Friday, September 26, 2008

My Two-Cents' Worth

OK, since I live in what has got to be the most polically-conservative state in the entire nation, I generally try to avoid broadcasting my own political views in order to avoid confrontation and the odd Relief Society mom looking at me like I am from another planet. Suffice it to say that I am a good bit more liberal than the majority of my friends and neighbors. I try to be respectful of all opinions, though, and don't try to ram my own viewpoints down others' throats (would that many of my conservative friends might practice the same....).

However, I have to admit that the selection of the overwhelmingly underqualified Sarah Palin has really got me in a lather, and I have just got to vent - especially after reading transcripts of her recent interview with Katie Couric. Specifically, I point to the following:

"...When [Palin] struggled to respond to Couric's suggestion that the $700-billion bailout might be better funneled through middle-class families instead of Wall Street firms, [she said] "That's why I say I, like every American I'm speaking with, we're ill about this position that we have been put in . . ." Palin began, before meandering off in fruitless pursuit of coherence.

"But I'll let the governor speak for herself:

" . . . where it is the taxpayers looking to bail out. But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the healthcare reform that is needed to help shore up our economy. Um, helping, oh -- it's got to be all about job creation too. Shoring up our economy, and putting it back on the right track. So healthcare reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions, and tax relief for Americans, and trade, we've got to see trade as opportunity, not as a competitive, um, scary thing, but 1 in 5 jobs being created in the trade sector today. We've got to look at that as more opportunity. All of those things under the umbrella of job creation. This bailout is a part of that."

OK, how did the bail-out vs. middle class refunds, get to be about health care? I have heard better "current events" responses from Miss America contestants and high school debate students!!

And "reducing taxes...has got to accompany tax reductions"?!?!?! Duh! Does she even listen to herself?!? Does anyone from the McCain campaign even go back and read transcripts of this woman?

Oh. My. God. I find it stunning, the amount of arrogance she must possess to think herself actually qualified for the #2 job in the land, if not the world. I'm afraid she knows so little about what's entailed, that she doesn't even know what she doesn't know, but should!! How could any self-respecting, half-way intelligent person think this woman even minimally qualified for the VP slot, much less the best qualified?

OK, rant over. I can't afford to continue my zealous public critique of Ms. Palin, lest I end up being forced by the majority of my friends and neighbors to begin wearing a giant scarlet "P" on my person....

Seriously, all I ask is that you dilligently research the candidates, and actually think about them and the issues and what kind of America you want for your children. Then vote your conscience - not just the party line.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

An UGH Mood

Last night, I was really, really tired for some reason. I got home from work, made spaghetti for the kids, and then pretty much just veg'd the rest of the night. All I wanted to do was park my butt in front of the TV and just zone out as much as possible until I could justify going to bed.

Cyd, however, had other plans. She came up to me after dinner and said, "Mom, is it alright if I make some desert?"

Normally I am OK with this, as Cyd is a pretty good cook. However, her clean-up skills leave a bit to be desired. And, since I am trying to sell my house, I have to stay pretty vigilant about having it "showing ready" at the drop of a hat. So I weighed Cyd's desire for desert with my desire not to have to clean any more than absolutely necessary, and with a heavy sigh, I caved.

"Ugh! Fine!" I said.

Cyd bounced off, then came back a few minutes later with a box of spice cake mix. "It's not 7:30 yet and I just have enough time and so is it OK if I bake this?" came out of her, all on one breath.

I don't like cake all that much. In fact, the only kind of cake I really, really like is chocolate with white frosting, but Cyd doesn't like chocolate anything (besides brownies, that is...). And, Cydanie and Mychael generally only have one piece of cake each, and Bretten won't have any at all because she doesn't like any cake. That means whenever Cyd makes a cake, I either eat 3/4 of it by myself, or I end up throwing away almost a whole cake - both of which drive me crazy. I didn't have any better suggestions for Cyd, though, so once again, I caved.

"Ugh! Fine!" I said.

