Monday, May 20, 2013

Robbing the little man

I am notoriously lazy when it comes to shipping packages. My family all know it, however, here's some justification for why.

Last week I purchased two Babar books for my cousin's son. I paid $41.11 at and they were delivered to my door by Fedex within 48 hours of me completing my order online. Shipping cost me $8. Impressive, huh?

This morning I took the package, unopened, to Fedex to forward it to my cousin in the UK. Price quote on a small package weighing 3.2lbs? $158 to arrive by Wednesday or Thursday.

I said thanks, but no thanks and took the package to the Post Office. Price quote for delivery in 6-10 days $53 (or $33 with no insurance, but I've seen how boxes are thrown around... I'll take the insurance). Well, let me see what offers. Exact same books, Shipping to the exact same address $11. I think I'll just order through and I have a friend's daughter's 1st birthday coming up, I'll re-purpose the other books as a gift to her.... I leave the post office while still using the Amazon app on my phone to complete the order. Damn! Delivery estimate: June 17 - July 3... I cancel that order. I'll check UPS when I return to my office since that's who Amazon uses.

I run another errand to cash a check at the bank. The check is issued by a bank I don't bank with. They want $7.50 to cash it. <sigh>

So by now, I've used up my entire lunch hour and have not had time to stop and eat. I return to my office and Gigi's cupcakes is in the foyer. I managed to get past them on my way out, but now I'm hungry and in a foul mood. I buy a cupcake. It has strawberries in it. They have anti-oxidants, therefore I tell myself it's moderately healthy. (Yes, I'm deluding myself, I know).

I go to, set up an account because apparently that's necessary when shipping internationally (!) and fill out the shipping information, follow the prompts through to the confirmation screen... $157. Uh, no. No. No. No. NO! I cancel. Well damn. What now?

I can't find the exact same Babar books I had previously ordered from Saks, so I choose 3 alternatives, still Babar, just different stories. Two are only available in paperback, so I've added a third to compensate. Final cost? $28.31 including NEXT DAY shipping since I am an Amazon Prime customer.

Yes, I too am wondering why I didn't just go to Amazon in the first place!

So if tells me they can ship two books weighing 3.2lbs to the UK for $11.... Why The Hell can't Fedex or UPS? Amazon is using UPS.... If I was a conspiracy theorist, I'd be blaming the government for.... well, I don't know what, I'm not a zealot, but I am curious as to how and why this makes sense. The post office is going out of business because people would rather pay 5 TIMES as much to get their packages to the same locations? The world has officially gone stark, raving, mad!!

Pet Peeve

OK, so I've just published one post, but felt the need to get this off my chest because it has been driving me CRAZY for a while now.

Have you ever had one of those friends who shares a dilemma or situation with you and you feel like they are looking for advice? Especially when it's a situation you have dealt with before, have knowledge and experience, so you share with them on how to deal with it and then they just straight up ignore you and then when things don't go well, they come back to you and want to analyse what went wrong? Sometimes the evil part of me wants to shout at them "I'll tell you what went wrong... you didn't listen!"

So, I have been through two sets of very different child custody cases...

The first, for my daughter, was pretty cut and dried, but I still went through some interesting court hearings. Her father tried to paint me as an unfit mother (and failed), I focused on what was most beneficial for my daughter. Judges like the parent who is focused on what is best for the child, not the parent.... (They tend to be able to spot the parents who just don't want to pay any support). I had doctors and social workers on standby to drop their caseloads for the day and head to court in my defense. He had his mother... He then also asked for a DNA test. Needless to say, I won full custody. He still doesn't pay any child support, but for the last 13 years I've raised Baby Girl to the best of my ability and while there are days I threaten to send her back to her dad, she knows I don't mean it. (I hate the teen years and cannot WAIT for them to be over!).

The second, is the more recent debacle with my ex, who also attempted the unfit mother route, but got bit in the ass since he is the one with the Domestic Violence arrest record, and now Stalking charges... I find it amusing, but also annoying at the same time. I actually wouldn't mind having him evaluated for a psychological disorder. I'm pretty sure he has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It's the only thing that explains why he thinks that it's ok to have the electricity disconnected in the middle of summer when you know your kids are home, stopping paying child support and telling your children false stories about their mother... And more, oh so much more, but he believes that HE is the injured party!

Suffice it to say that I have some knowledge and experience. I've also done a slew of research on NC family law.

