Sunday, March 30, 2014

How Can Something So Easy Become So Difficult?

Two years into our marriage I decided that it was time to have a baby.  I had a timeline that needed to be adhered to:  pregnant at 25 and 30, two kids, preferably boys, and all would be as planned.  I'd planned on breast feeding, cloth diapers, and I'd make my own baby hell with Gerber's and their nonsense, I'd be whipping up my own puree'd veggies and rice.

Scrreeeeech, put on the brakes...apparently getting pregnant wasn't going to be as easy as it seemed.  No wham bam thank you ma'am would be happening in our household.  Nope, we'd be the couple that would be keeping a calendar of body temps, scheduling the "right" time to knock boots, and going to the doctor to check the quality of my bodily fluids.  How could something, pregnancy, be so scientific, so difficult, when teenagers across the nation were getting knocked up without "trying," much less wanting.

Long story short, it became my obsession, to get pregnant and have a baby that was part of me, part of D.  Nothing else would be acceptable.  We had the test where they shot dye through my Fallopian tubes - this is where I learned that I had a very mild case of endometriosis (which was later cauterized and the tubes were healthy and clear) and according to the German radiologist that was reading my x-ray...'when you feel mittleschmerz (German for ovulation pain/cramping) on the right, that is when you DO IT.'  Wow, how's that for a bedside manner?  Needless to say, it was not going to be so simple...

Pregnancy was like the unicorn in the forest for me or the infamous Elvis sightings...possible (although the odds were 50/50) but never to be a reality.  Honestly, the more hoops we jumped through to obtain the (in our case) obtainable, the more I became like a disgruntled postal worker rather than a maternal maven.  Why me?  Why us?  We were a great couple with the emotional and financial means to raise a child - so why was this not meant to be?  Prayer, vitamins, exercise, diet, bum propped up with a pillow, etc.  But I couldn't give up, I could not admit to failure.

Intrauterine insemination - this was our method of choice.  This means that the swimmers get washed in a protein solution and are then injected into one's uterus - pretty much a no brainer for those wayward swimmers.  But your swimmers do need to be plentiful and strong to break through my stubborn egg(s)...yeah, go figure, eggs as tough as their creator, not cool my friends, not cool at all.  This process included hormone shots, multiple trips to the doctor for blood tests (yeah, not fun in normal circumstances, but add to this that I have crap veins - deep & they like to roll, of course) and the vaginal ultrasounds to check out your eggs...hmm, I wish I could have seen the look on my own face when they pulled out the "wand" and rolled a condom on it, complete with K-Y jelly.  I'm sure I was thinking "yikes, what the hell are they going to do with that?!"  Yes, this had become quite the educational experience, lol.  But it all seemed like it would be worth it...

That is, until I had to miss my grandmother's funeral due to hyper-stimulated ovaries - travel was out of the question because I was walking around with the proverbial basket full of eggs (nine to be exact) and if any of them were to burst they could fill my lungs with fluid, giving me instant pneumonia.  This was the emotional straw that broke this camel's back...not having the opportunity to say good bye to my Grammy AND no pregnancy (which would be confirmed three weeks later) and I'd decided to jump off of the emotional roller coaster called fertility treatments.  Hormonal beyond compare, I could not take the repeated failures anymore.  So, we just stopped.  Just like that - cold turkey, no more rushing to the doctor in Virginia, no more shots in my hips and arms, no more nasty prenatal vitamins, and no more counting days on the calendar, filled with false hope that "this time it has to work."

The decision to stop was liberating but heartbreaking - I'd had us investing so much time, money and emotions towards becoming parents and now we'd be giving up the dream.  Or would we?  We still wanted to become parents, we would just need to move on to plan B, adoption.   And that my friends, is another story for another evening.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Parenting Teens: No Wimps Allowed

This has been a weekend chock full of self-examination of myself as a parent.  I feel that D & I provide a pretty structured environment that supports open communication.  We offer just enough wiggle room for either C or K to express themselves, but not to be disrespectful.  So while I sit back, patting myself on the proverbial back, I realize that I have a sixteen year old who is NEVER wrong and a thirteen year old who can sulk, kiss ass (via baby talk) and have an intelligent conversation about about WWI, all in a 3 minute time span.  Hmm...and I'm the one that needs a happy pill?

