Tag Archive: miss ma’am


Fourteen

Hello, Fourteen. It’s nice to meet you, though I must say I’m still occasionally baffled that you’re here. It’s hard to believe that my little cabbage patch baby is Fourteen! But here we are.

Thirteen brought challenges of its own. I knew to expect some of them. Others we’re still working on trying to figure out. But that’s okay, because we’ll do it together, the three of us.

In some ways you’ve changed a lot this year, but in others, the changes are smaller, more subtle. You’re processing things on different levels (when you decide it’s worth the work), and it’s fascinating to hear how your brain works.

Thirteen saw you struggling a lot more with feelings that we all have from time to time, from feeling alone in the world or feeling like you don’t fit. It’s normal, as frustrating as that sentiment is, because I know it doesn’t really help address the issues you feel. Sometimes, though, the knowing that you’re *not* the only one who feels a certain way can be a stronger balm than actually figuring out how to change the feeling. I’d love to tell you that these awkward feelings are the realm of your teenage years, but the truth is that you’ll likely visit them many times in your life. It’s hard, but it’s okay, because there will always be people who can tell you that no matter how you feel, you’re amazing the way you are.

That’s what I want you to learn this year: that you’re amazing. Even if there are things you need to work on, you’re still amazing. Life is a journey of self-improvement; there will always be room for change, but that room for change doesn’t make you any less amazing. It really just doesn’t.

You’re becoming more of your own person which is an interesting journey. You’ve made some choices with that autonomy that I’d have preferred you hadn’t, but even so, it’s kind of interesting to see the person you’re trying to become. We’ll work on the rough edges, Fourteen, and we’ll explore your autonomy while reminding you that you still have plenty of time to be a kid. That’s okay, too.

You bring me a lot of joy. If there is one thing I could hammer into your head, it would be that. I know the last year that might have been harder to tell, but that’s not through any fault of you. Mommy’s had a rough year. (And you have no idea how happy it makes me that I’m still “Mommy”. No idea.) I’m afraid you’ll look back and see how often Mommy couldn’t leave the bedroom or couldn’t go to this thing or inadvertently made everyone miss that thing and you might be angry. I could understand that; truly, I could. My comfort, though, is knowing that your Mum, your Rin, has been there right beside you the whole way, picking up the pieces that I just wasn’t able to hold.

In a meeting with your therapist, he told me that part of the job of a good mom is making certain that her kid is well taken care, whether it means leaning on her partner for help, asking for help, or stuff like that. I argued with him for a good give minutes because everything I believed about parenting said that I should be able to do everything, no matter how hard it is, so it meant I was failing. Between Tom and Rin, they finally got me to stop and listen – really listen that is. It’s taken me a few months, but I think I finally *get* it.

The truth is that you *are* well taken care of. You are well loved. Rin does an amazing job with you, often better than I ever imagined I could and that makes me happy. I’d be lost without her. She’s helping to raise you into an awesome person, & that makes me so damn happy.

I have no idea what you’re going to bring to the party, Fourteen, but I know I’ll meet it with the same sense of wonder (and mild trepidation) that I’ve met each year, along with a slightly bittersweet sense of sadness that you’re growing up in front of my eyes. You’re a beautiful, intelligent, awesome person, Fourteen, and I’m going to spend the next year helping you learn that for yourself.

Thirteen

Hello, Thirteen. We finally meet.

I have worried about our meeting off & on over the years as today you officially become a teenager. It is often said that the teenagers are some of most intractable, as you search for independence, a sense of self, & a passel of other things depending upon who you ask. As a young mother, I feared those far off years wondering how I would ever survive them. (Of course, there were years I wondered how I’d survive the toddler years, the tween years, and honestly, the infant ones, too.)

As a thirteen year veteran mom, I know that trying to define which stage begins & ends is a fool’s errand best left to people writing books to terrify young parents. Reality says that there’s no clear line, & trying to define it is as aggravating as trying to navigate it. I know that I’ve seen flashes of diva attitude often attributed to “teen years” since you were Four, and I’ve seen glimpses of the woman you could become at every milestone stop along the way.

I also know that the fear I’ve felt for the teenage years – and Thirteen especially – was pretty much vanquished by Twelve & all of it’s ups, downs, zigzags, & curveballs. (Never fear: I’m not challenging the universe. I’m not saying anything crazy like, “how much worse could it get”, it’s just, Twelve pretty much set the bar for Hard Shit. I was talking to Mana in the wee hours of this morning, “She only has one cyst in her brain, so that surprise has already been sprung.”) After Twelve, it seems silly to worry about an arbitrary number that defines nothing about you beyond how many years you’ve been on this planet.

Trying to define you is almost impossible these days. At your surprise birthday tea today, you said something was probably obvious & I didn’t have the heart to tell you that “obvious” with you isn’t always “obvious”. There are a few constants: you’re a huge nerd & proud of it; if it’s My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, odds are fair that you’ll like it; you hate washing dishes (something we’re going to work on this year); you love pink (with a few rare exceptions); you’re an amazing kid that I love (even when you’re being a pain in the tush) more than I ever knew was possible.

I honestly don’t know what to expect from you, Thirteen. Twelve gave me a lot more silvery-golden hairs than I had before, made me face a situation that was similar to one of my worst nightmares, & in general, was downright terrifying (& not only because of the beginning of our journey to Seizureville). That fateful June day at the allergy doctor’s office changed all of our lives forever, though looking back I think it’s more accurate to say the life changing moment was when the ER doctor walked into the room & said, “It’s not nothing because it’s obviously something, but it’s nothing” just after he said they’d found a cyst on the CT.

My heart skipped a beat & I struggled with myself to remain brave for you even though inside my head, I was screaming a variety of things that could best be summed up as, “NOOOOOOO! NOT MY BABY!!!!” I listened to that ER doctor explain what they did know & also how much they didn’t. From that point, we began a journey that has changed all three of us in good & not so good ways. It’s still a journey as there are still so many unanswered questions, but the one thing that I know is we’ll make the journey together, your two moms & you.

Twelve also saw a spike in inattentive behavior, a tendency for slacking in your work that’s been downright maddening at times, & a few hints of attitude that I’d really like to not see repeat too much with Thirteen. While the seizures likely account for part of this, we’ve also confirmed that you likely do have ADHD though trying to sort those two things from, as your therapist put it, “a healthy case of being twelve”. All of this has made for rocky times, but I also know that it’s something you’re trying to work on, & I’m hopeful that between the strategies you’ve learned in the last few months & a genuine effort on your part to improve that Thirteen will find even more improvement. I hesitate right now to include this section & may yet delete it; however, it was definitely a recurring theme of Twelve, and I want you to be able to look at this in the future & say, “wow! Look how far I’ve come.”

Thirteen, I have no idea what to expect from you. Your therapist suggests that one thing to expect is a quest to define yourself as a separate entity from the you that we as your parents have helped shape. This both intrigues me & terrifies me; I’ve always been amazed by watching you grow & change before my eyes. It terrifies me, because I don’t know what to expect & that’s always a challenge for me.

In the last several months, you’ve been doing some work both with our help, with your therapist’s help, & on your own to learn to be able to communicate your thoughts & feelings more clearly & to find a better balance with your emotional self-care. At times, this has frustrated you beyond belief, made you in turns angry & sad, and has clearly been a challenge, yet you keep trying. I’m so proud of you for that; I know how difficult this type of sorting can be.

Thirteen, I know that no matter what happens, I’ll love you more than I have words to speak & I know the same can be said of your Mum, because no matter what, we’ll always love you. Always, baby girl. Always.

That tone of sheer frustration in your partner’s voice as she tells you that the child has left wet laundry for four days in the new washing machine…yeah, that sucks. The child is already in mega-trouble anyway, and this is just icing on the “Kero not taking personal responsibility” cake. I get that some of that is her age, and we do make allowances for some of it, but that certainly does not give her blanket permission to do nothing.

The current plan of action is a new one for us that hopefully will have results soon. While yesterday she did not do EVERYTHING that she was supposed to do (and she still refuses to come clean about what she was doing Friday while Rin and I had appointments that ended up including an unexpected trip to the hospital for more ankle x-rays which is irritating as all hell, because we’re pretty sure the answer is “fooling around with toys and pretty much anything but homework” as opposed to something egregious that might be considered “worth” lying about) she actually did do things she knows she is supposed to do every day without us coming behind her to remind her. This tells me that she is perfectly capable of doing so which means that the allowances we were making for her were largely unnecessary and have resulted in her being lazy because she can.

Hopefully, she will decide to be honest today (and perhaps try to have the conversation before bedtime unlike last night). I’d really like things to get back to normal and for her to not be in major trouble because it certainly does not make me happy, but I’m not holding out too much hope given how yesterday went in that regard. *sighs* Some days, I want to box her tween ears. The end goal of the current plan of action is Kero realizing that she needs to take responsibility for herself and her actions, including doing a GOOD job with her chores and her schoolwork, but getting to that goal might drive me nuts. I know we’ve made the right choice in what we are doing, but I’m just not happy about it because I HATE her being in trouble with a fiery passion. I know it is a part of mommyhood and I know it is best for her because obviously letting her get away with slacker work, lying, and no personal responsibility is good for no one, especially her, but I still hate, hate, hate it. It makes ME cranky and I feel like a big, mean jerk even when it is my job to be a big, mean jerk.

We remind her every time she is in trouble that we love her dearly and that is why we make the choices we make to correct her behavior. One time she said she felt like we didn’t care about her and I had to try not to laugh hysterically at her; I pointed out that if we didn’t care about her, we certainly wouldn’t be taking the time and the personal headache and stress of creating punishments that seek to correct behavior as opposed to being strictly punitive, and we wouldn’t give a crap if she had personal responsibility or took care of herself and we DEFINITELY wouldn’t be homeschooling her so that she can learn in a fashion that is better for her than being stuck in the standard cookie cutter mold of public ed. I went on to point out just how much I hate when she is in trouble and how even when she doesn’t necessarily see me being upset about her being in trouble doesn’t mean I’m not; in fact, the opposite is usually true. Thankfully, she actually understood the points that we made to her that day and hasn’t tried to make THAT argument again, and like I said, it is important to me to regularly remind her that even when we are very angry and very disappointed, we still love her. But damn if all of this isn’t frustrating as hell.

*sighs* She is largely a great kid and I know that, but because I know that she can be better than she’s been recently, I expect more of her. I know that she can successfully wash dishes without someone having to come behind her despite her not doing so since we were in Georgia. (And actually, this trip, she embarrassed the hell out of me because while previously she at least did a better job when helping with kitchen chores at someone else’s house than she did here at home, this time, she put a very obviously filthy pot into the dishwasher at Megan and Chad’s. Even worse was the fact that it was a pot with ramen noodles, so the entire load had to be rewashed before I could use anything out of it because she basically gluten contaminated the entire load. And frankly, the fact that she normally would do better at other folks’ houses is one of the reasons I know she should be capable of doing so at home.) I know she is better than the work that she has been doing; I totally understand that chores are boring and no one likes to do them, but they are also a necessary part of life. I also know that journal writing isn’t her favorite thing to do, but being able to write about events and her thoughts and feelings is something that she needs to be able to do. Plus, it is part of the homeschooling record that Rin and I keep, so it is necessary work in that regard as well.