So a friend of mine has a teen who currently lives with her father and step-mother. The step-mother can accurately be described as evil, but I won't go into the details too much. This weekend was the young lady's birthday, and she had invited some friends to her home for a party. Her mother (my friend) showed up with flowers and balloons and received a chilly reception from the step-mother. This is normal. Then she received text messages later in the day from her daughter who told her that she had also had to watch her younger half-siblings (during her party) while her step-mother was on Facebook. Yes, even though she still had friends there! She has also been told that she cannot call her mother, her mother's phone number is blocked from calling their house, all her communications are monitored, and she is used as a babysitter, housemaid etc for her younger siblings... I have seen her journal. Well actually, it was a note she had left in her mother's notebook that was kind of a prayer to God. It was heart-breaking. The poor girl is miserable. I have told her mother on numerous occasions to go downtown and file for custody. That her daughter is old enough to be taken seriously by the court and that she has sufficient evidence of 'cruelty' that she would likely win her case. Rather frustratingly, she has an excuse every time "Well, I just want to make sure that the girl's room is decorated." or "Well, I'm just going to talk to her father first." "Let me just see how things are this weekend..." They go on and on....

My peeve is not just with this situation, but with any. If you come to me with an issue, situation, or problem, expect some advice, input or suggestions. If I have been through it before you and I try to help, but you choose to ignore my feedback and the results are not favourable, then I probably won't be particularly sympathetic... I'm not one to give you "I'm sure it will be ok" because that drives me crazy. It's not helpful at all. If I don't have anything of use to you, then I will let you know. My frustration in the situation above is that her daughter is obviously suffering, and she still hasn't taken any steps to help her.

I had to get that off my chest! Whew! Feel better now :-)

Temporary Remission?

So I woke up this morning and the back pain had returned :-( Not as severe, but enough to cause some irritability with the kids, a slight limp and pain when I put weight on the left leg again. I have been taking just the evening dose of the prescribed medication, but apparently that is not enough, or it was only a temporary alleviation of symptoms. I'm not sure which. I know I did nothing to aggravate it over the weekend as I was mostly laying around, and I was so ready to get back in the gym this week! The stubborn side of me says to give it a go anyway. My workouts never seemed to cause the pain, but the paranoid side of me wishes to point out there's a first time for everything...

Oh well, we'll see what happens. Fortunately the weather is too unpredictable with possible thunderstorms for me to run this evening, but we'll see what damage Zumba and Jillian Michaels can do...

Friday, May 17, 2013

Happy Friday!

So I went to the movies with Firefighter last night. He's a HUGE horror movie fan, me not so much, but I've been to see plenty of 'his' movies, so this time, it was my turn. Star Trek Into Darkness. Yes, I'm a Trekkie. I have the collector's edition box set of the original movies on Blue Ray. Captain James T. Kirk is my hero.

His objection to sci-fi is he doesn't like too much CGI (that's Computer Generated Images), however that is what I love most about the newer movies out today (the geek in me). I think it's the little difference's that are making this work between us. While we have TONS in common, we still have a few small differences that we each respect in each other. Anyway. He has never seen ANY of the Star Trek movies. Yes, I was flabbergasted too. Lucky for him, I have that box set... Well, the movie was awesome! I loved every second and almost went home to watch Wrath of Khan just so I could remind myself of the future... Maybe sometime this weekend. I will definitely be going to see it in IMAX 3D when the crowds die down a little...

And bless his heart he managed to stay awake through the whole movie! He had been awake since 4am, worked a full day and was noticeably tired, but he pulled through for me. :-) (Yes, the irony that I get up around 5am everyday, chase 3 kids and work full-time is not lost on me, but he really does not do well if he has to stay up past 9pm...).

So before I had left the kids at home, I told them that if they wanted to go see Ironman 3 (the boys) and go to a friends pool party (Baby Girl), that the house would need to be immaculate when I got home... And damned if they hadn't cleaned everything and even vacuumed!! So I guess I'll be going to my third movie in a week at some point this weekend :-/

So chillaxin' at home with the brats and Firefighter this evening, Spring Fling at the neighbourhood pool, house-warming party and dinner with Firefighter tomorrow, Ironman 3 and pool (?) party (Baby Girl not me!) etc on Sunday.... I'm knackered just thinking about it!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Back on Track... sort of.

Last night I managed to do the Jillian Michaels Max Abs workout :-) I even managed the sumo squat! Only minor discomfort this morning and my back is a little 'achy' after I walked just under a mile this morning, but that's all expected.

The workout wasn't quite what I wanted it to be.... Bad Boy and Little One both decided to 'workout' with me... Between having to stop and try to correct their posture and laughing at their attempts to one-up each other with my hand weights, I didn't really get much done. Next time I will go first and let them go after me while I cool down, I can work with them. SMH.

So, this morning I got to work feeling super confident. A couple of the ladies here are trying to shed a few pounds and have created their own 'support group' complete with weekly weigh-ins. I decided to join them since I gained 6 or 7lbs back over the last 4 weeks while waiting for my diagnosis. I weighed in last week at 169lbs with jeans etc on... so today I wore a skirt and top of very light fabric.

