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The Chronicles of Pern: First Fall


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Friday, July 29, 2011

Filling in the Blanks

The other day we got a postcard from one of my best friends. Patty and her daughter Trixie go to Colorado every summer for a vacation. They sent us a great postcard with a map of the state. Pictured on the map are things found in the state. My daughter zoned right in on the drawing of the dinosaur. Oddly enough my son noticed the hummingbird first. B found Denver on the map and we talked about how they put the capitols of states in a central location of a state so everyone can get to it.

Once we found Colorado on the map we found the places aunt Patty and Trixie visited. Now they want to go to a glacier to so they can have a snowball fight while wearing shorts. I would like to go to a glacier just to see it up close. Our state has a lot of features because of glaciers. It would be a shame to live here and reap the benefits of them without ever experiencing them personally.

Today we received a postcard from the parents of my best friend. I almost consider them family, I have known them as long as I can remember. They visited Ticonderoga, New York. My children have already had a couple postcards from New York so they had no problem finding New York on the map. Then because the postcard described Ticonderoga as being between Lake Champlain and Lake George. They already knew where Lake Erie and Ontario were. My daughter is fascinated by the finger lakes so and when she found out neither lake was a finger lake they looked on the other side of the state.

I love when I watch them looking for a place on the map. The excitement in their eyes is breathtaking. They found lakes and read their names, my 6 year old was reading the names of places she had never been to. The found Lake George first then found Lake Champlain. Just like the postcard said Ticonderoga was right between the two. I read that Lake Champlain was on a long fault, wow I never knew that. Though I knew about Champ, the local monster who lives in Lake Champlain. P asked me what a fault was, B thought it was something you did. I guess for a 6 year old that is what fault is.

We talked about earthquakes and how the earth's crust moves and somehow we started to talk about California, probably because that is where a lot of earthquakes occur. P asked about Tsunamis and we talked about Japan. Then back to California and we looked for photos of the San Andreas Fault. That is why I love exploring the world with postcards. We start at Ticonderoga and go to California and Japan. They ask the questions and lead the way, I just follow and fill in the blanks.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My Own Personal Volcano

Somedays are just harder for me. I have no idea why. I have two kids every day, I have to deal with my son's asperger's every day. I have to deal with life every day, but somedays just get to me more than others. The best theory I have is it is a build up of little things. How much pressure can a volcano take before it erupts?

I can feel the build up hours before the explosion. I know that it is coming and I do my best to avoid it. I remove myself from things that can increase the build up. I meditate and ground myself. I try to relax and try to keep it from getting worse. However as the day continues, more and more little things add to it. I sometimes know it is happening, but other times it just quickly builds without me not knowing why.

Today I could feel it. I know part of it is two of my children's friends. I get so nervous when they are here because one of them got hurt at another friends house and they are now being sued by these children's mother. Whenever they are here I am hyper vigilant and do my best to keep them supervised. But watching four children, two older boys and two younger girls can be difficult when they don't want to play together. It isn't like a school setting where they are in a classroom and in a regulated structured day.

Sometimes the boys go in a bedroom or in the basement, while the younger girls are painting in the kitchen. Other times one pair is inside and one pair is outside. I am sure I will figure out how to supervise them better. But today I think that is what started the pressure build up today. Then the little things added to it.

I hate nights like this, when I take acetaminafin because my head is throbing from the day, even though it didn't seem like a day that should have made my head feel like this. My children are bouncing and talking and to me it feels like they are jumping on springboards and their voice sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard. I do everything I can to keep from erupting. Finally I try to explain to them how I feel. We have learned about volcanos together and tonight I told them at the end of somedays I feel like a volcano ready to explode. They seemed to understand and stopped bouncing and were more quiet than usual.

Once they went to bed I could take my meds. Luckily this is not something that happens often and 99% of the time only majorly effects me at the end of the day. I feel better now.

Finally Some Job Interviews

I have had two job interviews in basically two days. I found out today that I didn't get the first job, and I am okay with that. They wanted someone in the infant room and I wanted a teaching position. Today however I had a wonderful interview for a pre-school lead teacher position. I think it went very well and when I was observed interacting and reading to the children they seemed to love me. All the children gave me hugs, that to me was a good sign. I was interviewed by two different people and I think I answered their questions well. I would have to move closer to the school and I am definitely okay with that.

My soon to be ex did not react well when he found out how far away this position was. Oddly when I checked the milage it is about as far away as his job is and that isn't a problem. He already was in a bad mood because we had to give the car back to my brother. They don't have a car for a few days and even though our car is near the end of its life it still runs. It made sense to give them back the car for a couple of days until they too had reliable transportation. Then he must be realizing that an option I have since I want a divorce is to move. It is a free feeling to know I can apply anywhere for a job and move closer to the job once I am hired.

He starts to tell me that he isn't telling me no I can't take the job (Like I would let him have that power over me anymore?) but I probably shouldn't. I do understand how he doesn't seem to understand that there is no we anymore. Sometimes I have a hard time with it. There are long stretches of time that I can almost believe things might be okay, then he acts like himself again and I remember. I know he is trying to control what job I accept and where I work.

The facility is beautiful and in a country setting. The interior is pristine and calm. The classrooms are open and designed for the children to be able to move around comfortably. No other classrooms I have ever seen have been this open. They also have a the entrance designed to provide the children with a safe secure environment. So please wish me luck and send some positive energy that I get this job.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Rain at Last - From Two Perspectives

I went for a walk tonight alone. Let me say that again, I was ALONE! No children slowing me down, I did not once have to tell anyone to be quiet. I also didn't have to deal with any arguing. It was wonderful. The best part was the light drizzle that fell off and on while I walked almost 3 miles. We have been in a heat wave. Heat that has lasted long enough to buckle one of our highways. To me that is a sign that it has been hot for too long. I honestly don't know when it rained last. I know in the spring we had so much rain that our backyard was more like a swamp. Now we have patches of brown grass despite my children endlessly playing with the running hose and sprinkler everyday.

On the way back, just steps away from my house I bumped into one of my neighbors. Her son had a birthday party earlier in the day and my son and daughter were there. B came home and the boys had a sleepover in a tent in her backyard. My neighbor and I talked and enjoyed the cool breeze. It was a about 1:30 am and she told me the boys had finally gone to sleep at midnight. P had a blast and was very well behaved. We both mentioned how we wished it would really rain. The drizzle was nice but we really needed a good soaking rain. We got what we wished for sooner than we thought.

I said goodnight to her and finally went home. I had walked almost 3 miles in less than an hour, I was ready to call it a night. We (my husband and I) had watched our TV shows earlier. I don't even know why we watch America's Got Talent together anymore. He is more like Piers and I am more like Sharon and Howie. He get so upset when anyone appears to be a homosexual, I just get upset if the act is awful. Seriously what does it matter if they are straight, gay, or transgendered. It is a talent show. I loved that the male pole dancer made it through, he was so upset and almost offended. He was asleep on the couch and I took my laptop upstairs to bed. Just then the rain started. It was a glorious sound and the breeze was wonderful. I woke him up to tell him that it was raining and it was possible that P would come home during the night because of the rain.