Off she runs again, only to come back five minutes later to say, "Is it OK if I just go over to Kerry's house and borrow some eggs because our eggs are all gone and I only need three!" Again, I am irritated - besides the fact that I don't like to borrow stuff, in general, and now I would have to go to the store sooner than I was planning on so that I could return the eggs to my neighbor, I was also thinking that if Cyd would only read the box before starting and assemble all her ingredients, then she'd know we didn't have eggs before she even started! Then I could convince her she couldn't make a cake, and then I wouldn't have to eat it all or throw it out, or clean up the mess afterwards! But no, it was too late - the mix and the oil and the water were already in the bowl. So, here I cave again, with another exasperated sigh: "Ugh! Fine!"

I am sitting there, reading the paper, thinking that finally Cyd is all set and I don't have to worry about her until it's time to clean up. It was not to last, as Bretten comes in with the bowl in her hand.

"Mom," she says, "is this all stirred up good enough? Cyd can't stir it all the way, and neither can I, but when I told her to come tell you, she's all, 'Mom's ugh.' Then I said, what do you mean, Mom's ugh? And she said, 'Mom's just ugh.' So I asked her what that meant, and she said, 'Mom's in an ugh mood.' So I asked her what an ugh mood was, and Cyd said, 'Everytime I tell Mom anything, she just goes 'ugh!'"

Of course, then I felt guilty for saying "Ugh" to Cyd all night, but I was also a little bit tickled at her perception, since recognizing and understanding other people's moods is generally a struggle for people with autism. And that was enough to get me out of my 'ugh' mood for the rest of the evening.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Everything I Need to Know, I Learned from a Slumber Party...

As predicted by some of you, my Friday night experience is showing up on my blog:

I went to a "Slumber Party" Friday. A Slumber Party should not be confused with a slumber party. For those of you who don't know, a slumber party is when a bunch of girls get together to spend the night at a friend's house. They watch movies, play "Truth or Dare," paint each other's toenails, eat popcorn and pizza and other crap, and prank call boys, among other things.

On the other hand, a Slumber Party is a little get-together similar to a Pampered Chef or candle or Avon or Tupperware party. You get a bunch of friends together to look at some products and then the hostess gets to credit a portion of the sales from her party to her own order. The only difference is that instead of cooking utensils or cosmetics or whatever, the commodities to be purchased at a Slumber Party do I say this in a family-friendly manner? The commodities to be purchased are designed to enhance personal relaxation and/or pleasure.

Anyway, I am no prude! I enjoy a raunchy joke as much as the next person. I have seen my share of pornography, and even have a couple of volumes of erotica in my own vast book collection. I still have a naughty pen that I got from Paul Arguello in the eighth grade (it has an inch-tall spread-eagled man on it. When the pen is right side up, the man is wearing black speedo trunks. But when you turn the pen upside down, his trunks slide back into the pen to reveal the tiny man in all his nekkid glory. But I digress...). When I worked as an investigator, I went into numerous stripper bars, and have sat in the dressing rooms of the dancers and listened to their conversations with one another, etc. I have even been into Spencer's in the mall - more than once. I, myself, have even danced with a lesbian!*

What I'm trying to say is, I know the facts of life. I am very accepting of all genders, persuasions, and orientations, and generally believe that whatever happens between two consenting adults is their own business and none of mine. I have not led a sheltered life by any stretch of the imagination - especially compared to the vast majority of The Beehive State.

So, I didn't really think I'd be embarrassed about this Slumber Party. And I I wasn't, not really. I mean, I was thinking along the lines of, "Geez! I was married for almost 20 years! And I wasn't a virgin when I got married, so, I know stuff! They can't surprise me!" I was expecting things like edible underwear and the odd 'personal massage tool' or two. Maybe even some padded handcuffs or flavored lube or something.

They had all that, and more. I didn't have any trouble recognizing the various "products" the sales consultant brought out, or why there might be a market for such products. That is, until she got to a pink, gell-filled, pillowy thing about the size of a can of soda. It rolled back and forth in the consultant's hand, and I thought it looked like one of those water-weenie things you used to get in your Happy Meal back in the day. You know, the ones that were like an extra-long doughnut, hard to hold onto because if you squeezed it too tightly, all the water inside the tube squished to one side and it would just pop out of your hand?