Patience, not my strongest virtue, was tested beyond my wildest dreams this weekend.  First, I will take full blame for all nonsense that I trudged through - if I would just let them, my girls, do their own thing, I'd probably know way less, saving me from unnecessary worry.  But that is not how I roll.  I've always been involved - when they watched Disney Channel, mama watched Disney Channel - loved me some Penny Proud and the Proud Family.  I've kept up on trends, dressed them fashionably without over doing it financially; allowed them to invite just about anybody over for play dates and sleepovers, providing snacks & tasty meals (Sonic & pizza, duh!).  Their friends love us and we love them - well, most of them.  But none of this "chill parent" stuff would prepare me for my book smart/common sense deficient daughter's learning to drive...the whole cool mom nonsense becomes a facade and goes right out the window when your child says "I'm ready" and proceeds to step on the gas while the damn car is still in park!

Like many things in life, obtaining a driver's license is waaaay different now.  C currently has a permit that allows her to drive with an adult, up to ten hours per week, for one year.  So, as we will need her to drive she & her sister to school in the fall, it's time to get cracking.  We've limited practice drives to the neighborhood, about 30 minutes at a time.  But today I put on my big girl panties (okay, bigger than normal big girl panties) and decided she could drive us to the store.  Don't ask where this extreme level of cockiness and bravery came from, but I will confidently blame it on hormones...just like everything else that goes awry in a periomenopausal woman's life.

Where would this little adventure on the roads take none other than Walgreen's.  I had a $5 off coupon and we needed toothbrushes & coffee, so it seemed like the right idea.  And overall, all went well.  Parking is a major issue - and we're talking attempting to go straight into a space with no obstacles...but we can work on that and we will.  My poor little toes were clenched beyond repair, pushing that imaginary brake through the damn floor board takes a lot of work - especially when you want to grab the wheel or shout out really helpful questions like "what the hell are you doing?"  or "did you not see that huge dumpster looming before us?"

But all kidding aside, the real issue is this: my daughter is growing up, too quickly, before my very eyes and there is nothing I can do to stop it from happening.  She is wise beyond her years and yes, sometimes I'd like her to lighten up and enjoy life a bit more.  But her work ethic is commendable, better than most adults I know, and her teachers genuinely love her.   Honestly, what parent could ask for more?  Where I once worried that she was going to be too passive, a door mat for her (at the time) middle school peers to trample on, she really stepped up, made great choices and avoided the girl-drama that most girls fall prey to.  Yes, I am thankful and yes, I am proud.  But damn, can't we have a little rewind? Not to any particular "favorite" moment, as they are all my favorite.  If not a rewind, then a freeze-frame, to stop this nonsense we call growing up?

Yeah, I know, not possible - I'm a realist, I get it.  So, if I've learned anything this weekend it is to cherish and savor every little moment, even the tough ones, because they are gone before you know it.  And even the superior attitude of an "always right" sixteen year old can be seen as a positive...hell, we all need comic relief, right?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

First Day of Spring & International Happiness Day

Happy Thursday my Superior friends and welcome to the official first day of spring...crazy right, since many of you still have snow on the ground.  Growing up in Michigan, snow during the spring was the norm and if anything it was just the official "light at the end of the tunnel," the gateway to summer.  But that is not the point of this it is also International Happiness Day!  To be quite honest, I've never heard of it but I'm feeling pretty damn grateful lately and figured I'd post a list of things that make me happy/feel grateful.  So, here goes:

1. Daylight savings time because the sun is rising as I leave for work and it is still shining bright when I head home.  The older I get the more I appreciate the healthy affects of sunshine - it brightens my mood ten fold, there is really nothing like it to lift my spirits...and it is also a guarantee for outdoor recess;-) 

2. Pedicures - which I desperately need right about now...thank goodness we don't have many rooms with carpeting anymore or I'd be snagging some serious carpet fibers if you know what I mean.  Freshly pedicured feet also mean...

3.  FLIP FLOPS, because I love me some naked feet action!  Never one for flip flops as a kid - hated anything between my toes - I could live in flip flops, especially some Yellow Box flip flops because they are squishy and come in so many different designs...bedazzlingly beautiful!

4.  Caffeine, preferably coffee, but I will succumb to a Route 44 Diet Dr. Pepper (easy ice) every now and then...just a little jolt, not excessive, but just knowing that I have the option to savor some tasty java when the feeling moves me (or needs to move me) makes me happy;-)

4.  Friends that support me, laugh with me and give me great, supportive, non-judgmental advice...or so I think, maybe I've just strategically made some damn good choices to surround myself with awesome peeps that appreciate my crazy, spontaneous matter, they rock and I love them to pieces!

