Archive for the ‘extended fam’ Category

Seriously, I know I am coming across as a screaming ball of grrrr but there are things that are making me happy.  They just aren’t quite as prominent as the things that are pissing me off.  So, without further ado, my latest complaints:  the goddamn bed, shoes that don’t match my daughter’s clothes, and the feeling that my attempts to raise my kids to not be spoiled, selfish, materialistic little shits are being undermined.  But first, let’s go back to October, shall we?

Heavily pregnant, I announce that any purchase of a new bed will have to wait until spring because I simply cannot get ready for it any earlier.  I have made space for the sofa and chairs, computer armoire, and removed upwards of 12 boxes and bags of stuff from the premises.  I proceed to give birth to a wonderful baby.  A week after his arrival, my mother in law comes to help and announces, ‘You know, it wouldn’t be so cluttered in here if you got rid of some stuff.’

I did not kill, maim, or even curse her.

In the ensuing weeks (5 of ’em), we have received many a bag of food we already had, goods we didn’t want.  Finally, under the auspices of taking Lucy to buy winter boots, she has come home with 2 pairs of pink sneakers and one pair of red (yes, red) chukka boots.  Snow boots?  Nope.  Shoes that match more than 2 outfits?  Nope.  Crap to clutter up the house that ‘wouldn’t be so cluttered if I just got rid of stuff’?  Oh yeah.

Meanwhile back at the ranch…the bed.  She has picked out a bed for us.  The wooden headboard it  once came with is discontinued so we need to pick out a cloth one (at a 500$ cost to us because it puts the cost up over what she wanted to pay).  There are swatches.  None of them match anything in the room.  The bed doesn’t match the Queen Anne tables beside the bed.

For the past week, I have been beating myself up over all of the things I’m not getting done.  Things like clearing the clutter that gathered at the end of my pregnancy which was so kindly pointed out to me at 1 week postpartum.  Like not being able to keep the house picked up enough to clean properly.  Like keeping up with the 90% reduction (which I ‘may have to give up’ in order to live according to someone else’s standards because ‘you know there’s only so much you can do.  I recycle all my plastic and we’re switching to those fluorescent bulbs so I’m doing my part.’)  Like making sure that my child understands that you don’t need 8 pairs of shoes or electric pencil sharpeners or to redecorate your bedroom in order to match a freaking headboard because these values are important to me, and they are important to my husband.

And so I am furious.  I’m mad that I ran around like a lunatic trying to figure out a bed situation that I already said I didn’t want to do until spring.  I’m mad that I’ve been feeling like a terrible person because I haven’t been able to keep the house spotless.  I’m furious that I rush through breastfeeding to prove that I don’t have to ‘come to my senses and bottlefeed’ in order to get things done.  And I’m over the fucking roof that I now have to haul my children out to purchase a pair of snowboots because I cannot trust that the ones my MIL pick out will match *anything* and that my child would come home with boots and not 7 more pairs of ugly and overly expensive shoes that I have to store in my house that, yes, is too cluttered.  But most of all I can’t believe that anyone would be so rude as to completely ignore the values set forth clearly by the parents of a child.  It’s one thing to want to spoil your grandkid, it’s yet another to drop so much money and cater so much to every whim that the child comes home demanding gifts.

So, yeah, this is why I’m so bloody cranky.  It’s bound to get worse as we get to the actual Xmas gifting, so strap in.

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I spent a large portion of my life fearing that I would be perceived as ungrateful.  I still struggle with this.  I have trouble when people do nice things for me because, in my way of thinking, I don’t deserve nice things unless I do equally nice things back.  My MIL does a lot of nice things for me and my family.  She takes Lucy to swimming lessons and on outings damn near once a week.  She has offered us their beach house for several weekends over the summer.  She flies us to visit my SIL and her family once a year.  We get custom-made hand-me-down furniture.  In general, she is a very generous person and I really do appreciate everything she does for us.

On the other hand, she is nosy and controlling.  A woman of the school of thought that ‘if you want to know something, just ask,’ she asks about anything regardless of how little her business the response is.  Like our schedule.  I am perfectly open with sharing our plans when those plans affect the person who is asking, but for the love of god, do not email me and ask what we’re doing next week if you have no need to see and/or interact with us next week.  There is a thin line between curious and nosy, and I am nothing if not a private person (even writing here.  there’s a hell of a lot I won’t write about because it’s nobody else’s business.)

