that together they did clean up all evidence of the great egg explosion and we waited patiently for Daddy to bring us more eggs.

Daddy brought us more eggs and we had no more explosions. We all took turns mixing the dough. P and B didn't think adding just butter and 1 egg to the mix would make a batter, they kept trying to add water. After a few turns they noticed that it was more dough like and then finally I mushed it all together with my hands and my daughter was sure it was magic. Of course it was after all her Mommy is a Kitchen Witch.

The mix came with pumpkin shaped cookie cutters, luckily two, and they took turns with each of them. Together they made 16 cookies, okay 17 I had to eat the odd one. We put them in the oven and they waited somewhat patiently for them to be done. It took some convincing to get them to let the cookies cool down when I took them out of the oven.

Once they were cool I put some orange icing (it also came with the mix, all for $1.99) in the center of each cookie and gave each one a knife. They frosted eight cookies each and decorated them with some green and black icing. They were all ready to eat them when I managed to get a few quick photos. I think they are finally ready to help Mommy with Christmas cookies this year.

The day ended with no arguments between my soon to be ex and myself. He was surprisingly happy all day. I'm not used to a day with so much good happening, but I will take it. My friend and I are back in touch, the kids ate cookies and I got flowers. Happiness is a day full of fun and friends even if some egg explodes all over the place.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Another Year Older

Nothing makes you more happy on your birthday than over 100 birthday wishes on facebook. It might seem impersonal but all of these people took the time to wish me a happy birthday. It really can help make a birthday brighter. I had people from elementary school and high school reach out to me and schedule lunch with me later in the week.

To be honest meeting with them gives me a little anxiety. I have been hiding from life for so long that I'm worried about interacting with a real person. I am really looking forward to the lunches. It will be time away from my soon to be ex and some adult conversation. Talking with another adult is something that I have been looking forward to for so long.

B showered me with "Brfday" gifts. They were wrapped in scrap computer paper and were mostly my things. But she was so excited to surprise me with them. It was so much fun watching her go to her hiding spots and bring out all the gifts for me. Then when I was opening them she was almost bursting at the seams. She is a wonderful daughter.

My worse half took the kids to help them pick out a gift for me from a local supermarket. It may sound odd, but I strongly hinted to P and B that Mommy would like potted herb plants from that store. I suspected he would have trouble finding them, even though they were in plain sight in the center of produce. I was right. He had to call me from the store to have me direct him to them. So yet another gift for me that is not a surprise. I miss opening up gifts and having no idea what is in the paper, heck sometimes I don''t even get the wrapping paper.

They came home and he immediately complained about the $7.00 he spent on the gifts. I went upstairs, I am so done with all his bitterness and complaints. It is easier to walk away and ignore him. Unfortunately sometimes he follows me and keeps at it. Maybe him staying downstairs was his birthday gift to me?

His mother called, I guess to wish me a happy birthday. I can't help but think that somehow that conversation would steer towards me not having a job yet or my failure in her eyes of me being a housewife. I don't need her passive aggression. No one else on his side of the family wished me a happy birthday. Not that I was surprised to get no phone calls from them, but not even a Facebook mention was a bit hurtful.

My brother and mom called and I had some nice birthday conversations with them. She wants me to pick out a gift. I have no idea. It is so easy to think of thinks I want for the kids but I can't think of anything I want just for me. Why is it so difficult to think of myself. I'm another year older, but I don't feel any different than yesterday. This will be my year to get me back. Here's to me finding me this year!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Galaxy Inspirations

He relented and I got my painting. Even better B got to meet the artist, Lady Galaxy. Lady Galaxy is a fantastic painter and her medium of choice is spray paint. We saw her at a local fair and my daughter instantly felt a connection with her. Maybe it was because she watcher her from beginning to end start and complete a fantastic pice of art? Maybe it was the fact that Lady Galaxy was female like her? Maybe it was that Mommy and Daddy both liked her artwork?

Whatever the reason B since that day at the fair has pretended to be Lady Galaxy on many occasions. One of our computer programs is an art program. One of the items you can paint with is a can of spray paint, just like Lady Galaxy uses. She loves to use that program and makes space themed paintings like Lady Galaxy.

I wish I had a way to capture the look of her face when I told her I was picking up my painting from Lady Galaxy herself. It was a combination of joy, excitement and happiness. When I thought I wasn't going to be able to get the painting, I was upset because I did really want the painting, but I also wanted B to meet Lady Galaxy. I wanted it to happen for her.