What makes a lot of this even more frustrating is that since we’ve been home, we have been making a lot of allowances for her with some of her work. We have put most of her schoolwork on hold so she can finish her trip journal by 1 June, and we have even been letting her out of some of that work time so she has had time to go play with her friends outside, several days for 3+ hours. We basically have been trying to make her life easier and we have been repaid with sloppy work and lies which has gotten her super-duper grounded from pretty much everything. And since she has proven that at present she is no longer responsible enough to stay by herself for a few hours, something that she has been doing in increasing increments for five years now, she is going to have to haul her work with us to the MRI center on Tuesday and do her work in the waiting room while I’m having that done which will likely be super uncomfy for her given that she usually likes to sprawl herself and her work out at home. However, that is what happens when you can’t be trusted to work on your own. Of course, it also makes things more irritating for Rin and I because we now have to haul her everywhere with us again until she can regain some trust, but that is just how it is going to have to be. Obviously, there is also concern about the quality of her work but given what she did with the time she was here by herself Friday, I don’t see how it could get much worse. (Logically, I know it can, but it is going to take some effort on her part and that will come with its own extra consequences.)

If she doesn’t get herself straightened out soon, she is going to miss out on a lot of things and frankly, she is making us both wonder if she actually IS ready for an almost two week long camp. Some of the behaviors she has shown in the past two weeks are all on the “not ready for camp” list that Camp G. sent including not properly taking care of her hygiene. (I’m going to leave out the details both to avoid embarrassing her and to avoid grossing anyone out because that isn’t cool, but it was pretty epically not good and actually unusual for her.) I want her to be able to go to camp, but I don’t want to spend the money and then have to go pick her up because she isn’t doing what she is supposed to. They certainly aren’t going to come behind her and make sure she does every step of every activity she is supposed to, and they will send her home if she isn’t doing what is required of her. I just don’t want to waste the money if she isn’t going to take responsibility for herself. At present, she is still registered, but her actions in the next few weeks before we have to pay the rest of her camp fee will be the determining factor.

I wasn’t going to post about any of this because…well, a lot of reasons, but the washing machine frustration was a bit too much and was one point too many for me to not try to process some of it. I decided to share it because I know folks who have kids in similar age brackets, and I know that sometimes, when people only post about the good things that kids do, it can feel like you’re on an island when your kid is being a jerk. (And face it, all kids can be giant jerks from time to time.) So, if your tween is being a total pain in your bum know that you’re most definitely not alone. If you need to vent, feel free to do so in the comments. Also, if you have any tips on getting kids to tell the truth that don’t involve smacking their heads into a wall (obviously not a good plan) or washing their mouth out with soap (really, really, really bad for you with soap these days and also not very effective beyond being rage inducing), feel free to leave a note in the comments.

I know that in the long run, taking these steps to show her natural consequences of her behavior will pay off, but right now, when we’re in the middle of the battle, I can’t help but wonder just how far away “the long run” is.

Brighter Things

I refuse to let all of that be the top entry right now*, so I’ll talk about a couple of MUCH happier things before I crawl into bed. I obviously am VERY behind so I’ll just share some of the highlights from today.

Rin frantically making little cookies to take to K’s class for her Holiday Party

The other parents, but more importantly the kids, all loved making their own ornaments. They even managed to share far better than I expected from that group.

K winning bingo, bouncing out of her seat with excitement and pride as she realized she’d won. She has HORRIBLE luck at playing bingo and so her winning was pretty big. Her prize was a chocolate santa. Huzzah for that.

The sounds of happy K working on cleaning up her room. She didn’t have homework today, so she had a bit of extra time. Sure, she had to be sent back several times, but you could still tell that in spite of cleaning up, she was happy and having fun.

Watching K’s bouncing excitement as she conspired with Rin across the room. I knew what they were planning, at least a little bit, but not exactly.  She took the time to write out a note and then typed it all in: the note?

From: Us ^_^

Message:
Rin had the idea for Mercedes Lackey, but I picked out the book. 🙂 I hope you like your Christmas present. I love you! Love, K

Rin had given her the idea a couple of weeks ago about making part of my holiday present a book for my Kindle. Rin obviously gave her the idea of Mercedes Lackey, and she let her see the titles that were available. When K found out that the newest was available, that was the one she had to pick. So, I was blessed with an early holiday present and a lot of love and smiles. They both felt it might help me feel better and it might make waiting at the doctor a bit easier.

Later, while Rin was at the grocery store and picking up dinner, listening to K play Petville on my computer. Really, hearing her narrate the different things going on is quite amusing, but mostly, she just makes happy noises and conversation and it’s fun. Some days, it can be overwhelming, but it was comfortable tonight.

There are painful things in my life but I am happy and I sometimes have to remind myself of that. Moreover, I have an AMAZING kid who fills my day with a lot of laughing and a lot of hugs. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

* Nota bene: The post that came before this one is a private entry at this point. I decided to leave it that way for reasons. So, enjoy the brighter stuff.

I cannot quite seem to sort where to start which is probably not a huge surprise. I am supposed to be heading to bed (which seems to be a recurring theme on its own, no?), but I can’t manage to get my brain to match my body’s desire to sleep. Hah, and I totally just had to pause and go check out my last entry to see what the last things I posted were. Since I am oddly not in the mood for random, I’ll try the slightly more organized method again.

Fun Run
K was pretty excited about it because third grade got to wear purple shirts instead of their normal uniform shirts. They were running late morning but before lunch, and the day was pretty much perfect for it. It had rained the day before and we were a bit worried that they would get rained out. Rin and I headed over to watch and cheer them on. When we got there, we could see K before she could see us. She was bouncy, but what was really cute was that she got about five times more excited when she saw us.

The kids ran for about twenty minutes after their warm-up wiggling and dancing. Some of them actually managed to run most of it. Others…well, you could tell that a lot of the third and fourth graders weren’t used to having to run for long stretches. They were running to different songs and one of them was a cover of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ which was both slightly surreal and also a bit disturbing. It wasn’t bad, mind, simply…different. What was perhaps more amusing was that all of the grown-ups were singing along and some of the kids were appraising them as though they were more cool than perhaps they had thought. If only they knew! (Of course, if they are as cool as K, they DO know considering that she knows the original!)

We were quite proud of K because she actually managed to run a good portion of all of the activity time. It turns out that having her do sprints on a regular basis is a good thing! She had a lot of fun because she got to run around with Max, the Movin’ and Groovin’ Crew’s mascot, who just happens to be a cheetah. Rin managed to get some really cool pictures and even some video with her phone, so that was fun.

At the end, the kids all got popsicles and then each class had their picture taken with Max. That was its own amusing bit of chaos because at that point, the kids weren’t entirely paying attention anymore and most of the teachers looked a bit lost since the Get Movin’ and Groovin’ team hadn’t given the best instructions. The pictures all got taken though and then the kids were back to class and Rin and I headed for lunch and a few other errands.

Full Moon, Solstice, and Other Random Things
This month’s full moon was a bit odd. I suspect that part of it had to do with the fact that it fell on solstice which can change the energies in the air anyway. However, I don’t think I’ve had a full moon pass where I was so exhausted in quite awhile. Normally I have a fair bit of extra energy and even tend to go a day or so without really sleeping because of the charge in the air. This time I was a walking zombie and was more than a bit agitated because of it.

The general feel of the solstice was heavy and there seemed to be a lot of tension running around, not just here, but with other friends as well. I later posited to Rin that some of -our- general tension and sense of “something pending” was perhaps that this is the beginning of our first full season in our new situation and that can make things seem more intense. It also doesn’t help that right now both of us are trying to balance a lot of things and answer a lot of questions that don’t seem to want to have easy answers.

On the whole, the days around the full moon were relatively quiet. Rin and I did sneak out Thursday night after K had gone to bed to get coffee and finish plotting out what we wanted to send to the coronation that was going to be happening on Saturday. (More on that in a bit.) It was still warm enough that we could sit outside on the patio at Starbucks but it actually was a bit brisk which was nice given that the first day of fall was in the upper 80s temperature wise which felt a bit odd, too. It was nice to sit and talk and enjoy the evening and watch the clouds passing over the moon. They made some rather spectacular images and made me wish for about the millionth time for a camera. Sadly that is way down on the priority list at the moment.

Friday Rin ran around and covered a lot of ground on finishing our project while I slept since I felt like crap. That has been a theme of the past couple of weeks. After K got home, we went to get the things we needed to finish up the project even though we found out that odds were low that we were going to manage to run into the Baroness before they left. We also were briefly pondering attending said coronation because I had gotten the distance mixed up with something else. A three and a half hour drive is plausible for a day trip…a five hour drive is not, because really, ten hours in the car total, plus the event itself, and she and I both likely would have fallen on our faces or driven into a ditch. Reason won the day though since we knew we couldn’t really afford the expense of a hotel room right now. Of course, this meant that our gift for the new King and Queen will have to be delivered to them another time, but sometimes that is how things fall out.

It turns out that it was a good thing that we did not go though since I spent most of Saturday with a vicious headache stemming from an earache. It only got worse as the evening progressed and some drama that cropped up throughout the day didn’t really help that at all. I didn’t get a ton of sleep Saturday night and spent a lot of time with a heating pack across my face. It helped some but really, when something hurts so badly that it hurts too much to cry…well, that says something about how much it hurt I think.

Sunday, for me, was a very slow, lazy day. I was curled up on the sofa for most of it. Rin and K on the other hand were busy little beavers. They were doing helpful and useful things like cleaning out the ovens since it was cool enough to air out the house and other cleaning up the kitchen work. K was a super helpful which always makes me really proud of her. I felt like hell that I couldn’t really help, but every time I stood up on Sunday I was having to catch myself on something in an effort to not fall over. I was unamused by this state, though it is, in the grand scheme of things, nothing new.

I do know that they got a fair bit done on the kitchen and the bathroom and they also were working on laundry, too. I was pretty proud of both of them, really.

Life as a Hornet
Monday night was the first PTO meeting at K’s school. It was actually really interesting and I have to say that they really have their stuff together. I like the fact that they seem to be really organized; I also like the fact that the PTO at her school actually does make a really big difference with school activities and even community activities. It was also fantastic to learn that Hamilton is in the top 15% of elementary schools in Indiana and they are really close to being a four star school which requires the school’s test scores in math and language arts to be in the top 25% and also for them to have the top 25% in attendance. They are a bit short on the math and a little short on the attendance; however, their language arts scores are pretty phenomenal. It makes them stand not far behind the “banner” school in the Corporation which I think is pretty awesome.

The president was talking about several things they need volunteers for and Rin has talked me into helping with the Playground Grant Writing Committee. I think she’s nuts and that I am in way over my head; however, the president pointed out that no experience was necessary but that useful skills included being able to do Internet research and also being able to make things sound really smart. Given that I actually can be good at both, I might not be so lost as I fear. Of course, I think there is definitely going to be a learning curve here. o_O I poked into a bit of research after we got home and there is a LOT that I need to find out about and learn, that’s for sure.

On the whole, one thing I REALLY like is that the members of the PTO were -really- accepting and basically treated Rin and I like we were already a part of the team. In the past, I have had to earn my position as a team member and that was after putting in a lot of work in a lot of places at the school. I was pretty impressed on the whole that they were as friendly as they were. I like it a lot.

After the meeting we went to dinner. I called Mom while we were there since I had been incommunicado all weekend. Whoops. She has pretty much been at Grandmother’s non-stop. She was actually at home when I called and she joked that it was like her and Dad were dating again except that she was living at the wrong house. I thought that was pretty hilarious actually. I asked her if she got mauled by the cats and apparently she almost did and they had been playing lap roulette with her while she was there. I also got to share the news that my cousin and his wife had had their baby that day since I knew she and Grandmother both would want to know. She and K talked for a bit and then K talked to Dad but about that point, our food got there, so I told Mom I’d talk to her later and we finished dinner.