I was right. As soon as I got settled upstairs I heard the door open and close. My son was soaked to the skin and so upset. From what I gathered the tent leaked and his pillow and blanket were wet. If a pillow of mine can't be used or even a blanket I can use another one. He however is particular. He has a specific blanket and pillow that he uses. He knows the difference between them and look a likes. I am sure it is the aspie in him. We managed to find him substitutes and promised his blanket and pillow would be ready for him in the morning.

To me the rain was a relief to him the rain interrupted his sleepover and made his night a disaster. The temperature tonight when I walked was in the 80's now it is in the low 70's. I made myself a nice cool glass of ice tea and enjoyed a comfortable temperature to sleep in for the first time in weeks. For P I made a cup of hot chocolate and a hot bath. He needed hugs and kisses. Of course in all the madness B woke up and as I type this is lying on my back. She is amazed that I am typing all of this so quickly. I need her to sleep so I can sleep. I am pick them up an art easel in the morning. I love freecycler. I hope it is in good shape, this will give them each a way to color and paint, hopefully keeping it off my walls and ceiling.

The rain has finally stopped and the breeze is still cool. I am trilled that it rained and my son is still very sad. We both experienced the same rain, just two houses apart. Two points of view and two very different stories.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Interview and Assorted Events of the Day

Last week I answered an ad for a teacher position. Xxxxxxxxx Xxxxxx Childcare is a brand new, privately owned daycare center. We are looking for a teacher or teacher aide position to work 2:00-6:30 Monday-Friday. Applicants must have prior experience working in a classroom setting. Hourly rate determined at interview. I was thrilled. The hours were perfect and on early this week they called me for an interview. The first phone call back from all my applications, that alone thrilled me. I spent the week preparing. I got a haircut, picked out my outfit at least a dozen times. I assembled a portfolio of what I have done in the classroom. I printed lesson plans and photos. I had samples of students work and journal entries they made while I was their teacher. I was ready.

I pulled up to the building on time. I took a deep breath and went inside. It was nap time. The music was peaceful and calming, no sounds of children whatsoever. It was dark and after a short wait I met the owner of the facility. She went over my resume, I filled out a job application and we talked. I wasn't nervous, it was going well I thought. Then she brought up what the position was. She needed a part time worker for the infant room. Not exactly what I prepared for. The job itself is something I would enjoy, and if I had prepared for it like I prepared for a teaching position I think the rest of the interview would have gone better.

I may have been a bit unprepared but if I get the job I will gladly take it. I love infants and since I am not having anymore of my own this will help me get my baby fix. I do well with bottles and I am a pro at changing diapers. It may not be what I went to graduate school for but I am sure it will be wonderful. The facility was beautiful and there was such a nice peaceful feel to it.

Then of course I had to come home. I almost didn't, my new car is more air conditioned than my house. Of course it also doesn't help that I knew he would be home. The kids were visiting Grammy so it would be just him and I. I did manage to wrangle an errand for him to run so I had a little me time. I went outside and started rereading one of my favorite books, Insomnia by Stephen King.

The day wouldn't be all rainbows and puppy dogs. My soon to be ex promised to take the kids to a local carnival/festival. They have been looking forward to this all week. Then P stretched out his feet and tipped a fan (not turned on) a small amount. My husband went ballistic. You would have thought that our son had committed a major offense. He announced that he wouldn't be going tonight and he started to cry. The yelling didn't stop. Them B started crying saying that she didn't want to go without her brother. He wouldn't stop yelling and wouldn't listen to me when I tried to calm everyone down.

I thought he might still take the kids, it is a once a year event and what P did certainty didn't warrant him missing it. I casually asked if he wanted to use my camera to take photos, trying to find out what was going on and again he insisted that they weren't going. This is a pattern with him. If he doesn't want to do something with the kids or even me he waits for any little thing that he doesn't like and over reacts. He announces that he isn't going to do it and often will storm off. This time I called him out on it.

I made one mistake, my safe place in the house is my upstairs bedroom. I go there when I need to remove myself from the situation. For the second time he followed me up and continued to scream at me about how he doesn't overreact to get out of doing things. I was cornered and had to listen to him. He went back to his name calling and called me a fat lazy slob. The downstairs has been pretty well picked up and now he is upset that my room is cluttered. No matter what I do there is always something more that he wants me to do.

He knows it hurts when he calls me names and that is why he does it. He has to feel like he is in control. Finally he went back downstairs and I guess he changed his mind because they are at the festival. My daughter told me she would win me a prize. He didn't even tell me that he was going. I took my meds and am enjoying the peace right now.

When he gets home I will go for my walk, alone tonight. I need to mentally relax and focus. I need this job so I feel productive again. The money would be helpful too. I should hear from them on Monday. I think my stomach will be a bundle of nerves this weekend. The kids have a birthday party tomorrow, meaning more time alone with him. Funny how that used to be something I looked forward to. Now the thought of it fills me with dread.

Updated - they are home and immediately he complained loudly about money. I get it we don't have a lot. I know we have to pay bills. But to take the kids out to a festival he knew he would have to spend money (just like on a birthday party) and to complain that he spent the money in front of the kids is not a good idea. Then he yelled at me because I reminded him that he isn't supposed to take my car to work. My parents specifically said the car was for for my use only. The flood gates opened and he yelled again about money. The same things he had already said. This time he didn't follow me upstairs.

I only need to find a place to live now assuming that I get this job. I am looking forward to the last time I walk out the door and can get away from him.

A Postcard, A Heat Wave and A Job Interview Oh My!

Today as we came back from fixing the flat tire on my new (used) car, that I just got in the morning at 7am, the mail poured out my door. My son quickly spotted a postcard. To give you an idea of how excited he is to receive the postcards he didn't even notice the package that landed at my feet. It was from Louisiana, but the sender didn't write anything on it. So I had to do some research on the state before bedtime so I could tell them something about it.

I focused on Katrina and New Orleans. We talked about how the city was actually lower than sea level and they build levees around the city to help keep the water out. We found Louisiana on the map and zoomed in on New Orleans. We watched videos of what happened after Katrina and tied it in to some of the TV shows they have seen where people helped rebuild some of the houses. They were amazed at the photos of the flooding and we talked about what a hurricane is.

P had a bit of an idea of what a hurricane was, but didn't understand how large they are and how they work. He thought the eye did all the damage. We looked at photos of hurricanes taken from space and paid attention to how big they were compared with states. We watched videos of what it was like to be in a hurricane and talked about how dangerous they could be.

When I told them they usually form in the tropics where it it is hot and the water is very warm he did get concerned. Where we are like in many areas of the country we are under a "Dome of Heat". Now compared with temperatures found in the tropics or states that in the southern or south western parts of the United States this is nothing. But to a little boy who doesn't adapt very well to change this is HOT!!!