I had a backup plan to get my painting, but my worse half relented. He "allowed" me to get my painting. Truth be told even with out his "permission" I would have gotten it. I didn't need his permission or it turns out his money. I drove out to where she lived and brought my children with me. B was so excited and she had made a special picture to give to Lady Galaxy.

When we got there B was all-a-flutter. She was almost bursting at the seems. I can only compare it to when I meet Clyde Tombaugh. I know most are asking who? He discovered Pluto and was someone I idolized from grade school. I meet him in college and that meeting is still one of the high points of my life. I met my idol and my daughter was meeting hers.

I took her picture with Lady Galaxy but I didn't have a memory card in the camera and there was no image to download. That in itself is heartbreaking. But B remembers her advice and has repeated it many times before she finally went to sleep. She told B to create a picture everyday and everyday she would be one picture better. I think B created many pictures tonight. She just loves creating art and I love watching her do it.

On the way there B Asked me if I was an artist. I thought about it and I am, not an artist with images, paint, ink or crayon. I am an artist with words. I love to write and I often have trouble sleeping because words fill my head and force themselves onto paper or onto the computer.

My painting is home in my living room. It is a beautiful birthday gift to myself, but the gift that I will treasure always is allowing my daughter to meet an idol. B is only 6 but she loves art with a passion I can only compare to my love of astronomy. How would my life have been different if I had met Clyde Tombaugh when I was so young? What will her meeting with Lady Galaxy inspire?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

My Son is Heart Broken

Yesterday when we were about to go out I told my son to put his bike in our backyard to keep it safe. I told him if he left it in the front yard someone might take it. He without complaint (which was shocking in itself) moved his bike into the backyard near our garage. Off we went and didn't think of that bike again. It was still there when we got back home, but again we didn't really think about it.

I was watching tv late at night, actually it was morning, 1:14 am to be specific when my phone rang. Anytime the phone rings that late at night two thoughts go through your hear, something bad happened and Maybe it's a wrong number. It wasn't a wrong number. My neighbor was calling. She just saw someone walk into my yard and leave with a bicycle. She tried to stop him but he ignored her and took off towards a close main road.

I admit that my first instinct was to try to find him. I woke my husband up and told him that P's bike was just stolen and I was going to see if I could find the person, what was I thinking? I hope I just would have followed him to find out where he went to tell the police. But honestly I was mad, and I was in Mama Bear Mode. How dare someone steal from my son! I drove in all three main directions and even though I was only minutes behind him there were so many options of where he could go that I knew it was very unlikely that I would find him or my son's bike.

I did wake up my husband before I left and told him that P's bike was stolen. I assumed he would call the police so when I got home we wouldn't have too long of a wait for the officer to come to us. At 1:15 am or really anytime a stolen bicycle is not high on the priority list. They would come but not right away.

I pulled in the driveway and saw my husband in his coat standing in our doorway. I thought he was waiting for the police, he wasn't. It didn't occur to him to call them. He couldn't even really describe the bike. He was with me when P picked out the bike. He helped me sneak it home and get it ready for Easter morning. He helped P learn to ride a 2 wheeler on that bike. How does he not know what it looks like? He did know that one peddle was broken in half so I guess that is something.

The police finally came close to 2:30. They had other thefts to deal with and shots fired that early morning. The officer took our statement, my husband tried to hand him the broken peddle, I don't know what he thought they were going to do with it? We gave him the description...

A skinny white make in his 20's appx 5'8" tall, wearing a brown jacket, kaki pants, and a light colored baseball cap.

He called it in and left to talk to our neighbor who had spotted the thief. We don't expect the bike to be found, but still I have posted this information on Facebook and my mommy groups. Possibly someone might know someone who mysteriously has a new bike in the yard. People have been reposting it and that in itself makes me feel better.

Stil I had to tell my son this morning that his much loved bike is gone. I knew he would be upset and I knew there would be tears. I didn't know who badly he would be effected by this. He cried and clung to me. He stayed with me for close to 2 hours. I was his rock and I was his stability today.