Anyway, the consultant said this thing was called a "sleeve." I'm thinking, "A sleeve? For what?" I was actually thinking that a girl couldn't possibly have any fun with such a thing - how would she use it? Is it supposed to go on top of your Wascally Wabbit or something? And what good would that do? How could that possibly make things any better or more fun? I truly was clueless.

I voiced my confusion. "I don't get it," I said. "What are you supposed to do with it?"

Answers seemed to come at me from all around. "It's for the man!" came one voice. "You just hold it!" came from another. "You can use it together, or by yourself!" said someone else. I still didn't get it. How could holding this bubblegum pink, water-weenie tube-pillow-sleeve thing be fun together OR by myself? It wouldn't fit in anywhere, and what good would it do to just hold such a thing - even if you were holding it together? I'm sure my confusion showed onmy face.

Luckily, my cousin has purchased something similar to this item before, and this was not her first Slumber Party! "Oh, fer hell sakes!" she said. "Put some lube in it and give it to me!" The consultant squirted some goo into the center tube of the pink jelly roll thing, and passed it over. Grabbing my hand, my cousin said, "Here! Stick your finger in there! Now do you get it?"

Oh, I got it, alright. As the pressure from the gell-filled tube closed around my finger, and the warmth of my skin warmed the lube inside the tube, my cousin began to move the sleeve back and forth on my finger, creating suction. The proverbial light bulb went on!! I now know exactly what such a thing is used for. Turns out it's not really for us ladies, after all! Oh, I s'pose you could hold it for him, if you wanted to, but I do believe this thing was designed with the gentlemen in mind...

So what did I learn, besides what a "sleeve" is for? Well, for one, I learned that you really do learn something new, every day! Or at least you can, even if you are fast approaching 40 and think you've seen it all. Just go to a Slumber Party...

*See 9/15/08 post

Friday, September 19, 2008

Why Divorce Sucks

I'm sure anybody who has gone through a divorce - or even a bad break-up before - could give a list of a million of their own particular reasons for why divorce sucks, but here is one of mine:

I had a meeting with the attorney the other day and it was very stressful. It went as well as that kind of thing can go, I guess, but after it was over, I was totally drained. Wiped out. Exhausted. Just plain pooped. And yet, at the same time, I was also antsy, keyed-up, and just a little bit wired. The twins had gone to a Young Women's activity with the neighbors, and Cyd was off doing her own little thing, so I was just sitting there, twiddling my thumbs, going a little bit crazy.

Thankfully, my next-door neighbor called just then and told me her daughter's friend was over at their house with some beaded bracelets she had made, and would I like to come over and see them? I about jumped at the chance to be distracted by bright, pretty, shiny things, so I walked over there. Before I left, I told Cydanie to make sure she told her sisters that I was over at Kerry's house when they got home, and she said she would. I also happened to see Mychael across the street doing her Young Women's activity and waved to her as I was walking up to Kerry's front porch.

Well, the night was fun. Kerry's house is always full of stuff going on - she has three daughters who all have at least two or three friends, each, coming in and out, and Kerry is very social, herself. So, for someone like me who doesn't do idle chit-chat all that well, I can just find a chair and observe. I listened to their stories, laughed at their jokes, and generally, was very effectively distracted from the day's earlier stresses. I even bought a piece of jewelry from the friend.

I looked at my watch at one point and it was 9:40, and I thought,"Wow! I'm going to have to leave pretty quick to get the kids in bed!" Then I kind of let myself get lulled back into listening to a few more stories, following the banter back and forth between Kerry and her kids, and being distracted by bright, shiny objects. Then I looked at my watch again: it was 10:20!! "Oh, crap!" I said. "I've got to go!"

I ran home, and of course Cydanie was in bed. Bedtime for her is 10:00 PM, and she goes to bed at 10:00 PM come hell or high water. In fact, if she is tired at 9:15 PM, she waits to go to bed until 10:00 PM (all part of the joys of autism). Anyway, Mychael was on the computer, so I was going in to tell her to get off and get ready for bed. Bretten met me half-way there, arms folded across her chest, toe tapping, and a ferocious scowl on her pretty little face. I stopped short.

