Friday, November 17, 2017

Take One and Pass It Around...

Can somebody explain to me why I can buy Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen in 50 gallon drums, but it's a miracle if I can find Midol in anything greater than a 40 count? A forty count bottle shared among four women.

I've been female my whole life and a "woman" for almost thirty years. I was unprepared for the day I "became a woman". I mean, I watched "the movie" in seventh grade, but the actresses were discussing using the belt. The belt was no longer a thing when I was in the seventh grade. I had to go home and ask my mom how a belt had anything to do with my upcoming affliction.

My dad pulled me aside shortly before I went through the change. He wanted to tell me that PMS was something women claimed to excuse their behavior. He said he had a friend when he was a teen and he never knew when her aunt was visiting because she was never moody or angry or unpleasant. I legitimately thought something was wrong with me when every month, like clockwork, I hated everybody. Thanks dad.

Mr. D only had brothers and his mother is the most composed woman I have ever met. One one hand, that is admirable. On the other, it was a tremendous disservice to Mr. D because most women aren't 100% rational all the time. If I can't melt down in my own house...

I mean, I'm not a crazy person, but compared to his mother I'm a raging lunatic. Which is why we are counseled not to compare ourselves to others (dad).

I'd like to say that in our early married life Mr. D had peace for a couple of weeks every month, but I got pregnant five minutes after the wedding and stayed that way for the better part of ten years. In that ten years I gave birth to three other females and the cards were stacked against him. He said that once the girls reached puberty, he was taking our son and moving into an apartment until the smoke cleared. It's funny depending on the day. If Midol is in the house, it's hilarious. If there's no Midol, it's dangerous.

I have to say he has admirably adjusted to the hormonal surges. I know he still doesn't understand why we don't "just stop being cranky" when we know we're being cranky. So I'm going to try and explain.

Approximately seven to ten days before our Aunt (we'll call her Flo) comes for her monthly visit, she decides she needs to redecorate even though no one has visited since the last time she cleaned house. However, demolitions are painful. Knocking down walls sounds like fun, but after a full day of swinging a sledgehammer it starts to get real. Real painful. Just imagine swinging a sledgehammer everyday for a week. Then imagine how sore your arms will be for a few days after. It's a constant throb and Tylenol barely takes the edge off.

I remember seeing random dancing threads at the bottom of old movies. I could only ignore them for so long but even then I could still see them from the corner of my eyes. It's the same way with Flo except cramps and uterus. Things that bother me are exacerbated by the dull ache that is my constant companion as I wait for Flo's arrival.

However, I have always found it enraging when my feelings are casually dismissed as PMS (by men and (gasp) women - you know better).

Example: Just because I'm overly emotional, but doesn't mean you aren't an a-hole.

That's why as my girls have started down the path to womanhood, I have made a conscious decision in how I deal with the inevitable meltdowns that occasionally rear their ugly heads. Maybe it can be of use to others and it goes like this.

Teen in melt down: Mom, I want to punch her in the head.

Me: I know when (insert sibling) does (insert behavior) it upsets you. However, the level of anger your are currently expressing is of greater magnitude than you would usually express. Do you agree?

Teen in meltdown tearfully nodding because her feeling have been acknowledged: Yes, mom.

Me: Go take a Midol and have a time out.

It's worked pretty well so far.

P.S. I have to give myself timeouts, too.


Monday, November 13, 2017

Jesus Take the Wheel...

I feel like I've been living on borrowed time since I was about eighteen. Every time I get into a car I'm taking my life into my hands and it seems my oldest, Ennie, has taken up that mantle and run with it (driven with it?) She's been in two fender benders in the last month.

The first time the driver of a white van threw it in reverse and backed into her left front fender as they shared the turn lane. Then he just left.

The second time she was driving down a street where the cross roads have stop signs. However, some people seem to think a stop sign is more of a suggestion and some woman rolled right through the stop sign into my daughters right front fender. This time she was able to get insurance information and pictures. She also exclaimed her first foul declaration when she came through the door. I'm so proud.