First thing in the morning he used to want to go outside and play. Now both my children camp on the couch fighting to be closest to the air conditioner. When he has had enough of inside and has tortured his sister enough he plays outside. We don't have a pool, but do we have a sprinkler, basically a hose with small holes poked in it. That isn't good enough for him in this weather. He turns the regular hose on sits in the backyard. Then he just puts it over his head and has a cold shower in the backyard. Too bad my camera was charging when he was doing this.

I have my clothes picked out for my job interview tomorrow. I have a portfolio made of my lessons that I have taught. I have my route picked out and now I have a car to get me there. I dread putting on nylons and pray that my hair still looks okay by the time I get there. I almost want to just get there early and find a close place to style my hair for the interview. Now I am starting to get the butterflies and I hope that I can manage to get some sleep tonight.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

He Still Can Make My Heart Skip a Beat

The artwork to the left was done by my son, he drew a beautiful tree in art class.

Why even though I know how awful he can be, and I know he can be very mean and not understand any point of view that is not his own does my heart still skip a beat sometimes when I look at him. He is applying for a job with better hours at several places this week. To help make a good impression he dressed up in a suit to drop off the applications. I didn't expect my reaction. He looked good and I was drawn to him. I didn't tell him how seeing him all dressed up made me feel. I tried not to look at him for too long. I didn't want to be sucked back in again. Just because he looked really good on the outside doesn't mean his insides changed. I feel like I passed a test. I can resist him.

Our daughter also felt that Daddy looked good. She asked him to dress like that all the time. She is only six and already starting to notice men and how they look. She told me tonight that a dancer we were watching on TV (Pasha on "So You Think You Can Dance" was hot, Mommy agreed by the way). So of course she liked the suit that Daddy was wearing. P still likes to play in the mud so he didn't really like the suit, it was not good for mud playing.

Tomorrow I finally get my own car, thanks to my parents and I have my first job interview for a teaching position on Friday. It is part time, only for the hours 2:00 pm to 6:30 pm, but while my soon to be ex has his awful night shift these are the best hours for me during the summer. I don't need to find day care for the kids and better yet because those are the hours I would normally be in contact with my husband I would see him almost not at all. For me that is ideal.

Taking our nightly walks makes the children tired enough to go to sleep quickly. That means I can go to sleep earlier so this week I have been more rested. I think that helped my mood this week too. Hopefully I can get this job so I can start setting aside money to move. That is the last thing I need to fall in place. I can see a light at the end of this tunnel, I hope that I keep getting close to it. I just have to keep away from him when he cleans up and puts on a suit.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Something is Following Us...

This week I have been walking every night. Last night our cat Butterscotch followed us for part of our walk. That was our longest walk yet, over two miles. He eventually chased after something and stopped following us. But for the short time he was behind us the kids thought it was wonderful. Later that evening after we were safely home he finally knocked at our door, yes my cats knock at our door when they want to go in or out, to come back inside. He was hot and climbed on the couch back to cool him off in front of our air conditioner.

Tonight my daughter picked the route we took. My son was crushed, he wanted to. We started off in her direction of choice and my son was in tears. He was inconsolable, not even knowing that tomorrow he could pick the route helped. Then all of a sudden a white blur ran past us and stopped. It was Butterscotch and he apparently wanted to accompany us again tonight. P's tears stopped and they were replaced with laughter. Pets are wonderful for children with asperger's (neurotypical children too of course). Our pats really help P with his social skills, especially when he is their caretaker. He no longer was upset that he couldn't pick the direction of the walk. He was in caretake mode and made sure that Butterscotch was safe, away from the street, while he followed us.

The four of us made it almost all the way around the big block and were back in territory we knew Butterscotch was familiar with. Of course that was when Butterscotch decided to go his own way. There is a book called "All Cats Have Aspergers" and I think that is a very good description of how their brains work. P seemed to understand that Butterscotch could find his way home from where we were. He and Butterscotch seem to understand each other. So we made it back to our house and there were no worries.

If I had to describe how I think cats walk around a neighborhood it would be like in "Family Circus" cartoons when Billy goes someplace. So I was expecting Butterscotch to wander home later in the evening after he had explored the neighborhood. The kids wanted to walk a bit longer so we decided to go around the inside block which we call the inner loop. There really are no typical rectangle blocks where we live. So off we went again. We enjoyed to cool night breeze and when we approacher the same section of the "big block" that Butterscotch went off on his own we were surprised to see him there waiting for us.

So as we completed our walk we were followed by our beloved pet. He trotted after us pausing every so often to explore. As soon as he realized that we were getting too far away from us he ran after us. Some of our neighbors thought it was so cute to see our cat staying with us on our walk. He was very warm when we got home. The poor boy was panting like a dog and I think he drank a whole bowl of water when he came inside. Once again he has parked himself on the back of our couch conveniently directly in front of the air conditioner and is asleep. If I didn't know better I would think he was a puppy.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Postcards Across the Nation

Today we received four postcards. The most interesting thing was that they spanned the United States from the west coast, specifically Sand Diego to Saint Paul Minnesota and continuing on to Amherst Massachusetts. Both my children pointed out the postcards in the mail and we went through them before our evening walk. B was thrilled when she found San Diego on the map and she discovered that there is a Gulf of California and a State also named California. Okay I admit I steered her towards San Diego by telling her it was near Mexico. She did know where Mexico was, not bad for a 6 year old.

My son managed to find the Gaslamp Quarter on the map. He came up with many ideas for why it was called the Gaslamp Quarter. Oddly it never occurred to him that the street lights were lit with gas. Even when I told him that it took him some convincing to get him to believe it. I told them about what I remember from my visit to San Diego, I got a glimpse of the ocean from my Great Uncle Ewald's house. Funny that is all I really remember.

Then my friend Genny sent the kids two postcards from completely different part of the United States. The first one was from Saint Paul, Minnesota. It is a beautiful photo with a waxing crescent moon in the sky. Genny was there for a conference and ze did an excellent job of describing what was in the postcard. P figured out the name of the river in the postcard by using names of local landmarks. He is really quite a smart boy.

The fourth postcard was also from Genny. This time it was from where ze works. The tall building on the front of the postcard is the library on campus. B was excited that a library could be so tall and she wants to go there. She loves to read and images of 26 floors of books even made my heart skip a beat or two. The campus is in Amherst, Massachusetts, a place we have been as a family. Though we went to the Eric Carl Museum. That is a wonderful museum and we saw original illustrations from "The Very Hungry Caterpillar". We are planning on going back so B may get her wish and go to the 26 story library.

Our journey from the west coast to east coast concluded and we ventured outside for our evening walk. As we walked around the neighborhood we talked about other places we would like to get postcards from. P recalled that we have not had any postcards from Australia or Africa. Yikes, I need to get busy and find some people who live there.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Going For a Walk

When I lived in Kentucky and got severely depressed I started taking walks at night. It helped me so much. The act of getting out of the apartment and forcing myself to move helped bring life back to me. So many days before that I would just hide away in my apartment and would only eat the potatoes that I managed to afford with change I found on the street. On good weeks I might be able to afford a little meat. Back then my depression I think was because I was lonely, I couldn't find a job and my world was just a downward spiral to nothing.

