Saturday, July 21, 2012

Good news, bad news

The good news is it wasn't my fault and no one was hurt.

The bad news is I'm pretty sure the guy didn't do enough damage to get me a new car.

I was rear-ended on the way to work yesterday. I was in the left turn lane and the arrow turned yellow. I was too far back to make the light, so I stopped. The guy behind me didn't.

I'm sore today, of course, but not actually injured. The worst of it is the toenail that got ripped off when my foot jammed into the brake pedal. I ended up in the ER yesterday afternoon anyway because my doctor couldn't get me in until next Thursday and the urgent care I went to sent me to the hospital (pretty much because they didn't want to deal with the paperwork, I think). I felt stupid being there for what was clearly no more than muscle strains and a broken toe nail, and the doctor only reinforced that by practically laughing at me through my whole exam. But I've seen enough car accident cases in my career to know that a trip to the doc is essential. Otherwise, I'll end up having my leg amputated because my toe nail turns gangrenous, and I'll never be able to get compensation for it because there's no proof that it was related to the accident. See what being a lawyer does to one's brain? Don't go to law school, kids.

So today I'm not doing much except hanging out with several ice packs, subsisting on a diet of Motrin and Diet Coke, and trying to keep the boys from using me as a jungle gym. And until the adjuster gets here on Monday, I'm holding out hope that this accident will be the end of my sad minivan.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Daycare ch-ch-ch-changes

R's last day at his current daycare is tomorrow. This change has been sort of traumatic for me and I don't really want to write about it yet, but I've left daycare in tears every night this week. I think I need to cry it out tonight so I'm not a complete, ugly-crying mess tomorrow. So here it goes...

As you may or may not recall, W's first babysitter dumped us with almost no notice and without giving any reasons when I was eight months pregnant with R (and, no, I never did find out what happened there. She and her husband divorced a few months after that (and it went through my court. Ha!), and if I ever run into her ex I plan to pump him for information because I STILL wonder about what I did to cause that). I was super pregnant, hysterical, and panicked about finding a new sitter because I didn't have any time to take off due to my upcoming maternity leave and my inability to go any significant period of time without a paycheck. So finding daycare immediately was essential. A law school friend suggested that his center might be taking new kids, so we checked it out. It ended up working out nicely.

I still remember visiting for the first time. I hadn't told J, the owner, over the phone about being pregnant because my friend told me there probably weren't any infant spots available for R when he was born. I didn't want to jeopardize my chances of getting W in, though, so I kept my mouth shut. I figured this would be a temporary solution and I could spend some time really looking for a good daycare option during my maternity leave. As long as W could start there less than a week later, I didn't care. One of the first things J said to me that day was, "Oh. I didn't know you were expecting..." Luckily for us, she bought my pre-rehearsed "I can move him in three months, please, please, please let him come here on Monday!" speech. Even luckier, she ended up with room for R. I found out the day I was induced, and I was ecstatic.

The boys and I were very fortunate with this daycare center. It's a small place, with about 20 kids and 6 adults, and everyone became like family. The women who work there love my kids like their own, and it shows. I know all the other kids and parents. There are only a handful of kids still at the center who are older than W, so I've really watched all of these kids grow up. Not saying hi to them every day is going to be hard. Not knowing for sure that R's new teachers are going to love him like he's their nephew/grandson is going to be hard. Taking R away from his little girlfriend/best bud is going to be hard (he's going to miss her so much).

I moved W to a new daycare in February because it specializes in kids with sensory processing issues and sounded incredibly beneficial for him (it has been). Pulling W was difficult, but I was fairly confident in my decision because the new center promised so much for him, and I knew that I'd still be taking R to the current place every day. This is much different. You see, I'm NOT entirely sure this move is best for R. He's doing pretty well in his current place; he's really starting to come into his own there. He has friends there. He loves his teachers. Even though I love the place, I've been wanting to move R for a couple of months for (what feels like) purely selfish reasons. Our total daycare cost is going to drop by $20 a month (hey, savings is savings); my morning and evening commutes will be reduced by approximately 20 minutes; I won't have to make two stops twice a day; and I won't have to keep track of two separate sets of customs, rules, and expectations. The plan was to move R when I got the job I interviewed for (and didn't get) because then I would have a good reason to move him - our current center would be WAY out of the way and no one could justify keeping their kid there under those circumstances. I'm not sure what, but something finally made me pull the trigger last week. I think I was just so fed up with the extra drive time, the extra traffic, the extra construction, and the extra stops. Whatever it was, I told J we were moving R. And I've been regretting it ever since.