"Where were you?!" she burst out.

"I was at Kerry's - I thought you knew. I told Cyd to tell you guys when you got home, and I saw Mychael on my way over there, so I thought you knew. In fact, I was kind of surprised I didn't see you over there." I explained.

"Oh, I knew you were over there. Why are you so late?!?"

That kind of caught me off guard. "Uh," I stammered. "Well, I lost track of time. I was just talking with Kerry and stuff and looked at my watch and it was 9:40 and I was thinking I needed to leave soon, but then the next thing I knew it was after 10:00, so then I came right home. I'm sorry I'm late."

She grunted and stomped past me in a huff. I hollered in at Mychael to get off the computer and go to bed, and followed Bretten to the stairs.

"What's the matter?" I asked her, reaching out to turn her around. "Why are you being so grumpy to me?"

"Because!" she stormed. "I don't LIKE it when you're out past bedtime!!"

A million thoughts were going through my mind just then. What was this all about? She stays by herself all the time! I go places without her and even stay out late sometimes, and I don't get this reaction. What's going on? Then it hit me.

"Honey," I said, in my most patient, sincere tone. "I will never, ever leave you forever. Even if I ever have to go away for a little bit, I will always, always come back. I promise. Never doubt that for a minute."

And then she buried her face in my chest, wrapped her little arms around me, and just sobbed for all she was worth. The whole time she was crying, shoulders shaking, soaking my shirt, etc., I was thinking, "Damn that man for giving her this separation anxiety. Even if he came back, he can't take back this 'gift' of worrying about being left behind. This is an 'issue' she'll carry with her throughout her whole life, and who knows what kind of crazy company she'll end up keeping, just so she can feel secure; or how many times she'll shoot herself in the foot just so she can do the leaving instead of being the one who gets left."

I calmed her down as best I could, and we all went upstairs and got ready for bed.

But that, dear friends, is just one good reason why divorce sucks.

Monday, September 15, 2008

So I Was Dancing With This Lesbian....

I'm sure that headline got your attention, eh? Well, the story goes like so:

I went to a concert at Redbutte Gardens last week. G. Love and Special Sauce were the headliners, and the John Butler Trio and Tristan Prettyman opened up the show. I had never heard of JBT or Ms. Prettyman (I understand she is married to Jason Mraz of "I'm Yours" fame...), but I have heard of G.Love, et al. I am not a big fan of theirs, by any means, but I was mostly going for the company and just the fact that it was something to get me out of the house. A little break, if you will...

If you have never been to Redbutte Gardens, it is the absolute best concert venue for having a good time. Maybe not for acoustics, necessarily, but for just a pleasant ambience, it can't be beat. It is set in the foothills behind the U of U, and there is a little rushing brook with a bridge over it and several stands of trees, expanses of green lawns and planters full of flowers, etc. The restrooms are large, clean, and well-lit. And perhaps best of all, you are refreshingly treated like an adult when you go there. You can pack in your beverage of choice (adult or otherwise) and no one asks to go through your bag with a flashlight, nor are you frisked or otherwise patted down or anything! That must be what it's like to live somewhere other than The Beehive State....

The crowd was really fun. There was a real sense of camaraderie among the concert-goers - people seemed to be laid back, pleasant, and generally into one another's well-being. This is also a refreshing change from many "large crowd" types of gatherings I have been to.

Soon after we arrived (I went with a friend I used to work with, and four friends of hers that she works with now) Tristan Prettyman took the stage. I apologize in advance if you are a fan - it just seemed like generic folk-guitar stuff to me. However, it rained during her performance, and the rays of the setting sun shining through the light sprinkle formed a brilliant rainbow over the canyons behind the garden. I enjoyed some cheese and crackers and sushi and a little Dewar's and water. It was so pleasant - the good food and drink, the sounds of the little stream beside me and the guitar of Ms. Prettyman, the smell of rain and green grass, the beautiful gardens and wild canyons all has been ages since I was so relaxed.

Then, when the John Butler Trio took the stage, the rain stopped. I think I liked this group the best. The main guy - I'm assuming it's John Butler - was an absolute master on the 12-string. Even though I had never heard of him/them before, I couldn't help but be impressed. He is an enormously talented individual.