5. My awesome family - they love me just like I am, whackadoo nonsense and all, I couldn't ask for anything more, right?

So Superiors, my bucket of gratitude is pretty damn good;-)

Friday, March 14, 2014

March Words Challenge

This week’s post is a writing challenge that I heard about via Baking In a Tornado and seeing that I am trying to increase my personal writing, this seemed right up my alley.   This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

Have you ever felt like you really understood a concept, only to find out that you were totally clueless?  Yep, this was me, totally sideswiped by my own ignorance.  Rather than beat myself up about my idiocy, I’ll share my idiocy and how it left me completely and totally spent - and not in the way they write about in those Fabio-like bodice ripper short stories.

Today’s prime time TV is littered with reality TV nonsense - a great way to make the ordinary seem special, right?  One of my least favorite types of reality TV, due to the graphic (non-sexual) nature, are the ones that have to do with addictions or weird habits.  Do I really care if you eat laundry detergent?  Nope, not really, unless of course it helps with grass stains.  Do I need to see your family attempt to intervene in your bizarre toenail chewing habit?  Hmm, only if I am feeling like my life is crap and therefore watching you would make me feel like the queen of the freaking universe.  I understand that the addiction is a manifestation of a deeper lying issue, but that doesn’t mean I feel sorry for you or that I could give two hoots about you and your bizarre rituals.  

So how does all of this connect to me being clueless?  Hmm, let’s just say that people who have issues with germs are probably dirty rotten hoarders.  Okay, that may be a little harsh but after yesterday’s experience, it is my story and I am sticking to it!

I have recently taken a position as our school’s media coordinator, replacing the gal who has held the position for the past 13 years.  Yesterday I had the opportunity to get into my new “office” and check it out.  Little did I know that three hours later I would come out with a fresh case of black lung disease.  And although I expected to do a little cleaning/straightening up, I didn’t expect a truly DIRTY environment.

Why would I be so sure that I’d  walk into a fairly clean situation?  Hmm, because my predecessor has an issue...with germs which has manifested itself into a severe handwashing issue.   Cleanest damn hands on the planet, working in the dirtiest library in the universe!  Here I am, because I’ve watched enough TLC and A& E to know that most people with OCD issues are neat freaks, clean freaks, however you may want to classify them.  But holy wow, not this chica...the friggin’ dust bunnies were the size of a half dollar and they were multiplying before my very eyes.  And the cupboards were a menagerie of complete and utter nonsense...never, since 1989, have I seen so many VHS tapes in one area.  All I could think was “be kind, rewind” and then had a great urge to go home and pop in my taped from television VHS tape of Weird Science!  But then, of course, it kind of makes sense: if you don’t touch anything, your hands can’t get dirty...and if you don’t touch ANYTHING, nothing gets cleaned, right?

The only way to get over this traumatic experience...a big ass tub of hot water and BUBBLES, lots of bubbles to wash away all of the yuck that I had just experienced.  Because not only did I want to get clean...I needed to wash away all of the weirdness that I had waded through in my soon to be new work environment.  And I was pretty successful...because there isn’t much that a relaxing tub and a couple of hits off of your inhaler can’t cure.  Just another day of Superior Nonsense my friends, just another day.
At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.
I’m using:       bubbles ~ grass ~ clean ~ special~ toes         
They were submitted by:
Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:                   Baking In A Tornado              Follow me home . . .              Confessions of a part-time working mom                       Spatulas on Parade                      Someone Else’s Genius                Searching for Sanity                      Battered Hope                       Healing Tomato                   Superior Nonsense               Rocks, No Salt Mommy              Evil Joy Speaks             Stacy Sews and Schools               The Bergham's Life Chronicles

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Karmic Intervention

Well, it's that time again my friends, Sunday's blog entry of nonsense.  This week I think I've been thinking about Karma - I capitalize it because I've given her a personality, simply because she shows up so often, kicking me in the arse, nipping at my heals, when I deserve it most.  When we're young & foolish we call it bad luck, when we are older and supposedly more wise, we call it karma because honestly, we should know better.

Treat others as we wish to be treated, the good ol' Golden Rule.  So easy to say, much more challenging to put into action.  Why?  Because we're human and making mistakes is what we do - sometimes we learn, sometimes we are insane (according to Einstein) and make the same mistakes over and over again...not all of us are quick study's if you know what I mean.

