Monday, April 19, 2010

And for my next trick, I will now kick some puppies and trip a blind man.

There is just something about the days of the week that Ella has preschool. They confuse my internal clock. In the morning we're all "Ohmygod, we have to leave in five minutes, HURRY!". And then we make it to school on time, and Charlie and I drive home. Once home he has a snack while I get some chores done, then it's nap time for him, during which my brain says "Ahhh, relax. Sit down for a spell and read a book." Or as was the case last week "Fall asleep on the couch the moment you sit down and wake up two hours later in a puddle of your own drool." What is so obnoxious about these days are the constant GO GO GO! Okay now STOP. WAIT.'s GO TIME! Once 1:30 rolls around and I know it's time to leave the house, no one or no thing had better stand in my way. I am hauling ass to get to the school on time, lest I be charged $1 for every minute I am late. I say all of this just to give you an idea of how I was feeling last Friday on my way to pick up Ella from school.
Frazzled and in a very sizable hurry, I opted for the shorter-in-distance-but-not-in-actual-minutes route, because if you can get lucky and not hit any traffic, it IS quicker, by like 3 whole minutes. Halfway out of our neighborhood, Charlie starts whining. Crap, I told myself. I maybe kind of forgot to feed him lunch. This is what school days do to my brain: I forget to feed my children food. I weighed the options. I could turn around and go back to our house, run inside, and pack a quick snack, but also risk hitting traffic that was so far non-existent. Or I could stop at a gas station and grab a box of crackers or something and continue on my way. I chose the latter. Three minutes and a bag of Goldfish later, we were on our way, me being slightly more frazzled than before and eyeing the clock warily. "Please God, I only have two dollars in my wallet, and I will be forever mortified if I have to tell the preschool ladies to put the balance on my tab. Amen." Things started looking up. Every traffic light I encountered was GREEN! No cars turning left on a road with no turn lane thus making them have to come to a complete stop in the middle of the road! Awesome. I was feeling like I was actually going to be on time when BAM. Minivan, driving twenty eight miles an hour. On a road where the speed limit is 45. Rage. Hatred. Maybe some severe language going on in my car at that point. I could not pass her, I could not take a detour...this was the only road that led to the preschool, and it is one lane the whole way, baby. Of course it is. I couldn't see into the van very well, only enough to see the outline of a significantly overweight woman with frizzy hair. As I only had Charlie in the car with me at this point, I felt like it was okay to let a little of my rage come out. "COME! ON! For real, you hag, you are probably out driving around looking for estate sales so you can load up piles of shit in your van before heading home to watch Dr. Phil and eat Cheeze Puffs. Come the hell on, MOVE IT! God, YOU SUCK! So help me, I will rear end your shitty van if you do not get it up over 30 miles per hour right this instant!". Or something like that. So it, stuck behind the slowest driver in all of America, every few minutes having a glimpse of hope as she sped up to 30, then 35, then...slowed back down to 25. This only made the rage worse. I was alternating between muttering profanities and screaming profanities when I saw it. She got into the turn lane to turn left, away from my route to preschool. I glanced at the clock, and saw that I had two minutes left, and I could maybe possibly make it if I did 55 the whole way there. Still annoyed and somewhat angry, I was muttering not-so-nice things under my breath as I came up around the van, hoping to get a look at this woman before I sped past her. I had one last hurrah as I passed her, mumbling "Moron!" as I approached the turn lane she was sitting in. And that was when I saw it. The SIDE of her van, previously obscured from my view. It read "Middle Tennessee Medical Transport". And in the van I could clearly make out a larger than normal car seat with what appeared to be a teenage boy strapped in, clearly handicapped. Oh GOD. OH MY GOD. I had just spent fifteen minutes cursing and yelling at a woman who was driving a handicapped boy to the doctor. I instantly closed my mouth, my eyes wide, and said a silent prayer that I would not, in fact, "get what was coming to me" in the form of a horrific car accident on the way home that day. I almost said some hail Marys but then remembered I am not Catholic. I pulled into the preschool, exactly on time, not a minute late. And I spent the rest of the day watching out for a huge rock to fall on my head, and feeling like a terrible, terrible person.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Do as I say, not as I do.