Girl Scouts
Today was registration for Girl Scouts which K was literally bouncing over. We officially have all of her paperwork turned in and Rin and I have started the process of being volunteers for her troop. Her meetings are going to be on Sundays which is better than the other option. It does mean that the group that is based out of her school is not the troop she’ll be in but Wednesdays from 4-6 doesn’t work for us since Rin doesn’t even get out of class until 5 on Wednesdays. Honestly, I like the troop leader of the Sunday Brownie troop and she is already excited for us to be working with her, so that is awesome. We just have to finish getting our paperwork filled out which includes having five references which they will call…and the references cannot be related to you, which I think is interesting. The Girl Scouts, they are not playing! They run background checks on their adult volunteers.

At any rate, the process is now underway and our first meeting is 10 October, and K is super excited which is good. I just hope she STAYS this excited.

I also had a chance to talk to one of the other troop leaders and got some tips about pediatricians and dentists and other information like how some of the state assistance works up here so that was handy. It turns out that unlike Georgia, Indiana will back pay on medical bills if you’ve already gotten the paperwork process started so that is something that I am going to be working on tomorrow. I am really not looking forward to that and I know that a lot of that is basically me arguing with my pride; however, I know that I HAVE been job hunting and I have been trying to find income and it hasn’t worked out so far…so now I need to get my head out of my ass and do what needs to be done. I just…had hoped to not have to do it all over again.

It’s 3am…
Well, almost. We’re about three minutes shy…and of course by the time I post this, we’ll likely be long past that point, by you never know…and it does make a nice heading.

I don’t much know what else to say. I am using a new laptop than I was which is making my life a lot easier. It’s nice to be able to do more than one thing at a time, that’s for sure.

Medically…well, it’s been about a month since I was on prednisone, so a lot of the typical post-steroid issues are cropping back up. The tightness in my chest wall, the inflammation between my ribs and across my chest area are making life unpleasant. The faint rash across my face and across my chest is quite present and it is most definitely not sunburn. Dry, itchy eyes are driving me up a wall. The lack of mobility is disconcerting some days. The list kind of goes on and on and it is upsetting and worrisome. Even more upsetting is trying to figure out how to balance the cost of medicines with everything else. Once things are a bit more sorted and I have the things K needs taken care of sorted, then I will get to begin the fun process of trying to find a new doctor for myself. I am very much not looking forward to that. Finding a new doctor is tricky when you are healthy. Finding one when you have a chronic illness is a thousand times trickier. First you have to find one that will handle a chronic illness with more than “it’s all in your head, here have some happy pills,” and then it will be finding one who will be willing to hear me out and maybe run some more of the tests that I need run. There are things that really should have been done that have not been and I don’t know where to even start. Obviously walking into a new office comes with a lot of things to consider anyway. I need to find a doctor who will work with me and talk to me. Oh, and finding one who will also write scripts for my meds would be handy. *sighs* I’m giving myself a headache just thinking about it…but it will have to happen and sooner rather than later. In the meantime, I’ll just try not to think about it too much. I can’t sort that until I have insurance of some kind anyway.

I feel like a whiner tonight. No, worse, I feel more than a bit useless. Rin has been doing most of the things that need doing lately. I have helped with some small things, but it is not taking much to send me back to bed. For the tons of stuff that she did this morning and afternoon…I gathered up one bag of trash and sorted a few other things. It…is frustrating and upsetting and…some of it is kind of scary. I am used to having mobility issues…I am not quite so used to having such broad-spectrum mobility issues. My coordination has been incredibly off the past couple of weeks and I do not think that my inner ear is to blame for all of that. Sometimes, it feels like muscles and joints just do not want to move the way I want them to move. It takes almost nothing to send me almost careening to the floor and on more than one occasion I’ve had to put myself in the floor before I ended up there in an uncontrolled fashion. I don’t entirely know what to do with all of that. I stay exhausted, no matter how much sleep I get…and believe me, I’m doing a lot more sleeping than I tend to make it sound. My ability to even do the bits of walking about that I was doing have been severely limited again and that is kind of frustrating since I had sort of begun to get into a routine. It is tricky to do exercise when you’re almost falling on your face though. *sighs* I don’t know…I do know that talking about it is just kind of making me more frustrated right now and I need to actually go to bed because I have a lot I need to do tomorrow and I really, really do not want to sound like a whiner.

One step at a time…that’s the best that I can do I suppose. Aside from attempting to handle bureaucracy tomorrow, I also need to make a couple of phone calls and try to get a couple of things done around the house. I suspect that the latter will be the most limited activity. Who knows? Maybe I’ll wake up with a stored energy pool or something? *hopeful*

Until later…be excellent to each other.

It’s been a busy week, what with school and feeling like crap and SCA Friday night, and the Trail of Courage on Sunday. Wednesday night we had Curriculum Night at K’s school where basically we got to listen to her teacher talk about some of the things they are doing in class and some of the things that are coming up. She answered questions that people had and for the most part, it was pretty mundane. I wanted to thwap K for having a messy desk, yet again, though I know that K and a messy desk kind of go hand-in-hand. It was a battle I spent all of first grade and part of second combating and I really would like to not do it anymore. Thankfully it was a lot less messy upon actual situation versus initial observation. Not so thankfully was the realization that she was stuffing things into it that she wasn’t supposed to do at all and that she had a sheet that hadn’t been graded. Rawr. Her teacher did let her bring it home and let her finish it for homework which is what she was supposed to have done in the first place.

Life as a Hornet (aka goings-on with K and school)
As far as other things at Curriculum Night went, it was nice to find out that Rin and I were not the only people slightly perplexed by some of their math homework. It’s nice not to be the only dumbass in the room. 😀

Friday was picture day and I was a mean Momma and made K wear her uniform despite the fact that students did not have to do so. It is her first year in them and it was her first picture day of the year; the kid was wearing her dang uniform! While I expected a bit of a fuss that afternoon I actually didn’t get it. She was amused that people had kept asking her why she was wearing it. K LIKES her uniforms, and Rinda had fixed one of her awesome skirts (you know, the ones she outgrew before the first day of school) so that it fit comfortably, and she got to wear a pair of her knee socks, so that made her happy.

SCA Ramblings
Friday night we went to SCA fighter practice, albeit late. Rin had been at IU working on some school things and got home later than she had expected. We were contemplating going to dinner with George and Mary Chris for George’s birthday, but it was a bit of a last minute thing and we both felt more inclined to go hang out with a low-key crowd instead, particularly since we’d already made plans to do so and we hadn’t actually been able to in a few weeks. It turned out to be a wise choice as we hung out at the Grill at IUSB for a bit before heading to Tradewinds for dinner. It is always quite interesting to hang out with that group, but I think what made the night was the fact that we spent hours talking to Sarah, our Baroness. Her son, A, and K, spent a fair bit of time playing together until they both ended up passing out in the booth by the table where we were sitting. It was almost four before we finally left. What can I say, she’s a fascinating person and she is a helluva lot of fun to talk to. We learned some very interesting things and I started mulling over a few ideas for craft type things since she needs things for the baronial basket for the coronation coming up this weekend. I am still mulling over that one.

Saturday was fairly low-key given that I slept all day. We hung out at home and basically just enjoyed a quiet night.

Trail of Courage Festival
Sunday was kind of hectic. We had gotten up early to go to the Trail of Courage in Rochester which is about an hour away, but getting ready kind of spiraled out of control as we scrambled for the things we needed to find and got things ready. I wasn’t moving well at all and Rin is still a bit sick, so that made things even trickier. We were both a bit disheartened when we didn’t leave the house until 1 since the festival ended at 4; however, we still went and I am very glad that we did.

For one thing, it is living history. The festival is set in the French Fur Trade era and displays artisans, native dancers, and several other elements from when the Potawatami were trading with settlers. It is fun to take K to things like this both because it provides learning experiences and because watching her is exciting. She thoroughly enjoys herself and she bounces with glee when she sees things that are new to her. No one enjoyed the marching fife, drum, and bagpipe players more than she did! We all were costuming a bit and she got tons of compliments on her outfit and we even had one food vendor who mistook us for people who were working the event which was a nice compliment in and of itself.

For my part, I enjoy looking at the different craft pieces and the different styles from that period. Some of the native beadwork was absolutely gorgeous and the leather work kind of made me wish I had a few hundred dollars to spare. We did have one splurge. >_> I sort of fell in love with a hand-crafted blade. I have been trying to be good and not buy new blades of late; however, I believe I can incorporate this one into SCA persona attire and the gentleman who made it was very kind and knocked the price down to $35. I think he was bemused by how over-the-moon I was with his work, to be honest. What surprised me the most was that for a piece of work that is about the length of my forearm, it was lighter than most butter knives. The blade is a bowie and the handle is an incredible dark brown with a silver hilt…and at both ends of the hilt are stealthy little pentagram shaped stars. I sort of did a double take and that since I had already been impressed with the sheath and the handle and when he put it into my hand I was kind of o_O with childish glee. My need to be good as far as money is concerned was heavily at war with my desire to own that blade. His wife was definitely amused by how I kept looking at it even after I had put it back on the table. Rin and I talked about it and when he said he would reduce the price and that he would take checks (we had missed the ATM on the way in), well, the naughty won.

In fairness, the blade is most definitely worth the money spent and even if I cannot successfully tie it into SCA attire, it is certainly going to become an anchor blade for a few things. I already have one working athame that is very strongly keyed with the moon and a couple of other bits and pieces and that tends to act as an extra shield point at places like Dragon*Con, but this one is certainly going to factor into a few things and whether or not I carry it at Con or faire is somewhat irrelevant to the fact that the blade resonated in my hand from the moment he handed it to me. If you know me, you know that I enjoy sharp, pointy objects, but not all of the ones I carry resonate quite like that. Sure, some of them have rather strong significance, but a lot of times that significance comes after purchase, not before. This particular blade was singing my song and I am glad that I resisted its siren’s call despite feeling slightly guilty for the expense.

Other than that, we were actually pretty good. We bought a nice blue bottle that was subsequently filled with homemade root beer that K loved. I was a bit less enamored of the flavor but the bottle is pretty awesome. We also bought caramel corn that they were making on-site which is pretty yummy, too. It was utterly HILARIOUS to see K’s face the first time she was standing near the popcorn booth when they were making it…I suspect mine was pretty good, too. Rin was talking to someone and I was half-paying attention to her and half-keeping an eye on where K was watching. I caught the look on Miss Ma’am’s face about the same time the popcorn started to pop all over the place. They make it in a huge cast iron kettle and it is hand-stirred with a long wooden paddle. The pot throws off a lot of smoke just before the corn starts to pop like crazy. Most of it stays in the kettle, but some escapes which makes for a pretty impressive tableau for a few seconds. K bounced about that and had fun watching for it every time we were nearby.

She was also impressed with the blacksmith who was working on site though she did not entirely understand everything that he was doing. She found several jewelry pieces that she liked as well as a few small blades that she thought looked neat. She also proved to be an example for several kids and impressed on of the Native American gentlemen running a tent. He had a lot of children’s items like cup and ball games, pop guns, spinning tops, and the like, and lots of kids were playing with them, some more carefully than others. We have a general rule that K cannot touch things without first asking one of us and second asking the vendor. She wanted to play with one of the cup and ball toys while we were looking at the other pieces in the tent and Rin told her that she could if she asked first. (I was impressed she remembered given how many other kids were just playing with things.) She walked up to the gentleman who was running the tent and from across the center table I hear this:

K: Can I pick up one of your toys?
Him: I don’t know, can you? (You could hear a bit of teasing in his voice. I was -very- amused. I glanced over and K was looking a bit puzzled. I can’t remember exactly what Rin said but it was to the effect of you know that you have the ability to pick up something, so how are you supposed to ask?)
K: *dawning realization* May I pick up one of your toys?
Him: You certainly can. You’re the first person to ask me that all weekend.

