Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The End.

You read that right.  This is the end.  Yes, of course it is the end of 2014, but it is also the end of this blog.  This is my final post on Our Sunnyview.

This blog has served me faithfully and well for several years, but lately I just haven't felt that it fits who I am - who my family is - any more, and so I am beginning a new blog at a new location, one that is entirely mine.  It's not perfect yet, since all new things have learning curves and growth periods, but it's up and running, and I'm excited to show it to you.

I hereby introduce to you my new blog: Approximating Adulthood.

Please join me there as we enter 2015 and I continue on this new phase of my life.  I look forward to seeing you there.

As always, thank you so much for taking the time to read, either now or whenever you have done in the past.  Your comments and loyalty have made this journey possible.

Happy New Year!

--Sarah

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

These Things Happened Today

1.  A physical therapy patient came into the office today.  He looked at me rather oddly while he was signing in, but he said nothing.  I chalked it up to the fact that I am subbing at a satellite office rather than being at the main office, so I also said nothing.  On the way out, he stopped by the front desk again.

"D'ya live in H'sk'll?"

"Pardon?"

"D'ya live in Haskell?"

"Oh!  No, sure don't, sorry."

"Hrmph. *grunt of acknowledgement* Well, ya gotta twin there."

I now have twins in McAlester and Haskell as well as one that makes appearances at one of the local hospitals.  I'm going to start telling people I'm a clone.

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2.  Doodlebug came bounding down the stairs this evening.

"MOM!  MOM!  You've got to see this.  It's SO CUTE!!!"

"What is??"

"Tom.  He's in his hide, and he has his head and one leg sticking out, and it's adorable."

I reflected for a moment that it will only be a matter of time before he stops describing anything without boobs as 'cute' and decided to go see what the lizard was doing.  Glad I went.  The little bugger was, in fact, as cute as advertised.  (Note to Self: Must start taking phone along for these things so I can share the with you all.)

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3.  After dinner, Boo decided she wanted to mime instead of talk.  I figured I'd relish the silence for ohhhh, 30 seconds or so.  But no.  She stuck it out for a good 20 minutes.  The fact that her brother joined in did help, I'll admit, especially when they started miming me and Oz and making fun of us while attempting to stifle giggles because, you know, mimes don't make noise.

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4.  I unpacked an Amazon box this evening.  Well, OK, I unpacked some of it.  One of the things I had bought was a new sieve/strainer for the kitchen since my old one is falling apart.  As I unpacked it, Oz came into the kitchen to see what I had purchased.  When he saw the strainer, his face puckered.

"Hmmmmm…"

"What?"

"Well… I bought you one of those for Christmas.  But where did I put it?"

He found it, after searching various rooms and his car.  His purchase is nicer than mine.  Now to decide whether to return mine or just have two.  I'll probably double up or give mine to someone.  The debate continues…

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Happy End of 2014, y'all!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas 2014

Christmas this year was quieter than most.  For one thing, we stayed at home so that Doodlebug could cook Christmas dinner for us.  He was very excited about this, and he had planned his menu well in advance:

Roast Duck with Mushroom Gravy
Stuffing
Roasted Red Potatoes
Green Beans
Apple Danish

Everything (except the stuffing, which was good old-fashioned Stovetop) was homemade.  I insisted that he get into the kitchen the day before Christmas to start the danish; really, if I'd been smart and read the recipe myself instead of relying on a 12-year-old to do it, I would have had him start on Tuesday, but I may have been a little TOO trusting of his abilities.  Anyway, I had him start the danish on Christmas Eve day.  Everything else he cooked on Christmas.  I wish I had gotten some photos of him cooking, but I was supervising and stirring the gravy.  He cooked everything himself.  The only part I played, other than stirring gravy, was to help him figure out in what order things needed to be started and subsequently cooked.  It was all delicious, and we still have a little bit of leftover food.  I even took the duck bones (and a chicken carcass that I had previously frozen) and made a whole bunch of poultry stock yesterday evening.  Waste not, want not, right?

Of course we opened gifts on Christmas morning before the boy got in the kitchen.  I did take a few photos of that, but I used Oz's phone as my camera since I wasn't coherent enough to either grab my own phone or my camera before plopping on the couch.  I think both kids were happy with their gifts, and I think Oz was happy with his, too.  I got him a nice new watch since his old one had finally bitten the dust.  Doodlebug got him a Himalayan salt block for grilling, and Boo gave him some jerky made with all kinds of meat - venison, ostrich, alligator, etc.  I received a gray coat, some earrings (one nice pair of crystal and one pair that features Schroedinger's cat(s), a couple of computer games that Oz and I can play together, a candle from Boo, and new placemats, napkins and napkin rings from Doodlebug. I felt like I made out like a bandit.

We didn't get the kids huge gifts this year; Boo got a replacement iPod Touch, since the button on her old one had never worked well and the charger was fraying, but that was the most expensive purchase we made.  We got them a bunch of little things instead, and I think they're just as happy.  Boo has been happily making duct tape crafts, for instance, and Doodlebug asked me to teach him to play Risk today.    Doodlebug is also starting to lobby hard for Xbox Live (mostly so he can play some games via that outlet with his friends), and I have told him that if he can continue to demonstrate positive behavior with regard to electronics, he'll have a good shot at getting that by his birthday.  I may even consider buying him a new game console if he does particularly well.

We've been steadily working out times to visit family and see them for the holiday since Christmas.  The kids are out of school for another week, and while I do have to work, my schedule is light and some days I should get out of the office around 3 or 3:30, so I'll have evenings free to do whatever.

I feel like I should be posting more… but that's another post.  Look for changes over the next week or so.  Thanks for reading.

Hope you all had a joyous holiday, no matter how you celebrated. :)

Monday, December 15, 2014

#managementproblems

The title of this post has become a new buzzword in my house.  I invented it.

I am not, of course, management.  BUT… I have nominal control over my department, and hopefully in time I will at least be the team lead, which would give me at least some semblance of a management position.  I don't want to count my chickens before they hatch, but I'm optimistic.  I make the schedule, other departments (and department heads) come to me with issues, etc.  Anyway, the big news is… drumroll please… last week I went permanent.  I am no longer a temp-to-hire worker employed by a temp agency; I am a full-on staff member at the clinic.  This means I have to remember to clock in and out each morning, afternoon, and at lunch.  The last time I did this was in early 2000, and then it wasn't a big deal because all my coworkers left at the same time I did AND the clock was right by the door where we entered and exited.  Now the clock is way the heck at the end of the clinic, nowhere near where I work (which was particularly fun on Friday when I walked in the door at 7:54 and was greeted with, "SARAH!!!" by three different people who wanted to know the status of a couple of things… clocking in is difficult when you're being greeted by demands), and this afternoon I tried to leave without clocking out.  Thankfully I didn't even make it off the elevator.

I love my team.  Yeah, at some point, especially if I *AM* given the team lead position (again, not a given, not a guarantee, but I'd sure like the gig), I figure they'll start treating me oddly, but they're really really good, nice, driven people.  Honestly I like almost everyone in the clinic.  There will always be a few folks here and there that appeal to me less - that's going to be true no matter where I work - but I love that the drama is kept to a minimum.

I even revel in the fact that while I am not management, I'm being kept busy and given responsibilities.  I cannot even express how much I enjoy those two things.  Boredom and lack of recognition are two things that would drive me crazy anywhere, and those aren't happening.

Hard to believe I only started working in early September.  I feel like I'm at home.

Next post - Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Day Off

So I'm sitting at home today.  I would be at work, but my girly is still sleeping, and I'll be darned if I'm going to wake her.  She needs her rest, and she'll want her mama when she wakes up.  Poor child just wasn't at all well yesterday afternoon/evening; she even missed her last violin lesson of 2014.  

I wasn't looking for a day off - heaven knows they needed me at work, but they'll have to make do.  My Boo is more important.  However if I'm going to have a day off, I'm going to enjoy it!  I don't really have any errands to run (I need to pick up a few gifts for a few people, mostly teachers, between now and Christmas, but it'll happen sooner or later), and I'm sure my wee one won't be up to going anywhere anyway, so I'm doing some of the things that I would be doing if I didn't have a job - namely catching up on reading blogs, cross-stitching, reading, watching TV/movies, and maybe even baking.  Haven't entirely decided on that last one yet.  Since this is the first day I've taken off of work since I started 3+ months ago, it feels completely weird to be sitting on the couch at 8:46 a.m. wearing lounge pants and a hoodie.  Good weird, though, not bad weird.

As I was reading some of the blogs in my roll this morning, I ran across this little gem from Mom to the Screaming Masses.  She'd swiped it out of the back of a magazine, but I thought it was A) a lot better than a lot of the 'surveys' I've filled out in the past and B) a good way to get to know someone.  So I'm doing it.  #waystokilltime

Signature Dish: Jambalaya and pavlova.  Yes, I just combined Cajun/southern food and an Australian dessert.  I cook all over the globe.  It happens.

Worst Thing I Ate This Week: If it has to be eating, then the peppermint bark we made and I ate is probably right up there on the list, but the hot buttered rum I downed last night would be a close second.

Favorite Junk Food: Totino's.  Or mozzarella sticks.

Favorite Board Game: MONOPOLY.  But nobody will play with me.  Wonder why? *innocent face*

Household Chore I Enjoy: Cooking. Baking.   <---I'm stealing this answer from MttSM, because she and I are alike in this regard.  I could spend all day in the kitchen.  Apparently my daughter told her teacher yesterday that I should be running the school kitchens because the teacher said her leftover nachos looked delicious.