But what about the lesbian, you ask? Well, G. Love and Special Sauce's style of music is quite a bit more electric/bluesy funk style. They're best known for the song "Cold Beverages," but I personally like "You Get the Ankles, I'll Get the Wrists" better. The first two acts were nice "sitting-and-vegging" music, but G. Love, even if you're not really into him, makes you want to dance.

So there I was, along with my friend and her friends, and we were all just standing and dancing, clapping along to the music like ya do at a concert. I felt someone come up behind me and start the bumpin' and grindin' kind of thing. I was feeling very happy and was kind of getting into G. Love (even though I mostly think he's just "meh") and I just assumed it was either my friend being a smart***, or one of the guys she had brought with her making a pass at me.

Imagine my surprise when I turned to find it was not a guy at all, but one of my friend's female co-workers!! Silly me, I didn't want to offend her, so I just kept dancing, trying to inch away slightly while pretending like that wasn't what I was doing at all. Then, I started thinking that maybe I had misinterpreted what was going on - maybe it was just that crowded, and she couldn't help it or something. Besides, it was dark - maybe she didn't even realize I was a girl! So I just danced on through the rest of the song and tried not to think about it.

I sat down on my blanket and took a breather after that song was over. I had about convinced myself it was all in my imagination - maybe she was just a MAJOR G. Love fan, and had just been carried away by the music. My friend/former co-worker asked me to go to the restroom with her (you know how girls are...). So, as we are walking over there, she very casually says to me, "You know L [I'm not going to use her real name] is a lesbian, right?"

"Oh, really?" I say, trying to keep the panic out of my voice. "I didn't know."

"Yeah, she's pretty out of the closet. In fact, she thinks she can 'turn' anybody."

I couldn't help it - I just blurted it out: "Well," I said, "I might be able to hold still long enough for someone to practice on me, but I'm sorry - I just can't get up any enthusiasm whatsoever for doing something to someone else!"

My friend laughed and said, "That's OK. She's a bit of slut, anyway. I just wanted to let you know what you were getting into!"

Needless to say, I tried to keep my distance from "L" the rest of the night lest she be under the mistaken impression that, in any way, shape, or form, I was interested in being "turned!"

Since my avoidance strategy seemed to be fairly effective for the rest of the night, I kind of thought that maybe my friend had been over-reacting with her "warning" to me. In fact, it was so outside the realms of stuff you expect to happen to you, I was still unconvinced that "L" had made a pass at me, specifically (it was dark - how could she know?) in the first place. Well, apparently, it was no mistake on L's part as she said to me, on the way to the parking lot after the show, that if I was ever interested in "exploring," to give her a call, OK? Uh, yeah...sure....

Y'know, I read all the time about men who prey on the recently divorced because they think they'll be easy to get into the sack. I had no idea the same applied to lesbians, too. I guess you learn something new every day!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Somedays, it's a miracle....

Anyone who has no children, or only has very young (i.e., baby) children, will probably think I am the worst mother in the world when I say this - nevertheless, I offer the following confession: sometimes, one of my children will make me so mad that for at least a minute or so, I think I might gladly be able to peel off her skin and toast her over an open flame.

Case in point: One of my girls, who shall remain nameless at this point to protect the guilty, brought home a paper from school the other day. Mind you, this is a child who tests smarter than 97% of kids her age (this is the honest truth - I am not making up random numbers just to brag). School has only been in session for two weeks, but she brought home a paper from her algebra teacher two days ago that said she was getting a C+ so far - and that if she didn't have at least a B+ by the time mid-terms rolled around, she would be put into pre-algebra, instead. This particular child had pre-algebra in the 6th grade, and she managed to do just fine, so I was both puzzled and concerned.

I therefore went to discuss the matter with this daughter. "What's going on, sweetheart?" I asked. "Have you turned in all of your assignments? Is it just that much harder than last year? What can I do to help?"

"No, Mama," she said, her voice cracking. "I've turned in all my assignments. It's just too hard. I get too many wrong! I don't know what you can do to help because I don't know what to dooooo!!" she ended on a wail.