The look on K’s face was pretty epic. The looks on mine and Rin’s faces was a mix of “HAHAH THAT’S OUR KID” and “Holy shit some people have no fucking manners.” Seriously, I know that they look neat and you want to play with them, but you’d think at least -some- people would ask. Apparently not. *headshake* He was quite impressed with her manners and he helped teach her how to use the cup and ball toy. She managed to not hit herself in the head with it like I did the first time I played with one of those and she actually started to get the hang of it, at least a little bit. I have been a proud Mama and have been bragging on her behavior to lots of people because a) I think it is important to reinforce the behaviors that I want to see and b) my kid freaking rocks!

We didn’t buy anything from him right then since he was one of the first places we looked; however, we did stop back by on our way out. He was still impressed with K and answered the questions that she had about a couple of things and he chatted with Rin and I while we browsed through his tent again. He had some wicked awesome little telescopes and compasses but we couldn’t afford them right now (though they were very reasonably priced). We did end up buying K a cup and ball toy, though not the multi-colored one she had been playing with. He was selling a darkly stained one that will actually be SCA event appropriate because it is period accurate, so we picked that one up for her. We also got a couple of other little bits and then headed to buy my popcorn. 🙂

(Yes, I know I’m going in a crazy order, but I’m basically stream-of-conscious writing this one at the moment.)

In our meandering path, we passed a booth that was selling little bird whistles that needed water in them to make them work. I wanted to maul those people with my wooden staff, so much. They were very high pitched and all of the children buying them were annoying. They basically were blowing them as many times as they could, as loudly as they could. There were adults encouraging this behavior…I wanted to smite them. I know that whistles are fun toys for kids, but I also know that they are some of the most annoying things on the planet. I was very glad when we finally got past that section. Amusingly, while a lot of vendors were selling small flutes or whistles, they all had “you blow it, you buy it” policies which is a) smart because of health concerns and b) awesome because it means that you don’t have a ton of extra blowing going on.

We ran into one of the Aztec dancers that recognized Rin from when she had gone last year. He was a bit overly-friendly and made my metaphysical whiskers twitch about sixteen different ways. I think the nicest summation I have is “he walks many paths” and we’ll leave it at that. We managed to extricate ourselves from his presence that time because he had to go somewhere else. When he found us again later, K saved us by having walked a bit further away from us (close enough for her usual acceptable radius but creepy dude didn’t know that) and we of course had to follow her. Thankfully, he didn’t follow us. I really try not to be overly judgmental of people and the paths they choose to walk, I just tend to get a bit tetchy when shaking someone’s hand vaguely feels like an oily substance trying to slide through my personal shields.

My blade purchase was our last vendor stop before heading for the food booths which were amusingly located in the woods. Their location was smart, particularly since it had rained on Saturday (and had also done so the year before), but it also was out of the way of the open areas for the dancers and the other vendor tents. It was wicked fun for K though. The number of times she said something like, “I’ve never eaten in the woods before!!” was certainly amusing. We got ears of corn and incredibly tart lemonade. K and I also got pickles and Rin got to amuse the hell out of a vendor. She had pulled out the Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans bag that she uses to hold change and the pickle guy asked her if she had gold nuggets hiding in there. She laughed and fished out two of the gold $1 coins she had and used those to pay him for our pickles. He was flabbergasted and then he was laughing. She was pretty happy, too, since she’s been holding onto those to use in a situation where it would be amusing to do so. It’s always fun to bring laughter to people, particularly with unexpected situations.

There were a lot of other food options that I might have wanted to try had it not been hot. When we had looked at the weather Saturday evening, it was supposed to be cooler and perhaps raining. We put together outfits based on that forecast…and when we got there, it was about ten degrees hotter than predicted and very sunny. I had to tuck a scarf around my shoulders and into my bodice to cover up the skin that was showing and I spent the first part of the afternoon walking around with my Hello Kitty parasol. I gave up on it when I got tired of people taller than me walking into it. However, it had gotten a bit more cloudy by then so I only got a little bit sunburnt as opposed to completely roasted which is what we had worried about. I did think I was going to melt though because I had on some of our heavier weight costume pieces. I also was dumb and wore a pair of boots that don’t fit properly and was paying for that by the end of the day, but that’s another story entirely. I certainly got a few odd looks given that my outfit was shades of dark blue, burgundy, and black and my HK parasol is bright pink, but I didn’t much care. I’d rather have funny looks than three days of sunsick.

Our meandering through the woods did give us time to hear several of the bagpiper’s songs and a few other instruments that you couldn’t hear in the main field area which was nice. K got to taste some local honey in wildflower and blueberry which she enjoyed. Oh! And toward the front edge of the food vendors there was a woman who uses a pedal loom to weave blankets. She had been on a break when we were near her booth, but she heard us telling K what the loom was and what it was for and she got up and came over and showed her. K was a bit wide-eyed at how it worked because it certainly is not something that she has seen before. She was fascinated by how the loom worked to bring all of the fibers together to make a finished product. She was both excited and gracious that the lady showed her how it worked which I thought was awesome. 🙂 It’s always nice to see lessons paying off.

I’m sure I’m forgetting some things, but as you might tell, we had an awesome time even with it being a shorter day than originally planned!

Way Down in Kokomo
(Because if I have to suffer the song, you do, too. :P)

After we left, we headed south toward Kokomo, in part because we thought it was a lot closer than it actually was. Turns out Kokomo is an hour south of Richmond…which makes it two hours south of South Bend. *headdesk* We didn’t realize our error until we were halfway there at which point turning around would have been dumb, particularly in light of the fact that neither Rin nor myself wanted fast food. We headed to Cracker Barrel which is a rare treat since the closest ones are either in Kokomo or Fort Wayne, both of which are about two hours away.

Rin tried the Applefest chicken and we both decided that while it was a neat idea in concept, it was disgusting in actual practice. She took about two bites and was rather upset by how it was making her feel. Our server…who was annoying and I’ll leave it at that for the moment…took it back and got Rin soup, but that was also not sitting well last night. She ended up getting a kid’s veggie plate to-go and had biscuits. I had the Homestyle Chicken which is a Sunday only special and it was yummy. I only ate one piece and saved the second so that Tadhg could have it because that is one he really likes. K had grilled chicken tenders and fried okra and she was certainly pleased with her dinner. All in all it was a good decision. I was pleased that the manager actually did his job: this is the second manager at the Kokomo store that I have seen do this, so that says something about the store itself.* We poked around the store a little bit and Rin and I each got a lightweight cardigan that actually felt tolerable on my skin and looked cute to boot. It is versatile in how you can handle the bottom of it which is kind of neat. It was on clearance which is even more neat. 🙂

After we left, I took over driving because Rin was pretty tired. I wanted coffee and had some money left on my Starbucks card, so we stopped at the first one (Kokomo has 2), but their espresso machine was locked up. For the trouble, they gave Rin and K 3 vanilla bean scones for free. While they were inside, I called Mom who had called the day before. She has been staying at my Grandmother’s house helping her recover from shoulder surgery. They had called to talk to K because they had gotten the letters she had mailed them. I talked to her for a few minutes and then called them back on Grandmother’s phone since Mom is getting low on cell minutes. I got to talk to Grandmother for a little bit which was nice. She is doing all right, but is in a lot of pain when the medicines wear off and apparently she is being stubborn about holding off until the last minute before taking them. *sigh* She is too stubborn for her own good sometimes. She had fun hearing stories about where we took Miss Ma’am and she thought it was a very good experience for her. She was also pleased by hearing about K’s big girl manners and she laughed and said that she suspected that K would be teaching those Yankees a thing or two by the end of the year.

K was vibrating in her seat by that point, so I handed the phone back and let her chat with Grandmother and Mom for a little bit while I headed to Starbucks number two. She finished talking about the time we got there because both of those ladies are tired. She and Rin went inside to get my coffee because they are cool like that and I took the opportunity to call Dad who has been staying at the house by himself. We chatted for a little bit and I told him about my new shiny because I knew he would appreciate it. I wanted to talk to him for a few minutes before I let K because I knew that once she knew who I was talking to she’d want the phone! 😀 He and K talked for a bit which made him pleased as punch, though I’ll admit that it makes me happy that he sounds just as thrilled to talk to me, too. 🙂

The drive home was pretty uneventful. We were trying to get K to sleep since it was kind of late, but she couldn’t fall asleep. Rin started to brainstorm with her about the day which turned into an impromptu history lesson. I was a bit startled by some of the things she didn’t know about early American history. I know that she is only in third grade, but it seems like some of the things, like information about the original colonies are things she should have at least heard of before, ya know? We talked a bit about early Indian relations (she actually knows a bit more about Native American culture than early American) and explained a few things, including why the name of the festival was important. When Rin asked her if she would like her to find books on the Potawatami at the library, K was quite excited in her reply which makes me squee just a bit. She loves to learn new things and I think that is totally freaking awesome.

We made a quick grocery store run on the way home because K has been having leg cramps and we suspected that some of that was because she hasn’t been eating bananas regularly, so she and Rin ran in and got some of those and a few other things and then we headed home. We got her put to bed and then Rin started on her homework and some laundry. I was playing around on the computer and reading a book. Poor Rin had to stay up…I’m not sure what my excuse was. I did crash out on her around 6 and she was kind enough to get K ready and on the bus this morning.

Goings on at IUSB
I ended up driving her to class this evening which was kind of fun. K and I went to get a snack while we waited. It started raining shortly before we picked her up which was kind of annoying since she got soaked getting into the car. She had her Illuminations class tonight and she is having some trouble with the professor. I am not amused by said professor’s behavior and I think that she needs a swift kick in the bum. She has no real awareness of what life with a chronic illness is like and her attitude is showing it. She also is not very good at explaining things and despite the fact that 4 other people who were in class misunderstood an assignment, she chalked Rin’s misunderstanding (a misunderstanding that cost her about 20 extra hours of work) up to “you weren’t in class.” Um, no. *headshake* So now, Rin is planning another meeting with Disabled Services to see what, if anything, can be done. *sighs* I -really- hate professors like this and I get very angry by their attitudes. It is very frustrating to watch someone you love crying over the class that she was most looking forward to this semester. Thankfully, her other professor is being much more reasonable and that is helping some, but, yeah, the Illuminations class is proving to be very frustrating which makes me feel for her rather a lot.

Monday Evening Wrap-Up
After Tadhg got home, he made everyone dinner which was neat. He had told Rin about his plan last night because while we were in Rochester, he had gone shopping and bought the chicken to make a Thai dish he had made before that K had really liked. It was a bit too spicy for me the first time around, but this time he made it a little bit differently. It was still pretty spicy and I ate more rice and than chicken and veggies, well that and the bowl of sugar snap peas I had had him set aside for me, but it was still good. Miss Ma’am certainly enjoyed it which is kind of surprising given that she doesn’t always like spicy food. Apparently this combo works for her though.