First, let me school you on my personal thoughts on the whole "golden rule" and "what goes around comes around"...It starts when we are kids and we join in gossip - always wanting to fit in, I'd find myself pulled into silly conversations about someone and to prove how funny I could be (perpetually the class clown, a great way to detract others from seeing your lack of confidence), I'd throw in my two cents of sarcastic wit and nine times out of ten, it would come back to bite me in the arse.  Blame it on lack of self-confidence or lack of maturity, but it took me a while to learn to NOT engage in these nonsensical conversations.  And at the age of 44 I am still amazed at how many adults still try to bait you into this negative banter.  I mean I am all for a good laugh and I am certainly not Positive Polly 100% of the time, but I know how to read a situation and when someone wants to  start the Negative Nelly nonsense, I make a joke and move on...nothing is worse than having your own words come back to bite you in the arse - not only is it unprofessional but immature and it says more about the speaker than those that they are speaking of.  So, as a self-proclaimed socially mature woman (yeah right), I should not have issues with Karma...right?  Ha Ha Ha

Our first major move, with the Coast Guard, was to Kodiak, Alaska, back in 1995.  Being in my mid-20's and newly married, my potential peer group were the yummy mummies - stay at home mom's whose identity was based upon their husbands position at the air station.  I was invited to many "parties" where you were expected to purchase items - Pampered Chef, Mary Kay, Cloudberry, etc.  And at these parties were stay at home mommies and their babies/toddlers/kids...and this is where karma comes into play.  One particular baby always had a runny nose - double barrel snot nose and to make matters worse he constantly had a pacifier in his mouth, which was chapped and crusty.  Of course I couldn't resist commenting about this to my friend, frequently.

So what, right?  It's okay to joke and confide with a trustworthy friend - my witty comments never did get back to the oblivious (and hygienically challenged) mama. But my sass -assiness would come back to get me, in the guise of Karma...

After unsuccessfully attempting to have children naturally (and with medical assistance), about ten years, we decided to pursue international adoption and traveled to Western Samoa (an island in the South Pacific, south west of Hawaii) to make our family complete.  They were the most adorable little girls, ages 5 (C) & K (2) and we were just smitten, unable to remember a time without them.  From two to four in the blink of an eye - mini-van, yard toys, Play Doh and the Wiggles - our lives were filled with laughter and an abundance of unconditional love. Sweet & sappy, right? Well you know me better than that and you are probably wondering: what about Karma?

Neither of our girls had major health issues, but K had a nasty ear infection that was treated while we were on the island - we were new parents and oblivious to the woes of ear infections...they are persistent little bastards, one right after the other, complete with green (yes, green!) gobbledy gook seeping from her left ear.  But along with this came...a DOUBLE BARREL SNOT NOSE.  No pacifier because she was beyond that, but the nose...damn, it was non-stop running. Poor kid, I know that if it drove me crazy it really had to drive her nuts!  Hell, she probably thought that my hand came with a tissue attached to it.  Multiple trips to the ENT, a tube in the right ear and surgery in the left ear, we (yes, we, cuz I was the one Karma was nipping in the buns with her snarky teeth) suffered two years of drippy, slurpy snot , finally getting it under control...but there was a lesson to be learned and I know that Karma was trying to teach me something, loud and clear: keep my damn mouth shut because you never know when it is going to happen to you!

Since her first appearance, or at least the first one I will acknowledge learning from, back in 2003, Karma is always there to keep me straight.  She helps me to not get too big for my britches, keeping me grounded in reality and best of all, humble.  When things are really awesome and I feel the urge to brag, Karma pokes her head around the corner and gives me the ol' finger wag, reminding me that even the briefest case of diarrhea of the mouth has the potential to sting...and hells bells, being a perio-menopausal mama comes with enough stings of its own, no need to add fuel to the fire!

Moral of the Story:  Don't make fun of snot-nosed kids.  No, seriously, think before speaking...don't say anything that may possibly come back to bite you in the arse cuz that nonsense will leave a mark.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Poetic License...Day 2

Just Say No... the little voices in your head
especially the ones that say: lets get a donut or two! the negative nellies that say they want you to succeed,
but in the end they really only want you to do their bidding. spending money to make you feel better,
because in the end the empty wallet is going to really suck.

...wearing uncomfortable clothing, 
as it will only make you feel ugly and have you worrying all day for nothing. fads, as you are wiser than that and don't need any more nonsense clogging up your closet - which is already filled with crap you don't want to wear!  Classic all the way baby! competing with your peers as it can suck the life force out of you AND you'll still be right where you started. Walk with the like minded and conquer your tasks together - two heads are always better than one tacky nonsense like gossip, eating cafeteria food, and neon colored clothing, because life is too short to waste it on things that make you feel and look like crap!

Just Say Yes... embracing the beauty that is you, inside and out, because life is too short to do anything else!