I lived there for 355 days. Finally I called and asked for my parents to hep me move back back home. The time I spent in that small town was a pivotal time of my life. Oddly enough it was that move back to my home town that allowed me to meet my husband. It was walking that brought me back to life enough to ask to come back home. Walking in the still of the night listening to the sounds of the crickets and breathing in the fresh country air.

Walking is something I have been craving lately, walking at night, specifically. The problem with that is it is me and the kids at night. One parent, with no way to walk at night without hiring a babysitter for the kids. I thought about getting a treadmill, that would let me walk but it is being outside at night that is my magic. I am a night owl and I need a way to get the outdoors at night back into my life.

Finally this weekend I figured it out. Why hadn't I figured this out before? I took the kids with me. We watched a movie after Daddy left for work. When the movie was over we ventured out into the night. The sun had just set and the air was much cooler than it was earlier in the day. The kids were thrilled. I don't know if it was because I was going for a walk with them or if they thought they were cheating on bedtime, but they were so happy.

We smelled a skunk, luckily the scent was fading. As we walked my daughter was fascinated by the colored lights in front of many of the houses. We wound our way around the neighborhood and listened to the crickets, sadly there were no fireflies. P found a broken hockey stick blade and carried his treasure with him for the rest of the walk. He discovered that if he flicked a broken thin piece of wood on the blade that he could make music.

My daughter became the crossing guard. She protectively would put her arm up to keep us from going into the street until she declared it safe. We still need to work on how far away a car needs to be to be a risk for crossing streets. She would keep us from crossing the street if she saw a car 5 or 6 blocks away. She got a lot of practice tonight with all the streets we crossed.

We came back around the curve and saw the house. Our cat Butterscotch greeted us with a meow and trotted up to us. We all went back into the house and we went through our normal bedtime routine. I ask each one to share with me something good that happened today and something they didn't like. We talk about anything that worries them or anything they need to talk to me about. Then the usual hug and kiss and off to bed. A bonus tonight, which I am sure resulted from the night time walk was they both went right to bed and fell asleep easily.

I felt wonderful after the walk and I hope we can continue doing this almost every night. I sent out more job applications yesterday and keep looking for a place to move to. The car my parents had fixed up for me so I could get out ASAP and would have transportation when I found a place to move too instead went to my brother. They are looking for another car for me. I keep looking for a job and a place I can afford that is safe or my children. I am on a waiting list for free attorney service to get the divorce. Everything is in motion and now so am I.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Postcards From Rochester, New York

What a glorious day, not only was my soon to be ex not home for most of the day, but we had fantastic pizza and the mailman brought us two postcards from Rochester, New York. I have to say that Rochester is one place that we have received postcards from that we have all actually been to. We love to visit the Strong Museum of Play and the Strasenburgh Planetarium at the Rochester Museum of Science. Yet even though these postcards were from a familiar location both children were thrilled once again to get their own mail.

First P and I sat together and he read his postcard. He accepted Aunt Diane's challenge and found Rochester on the map no problem. Then we looked for one of the places pictured on the postcard. That was a bit more tricky and we had to result to typing Sodus Point Lighthouse into the search bar. It was a bit outside of Rochester, more than I expected but we found it and put a virtual pin in it.

B and I explored her postcard next. We did a different approach than usual one. Usually we go over names of different geographical places like lakes or islands. Today we followed roads and highways to Rochester. I knew a girl who even into teenage years didn't know the names of local streets or how to get from point A to point B. Since then I make sure my children know the local streets and roads by name. We live near a highway so we just virtually went on the highway and found our way to Rochester. My daughter did a pretty good job with directions and found Rochester again with no problem.

I loved that Aunt Diane mentioned the two different types of flour/flower. She spelled each one and we talked about how they were different. The pin for this postcard we put on the map at Seabreeze Amusement Park. The roller coaster on the front of the postcard was from there. She loved looking for the amusement park on the map and we even found High Falls in the center of Rochester.

Daddy eventually came home and instantly the stress level in the house increased. Of course he was upset that I spent the money he gave me today for food. The horror, I actually bought food with it, how dare I? Since we couldn't go to the drive in movie we watched a late movie snuggled together on the couch as daddy snored. I wonder where our next postcards will take us?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Rainbow Pancakes

This is the day before payday and our pantry is looking a bit bare. The kids want chinese or pizza for dinner, subs or wings is another thing they ask for. Sorry we can't get that today, and the kids looked so sad. You're no fun they tell us and go out to play. So now I am on a mission, make a fun Thursday meal that the kids will actually eat.

I see a box of chocolate chip pancake mix and I momentarily ponder how this has lasted so long in our house. I bought it a while ago and pushed it to the side of the cabinet. I guess that is a good hiding place.
Then I remember how a long time ago I made blue pancakes for P, when we read a book called "No Blue Food". P loved eating the blue pancakes and I just bought some food color this last week for B's birthday party.

So I made rainbow pancakes. Of course B wanted pink pancakes and P decided on blue, I made green for me and daddy was boring, he didn't want any color. He just wanted ordinary pancakes. I can't remember a time when both kids ate all their food and asked for seconds. I did end up making some black pancakes at the end when I mixed all three colors together. They tasted pretty good too.

Things to remember when making rainbow chocolate chip pancakes

1. The chocolate chips hide at the bottom of the bowl and need to be encouraged to be in every pancake.

2. Hide the pancake plate with made pancakes on it or they will mysteriously disappear. Coincidently the children will get mystery chocolate streaks on their face. Spooooooky!!!!

3. Pink pancakes seem to disappear the fastest.

3. Don't try to get grumpy boring dads to add color to their pancakes, they can get quite loud.

4. Make extra, you will need them.

Dinner is over and I managed to save one dollar this week to buy fudge swirled ice cream for snack tonight. For a Thursday the day turned out okay, though there are still a few hours left.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Postcard from Singapore

I have been looking forward to receiving this postcard. Recently I watched a television show on Discovery, Learning or a similar channel on how they were working on a fresh water shortage. They were building a threefold system to reclaim the freshwater that was available to them. One step was a desalination plant, another was filtering waste water to the point that it was able to be safe for consumption. and the third was making Marina Bay into a freshwater reservoir. It was fascinating and I was wondering if the Singapore postcard would mention any of it.

I loved that the children who sent this to us included a lot of information about what was pictured on the card. My children had fun finding the objects on the front of the card that were described on the back. The only thing was we never did find out what the two mesh like buildings were in the bottom right of the postcard. I'll have to research that tonight so I can let the kids know in the morning. The coolest thing was the pool at the top of the three tall buildings in the top middle of the postcard. I love how architects think. It never would have occurred to me to connect three buildings at the top with a swimming pool. Maybe someday I will get a chance to go there and see it for myself.