And weighed in at 171lbs :-/ WTF?

So off I trot at lunch and opt for a local Lebanese restaurant that uses all natural, fresh ingredients and ordered the chicken pitza, which is delicious, but they sat me right in front of the cake display. Apparently, I had left my willpower at home this morning. Even the price tag at $6.25 a slice wasn't enough to deter me. One chocolate decadence to go please....

It was sooooo good. But we're going to the movies tonight and then dinner after. So do I compromise and have popcorn and no dessert at dinner? Oh and probably a salad... Or do I just say to Hell with it, YOLO?!


I shall pay my penance at some point. I may not be quite up to 5K yet, and I wasn't going to start running again until next week, but maybe I will take some time and hit the gym this weekend... (who am I kidding, you and I both know I am not taking time out at the weekend to go to the gym!) 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I'm in love!

Yes! With Dr Scruggs! He was the fourth doctor I saw in 5 months. The first 3 I'm convinced thought I was making it up looking for pain meds... But Dr Scruggs, oh how I love thee!! He believed from the start and in just two short visits I have the medication I need to make it right again. Last night, I slept the ENTIRE night! No excruciating pain or spasms waking me! It was awesome! Yes, I woke up groggy, but I almost felt like I could run a couple laps around the block, my back felt so good! Not quite normal, but yesterday I could barely sit in my office chair for more than 5 minutes, this morning I have been at my desk for 30 minutes and there is no ache at all!

You know what that means!

Back to my daily 2k runs :-) And... I may even give Jillian a run for her money on her ab workout! Dr approved of course!

I feel so amazing! And a huge thank you to firefighter for being so patient and sympathetic. Poor guy had to put up with my fussing and fidgeting most of the night on Friday! Says I didn't disrupt him, but I don't believe him, lol! Of course I'll find a way to thank him properly ;-)

The pool opens in just a couple of weeks. I may be ready to don my two-piece!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

At last! A diagnosis!

For the last month or so, I've been wondering whether I was just being a giant wuss after the first MRI showed nothing more than a small tear that apparently isn't worth surgery at this point, but then the spine specialist suggested a second MRI and I began to think that that was also going to be inconclusive. Last night I said to my firefighter that I was pretty sure something was pushing on the nerve. I had said the same to him a week ago when a night out rendered me useless the next day, and I hadn't done much more than a gentle side to side foot shuffle on the dance floor.

Ok, well maybe I dropped it low a time or two, but the wine blurred the pain....

Anyway, suffice it to say, I was probably one of those rare patients in his office that WANTED him to find something wrong. Something to explain the pain and discomfort. For the last week it has been getting progressively worse to where I dreaded any type of movement. My blood pressure was sky high after walking from the waiting room to the treatment room. The nurse even commented that it was abnormally high for me and was a real indicator that it was not all in my head! Yay. I think....

Now this specialist is young and attends my gym (so I've been behaving and not exercising lest he busts me!), but he also knows how stubborn I can be and that as an athlete my tolerances are different, so before he said anything, he did the usual 'checks'. Reflexes are good, but when he tried to raise the leg at the hip, I noticeably winced... at which point he said "Yep, the MRI confirms your symptoms are correct. You have a small bulge on the left that happens to be pushing on the nerve and a little on the spinal column itself..." Really? You don't say.... He carried on: "We can treat it with meds and hopefully avoid surgical intervention, typically, I'll do an epidural injection of cortisone....." Uh, well, there are two problems with this statement. I hate needles to the point that I delivered three children completely naturally. And I'm allergic to cortisone injections. Just a small problem. "Oh, I forgot. What was your reaction?" "well with the cortisone, it felt like thousands of ants had happily burrowed under every inch of my skin and were merrily travelling up and down." "Oh, no breathing difficulties?" "No, that was with Dexamethasone that I had that." Silence. "Well, that happens to be my preference, Dexamethasone, so maybe we should try something else." "That would be good since the last time resulted in a trip to the ER."

After some back and forth discussion about current meds, schedules and the necessity of being able to care for three children, we settled on Lyrica and some pain meds. Now apparently Lyrica has some pretty nasty side effects of it's own. Well, that's awesome. "If you get any leg swelling, stop taking it immediately." Fantastic.... It's dress and shorts season, and my legs could end up looking like balloons? Terrific.

The good news is I should be ready for the Colour Vibe 5k in 5 weeks, I can start back on my core workouts, gently, and should, with luck, avoid surgery! The relief at finding out I'm not crazy, confirmation that my pain tolerance is extremely high (his eyebrows raised at the length of time I had 'ignored' the pain and carried on combined with his being impressed that I'd even finished the 10 miler were enough on their own, but he even made a statement that I should have been rendered useless months ago), and hopefully a quick resolution to the pain and suffering have put me in a slightly better mood.

