Tuesday, July 28, 2009

When Your Stomach Hurts So Bad From Laughing...

...that you can feel sore muscles the next day, you know it was a Good Time.

The week before last, I had a huge BBQ at my house for all my relatives, to tell them thank you so much for helping with the move last January (it was too cold to BBQ then!). I served hot dogs and hamburgers and macaroni salad and chips and drinks to 40-some-odd people of all shapes and ages - I had wanted to do steaks, but the budget just wouldn't allow it.

Anyway, I had been cracking the whip over the kids for a few days beforehand, trying to get things clean and ready. I even took the Friday before off from work, so that I could be home to supervise (I think lots of TV gets watched and lots of internet gets surfed, but not much actual chores get done, when I am not there....).

A month or so ago, I bought a storage rack that I intend to put down in my storage room, when I finally get it all cleaned out and organized. However, up until the day before the big BBQ, the unassembled storage rack was just hanging out in my laundry room, impeding the doorway. I figured I needed to take it downstairs to it's new home in the basement, and I was mentally groaning at the thought of carrying that awkward, heavy box down the stairs.

Then, inspiration struck.

"Oh, Mychael!" I called in my best, cheery voice.

"What?" She was immediately suspicious - I don't understand why.

"Do you want to ride the box down the basement stairs, like a sled?" I asked her.

With a look of uncertainty on her face, she declined.

"Oh, c'mon!" I pleaded. "It will be fun!"

More sure of herself now, she firmly said no.

"Why?" I asked. I may have even whined it - I don't remember.

"Because!! I'm scared I'll get hurt!" she said.

Bretten, of course, overheard this (there is not a thing that goes on in that house that that kid is not aware of!) and immediately volunteered. "I'll do it! I'll do it!"

Then the doubts (or perhaps sanity?) crept in: "What if I crash?" she asked.

"Well," I said, thinking quickly. "We'll put a bunch of pillows down at the foot of the stairs so you can land in them!"

The twins and I quickly gathered piillows from all the bedrooms, plus the couches and chairs in the family room, and piled them deep at the bottom of the stairs to the basement. Then, we maneuvered the sled/box into position at the top of the stairs. I ran to get my camera, and Mychael and I sat down in the basement hallway just beyond the crash pad. We shouted encouragement.

"Go! Go! C'mon!! Do it!" we yelled.

Bretten would scoot up to the edge, almost to the point of no return. Then she'd chicken out. "Wait, wait, wait. I can't do this. I'm scared!"

And Mychael, no doubt educated by years of serious cartoon-watching, intoned: "Mission status: Abort! Abort!"

And the giggles, which had merely been the occasional snort up until now, erupted full blast.

After going back and forth for a bit, with Mychael and I encouraging Bretten to just go, and Bretten teasing us by coming soooo close but ultimately declining to launch, Bretten finally talked Mychael into going down with her.

"Wait a minute!" Mychael said. "What if we bump heads?"

Having too much fun to give up now, I said, "Well, wear a helmet!"

So the adventure was put on pause while Mychael ran out to the garage to get her bike helmet.

With suitable (that's questionable!) safety gear now, the girls sat on the box at the top of the stairs, while I sat at the bottom, camera at the ready. While Bretten was saying, "OK, on the count of three: ready? One..." Mychael gave a mission status update:

"Mission status: countdown sequence initiated!"

And finally, the event that started out as a joke and which, quite frankly, I thought might never actually happen, happened.

Bretten said three, they pushed off, and down the stairs they came, box and all.

Mychael bailed half-way and hung on the railing before sprawling out on the stairs. The box made it another quarter of the way before running into the wall and coming to rest, while Bretten made a dive for the pillow-filled landing pit.

Mission status? Epic fail!

Of course we were all laughing so hard, we could barely breathe. If I had had a drink, it for sure would've been coming out my nose.

As we were all holding our sides from laughing so hard, Cydanie came to the top of the stairs to see what was going on. "What's all that racket about?" she demanded. We were laughing too hard to tell her, but I think the photos explain it all:

Sorry if they're a little blurry. I was laughing so hard when I took them, that my stomach hurt the next day....

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Fourth and Last...For Now!

Since the ex and Cupcake left a couple of weeks ago for Iraq by way of Texas (I wanted to give him a shirt with a bull’s-eye printed on it as a going away present…AND I hope it's absolutely *blistering* hot and humid there in the Lone Star state for him!), he celebrated the twins’ birthday early, on the last Saturday in June. They had a little family party at his parents’ place, and his mom and dad heated up the pool for the occasion so whoever wanted to could go swimming.

Well, Mychael has grown a lot – and I mean *a lot* - since last summer. About six inches and 20 lbs bigger, to be precise. So, none of her swimming suits from last year fit her. I get home Saturday morning from taking the car to get the tires balanced (woot!) and she meets me at the door.