My Secret Cleaning Weapon: Essential oils, particularly lemon and lavender.  I haven't purchased a bottle of 409 - or any of its kin - in close to 10 years.  

Etiquette Pet Peeve: People who don't RSVP.  It does not mean, "Hey, lemme know if you wanna come at the last minute when you realize you have nothing better to do."  It means, "I need to know if you are OR IF YOU ARE NOT coming so that I can plan my event/life around you."  In this day of texting and Facebook and 1000 other forms of communication, it will not kill anyone to say yay or nay to an invitation.

I Will Never Care About: your gym exploits.  If you've run a 5K or marathon or something for the first time, by all means post it, but I do not need to know the details of your every workout.  Facebook, I'm looking at you.

The Last Thing I Bought Online Was: Ohhhhh I can't post that here.  Suffice it to say I did some shopping this morning for a birthday or two.   

I Drive: 2012 Ford Explorer, silver.  Her name is Sylvia.

Good Habit: Laundry.  It never piles up because I have a laundry routine - Knits and delicates get washed on Thursdays; knits, denim, towels, and sheets (biweekly) get done on Sundays. 

Bad Habit: Picking my cuticles. I'm trying to stop, honest to God.  <--- I only do this during the winter, but it's horrible.  I wrapped a Band-Aid around my left thumb over the weekend and did fine, but the minute the Band-Aid came off, I started picking again.  Ugh.

Before Company Arrives I: Sweep/vacuum the fur off the floors and wipe the bathrooms down, and depending on who it is, clean the kitchen and dust. 

Cat/Dog/Other: CATS.

Stuff I Can't Live Without: Texting. This from the woman who thought she would never text anyone EVER when she first got her phone.  Unlimited texting is the bomb-diggity.

If I Had An Extra Hour Today, I Would: If I could magically give myself an extra hour, I would tell time to shove it and use the magic to make my daughter feel better.  I'd give up an hour for her, and then some.

My Handbag Is:  TINY!  I have a little denim one and a little brown/tan woven one that I swap out.  They both desperately need to be washed.  And when I say little, the denim one is barely large enough to hold my wallet (yes, I have a men's wallet), phone, bottle of Aleve, work badge, ink pen, and keys.

On My Bucket List: Go to Germany.

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Three-Ring Circus

Today, I would like to update you on my life.  To best illustrate it all, I shall use the metaphor of a three-ring circus.

IN THE FIRST RING:

My kiddos.

The boy has been throwing fits and has been unable to focus again; we're finally down to the last Vyvanse at 20 mg, and so starting this week we're going to go up to 30 mg.  We may go as high as 40 if necessary (given his height and weight, I know the doctor wouldn't object) to get us back to a solid baseline.  The boy needs new coping skills, and he needs to be able to focus to get them right before we "de-medicate" again.  We're also continuing the Intuniv as is.  He's also considering whether or not he wants to remain in public school next year or return home.  He's on the fence.  I'm letting the choice be his this year.  We'll see how it goes.

The girl has been mentally/emotionally okay, but she came down with pneumonia last Thursday.  Well, OK, so really it was a very mild case of pneumonia and we caught it on Friday afternoon, but pneumonia it is (I suspect combined with a virus, but that's neither here nor there) and that means breathing treatments and Mucinex and Tylenol and 'roid rage and grumpy girl who wants to go to school and who DID go to school today because she didn't have a fever but then came home with a fever of exactly 100.0F and a headache.  A breathing treatment and Mucinex helped; she's off to take a bath and put on pajamas now.  Here's hoping she feels better again by morning.

IN THE SECOND RING:

My job.

I really do enjoy my job, but days like today make it difficult to remember why.  I won't get into details on here for many reasons, but suffice it to say that my level of screw-it-all is extremely high right now, and if they fired me tomorrow (which I hope they won't and don't think they will), I don't even know that I would care.  OK, I would care and would probably cry, but OMG STRESS.  I'm supposed to go in and chat with the director of operations about something tomorrow, and I feel like I'm being sent to the principal's office.  I can't imagine that I'm in trouble, but that feeling is still there… and really, it's just more OMG STRESS.

IN THE THIRD RING:

My personal life.

BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

OK, seriously, I am working on my cross-stitch project for Doodlebug's room and intend to read a couple of books I picked up at the store this weekend, but other than that, nope.  Allllll the NOPE.  Oz and I have his company holiday party this week; mine is next week.  At some point I need to go visit my mother for a Christmas shopping trip, and I have a couple of people left on my list for whom I need to shop.  The idea of me getting out for ME?  With MY friends or with MY husband?  Not happening.

---

My goals right now are to get everyone healthy/properly medicated, figure out the work stuff, and get through the next few weeks intact.  Then maybe it'll settle down…

Hey, a girl can dream.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving and Giving Thanks

So yesterday was Thanksgiving.  The kids were out of school all week, so I asked them to clean out their closets, which was, in a twisted sort of way, meant to make them grateful for what they have.  And it worked, because they got rid of a few things, some of which had LONG overstayed their welcome, and told me that now all the stuff they have in their closets is stuff they love.  This makes me happy, and it makes them happy, and now I feel like the things I'm getting them for Christmas will have places to live.

On Wednesday Oz brought them up to see Mama at work in the office, so I took them around a little bit and then they hung out in the waiting room until it was time to go home.  (Work is good, still circus-ish, but next week we're training one more new person and then we should be actually fully staffed, and that is a wonderful feeling.  I won't be in the main office on Monday because the girl at the satellite office had a family emergency and is dealing with that, so I'm covering for her, but it should be an easy day.  I digress.)  Then Oz and I changed clothes, took the kids over to my brothers-in-law's (how on EARTH does one make that plural possessive??  Because two of them live there, and they are my brothers-in-law, but should it be brothers-in-laws'???  My brain just exploded) apartment where the kids spent the night with both of the guys as well as my mother-in-law.  It was a crowded place, but they had a great evening/night, and Oz and I went for dinner and then met up with a friend and her new hubby down at a bar where we drank beer and ate sweet potato fries and played darts until my contacts were about to either fall out or adhere themselves to my corneas from sheer fatigue.

We got home safely, took showers, and crashed, but then Oz and I both got up around 5:30 to start the meat for Thanksgiving.  He took charge of the brisket on the grill - I had put on the dry rub on Tuesday evening, so it'd been soaking up the flavor for about 36 hours - and I handled the giant leg of pork that was going in the oven.  I used this recipe, and OH MY WORD it was the bomb dot com.  We threw the meat in their respective cooking places and went back to bed for another 45-50 minutes… and then we adjusted the heat and did it again.  Around 7:30 or so we both actually decided it was time to get up for good, so Oz started the coffee and we began the process of cleaning the house for our guests while letting the parade play in the background.  For the record, I never thought I'd prefer Matt Lauer and Al Roker as hosts, but they would've been preferable to the folks on CBS.  That was painful.

By 10:30 the house was mostly ready, which was good because my mom showed up about that time and I know I wouldn't have been able to do much cleaning after that... besides anything else, my mom never arrives without looking like she's moving in, and this time was no exception.  She had a box of fabric scraps for Boo, a box of needlework books and shirts for me to browse through, as well as a pie and the non-liquored-up version of something called Apple Pie Moonshine.  We added the booze shortly after she got here, and it is just as delicious as the web site promises.  Dangerous stuff.

My kids and in-laws arrived not too long after my mother, and from there on out, it was Party Time.  There were people cooking, people talking and laughing, and just everything Thanksgiving should've been.  One thing that was different for us this year was that I had sent out an open invitation via Facebook for anyone who needed/wanted a place to come and celebrate Thanksgiving with friends, and I had a couple of folks take me up on the offer.  I was so glad they came, and I hope - I think - they had a good time.  We all stuffed ourselves to the point of pure indigestion, I do know that!!

A few people left early, but most of the family and a few friends hung around into the early evening hours.  My mom got to play with a baby, and my kids were good with the older ones, so there were no incidents that I'm aware of.  My husband and his brothers wandered down to the fire pit for a while and had some bro time, and I just enjoyed talking with everyone and catching up.  It doesn't happen often enough.

In addition to all that, I scored a beautiful ring.  When my grandmother had moved into an assisted living facility a few years ago, she had handed me the ring that had belonged to her when she married my grandfather.  The stone was amazingly beautiful, but the setting was dated and far too large for my finger.  Oz and I had briefly discussed getting the stone re-set at some point in the future, but that date had never been determined.  When he and I were struggling with our relationship issues earlier this year, I figured it would never happen.  Then he and I had our come-to-Jesus, honest-to-goodness, heart-to-heart about everything, and we turned a corner.  A month or so ago, I told him I would wear a ring again if he A) got the stone put into a ring that was MINE and mine alone and B) took me on a few successful dates and re-proposed to me.

Oz and I had discussed rings off and on since then - I'd sent him pictures I'd found on Pinterest or Etsy of custom rings that I liked, and he'd found a local jeweler who does custom work, and I'd even gone in and met the guy and had my ring size determined (5 1/4, in case you're curious, which is an odd size) - but I did NOT know that the ring design had been both finalized and finished, and I certainly did not know that Oz had picked it up.

So when he re-proposed to me in front of almost all his family and mine… well, what else could I do?

I said yes.



I'm thankful for my family (and friends!) each and every day.  They make my world wonderful.  Hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving, if you're in the USA, and if you live elsewhere in the world, that you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Thanksgiving and Other Stuff

Time for my somewhat-regular, useless, narcissistic information dump, I think.  I'm sitting on the couch with a mug of lemon-honey tea next to me.  My neck is wrapped in a heated rice bag.  These things are 'necessary' because I have both a sore throat and a sore neck.  Note to husband: I need a new pillow for the bed.  I seem to have killed this one, and I suspect that is the cause of my sore neck.  The sore throat I'm chalking up to a combination of hormones and winter.