Now on to the next problem.

Owie :-(

It's 3:40am. I've been awake since 2am. In so much pain, I can't get comfortable and it's too late (early?) to take something. Grrrrr!

Yesterday I decided I was going to try walking after work to see how my back and hip manage before my follow up today. My fear is they say they can't see anything wrong... However, on the way home firefighter decided he was coming over for dinner (he had originally said he was cutting his mum's grass, so now I feel guilty that he would rather come see me, but also flattered, lol). So I got home, Bad Boy had a counseling session while Little One helped me with the grill and ran to the grocery store with me. By the time I got back home and started dinner I had a dull ache in my back, then the hip started. Running in and out to the grill and getting dinner on the table took it's toll. My firefighter offered to help although I hadn't said anything, he could tell I was struggling, but I sucked it up and let him sit and watch the game. I sat down to eat finally after being on my feet for a couple hours and WOW! My hip and back were on fire!

I'd had wine so I didn't take anything and was so tired, after getting the boys to bed, I immediately fell asleep, but the pain woke me after just a few hours. So I've been tossing and turning ever since. The heat pad is downstairs.  The thought of sitting at my desk tomorrow fills me with fear (and pain). I have done as I was told and not done any running since the 10 miler, and yet everyday tasks render me useless in debilitating pain! The Colour Vibe 5k is in 5 weeks... not to mention several long distance road trips back and forth to Georgia. It's not looking good :'(

I've been a runner for over 20 years. Suffered pretty much every injury and recovered well from each one. To be caused so much pain from one man's temper just makes me more angry than I can put into words.

Monday, May 13, 2013

It's a new dawn, a new .... week!

OK, so last week was an epic fail. I was so downtrodden and beat by the end of the week that I may have upset firefighter. I will make it up to him, but at least he's still talking to me. This weekend was the first in months that we didn't spend all day everyday together. Partly because it was Mother's Day and partly because I have been backing off lately so he is probably just a little confused, but I had to sort myself out a little bit and I needed the space to do that.

So because my sister was so awesome and patient and just everything I needed in a friend last week, I sent her a bouquet of flowers. My mum may have been a little upset that she didn't get any, but to be honest she has been a little selfish and I needed to make a point. Every time my mum has spoken to me it has been so that I could make arrangements that suited my baby sisters impending 3 month visit. Well, I'm sorry I've had more pressing matters to deal with than someone else's delicate sensibilities, like how to refurnish an entire house while simultaneously paying off the joint debt from my marriage that my ex seems disinclined to assist with, raising three children with their own sets of issues (except Little One who still seems to be dealing remarkably well) and apparently serving as everyone else's sounding board while struggling to cope on my own. Oh and the usual day-to-day issues like paying bills, running errands, working.... Did I mention the excruciating back pain that makes all of that just that little more challenging? Yeah, so while I love my baby sister, I'm not really in the right frame of mind to look up flight information for her to take a vacation in San Diego (that her dad is paying for), or make the phone calls chasing said pater to make sure he books the flights... so yeah, my sister has listened to me crying over how to deal with a teen with hormones, a child with anger management issues and an ex who is just a giant ass, but also helped me with the firefighter and get over my angst of getting into a new relationship. I will forever love her, and her husband, for just being there. There is 3000 miles away, but it's better than trying to cope alone as I was before.


So anyway. Mother's Day has always been a sore point. My ex never bothered. So I've quite literally never had a Mother's Day. Oh my mum sends flowers (just like she sent me cards when I was younger and never received Valentine's Day cards), and I get text messages from my uncle and my dad, but the whole breakfast in bed, complete day of relaxation and\or pampering, fancy dinners out, or cooked at home... yeah, never had that whole experience. Now some people would have expected my firefighter to do that, but to be honest, I don't feel that it's his place. Our relationship isn't at that level. Yes, he offered to take me to lunch, and this is where I upset him. I turned him down (with some pretty lame excuses because I suck at lying).

I gave myself two choices. Stay at home and do nothing thus avoiding seeing and hearing everyone else's special day. Or take myself out. Now, this is typically also how my birthday goes. My last birthday I paid for  everything, including everyone's entrance to the club. (This year, I'm not doing that.) So I got dressed all pretty, went to the mall and bought myself a new outfit, got a makeover done by my favourite artist at Dior, who also treated me to some fabulous freebies!! and then went to lunch\dinner at my favourite steakhouse, Fleming's where the bartender then gave me free drinks (I was drinking an $11 a glass chardonnay) and a $25 gift card for my next visit. I had another few hours before I had to get the boys, so I went to see The Great Gatsby, fabulous movie by the way! Very well done! Love Baz Lehrmann! So I rescued what was looking to be a pretty foul day. Then my firefighter asked if I was going to watch the Jodi Arias Dateline special, because he wanted to watch with me. It's our thing when we can't be in the same place, we watch movies or shows long distance. It's cute. I think he was a little put out that I went to see a movie without him, but he had family obligations. And we have that trip to the beach coming up that still has me in knots.