At this point, my heart is breaking as her tears overflow and run down her cheeks. "Oh, my poor baby!" I think. I fold her in my arms, and give her a hug and tell her everything will be OK - we'll figure something out, because she'd feel bad if she had to go back to pre-algebra, wouldn't she? Yes, she said. She would.

So, being the proactive mom, I e-mail the algebra teacher and ask, "What concepts is she just not getting? Is there anything in particular I can work with her on?"

The teacher responds, and I quote: "The concept of the importance of turning in all of her assignments would be a good place to start!"

Grrrr. Like I said, for at least a split second, I could've gladly squished her like a grape. Somedays, it's a miracle they survive....

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Duh, Grandpa!

Another Cydanie funny:

Cyd's favorite TV show these days is "Trick My Truck," on CMT. For those of you not familiar with the show, it is where a bunch of mechanics surprise some deserving trucker with a complete overhaul, update, remodel, and/or restoration of his "rig," generally centered around some central theme. Like, the guy who hauls cases of honey around to grocery stores, got his 18-wheeler painted to look like a beehive, complete with bees and honeycombs (the real kind, not the cereal!). Well, Cyd likes this show so much, she is now saving to purchase her very own "vehicle" - she's got $29 saved so far! And she is very specific, as well - it will not be a car, nor a truck or van, but a "vehicle." She is always asking about what kind of "vehicle" she should get, as well. Lately I think she has it narrowed down to a GMC....

Anyway, the other thing Cyd loves to do is draw. Sometimes it's Pokemon characters (Ready? Sing to the tune of "Milkshake:" "My Pokemons bring all the geeks to the yard, and they're like, "Do you wanna trade cards?" And I'm like, "Yeah, I wanna trade cards. I'll trade you Jynx but not Charizard"....) Anyway, sometimes she draws other TV cartoon characters, sometimes it's outfits for playing sports or battling Pokemons or whatever, and sometimes it's food or outerspace or bakeries or....well, you get the picture. So, in keeping with her latest "Trick My Truck" focus, she's been drawing trucks.

Her truck pictures aren't "just" a truck, though. She usually does a full-on 18-wheeler, complete with decorated cab, fancy wheels, and psuedo-air brushed murals. Normally, she will break her drawing down into an "outside" picture, and an "inside" picture of what the "sleeper" part of the cab will look like. She finished one recently that had a stagecoach on the outside of it, and the interior picture she drew featured diamond-tucked upholstery, carriage lanterns, a flat-screen TV complete with "media cabinet" to store her DVD's and DVD player, and an easy chair placed front-n-center in front of her plasma TV.

She was quite proud of this picture and spent a while designing and coloring it. Well, my mom and dad stopped by for a minute last night, and she finally had her picture done so she was excited to show it to them. The carpet was a brick red, the upholstery kind of a cordovan, her lanterns bronze and her media cabinet and TV a rich, woodsy brown.

However, she left the TV screen uncolored. My dad, puzzled by this one little bit of unfinished (to him) detail on what was an otherwise fairly complex and detailed picture, said, "Very nice, Cydanie. Now, you know what this needs? This TV needs a picture on the screen!"

And little practical Cyd says to him, "Well, Grandpa - the TV's turned off. Duh!"

Hard to get mad at her for being a smart-*** when she's so funny, and makes such perfect sense at the same time!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Where Did That Man Go?

I am warning you ahead of time: today's blog will be a divorce rant, of sorts. If reading all that angst, etc., makes you uncomfortable, you probably ought to skip this one.

It doesn't rain, but then it pours. I have had plumbing problems, cat-odor problems, clutter problems, pond problems, wasp problems, balcony problems, and so on and so on, in trying to get my house ready to sell so I can move to a place that is more "psychically soothing," and Mr. Soon-to-Be Ex can get his all-important share of the equity from our house. Anyway, it seems like I just get one thing crossed off my list, only to add two or three more to the bottom. It's been very frustrating because even though I have had A LOT of help frommy wonderful family, I have still felt no small amount of stress just thinking about the sheer magnitude of the thing, and about being responsible for it all, all on my own.