The most interesting thing about the places pictured on the postcard was that when we looked for them on Google Maps they were for the most part not there. Some of them were labeled but visibly absent from the map. The most noticeable invisible landmark was the singapore flyer. If you look neat the top left (near the blue pin) you will see it labeled and a dot representing where it is, but there is no flyer in sight. Now I suppose they could be some very tall trees but I suspect instead of updating the image they just added where the Singapore Flyer would be on the map if it was actually on the map. Too bad, I was really looking forward to seeing it from the satellite image.

The kids are really good at identifying local landmarks and geographical locations. I am going to have to start identifying new things as we start our journey to where our postcards come. Maybe next time I will have them pick a place they would be interested in seeing as a starting point. My daughter tonight asked to see Disney World on Google Maps and we found it, it isn't as impressive from above. I wonder where they will want to start from?

Vivid Dreams

Before I write my usual stuff, I have to point out that he painting to the left was done by my daughter in her kindergarten class. Isn't it beautiful. It also reminded me of a dream when I saw it and dreams have been on my mind for the last couple days. I typically have vivid dreams, and sometimes they are so real I have to decide if a memory I have really happened of if it was a dream. Examples of this would be the fact that I firmly vividly remember flying down the stairs when I was a child. Odds are that never really happened. I also recall a time when I was in junior high that I dreamed I found money, a $20 bill in a book. On the way to school I stopped in a local corner store because I thought I had money, I was wrong.

For the last couple nights my dreams have not only been vivid, they have been upsetting. I don't want to call them nightmares but they were pretty close. I have dreamt that I forgot to take two classes that I needed for my Master's Degree so that's why I still don't have my diploma (When they said 6-8 weeks they meant 8-10 weeks I think.

The one dream that stands out is that I went out for the evening and I was in a museum. I saw a friend from another state there and we spent the night having fun. I don't know why the museum was open so late but it was. Then when I left I lost my car, someone i knew offed to take me home but he turned out to be a criminal and kidnapped me. I got away and knew I had to get home, I realized that the kids were home alone and I needed to get back to them. Remember this was just a dream and I have never left my kids home alone. No matter what I did I couldn't get home. I was panicking and then I woke up.

Last nights dream was equally unusual. Sadly I don't remember any details, but it was like watching a movie. I woke up once again with an uneasy feeling and it stayed with me all day. I think in the morning I could recall some of the dream. I am sure they are because of all the things bothering me and the divorce.

My husband once again attacked me on what I spent on my daughter's birthday party. Last year I went overboard and paid about $300 for the party of her dreams. I even had a "princess" visit during the princess party. I also had people there to run the party so I could relax and enjoy the party with her. It was a magical party and even though I went overboard with the money she will remember it forever.

This year I spend half that amount on her party. I ran the party games and worked to have the kids make their own pizza's. I stayed up all night baking the cake and cupcakes and made sure to buy the minimal items I needed for it. He still thinks I spent too much and thinks I should have only spent $50 at the most. That is less than the cost of the food I used at the party. Boxed cake mix, Store brand pizza dough and toppings, and fruit that was so inexpensive I can't remember the last time I bought berries for such a low price.

So once again I am up late and know I need to sleep, I have a busy day tomorrow. I also don't want to sleep, what will my dream bring to me tonight?

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Pinkalicious Party and the Temper Tantrum

Birthday parties we have at our house fill me with dread. My children of course look forward to them, they pick their theme and come up with many ideas of what they want to do at their party. They are not any part of why the thought of throwing a birthday party at the house gives me anxiety.

It is my husband who makes birthday parties at our house difficult. He knows they are coming and he nows that money will be spent on the supplies for the party. For my son's first birthday party I went all out. I bought invitations, plates, napkins, cups and all sorts of decorations that all matched. I even got him a t-shirt in the same design. I spent too much money an learned my lesson. I have not ever spent as much on a party again.

Still party supplies to cost something. Once I suggested we buy some inexpensive plastic dishes like one of his aunt's uses, but they cot too much money so he decided that we wouldn't go that route. So every birthday party we have he gets upset. I buy the disposable party items at the dollar store. I spend as little as possible.

This year instead of buy the overpriced cake from the grocery store I made my own, the boxed mixes I bought with frosting was half the cost of the store bought cake. Instead of ordering pizza I bought the supplies to make it at home again for less than what the pizza would cost. Instead of pop I bought kool-aid type packets 8/$1.00. I even washed out pop bottles to hold the kool-aid type drinks instead of getting another pitcher, we only have one.

I told him what I needed to buy and about how much it would cost. I did all I could to avoid the inevitable and of course the inevitable happened. This time it came in two waves. First was on Friday when I bought the bulk of the items I needed. As soon as I walked in the door he attacked and was mad that I spent too much money. I knew it was coming and he didn't disappoint me.

Saturday we had seperate parties to attend. I took the kids to a fun pool party and he went to the loud obnoxious party. I have to say that I haven't been so relaxed in a long time. There were many people (adults) to talk to and I met so many interesting people. The kids were well behaved the whole day. It was like a miracle. Then I picked up my husband on the way home and all the tension came back. He picked another fight before he went back to the party. I was alone to get ready for my daughter's party and of course she was so excited about the party that she couldn't sleep and kept coming downstairs to check on me.

Finally at 2 am he comes home and does help. Not exactly the way I wanted things but sometimes you have to take what you get. The giant cupcake was baked, I made strawberry mousse to put inside the hollow center. All the regular and mini cupcakes were made, though my mini cupcake wrappers were too big for my mini cupcake pan. Why are there different size mini cupcake wrappers and pans? Don't they know that sometimes moms are baking at 2 am and can't run to the store to get different mini sized items?

I woke up after too few hours of sleep and immediately went to work on the party. I put the files on my thumb drive that I needed printed for the party and got out a piece of poster board, yes I happen to have poster board lying around and I have no idea why. I came downstairs to frost the cupcakes and my husband is GONE. My son happily hands me a breakfast sandwich and has no idea where daddy is. Once again he left without letting me know the kids were not being supervised.

I call him and he just left the grocery store, no he didn't think to ask if I needed anything for the party, why did I need more, wasn't I ready. True I usually have everything I need by the day of the party but there was a sale on fruit and I knew one of the guests didn't eat pizza, so I wanted to make a fruit salad to give her something to eat.

When he got home I went out to finish up my shopping, I knew I was in trouble because he was already mad at me for over spending. Still I needed these items, I wasn't going to let a guest not eat anything. Again I looked for the best prices and I found strawberries for $1.69 and raspberries for only $1.99. Those are amazing prices. I didn't even get into the dining room before he yelled. There is less than 2 hours before the party and I had so much to do. Of course he storms out of the house and drives away. I should have known better.

I got the cake filled and frosted, frosted it and about half the cupcakes. Luckily my sons friends stopped by and actually asked me if I needed any help. My saviors!!! They set up the tables outside and got the backyard picked up. I couldn't have gotten ready without them, I let them stay for the party to keep my son company.