A friend of his has stepped up and offered him the use of an extra bicycle that he has. That way we can wait until spring to buy him a new one. Possibly he would have needed a new one then any way. He is a growing boy and his peddle was broken. Still he has been violated and he will not look at the world the same anymore. This was not a child who stole the bicycle, it was an adult. I won't look at the world the same way again either and my view was already jaded. He learned to ride a two wheeler with that bicycle, he loved it and it is gone.

I will press charges if the thief is found. He stole more than a bicycle last night he stole my son's freedom and independence. He broke my son's heart and Mama Bear does not like that at all!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me

I'm turning 44 next week. When I turned 40 I faced my fears now I am turning 44 and am facing a life altering change. I know within this next year I will be moving, I will be single again after many years and I will be starting a new job. It is enough to make anyone an emotional wreck. Add to that the uncertainty that I face every day. What will my husband be like today? Will he be the fun man I married or will he be the Ogre that he has become? Today he was the Ogre.

He earned giftcards from his work, they were to be used for Christmas and I strongly suggested that since the money existed and my birthday was coming that he finally after years get me an actual gift. It may sound petty, but after 14 years of marriage I want a present! I had to buy my own anniversary gift, I got a stupid coffee mug and a sloppy handwritten note for Christmas promising me a dinner that I had to wait months for and had to actually ask for.

We got the giftcards in the mail, I say we like a wife but it wasn't we it was he. He hid them from me and changed his mind on what they were to be used for, less on Christmas and more on bills. He decided without me, and I was upset because the decision was his and not to be discussed with me. But he still said one of the cards was for my birthday. He was allowing me a gift after all these years. That gesture meant a lot to me and I went with it.

I found a painting that I loved, I had met the artist and she is a person that I think is amazing. She inspires me and her work is beautiful. Sadly she is retiring again, and is purging her unsold artwork before she moves.
It was a price within the range of the giftcard and enough money was left that I could take my daughter to a musical that I know she would love. I discussed it with him and as of yesterday I was under the impression that it was okay with him. Ugg I hate asking for permission for a birthday gift or anything from him. I am an adult and a capable one at that. I committed to buying the painting. Then I wanted to grocery shop.

Grocery shopping is and has been an issue for us. Most of our fights in our early marriage, before it became the disaster that it is now, were either while grocery shopping or because of it. We shop differently and we made the mistake of shopping together. I say we again, I didn't drive back then and if I wanted to grocery shop he came with me. I look back at it now and see it at control, he didn't encourage me to drive. He preferred to be the one that drove everywhere. He was the one who had the power of transportation.

I grocery shopped with coupons, I compared prices, I would put items in the cart and keep an approximate running total in my head. I also prioritized items. If I ran over my budget some items simple didn't come home with me. I took my time and wandered and looked for new things to try. Grocery shopping for me was a fun event and I enjoyed it.

He grocery shops for just what he needs. He liked Manwich, chicken, beef, pizza, and tuna casserole. He wants to know exactly how much an item was before it went in the cart. If I didn't know the price, or if he felt we didn't need it he would get upset. Once while shopping the store actually called the police on him. They offered to arrest him if I wanted to press charges. Yes he is that mean when we are in public. I should have pressed charges but I didn't.

I wanted ingredients to make a special meal, Pumpkin Mac & Cheese. I needed Hard Cider, cheese and pumpkin. I made the mistake of asking him for the money. He decided he was coming too. I suspected that it wouldn't end well. I was right. Every item I put in the cart he grumbled about and by the time I was one item from being done he again was declaring me irresponsible because we didn't have the money to eat gourmet.

Now I don't think using hard apple cider and pumpkin to Mac and Cheese is gourmet. I saw Racheal Ray make it and it looked and sounded delicious. The kids were looking forward to it too. I asked him to get in line while I got the last item. As the kids and I walked to get the item they wanted to know why Daddy was so mean about money and they said that they were afraid of him. That broke my heart. I need to get them away from him.

When I got back and was looking for him in line he was wandering around doing math out loud. He was grumbling about money so I offered him some of mine. Yes I had money that he had graciously given me earlier in the week. Yes that is how irresponsible I am with money, I didn't use it. Finally we got in line. He then divided my ingredients into three sections on the belt. In the order of priority that he thought they were in. Again he refused my money. Finally the final item I went to get was left on the belt and he declared there was no more money and we were done. So I pulled it toward me and told the cashier that it would be a separate order. Then I added a magazine I wanted and chocolate. I was mad and I took control back from him.