Superior Nonsense: Hair, It's Overrated

Superior Nonsense: Hair, It's Overrated: As I sit here with a hole on the side of my head (and no, not my ear canal), I am wondering why I have never just grown my hair out in one l...

Hair, It's Overrated

As I sit here with a hole on the side of my head (and no, not my ear canal), I am wondering why I have never just grown my hair out in one long Crystal Gayle sheath of nonsense.  How much easier would life be?  I mean, I'd just wash it, dry it, brush it, maybe even put it up in a pony tail.  No gel, no hairspray, minimal visits to the salon (annually would work for me), no perusing for a new style to get through a mood.  Yeah, if only I had the patience...

My downfall is that in my prior life, prior to becoming a teacher that is, I was a hair stylist.  Thirteen years, on and off.  Went to cosmetology school right out of high school and completed the program a month early...dedicated, motivated, excited to do something I had always dreamed of doing.  But near the end of the program I learned that I was highly allergic to perm solution...Superiors, this was the late 80's, white women could not function without their curls, and therefore a stylist would not be able to make a living without cranking out some curls.

What to do, what to do?  Hair, my friends, I did hair.  I worked and my hands turned into minced meat, despite the bizarre and ineffective help from the dermatologist - cotton gloves, soaked in ice water with Alpha-Keri bath oils.  Yes, true story, multiple times a day when I wasn't working.  But I had a car payment and a small student loan to repay, so work it was.  And what do hairstylists without a wee bit of time on their hands (no pun intended)? Each other's hair, of course!  I'll give you a brief recount of some of the really bad fiascos, just to prove that I really don't learn from bad experiences....

First hair fiasco occurred in beauty school:  my cute little wedge haircut took on a very masculine transformation within the first month of school.  I freaked, I cried, and everybody was pissed with ME because I'd hurt my friend's (who apparently did not hold my hair at the proper angle to keep the weight line, i.e. fullness, in the back) feelings.  Umm, wasn't I the one walking around looking like I should be wearing a pressed oxford shirt, jeans and Tretorn tennis shoes?  Just in case that reference is lost in translation...the hair cut made me look like I liked chicks and although I support gay rights, I wasn't playing for that team, if you get my drift.

Second hair fiasco, post-beauty school - blonde (read: WHITE) highlights...yes, it was bad, I am PALE with freckles & greyish blue eyes, red or gold highlights work, NOT extreme blonde, i.e. white.  I walked into the house and my mom was on the phone and I remember her saying, 'I think my daughter is blonde, I'll call you right back.'  It lasted a day and the only thing that covers yucky, mucky ashy blonde hair is RED...and I've been rocking various shades of red, on & off, for over 20 years now.  Proof that mistakes can open doors, right? No worries, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Numerous, bad haircuts, perms and some wee bit wacky color issues.  But nothing really topped the time I had my hair straightened.  I know, silly white girl, you already have straight hair, is exactly what you are thinking.  Well, I had impulsively had my hair permed and after going to a workshop where we learned how to cut the latest version of the shag haircut (the infamous "Rachel" from the TV show "Friends") I just HAD to have straight hair.  Lisa, an African-American stylist who worked part time in our little salon, volunteered to straighten my hair...a simple run through with perm solution does the trick.

Well, we all know that there are major differences between Caucasian hair and Black the fact that she combed the solution threw my hair with the same pressure and intensity that you would an African-American's hair...and while my hair was considerably unattractive in it's permed state, there was no "nap" to cut through.  Which is why I had difficulty getting my hair OFF OF MY scalp for the first two volume, no lift at the root, just flat ass straight hair stuck to my head.  Be careful what you wish for, right?  But wait, it gets better...two months afterwards I feel this bizarre little stubble in the crown of my head -  yep, my hair had broken off, at the root, and was now growing back didn't take long to me a little crew cut going at the crown of my head, kind of like natural texturizing to give me lift.  Again, my story...

Which leads me to yesterday's haircut really should have taken minutes because I'd already cut the majority myself and only needed her help blending in the back.  I wanted no major changes, just blending so that when I styled my hair I didn't look like I was working two different looks.  So why did I leave with hair that was not only shorter in ALL areas, but I have HOLES, more like gaps but they feel like cavernous holes that cannot be filled without major work!!  As she wrapped up the experience, her departing words were: I blended the back and texturized a bit.  Hmm, A BIT!!  $20 to walk away with holes in my head and a grandma hairdo to boot...

The moral to my story:  Thank goodness for cute headbands.