Her recent course in crash reminds me of a time when I was about her age. I had an old Volkswagon Dasher as my first car. I'd never seen a V.W. Dasher before and haven't seen once since, but the Dasher was Volkswagon's answer to the station wagon. My brother rebuilt the engine and since it was the first engine he'd ever attempted, he had a handful of nuts and bolts left over. He hadn't started with extra nuts and bolts. It rattled loudly, lacked heat and air, and the radio had a dial. The antennae had been lost ages before so any station that could be found was impossible to hear through the static. I kept a tape player in the front seat. It was so sad.

Anyway, in the beginning months of my eighteenth year, I was rolling down a street in my neighborhood when some dingus in a van pulled over to the right and stopped. I waited a moment and when it was clear to me that he was stopped, I attempted to go around him. That's when he decided to take a wide turn to the left. He smashed my right fender. His wife vaulted from the passenger side screaming obscenities and all of a sudden my mom appeared! I was about four houses away from mine but she was there in a blink. She and my stepdad had been driving in front of the van. My mom sounded so worried when she told me she'd dropped her roast beef sandwich on the ground because of me. I always felt so important.

The next day, I was headed to a hair appointment when I rear ended a woman on the highway. It was rainy and the road was slick. My car hydroplaned into hers. I'll admit my actions after the fact were ill-advised.

I continued on to my hair appointment.

It was the days before cell phones, but my parents still managed to get a hold of me. The woman I hit had called the insurance company, who had called them. There really is no excuse for the way I handled it except, roast beef sandwich.

I was told I would no longer be allowed to drive because I had become a liability. This is where it gets stupid. See, my brother, who was seventeen at the time, was an even greater liability that me! He already had two speeding tickets under his belt. Also, he'd taken out a retaining wall in Hurst. And he'd driven away with the gas hose still in his car. And he was actually on his second car because he'd wrapped the first one around a sapling, but I was the liability.

I might still be bitter about that.

Anyway, it got worse from there as the next year, while riding home from a New Year's Eve party, we found ourselves watching in astonishment as the rear tire rolled up next to us and then passed us on the highway. A few days later, I was a passenger in a friends's car when we got t-boned as we turned left on a green arrow.

A few years later, I was leaving work one after noon in the right lane waiting to turn. There was a shopping center beside me and I inched up the lane as the cars would turn right and this little old lady hit my passenger side. She jumped out of the car screaming about how we youngsters were always speeding down the street. Luckily there was a cop nearby who could verify that I was, in fact, stopped when she hit me.

Then there was the time I was headed to a friend's house in my MommyMobile, a red minivan. This little old man backed out of his driveway as I passed behind him. He said he just didn't see me because he was looking at his grandson who was in the passenger seat beside him. Whatever.

But it all started when I was about eight. My mom was headed to the post office to get our mail. Our house was so rural the post office didn't even deliver. So my mom says she's going to get the mail and my brother and I jump in the passenger seat at the same time. Note, this is the same brother who rebuilt my car engine and also managed to not be a liability in spite of his shenanigans. He and I were wrestling over the front seat as she started the van and then headed down the gravel road. Apparently the door had not been closed well and with one hard shove I found myself hitting the ground and rolling into the ditch. My mom was at the end of the road before she realized I was gone and slammed on the brakes. She reversed back to where I landed and laughingly asked if I was okay.

I've never been as important as a roast beef sandwich.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Putting It Here So I Can Find It Later...

Yeah, right!

That was my mother's favorite phrase (behind "Fine, I hope you choke on it," and "we just can't have anything nice!") It drove me nuts to hear her say it because I knew once she had safely tucked whatever it was away in some out of the way hidey-hole, it was also immediately lost to her brain.

I swear she spent half of her days looking for her safekeeping spot and the other half gushing about the fun things she'd "found" instead. For example, after she would holler, "where are my shoes?" I would then hear, "oh! that's where I put those buttons that fell off your shirt...ten years ago. I knew I'd put them somewhere."