I keep thinking this must be a a bad idea because I can't even think about the move without crying. This is so HARD for me, and I can't quite pinpoint why.* R is going to be fine. He will adjust fine, he'll make new friends, and he'll have teachers who love him just as much as his current ones do. Actually, since the new place has in-house speech therapy, R will actually be getting the speech eval he's had an order for since April...I haven't done anything with it because I hardly have any time off accrued (curse you, Crappy Health Year!) and can't sacrifice two or three hours a week to get him to and from speech appointments, particularly when work, daycare, and providers are all in different cities and the driving alone takes up over an hour and a half. This move has also prompted me to get him more of his vaccinations that he's still behind on. One more round of shots in a month, and my kid will be fully vaccinated for the first time in his life. Woo!

So. Tomorrow is R's last day. It's going to be awful. I'm going to miss that place so much. I devoted much time and mental anguish to figuring out the gifts to give R's current teachers. I wanted something special, but not terribly expensive. I finally decided on taking breakfast for the workers, writing each a nice card (six cards took me an hour and much, much sobbing to write), and giving each a set of magnets the boys painted (idea stolen from here).

Mommy gets crafty!
They turned out cute, and were actually really easy to make, though I did learn that writing a backwards 2 is far more difficult than anticipated. Methinks I have a Christmas present for the bazillion teachers at the new daycare I'm supposed to buy presents for...

Anyway, I'm also giving the owner a book for the center and a stone sculpture thing from a local artist. I was thinking about a restaurant gift card, but that felt too impersonal. J has a bunch of these sculpture things already, so I'm hoping that means she likes them, not just that clueless parents *ahem ME* give them to her all the time. If not, I just look like a jerk. No biggie.

And that's my story. But I don't think I cried enough writing this to make sure I'm not a bawling mess tomorrow. Catharsis FAIL.

* Small update. Since typing that line a bit ago, I've discovered that a certain visitor decided to arrive early this month. That explains soooooooo much of the past week.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Interior decorating for rednecks

This is what B has done to my dining room:

Fancy, right? I hate having all his stupid "collectible" crap so visible, but he doesn't have an office or man cave to put it all in, as he did in previous locations, before we had small humans to house, so I can't really complain too much. I guess.

You'll also notice that none of my wood finishes match. The table is sort of the same color as the shot glass cabinet and the shelving unit pretty much matches the desk (the built-in hutches match nothing and are ugly. Period.), but none of it matches each other. I suppose the mismatched college-furniture-esque feel really just enhances the frat house ambiance brought to the room by the shot glasses. Yeah, we'll go with that.

Also, you'll be happy to know that I put my foot down at him bringing a six-foot-long two-man saw into the house. He wanted to hang it in my living room! Now, I know I haven't done much with decorating the place, but come on. We don't live in a friggin' lumber camp!

What's the takeaway from all this? I need to be more assertive when it comes to our home's interior design and my husband is a redneck. The end.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Secret Mommyhood Confessions: Labels

What? It's not Saturday? Psssh. I'm nothing if not prompt and timely these days, so it's only fitting that I hit up a Saturday meme (confession within a confession:  I have no idea what "meme" means. Or how to pronounce it) on Monday.

Something Something Button

Here's my confession:  I hate labeling my boys' stuff.

Hate it.

This trivial bitch is brought to you by my younger son switching daycares (which I need to write about, by the way, but can't even think about without sobbing, and tears like that will ruin a perfectly good keyboard). We're moving from a fairly small, in-home center (maybe 20 kids and six teachers) where everyone knows everyone else and it's not that difficult to keep track of a kid's stuff to an actual daycare center (lots of kids and lots of teachers) with rooms and unknown families and whatnot. The new center is pretty adamant about stuff being labeled (W already goes there, so I'm familiar with the place). I resisted with W's stuff, but kept being reminded and got a very knowing "I told you so!" looks a couple of times when W's things were *ahem* not in their usually place, and I finally caved and label everything that stays at the center (except the clothes he wears in. I refuse. The extra outfit we keep there is labeled, but that's it).

You see, I have grand hopes of reselling all of the boys' crap some day, and I think a name or initials on the tag dramatically lowers the resale value. I, personally, tend to not buy clothes at resale shops that are already marked up, and it makes me squirmy when people give me clothes with written-on tags. Call me a snob, but I hate it. (Really, it's my inner OCD. The writing across all the writing already on the tag? OMG.)