I looked at the clock and there was less than 45 minutes until the party started. I had loot bags to fill, I had bingo boards to cut out, I had kool-aid like drinks to make, I had a fruit salad to make, AAARRRRGGGGGGGG!!!! So I called him and asked him to come back to help me get his daughter's party ready, he hung up on me. Almost in tears I called my brother to beg him to come early to help. Thankfully he said he would. I love my brother, not just for this. He has often been a huge help to me and I hope I have returned all his favors over the years.

Finally my husband came back and grudingly assisted me during the party. I had to ask him do almost everything he did, I don't think he knew what needed to be done. One of the things I asked him was to bring the cake outside. I was helping the kids make pizza and I heard a plop and he screamed. I turned around to see the cake and half of the cupcakes on the floor. He is upset at himself and I ask him to takeover the pizza so I can try to fix the cake. Just then my daughter comes in and sees her cake in pieces in our hands. She runs upstairs in tears.


I bought extra frosting (an unessesary expense and one of the things he yelled at me on Friday) so I opened it up grabbed a knife and used it as glue to piece the giant cupcake back together. I had extra cupcakes so I put cherries on top of them and put them around the cake, it wasn't perfect but it was much better. My daughter came back down and the party resumed.

She thought the cake looked better. (Yikes, what did it look like before?) The kids all gobbled up the cupcakes and had a blast. When she opened her gifts she was thrilled one of the guests, the only boy from her class to come, picked out a Pinkalicious dress to give her. I think it might have been her favorite gift of them all. If you heard a loud squeal of delight around 6 pm that would have been her. It was so loud that I was concerned that she was hurt at first.

Finally the parents arrived to reclaim their children. I had a moment to breathe and I surveyed the remains of the party. My parents got there in time to get some of the last remnants of the fruit salad. They also missed all the organized chaos of the party, I think they planned their arrival quite well. They too got ready to leave with unfrosted cupcakes that I didn't get chance to get to. I waled them to the car and then the other Grammy shows up. I was in such a good mood too.

So now I have to get my daughter back outside for my MIL. There was cake, frosting and cherries on the kitchen floor from the cake incident. Bingo boards all over the living room floor and pizza fixings spread all over the kitchen countertop. I did not want her in the house to find more fault in how I do things.

We acted like we loved each other and she finally left without stepping foot in the house. I tore down the decorations and put away the tables. I came inside and sat down on the couch and I think I would have fallen asleep if I didn't have two children arguing over one my daughters gifts. He wanted to use it and she didn't want him too. Ah, the familiarity of sibling rivalry. My children were back.

There are toys all over and gift bags that need to folded, I did clean up the kitchen and finally made a pizza for myself. I think I will take a few minutes to eat it before I get the new toys organized. This did end up being a pinkalicious weekend, but I wouldn't have minded if my husband just once could skip the birthday party temper tantrums.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Behind Closed Doors

I found out today that I unknowingly allowed my son to play at a house where the the father was just arrested for possessing child pornography with the intent to distribute. Since I was told this startling information I have been searching my memory to recall if I ever let my son go there without me. I know I have been there twice with my son. Did he have to use the bathroom while we were there? What about the children who live in that house? What were my interactions like with the father?

So I took a deep breath and had a conversation with my son that I don't think any parent is prepared for. He knows that my son has Asperger's and I know we discussed the obsessions that my son has. Did he use my son's Aspie obsessions to lure him? Did this man ever take photos of my son? Was there ever any "bad" contact between my son and this father?

In response to my questions my son had a puzzled face, he very rarely has any contact with this family, even though the boys are in the same grade at the same school. He thankfully replies no to my questions and we talk about good touches and bad touches and what to do if an adult ever tries to touch your private parts or wants you to touch theirs. We talk about how if an adult wants to take photos, any photos, of him they need my permission. These are things we have talked about before but I felt the need for a refresher course.

As with a neurotypical child when getting a child with asperger's to understand an important concept such as this repetition is the key. The problem I have with my son, and I am not sure if this is an aspie trait or just a child trait, the information can get lost in his brain. So much is happening, there is so much input that things he needs to know can get lost. I always think to my self when I have to explain a simple concept over and over to him, "Lather, Rinse, Repeat" It is my reminder to keep explaining things until he gets it.

Then he asks if he can go around the block, of course I reply without thinking. He is off and I realize he is going to go right past that house. The house where that father is being monitored by electric equipment. How would that stop him from hurting a child? It only lets the police know where he is. If he leaves his house how long will it take the police to respond?

This is the talk of the neighborhood moms, I even ventured out of the familiarity of my house to visit several houses. Honestly it was a wonderful feeling to be involved in the community. It isn't like we never see each other or talk, it just doesn't seem to be that often. It is me, I have a hard time trusting people, especially people I barely know. But today we all bonded and worried about our children. Today we were united.

Then later one mom and I were talking about my impending divorce. Because we had been talking about abuse and what this father did or allegedly did I opened up a bit to her. She knows us both and has been encouraging me to forgive him. I mentioned how he talks to me and how he treats me. I told her about the spitting and the few times that he hit me. I told her about the names he calls me and how he does it in front of our children. After all of this she thought it would be a good idea to leave the kids in his care so they could be in the same school district and be around their friends. Then when I was settled to try to get custody.

Can't she see that abuse is abuse? Just moments before we were worried about this other father's children and what kind of damage has been done to them living in that house. If they had to encounter or deal with the horrors that their father encouraged and enjoyed? Then when I reveal what happens behind our closed doors her idea is that I should keep the children in that environment.

His mother thinks it is my fault, my friend down the road thinks I should forgive him. Even my own parents have encouraged us to seek counseling. Though my parent's don't know everything he has done. They don't want to know and I am not going to tell them if they are unwilling to listen. They have been very supportive and are not in denial, they just don't want details. I am in counseling, he refuses. I know I need to get out and I have the resolve to do it.

Our two houses are just yards apart as the crow flies. Both fathers have sons the same age. Both fathers have done horrible things. We moved out of "The City" for a better environment to raise our children in. I hope my next move gets us closer to that environment. I need to know that what happens behind my closed doors will be a safe environment for my children to grow up in.

More Postcards and One From Long Ago

After the excitement of the fireworks the postman brought us some postcards from a friend. It did take a day to get them because Daddy didn't tell us that we got mail. Luckily Mommy is always on the prowl for mail so I found them within a day of receiving them. One of these days we will have a central place for our mail. The first postcard showed an image of the Kennedy Compound from an aerial view. My son immediately made the connection between the family name and President John F. Kennedy. We used Google maps to find it and even managed to find the compound on the map.

My friend Kim, from one of my Mommy Groups, also sent us a postcard picturing the state of New Hampshire. This postcard was wonderful. Finding New Hampshire on the map wasn't too difficult. The kids seem to be understanding what boundary lines are. The postcard gave us some information about the state. We talked about the state bird, animal, flower, flag, shield, capitol, nickname and when it was admitted to the Union. There was some silliness occurring at this time. I'm not sure why but the state bird which is a Purple Finch was hysterical and the state flower, Purple Lilacs was equally funny. Who knew purple could be so comical?