A huge source of discontent are my husband’s and my medical appointments.  As in, one day she will wake up and decide that one or the both of us need to visit a doctor.  She will then proceed to call and or email to state that we need to see said doctor, offer up a week that she feels may work for us based on, I don’t know, the calendar she keeps in her ass.  For example, apparently our time to get our teeth cleaned has come due in her mind.  Perhaps it’s because I have been seeing an average of two doctors a month for the past 5 months that there must be another one I can squeeze in.  Perhaps it’s because she’s crazy.  Either way, she decided that we should make these appointments for the week of the 23rd of July.  She informed us of this and then, when we said we’d look into it (code for drop it) she took that to mean that we would look into getting an appointment with the doctor, not we’d look into whether that week worked with the calendar we keep outside of her ass with our actual commitments on it.

This brings us to yesterday.  After stressing about the glucose test interfering with our beginning-of-August schedule from hell, I spoke to my midwife and got an appointment for immediately following our arrival home.  Like, we get home the 14th and I have the glucose test on the 15th.  This was an enormous relief for about 12 minutes, until I opened the email from my MIL which contained such happy buzzwords as ‘reminder to you both’ and ‘you said you would try’ and ‘I’ll take Lucy on x day so schedule her appointment accordingly’ and, my personal favorite, ‘I hope he still has appointments available that week.’

The week in question is the one immediately preceding C’s finals.  Which he will finish approximately 14 hours before we leave for, essentially, two weeks–one to LI and the other to VA (we’ll be home for a day and a half in between trips to un- and repack our suitcase.)  For those keeping track, my third trimester starts right smack in the midst of this chaos and I intend to take it as easy as I can despite traveling (and being the world’s worst traveler.)  We are not going to *any* doctor that week.  And goddamn it, I shouldn’t have to explain this to anyone but my husband (who is also put out, BTW.)

Does anyone else have this?  Am I being oversensitive about the whole thing?  Is it normal for a parent to be so effing involved in their child and DIL’s medical scheduling?  Because, I’ll tell you, I’m really tired of it.  I’m damn near 34 years old.  My last dental visit was less than a year ago.  And, honestly?  I’m not ungrateful and I deserve nice things and I even like to reciprocate.  I’ve given up things I really wanted to do over the summer because I KNOW how stressed out I get by overscheduling.  I KNOW I’ve already overscheduled a lot.  And goddamn it, if I can’t get into the prenatal yoga class for the summer because of scheduling, one of the things I REALLY wanted to be able to do for this, my last pregnancy, I am NOT GODDAMN BUSTING MY ASS to get into the dentist on the week you’ve arbitrarily picked out.  Stop sending me the ‘have you done’ emails.  I’ve told you, C has told you they make me feel as though you think I’m a fuck up.  It doesn’t matter how many times you say you don’t think that if every one of your behavioral indications says that you do.  And if you really think I’m doing an ok job of being a grown up, then TELL YOURSELF THAT when you get the urge to stick your nose into my calendar.  My life is not yours to schedule and my daughter’s life is not yours to schedule.  If you cannot handle the limited access to our calendar we have given you, I will take it away.  I am tired of playing nice and of trying to explain how it makes me feel when you act this way.  You aren’t listening anyway.

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Woke up yesterday with scratchy throat, which expanded into ear pressure, and culminated with me falling asleep on the couch at the MIL’s after lunch. In bed by 7:30. I can swallow and my ears are fine, but the congestion is going to drive me crazy. Today I have to figure out how to write an introduction for myself to prospective users of my mad proofreading skillz. So far I have drooling and guttural sounds. Go Away Snot!

I am happy to report that the worms are alive and well! When we checked on them yesterday morning they were gathered in the corner where we last buried food for them, so I am well pleased. I can’t believe how much food waste we can go through. We buried a half pound (our bin takes 2-3 a week) and have another pound and a quarter still in the fridge. Not counting coffee grounds. I’m glad we have the bin to take what it can, but how are we ditching so much organic food matter? Holy hell, it makes one think.

Speaking of making one think, yesterday marked the beginning of Chart Madness. We made up a spreadsheet to use as a sort of control for Low Impact Week so that we can see how well we do. We have decided to track the following:

1. Number of plastic bags–shopping and produce

2. Number of prepackaged foods

3. Servings of local foods

4. Servings of organic foods

5. Number of servings of meat

6. Number of servings of dairy

7. Number of takeout containers thrown out

8. Number of garbage bags thrown out–grocery bag size

9. Number of oz fed to worms

10. Hours tv is on

11. Hours computer is on

12. Number of Low-dry loads of laundry

13. Number of High-dry loads of laundry

We’re tracking by day, and for 1-6 we have one column per day for Lucy and one for me. The part we’re going to do really bad on, I’m afraid, is tv and computer usage. Yesterday the computer was on for 10 hours, and we weren’t even home from 11:30-6. I’m not pointing any fingers *cough* video games *cough* but it ain’t me, babe. At least the computer is being turned off overnight now.