Technically, the stress comes not just from ME feeling solely responsible, but is also due, in part, to no small amount of frustration with him (i.e., Mr. Soon-to-Be Ex). I have to say it hardly seems that he is pulling his fair share of the load. He spent a couple of hours once doing yard work one day, and he patched a hole in the ceiling, too. But that's it. That's all he's done. And, the hole in the ceiling was caused by the plumber, that I researched, hired, found someone to be at the house for while he came and worked, and who ultimately, I paid for (although, to be fair, Mr. Soon-to-Be Ex did give me a check later to help with some of the expenses). I also researched, hired, paid, and took off work to meet the guy who did the gardening and the carpet cleaners (twice). And it has been me and my family members who have repaired and cleaned the windows, cleaned out his junk-filled office and laundry room, found the attorney, paid the filing fees, found the realtor, signed the papers, etc., etc., etc. Yep, me, me, me. Honestly, I am feeling like it was his idea to leave and dissolve our family, but I am doing 95% of the work it takes to make that happen in such a way that leaves no more scarring on any of us than is absolutely necessary.

The latest crisis occurred the night-before last. I had finished up packing, sorting, and cleaning for the night, and was just going to put a few dishes in the dishwasher and start it before going to bed. Well, the dishwasher door wouldn't shut! I looked at it, but couldn't see any way to fix it. So I just said a few choice words and went to bed.

The next morning, I called Mr. Soon-to-Be Ex to see if he could either tell me what to do, or come look at himself. This is approximately how the conversation went:

Me: The dishwasher door is broken, and I don't know how to fix it. The latch won't work - is there anything in particular I should try?
Him (with irritation): Well, I don't know. What do you want me to do about it?
Me: Well, didn't it do this before?
Him: Yeah, but it just had something stuck in it. Just look at it and see if you can get it unstuck.
Me: I looked already, and I couldn't see anything. I couldn't even see anywhere where you could stick a screwdriver in it to pry it up or anything.
Him: (heavy sigh) Wellllllll........
Me: Do you think you could look at when you come over to pick up the girls?
Him: (long, exasperated sigh) I guess. I mean, I don't know how to fix those things!
Me: Well, you certainly know more than I do!
.....long silence.....
Me (cont.): Or do you just want me to call my dad and see if he can come look at it?
Him: (quickly, and with noticeable gratitude!) Oh, well, yeah, sure! I mean, if your dad wants to, you might as well just have him look at it! I mean, he's better at that stuff than I am, by far!"

Geez. Thanks a lot for nothin'.

By this time, I am all for dissolving our union. I just want a little help with making the dissolution happen, for heaven's sakes!

And, I want it to be fair. Mr. Soon-to-Be Ex has told the attorney that he no longer does much business on e-bay because he is "too busy." However, I have print-outs from e-bay showing that he continues to pull in $2-3K per month. So I guess what I want, is a little help, and some equity.

Contrast the man I just described, with one who, about 16 years ago, told me that the little girl we found out we were having and had decided would be named "Cydanie Marie," should really be named after my grandma, instead. My grandma had been in poor health and it meant alot to me that he would be the one to suggest such a way to honor her. When my grandma passed away almost three months to the day of what would've been her first great-grandchild's birth, I was doubly grateful that he had suggested the change, and that we had had a chance to tell "Grandma Jean" about it before her death - I know she was touched. And that is why Cydanie Jean is Cydanie Jean, and not Cydanie Marie.

What I want to know is, where did that man go? He's not the one I've seen lately - maybe not even for the last few years. And that is what is most depressing of all.....

Monday, September 1, 2008

Honestly - the Things You Find in a Freezer!

As most of you know, I am going through what feels like a long, drawn-out divorce right now. I'm sure no divorce is easy, and this one may not be all that bad, comparably. But since it's the only one I've ever been through, it feels that way to me. I am in the process of selling my house, and due to the market conditions, I've not had much interest. So, I am slowly decluttering, packing, etc., both to better-prepare the house for showing, and to get ready to eventually move.