Oh. And Baby Girl is in my bad books. She was MIA all weekend and made no attempts at a Mother's Day gift. Or card. Or hug. I'm going to hate the teen years.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Still breathing

The week is finally coming to an end and after a week of sheer Hell, at least it ends with payday. Although it's already earmarked for bills, I am thankful that those bills are getting paid!

I haven't done well at holding it together this week and felt a little abandoned, but even after I read my children the riot act on Tuesday, had a very subdued Wednesday morning, I was forever grateful that by that afternoon all was forgiven and I had my usual cheerful, loud, rambunctious brats to deal with. So while I go to bed feeling very alone and struggle to keep my composure if not for me, then for them, it helps to know that even after I've yelled and taken away all their toys, they can still come and hug me goodnight and tell me they love me.

I will get through this.

My rock this week has been my sister. Without her at the end of the phone, I don't think I'd have survived the week. I needed someone this week more than ever and there she was. Almost everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. But I'm determined not to be beat. So I'll take a deep breath this weekend and come back next week with a plan....

Now I've gotta go find some pretty flowers to send to her for Mother's Day...

This was posted on FB from someone elses blog, but after this week it felt appropriate (apart from 16...)

For the days we are running on empty. For the days we just don't think we have it in us to read one more story, play one more game of Uno, wash one more round of sheets. For the days when we think everyone else has it together. For the days we're sure anyone else would do this job better.

For those days. You know the ones.

Repeat after me:

1. I shall not judge my house, my kid's summer activities or my crafting skills by Pinterest's standards.

2. I shall not measure what I've accomplished today by the loads of unfolded laundry but by the assurance of deep love I've tickled into my kids.

3. I shall say yes to blanket forts and see past the chaos to the memories we're building.

4. I shall surprise my kids with trips to get ice cream when they're already in their pajamas.

5. I shall not compare myself to other mothers but find my identity in the God who trusted me with these kids in the first place.

6. I shall remember that a messy house at peace is better than an immaculate house tied up in knots.

7. I shall play music loudly and teach my kids the joy of wildly uncoordinated dance.

8. I shall remind myself that perfect is simply a street sign at the intersection of impossible and frustration in Never Never land.

9. I shall embrace the fact that in becoming a mom I traded perfect for a house full of real.

10. I shall promise to love this body that bore these three children out loud, especially in front of my daughter.

11. I shall give my other mother friends the gift of guilt-free friendship.

12. I shall do my best to admit to my people my unfine moments.

13. I shall say sorry when sorry is necessary.

14. I pray God I shall never be too proud, angry or stubborn to ask for my children's forgiveness.

15. I shall make space in my grown-up world for goofball moments with my kids.

16. I shall love their father and make sure they know I love him.

17. I shall model kind words to kids and grown-ups alike.

18. I shall not be intimidated by the inside of my minivan this season of chip bags, goldfish crackers and discarded socks too shall pass.

19. I shall always make time to encourage new moms.

20. I shall not resent that last call for kisses and cups of water but remember instead that when I blink they'll all be in college.

... with love from one tired mother to another.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Trying to get my groove back

I'm posting this as a second blog, because I feel like there were two parts to the day.

On arriving home, I first had to talk with my bankruptcy attorney to get the answers to some questions regarding the upcoming property settlement hearing. After we were through talking, I took a deep breath and exited my car. Corralled the kids into the house and then informed them that I would first deal with Baby Girl, then Bad Boy. Little One had yet to commit any transgressions deserving of my wrath.

Then I walked into the kitchen. Now, when I left yesterday morning I left a fairly strongly worded note informing Baby Girl that I expected to come home and find the dishwasher loaded, and kitchen tidy. That was not the scene that greeted me, so now I'm angry again and my calm has fled the building. I won't document all that was said, but I will say, I did not yell, curse, or use physical violence. I calmly informed my newly turned teenager that she was forever grounded, that I would no longer provide those luxuries that she seemed to feel entitled to without earning them and that if she failed school that was her problem because once she turned 18, I would not be providing for her. As an adult, it will be her responsibility. I did feel it was necessary to point out that in order for her to maintain the privileged life I have provided her with, she would need to earn good money, which requires a good job which comes from a good education. I almost pointed out that she could turn to illegal means, but felt I might be overstepping the mark.