When cleaning his room my son had found a postcard that his Grammy had sent him from Curacao. Unlike our other postcards the image on this one is not a photograph of a place. Instead it is a painting done by Nicole Vetter. It shows quaint looking homes painted in bright colors. Because there is no other information on the card other than it was warm I can only assume this is how the houses are painted on this island. I know that some places do paint their homes in beautiful bright colors. We will have to do some research and find out. We would have tonight but because purple was so funny I decided to wait on it.

We did find all these places on the map and we are learning to navigate quite easily in Google Maps. I even found a way to place pins to show where we received postcards from. By only using Google Maps and being able to place pins as we find the locations is going to make this a much easier project and something the children will be able to easily use.

I wonder where our next windows on the world will come from. The best thing about exploring the world through postcards is that there are so many different postcards out there for places all over the world. Even if we get postcards from the same place the odds are that the images on them and the information they contain are different. It also is a nice project to do together as a family.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Shades of Gray in a World of Color

I can see the shades of gray, the world is not black and white. Something isn't always right or wrong. You can't measure who a person is in black and white. One of the beautiful thing of being alive is that you are constantly in a state of movement. One day you could like something or act a certain way and another day you are completely different. There is color and vibrance. A spectrum of life and I like to think that in the past couple years I have shifted my reality and have moved along that spectrum since I started this blog. Back then I was in a world of black and white, not much gray, I was different.

Once upon a time I lived on my bed. I curled up in a ball and hid away from the world. The house was a disaster and it got worse, I had no ambition and was a lump. If I had to do something I could act the part, but as soon as I could I retreated back into the safety of my bed. I was defeated and ready to quit.

But I didn't. I stopped my spiral towards the darkness and fought back. I started reaching out for help and I found out who cared about me and who I needed to get away from. As much as I hated being forced to move, it was a good thing. The agony of watching most of my possessions being thrown away when I was promised they would be safe until the weekend, did almost break me. I let it go as best I could.

My house remains cluttered at times and other times it is pristine, it reflects me. So many changes and so many improvements, but still I am not perfect. I do the best I can and with time will improve. If life were black and white two years ago it would have been black. Today in my mind it is white. I see the improvements, I know the struggles and I know what changes have been made.

In his eyes, in the eyes of those close to him however I never left the black. I am still a failure and I have not changed. It doesn't matter who much I have improved, I am far away from the white. They can't see any improvement and they only see the negative.

Of course life isn't black and white, there is a lot of gray, It is in those shades of grey that I dwell. I am better than I was, but not as good as I could be. I work to improve and I struggle every day to be better. When my moods shift back towards the darkness I fight to move towards the light.

More than that I need to focus on the color of life, for so long I have fought back to get away from the darkness that I almost forgot about all the color. He still sees the black, he still sees me as useless and unchanged. He sees the clutter as a disgrace, he sees it as failure. I remember what it was like when I stopped, and nothing was done. If that was black, I live in a world of color now. So much has changed, so much has improved, am I the only one who sees it?

In time the clutter too will fade away, but it will take time. I am who I am and I am where I am, that can't be changed in a moment. He says he grew up, he says I am a failure. I say that I am me and if you don't like it then walk away. I am starting to walk away, I don't like who he is and it hurts.

Then after all of the chaos, after all of the lies and all of the pain he looks at me and reminds me that "We still are on one". It is what he would say to me when we began, it was full of love and hope. Now it is full of woe and dread. I am done with these shades of gray and am going to find the color.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My Fourth of July Victory

I have been dreading this day. Uggg, taking the two kids to watch fireworks alone filled me with fear. There was a moment I thought it wouldn't happen. My husband's co-worker, who he carpools with, overslept. We thought that he would have to drive himself in and then no fireworks for us. Instead his coworker managed to get ready in time and I had the car.

The closer it got to the time to leave to more anxiety I felt. They were so excited though. I couldn't let my anxiety keep them from watching the fireworks. So I made the Kool-aid and we loaded up into the car. It was just me and the kids, off to face the trials and tribulations of our firework display.

Every year we have gone as a family of four. My husband drove and made the decisions about where we parked and where we sat and what we did. This year he had to work and it was all up to me. So instead of making the left turn where he always turns I went straight. I turned finally when we got to the canal and I saw that my destination parking lot was full. Then I saw the bridge that goes over the canal, and it was traffic free. I think I heard the choir of angels sing when the thought came to me. Cross the bridge, they said.

As I crossed the bridge I noticed some people had set up chairs and were facing where the fireworks would be coming from. Brilliant I thought!!! The view was ideal. Just after I crossed the bridge to my right was a parking lot with visible spaces to park in. I was thrilled.

Now as we crossed the bridge and I let the kids think it was their idea to watch fireworks from the bridge by talking about the amazing view they saw our local donut bakery and snacks were decided upon. So we avoided the supermarket with the long lines. Donut holes were purchased and back to the bridge we went.

For a short while I was worried about traffic, but the closer it got to 10 pm and the start of the display the less cars crossed the bridge. The bridge sidewalk filled up as others saw that the view from there was amazing. Even with the side of the bridge filled with people it was not anywhere as congested as sitting by the river would be. We had a nice family to the left and another to our right.

It was the family to the right that my children bonded with. The boy sitting next to my son was mentally handicapped. My son didn't even notice, he didn't notice that he looked different and the two of them talked to each other like they had been friends for years. I was so proud! While the fireworks were being launched I found the two of them more interesting to look at. It was magical.

From the bridge we could see other displays that were at tree level. We were worried that our spot would be bad. It turns out that we had nothing to worry about. The fireworks began and they were right in front of us. The wind was blowing the smoke away from them. Then I realized that if we were at our usual spot the smoke would be blown straight back from the display so it would be right there for the whole display. Our spot was even better now.

By the time the display ended and my daughter was applauding after every explosion the brilliance of our location became even more clear. We said goodbye to our neighbors and walked back to our car. We got there in less than five minutes. Then after we loaded in and were all buckled up I pulled into the street, there was no traffic! I knew where the traffic jams were every year, the three main roads would be like a parking lot, so instead of turning right and heading directly into traffic hell I went straight, I went to the next main road that crossed the creek. It was a little further to get home because of the detour, but I bypassed all the traffic.

We got home before 11 pm. There were no arguments, no crowds to fight, no spilled beverages, and the people selling the overpriced glowing useless toys never found us. I never got stuck in traffic and found a parking place near the place we watched the fireworks. It was the best Fourth of July ever. My anxiety was gone, I had a great time and the kids were well behaved. Is it just a coincidence that this was also the first time their daddy wasn't with us. I don't even care, all I know is that I won this Fourth of July, we saw the fireworks and had a good time. I guess it can happen.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Fireworks?