She's be so happy she found those buttons, and even though I'd finally given up on ever wearing that shirt again nigh on a decade before, she'd still insist on keeping them "just in case." Then she'd put the buttons back where she found them and resume her quest for her shoes. On a side note, my mother's other favorite saying was "if you'd all just clean up your own mess, this house would be clean." I remember her yelling that one day as I watched her finish off a bottle of Pepsi and then drop it on the floor. No joke.

I vowed to be the woman who kept track of where she hid her crap and I did really well...until I had about three children. I realized it had gotten away from me when, whilst looking for the Easter basket goodies, I found the stocking stuffers I'd bought for Christmas. Stuffers I had forgotten I'd ever bought.

I've spent this entire day searching for a file that I remember holding in my hands, but can't for the life of me remember where it went after that. I gave up looking for a spell and went in search of some decorative tape and danged if I couldn't find that either! The last straw happened when I was looking for my son. He'd snuck out the door to go to the store with his sisters. They swear he told me he was going, but I absolutely did not hear it. Thankfully, I found him with a quick phone call. Which brings me to another trait I despised in my mother yet have come to find in myself.

I totally tune out my children's voices.

But it's an essential skill to surviving motherhood. If I had to give my full attention to every noise they made, I'd go freaking nuts! I remember my mother saying I only talked to hear my own voice. I hated it when she'd say that, but I think it happens in this house, too. My offspring promise every word is important, but all I hear is wah, wah, wah, wah, wah.

There is an episode of Spongebob Squarepants wherein Spongebob is running his gob non-stop as Squidward looks on in annoyance. He envisions four mouths popping out of Squarepant's face and every one of them is spouting loud nonsense. I know my children aren't in a desperate bid to use all of the oxygen in the room, but sometimes it really does feel that way.

They swear we've had entire conversations that I don't ever remember hearing let alone participating in. I question the validity of some of those claims though. They know I don't listen, I think they've figured out my wordless nodding is a cover and they're using my inattention against me.


By the way, I still haven't found that file.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

How the...

I'm just going to say it, hell. How the hell?! I mean HOW THE HELL!!! Hell, hell, hell, hell, hell!

If the first sentence was enough to curdle your blood, leave now. If you have a weak constitution or delicate sensibilities, consider yourself warned. It's about to get real up in here.

I dropped my phone in the toilet yesterday.

Let me clarify, to "drop it" would suggest I had been holding it in the first place. My phone fell in the toilet. More accurately, it was launched. I launched my phone into the toilet like a rocket into space.

First off, I know I shouldn't have had it in the bathroom at all, but I did. If you've never taken your phone into the bathroom, you may smile smugly to yourself. However, if any one of you are tempted to point that out whilst reading this post sitting on the toilet, I dare you to comment.

To begin, yesterday, I went to the bathroom. It was a good day. I placed my phone on the counter because it's a safe place to put it, or so I thought. I contemplated the wonders of the universe, did some paperwork and then pulled up my britches.

I was reaching for the handle with my right hand and bringing my left hand around to grab my phone when, what the hell, not only did I not grab it, I swiped it off the counter with such force it sailed from the counter top all the way over the edge of the toilet bowl where it made a perfect ten point landing, face up on the toilet paper island inside.

I fished that sucker out with such haste I didn't even have time to finish my curse word. The case was hastily shucked and hucked in the trash and then I wiped the phone down with Clorox wipes. Every ten minutes. For an hour.

It still works.

I sent a text to Mr. D after the Clorox juice had dried. It was laden with four letter words like, 
"poop" and "fell" and "into", and some other explanatory expletives. He found it hilarious and showed the text to his co-workers who also thought it was hilarious, as did my friend, Angel and pretty much anyone else who has been told, but I'm angry and I'll tell you why. 

I could have dropped my phone into a sparkling clean toilet and I would laughed. I could have dropped it into a slightly less clean bowl with clean water and still laughed. I could have dropped it into a stewing bowl of fresh hell and at least realized I had it coming, but I didn't drop the damn thing at all! 