Then it was Bad Boy's turn. Sigh.

I was a little gentler on him. We talked about the seriousness of what he had said in school and the problems that it could cause. We talked about things he can do to mitigate his temper, the correct way to deal with the child who seems Hell-bent on torturing him everyday. We then discussed the 'N' word, it's origins and it's offensiveness, not to mention how inappropriate it was for him to use that kind of language. Ever. Whether he is 9 or 90, I never want to hear that word from him again.

At this point, I was now ready to get on with what I needed to do that evening, which was to pull together documentation for both my divorce attorney and the bankruptcy. Not a fun task, but when I returned downstairs to find that Baby Girl was NOT doing her chores, I pretty much lost it again. I asked whether she had heard anything I had said. She said she was doing her homework. AT this point it was almost 7pm. She'd been home since 4pm. So her homework AND the chores SHOULD have been done.... I reaffirmed my disappointment and anger. She made a half-hearted attempt to do those things she was supposed to, but I sent her to her room.

After I had sat on the porch breathing for a few minutes, I returned inside and informed all three that their behaviour is unacceptable and that it would no longer be rewarded. I was eventually able to illustrate how I felt, by making them feel the same. I told them I was removing ALL TV's, video game consoles, cell phones etc except for the one in my room, and that they would have a roof over their heads, clothes on their backs and food in their bellies as that is the minimum I am required to provide as well as ensuring they GO to school. I am not responsible for their grades or whether they complete assignments, but if the flunk out of school they would not have me to fall back on. I left them to stew for a few minutes. I heard crying and they started to pick up some of their mess. I cleaned the kitchen and put dinner on. I then went back and asked them to tell me what they were feeling at that moment, knowing they would no longer have all the spoils they've been enjoying. Their answers were: Sad, disappointed and angry.

They ate their dinner quietly, and took themselves to bed at the normal 9pm.

Mission accomplished. For now.

A monumentally shitty day

I had one of those days yesterday where I felt like an utter failure. The day started off badly when I couldn't get up and out the door to get the boys to the bus in time, so I ended up driving them all the way to school, which then made me 45 minutes late for work. The should have been my first clue that things were not going to go my way.

A year ago I was hired at the company I'm currently at because, and I quote, "They were desperately in need of some SharePoint knowledge". They were right, however in the last 11 months, I have barely touched SharePoint. All my suggestions for improvements of existing, non-SharePoint business tools have been kicked aside with "we don't need to focus on that at the moment." My attempts to get management to assign me some SharePoint related work have been answered with "We'll find you something to do soon, don't worry. In the meantime we'll have you help out on the ASP Helpdesk." Two things wrong with this. Well three, but the first is obvious, so I won't list it. The second thing wrong with this is that I must be the highest paid and over-qualified database restore 'expert' in the world.... The third thing, I haven't worked helpdesk in 13 years, so this is a backwards step which is not good for any career. So yesterday, I decided I was going to overhaul one of their systems and just not tell them about it until I was ready to show them how SharePoint is bigger and better than their 15 year old ASP based hodge-podge of tools. Don't get me wrong, ASP is a fantastic language, however, SharePoint is a business platform and leverages many out of the box and custom features to build robust easily sustainable business systems.... So I started poking around, looking at the code and trying to decide where to start small. This made me happy. For a while.


I get a phone call from Bad Boy's Vice Principle. Sigh.

He had lost his temper again only this time he had told another child that he was going to bring an AK47 to school and shoot him. I almost crumbled. Tears came to my eyes as I held my breath and waited for the Principle to tell me he was going to have to expel him from school. With only 5 weeks left. Well, the words never came. He was new to the school and the Principle was out for the day, so he didn't know the background. I filled him in on how we have been trying to help Bad Boy and he patiently talked through our options so we can finish the school year. Crisis averted. For now.

I took a break and drove out to see my firefighter (I love calling him that), for lunch. I didn't bring up what was on my mind, just enjoyed chatting about silly stuff.

I returned to the office, plugged my earphones back in with some Deep House playing on and went back to perusing the archaic and clunky Stellar system. Then came the next piece of bad Karma. An email from Baby Girl's Language Arts teacher. She was not completing assignments again. Well, then I go and look at her grades and those grades she'd managed to get up B's and D's have turned into F's. Again. The only B remaining was in Math, which for some reason she has no problems in.