I bought some label stickers, thinking that might be better, but they present a whole new set of problems. First, they're kinda pricey. And second, they're far less permanent than they market themselves to be. Which leads to third, they keep falling off in the wash and have to be replaced on the regular. But when they don't, we have fourth, the stupid things have the boys' full names on them and I refuse to give away or sell stuff with their full names attached. In short, labels = me no likey.

That I've spent any time at all think about this is embarrassing. That I also wasted around 400 words on it is far worse. But there you have it. Add one more star to my freak flag.

Button doesn't work. Go link up at Kim's blog anyway.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Coming to terms

My brief adventures in the land of the unmedicated have led me to finally accept that depression - that ugly, cumbersome diagnosis - will be a part of me forever. It's a realization that's been a long time in coming, and it sucks. No one wants a chronic illness. Especially not one that falls into the dreaded "mental health" category.

For the longest time, I thought my depression was clearly ante-natal and post-partum, and that was it. All the indications were there, and I never poked further (mostly because I didn't want to know). Looking back now, I can clearly see that I had some depressive episodes in high school. I clearly remember reading an article years ago about the signs of depression in young children, which more or less convinced me that I had some depressive episodes as early as first grade. Given the crazy that is so very firmly wrapped around nearly every branch of my paternal family tree, none of this is terribly surprising.

Even before pregnancy, I had some undiagnosed depression, but since I was 18 and really started having depressive episodes (that weren't diagnosed because I never did anything to get them diagnosed) there was always a clear hormonal trigger: birth control pills, birth control pills, birth control shot, birth control pills, pregnancy, nursing, weaning, another freaking unwanted unplanned pregnancy, nursing, and weaning. It's always been so easy for me to blame my body's apparent over-sensitivity to hormones for throwing me in the path of the crazy train.

By now, things aren't so simple. I weaned my last child over a year ago. I haven't had any parasites pregnancies recently (nor do I plan to have any every again, thankyouverymuch). I avoid hormonal birth control like the plague. There's not a non-normal hormonal thing happening inside my body now. So when I got off of all of my medications and things still went awry, there's nothing to blame but my brain.

My brain, which I've always been fairly fond of, has gone and betrayed me by failing to keeps its chemicals regulated. And living life with whacked out brain chemistry is no way to live. I have lots of experience in it, and I don't care to keep repeating it for the rest of my life.

When I first went off of my meds, I felt fantastic. And I may have been having a wee bit of a hypomanic episode, but let's just ignore that. After a week or so, I felt "normal." At least, I think I did. I felt the way I imagine most people feel every day. Not flying-high happy, but also not soul-crushingly sad. I felt nice and even and middle, and I liked it. But as with every other gain I've had over the past four or five years, it only lasted until my monthly lady hormones started doing their thing. By the time all that started, I was once again firmly mired in the hopelessness and despair that were my normal state-of-being for so long. That was when I knew.

I knew this wasn't an acute, temporary disease that will go away. Not for me, anyway. Rather, it's a chronic condition because my body is deficient in making (or keeping or using or something) certain chemicals that are needed for normal mental functioning. I can work with my docs and my counselor to get it into "remission," if you will, but it's never going to go away.

And I've accepted that. I don't like it, but I've accepted that it's a fact of my life now. My brain chemistry probably always will be. I'm taking medicine to correct it, and I probably always will be. It sucks - no one wants to be sick - but it's part of me now, just like my bum tailbone or my curly hair.

My counselor loves to tell me that "we deal in realities," and this illness is my reality. Honestly, it's not the worst chronic disease I could have ended up with. But I'd much prefer to just be healthy. Really.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

101 things

101 things in 1,001 days. I don't know where this idea originated, but I learned of it (as I do with most cool blog things) from Michelle. It's not like my life isn't crazy enough, so I thought I'd add a list of (probably unattainable) goals to it. At least it sounded better than making lame, soon-forgotten New Year's resolutions [ed. note:  my original intent was to post this on New Year's Day, but my list wasn't completed by then. So it's sat in my drafts for six months, and I'm just now getting around to finishing and posting it. But I've sort of been working on a couple of things since January, which is why a couple are crossed off.]

The mission:  Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1,001 days. My 1,001 days ends April 1, 2015.

The criteria:  Tasks must be specific (i.e. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (i.e. represent some amount of work on my part).