While we ate, we were watching episodes of The Office. One, I never thought I would like that show, but it definitely has its funny moments. Two, the fact that K is hooked on it is utterly hilarious. Tadhg has seen all of the episodes, so he picks and chooses which ones are K appropriate and which ones he either knows for sure aren’t or the ones he is suspect of, so it’s not like she is watching EVERY episode. It is funny when she picks out behaviors of Michael’s that are either a) ridiculous or b) not okay because it means that she is actually engaging with the show and not just mindlessly laughing when she thinks she should and it also means that she is able to take the lessons she has learned about the world and about behavior and apply them to a setting outside of herself and that is fascinating to watch. Does she understand all of it? Heck no. A lot of the jokes are over her head; however, there are other things that she does get and that makes them even more amusing. After she went to bed, the three grown-ups watched one of the Justice League movies which I hadn’t seen before. It was pretty good…but now I can’t remember the title. Tadhg had to go to bed and Rin and I were up a bit longer. We watched a couple of episodes of Eureka…well, I watched them and she took a nap in the recliner. 🙂 I finally sent her to bed and she is likely going to be a bit rawr at me when she finds out how late I was up. Woops. Between the headache I had and the agitated, not being able to settle sensations, well, it was going to be a bad idea to just lay down…so here I am writing a mini-novel in my blog again, go figure. 😛

Coming Soon
Other than that, the job hunt is still on-going. We finally have information on local Girl Scouts and there are intro meetings next week, so that is exciting. This week K has the Fun Run at school which she already has some sponsors for which is good. I like the Fun Run fundraiser because it lets kids earn money for the school AND do something active instead of having them accomplish the earning money goal by selling crap that nobody wants to buy. This weekend we -might- try to go to the coronation of the new King and Queen, but a lot of that is going to depend on how people are feeling and how much work Rin can catch up on. We shall see what happens.

In the meantime, I think I have written myself out of words again, so I am going to get a little bit of sleep before the alarm goes off.

*Nota Bene: I worked at Cracker Barrel when I was in high school, so I have a fair idea of how things are supposed to work. I always compliment managers who have their shit together because several of the ones I worked under didn’t always. It is nice to see the system working correctly. However, the fact that I used to work at Cracker Barrel can occasionally make me annoying to go to CB with because I do know how things are supposed to work and I tend to get tetchy when they don’t.

11 September 2010

There are a lot of things I remember about 9-11. I remember the images of smoke billowing from the towers. I remember wrapping my arms around my pregnant stomach and wondering why anyone would want to bring a child into this world. I remember watching far more news stories than I should have until I finally had to turn them off before I set myself so far past the point of agitation that I got sick. I remember the other personal drama that was unfolding that day (because some people have no class). I remember the overwhelming sense of “this makes no sense” and I remember wondering how people could do something so heinous to their fellowman.

Some of those questions and wonderings are easily answered: people have been committing heinous acts against each other since time began and will continue to do so, the news media will replay something until it not only is imprinted in your brain but until you are near to being sick of it, and 9-11 is no exception…and as for why anyone would want to bring a child into this world? Well, that one is both simple and not.

My daughter is eight now and she is quietly sleeping in her bed. She is a vibrant, intelligent child and she brings joy wherever she goes. It is rare that she meets someone she does not like and more rare that she does not manage to bring at least a smile to the faces of people she encounters. She carries with her a joie de vivre that I frequently wish I could bottle and sell and she reminds me more often than not that no matter how hard life is, no matter how crazy life is, and no matter how lost I feel, I have a reason to keep swimming. For every time she exasperates me, there are a dozen others where she inspires me, amazes me, astounds me, confuses me, and makes me laugh until I can’t breathe anymore.

-That- is why we continue to bring children into the world, because where such joy lives, terror cannot completely win.

September 11, 2001, was a frightening day, an emotional day, an overwhelming day, an unforgettable day. Too many people lost their lives and in the aftermath, too many more have continued to lose their lives in the fight against terror. There were heroes on that day: men and women who left concern for themselves behind and ran into the falling rubble of the World Trade Center, men and women who helped each other out of the buildings and to safety, men and women who staged a coup on an airplane to stop the same fate from meeting another building. In the aftermath of tragedy, the people of America started to pay attention to one another again. I remember reading stories of how the people in New York started to look up at each other again instead of bustling through their days. I remember how people clung tightly to the ones they loved, thankful that they were within arms reach. I remember a country united, less with a desire to seek retribution and more to stand up and say, “As a country we grieve.” Sure, the retribution and calls for blood came later. The name-calling and blame game came later. But in those first days, as people waited for news, we were a country united.

I think about where we are now and I wonder what we have learned. I think about the inane stage show that is playing out over the misnamed “Ground Zero Mosque,” and I wonder if we learned anything on that day 9 years ago. I suspect that we did; I also suspect that some of what we learned has long since been buried with the rubble that has been cleared away. Instead, we now cling to tales of buzzwords and finger-pointing, and we have lost sight of some of the things that people started to remember as the towers came down.

In that then, I choose to step away from the chaos and the noise-makers that call themselves journalists and politicians and I think back to the memory of a country united in our grief and our loss and our anger and our confusion and moreover, our care for our fellow man. I choose to think back to the scared pregnant girl who wrapped her arms so tightly ’round her stomach and asked why she could bring a child into this world and I remember the joy that my daughter exudes with such ease and I remind myself that the idiots on television who seek to inflame and infuriate are doing their jobs and that the real things that I want to keep with me are perhaps a bit cliche but are true nonetheless: it is in the people that we find our strength and it is in the people that we find love, hope, and faith.

Nine years have passed and while on the public stage there are arguments about what is or is not appropriate, one thing is certain: people gave their lives that day to help save those who needed help. People died in those towers because someone else’s agenda set acts of terror and chaos into motion. People live today with the scars from their efforts. At the end of the day, it does not matter what stands at or around Ground Zero because it will always be in the hearts of the people (which makes it a tiny bit eerie that my word count at the word “people” was 911); the memory of those who are no longer with us and the love for those who are still alive are carried not in the soil at Ground Zero but in the hearts of Americans (and perhaps the rest of the world, too), and perhaps today, on the anniversary, what we really need to ask ourselves is what really matters. Is it the buildings or is it the people?

If you ask me, it is the people, so today, I will keep a quiet space in my heart and my prayers for those that we lost, and I will keep faith with the people around me and perhaps most importantly, I will wrap my arms around the little girl who was nestled safely in my womb nine years ago and I will hold onto the joy for life and love that she holds and I will tell her how much I love her and how terrible a place my world would be without her. I will tell the people I love how much I love them and I will live because in the end it is living that flips off the terrorists anyway. But mostly? I’ll cling to the laughter of my daughter and remind myself that we bring children into this world to make it a better place and help them make it a better place by teaching them that hatred, bitterness, and anger don’t get you very far, but love, tolerance, and an attempt at understanding just might.

May the gods that we pray to look kindly upon us today and may they give us a breath of peace and a moment of joy as we remember what this day heralds. May those that we honor be remembered and those that remain be cherished in our hearts. May we, at least for a little while, put aside petty differences and unruly chaos and instead return to remembering that everyone around us is fighting their own battle and sometimes, we all need a helping hand. May we smile at strangers and may we laugh with our loved ones and may joy find us before the darkness closes in.

So, as a reference, largely for myself, I’m starting this at 2:44am. I have no idea how long it will take me to finish it or what I will actually manage to get out of my head while I’m also doing other things. It should be either very entertaining or will be a post chalked up to, “Well, I can’t read all of it.” Who knows?

My last post was a bit out of timeline to what I wanted; however, I suppose that is the way things work sometimes. I was actually going to make a post about the crazy drive down and all of that fun stuff and then go from there. Now, I’m backtracking and since I can’t be arsed at the moment to go see what I have or have not written about as that would only be one more way to stall, I’m just going to write what comes to mind and ask for forgiveness if I repeat myself. Hell, I do it all the time when I talk, so why would anyone be surprised that I might do so here?

The Drive Down
We left a lot later than we had wanted to and while most of the time that really doesn’t matter, this time it did since we were playing beat the clock seeing as how I had an 8:40am doctor’s appointment with Dr. Rainwater. The reason for said appointment is that while the previous week, I had felt a bit more puny than normal and was having congestion issues, they had largely gone away. Cue two days before we have to head to Georgia when it all comes back with a raging vengeance, stabbing ear pain of death and all. Fun times, let me tell you. So, I called and got the appointment because once it hits that point, ignoring it is dumb.

I drive like a bat out of hell anyway, but let me tell you I think I may have tried to break the sound barrier a couple of times on the way down. Really, I’m mostly kidding. I tend to drive a bit fast at times but try not to be that jackass because I hate that jackass. 😀 However, there was a large stretch of time once we got into the mountains that I was trying to get as much fast driving in as possible considering I was watching some pretty impressive storms on the horizon. Coincidentally, once we started into the mountains, any doubt I had had that I might have a sinus infection (which weren’t very strong doubts to begin with) were tossed out the window because oh my goddess that was kind of painful. I endured and actually managed to get a hell of a lot further into the drive on I-75 before we hit the rain. Unfortunately, we hit the rain near the top of the mountains and it wasn’t a light rain, oh no, it was “OH MY FUCKING GOD I CAN’T SEE ANYTHING” rain that was tension-inducing followed by “Wow, I miss the rain because this fog is so thick I REALLY can’t see anything so the not-see-anything-rain was much better” fog of foggiest DOOM. Seriously, going 40mph through that was pushing it given the visibility levels. THAT was frustrating.

We finally cleared that section and I actually managed to get us just outside of Knoxville before I had to wave the white flag. I probably should have stopped sooner, but I was trying to let Rin get as much of a nap as she could given that I figured we were in for a bit of a long day anyway. We traded off and I dozed off and on until we got to Cartersville where we actually made it to the office about 15 minutes before the appointment. What I will say is this: taking 75 down instead of 65 makes a HUGE difference in one’s ability to make good time and I vastly prefer that route.

At the Doctor
Dr. R was actually not running late yet which was really nice given that I had all of no desire to be there in the first place. He actually said the problem with my ear was less infection and more the fluid build up behind it. I suspect that Rin having cleaned out my ears with peroxide two days before had helped with a fair bit of that. He also said that my lungs didn’t sound awful which was also good news. However, yes, I very much did need the antibiotic-prednisone combo, so we went for Doxycycline this time since it’s been awhile since I’ve had it.

We also had to take a little bit of extra time getting him to rewrite most of my PRNs* to better fit Target and Walgreen’s’ low cost prescription requirements. It will, at least for now, make for getting most of them a hell of a lot cheaper. There are still a couple that are impossible to get more cheaply, but saving on the rest will definitely help. It also helps that whole guilt thing, too.

So, yes, antibiotics, steroids, and new scripts and we were on our way again.

Picking up Miss Ma’am
From the doctor, we made a quick trip to the grocery store to get eggs and bacon so Mom could make breakfast for them and brunch for us. Well, she made eggs for her, K, and Rin. I can’t have them thanks to an annoying food intolerance. I had bacon and english muffins. We got there and I went o_O at my child who decided to grow at least an inch in the three weeks since I’d seen her. I was quite glad to give her lots of squishes and was reminded all over again just how much I had missed her.

We actually had a fairly nice visit though Mom was fairly emotional. That much I had expected. She had had K for three weeks and having her leave was going to be hard. I had thought that she and I had actually had a decent conversation and that she had actually started to believe me when I told her that things really were going to be okay. In retrospect, I suppose we probably did have the conversations I thought we had and I probably did get her to listen, but then we left and the house was all quiet and she started to think and that’s how Saturday happened.