I had placed it on the counter to avoid this very thing! HOW?!

How does my friend alight from a swing and land in her dates outstretched arms while I end up on the ground just an inch from my own date? How do I give myself a black eye with a toilet seat? How do I end up hanging upside down from the swingset with my legs wrapped in a chain? How do I kick the only tree stump within a hundred yards and break my foot in three places? How do I manage to trip on the only concrete booger on an entirely flat street and hash my face all up?

HOW???

I'm so over it. I just can't find the humor in this one and I can't even be happy that the phone still works because I'm afraid to use it. I can't be trusted to touch it without a protective case, and with my luck I'll end up with some fecal born infection.

Maybe one day I'll look back on this and laugh...but not today.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Sausage Fingers: The Return...

So the swelling in my ring finger finally abated about a week ago and (happy day!) I was able to put my wedding ring back in it's rightful place. It was wonderful! It was glorious! It was...short lived.

See, what had happened was I was in my garden trying for the fourth time to kill this ant pile that refuses to die. Refuses. To. Die. I've put so much poison in that garden bed, that anything I grow will probably poison us all, but those dang ants will not be defeated. Dang ants.

Anyway, I'm in the garden, shaking this bag of granulated poison over the garden bed of aggravation when I felt a sting on the back of my hand. I remember apologizing to the ants for trying to kill them when I realized it hurt so much worse than any other sting I've gotten this year, and I've been stung a lot. I'm pretty sure I'm starting to develop ant-y powers I've been stung to such a degree.

At any rate, I glanced at my hand and found the site of the sting was already beginning to swell  and then caught sight of the perpetrator flying away. HORNETS!

The hornets and I have been engaged in a terse dance this season. They fly around like they own the place and I destroy any nests I find which is why I think they got wise and finally hid it because I didn't see where my assailant came from, and the tears in my eyes kept me from seeing where it disappeared.

I decided to soldier on and watered all my plants and trees with my hand elevated because I wasn't going to be knocked off course by some winged honey wannabe. Once the plants had been hydrated, I went into the house and informed Mr. D that I had been stung and then grabbed an ice pack to ply to my hand. Once I stopped moving, the stinging really set in. My hand was on fire!

Google told me that ice and acetaminophen would be my best friends so I downed some Tylenol and kept my hand elevated and iced.

I don't know why I thought that the swelling would reach it's maximum on the day of the sting, but let me just tell you, that is not the case. In the middle of the night my hand started to itch and in my sleepy stupor, I scratched and the more I scratched, the more it itched. I tried to make my brain tell my hand to stop scratching but it just felt so great.

The next morning my hand was so swollen it looked like a flesh colored Mickey Mouse glove. The skin was so tight it was shiny. My index finger and middle finger were so swollen they rubbed together like a fat girls thighs (my thighs) and my ring was beginning to impress on my finger like play-doh. At my eldest daughter's insistence, I took my wedding ring off, again. So close, yet so far away.

The itching became unbearable as did the swelling and redness. I took three Benadryl because it seemed like a good idea at the time. After half an hour nothing had changed so I asked Mr. D to take me to an urgent care facility where, wouldn't you know it, that Benadryl kicked in just as I walked in the clinic. My hand still itched but I almost didn't care anymore. The doctor showed up about half an hour later, took a quick glance and told me it wasn't infected, but he could give me a steroid shot to help with the swelling. Or he could write me a prescription for steroid pills. Whatever I wanted. He seemed to be unaware of the fact that my hand was about to split at the seams because he asked me again if I wanted a shot (quick fix) or pills (less quick fix). I showed him my hand and told him it hurt like a bad word and I would like the shot, please!

Now my backside stings, too.

Friday, October 13, 2017

What If I Made A Mistake...

Dear Moms,

My family and I went to homecoming last night. As I looked around at the crowd of teenagers standing around us (because apparently their knees don't bend and the people behind them don't really NEED to see the field), I was suddenly overtaken with crushing worry.

What if I screwed up my kids?