That was my undoing. I tried to get through the rest of the day, but couldn't. At 3pm I needed to talk to someone before I burst, so I called my sister. My angel. Always there. It was late in the UK and she was putting my nieces to bed, but she said she would call me back in 5 minutes. So I waited. 10 minutes. But she called. I totally broke down, she listened patiently between all the sobs and then helped talk me through it. My face was a mess, but I felt a little like someone cared. It's hard to realise that when I need help, it's 3000 miles away and it makes me want to go home. That's how I felt yesterday. I wanted to pack everything up and get on the next plane home.

I was able to calm down enough to pack up my desk and drive to pick up the boys. When I get to daycare, the after-school supervisor came over, I thought to say good bye, but no, my run of foul luck wasn't over yet. Bad Boy had called another boy the 'N' word. And when asked where he learned it, one word came out. "Dad". Holding back my temper at that point was all I could do, took every ounce of strength.

When will it end?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The things children say....

Had one of those cringe-worthy moments last night...

I had come home from work in excruciating pain and decided that I should take it easy so I took a pain-killer and laid down on the sofa with the TV on my favourite channel Investigation Discovery. The show was Cold Blood and was about the rape and murder of a young woman in the late eighties or early nineties when DNA was still new. Every now and then Bad Boy likes to come and watch with me. Actually, all three of them do, but curiously not at the same time, lol! Anyway, he had just finished vacuuming for me (yes, I abuse any injury or illness to get the kids to help out!) so he sat down and asked what I was watching. Now Bad Boy is incredibly smart. He tends to choose non-fictional books about snakes, amphibians, whales, you name it, he'll read it and he retains pretty much every fact in the book and can usually recite it! Future Biologist, maybe? He is also very inquisitive and is NOT afraid to ask questions.

So anyway, the narrator went on to talk about how sperm had been found in the underwear and on the body of the victim... I think you know where this is going. My wonderful, bright, beautiful little boy turns to me and asks "Mum, what's sperm?" Luckily, I was able to deflect the question, with "Shhh, I'll explain later, I want to hear what they're saying." A few minutes later, my 'fourth child' who is actually Baby Girl's best friend distracted Bad Boy by asking him to go play the Wii U with him upstairs... Embarrassment averted?


An hour or so later, I managed to get myself upstairs and into bed while the children were eating. I let them watch TV for another 30 or so minutes, and then called them up to bed. First the Little One came in and gave me a hug and a kiss, then it was Bad Boys turn. He turned to leave, but then seemed to remember something and turned back.... Uh oh.

Bad Boy "Mum, can you see sperm?" I choked and sputtered. How do you answer that? He's not quite 9 yet....
Me "Ummmm, yes."
Bad Boy "What does it look like?" Crap. If I answer this one, there will be more...
Me "Honey, mummy just took  her medicine and is really sleepy, maybe we could talk about this in a few years when you're a little older?"

So any suggestions on how to avoid this subject until he does biology, gets his first Playboy magazine, or watches his first porno with his friends, would be gratefully accepted! Lord, how will I get through his first wet dream? Someone will need to teach both boys how to use the washing machine, so I can avoid all knowledge of either of these events...

Time for him to read "Where do I come from?" I think. Peter Mayle should receive a sainthood for writing that book!!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Wanted: Personal Assistant!

Trying to keep up with three kids, a full-time job, the house and bills and a happily busy social life is starting to get exhausting!! And now with summer right around the corner, I have to squeeze in a little gym time, trips to the beach, the zoo and whatever else might amuse my kids and my baby sister (not really a baby, she's 22) who is coming to stay with us for THREE months!


And the boyfriend, who is becoming a little bit more of a fixture :-) I have to find time to make a trip to the beach to meet his best friend and his wife with their newborn daughter. That was a bit of a surprise, but a pleasant one.

So the month of May includes the following:

  • My daughter's final band concert of the year
  • Yet another court hearing, this time Property Settlement. Their current offer does not quite fit my definition (or anyone else's) of EQUITABLE distribution!
  • Mother's Day (this is likely to be no different than any other day given that my kids are too young to do anything for me)
  • Patrice's housewarming... which apparently includes an after-party
  • The neighbourhood 'Spring Fling' which occurs on the same day as Patrice's housewarming
  • A trip to the beach to meet my firefighter's friends and their baby (let's hope I do not show any broodiness...)
I still haven't made the guest room habitable for my sister, so there'll be a month of furniture moving, cleaning and Lord knows what else to get that done, and somehow without letting my son's know why since they have no idea their aunt is coming for summer! How my daughter and I have kept it quiet this long, I will never know.

And then a seven day stretch of birthdays! My son, mum, aunt, niece, step-granddad, and sister. All between May 30 and June 6th! My sister arrives June 5th and then we roll straight into a crazy month of June.

No pressure. I need an extra 8 hours in each day, have 4 calendars to keep track of and never get to the bottom of any to-do list, but hey, what would I do with myself if I ever did? I could sleep, I guess.... that would be nice....