Oh, yes, while I was there, I helped her get the flea medicine on the cats and give a couple of them Capstar pills. THAT was SO much fun! *groan* There are a couple of the crazy heathens that you have to do at the same time because once they smell the flea drops, they hide. So, she took Mara and I took Lain and then the fun began. It actually went a lot better than it has other times in the past. Some days it involves chasing the cats all over the house. The Capstar pills were actually the hardest part and two of the ones who really needed it managed to either keep it from going down their throat (George) or barfed it up (Aramis). I didn’t actually get scratched, but Mom took a couple of scratches and a glancing puncture bite from George’s huge freakin’ teeth.

The Rest of Thursday
We left Cartersville and headed toward Lilburn. We had to go to a Target on the way and we really had no desire to get stuck in traffic. Traffic sucks. We actually realized there is a Target on La Vista which is only a couple of exits from 78, so that’s where we got the meds filled. The pharmacist and the tech that were on duty while we were there totally rocked. I screwed up and gave them a script that was supposed to be filled at Walgreen’s because it was cheaper: instead of undoing it and giving me the script back, the pharmacist found the cheaper price, printed off the proof, and filled it at the Walgreen’s price. That was pretty freaking awesome.

As we waited for those to get filled, we took K over to the girls’ clothes and checked the $5 polos on her. I’m glad that we did. The size that we had thought she needed was wrong. Also? It was cool because they actually HAD the size we needed which had been a problem up in South Bend. We got her 2 white and 2 navy since they were in the cut that looked good, the nicer fabric, and were on sale. Huzzah for that. We grabbed a few other odds and ends and then made our way to Chris and Troy’s. By that point, I was ready to fall on my face for sure.

That, however, was not to be as I realized that something had been fucking up with Paypal and my old KSU bank account…to the tune of $104 in overdraft fees. I called and talked to the fucking bank for an hour and a half and I still have to deal with Paypal and hope that disputing the claims with KSU One will actually get me somewhere. What I don’t understand is that given that no money ever left the bank – they didn’t float the subscription payment and wait for me to pay them back – why they won’t take the fees off since it was a fuckup on Paypal’s part and not mine. Of course convincing Paypal that they fucked up is another matter entirely. *sighs* Like I have a spare $104.

After that I honestly can’t remember what all we did. I know that it was a fairly early night for bed, that’s for sure.

Friday Dawns
I wasn’t overly coherent when I woke up on Friday but there were some things that needed doing. I had missed a call from the secretary at Hamilton and she was on lunch when I called her back. I waited for her to return my call before taking a nap again. That makes the most awesome thing that I may say in this post: WE GOT IN! They have a third grade slot that now has K’s name on it! *Insert Snoopy Dance Here* I was over the moon excited and K is, too, at this point.

Rin and I were both a bit sad because we had wanted to go to Lake Winnie with the kids, but there’s no way we could have. I was too sick and she wasn’t feeling much better herself. We sent them all off late morning and didn’t see them again until after midnight. They had a fantastic time, though, which was totally awesome.

For the most part, she and I did a few things but not very much at all. We did make a late grocery store run and we had pizza for dinner. She worked on some laundry and we did a few other things but, yeah, exhaustion is a real bitch. Unfortunately, I had missed a call from Mom somewhere in all of it and didn’t find the voicemail until late. She was wanting to have dinner on Saturday instead of Sunday or Monday like we had previously discussed, which was mildly annoying, but workable.

Then Comes Saturday
(Time check-in: 3:30am)
I didn’t wake up until around 2. I called Mom back not terribly long after that. She was not in a good place and I knew it from minute one. She even said as much. She mentioned that Saturday would be more convenient for having dinner but that she wasn’t in a good place so it probably wasn’t a good idea. I was working on getting off the phone after having made plans for Sunday and I said “I love you” and she started crying and said that she loved me too but wished that she didn’t because it hurt so much. I didn’t have a whole lot to say to that one because, really, what do you say to that?

Unfortunately, the conversation deteriorated from there. She started dredging things up and hastily ticked off my father who was in the room with her. She added to that when she said that she thought she had had a mini-stroke at Walmart on Friday night but that she hadn’t told him about it because she had already worried him enough when she had gotten home from the store, dropped her bags in the middle of the floor, and had sobbed for fifteen minutes straight. *sighs* She really has got to knock that shit off. He is going to become more and more tired of it and then she is more and more going to get the annoyed/pissed off reactions from him. It’s a vicious chain but she should know it by now. Of course, the cynical part of me points out that she couldn’t play the poor pitiful me game without doing it the way she does it so…I dunno.

Basically, there was a lot of rehashing of the same old crap. She doesn’t understand why I am taking K away. She doesn’t understand why I left in the first place. She doesn’t think things were that bad before I left. She thinks I left because of my relationship with Rin. She thinks that my “lifestyle” that I am taking K into is a bad one and that it was healthier there, etc, etc, etc. There were the accusations and the half-truths and the “you always do this always-never thing” and “why are you so defensive” and all of the other things that are the typical Passive-Agressive Bingo markers. When she was finally finished, I asked to talk to Dad and that went over SO well let me tell you.

I burst into tears because he hit a tone that I’ve not heard in months and that set me even more on edge and upset. I asked him a few questions and told him about K getting into Hamilton. I had wanted to tell him at dinner but since I didn’t know if that was going to happen, yeah, well, he had been excited by the thought, too, so I wanted him to know. I also found out that K had been telling people that she did not want to move at all which meant that there was a conversation that needed to happen there, too. Basically, I asked him to see if he could get her to settle and figure out if we were still on for dinner on Sunday or if we weren’t. I wasn’t going to make a decision just then, in part because I kind of wanted to see my Dad.

I got off the phone and had a meltdown. That was fun. Thankfully, K was in the shower while all of that was going on.

Talking to Eight Year Olds About Big Scary Things is Big and Scary
Rin and I sat her down and we were asking her a few questions. She started to get upset, but I needed to get her to talk to me again. It had been a little while since we had really sat down and talked about moving, so I wanted to see where she was in her head. Basically, she is understandably scared and is understandably going to miss people; however, she is not completely against the idea. There are things that she is very much looking forward to.

I told her that it was perfectly all right and normal to be those things but that I needed her to talk to me about them, too. I explained that people thought that she really, really did not want to go and that I am being completely unfair by taking her so far away and I told her that maybe instead of saying that she does not want to move, to try explaining the “I’m scared” part. I also told her that we’re a team and that I need her to not just talk to me about the happy, fun things, but also the big scary things, too.

She got upset a few times however it was a really good conversation. It was also a bit enlightening. I did explain to her that I trust her and I trust that when she tells me the things that she does that I am taking her at her word. I want her to understand that telling the truth is important and I’m pretty sure I got that message across, too. We gave her snuggles and got her settled and talked to her about a few other things, too. Rin cracked her up by calling her Robin to my Batman.

The whole world may go crazy around me, but I’m pretty sure that my kiddo is going to be okay. I just have to get us moved and get her settled into a new routine first…then I don’t think it will be near so overwhelming for her.

After the Emotional Roller Coaster
I say after, but really it was after the worst of it was over to be perfectly honest, we started trying to make plans for the rest of the day. We had been contemplating going to Parish and Lennetta’s pool party, but Doxy and Prednisone plus my normal Relafen are all “avoid direct sunlight” type medicines and Doxy really doesn’t lie with that one and since being in the water would only exacerbate that and since it was almost 100 degrees out we decided it wasn’t the best idea. Also, we had been wanting to get together with Claudia, MichaelAngelo, and D on whichever day we weren’t heading to Cartersville, so that was the plan we ultimately made.

Rin made me yummy ramen with veggies and made certain I had enough food to take medicines with and then we finished getting ready to head out. We left a bit later than we had wanted, but it kind of worked out because Claudia didn’t get back with D until a little bit before we got there. Of course, part of the extra time was that the Dekalb Farmer’s Market on Saturday is a black hole. Seriously, I think I hate going there on Saturday and would like to avoid it at all costs. But, we needed to get some fruit for our contribution to dinner and I wanted asparagus because I’ve been craving it lately and have had fuck all luck finding it most places, so off to the market we went. We made some great finds and also stocked up on water for Orlando.

Hanging out with them was very awesome. Dad did call while we were getting ready to eat dinner and explained that his option had come to “you can take them out to dinner somewhere else” and while he had considered it, he decided that rescheduling might be the better option. Indeed. It would bite everyone on the ass, him especially since he has to live with her. I also was not going to try to explain to K why her Gamma wasn’t there. Thanks, but no. So, he and I talked for a few minutes and he was in a much better mood than he had been the night before and I was glad of -that- for sure.

Dinner was amazing barbecue that MA cooked with an interesting side of greens and asparagus. It was yummy. Gino ate with us and I had fun talking with him while he was hanging out. He’s a pretty neat dude. One of Claudia’s friends whose name is totally escaping me now also came over for a bit. She was pretty funny and definitely had a few neat stories of her own.

We ended up tucking all three kids to bed in D’s room so that the grown-ups could have adult talking time (and also because they were just all that tired). In the end, we ended up staying the night because Rin and I were both wiped and even though the drive isn’t that long, we really didn’t want to wake the kids up and, well, MA did say he’d make pancakes. 😀 I had a surprisingly good night of sleep for it being the first day of 60mg of Prednisone and for sleeping in a recliner. I don’t normally manage that one well but it kind of worked out and that was totally awesome.

Hello, Sunday
The kids woke up before nine loaded for bear. *laughs* We kept trying to shush them and finally gave up and sent them to play outside for a bit before it got ridiculously hot. I dozed off and on on the sofa until Claudia woke up. By that point, Rin was making toast for me and the squirts out of challah bread from the market which I ❤ so much, and was also making sure the kiddos ate fruit, too. However, what was totally adorable was that Rin made the kids plane toast. We had two kinds of challah bread, plain and raisin, and she asked which they wanted. D thought she meant AIRPLANE and that’s what he wanted, so she made little airplane designs out of cinnamon on some of the pieces and D thought it was AWESOME. I’m pretty sure K and F did, too! MA woke up a bit after that and started work on the pancakes which the kids devoured. I actually thought they were pretty awesome, too, and I don’t normally eat pancakes. 😀

It was a fairly laid back morning outside of a phone call from Mom that I decided to answer later. She left a rather flat voicemail and wanted to know if that day was going to be the only one where she could see K or if she would get to see her before we went back up to Indiana. I decided to wait to answer it until we were back in Lilburn in part because I was irked and in part because I didn’t want K to overhear.

Unfortunately, we had to leave before we really wanted to. F had a birthday party to attend, so we had to get him home for that. K was a bit bummed since the party was at Chuck E. Cheese’s; however, Troy took her anyway, so that was pretty cool.

I did call Mom back and explained that I had told her that if we did not see her this weekend that we would get together with them before we headed back up and she said, “Yes, but that was before yesterday.” Well, yes it was, but that doesn’t change the fact that it will likely happen. Jeezus. She tried to get into a few more things and I was like, “No. Just no.” I wasn’t in the mood for it, I didn’t have the energy for it, and there’s no real point in it.

Essentially, I am breaking her heart into pieces and she doesn’t understand why. She doesn’t think that it’s fair that I am taking K away since she built her whole life around us. I actually would put some argument into that one. Part of the reason that she did that is true: it was about me and K. Some of it, though, is that she turned into damn near an agrophobe and quit going anywhere and doing anything and had no real idea where to start. She doesn’t have friends who are nearby; she doesn’t want to make them from the suggestions that I’ve offered. She wants K and I to be there and that’s that. *sighs* It’s not going to happen that way, but she doesn’t believe it.