There is a strange new phase of parenthood that I am beginning to enter into: The School Years. This first year of preschool for Ella has been wonderful, and as it comes to a close, so does her "preschoolerhood". She is no longer a tentative girl peeking into her classroom on the first day of school, she is a kid who barely stops to give me a quick hug before she races into her classroom and starts her day with friends. After four and a half years of having a baby, then a toddler, then a preschooler, this, whatever this phase is called, is kind of shocking. Because with my girl's new found independence comes the need for me to take a step back and let childhood run its course, for better or worse. There are times that I see her in a difficult situation and I know that I need to let her figure it out on her own, even if that is the more difficult choice for me to make. Case in point: Mean Kids. Oh, they're everywhere, and I am sure that Ella has taken her turn as the Mean One in a group now and then. But I have watched her play with others, and as a rule she gets along very well with her peers. As a mom I silently pray "Please do not let my kid be the Mean Kid in the bunch", because sometimes despite fantastic parenting, a child says mean or hurtful things to another, and there's just not much you can do about it besides correct them, make them apologize, move on, and hope they won't repeat the offense. But when your child is on the receiving end of the mean-spirited comments, oooooohhh boy, you want to kill someone. This has been happening with a particular kid that we come in contact with on a daily basis. For the sake of anonymity, we'll call him Dr. Evil. Dr. Evil is older than Ella by about two years, yet they have played well together up until this point. Things changed about a week ago, when the mean kid-ness started. During a game of tag, Dr. Evil suddenly hopped on his bike and started riding away. Ella ran after him, thinking this was part of the game. "NO, Ella. I'm going to my OTHER friend's house, and you can't come. I don't want to play with you any more." Ella let his words sink in, really thought about what he was saying to her, and then she cried. As I would, probably. Because it is no fun to hear "I don't choose you first anymore, and I don't like you as much as I like this other kid." I took a deep breath, gave her a hug, and then tried to calm her down as best I could. I told her that it was okay, that I still wanted to play with her, and we didn't need to play with Dr. Evil to have a good time. She calmed down a bit, but the level of fun dropped considerably...I guess having the wind knocked out of you with an outright mean comments will do that. I tried to explain to her that even when people are unkind to us, it is ALWAYS the right thing to do to try to be kind back to that person. You don't have to like that person, and you don't have to play with them anymore, but you do not get to say mean things back, even when you may want to. Which, speaking of saying mean things back, my inner mama lioness was a-roaring. I wanted to rip this kid a new one, call him every name in the book, and then kick him in the shin and run away. Motherhood: Making women regress back to first graders since the beginning of time. Just when we had started to have fun again, drawing with sidewalk chalk and riding bikes, guess who should saunter back over to our house with his tail between his legs? Yep, little Hitler himself. "Can I play?", he asked sheepishly. Ella looked at me with wide eyes, then looked at Dr. Evil, then looked at the ground and said, "I don't want to play anymore" in a soft, hushed tone of voice. While I was proud of my girl for not resorting to name-calling and yelling insults, I was indeed not rising above the situation very gracefully. "Asshole! Jerk-face! Stupid, stupid kid who is wearing a stupid, stupid...shirt! Yeah, your SHIRT is STUPID, butthead!" is what my inner voice was yelling. Loudly. I just looked at him to gauge his reaction, which was to try to stick up for himself. "Look, I just wanted to see if my other friends were home, but they weren't so I came back. I want to play now." I could tell he was growing irritated by her refusal to let him back in so easily. Ella just glanced at him and said not one word, continuing to circle the driveway on her bike. "That wasn't very nice what you said earlier, Dr. Evil. Ella may not feel like playing any more today," was what I said out loud, my repressed elementary school self still inwardly hurling childish insults his way. "Well, FINE! Then I don't want to play with her anymore EITHER! BYE!!!" was his last response. He hopped on his bike and headed home. As a last ditch effort (at what I don't know, because calling names is a surprisingly ineffective way to get others to want your company. Go figure.) he turned around and yelled over his should, "I don't want to play anyway because Ella is weird!". And with that, he rode off into the gates of hell from whence he came. "I'm proud of you for not yelling at him or being mean, Ella" I told her after he was gone. She smiled a big smile and asked if we could write our names with chalk on the driveway. And in that moment, I realized that she was listening when I tried to teach an important life lesson, she had gotten it and had actually followed through, not stooping to the level of the little menace. In all honesty, it would seem it was me who had just a little growing up to do.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

In which I eat my words, with a side dish of moving boxes and OH CRAP sauce.