Can someone explain to me why is is so difficult to find a firework display on the day before the Fourth of July? I do understand that the most displays will be on the Fourth. I get that! But over the years we have been spoiled. I don't even know when it started. When I was a child we had firework displays on the Forth. That was it, not any other day. Nobody worked on the Forth and we always went to the same park. It was a day of family fun.

Sometime in the last few decades The Forth of July expanded. It became a multi-day event. Fireworks were now on more than one night. Carnivals that used to just be rides and amazing food now had fireworks every night. Awesome!!! We would see fireworks on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th. The Fourth always had the best display of course. But still the other days were nice to go see.

It has been like that for years. I have grown accustom to the being able to see fireworks for days before the Fourth. If on the Forth we are at a family picnic and watching local displays from a distance and only being able to see the high ones and missing the feeling of the BOOMS in our chests, I know we can catch a display the night before so we done't miss the experience.

So I of course expected it to be like that this year. My husband has to go to work on the Fourth this year. The company he works for doesn't seem to follow the same schedule as the rest of the world. They gave him the third of July off and scheduled him to come into work at 6 pm on the Forth. No problem we thought we could adjust. Instead of watching fireworks on the Forth we would go on the third.

This year the third is on a Sunday and assumed because it was the weekend and the third that we could find a local firework display. We could have gone on Saturday but my son and husband went to the movies (because the local movie theater decided not to show a Sensory Friendly Movie that morning which made me very upset). So of course we thought we would see fireworks on Sunday night. We were wrong.

Oddly enough we could have seen fireworks on Saturday night. We of course could also watch them on the night of the Forth. Other areas in the area, which are a bit of a drive for us, did have fireworks on Sunday, but nothing near us. In fact a local park has them on the 2nd and the 4th, specifically avoiding fireworks on the 3rd. So I have to take the kids to see the fireworks alone on the Forth.

The idea of taking them alone terrifies me. I do not like being in crowds. That is an understatement. They overwhelm me and overload me. There is too much noise and too much energy. I can feel the people around me. We all can do it, we all have a bubble of personal space around us and at times we all have felt our personal space invaded. In a crowd I feel like my personal space is being bombarded. The closest way to describe it is like when a sprinkler rains water down on you. The local park is also a narrow strip of land next to a river so it is very crowded over a small area of space.


Then of course I worry about the kids running off, I worry about someone running off with the kids, I worry about them falling into the river, The only thing I don't worry about is them getting run over. The local police block off all traffic from getting anywhere near the park. This of course means that there are no close parking spots and that there will be a long walk t the very crowded park. We have to carry our blanket, our refreshments, and things to entertain the children. We need things to entertain the children because the only way to get an area large enough to spread out your blanket with a decent view of the sky between the trees of the park is to get there hours before the fireworks begin.

After we have been there for hours and have gone crazy trying to keep an eye on the children who have grown bored of the things we have brought with us to entertain us and are about ready to scream at the top of our lungs because they have spilled the chips and gotten Kool-aid all over the blanket. The people who brought their dog to the park are ignoring his barking and now my daughter is scared. The couple on the other side of us has decided to show everyone near-by how much they lust after each other. Someone else is throwing a frisbee and it hits me in the head. Now the people selling the stupid glowing toys walks by and the kids "Will just die" if we don't buy them for them. We know they won't last the week but we buy them shut the kids up and start to pray that the sun sets so the fireworks will start.

Finally the BOOM announcing the start of the show sounds and the crowd grows quiet. The display is beautiful and colorful. The kids love it and are oooing and ahhing. Car alarms are going off all around us because the fireworks are setting them off. We are close enough to the launch site that we can smell the powder as they launch. Then all too soon the display peaks with the finale and then all is quiet. People wait just in case there are a few straggler fireworks that are manually set off because they didn't launch when they were supposed to.

Then the torture of the night begins. Everybody gets up at the same time and all leave the park at the same time. Somehow we manage to pack up all out items and grab the kids by the hand so we don't get separated in the exodus to our cars that are parked nowhere near us. Of course now it is dark and the children are tired and cranky. I am tired and cranky too. When we finally get to the car, get everything loaded up and the kids fastened in their seats, the next annoyance begins.

Everyone else has gotten to their cars and we all want to leave the area at the same time. Streets are still blocked off, routes we are used to taking are closed and traffic is at a standstill. People are honking their horns, they must know that it won't help but it gives them something to do. Some people are yelling at the other cars to encourage them to move, again it does not help. A drive that normally takes less than three minutes now can take over a half hour.

This is why I am terrified of taking the kids to watch the fireworks alone on the Forth. I briefly considered having us all ride our bicycles. But I don't think my daughter will be able to get all the way home. Then what do I do? I can't carry her, all our things, her bicycle and mine. Walking is not an option, neither one will be able to get all the way home.

My husband suggested calling his mother to have her bring the kids. Over my dead body! She already thinks I am a horrible mother and wife, I don't want her thinking that I don't want to take my own kids to watch the fireworks.

I will get over my fear and I will take them to watch the fireworks. Somehow I will manage not to buy the overpriced glowing crack like toys. I will get all of us through the crowd without going crazy. I will get us home slowly and not snap. The Forth of July madness will be over and life will return to our version of normal. Still I wonder why local parks had fireworks on Saturday and Monday.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Need for Adult Conversation

Today I had a late lunch with a friend of mine. We only see each other once in a while. After lunch was over I realized how much I enjoyed it. Sure the italian sausage with hot sauce, pickles and onions was tasty, though I am still confused as to why they put pickles on it. But the part I enjoyed the most was the conversation. I realized that somedays my best conversations are with my children.

Now please don't get me wrong, I love my children and we have fantastic conversations. Though there are times when I wouldn't mind skipping a conversation about Planet Pink or how wonderful the television show "So Random" is. I crave another adult to talk to.

Even though there is another adult who lives in the house our conversations are usually the length of a sentence or two. If I try to go beyond that he gets upset. Of course if the conversation is about a topic he is interested in like hockey it can go on for hours. Other times the conversation is very close to what it is like talking with the children. Sometimes I want to discuss world events or maybe even a topic that I enjoy.

Maybe that is why I enjoy debates on Facebook. I have been known to speak up on events that I feel passionately about on Facebook. I speak my mind when it comes to such volatile subjects like religion and basic civil rights. The ironic thing is that once I was so locked in a shell that I rarely ever spoke in public or had my own point of view. I guess I have changed in the last 30 years.

Here my only tie to the outside world and adult conversation is via the internet. I used to be able to talk on the phone, but then I had children. So I either have bits and pieces of a conversation or conversations, which sadly are better, with my children. I need to get out of the house more often and mingle.

I am going to have to make it a mission to get out and talk with other adults at least once a week. I fear I am turning into an agoraphobic person. It is so easy to stay in the house and be alone. I can watch movies on cable, I have the internet and many places will deliver food. It would be so easy to just hide away from the world.

I think the only thing keeping me from being housebound is that I need to talk face to face with people. It is something I value and I need to re-prioritize parts of my life so I can have more adult conversations.