Work is good.  I really feel like I'm part of the team now, and I've been handed a couple of small but important extra responsibilities.  I am pleased.  Today was a completely exhausting day, the kind of nonstop day we haven't had for several weeks, and I'm proud to say that while we were all thoroughly worn out by the end of it, we made it through intact.  Somehow it all got done… and done well, I think.  We'll see.

We had our office Thanksgiving lunch today.  I brought pear pie.  I hadn't made it in quite a while, and I'm proud to say it was delicious.  Or so I've been told.  I don't want to brag.  I did enjoy eating a slice of it myself, but my opinion is biased, so I'd prefer to go off of the thoughts of others.  I'll make another one soon for a coworker who specifically requested one and even offered to pay for it.  Yes, I will be the office pie maker.  I am okay with this.

Thanksgiving here at the house next week should be fun.  In addition to my mom and sister and my in-laws, we've invited some friends over as well, ones who don't have any family local or who don't have a place to crash where they can be surrounded by folks they know.  I'm going to fix a fresh ham (need to get that picked up ASAP) and a brisket and let everyone else bring sides or desserts.  I may also let the kids make some cookies or brownies.  We'll see.

We had our first snow here over the weekend.  It wasn't much - a little less than an inch, I'd say - but it was the first real snow we've had in a while and certainly the first *November* snow I can remember in even longer.  It didn't mess up the roads, either, so that was a major bonus.  A family friend of Oz's is visiting from Sydney this week, so he came for lunch. Oz fixed chili, and I made cornbread muffins.  Everyone went back for seconds.  'Tis the season for much eating!

Tomorrow is Boo's violin recital, and next week the kids are out of school.  Oz is going to work from home and I'm hopeful that he'll be able to bring them to the office one day to see Mama in her new environment.  Then they have three weeks of school and then it's Christmas break.  I need to work something out for childcare for those two weeks, I guess, since I don't exactly have time off and won't be able to get it at this point, anyway… between a coworker who took the week of Christmas off as part of her hiring terms and covering for a satellite office the week of New Year's, it won't happen.

I've started ordering Christmas gifts for the kiddos (and Oz) and stashing them away.  Hard to believe that'll be here in a little more than a month.  Nobody's getting anything big or expensive this year.  Nobody has asked; nobody shall receive.  It's just working like that this time around.

And on that bombshell, I need to go do dishes, and then I'm going to go wash my nasty hair, reheat this rice bag, and read in pajama pants until I fall asleep.  Night!


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Purging & Productivity

I did not intend to be productive this weekend.  In fact, when I woke up on Saturday morning, it was with the intention of staying in bed for the entire day because I lacked both the motivation and the energy to move.  I had been sliding up and down (mostly down) the depression scale for more than a week, and it seemed that it had gotten the better of me again, to the point where I could no longer move.

However, spending the morning in bed may have been exactly what the doctor ordered.

I emerged about noon.  And then I got busy.  Very, very busy.  I made cinnamon rolls and fish & chips.  I made a menu for the week, devised a grocery list and went to the store with Doodlebug (and even stocked up on stuff for a few extra meals in case the weather turns sour later this week… having a few extra meals on hand is not a bad idea this time of year).  I cleaned a few things, tidied up some others, and generally put things in order.  Before the kids went to bed, we played a couple of family games of Uno, and after they went to bed, I spent quite a while discussing tattoo designs with Oz.  I hit the sack late, but it felt good.  *I* felt good.

The productivity continued today.  I had promised the kids I would spend some time with them, and despite Doodlebug's protests that he wanted to do something indoors (i.e. laser tag), I told them that this was going to be one of the last beautiful fall days and that I would only agree to an outdoor activity.  So they put on their skates, and Oz and I walked behind them as they skated down one of the trails of a major park system.  It was a beautiful 2-mile adventure.

We got home, and I tidied up some more and had the kids start cleaning out the game room.  This had needed to be done for a long, long time, but today I found the motivation to figure out what furniture needs to go where and how it all needs to work together.  They got everything cleaned out in a little more than an hour and a half, and Oz helped get rid of some extra furniture.  Then we moved the computer and desk from the guest room into the game room.  Eventually we'll move the chaise lounge and ottoman from the game room into the guest room and get a couch for the game room, but that hasn't happened yet.  I ordered a lamp for the guest room as well, and I'm going to have Oz hang a painting in there.  I need to get a new trash can for that room as well, but one thing at a time.

In the meantime, I started some Guinness beef stew for dinner (it's getting close to being done as I type this) and cleaned out the desk drawer.  I also ordered a few Christmas gifts for the munchkins and started officially planning the giant Thanksgiving that we're going to host here this year.

Next weekend I intend to clean out the attic while the kids clean out their bedrooms.  They'll hate me, but if it can get done before the holidays, I'll be a very happy camper.

I may clean out the bathroom cabinets tonight.  That needs to happen, too, and I figure I should get it done while I have the energy!

Because tomorrow, it's back to work.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Christmas Plans

It's time for my annual Grinchy post about Christmas.  I love Halloween.  I can tolerate Thanksgiving.  But I loathe Christmas.

OK, that's not quite correct.  I love Christmas with my husband and kiddos.  I love making it magical for the kids, even though they don't technically believe in Santa any more, and I enjoy getting them gifts and seeing their faces on Christmas Day.

What I loathe is the level of expectation.  It starts in September.  SEPTEMBER, for Pete's sake, before I've even begun to think about my son's birthday or Halloween or Thanksgiving or any of the stuff that has to happen before the blessed holiday is upon us.  It varies from year to year as to who the person is, but someone inevitably mentions Christmas in September… and usually throws in an expectation along with it.  "You'll be at my house this year, right?" "Are you doing X again this year?" "What are your plans for Christmas?"

I hate it.

And it only ramps up from there.

By the time December, let alone Christmas itself, rolls around, I'm exhausted.  It's all I can do to keep up with the kids and their holiday stuff - which is the stuff I *want* to do - let alone manage all the stuff that I'm supposed to do.

And every year, I wind up loathing Christmas.  It has taken on a year-round aspect at this point.

I know some people love the holiday.  I wish I could be one of them.  But I am not.

So.

Because this year has been a year of many revelations and changes for me and I am finally making me a priority, I am going to do things differently.  The following changes are now in effect:

1.  I will NOT be going anywhere on Christmas Day.  My children have already requested to stay home; my son wants to plan a menu and cook Christmas dinner for us.  I want to let him do this.  So I will be staying home on Christmas Day.

2.  I do not intend to purchase gifts for anyone over the age of 12.  If you are old enough to have your own income, expect either A) nothing or B) a gift card.  My sister and I have already cleared this with each other, and I am hoping to follow suit with both my parents at some point soon.  It's quite freeing to not have to worry about so many bills and wonder whether or not you've purchased the perfect gift for somewhere between 12 and 20 people, not including anyone who lives in this house.

3.  I do not want any gifts myself (again, unless you live in this house, and that's only because I can't really stop them).  I have what I need.  I do not want extra stuff.  Just send me a card to know that I'm thought of.  I enjoy those!

If I'm perfectly honest, I'd love to give up celebrating Christmas altogether and just celebrate Yule/the solstice.  I'll conform to the societal norms for form's sake, mostly because my mom, dad, and some of my in-laws are strong Christians (and I live in a town that threw such a huge fit over having a 'holiday' parade that for several years they had two parades just so the people who wanted a 'Christmas' parade would be happy), but I'd be perfectly content to follow my own pagan path and celebrate my way.

Maybe next year.

Because I really don't want to hate Christmas.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Surprises

Today was a day of surprises.

Boo's school put on on a giant Veteran's Day program today.  They've been practicing for weeks, and Boo was quite upset that neither Oz nor I thought we would be able to come, especially since there were two performances - one at 10 in the morning, specifically geared toward veterans, with a free luncheon for veterans afterward; one at 1:45 in the afternoon for family members of the students.  We told her we would love for her to sing the songs for us afterward, but of course that's never the same as being there when your girl wants you… and she definitely wanted us there.

On Wednesday, however, upon returning to the main office from the satellite location I'd covered on Monday and Tuesday, I discovered that all but one of the doctors was going to be out this afternoon.  There were a grand total of eight patients slated between the hours of 11:30 and 5 p.m., and two of those were just coming in to pick up orthopedic hardware or have a cast change.  The rest of the doctors were going to be out, in surgery, or were going to a continuing-ed seminar about workers' compensation.

On Thursday I learned that the remaining doctor had bailed and rescheduled his patients and also that one of my coworkers, one of the ones who comes in at 6:30 a.m., was going to be working the seminar for the day and so wouldn't be in.

Since I already had an hour of overtime for the week, that meant if I came in at 6:30… and didn't take a lunch… I could leave at 1:30… and still have my 40 hours for the week… and could surprise my girl.

I worked it out with the rest of my team, and that is exactly what I did.

To make it even better, Oz's afternoon was quiet, and so he was able to attend the program as well.  When I walked into the gym, I spotted her facing away from me.  She was standing on some risers waiting for the program to start.  The look on her face when I tugged on her belt loop was priceless.  If she hadn't been so conscious of her height and weight being enough to topple me, I think she would have jumped straight down into my arms.  She performed beautifully during the program, and when we were walking back to her classroom afterward, I was very pleased to see that she is one of two students in her grade who has mastered multiplication and division and has moved on to fractions.

Good surprise(s).