“Mom,” Mychael says, “I don’t have any swimsuits that fit and Dad is mad at me because now I can’t go swimming at Grandma’s!”

I am immediately torque’d. He has plenty of time to drag them off to Disney World and Park City and Yellowstone and all sorts of other “fun” things the Disneyland Dad and his Cupcake can think up, but he doesn’t have time to get his daughter a freaking swimsuit? So I say to Mychael, “Well, HE is taking you swimming to HIS mom’s house, so why didn’t you tell HIM to buy you one?”

Her response?

“I did, and he got mad at me, and told me to tell you to do it.”

I am not about to put Mykie in the middle of it. I ask a few more questions, and contemplated calling him back and letting the totallity of my wrath rain hellfire down upon him, but Mychael said he was at work and so he couldn’t do it, anyway – he wasn’t even coming to get them until after 5:30 that night because he didn’t think he could get out of the building until then.

So, once again, he weasels out of something and leaves me to clean up the mess (I gotta work on this bitterness thing - it is soooo not becoming!). I can’t let Mykie miss her own birthday swimming party due to lack of a suit, so I pack her and Bretten up and we head out. All the while, I am muttering under my breath about what a tool their father is, and Bretten immediately says to me, “He couldn’t go get it, Mom – he has to work today!” That was a match to the gas leak, right there.

“No,” I say, “he chose to work today!”

Ever the stout little defender, Bretten pipes up and says, “He has 250 guys there and they’re getting ready to go to Iraq so he HAS to be there!”

There was lots more going back-and-forth, but I will spare you the bloody details and skip to where I said, “Bretten, he did, too, choose it. He doesn’t *have* to put the Army before his family. He doesn’t even *have* to be IN the Army. He chooses to. Besides, that only accounts for today. What about the trip to Yellowstone? He knew she didn’t have a bathing suit then – surely he could’ve stopped somewhere on the way there or back, right?”

Stumped, Bretten reverts to yelling. “NEVERMIND!!” she shouts, and stomps off, arms folded across her chest and flaming daggers shooting at me from where her eyes used to be.

Well, it's a few minutes further on into the bathing suit shopping, and I am still kind of steaming. I finally just said, “I am just going to say one more thing on this, and then I’ll let it go: I want you to pay attention to who changed her plans, who came to the rescue here, and who just drops in every once in awhile to play ‘Good Time Charlie.’ And I’d like to know why, when I am not the one who left my family, and I am not the one who chose to put my career ahead of them, why I always end up being treated like the bad guy, like I am the enemy.”

Bretten, who had been muttering under her breath (nothing flattering, I’m sure) said out loud, “I don’t treat you like the enemy.”

Well, if how she treats me means she considers me a friend, I’d hate to see how she really DOES treat an enemy, then!!

I have to say that this was all a couple of weeks ago, and she has been much better since then, for the most part. It is Mychael who is giving me fits lately. I think I will finally have to break down and cart us all off to a divorce support group. I thought we were doing OK on our own, with periodic visits to the headshrinker, but there is just too much "snippiness" going back and forth between them and whoever else they think they can get away with being rude to, including me, on occasion. So I'm guessing there's an awful lot of suppressed anger there, that has to find a more productive, healthy way out.

OK, I'm done bitching. For now. :)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Here It Is, At Last...

....Bitch #3:

So the ex is keeping the old marital home – at least for now, and according to Bretten, for the next three years or so (ugh!). It is exactly one block north from my current residence, is all. This is really nice for the kids, as 1) their dad is close – when he chooses to actually be a dad, that is, and 2) they didn’t have to give up all their old familiar things immediately upon us moving into the new place. Whenever he eventually sells (and I hope to God he is actually going to, and not live there for the rest of his natural life!), for the kids it will have been a more gradual distancing from it and the "old" family unit, to the new one.

The part I am bitching about now, though, is that - before they left for Iraq by way of Texas - ex and Cupcake like to go on walks. Holding hands. Looking like the bent-over, grizzled and gray old man he is, and the perky, annoyingly obnoxious redhead she is. That’s all fine and dandy. But MUST they take these walks on *my* street, past not only my house, but the houses of my parents and brother, as well? Apparently, the irony in this is lost on them. Despite the fact that there is plenty of neighborhood further west, north, and east of their place, they choose to come on the one road that is directly south of them, and that I (and some of my other family members) happen to live on. Very smooth. And thoughtful!! Did I say thoughtful?

I saw them walking up the street a week or two before they left, as I was coming down it after running a few errands. It was probably a good thing I wasn’t driving, or I may have ended up being under investigation for vehicular homicide right now. Grrr.