So. Remember the post about seven months ago wherein I ranted and spit furiously and raved about moving and our landlord and the utter suckage of it all? And maybe that post was titled "I will die in this house if it's the last thing I do"? Well, let's hope I don't kick the bucket in the next six weeks. Because we're moving. Again. AGAIN, I say. Can you feel the excitement? It's palpable around here, let me tell you. This all began approximately eight years ago, with a conversation between me and the husband.

ME: "I hope you don't think you're going to marry me and move me back to this hometown of yours. Because it's never gonna happen. Ever. As in, hell will freeze over and pigs will fly."

HIM: "Oh, I know, I hate this town as much as you do. Don't worry, it will never ever happen."

Cut to present day: We're mother effing moving there. In six weeks. End scene.

After being born and raised here in Nashville and having every resource imaginable at my fingertips (except, like, a subway system, because dude. This IS Nashville. It's just not THAT big.), we are packing up and moving out to the relative countryside of the husband's hometown. I've been chastised for calling it a "small town" is, after all, the fifth biggest city in Tennessee, and they do have things like running water and a mall and stuff. I even got laughed at when I asked if there was a place to take the kids swimming there ("Yes, they're called POOLS" she said). But! Imagine if you will a peaceful, golf-club neighborhood situated as close to the Nashville side of the city limits as you can get. The house is gorgeous, the seventh green of said golf course is in our backyard. It's a neighborhood with other people living there, not the "country" setting you would imagine where our closest neighbor would be a hop, skip, and a two mile drive away, their mailbox bearing their last name painted on it with fence post paint. And then you pan across the street, to the other side of the road. Cows. A BARN. Acres and acres of land that does not have a Starbucks or a Target on it. This is foreign to me. Save for a brief period of my life when I was very very young and we lived in a tiny town about 30 minutes outside the city, I have lived here, among the busy five-lane roads, the bus stops. I can hear the interstate from my home, instead of crickets and owls. And I like it that way. But in the interest of my children having more than one parent present on a regular basis, and for the sake of my sanity due to me being that one parent that is present on a regular basis, we are moving to be where the husband's job is right now (and hopefully will be for a very loooong time, because I mean it this time, I'm not moving again. For at least five years. Three if the cows and barns become too much for me to handle). His job has him leaving as the kids wake up in the morning, and during the busy season (which is NOW!) it is not at all unusual for the husband to get home at 9 or 10:00 at night. Plus most weekends. All of that adds up to momma being the sole caregiver to our babies, and maybe results in me fleeing the house on Sundays for a few hours of peace and quiet.

So here's to our new adventures in the "country". I may change the name of this blog to "From The City To The Sticks: How Cows And Nature And Stuff Drove Me To Drinking".

Yeehaw, y'all.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

In The Home.

When asked what they are most thankful for on a daily basis, most people would blurt out one or all of the following: My family, my health, a roof over my head. And while I am ever so thankful for all of that and more, the one thing that tops my list is that I am lucky enough that our circumstances have allowed me to choose to stay at home with my kids every day for the last four and a half years. I have friends who have no choice, who would rather stay home with their children than work but cannot do so because finances will not allow it. And while we are by no means wealthy, and a second income could sometimes come in handy, we have made it work for this long and I am thankful. Does it sometimes get monotonous, having the same schedule every single day? Yes. Do I sometimes throw my hands up in the air and wonder if I am really, deep down cut out for the life of a stay at home mom? Oh my lands, YES, sometimes three or four times daily. But the things that I get to be here for, the firsts and the hugs and the monotonous but oh-so-lovely days, they more than make up for the trying moments. And at the end of every single day, no matter how much whining or crying there was and in spite of temper tantrums and the days where I have no adult conversation outside of my running dialogue with Moose A. Moose on tv, I am so thankful that I have these early years with my babies. Every minute of these early years, because even though they may threaten to break me sometimes, these first months and years of their lives are beautiful and I am privileged to get a front row seat for every tiny detail. So, so, so thankful.