-----

After the program, I checked Boo out from her classroom and brought her home.  On the way, we discussed the fact that we would beat Doodlebug home, and I asked if she wanted to surprise/scare him since he wouldn't expect her to be there.  She loved the idea.  He scares her on a weekly basis, if not more often, and so I thought a taste of his own medicine might do the boy some good.

He came home and promptly scared the crap out of himself when he saw me parked on the couch.  Highstrung already.  He ran to the bathroom and took care of his school stuff and then decided he would try to negotiate for electronics by volunteering to do *HALF* of his chores.  Bless his ever-loving soul, he tried, but this mama ain't no fool.  I told him no cigar - entitled turd monkeys did not earn electronics by doing HALF their chores.  I reminded him, half listening to his protests in the meantime, that the rule has always been and shall remain that all chores must be done before rewards are given.

He did not like this.

He stormed upstairs.

The girl was waiting.

And she scared him.

And because he cannot for one instant control himself… he decked her.  Not once.  Not twice.

Thrice.

And then told me *I* was being unfair when I told him he had to write his sister an apology and clean her half of the game room.

"BUT SHE SCARED ME!!!"

"And how many times have you scared her over the years??"

"LOTS, BUT…"

"No.  How many times has she hit you after you scared her??"

"None.  BUT…!!!!!!"

"No!  No buts!!!  You. Hit. Your. Sister.  Not once, but three frikkin' times!  You need to apologize to her, IN WRITING because you're currently not allowed to talk to her, and then you need to GET YOUR CHORES DONE."

*stomp stomp stomp*

"And don't even THINK about asking for electronics sometime in the foreseeable future!!!"

Bad surprise.

-----

Welcome to the weekend from the Land of Ups and Downs.  Pass the tequila.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Whew!

Today is over, and that is a very, very good thing.  After last week, I kinda needed something to go right.  Last week saw me wind up in the ER with a massive kidney infection, two separate couples on the verge of breaking up (one is making positive progress now; the other is still struggling), spent two days cramming my head full of information to be used today, and, of course, the holiday, among other stuff.

So by Saturday night, I wound up in a puddle on the floor, bawling and saying I couldn't keep going on.  There's only so much emotion one person can bottle up before it hits like a Mack truck.

Part of my stress was work today.  I've been on the job for two months… and today and tomorrow I am running a satellite office for the office administrator who is taking a long weekend trip to visit some family.

No pressure or anything.

Last Tuesday was my first day out there.  I spent the morning going over bunches and bunches of data entry and making sure I knew what Ts to cross and Is to dot (and getting permissions changed via the IT department so I could cross said Ts and dot said Is in the first place).  In the afternoon, the doctor showed up and saw patients in the clinic.  It was hectic.

On Thursday I went out again and learned even more.  I left feeling like I knew just enough to be dangerous but not enough to function.

Today I was in the hot seat.

Thankfully it was a quiet day in the clinic.  The schedule wasn't jam-packed on either side (there are two sides/departments to this clinic, and they're both very, very different), and I was able to keep mostly caught up.

Tomorrow I'm back out there again.  I'll have a very busy afternoon, but the morning should be quiet.  I'm going to see if I can get as much done as I can.  I'm just glad I didn't screw everything up!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Children. Ugh.

There's no talking to my children these days.  Seriously, we can't have any sort of conversation without someone turning into an entitled little turd monkey.

Por ejemplo:

Today.

Doodlebug was upstairs.  Boo was practicing her violin in her room, and Doodlebug was *supposed* to be cleaning his.  In theory, of course.  Instead, I heard the shriek of an indignant (and also constantly attitude-laden) girl.  I called Doodlebug down and told him to stop messing with his sister.  He said ok and promptly went back upstairs… to mess with his sister.  I called him down a second time and told him to knock it off and enumerated a consequence if the behavior continued, specifically that he would be told to eat dinner and go to bed early.  Because if he couldn't manage to control himself around people, it was a sign to me that he needed to go to bed so he couldn't be around anyone.  Made sense to me, anyway.  He said ok and promptly went back upstairs… to mess with his sister.

Argh.

So I called him down a THIRD time and told him the consequence was being enacted and to get dinner.  He walked over to the fridge and stood there with the door hanging open.  I told him to get food and get out, and in response he slammed the fridge door because heaven forbid we close a door with any sort of decency around here.  I let it slide and told him to feed the animals while he thought about what food he wanted to eat, at which point in time he flopped himself on the floor like a 2-year-old.  I told him to get moving.

So he grabbed the food bowls and hauled them to the laundry room, where he flung open the closet door and yanked out the cat food bag.  I heard food fly and reminded him that he would need to clean up that food.

"It's FOUR pieces," he shot back.  "Apparently I need to clean FOUR pieces."

"Yes, you do!"

"Mutter mutter mutter..." *cracks cat food can open and flops the lid on the dryer, where I know for a fact it's dripping wet cat food juice on the top*

"You'll need to clean up that mess, too, you know."

"THERE'S NO MESS. THAT'S FROM YESTERDAY."

"Well, if it's there from yesterday, clean it up!"

"I *WILL,* but I didn't make a mess!"

"As long as you clean it up!  Just CLEAN IT UP."

"O-KAAAAY."

Silence.

I look over to see what he's doing and he's got a cat in his arms and is positioning it precisely two inches over the food bowl and holding it there.  Cat torture.  Awesome.

"DUDE!"

*jumps*

"I'm just getting him down!"

"Son, I've been watching you.  You want me to do that to you??"

"No." *puts cat down*

"Then what on earth…???"

"He was trying to steal food and I was getting him down!"

"OK.  Get the animals fed, and you can forget about having a proper dinner.  You can have a banana or yogurt, take your shower, and GO TO BED.  Since you can't quit messing with anything, apparently."

"But I didn't DO anything!!!"

Etc.

Etc.

Etc.

And after all that (and then some), there was, in fact, a mess from today's cat food can lid.  Oz went in and saw it (because Doodlebug did not, in fact, clean up any of the FOUR pieces of cat food or yesterday's mess, despite his assurances that he would do so) and we had to call the boy back downstairs and get him to clean it, and then he started fighting with us again because we're just so mean for making him do something he'd said he'd do and we're just overreacting to his little white lie that there wasn't a mess today.

This scenario plays out, in various versions, half a dozen times every day, and while this particular version is about Doodlbug, Boo is not innocent.  This morning she had a snark episode about French toast sticks for breakfast.  Seriously.  French toast sticks.

(For the record, the serving size is two sticks.  There are six in a box.  And two sticks is simply not enough breakfast and therefore, or so sayeth Boo, nobody will EAT the sticks because it's just not enough.  My answer of just eating more sticks was apparently completely unexpected and unacceptable, and clearly I should never ever buy them again.)

I am ill-equipped to deal with these sorts of scenarios.  I loathe attitude and disrespect in any way, shape or form.  Oz is equally done with all of it.

Pretty sure our children won't see the other side of their teen years.  Heck, they'll be lucky to see trick-or-treating tomorrow night.

Ugh.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Parent/Teacher Conferences

Last night Oz and I attended our first parent/teacher conferences in three years.

We went to Boo's first.  We walked in and sat down, and the teacher ran through some sheets that each of Boo's teachers had filled out about her behavior and grades and any other notes that they had, and then we got the preliminary report card with all As (any grade changes that happen between now and when they go out on Monday will be minor).  Boo is a good student.  She's happy.  She's a good helper.  She's smart.  She's a good friend.  Etc.  Nothing we didn't already know or suspect about her.

We had also had a call earlier in the evening saying that Boo was officially accepted into the gifted program, so starting next Wednesday she'll get on a bus with all the other gifted/talented kids and go to a different elementary for a special supplemental course.  She may wind up with homework from the class time that she misses, but it won't be ALL the work she misses and she isn't concerned.  She's just pleased to be recognized for her brain… as she should be.

Then we went to Doodlebug's school.  Oz and I were honestly not sure how this conference would go. We assumed we would just be meeting with one teacher, his homeroom teacher, but instead when we sat down, teachers converged from everywhere and we got to meet with 5 out of 6.  That's a number I can live with.

His teachers like him!  They are all impressed with his intelligence and think of him more or less as a walking dictionary - more than one mentioned that when another student needs something they will occasionally refer the student to Doodlebug to get the answer.  They say he's doing all right socially, although one teacher was surprised to discover that Doodlebug and another boy are good friends since they spend class arguing (this is the same friend that got suspended along with Doodlebug, so that information didn't surprise me too much).  He also has straight As, though if he doesn't pay attention in a couple of classes soon, that won't last.

The biggest surprise actually came before the conferences, when Oz and I stepped into the counselor's office.  We went there to get the password to the school website so we can log in and check on Doodlebug's assignments and grades (something we were supposed to have been given months ago but oh well… clearly it hasn't affected things much).  The counselor looked at us and said, "Oh, hey, I was working on his file today."

Well THAT wasn't alarming at all.  #sarcasm.

Apparently one of the teachers had mentioned something about Doodlebug's 504 plan and how Doodlebug was supposed to have one… which he is… but I guess somehow in the shuffle of everything, the plan never got forwarded.  So while he does have one, it isn't on file.  And when the counselor popped around and asked all the teachers what they thought he needed to have on it and whether they even thought he needed one at all, the teachers all said that they couldn't think of a single intervention he could need.  I was surprised but very, very pleased.  So I'm not even sure we'll worry about it at this point; the counselor said it would be an easy thing to get it forwarded and amended whenever - IF ever - it is needed.

I do miss being at home and homeschooling some days - today was one of them, where I would have given just about anything to be at home with my kids instead of at work while they were at a friend's house for Fall Break - but I'm very proud of how well they're doing and how smoothly the transition has gone.  I couldn't have imagined better.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

All Signs Point to Happy

The past week or so has been filled with surprises - good ones!