Friday, July 10, 2009

And...And....AND.....Bitch #2:

Here it is, my second bitch of the many that I have been saving up:

So, not even two months after the divorce was final, the ex goes and gets married to the person he swears he was not having an affair with. Yeah, right, whatever – that’s not what I’m bitching about here (she is welcome to him!), because to paraphrase the All-American Rejects, he’s a fool and she is just as well. What I am bitching about is that about a month later, he sends me an e-mail that says the following:

“[Cupcake] found out some information about Tricare for you, so you might want to call Andrea about it. I thought it was nice of her to send it. Her number is (801) XXX-XXXX.”

This is his message to me, attached to a forwarded message from her to him, in which she doesn’t even spell my name right! Granted, I have an unusual name, but still: does this mean Cupcake and I are supposed to be friends now? ‘Cause ya know, she’s so considerate and all...a real peach, for sure.

On a completely unrelated note, my dad is making over my front door for me, so that hoepfully, by the end of this weekend, I will have a way cool new red front door with antique stained glass sidelights! The nasty 1970's panels (complete with lion's head door knocker) highlighted with the gold wavy glass sidelights will soon be a distant memory. Yay!!

Also, the week before I did my hair purple, the twins did their hair, too - one pink, and one red (picture posted below). So now we are a multi-colored family, except for Cyd, who is still au naturale.

Speaking of Cyd: the other two were horsing around, wrestling and giggling and stuff, and it was really winding Cyd up. She told them mutliple times to calm down, stop laughing, etc., and of course the twins weren't listening. So Cyd says, "PLEASE stop it!" and you know how little sisters are: "No, Cyd, we don't have to!"

So Cyd says, "Well, I just said please!"

And the twins reply, "So!!! We don't have to do what you say just because you said please!!"

And Cyd growls and says to them, "Oooooh!! You are making me so piss!!!"

It was just another time when Cyd said something funny, but where a wise woman knows better than to even crack a smile.... :)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

As Promised....

....Bitch Number One:

My divorce was final about 10 days after the ex and I passed what would’ve been our 20th wedding anniversary. In retrospect, I am very glad that it took that long to get everything squared away, because as it turns out, I am now entitled to *full* military benefits at his retirement.

I wouldn’t have been eligible for these had we been married even 19 years and 364 days. But, that puts it into perspective why he was in such a damn hurry to get everything done, doesn’t it? Him being such a stand-up guy and all…thank goodness the attorney dragged his heels, ‘cause it turns out that the ex wasn’t able to cheat me out of something I didn’t even know I was entitled to, after all. But shame on him for trying.

On a completely unrelated note: I did it. I cut off all my hair and dyed it purple. And, I think I like it!! It is such a different look for me; I haven't had hair this short in 10 years or better. And I've never had it purple!

Here are some pics - but be warned that I took them myself, with a camera phone, and everyone knows (or should) how technologically retarded I am when it comes to A) cell phones, and B) cameras. But at least you get an idea:

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Yay!!!! He's Gone!! Woot woot!!!

The Tool left for Iraq by way of Texas yesterday, and I couldn't be more delighted. A blissful 10 months with no Tool or Cupcake drama loom ahead of me, and I am positiviely giddy with it! I hope Texas is sweltering and that he is cranky and miserable (he has about zero tolerance for heat), and I hope Iraq is worse. Muwah ha ha ha ha! (<-- evil laughter)

Of course, she-who-shall-not-be-named bawled like a baby, but my other two were just copacetic with the whole thing. The oldest was only concerned that he would be missing her 17th birthday, but when I assured her that he would either send her a present or some money, she was cool with that. After all the tears and drama from the one twin, I figured I'd better check on the other one, just to make sure she wasn't upset, too, but doing a better job of hiding it. It was bed time, and she was already laying down, reading, when I went into her room and sat on the edge of her bed.

"Are you OK?" I asked.


"Does it upset you that you're not going to see your dad for another 10 to 12 months?"

"No, not really."

So I asked, "Are you just saying that because you think it's what I want to hear?"

Her eyes dancing, she shook her head as she said, "Nope!"

So I said, "Are you kind of relieved that there will be a little less drama and stress in your life for awhile?"


I said, "OK - but you'll let me know if that changes, right?"

"Yes, Mommy," she agreed. "I will."

So I left it at that.

Earlier, when I had been talking to The Drama Queen (believe me, it is 100% worthy of capitalization!), I basically told her to remember that it was his choice, that he was doing something he'd been wanting to do for a long time, and that when you love someone, you have to be happy for them even when they are doing things that make you UNhappy, if those things are the "right" things for them to do. And, I told her to remember that so that she would know the impact her choices had on the people who loved her, too - the choices we make affect everyone around us, so it's even more important to make good ones.

I have a big, long post of saved up "bitches" about The Tool so you can appreciate how thrilled I am that he is finally out of my hair - even if it's just for a year. I am hoping that I'll be in a better place when he gets back and he won't be able to "get" to me so much. Rather than deluge you with all my gripes at once, though, I think I'll do them one at a time, for the next few days.

Here is bitch number one:

(coming soon....)