Why 1,001 Days?:  Many people have created lists in the past - frequently simple goals such as New Year's resolutions. The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic. 1,001 Days (about 2.75 years) is a better period of time than a year, because it allows you several seasons to complete the tasks, which is better for organizing and timing some tasks such as overseas trips or outdoor activities.

As I was writing my list, I started to run out of ideas around 60, so I browsed a few other people's lists. If it looks like I stole something from your list, I probably did (though, in my defense, I already had some of the things on the other lists on mine before I ever went searching). I really ran out of steam around 75, so they get pretty weak after that. I've tastefully redacted a few items because they aren't really for public consumption, but are things that need to be on my list. I hope you understand. I'll eventually have a tab on my home page so you can keep up with my progress, if you're so inclined. So with that, here, in no particular order, is my list:
  1. Teach a college course.
  2. Lose 10 pounds and keep it off for six months (0/10 pounds, 0/6 months).
  3. Lose 20 pounds and keep it off for six months (0/20 pounds, 0/6 months).
  4. Complete the Couch 2 5K program.
  5. Run a 5K.
  6. Get a new car.
  7. Purchase a laptop.
  8. Paint three rooms in my house (0/3).
  9. Set up my sewing room.
  10. [Redacted]
  11. [Redacted]
  12. Learn to sew two pieces of clothing (0/2)
  13. Purge the house of excess crap three times (0/3).
  14. Have a garage sale.
  15. Visit three new states (0/3).
  16. Eat at five new restaurants (0/5).
  17. Cook dinner three nights a week for three months (0/12 weeks).
  18. Take a sign language class.
  19. Learn basic carpentry.
  20. Donate to five charities (0/5).
  21. Find a regular volunteering opportunity.
  22. Get a tattoo.
  23. Go skydiving.
  24. Take a Spanish class.
  25. Cross stitch three stockings (0/3).
  26. Randomly send a card to someone once a month (0/33).
  27. Buy a grown-up suit. (6/8/12. I bought a nice suit to wear to an interview for a job I didn't get. I kinda want to burn that suit now, even though I look fantastic in it.)
  28. But a grown-up pair of heels.
  29. Attend the ballet.
  30. Read one non-work-related book a month (2/33).
  31. Attend an opera.
  32. Visit a foreign country.
  33. Visit three museums (0/3).
  34. Redo landscaping.
  35. Paint basement.
  36. Complete Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University course.
  37. Find a working budget and stick to it for six months (0/6).
  38. Take three sessions of ballet classes (0/3)
  39. Take boys to the zoo 10 times (0/10).
  40. Take boys to the science museum 10 times (0/10).
  41. Attend a blogging conference.
  42. Meet a blog friend in real life.
  43. Work out three days a week for three months (0/12 weeks).
  44. Go gluten and refined sugar free.
  45. Get head shots taken.
  46. Get a good family portrait.
  47. Get a new job.
  48. Throw one kick-ass party.
  49. Purge boys' clothes and toys every other month (1/16).
  50. [Redacted]
  51. Go on a real vacation.
  52. Visit my BFF two times (0/2).
  53. Go to Spring Lodge for a week.
  54. Buy a plant and keep it alive for six months (0/6).
  55. Buy a bike.
  56. Convert small bedroom into a playroom.
  57. Shampoo carpets and furniture every six months (0/5).
  58. Reconnect with two old friends (0/2).
  59. Visit three local attractions I've never been to (0/3).
  60. Sell or donate all old baby stuff.
  61. Make a vision board.
  62. Get rid of my magazine stash.
  63. Own one ridiculously expensive purse, pair of shoes, sunglasses, or other accessory.
  64. Finalize my will.
  65. Find a church.
  66. Find the perfect preschool for W. (February 2012; his current daycare is the perfect place for him, AND had a preschool program!)
  67. See a movie by myself.
  68. Go to a concert.
  69. Give blood eight times (0/8).
  70. Get a facial.
  71. Learn to apply make-up properly.
  72. Start college funds for both boys. (7/2/12. I won a giveaway from CollegeAdvantage, and now each boy has a college fund worth exactly $50 dollars. Woo!)
  73. Put money in college funds every week for three months (0/12 weeks).
  74. Give up pop for a month (0/30 days).
  75. Get life insurance.
  76. Take the boys on a train ride.
  77. Repair back porch and steps by myself.
  78. Get a psychic reading.
  79. Go away for a weekend all by myself.
  80. Go on a cruise.
  81. Sew curtains for the bedrooms (0/3 rooms).
  82. Learn how to crochet or knit.
  83. Go ice skating.
  84. Go apple picking.
  85. [Redacted]
  86. Go to Cedar Point with the kids.
  87. Go to Cedar Point without the kids. (8/25/12. I went with my bestie from law school and had a great time. I also spent the least money I've ever spent at CP. It was epic.)
  88. Ask a friend on a date at least once every three months (0/11).
  89. Judge at a state speech tournament. (3/1/12. I got lucky and got asked to go this year. It was as awesome as I thought it would be, and I really hope I get to do it again.)
  90. [Redacted]
  91. Find the perfect preschool for R.
  92. Get rid of cable.
  93. Dance in pointe shoes.
  94. Cancel all magazine subscriptions (except Cooking Light). (I'm pretty sure I've done this...I haven't renewed anything that's come due this year, and I haven't gotten any more subscriptions.)
  95. Find a mentor.
  96. Cook one recipe from every cookbook/cooking magazine I own (0/eleventy billion).
  97. Wear an accessory every day for a month (0/30 days).
  98. Get a manicure.
  99. Get a pedicure.
  100. Earn back all advanced vacation time. (Mid-August 2012. I don't remember exactly when it happened, but I'm now out of vacation hour debt!).
  101. Pay off my car early.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Still alive!