Some of the best surprises have involved getting together with friends (a friend texted me on Wednesday to say that she, her sister, and another woman, all of whom I know and enjoy, were going out for margaritas and wanted to invite me to come along, and I went, and the four of us had a wonderful time) or coworkers (five out of six front desk staff members went out last night, and we all had a really good time then, too… no cattiness, just sharing information and stories and laughing), but one of the best surprises has been the following document that my husband typed up and texted to me one line at a time.

It was so sweet to read it, and I'm still so pleased with it that I'm putting it out here to brag.  My husband - he is one of the best. :)

----

A is for AMAZING.  You amaze me every day with what you accomplish.

B is for BOLD.  You know what you want and you won't settle for less.

C is for CARING.  You make me feel loved and cared for more than I can tell you.

D is for DELICIOUS.  Your cooking is beyond delicious!

E is for ENERGY.  You have an aura of energy and excitement around you all the time that is infectious.

F is for FOREVER.  You're stuck with me for that long!

G is for GORGEOUS.  You are amazingly beautiful and sexy.

H is for HARD-WORKING.  Your efforts and work don't go unnoticed.

I is for I LOVE YOU, because I do!

J is for JEALOUS.  You are worthy of being jealous over.

K is for KISSES.  I can never get enough of them.

L is for LOVE.  You make me feel completely and securely loved.

M is for MEANT TO BE.  Even being born on opposite sides of the planet couldn't keep us apart.

N is for NEVER.  I will never take you for granted again.

O is for ORDINARY.  I love that it doesn't take fancy things to make you happy.  Ordinary can be extraordinary.

P is for PERFECT, as in perfect for me.

Q is for QUEEN.  You are the queen of my heart.

R is for RELAXED.  I love that our relationship feels like a comfortable pair of jeans, but I will never forget that comfortable can turn into complacent.

S is for SASSY in just the right way.

T is for TOUCH.  Your touch can take away all the worries in the world.

U is for US.  Together there's nothing we can't accomplish or defeat.

V is for VALIDATION.  I will make sure that I always validate your feelings and accomplishments, and I know you'll validate mine.

W is for WANT.  I want you and need you.

X is for X-RATED.  'Nuff said.

Y is for YOU LOVE ME, because I know you do.

Z is for ZEALOUS.  I will zealously live up to my obligations and your expectations.

----

You may vomit now.  But it makes me smile that he took the time to think all this up, type it out, and send it.  I'm a pretty lucky girl :)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Errands and Secular Curriculum

One of the things that having a job has changed in my life - besides, oh, I don't know, EVERYTHING - has been the ability to run errands during the middle of the day.  My days of browsing through quiet grocery store aisles and avoiding mall crowds are officially over.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm fortunate enough that I do have some time in the afternoon each day where I can run an errand or two without being caught in rush hour traffic, and I also have a somewhat flexible lunch hour (flexible meaning that I can request a certain time slot, not that I have a flexible amount of time) where I can run errands as well.  But by and large, errands are now an evening or weekend chore.

Today I wanted to take the last of my homeschooling materials to a local store.  They carry a fair amount of curriculum, but they also do some consignment selling as well.  However, when I looked up the address and decided to double check the hours, I was very upset to discover that they don't even open until 1 p.m. each day.  So much for running that errand over lunch!  Thankfully Oz's schedule is far more flexible than mine, and he offered to take in the books for me.

I got a text from him a bit later:  "Books are dropped off. There was lots of oohing and aaaahing about what you had and a couple of "are you SURE she wants to sell this one".  Bad grammar/punctuation aside, I replied, "HAHAHAHAHA yeah I figured there would be.  It's good shit lol"

It was frustrating to me to discover how hard it is to sell secular curriculum, both locally and online.  If I sell it online, yes, I want enough to cover shipping.  If I sell it locally, yes, you do have to either meet me or come pick it up.  I will not schlep it clear across town for you.  And yes, for the love of Pete, Jimmy, Tom, Bart, and all the other Apostles, it is secular material!  This is why I decided to take it to the consignment shop.  Sure, some of it was openly secular - but it's the good stuff.  The stuff I had, for the most part, is used by classical homeschoolers across the country, and while I made sure it had a secular slant (or at least not a heavily Christian one), it's still The Good Stuff.

I hope it sells.  I really do.  Because if I'm going to take the time out of my day to run another errand in a month to go pick up a check from the bookstore, I want it to be a good-sized one!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

My Little OCD Heart Skipped a Beat Today

This week is, in fact, going much better than last.  It did not start out that way - Doodlebug spent Monday and Tuesday driving us all to distraction, Oz primarily, because he felt the need to torment everyone, steal electronics at 3 a.m., not do the assignments that the school sent home for him to complete during his suspension, and otherwise generally being an ass.

He turns 12 in exactly one week.  I can smell the adolescence.

No, really… if he forgets his deodorant, I can actually smell it.

In any case, he went back to school yesterday and has thus far managed to keep his nose clean.  Next week he can start attending his Lego Club meetings, which will make us all happy.

Work has been good.  I walked patients yesterday, which was actually a nice break (especially since all hell broke loose at the front desk around 2:45), but other than that I've been up front.  I've made a couple of minor errors but nothing particularly glaring or horrid that I know of, and I think they would tell me if I had done something wrong.  They seem pretty up front about these sorts of things, and one of the unspoken office rules is that you own up to things and fix them, which I like.  Less drama in the end.

Today, though, I got trained on how to close out the daily accounts by doing some batch processing.  I've never done anything like that before, and the guy who trained me was complaining the whole time about how much he hates doing it because of all the little details you have to catch - whether or not everything's been stamped and signed and dated and put in order and reconciled and re-reconciled and copied and printed… basically all of the stuff that makes me absolutely love doing it.  Someone forgot to put an account number on a ticket?  Write it in.  Separate the receipts into various piles and put them in order?  Start making stacks and get 'er done.  I'm sure I'll forget a detail or two, but in the end it was a process I would, and WILL, happily do again.  Because it made my little OCD heart giddy to watch for all the little details and put it all in order and in the right places.

I like the job.  I like the people, and I like staying busy.  I like that the kids like school (even Doodlebug, despite his issues, does like it), and I like that Oz is being amazing and doing all sorts of stuff around the house to make sure that things continue to go smoothly here.  I don't care for the hours today and tomorrow, but that's temporary… and I have learned than an extra 30 minutes of sleep in the morning makes a huge difference by the middle of the day!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Nope, Spoke Too Soon

Friday.

Today had a whole lotta NOPE in it.

It started out badly.  Doodlebug (yet again) didn't want to get out of bed this morning, and even Boo was dragging.  I made it to work on time and was excited to get to sit at the front desk for my first full day up there EVER… only to discover that I had forgotten to check one of the other schedules and hadn't done one of the weekly jobs I'm supposed to do and someone else was covering my hind end, which isn't their job and makes me feel bad.

Then Oz texted me and told me that Doodlebug had waited until about the time he was supposed to be heading out the door to the bus and said, "I forgot about an assignment!  I need six pictures of momentous occasions in my life!!"  Thank goodness Oz had a few minutes to spare to help print off the photos and help the boy finish the assignment, which, by the way, will be the first, last, and ONLY time we ever save his ass in this fashion.  I've told him since the beginning of school that he needs to complete all assignments the day he gets them, if possible, but now I think he finally understands why we crazy adults say things like this.

And just when I thought the day was settling down and things might get a little bit better… the shit REALLY hit the fan.

First, Doodlebug shoved a friend in jest, and the friend didn't like it, so the friend hit him, and Doodlebug hit him back… and both boys wound up getting suspended for two days.  *sigh*

And then I got thrown into a situation at work that wasn't good to begin with but which I probably shouldn't have been handling on my first full day up front, and things just absolutely snowballed.  By the end of it, I wound up apologizing to everyone on the entire front desk team as well as a couple of nurses in the back, and at this point, while everything *seems* to be smoothed over, we'll find out on Monday whether the company president is going to lower the boom or not.  And I hate inconveniencing others and getting them to try to cover for me.  Not their job.

I am very, very glad today is over and I have a weekend in between now and Monday.  I'll be back at the front desk on Monday, which I suppose is somewhat of a testament to the fact that folks at work must have at least some faith in me (the nurse I had to apologize to is also the one who writes the schedule for me each week), and Oz is going to meet with the vice principal regarding Doodlebug to see if we can't get his punishment either lessened or rescinded altogether.

Hope you all have had a better Friday than me!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

My Kids Are Smartybritches

My kids impress me.  They're both doing well in school.  In fact, they're doing so well that the following things have happened:

1.  Doodlebug's AR goal (the kids read books and take tests on them, which drives me batty but I did sign them up for school so I really can't gripe) will be raised for the next nine weeks.  His goal this nine weeks was something like 28 points, and he claims to currently be somewhere around 50.  So his goal next time will be higher.

2.  Boo will be IQ tested for the gifted program in the next week or two.  

3.  Doodlebug has been accepted onto the FIRST Lego League team for this school year.  One of the coaches is the school psychologist, which makes me insanely happy.  I like that guy.

4.  Boo has come home with certificates for various achievements, particularly in math for knowing her multiplication facts.

Yeah, I'm bragging a bit.  But considering how worried I was about their school performance, especially in Doodlebug's case, I think it's warranted.

I'm just pleased that they seem to be happy, making friends, and fitting in.  This has been a good move for us all.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Things I Have Learned

Occasionally people are surprised to discover my age.  The comment I hear most often is, "You look younger/that age, but you act so much older!" My current favorite is from a 22-year-old coworker who likes to tell me how 'wise' I am.