I have had a lot of help in this process, most notably from my best cousins ever, Mindi and Kim. Last Friday, I was having a pity-party kind of day, left over from an emotional meeting with my attorney and the soon-to-be-ex. Mindi had planned to come help me pack and sort some more, but I just didn't have it in me. I called her, bawling, to beg off, and bless her heart, she and Kim showed up on my doorstep a couple of hours later, anyway, with root beer and ice cream in hand.

We had an absolutely lovely time sitting around the kitchen table, eating (drinking?) root beer floats and laughing about squishing bugs and snakes (Mindi can do bugs, but Kim and I can't - however, snakes creep Mindi out, but they don't bother Kim or me at all) and how hard it is to patiently listen to seemingly never-ending stories from your children when all you want is a few minutes to yourself to unwind before bedtime or shower or just breathe!

Well, I freely admit to not being the best housekeeper in the land. For people who know me at work, they would think this out-of-character, but at home, I agonize over decisions. If I have pink and white shirt that needs to be washed, I dawdle, going back and forth over whether it should go in the "whites" laundry pile, or the "reds" laundry pile. If I have duplicates of an item, I struggle over throwing away or otherwise getting rid of the old one (I might NEED it!) - thus the explanation for the work described in the first paragraph!

Anyway, mid-root beer float party, I had to run out and pick up the twins from a "back-to-school" party they had been at with friends from their elementary school. When we got back home, I was surprised to see Mindi and Kim cleaning out my refrigerator! I was chagrined to realize that when they had tried to put the root beer away, they couldn't find a place for it - so they were compelled to clean out my refrigerator in the process of making room for the 2-liter bottle of root beer. For the record, the oldest item in there were some bacon bits that expired in 2000....

I helped finish the fridge, and we started on the freezer. Mychael came down stairs and said, "Hey, we might still have Cyd's snake in there - did we ever bury it?" I had forgotten all about "Slips," a little green garter snake that Cydanie had as a pet a couple of years ago. It didn't last long - it was our first experience with reptilian pets and either we didn't care for it correctly, or it wasn't very healthy to start with, or the stress of bringing it home did it in. It only lived for a month or so after we brought him (her? Hard to tell, with snakes...) home from the pet store. It was winter when it died, and Cyd wanted to bury it, but we couldn't because the ground was frozen. So, we put it in a little baggie, sealed it up, and put it in the freezer to await a proper burial service in the spring.

I was telling Kim and Mindi this story as Mindi was wiping out the door of the freezer and I was working with Kim on deciding what in the freezer would go, and what could stay (yes, this decision-making stuff is a two-person job for me). I was fairly certain that we had already done away with Slips - I hadn't seen him in a very long time so I figured someone had finally sent him to his final resting place in the bottom of the trash bin. It could have even been me, and I had simply forgotten - my memory is not what it used to be!

Shortly after I had assured them that we likely would NOT be finding any snakes in the freezer, Kim reached over to the door next to Mindi, grabbed a little plastic bag with Christmas packages printed on it, and said, "Here, this can go - it has Christmas presents on it!" All of a sudden, Kim screamed! She dropped the bag and bolted out of the kitchen. Mindi was hot on her heels, screaming hysterically as well! And I? Well, I was just standing there, looking around wondering what the heck just happened! Then it dawned on me - could Slips be in the Christmas baggie?

Sure enough - I picked up the baggie and there was Slips, remarkably well preserved. For the morbidly curious, he had little freezer burn, considering he had been in there for at least two years. All of us - including the twins - were now laughing so hard we could hardly breathe. I thought perhaps Kim had picked up the bag knowing that Slips was in there to save Mindi from discovering it, given how she feels about snakes. But no, she was not being altruistic at all. It was just a split-second thought on Kim's part. Sad to say, Slips didn't get his burial - he went in the garbage sack with the rest of the freezer's contents, baggie and all.

Perhaps it was one of those "you had to be there" moments. I am leaving out the parts about how far away some people ran, and who was laughing so hard she drooled, to protect the guilty. However, I bet the next time Kim and Mindi go to clean out a freezer, they will be a little bit more wary about just diving in. Though I hope it wasn't sufficiently traumatic to discourage them from bringing root beer floats to me some other time....I promise there are no more snakes in my freezer.