Friday, April 2, 2010

Life, Liberty, The Pursuit Of Happiness...And Cheaper Prescriptions?

Aaaaand WHOOOOOOSH. That was me exhaling. I've held my breath for as long as I can on all of the healthcare reform shenanigans that are cluttering up the news these days. My opinion on it, in one word? Shit. The variety doesn't matter: Horse shit, dog shit, donkey shit, it's all the same. It stinks to high heaven. Let's run down the list of reasons I find this bill to be utterly and completely wrong on so so so many levels, shall we?

1. It is one small step for healthcare, one giant leap towards socialism. Call it what you will, but anything that forces a citizen to purchase goods, or taxes one citizen in the name of "helping" another, is dangerously walking the very thin line that separates capitalism and socialism.

2. Healthcare is NOT A RIGHT. It's just not, no matter how many times you want to say that it is. When our founding fathers were drafting the Constitution, all of our rights were laid out with one central theme: ACTION. We, as American citizens, have the right to action, be it protesting, pursuing happiness, living peacefully, or writing about how crappy we think this bill is on our blogs. We do not have the right to lower annual premiums, or cheaper co-pays, or free check-ups. That? Is called a hand out, my friends. If that's what you want, then fine. But at least call it what it is, and please don't label it as a "right". Listen, I GET it. I understand those people who are saying "But I have a preexisting condition that makes my healthcare bills and prescriptions insanely expensive!". I get it. Because me and the hubs BOTH have preexisting conditions. Him with his knee that blew to smithereens a few years ago, and me with my Degenerative Disc Disease. If you don't think that those things make our healthcare more expensive, then you have another thing coming, my friend. Does it kinda sorta stink to pay more for our healthcare than we would without those conditions? Yep. But I do not for one minute expect other taxpayers to foot the bill just so my expenses can go down. IT. IS. WRONG. It is dipping your hand into my pocket to pay for someone else's medical bills, when all of this healthcare stuff is not even a right that we are afforded by living here in this great country. EVERYONE has access to medical's called the emergency room, or a walk-in clinic. And then? It's called paying your own medical bills, even though they are more money than you can afford right then, to prevent others (ME!) from having to pay them for you in the form of taxes. I hear mainly from people with preexisting conditions saying, "Think about ME! This will be helping ME!". Well, it goes both ways, kind sirs. Maybe you should think about all of the people that this will NOT help.

3. This bill is just the beginning. When I envision where all of this is going, I see it happening as a kind of gradual progression until BAM. We have socialised medicine. And maybe some other things, as well. "Oooh, look, this cute wittle bitty healthcare bill didn't hurt you, now did it? It's harmless!". And then a year, two years down the road we are left scratching our heads, blinking dumbly, wondering how we got to this Single Payer System we have. The Great One has said it before: That's what he ultimately wants. And it is only a matter of time. This? This current healthcare "reform"? Is merely a catalyst.

4. The ones who passed this bill are not planning on participating in the same healthcare plans that they are so adamently in favor of. Obama and member of Senate and/or Congress will not be partaking. Enough said.

5. This bill does nothing to support job growth. Oh, "they've" said it does. But does creating 20,000 more jobs within the IRS (who will be overseeing who does and does not have healthcare and who has or has not paid their fines) really help "grow jobs"? Nope nope nope.

6. Government does such a bang up job running things, let's put them in charge of healthcare! Medicaid and Medicare? Government-run programs, almost bankrupt. So of COURSE! It's perfectly logical to think that government should stick their hand into the healthcare industry and "help". They can run it so much better than American citizens can, right?

In closing, I don't fault anyone for believing opposite from me. Hell, it's a free country, and THAT is one of our rights: to believe what we will, and voice that opinion to all that can hear. But I believe Ayn Rand says it best with her many, many quotes on politics and freedoms:

"Government 'help' to business is just as disastrous as government persecution... the only way a government can be of service to national prosperity is by keeping its hands off."

"Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage's whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men."

"The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities."

Amen, sister.