My closest friends are mostly older than I am, in two cases by more than 12 years.  I'm sure part of that is due to the fact that I married and had my children young, but I also like to think I have learned a lot out of life already.  I have also been told for many, many years that I have an "old soul."

Sometimes, though, the things I have picked up have come through hard experience… or are just plain fun.

Without further ado, I present to you a list of 10 random Friday thoughts about truths I have learned over the years.  Feel free to add your own!!

1.  Happiness cannot come from without.  You must find your own peace.

2 (aka 1a).  If you radiate happiness, it shows up as beauty.  The happiest people have the 'it' factor that makes the difference between someone plain and someone beautiful or handsome.

3.  That being said, expensive clothes and haircuts, if you can afford them, are worth every penny.  Clothes really can make the (wo)man.  They look better, fit better, and wear better.  Goodwill and consignment shops are my friends.

4.  The Joneses suck.  You aren't walking their path.  Walk your own and find others who can accept you as you are.

5.  People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.  Sometimes it's hard to know who is who until you're completely suicidal and sitting on your back porch with a blade and a beer.  The people you call in those moments?  They're the lifetimers.  I'm fortunate - I have several people on that list.

6.  People (remember the Joneses?) will judge you.  Judging them back accomplishes nothing.  Laugh (to yourself) at their insecurities and move on.

7.  Accept compliments politely.  Give them regularly.

8.  You are never done learning.  Even if you don't learn something from an academic standpoint, life will teach you things.

9.  Be passionate about at least one thing.  It's worth knowing one thing well.

10.  Everyone has stories.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Learning Curve

With every change in life comes a learning curve.  Everyone in my house is experiencing one right now, including the animals (the poor guppy puppy has to stay in the garage all day, and when the kids and I get home each day the cats - and dog - swarm us like we've been gone for years).

Boo is having the easiest time of it, in terms of the human equation.  She adores school and is making some good friends.  One friend in particular she wants to invite to go roller skating one day soon.  I'm pleased.  I'm also home each day before she arrives.

Doodlebug is doing surprisingly well.  His room is a pit (and believe me, this has been a problem since he was little, but at this point, Mama is about to completely lose it… I'm going to discuss this little entitlement issue we're having in another post soon), but in school he's supposedly doing okay.  I'm hoping that he's not just blowing smoke up my hind end when he comes home each day and announces that he has very little to no homework.  I guess we'll find out when the grades come out, but while I don't expect a ton of homework, I have expected more than he has.  Fingers crossed.  He does get bored each afternoon and attributes it to being home solo for a little while, which I suspect isn't quite the case as I think he would be bored regardless of whether or not an adult was present (sometimes Oz is home, and he's still bored), and he doesn't really like being up early early early each morning, but he's doing okay.

Oz is adjusting, too.  He's been supportive and helpful, taking kids to appointments and giving me foot rubs on those first few days when walking 8-10 miles a day was particularly hard on my system (don't get me wrong… it still ain't easy, but I'm adjusting).  He hasn't yet realized that me working also means he needs to actually clean something around the house since I'm not here all day to do it, but one step at a time.  He is at least helping with dinner on occasion and will sometimes do a load of laundry if I need him to.

And then there's me.  Going back to work has been good.  The learning curve there has been far steeper than the adjustment period from a home standpoint.  I've gotten quite good already (if I do say so myself) at doing the first job they had me learn, walking patients back to rooms.  At this point the clinicians like and are familiar with me, and I'm starting to memorize the doctors' schedules.  I certainly can tell you their locations in the clinic on any given day!  I can schedule appointments with relative ease, and I'm starting to learn some of the basics.  Now I just need to get up to the front desk for a full few days in a row and really tackle the system.  It'll be tough, especially since I'll be dealing with patients who are either ready to stop standing or ready to be out of the office, but thankfully most patients are patient.  Most.  I'm sure there will always be a few who aren't.  And I'll handle that, too.  I'm definitely ready for something new and for the new to become familiar.

I think we all are.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Giving Up and Getting Real

It's interesting to me how people sometimes seem to change when really, maybe, some things have been a fa├žade all along.

Shit's about to get real here.  Hang onto your asses. ;)

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I never planned to get married.  I never planned to have kids.  Do I regret doing either one of those things?  Of course I don't.  But when I DID get married and I DID have kids, I was so young.  I was 18 (married), 20 (Doodlebug), 22 (Boo).  I had these ideals and mental pictures of what wifehood and motherhood were 'supposed' to be that I completely buried who and what I actually AM.

When Boo asked to return to public school and when I decided to send Doodlebug as well, a lot of those old feelings bubbled up to the surface, and I realized that for so very, very long, I had been wearing a mask.  Homeschooling the kids was definitely something that needed to happen, particularly for Doodlebug, but with that gone, I felt both free and trapped.

I was free to be who I was… but who was that... and could I still be that person and do what else needed to be done… i.e. could I still do what I was 'supposed' to do?

That one question, with all its multiple parts, sent me into a tailspin and, I suspect, triggered the depression that I battled for months.  It was ugly with a depth that I haven't seen since I was 14 and 15 years old.  I shared some of that battle with you all, and I'm very glad that it's over.  I'm sure it'll come back at some point, but I still have a very solid group of friends who have my back, and I'm grateful for them always.

As I began to question everything, I dug deep.  Very deep.  And I realized that in order to really be happy - truly, unmistakably HAPPY - some very big things were going to have to change.  I realized that I needed to stop apologizing for a lot of things, to begin with.  I've spent years feeling bad for being the person that I am at my core.  And guess what?  The minute I started letting SOME of my feelings out, they ALL came out.

I knew I wanted a job - I had always intended to be a career woman, and while I may not be able to accomplish the same goals that I had when I was young, I can still have a career.  I'm young enough for that.  I knew I wanted to give up some things - gardening, keeping a pristine house (that happened out of boredom before I had kids, and I won't have time to be bored now), and otherwise keeping up with the Susie Homemaker Joneses.  I'm getting rid of my canning equipment, because as much as everyone in the house loves my peach preserves and I did have fun doing it a couple of times, it's exhausting and it's the middle of summer and I like air conditioning more than slaving over a boiling pot!  If I'm still in this house next spring (long story, just go with it… I'm keeping the details out of public arenas, thanks), I intend for some of my income to pay for a lawn service, and they can take care of the garden areas.  I can apparently grow roses by sticking them into the ground and ignoring them altogether, but everything else?  Not so much.  As much as I love the idea of having a gorgeous garden with tons of healing and cooking herbs, I'll never have the enthusiasm to maintain it year-round.  I might grow some things in containers, but even that will be subject to my whims and caprices.

I digress… as I do.

I also realized that I love some things and will continue doing them… on my own terms.  I still like cooking, for example, and want to do that when I have time.  I love love love having people over and going out with my friends.  I even like going to the gym (also when I have time).  I still love reading, and I'll never give that up.

But defining who I am and what I want to do (and not do) means that everyone around me has to get used to this 'new' me… and, of course, sometimes that comes easily and sometimes it doesn't.  I know some people believe that I've lost my mind and gone absolutely crazy.  Other folks have thoroughly embraced my need to come out of my cocoon.  It's been hardest on Oz, for many reasons.

A few days ago, I finally got angry.  Oz was out of town, but he still bore the brunt of it.  I defined exactly what needed to happen over the next few months while I finish my transformation, and I informed him that if he couldn't handle it to let me know.  It might be harsh, but I feel like I've compromised for too many years, and I don't want to do that any more.

So we shall see.  The kids are still happy - I haven't changed much as far as their care and well-being are concerned - and one day at a time, I am becoming happier, too.  The final steps are within reach; we'll see what they are.  It's definitely an exciting adventure, and it's one I'm glad to finally be taking on my own behalf.  It's long, long overdue.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The First Day

I didn't want to post anything until now.  I was so afraid I might jinx something, especially after all that has happened previously.


I started a job today.  I actually went to work and showed up and they knew I was coming and I AM EMPLOYED.


Last Friday I had two interviews.  One was for a temporary position; the other was a temp-to-hire job.  Even though I wasn't as interested in the temporary position (not only because it was only temporary but also because it was in a field I'm less interested in), I wanted to go to both of the interviews because they were just that - interviews.  A shot at a job, not a guarantee.


Both interviews went well.  They went so well, in fact, that I wound up getting offered both positions. 


Obviously I chose the temp-to-hire one, which is at a local orthopedic clinic.  So today was my first day at work... the first time I've had a full-time gig since 2002. 


I think I did okay.  I tried to pick up as much as I could, which wasn't much but hopefully will be soon, and just kept going... and going... and going.  They hadn't warned me I was going to be spending the day walking, so while I did wear flats, my back is sore now.  My feet are, too, but not as much as my back.  I'll try to take some time to crawl in the tub this evening, but barring that, I'll pop some Aleve and keep going.


It's a little weird getting back into the working world, but so far so good!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Long Day

Today I have been to Kansas and back.  My father called on Tuesday morning to tell me that my grandfather - his father - had suffered a stroke and passed away in the wee hours before dawn.  So I've lost two grandparents this year.  My dad's mom is the only grandparent still living.  But I digress.  I was just glad to be able to be at the funeral today; in a way it's a consolation for not yet being able to find a job.