She also wanted to know if she could have K for the weekend since Rin and I will be in Orlando. I told her “I don’t know” instead of my first thought of “oh hell no.” She asked why I didn’t know and I explained that I didn’t want to leave K with her with the headspace she is in. She tried to tell me that she isn’t in that space when she has K with her; however, I have seen her be in that space with K with her and I know better. So, the answer was I don’t know. She found herself about one more push from, “If you are pushing me to answer you right now, the answer is a definite no.” *headshake* Not playing that game right now. I don’t have to.

I went to take a nap after that because I was exhausted. The meds are running me all over the place as far as that goes which is never fun. When I woke up, Rin and I coordinated with Parish to meet him at the new Goodwill at Perimeter Center. Troy (gods love him) still had the kids at Chuck E. Cheese, so Rin and I headed over and were pleased to find Lennetta there, too. We actually got really lucky in a few of our finds, including three khaki skirts for K, a pair of pants for me, a comfy dress for Rin, a couple of other odds and ends, and an OMFG SO ADORABLE jacket that makes me look like a purple penguin. It is one of the puffy down type coats and comes to my bloody ankles and oh my gosh it is awesome. The fact that it cost me less than $8 is also incredibly awesome. Oh, yeah, and we got one of the original Nintendo DS’s for about $30 and that was with the Guitar Hero game and controller. We aren’t sure if it works or not; we need to find a charger for it, but it was still a pretty wicked deal, particularly with the Guitar Hero bit.

Once we finished, we touched base with Chris who said that the kids were fine and that Troy had survived the party but was taking a nap and that yes, we were fine to go hang out with Parish and Lennetta for awhile. We headed over to their apartment and L was quite happy because she had Rin there to teach her how to make Shepherd’s Pie which is one of her specialties. They had a blast in the kitchen while Parish introduced me to Boom Blox Bash Party for Wii. That game is totally awesome and frustrating at the same time. He pointed out that it is great for aggression and also for driving one to drink. *laughs* I actually drove him to drink in one part! It was kind of funny.

We played that game for hours and the poor man was falling on his face by the time we finally left; however, it was a fucking awesome night for all of is. I wish I had jotted down a few of the better one line comments that parts of the game inspired, because really, some of the characters make you say the damndest things. Hell, half the fun in some places is seeing how many of the crazy little critters you can blow up! It certainly does make you feel better to send the crazy cows or the snark raccoon flying with a bowling ball or a bomb. One line that definitely stuck with me was the pirate chickens though. Parish told L that yes, they do in fact lay bombs as eggs and carry swords and the fits of giggles -that- inspired were pretty epic.

I do believe that game will have to be one we invest in once we get the Wii set up in Indiana. Bwahahahahaha!

It was a very good night with awesome food and even more awesome company and wrapped up the weekend rather nicely.

Oh, Monday, You Are So Fickle
Today has sucked. I have spent most of the time I’ve been awake trying to decide if I really do want to throw up given that I certainly was naseous enough for it. I made a couple of mistakes with the order that I took meds in this afternoon and have paid for it all day. We went to dinner at Golden Corral and I didn’t make it through one plate before I was wishing I hadn’t eaten anything and the poor kids kept getting fussed at bit for telling me about some of their weird food combos because just the sight of food was making me feel worse and, well, they are creative. I rode home with my hands over my eyes so that I didn’t hurl in the car…it was THAT bad.

I was going to lay down and let Rin and K go run a couple of errands but we got started sorting out a few things (like which errands needed running) and watching Phineas and Ferb’s summer special which was pretty epic itself. 😀 That was freaking hilarious. While we were doing that, Rin also showed me how to make Lego Leia and General Kenobi on our helpful models. I took pics but will have to upload them later.

Rin finally did take K to the store while F was going to bed. She wouldn’t have taken her; however, since part of the errand was to check on the uniform items on sale at Wal-mart, she kind of had to go. While they went, I laid down because I still felt pretty wretched. A lot.

With all of that going on, I had forgotten that Mom had called asking to talk to K about something they had discussed previously. I honestly had forgotten about it because I’d felt like shit but her one line FB message reminded me. At that point I also realized that it was pretty late and that Rin and K weren’t back yet so I got a bit worried before I finally got her on the phone. She got home and made me more ramen and helped me take medicines and basically took care of me. I sent Mom a short reply that basically ticked off the highlights of why I’d forgotten but she’ll probably think it was me avoiding her. Whatever. I still don’t feel all that great and don’t know that I overly care just this second. Will I later? Probably. Now? Nah.

Heading for the Harbor or Something Like That
As it stands, it’s 4:18 and Rin’s been asleep on the couch for about an hour now. We really need to go to bed, but I got started writing and it has taken a fair bit to put all of the pieces together and considering that I quit futzing with FB things to focus on it and it STILL took this long might say something towards how much I needed to get the details sorted.

At any rate, I really do need to wrap up because it is incredibly late and I’m exhausted and today is going to be a long day. I have more face painting things to learn, we have to make certain that everything is packed and in the car ready to go, and you know, actually sleep at some point, too. Fun, fun, fun. We are heading out at some point in the likely pre-dawn hours Wednesday because we have a meeting we have to attend at 5:30pm in Orlando. I am both excited and nervous about this and just hope that I don’t totally screw up. Or barf.

Also, we are still debating the Last Tour to Endor. Hollywood Studios teamed up with the convention and are having a special event to help kick off the last rides on Star Tours before it is revamped and there is a special event that will have that park open for Celebration guests from like 8pm to 1am which is pretty cool. However, it costs $75 each…but that is my favorite park and one of hers, too. We will likely not do it, but damn do we both want to.

Also still up for debate but perhaps a bit less than before thanks to a couple of ideas Parish had is Dragon*Con. The lure of Misty and Larry is great…and so is the whole anniversary celebration thing and the seeing people we like thing. We still have to think about it and work a few more kinks out and also, to be perfectly honest, see how we feel after Celebration, but it is seeming like more of a yes than a no at the moment.

Ah well, ’tis time to sleep, I hope. I have more to say but have lost all sense of coherency in my head and am, therefore, done.

End time: 4:23am

*PRN stands for pro re nata in Latin which means “in the circumstances” or “as the circumstances arise.” It is the medical term for medications like pain medications or anti-nausea meds that a person takes “as needed.” I do occasionally toss out a few medical terms like that and try to explain them when I do. If you have a question, do feel free to ask. Some of them I grew up with because Mom worked in the hospital for 14 years. Others I have learned since becoming a spoonie. PRN is one I use all the time and forget that not everyone knows what it is.

So, after finishing the last post, I actually did manage to help Rin get a few more things done tonight. Largely, we made certain that all of the trash that we had gathered from various cleaning stages made it into the trash cans so that they make it down to the street in the morning for trash day. However, after a bit, we both kind of hit the point of having done way too much.

She has actually (sensibly) gone to bed at this point; however, I am not quite ready to. For one thing, I had my Dad on my mind quite a lot and instead of just keeping that particular thought to myself, I sat down and wrote him a rather long e-mail. He and I have (at least as far as I have seen) gotten a lot closer in the last seven months and have had some amazing conversations. We’ve not had a chance to sit and chat on the phone of late, so I caught him up on a few things. I also made the note for him that considering that I know how much he just loves the phone and how I am prone to babbling at least with e-mail, if he gets bored he can come back and read it later!

I will probably head to bed soon, but I can’t quite sort what is keeping me awake which is annoying the crap out of me considering that I am exhausted beyond all reason at this point. I suspect that some of it is that pain levels have ramped again which sucks ass. I also suspect that some of it is that the next three weeks are going to be full of mad chaos and I’m not entirely certain I am totally up for that much chaos and yet I have to be. It’s not like it’s going to be swept under the rug, ya know? Some of it will be good. Some of it will be downright draining. I just have to figure out how to maintain a balance through all of it.

I imagine that a small bit of it is also that I am eager to have my daughter with me again. This is the longest that she has ever been away from me at one time and while I know that she has had a fantastic time and has gotten to do a lot of different things (like fishing), I miss her so freaking much it almost hurts. I miss her chatter. I miss hearing her playing in the background of whatever else I am doing. I miss her hugs. All of them. I don’t call her my snugglebum for nothing. I want her back with me and am getting more than a bit antsy about that.

Other than those things, I still have no idea why I can’t quite get my brain to shut off. I do think I might possibly be running out of words that seem to be intent upon being written though, so I am going to stop rambling, wrap up a couple of other things, and at least try to go to bed. (It’s definitely time for bed. I had to edit that last html tag because instead of closing the italics, I wrote / try. Needless to say, it didn’t work. :D)

Edited to Add (about an hour later): So I went back and typed up two entries that were missing, one from 16 July and one from 29 July. I also added tags to posts and went a bit nuts with that which was kind of fun actually. Jeez. Now it’s 4:09 in the morning. Ghf.

So, I was doing pretty well with the whole writing thing. Heck, even when I was in Georgia I actually managed a couple of entries (mind you they were handwritten, but they fucking got written). I have a rather lengthy one for the 16th in which I examine how the trip down with the munchkins went and several other things including some of the workings that go on at the Department of Family and Children Services. ‘Course, then I drove back up by myself and was like, “Okay, I’ll find time to write about driving on my own and other things like that,” and forgot the number one rule of writing, particularly for writers who are distracty and procrastination-prone at their best: you do not “find” time to write. There are four million other things that will come up that you will want to do or will more feel like doing, up to and including staring at lint, and the writing won’t happen. That’s the point I’ve been at for a week…so here I am staring at Dashboard and a relatively open screen “finding” time.

On Time
Time is a tricky thing: sometimes it works with you, unfolding and playing out in a spiral that makes things fall properly into place; other times, it treats you like you’re a gnat on a tornado-driven breeze, tossed about by its merciless desire to keep going, until it spits you out three thousand miles from home, leaving you with a headache and head spins and not a damn clue how to fix it. Right now? I’m a gnat.

The last few months have been chaotic. Of course, I write that sentence and want to automatically correct it with “the last few years” which I then want to correct with “my life is chaotic” but that would simply be one more distraction of minutia that will get me nowhere in the end, so let’s try again.

Life is chaotic, and sometimes, I’m a bloody chaos field. While everyone goes through periods of chaos and upheaval, I from time to time seem to have an extra dose made just for me and anyone within a hundred feet. What I really should say then is this: the last few months have been full of more upheaval than I have really figured out how to properly deal with. I have gone from one event to the next like a shock victim trying to keep her head above the water and sometimes, that description is much more apt than I want it to be. So many things have happened; so many things have changed. There are so many unanswered questions that I could probably fill a novella length printing with them and still not be done. On one hand, the more logical part of my brain understands that some of that is what the whole “growing up” thing is all about: chaos, upheaval, and learning to land on your feet. On the other, the much less logical part of me is going *runaroundlikeachickenwithheadcutoffwashrinserepeatohnoeztheskyitisfallinohnoezdoom*. (Aren’t you glad you don’t have to run around in my brain?)

One of the biggest overarching themes though has been “time.” One event happened approximately five months before it was supposed to, meaning that five months of theoretical preparation disappeared with one phone call. It was the correct choice; it was the sane choice; it was the healthy choice; however, it was still a complete flip-flop of what was going to happen and it made for a whole lot of wandering about going “ohshitohshitohshit.” Some of that time was spent trying to relearn how to handle some pretty basic things. A great deal of that time was spent playing pseudo-nanny to Miss Ma’am and Mr. Monkey and enjoying the heck out of it. I spent most afternoons working with them on their homework or talking to them about school or simply listening to them play while I poked about on the computer. I learned some things from all of that, both in the intellectual sense and in the personal sense. One of those things is, very simply, that I enjoyed the hell out of that. Sure, there were days they made me want to rip my hair out and Tuesdays were the day from hell due to K and her sentences, but I still enjoyed doing it. I also learned a bit about what it was like to function without worrying about every single thing I said, every bad day I had, and the ripple effect that those things might cause. All right, in truth, I started learning about those things but I still do it and I’m still a skittish little rabbit some days afraid to say a damn word. (That’s part of why I’ve not really shared this blog yet, see?)