I'm pretty sure we've all had that moment when we've wondered if we made the right choices for our children. I've felt those fears many times over the last seventeen years, but they're coming more frequently as my oldest child's high school career is fast coming to a close.

I was telling Mr. D that I wish we could raise our children twice, just in case we messed up the first time. I wish I knew now that homeschooling them was the best choice for us. I feel like it is, but as I watched those kids I wondered if my feelings were right, but it's kind of too late now. I can't undo anything we've done, and that goes for pretty much everything.

Was it a mistake not to allow my older girls to wear their princess dresses to the store? Was it a mistake to give that choice to the youngest daughter? My older kids constantly remind me of things I denied them that I now allow the youngers. Yes, I let Miney wear her princess dress to the store after strictly denying Eenie and Meenie, but I was new to the parenting game and it seemed important at the time.

I don't feel that their futures are destined to be disasters because they may or may not have been allowed to be princesses at Kroger, but who would they be if they'd gone to public school? Would Eenie be less anxious in unfamiliar situations or would she be even more anxious and medicated?

Meenie has a strong personality. Would she be kind or a mean girl?

Miney has a defiant streak that goes on forever. Would she constantly be in trouble? Moe is so tender-hearted. Would that be a detriment in his education?

Academically they are right there with their peers. I got over that concern a long time ago, but when they look back at their youth, will they feel like they missed out on those high school traditions?

As a "home schooled" individual, I never felt like I'd missed out socially. Academically my brothers and I got the royal shaft. Home school is not for every one ya'll. If you don't feel it is something you can do, please, for the love of all that is good in the world, DO NOT DO IT! If you don't want your children to learn certain behaviors, but aren't worried about providing them with an actual education, DO NOT DO IT! If you think the government is trying to spy on you, please get some help and mess your kids up some other way. Please Lord mess them up some other way.

However, no matter how badly we might want it, we only get one chance to raise our children so of course we worry we've set our children on the path to a dismal future. Here's the thing Moms, indeed Parents (because Dads worry, too) if you are doing the best you can, you're doing a great job.

If you feel that homeschooling your kids is the best choice for your family, or if public school is where your children need to be, you're doing great! Let your children wear princess dresses to the store, it won't hurt. Or don't, they'll survive.

Back to last night. I was mulling over the decision we made, many moons ago, to home school our children, realizing I can't go back and try again, worrying that Eenie's anxiety was a consequence of our decision, I voiced my concern to Mr. D who said, "Eenie's issues are her issues. It has nothing to do with home schooling."

Our children are who they are.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A Letter to My Readers...

My dearest readers,

For those of you who don't know, I am more than just a fancy blogger, I am also an author.

Those books you see on the side bars there - those are mine. My goal is to provide literary entertainment that I am comfortable having my teen daughters read. I have written these novels to be entertaining and exciting without the sexual content and coarse language that has become more prevalent in nearly every form of entertainment. My target demographic is young adults between ages 14-24.

To you who have read any of my five novels, I thank you from the depths of my little pea-pickin heart. You are awesome!

To those of you who have not lost yourselves in the pages of my work I ask, what catches your attention when choosing a new book? Those of you who have read my work feel  free to answer too.

Do you prefer e-books to hard copies or are audio books more appealing?

They say not to judge a book by it's cover, but who doesn't? What are your thoughts about book covers in general or my book covers specifically?

How much does cost factor into your decision? Do you feel that the quality of a book is reflected in the price or are you more inclined to try a new author if the cost is nominal?

How likely are you to leave a review or tell a friend if you enjoyed the book? Are you just as inclined to leave negative feedback if you did not enjoy it?

How likely are you to read other novels by the same author?

Have you ever attended a "Meet the Author" event? What are your thoughts?

Would access to a section of the book help in your decision making process?

How likely are you to purchase a book if the link is available on the same page as the sample section?

Would you suggest the novel to your book club if you had an opportunity to meet the author? Or have the author present?

This is an opportunity to share any thoughts you may have. I'm all ears!