We all rode up together, my dad and my stepmother and my sister and I.  He picked me up around 7:15 this morning, and we arrived in his (my) hometown a little after 9 a.m.  It may be in another state, but it isn't that far away time-wise.  It was a pleasant drive up, and when we got into town we immediately located two of his sisters and some of my cousins (and some of their spouses/kids) so we could travel together out to the cemetery for the graveside service.  We were early, but there were already plenty of people there, and more trickled steadily in.  By the time we were herded over to the tent, I would say there were 100-125 people in attendance, mostly family but a good number of people from town as well, and I don't quite think the officiant knew what he was in for.  After the officiant read the obituary and a couple of Bible verses, my Uncle Steve (I have two Uncle Steves, but this is the one I'm biologically related to) stood up and said a few words in his role as self-proclaimed family spokesman. And even in the midst of telling serious stories, the brothers and sisters (see pic)...

My dad and his 11 siblings

… couldn't resist taking the odd shot at one another or sharing even more tidbits.  Laughter at a funeral - who knew?  To be honest, I think my grandfather would have approved.  He didn't believe in dwelling on things.  If there was something to be done, you got up and did it.  His work ethic was one of the things that got passed on to his kids… and subsequently, most of his grandkids as well.  If I do say so myself, we're a fairly successful bunch.

After the service ended at the graveside, nobody hurried away sad and forlorn.  We stayed and talked, despite the heat (we were all grateful for a breeze), and then we all headed to one of the local churches for lunch.  It was LOUD with all of us in there, but it was a good sort of loud.  There was talking and laughter and hugging and yes, sometimes tears, but mostly it was just a good sort of get-together with lots of catching up.

I'm back home now.  The drive back home was nearly as good as the drive up (my sister and I were happily be-bopping and singing along to various 60s tunes in the back seat), and while I would absolutely love nothing more than to stay on this couch with my feet up, I can't.  Doodlebug is resting in his room, and Boo will be home soon.  I'll fix them some dinner, and then Doodlebug and I are going to attend the OneRepublic concert tonight.  I really don't want to go because I'm so tired, but I've made a commitment.  No sense dwelling on things.  There's something to be done, so I'll get up and do it!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The First Couple Days

So the children went to school on Thursday… and Friday, but of course I was far more nervous on Thursday.  What if they got on the wrong bus or missed their stops coming home?  What if Boo had an anxiety attack in the middle of the day?  What if Doodlebug was late to class or couldn't get his locker open or …

What if, what if, what if.

I took both kids to school in the morning and discovered that the schools really didn't work together particularly well on the timing, because Doodlebug has to be at school nearly an hour before Boo, and Boo isn't quite old enough to be on her own at the house yet, so she has to climb in the car and ride with us to drop Doodlebug off, come home and hang out for 45 minutes, then get back in the car and be taken to her school.  Really annoying.

Anyway, I took both kids to school on the first day.  Doodlebug needed a locker that worked, so we went to the office to get that sorted out (and it still took two more lockers to find him one that worked… the boy was jinxed, I swear) before I abandoned him to his fate.  He came home later in the day and said he'd had a good day and enjoys his classes.  His favorite teacher is his homeroom teacher who teaches English, which didn't surprise me very much.  When I met all of them on back-to-school night, I suspected that would be the outcome.  He has a little homework this weekend but mostly it's all for extra credit - I'm sure the real work will start this week.  I just hope he can remember to write his name on all his papers.  I worked on this all last year at home, but it didn't ever really stick.  Now that it matters, it will be a much bigger deal.

Boo also had a good first day.  She claims she's the smartest kid in her class, which she may be, and she really likes her teacher as well as some of the other teachers they rotate to for various subjects.  She came home on Friday and announced that she won't have homework if she gets all her work done in class and/or doesn't get in trouble, so that was nice news for me.  I remember having a little bit of homework in fourth grade but not much, so I'm glad to see that her teacher has a similar philosophy about kids being kids.

Both of them caught the bus home.  Doodlebug sat near the front, as instructed, and I was relieved to hear that our stop is the very first one on the route - he won't have time to get into much trouble, and sitting at the front is easier when you're the first one off the bus!  Boo, however, is the very last stop on her route, which I don't like because she gets home so very late, but it is what it is.  She'll make bus friends, I'm sure.

All in all, they've had good experiences so far.  Nobody's made any hard and fast new best friends yet, but that will come with time.  I'm starting to hear a couple of names from Boo, and Doodlebug has yet to find his tribe, but he will.

I'm just glad nobody got in trouble and things are starting to fall into place.  Routine will come.  It's all still bittersweet, but it is the way it shall be.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The School Year

So the school year starts for my kids later this week.  Last week the fun started, of course, when I took the kids shopping for school supplies (Doodlebug will need more next week after his teachers send home lists for individual classes) and when I picked up Doodlebug's schedule from the middle school.


That was fun.


NOT.


As you may or may not recall, I spent quite a bit of time earlier in the year working with the school system to ensure that Doodlebug would have proper classes and interventions in place by the time he set foot into the school this fall.  We had a final meeting the last week of the 2013-2014 school year to finalize everything and to make sure that everyone was on the same page.  I remembered feeling hesitant around the school counselor's level of commitment, but there was little I could do... until I picked up the schedule last week and saw that there was nary a single pre-AP class on it.


Not.  Freaking.  Acceptable.


Thankfully the same counselor was the one who handed me the schedule, and so I very kindly but firmly reminded him of our handy-dandy little meeting, and he asked me to fill out a schedule change request slip and said he'd see what he could do and we could pick up a new schedule on the first day of school.  Not feeling particularly confident, I came home and shot the psychologist an e-mail to give him a heads-up on the situation.  He replied back and said it wasn't usually inside his purview to check into class schedules but he'd see what he could do as well.


It is with great pleasure that I can say that tonight, when we went to meet the teachers (which Doodlebug was walking into without knowing a schedule, which was driving me batty since I know he needs to know where to go BEFORE the first day), a new schedule was waiting.  I've not breathed such a sigh of relief in a long time.  We were able to walk Doodlebug's schedule, meet his teachers and see the classrooms, and get contact information for the teachers so I could send them e-mails about the 504 plan and provide my contact information, just in case.  He also scored a better elective class for him, too, I think - technology instead of art.


Of course, his locker didn't work, but there's always a hitch... and I'd rather the hitch be about a locker than an entire schedule.


We met Boo's teacher tonight, too, and I think her class will be a good one.  This teacher has a master's degree, but this is probably her second year teaching.  So we'll see, but I'm optimistic.  Thankfully Boo is a lot more flexible in how things work.


So school starts soon.  It will be weird having the kids out of the house all day, but I think it will be a good experience all around.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I Swear… Job Drama is the WORST

And yet again, I'm not employed.

This time it isn't MY fault, though.

I was supposed to start tomorrow for my new happy position, yeah?  Yeah, so I'm standing at the cash register at the grocery store today and my phone rings, and I look at it and it says it's from the company that I was supposed to start working for, so I answer it.

And it's the bossman/owner, who says (and I paraphrase), "Um, we've decided not to fill the position right now, but we'll keep your resume on file in case we decide to take another look at it sometime."

The man is lucky I was standing in a public place.

Suffice it to say they could pay me in winning lotto tickets and I wouldn't work for them at this point.

Back to hunting!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Another Job Update

I'm sure you're all tired of hearing it, BUT... I have a job.  A real one that I will start later this week and which has caused me to stop looking for anything further, at least for now.

It started with a Craigslist ad.  It asked the respondents to apply in person, so when I was running around last week on the day that turned into absolute chaos, it was my first stop.  I left my application and hoped to hear something eventually maybe, but I wasn't very optimistic.

This morning I had an interview scheduled with a recruiter, but shortly before I left the house, I got a call.  The Craigslist company wanted me to come in for an interview.  I told them I already had one scheduled but that I'd be happy to come by at some point afterward, thinking that they'd set an exact time, but instead I was told, "Well, when you're done, just give us a call and come on up."

Well, all righty then.

So I did just that.  I talked to the bossman/owner.  I talked to the other woman I'd be working with.  I talked to the bossman/owner again.  And I start Thursday.

This job doesn't kill my soul.  I'll be making and tracking and checking in orders.  I'll be filing and answering phones.  I'll be doing inventory and helping customers and replying to e-mails.

Is it a perfect job?  Well, no, probably not.  But for someone who's been out of the job business for about 3.5 years… it's a very nice start.  I just hope I can hack it.

Did I mention I get to wear jeans?

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Aaaaand no

So I didn't wind up taking the job.  When I went to talk to the recruiter this morning to confirm my employment eligibility, I mentioned that I had still spent yesterday evening filling out application after application for various jobs that I found online.  And really… that means I'm not comfortable accepting the position.  She was okay with it.  She understood.  I don't want to start a job that I intend to quit as soon as I can find something else.  It's not fair to the employer, and it's not fair to the recruiter, and it's not fair to me.

I'm okay with it.  I'm sure if I don't find something else in the next week or so I'll regret that decision and wish I'd taken it just to get job history on record, but for now… I'm still unemployed.

And so I don't have to scramble for childcare.

Which makes me happy.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

On Finding a Job

So I had the interview with the school.  It went as interviews went, and I got the call later in the day that I didn't make the cut and they had gone with someone else.  That was fine.  So I got on the computer and started hunting down options.  I knew that at some point I was probably going to have to look at temp agencies, but I had been hoping to find something independently before that point.

Yeah, that clearly hasn't happened.

I climbed in the car this morning with the following agenda:  Apply in person at one office, then hit up a couple of different temp agencies, drop Doodlebug's library books at the library, maybe get myself some lunch, and come home.  Oz took Boo to optometry appointments for them both, and then he was coming back to the house to keep an eye on things.

Things did not go as planned.

