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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.