However, here, too, time played a role. May came much more quickly than anticipated and things weren’t ready. May and June saw time playing having with a great number of things as about two months of arguing out schedules and talking out details and trying not to lose my mind in the middle of that basically was thrown out the window with two phone calls. It was frustrating and it was frequently a pain in the ass and yet, everyone managed to come out at the end of it alive. It just got to seem that every time I turned around, there was one more change coming from one more direction.

July has seen Rin and I attempting to play catch-up from all of the changes in May and June. Since she and I were supposed to have about two weeks to come up here and work before we brought the kids up but ended up not having them, a lot of the things we expected to already have done aren’t. We didn’t get much of anything done while the kids were up here, in part because well, they are kids and there were lots of things to do with them and in part because I was sick a solid chunk of that time. (Granted, at this point, I’m sick so much that I am beginning to not be able to tell the difference anymore. There is “sick with an infection to the point of almost non-functioning” and there is “functioning on such a low level that it is annoying, frustrating, and down-right frightening some days”.) After I got back from taking the kids to Georgia, we actually did get a start on things, but here we are with less than a week before she and I are supposed to drive to Georgia again, and there is so much not done that it is overwhelming.

I would love to say that we need help; however, I am not certain that I could successfully manage to figure out where and what with. Some of the sheer amount of things that need doing are turning the house here into one that is functional for four people. There are a lot of T’s parents’ old things still here (which is a long story), and there is a lot of chaos and disorganization in T and R’s things. Start adding in mine and K’s and you’re getting all kinds of fun…in not fun kind of ways. What we have managed to do is to get closer to a better organized kitchen. Some of the problem with that is that the cabinet layout in there is pretty terrible which takes a fair bit of working with to make it usable. We’re still working on that. What we have left to do is to get the bigger living room cleaned out and re-organized so that it can become the main living room so that everyone isn’t stepping on each other in the main living space. We also have about three other rooms that need some serious overhauling and re-purposing. It is a lot of work and it is overwhelming and I am so damned annoyed with myself for how little I am managing to get done that I cannot stand it.

Now, time is running against us and that overwhelmed feeling is just getting worse. I suppose at this point what we need to do is sit down and figure out what we can realistically get done, but I’m not sure that talking about it is going to help all that much just now. Some of it is simply going to be a matter of mind over body and an understanding that there will be no spoons left at the end of the week…not that there are all that many now.

I suppose that some of the rush of time lately is not helped by the fact that Saturday is my twenty-ninth birthday and let me tell you, that is kind of freaking me out. No, twenty-nine is not that old (though if you measure the age I feel every day versus the chronological, the difference is kind of disturbing); however, for where I am at in my life, twenty-nine is kind of old…and I suppose that makes a nice segue from the Time subheading to the next one…

On Growing-Up and All That Jazz…
When I was younger (read: in high school when I believed the world was well and truly conquerable), I had plans. The problem was a lot of those plans were based around inaccurate ideas and assumptions about the way the world worked. They were a naive kid’s dreams that revolved around what she thought she wanted: not what she needed. Sure, some of them were pretty clear. I’d do the college thing and find a cool job and take over the world. The only problem is that I’ve always been more like Pinky than Brain and quite frankly, taking over the world is just too damn much work.

A lot of those dreams and ideas changed when I had Miss Ma’am, many of them for the better, I would argue. That kid has scared the hell out of me and taught me so much about what is really important in life and about all the things I’ve missed in life simply because I was afraid that I don’t always know where to start talking about it. I have regrets, sure, one of the biggest being that all of the times that I’ve started a “Dear K” letter in my head, I haven’t written them down. That’s one of my new goals, but it’s a bit lower on the list right now than a few others. But one of the things that the last seven months have taught me is this: with my kid standing with me, I can damn near do anything. When I turned both of our lives upside down, she was the one who came up kicking butt first. She fell into a new pattern of life with relish. Sure, she was scared, too, and she had her days of missing the way things were, but for the most part, she tackled the change like a kid and she made me realize that no matter all of the other crazy things going on, life still goes on and it really will sort itself out.

As we are headed toward the next huge change in our life, she has been trepidatious; however, she has also started to find lots of things to be excited about. For a start, she has discovered through seeing some of Mr. Monkey’s activities that Girl Scouts sounds like a neat idea. She is also excited about the SCA group up here and is quite curious about learning how to be a fighter in the kids’ group. She has taken to dressing her stuffed cats up in SCA costumes which is just bloody adorable. Is she still scared? Is she going to miss Georgia and everyone and everything there? Yes. Is she going to throw herself into it headfirst? Probably. She does that. She’s a smart kid; she makes friends easily; she is growing-up to be amazing and I LOVE that so much. I love watching her put together how things work or do not work. I love watching her try new things, even when she doesn’t want to. I love talking to her and hearing what she has to say.

Most of all, I love that she manages, without trying, to help me keep going. There are a whole lot of things that I do because of her or for her. There are a lot of choices I make that revolve around her. I’ve frequently been accused of not thinking of anyone but myself and of not making the best decisions for my daughter, and yet, I measure the success or failure of something based on how she is doing. Kids let you know real fast if something isn’t working. Can you always change that thing? No. But they still let you know. So far? A lot of the decisions that have been deemed “crazy” have actually gone pretty well for her. Maybe I do have a clue of what I am doing after all. *wry grin*

Ironically, I didn’t start the bit on growing-up to be about K, but it makes sense to me -now- that the section kind of had to start with her. Some of that is very simply that I want her to be more prepared for how to function in adult society than I have been. Some of that has been through faults and choices of my own and some of it has been that there were things that I feel I genuinely wasn’t prepared for. For example, one of the greatest myths of my education was that going to college and getting your degree means something. The reality is that all that a degree means these days is that you stuck with something and finished it. It doesn’t really help you find a job like they all said it would and it certainly doesn’t prepare you for how to go out and get the job you want. I’ve learned more about that from Rin’s step-dad in the past couple of months than I ever learned in high school or at the university.

I spent a great deal of time being dependent upon someone and in a lot of ways I still am and right now, it doesn’t seem to matter which state or which house I am in, I am incredibly dependent upon the people inside of it. Right now, that is scaring the ever-loving shit out of me. I suspect that a lot of the dependency is adding to the trouble with sorting some of the unanswered questions. It also means that one of the biggest things that I have to learn about this whole “being an adult” thing is that while I am going to be dependent on other people in some areas, how dependent am I capable of being while still remaining independent? Someone is going to look at this and say, “Well, duh, that’s part of what you have to figure out in life,” and if that person says it to -me- I might hit them. One of the things I never thought of as part of my future when I was that wide-eyed kid was that I would be dependent upon someone else. I never thought I would frequently feel like a prisoner trapped in my own body trying to find a balance between pain that is tolerable and pain that really can’t be ignored. I never thought there would be days where I couldn’t open my own soda bottle let alone work a decent job and make a household. Yet, each of those things are things I deal with on a daily basis. It is a part of life and it is one that takes a hell of a lot of balancing to manage and right now? I totally do NOT have a handle on it.

The past few months have seen several symptoms getting worse. They have seen new symptoms cropping up. They have seen me battling for insurance and failing to get it again. Now they are seeing me trying to find a balance of meds that is actually affordable…and sometimes choosing which are necessary and which are not. It has not been fun, yet I am managing. Unfortunately, I’m not always managing that well. Pain levels are vicious. As I pointed out to Rin at dinner last night, it’s kind of a nasty cycle: you’re nauseous if you don’t eat, you’re nauseous if you do eat, so what do you do? *headshake* Try to find a balance, that’s what.

Some of my internal battle with age and growing up is this: society teaches us that people are supposed to do certain things at certain points. I’ve been behind a lot of those points, so I’m not sure why I’m shocked that I’m behind -all- of them. Honestly, I’m not sure why I care. I suppose because I am frequently a non-conformist trapped in the head of someone who battles with not wanting to be in trouble. That’s a fun battle, let me tell you. I play a balancing act of attempting to appear like a grown-up and trying to figure out what the hell that actually means. The number of times that I am shocked when someone actually treats me as an equal is somewhat disturbing and though I’m getting better at it, it’s still a rather large hurdle to overcome.

I imagine that some of the hang-up here revolves around the fact that now that I’m not at Mom and Dad’s house, there are a lot of old expectations of my own that I am having to tackle and beat the shit out of. For example, the theory that being out of Mommy and Daddy’s house means you are either in college or have a good job and are doing super awesome. (Did I mention I was quite naive to how the world worked?) *headshake* It is a bit tiring and frustrating and exhausting to have to battle some of these old things and yet, I suppose the more that I actually remember to sit down and write this shit down and try to sort it out the better off I’ll be in the long-run, right? *le sigh* Yes, I know, I speak the common sense now let me apply the clue-by-four to my head yet again. One day, this really will stick…or something.

So…do I meet all of societies expectations of a grown-up. Nah. But do I really want to? Do I really need to? Probably not. So maybe what I have to redefine is what I actually want. What and whose expectations do I need to meet? Wow, those are some epic questions, aren’t they?

On the Future…
So what comes now? Well, in the immediate, it is organizing and making a place and making some of the things I know I want to happen happen. On the 29th it is continuing to hope and pray that we can get K into Hamilton Traditional School. It is still part of the South Bend School Corp district but it is a different set-up from their regular elementary schools and it seems structured in a way that would work for K in SO many different ways. I want this. I want it a lot. It would mean a lot of changes for her, the biggest being uniforms; however, from everything I have seen and heard, Hamilton would be perfect for her. That’s not to say that Hay (the school she will go to if we can’t get her into Hamilton this year) is a bad school. It’s pretty good and has good teachers and will still work for her. It’s just that Rin and I think that Hamilton would be best and gods do I want her to get in there. So, we wait for the 29th when the secretaries are back in their office and we call and find out if we can get her in, or even if we can get her on the waiting list. I WANT this. I want it a lot.

After we figure that out, we can figure out other things, like what she is going to need to start school and all of that fun stuff. Granted, some of that is going to be the same no matter where she goes. On the positive side, they don’t start school up here until 25 August, so that’s handy.

There’s also Celebration to get ready for and a resume to write and a hope that I can MAYBE get the position at Ivy Tech that I would ❤ to have even though it would be a huge challenge and so many other things besides. There are things to sort in three houses and trying to figure out what needs to come up north now and what needs to stay in storage down south and oh, yeah, trying to figure out where in the hell to scrape all the pennies for every thing that needs doing. But we’ll manage and we’ll figure it out cause that’s what we’re good at.

In Conclusion
Rin and Tadhg are home now and I’m losing my train of thought to afternoon conversation. I feel a bit better than I did earlier though I still have a whore of a headache which I’m not amused about. However, hearing about some of the funny things that happen at work is amusing. And hearing Rin explain how she made her life harder this morning by hauling her laptop to work with her like she was going to IUSB is also amusing. “Technology heavy. WHY???” *sniggers* I’m gonna get kicked for that one later. 😀

Also? I got milkshake. HAHAHA for me. Yay for cookies and cream milkshakes from Steak and Shake, dude.

So, yes, in conclusion, my train of thought ends at milkshake and will begin gods only know where at some point in the future. The end.