I started at the first office after getting stuck in traffic because someone with a trailer hadn't secured his load properly.  I filled out the application, talked briefly to the owner, and left.  All well and good.  I drove to the first temp agency only to be told that they only accept resumes online and to fill one out and someone would be in touch.  I called the second temp agency before driving across town to learn the same thing.  Frustrated, I turned to a third temp agency that wasn't even on my original list and called to make sure they accepted resumes in person.  They did.  I got there and started talking to the recruiter, and at some point I mentioned that I typed quickly.  She said she had a 'data entry' position available and thought I would be a good fit.  Fine by me.  I filled out some online forms on a computer at their office, and then she had me take a data entry test, which I passed so well and so quickly she thought I'd actually messed up and would have to redo the test because nobody had ever finished that fast before.  Go me.  I left and went to lunch, and the recruiter called me while I was eating to say that I had an interview at 1:30 if I was interested.  Well, why not?  So I went to an interview.

The job itself is not particularly thrilling.  It's a mailroom job, printing and sorting and mailing various forms and letters, and the other folks working in the department are very young 20-somethings with whom I will have absolutely nothing in common… but it's a job.  Like everyone keeps reminding me, I have to start somewhere.  And I'm not going to stop looking for something better.  Even the woman who interviewed me acknowledged that I won't stay there forever, that I need to be put into bigger and better things, but that my resume simply doesn't accommodate that right now.  It's frustrating but it's the truth.

Anyway, I start the job in a couple of days.  I'm scrambling to find childcare right now, because I won't leave Doodlebug and Boo home by themselves all day every day until school starts… and I'll need to work out before- and aftercare for them when school does start… and I feel completely overwhelmed by everything that has happened today… but I have a job.

I didn't expect that when I left the house this morning.  It's been a long day.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Recovery and Stepping Forward

So Oz is recovering nicely.  He had some residual fever on Saturday evening, but that seems to have subsided thanks to his massive horse-pill antibiotics.  He's got some angry-looking laparoscopy wounds right now, but I think those, too, shall heal.  He's doped up on the good meds and spends a lot of time relaxing on the couch, which is exactly what he needs right now.

This week is starting out nicely.  It may be a Monday, but it sure doesn't feel like it.  I'm not sure what day it feels like.  It's that time of summer when I would have started school but… yeah, that's not happening this year.  The kids are getting bored and antsy, and we're all kind of looking forward to the first day in a few weeks.  I need to take them back-to-school shopping, but I'm delaying the inevitable.  I suspect I'll do it one day next week.

In the meantime, I got a phone call today.  I started putting in online applications for clerical and administrative assistant jobs about two weeks ago and hadn't heard anything.  It wasn't surprising given that my resume has more holes than some kinds of cheese and I haven't worked since 2010, but it was still frustrating.

Today, however, I got a phone call from a local school system.  Their building secretary had a family emergency that caused her to have to quit her job quite suddenly, and they need someone who can start quickly.  So I have an interview tomorrow for that position… and if that goes well, I'll have training on Wednesday.  So fingers crossed!  I haven't worked outside the home since before Doodlebug was born… at least, not in any capacity where I couldn't take the kids.  So this will be a change for everyone, but I'm excited about it.  I'm ready to earn money again, and even if it isn't much, it's something and it indicates a current job history.

Sunnyview School may not exist any more, but there's still plenty of learning happening around here.  I appreciate all you readers who have stuck around.  :)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

There's No Place Like… the Hospital

I'm pretty sure I should have just stayed in bed yesterday.  It didn't begin particularly well, and it ended… well, it hasn't ended yet.  Technically, I suppose it has, but it certainly hasn't seemed like it.

I could get into all the ugly details of everything that happened before Tuesday evening, but I won't.  Suffice it to say that while some parts of the day were good - visiting a friend in the hospital with ongoing issues and hanging with another friend at the pool while the kids played in the water - other bits were not so great, like losing the car in the massive hospital parking garage and causing the pool to be shut down because Doodlebug accidentally kicked Boo square in the nose and caused blood to gush everywhere.

Anyway, the real fun started after the kids went to bed.  A few days ago - I remember it being Saturday - Oz mentioned that he was having fairly strong stomach cramps.  Since his digestive system is temperamental at the best of times, he chalked it up to either something he'd eaten or some supplements that weren't agreeing with him.  So he stopped taking the supplements and assumed it would go away.

It didn't.

By Sunday evening, he was taking painkillers for the issue, and then… then on Monday evening, the pain began to change.  He didn't say anything to me, but the pain began to move and localize… in - where else? - the right lower quadrant of his abdomen.

On Tuesday evening, he admitted the movement and localization of the pain to me, and he didn't seem particularly well.  His appetite had been affected for several days, and he'd lost 10 pounds, though since it had been a couple of weeks since he'd weighed himself and he had been going to the gym, we're not sure how quickly that had come off.  Anyway, I insisted that he take his temperature, and while it was only 98.8, I know that to him that's at least a full degree of fever.  I had him take it again throughout the evening, and it rose to just under 100 degrees and stayed there.  The pain level rose with it, and by the time it was 11:30 and he went to brush his teeth and take a shower, nausea had appeared as well.

Shortly thereafter, he told me he wanted to go to the ER to get checked out.  So at 11:48 p.m. I began calling people looking for childcare.  Oz drove himself to the hospital, and once I was able to find someone whose phone rings after certain hours in the evening - mine doesn't, so I certainly understand -  I woke the kids and piled them in the car and sped across town to drop them off with an incredibly wonderful family.  (And yes, they went back to sleep once they got there and slept till sometime around 8, which is excellent!)  Then I took off to the ER after Oz.

By the time I got to the hospital he'd been triaged and had blood work drawn, and shortly after my arrival he had a CT scan of his abdomen.  And then we waited.  And waited.  And waited.  And about the time that I was about to lose my mind because it was 4 a.m. and there were two televisions playing two different channels and small children crying and people talking and I just needed peace and quiet and Oz was about to send me home to sleep until something happened, he got a room.  And 15 minutes after that, the PA on call came in, listened to him, and said (and I paraphrase), "Yup.  It's your appendix.  The doctor will be in shortly."  And he was, and he'd seen the CT scan results and said (and I paraphrase), "Yup.  It's your appendix.  And it's ugly, so I'm getting the trauma surgeon on call to come and tell you what the plan will be, but likely surgery and likely first thing in the morning."  And by the time the trauma surgeon came in and confirmed everything and gave us a tentative surgery time of 7:15, it was 5:15, and there was no point in going home, was there?

Things moved reasonably quickly after that.  Oz had a chest x-ray and an EKG, and as the EKG was being done someone came to schlep us to an actual private room, and so about 5:50 a.m., approximately 22 hours after I had awakened, we finally arrived in a room.  It was glorious.  I'm not sure how we scored the giant room that we did, and I'm sure that will show up reflected on the hospital bill later, but I was not an am not arguing.  I settled into the first comfortable chair of the night and answered questions about Oz's health (because all the gods love the man, he didn't even contemplate sleep apnea and his CPAP as being a health issue and couldn't remember his blood type and couldn't remember how high his temperature had risen throughout the evening) while half asleep.  And the nurse tech brought in pillows and blankets, and when they came to get Oz for surgery at 6:40 a.m., I was tucked in.

Of course, that meant that at 6:45 a.m., just as I was drifting off to sleep, the texts began.  I had been updating Facebook throughout the course of the night to let people know what had been happening, and some of my friends are early risers.  They were all well meaning and wanting to help, but I couldn't help wanting to chunk the phone into the wall when it buzzed.  I didn't, though, and responded to them all, grateful for such a wonderful group of friends who were willing to help.  Most of them offered to take the kids or run errands or visit or just do absolutely anything that I needed.  I could never say thank you to them all properly - I have so many favors to return as it is!  I did doze, though, and shortly before 9 a.m., the doctor who performed the surgery came in to let me know what had happened with Oz.

Oz is fine.  I'll say that first.  But the surgery was, in the surgeon's words, "a tough case."  Oz's appendix had indeed perforated and was releasing infection into his abdomen, and that all had to be suctioned out before anything else could be done.  After that, the appendix itself had to be removed, and it was "stuck" inside some inflammation and the end of it was abscessed to begin with, so that took time.  And then the whole abdominal area had to be flushed.  At this point the plan is IV antibiotics today, another round tomorrow, and we'll see how his white blood cell count and fever stands after that.  I suspect he'll be fine and ready to go home on Friday morning, but we shall see.  I'm hopeful.

I spent the day organizing places for the kids to go; actually, that's not quite true. I have two amazing friends who conspired together and commandeered my children, so all I had to do was pack bags for them and they organized all the transportation themselves.  I did talk to the kids and let them know that Daddy is okay, but I haven't seen them since midnight and it's starting to wear on me a little, mostly due to my own fatigue, I'm sure.  Anyway, I got them sorted and packed a bag for Oz to have at the hospital and spent most of the afternoon there before coming back home.

It's now 8:24 p.m., and I'm just a tad tired, as you can imagine.  I've run to the store, the animals are fed, I am fed, Oz is in good hands (and has had two bouquets delivered as well as several visitors throughout the evening), and the children are in good places.  It won't be long now before I let the dog out for the night and tuck myself into an actual bed for a good, long night's sleep.

I'll pick the kids up and let them see Daddy tomorrow, and then… well, I suppose it'll depend on what the doctor says.

I'm glad I can be there for Oz.  And I'm still so glad that I have such an amazing village of people willing to drop their own concerns and worries and rearrange schedules to help us out.  I'm so lucky.  And given the fact that Oz's issues could have been so much worse, I think he feels the same.

But I do believe I'm rather tired of hospitals for a while now…