Today I had an appointment with my psychologist. He hates that I go see him, he doesn't believe in them and was fired by my psychologist when I tried to get him to go. He was that much of a jerk in session that my psychologist saw no good from him coming to session. The I asked him for the birthday gift card so I could get the tickets. He flipped out and refused, then he told me I was not going to get anything for my birthday. I just got my certification for teaching and that cost $100.00 so that was my gift. He didn't want me to spend the money, I need a job so I did. Again I took control away from him.

Then he tried to tell me that the large grocery shopping i did was my birthday gift. Seriously, I don't think groceries or shopping for them are gifts. We need food to survive, I just bought food that the kids and I enjoy. Again I took back some control.

By the time we were full out fighting and he looked at me with big bug eyes and made sure that I knew he controlled the money and I had no way to get anything without him. I have no job and I have no money of my own unless he gives me some. He took back all the control. I lashed out and then realizing that I wa about to snap went upstairs. I crumpled to the floor and just cried.

Now I went in the basement to confront him because the kids were not there. I do all I can to keep them out of our problems. When I came upstairs I couldn't hide my tears from them. My daughter gave me hugs and told me she didn't know what to do. She wanted to make me feel better. My child was comforting me. My husband was doing all he could to hurt me, to the point of basically taking my birthday away from me and it is my six year old who is trying to make it all better. I hated that moment, I can never take it back. My baby should not be worried about me.

Oh and to top it off his mother, our landlord wants to do a house inspection this weekend. She knows when my birthday is, why pick this weekend after months of not coming by? All she does is point out all the things she doesn't like in the house. She tells me how I am a horrible housewife and usually mentions at least one or two ways that I am a horrible mother. She doesn't use those words but she sure does a good job of implying it, just like her son does a good job of implying that he is always right and I am always wrong.

So Happy Birthday to me, and I am getting that painting one way or another. How many pop bottles do I need to return I wonder?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Guess What?

I don't know when it began or why I started saying it. I know I never planned on using it as a code. Sometimes things just happen and I'm glad it did. It is such a simple phrase, one that people use all the time. But over time two simple words have grown to become so much more. "Guess what?"

Those words are what I say to my children almost every day. They know the answer as soon as the words leave my mouth. When I say "Guess what?" I want them to know that I love them. It has become a playful game we play. I will ask the question and they act like they know the answer and that they don't want to hear it. But they smile and giggle. They sometimes say "I know, you love me." with a giggle. Sometimes they hug and kiss me. Then sometimes they get tickled.

It is the tickling that becomes the game. They giggle and laugh and pretend to get away. Then if I stop they beg me to tickle them more. Sometimes they will look at me with a glint in their eye and say "Guess what?" That is my favorite, that is when those words become so much more. They become ours in a world filled with chaos. For just that moment all that matters is our bond and the fun that we are having.

Now my children are getting older. I know it isn't like they are ready to move out quite yet but those days do draw closer. Already my son has asked me to not refer to myself as Mommy when he is around his friends. I have been Mommy for so long it is hard to become Mom. I know it is just a word, but it just isn't the same as Mommy. Do I dare say "I love you" when he is around his friends?

This year at his open house we as parents were invited to write a message of encouragement to our children on a leaf. My first impulse was to write "I love you" but I paused and thought better of it. Maybe it would be okay, they still are young. But then again they are growing up 9 and 10 year olds can think love is icky. Heck some grownups still do.

Then I thought of those two magic words, guess what. If I wrote them down he would know what I was saying and no one else would. It turns those words from a game to a code. I wrote them on the stem of the leaf along with a message reminding him that he was awesome. I went home that night knowing that he would know what I meant and it would make him happy.

He came home from school the next day and I asked him if he saw his leaf. He said that his teacher read all the leaves out loud to the class. As soon as I heard that I knew I made the right choice. Imagine if his teacher read "I love you" out loud to the whole class. Instead he heard "Guess what?" and knew right away that I was saying "I love you". He told me that it made him smile. That made me smile.

That leaf still hangs on the wall in the hallway at his school and I sometimes ask if he still remembers what I wrote. Let's face it he is in fourth grade and when they are in the hallways he isn't reading the walls. He still remember's even if he doesn't always read his leaf as he walks by it. It has become our code word so I can always tell him I that I love him without him getting embarrassed. So if you hear me say "Guess What?" to my children you know exactly what I mean.