Man, I've really got to quit this once a month blogging thing...

Truth is, I just haven't felt like writing. Anything. The thought of getting off the couch, walking to the computer, sitting, and typing out a post exhausted me. I also pretty much disappeared from my online life. I quit tweeting (with the exception of a few random thoughts here and there), quit following what was going on with my internet friends, quit reading blogs, and was worse than normal at returning e-mails. I...just wasn't interested. Coincidence that this happened during the month that I was happily drug-free? Probably not. (Note to Amy:  Don't worry, Mom, I'm back on meds. And I love you for momming me.) I'm hoping I'll get back into the swing of regular blogging, tweeting, etc. soon. As much as I didn't want to deal with it, I missed it.

Some other random goings on:
  • I interviewed for a job I thought FOR SURE was mine. I liked them, they seemed to like me, the firm seemed like a good fit...and then they made an offer to someone else. I found out yesterday from what I think is a fairly reliable source that they did, in fact, really like me, but they hired a person who had litigation experience. I most decidedly do not have litigation experience. I have experience in sitting on my butt and pretending to be a judge. Apparently they aren't the same thing. So the job hunt continues.

  • My younger sister-in-law got married last weekend, and I am so, SO glad that ordeal is over. I was the only person in the family over the age of two who wasn't in the wedding. Even older SIL's husband, who younger SIL has always disliked was an usher. I'm not sure exactly why that happened or what I did to earn banishment, but it sort of hurt my little feelings. Also, they had a 6' by 6' photo wall with at least 100 pictures on it. I wasn't in a single one. I've been with B for TEN YEARS, played with SIL on the tennis team in high school before B and I ever dated, and went to numerous parties with her in college. But wasn't in one picture.

  • W was a ring bearer, see?

    Not my photo...SIL texted it to me, and she obviously didn't take it, but I don't know who did. Soooo if you're SIL's friend who took this pic and happen to read my blog, let me know and I'll credit you for the pic.

    He clearly loved his job. He didn't want to do it, and I tried to convince SIL (or have B convince SIL, which was probably the fatal mistake) that he wouldn't handle it well. But it went far better than expected! I had to herd him down the first third of the aisle. Then, when I tried to pick him up and remove him, he wailed that he wanted to walk down the aisle. I think this had less to do with wanting to fulfill his ring bearer duties and more to do with the Holley Shiftwell and Mater in B's pockets. Kid really wanted those damn cars. He went down the second third of the aisle looking like he did in the picture, and B met him for the last third and carried him to the front. W was happy as a little clam once he got his hands on Holley, though. Also, that block-of-fabric-covered-styrofoam-SIL-called-a-pillow was far more hideous in real life than it is in the picture.

  • My mom and sister didn't have any nail polish in the house this weekend (seriously. None!), so I had to get an emergency nail polish on my Cars-shopping trip Saturday morning. I got Sally Hansen's Greige Gardens (I did not pay that much for it). It's sort of a weird color, but I kinda love it.
Ugly toes! Smudgy nail polish! Dirty carpet!

  • Relatedly, I have an unhealthy obsession with purple. The CDPs people send me only feed the addiction. I have so much purple stuff right now. It makes me happy.

I think that's all I've got for tonight. Stay tuned for more thrilling adventures from my life. Hopefully they'll be posted in less than a month!