Sunday, May 5, 2013

If you're happy and you know it, crack a smile!

Baby Girl's sleepover was the expected traumatic experience.  What else would it be with 5 hormonal girls spending several hours in each others company? 

But that's not what this post is about. I had decided to invite some ladies over to hangout and catch up and my best friend Eb came over early so we could do some much needed catching up. Sadly her grandmother had recently passed away so she was happy for the distraction and she hadn't heard about my firefighter, so I had to share the entire story with her! Eb is a judgement free zone. I know her secrets and she knows mine, so of course I even shared the one rocky moment I had with my new beau. Of course the important part for her was his actions after. I was able to share just how happy he makes me and I hadn't realised how much that was until I was talking to Eb.

Eb has been having trouble sleeping since her grandmother passed, so I gave her some of my cocktail to take home... my drinks tend to knock you out. She had tried various remedies and nothing had worked. So I texted her yesterday to see if she had managed any sleep and guess what? It had knocked her straight out! I will not divulge my secrets, but my drinks are pretty damn awesome. She had passed on my condolences to her mother and told her husband, a former co-worker of mine, how happy my firefighter makes me and he said it's about time! I feel so blessed to have them in my life. They have gone through their own personal tragedies over the last few years, losing a child to stillbirth and various other family members to illnesses, Eb's own mother went through a bout of cancer, but they are still strong. They are excited to start hanging out with us and so am I!

Being able to say out loud what a wonderful man I have in my life and having Eb see the happiness on my face amplified it even more. I can't wipe the smile away :-)

Friday, May 3, 2013

Evil 151... I am not as young as I used to be...

I've missed playing pool and have recently decided to return to my local Alehouse for a little R&R and friendly yet competitive pool. I'm not the best player in there, but I'm also definitely not the worst.... After spending the early evening cleaning and chasing the kids to get their homework done, I decided to go out and take a couple of hours to myself. When I arrived, Harry was already on one of the tables playing Butch. These two are probably my favourites. There were two 'young'uns' also hanging around the table, so when Butch beat Harry, they had quarters down and picked up their cues to play. Since they both moved to the table Butch thought they wanted to play doubles, so he let them rack up and came over to say hi.... during which 2 minute time span, they proceeded to start playing. Each other. Yes, they stole Butch's table. Well they were horrendous and the game took FOREVER, but it was fun entertainment watching them miss shots right in front of the pocket, nudge solids out of the way to sink the cue ball.... Anyway, we ended up being not very subtle and hinting that there were real players who wanted to get on the table. Harry and Butch suggested I play Kenny, who works there, but had knocked off earlier. I have never played Kenny before, but he's pretty good and the games went back and forth. By about the third game, Kenny suggested we do a shot. Well, being a rum drinker, I didn't want to mix, so I opted (yes, voluntarily) for Bacardi 151.

I now hate Kenny.

For the record. I used to drink 151 regularly with little or no ill-effects... just some minor memory loss of everything beyond the the consumption of the 4th or 5th shot.... Last night I had one (very large) shot. I woke up feeling ok. I showered, dressed, took the boys to the bus. All ok. As I was driving to the office, I received a not welcome email from my lawyer. So I'm not sure which created the headache. The ridiculous settlement offer from my ex (ridiculous because it defies the description of EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION), or the single shot of 151.... We will never know for sure. Unless I take another shot. Which probably won't happen.

We will discuss the "Equitable Distribution" another time. Like maybe when he and his lawyer learn the definition of EQUITABLE. Hell might very well be frozen by then.

Can't help spoiling my Baby Girl

So, I became the parent of a teen on Wednesday. And though we've had our ups and downs the last 12 months, despite everything, I couldn't help myself and spoiled the child rotten!

She woke up early to balloons and flowers and opened her cards. I made her favourite breakfast of French toast while pulling the boys lunches together. Then she went off to school with her invitations (very late) for tonight's sleepover. Then it was off to her favourite restaurant Romano's Macaroni Grill  for her favourite macaroni and cheese! (I know, very fancy, right!) with Gigi's cupcakes for dessert. She was given her gifts while we waited for dinner and she received a very nice, even if I do say so myself, purple Pandora bracelet with a music note charm from me, Call of Duty Black Ops II from her brothers with a purple controller, then the coup de grace was waiting on the passenger seat of the car when she came out of the restaurant. A new laptop bundle, which was just too big to wrap, my firefighter suggested leaving it on the seat for her. Her face was priceless!!

So job well done on Wednesday, I've had to take a half day today to get everything ready for her 'party' which is more just a gathering of friends to ooh and ahh over her gifts... And a few ladies to help me get over the fact that I am old. Old enough to have a teen.