I will eventually write about other stuff, but right now this is what is taking up most of my thoughts and time. The apartment is severely in need of a clean-up, I haven’t unpacked yet (sacrilege!) and the ideas I have buzzing around in my head for essays are probably going to end up going to workshop rather than here (saves me time later.) It looks like I may be pretty inundated with proofreading here pretty soon,too, so I’m trying to prepare myself.

And finally, for the biggest news, yesterday at the in-laws Auntie M. sat down with Lucy to see how she’s doing on her beginning sounds. She proceeded to write ‘cat’ and asked Lucy to sound it out. Lucy not only read it, but also ‘bat’, ‘pat’, ‘hat’ and ‘mat’. How the hell that happened so quickly, I’ll never know. But apparently Lucy is well on her way to reading. Or can read and is just faking us all out. Or something. I’d tell you how well she adds, too, but that would just be bragging 🙂

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Pickle decided to give us a scare over the past few days by skulking around and finally peeing on a plastic bag on the floor.  One trip to the vet later and she’s on antibiotics for a UTI.  She looks brighter and springier even after one dose, so hopefully we’ve averted further trouble.  Watching her not feeling well and then during the exam?  Let’s just say when one is crying at baseball games, it’s pretty hard not to lose it in a vet’s office.  I didn’t, though, and now we’re just waiting to hear the results of the blood work they did.

Today my brother dragged Lucy and me to the Apple store.  It’s big and glass and I drooled over the Macbook Pro before Lucy dragged my brother and me to FAO Schwarz.  Where I got the cutest little booties and hat for the new baby.  Lucy needed reined in pretty seriously on the whole buying of baby stuff–she spent so much time roaming around declaring ‘That’s so adorable’ at everything she saw (especially little pink and frilly things.)

I was reminded, however, of how much I despise anything having to do with the 5th Avenue area.  I really think that folks need to undergo some sort of pedestrian training before they are allowed to walk around in a heavily congested area.  It’s not that hard to do if people aren’t doing things like, say, stopping immediately after entering a doorway, or pausing in the middle of an intersection to gather their group of 20 together, or walking 12 abreast down the sidewalk.  Only see how I’m being reasonable about bad pedestrians now?  That’s not so much how I am when I’m trying to navigate my 4 year old through swarms of imbeciles.  Anyway, we survived and I didn’t punch anyone, which is a roaring success by my way of thinking.

On the preggo front:  my back is killing me.  It’s really not fun, and I’m hoping it’s one of those clears up magically at 12 weeks even though I doubt I’ll be so lucky.  I have to get myself signed up for prenatal yoga, which also will hopefully help.  Major food cravings this week are milkshakes, cheese, cornbread and eggs (which I haven’t had because deviled eggs are the only non-runny yolk eggs I really like.)  The milkshake thing, well, this is certainly the same as last time although hitting a bit earlier, I think.  C and I were in Italy when I was (early) in my 4th month pregnant with Lucy and I drank my weight in gelato milkshakes.  I foresee doing much the same this time around.  Other than that?  Gas, heartburn, constipation but not really any more nausea and no more faintness as long as I’m drinking enough water.

Off to cuddle a cat or 2 while Lucy is entertaining herself, and then when C gets home?  A NAP!!!

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My big old pregnant brain ate the entire damn week. Seriously, I can only account for a couple of hours each day and the rest is one big blur of story cds and food (glorious food.)

Today I got up and hauled myself to Target for a baby doll for the big sister to be. She hasn’t named it yet, but just announced that the doll is the Queen of the Hootenanny. Got some marigold seeds and potting mix as well, so Lucy and I can set about prettying up the balcony. And then…

W e finally told Lucy about the baby. Her face positively lit up and she got the goofy, far-away look she gets when she’s happy about something and doesn’t quite know how to explain it. And boy, there is no greater excitement than the excitement of a 4 year old. And that excitement is really contagious, let me tell ya. It’s going to be a long 7 months waiting for this kid 🙂

There’s been a lot of belly-rubbing and she brings up ‘when the baby comes’ every fifteen minutes or so and it’s seriously the cutest thing in the history of my kid being cute.

And! My baby brother is coming to visit! In two days! I’m so excited! Not least because I don’t feel like I have to whirlwind clean the house for him like I usually do for houseguests 😛

And that right there is all the news that’s fit to print, as it were.

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The Big C

My cousin has cancer.  I tried to think of a clever, concise introduction, but really, that’s it.  She has cancer.  Her doctors found a tumor on her ovary.  She’s 35 and has a beautiful 2 1/2 year old daughter.  The upside–and the word ‘upside’ relating to cancer makes me cringe–is that it’s Stage 1 and has not spread.  She’ll lose her ovary, but that’s likely the extent of it.

Still, this has brought my anxiety about dying while my daughter is young to the fore.  Which means that as soon as I wake up in the morning and as soon as the sun starts to descend, I start the pre-panic where my stomach drops out just a little, like sitting on the back of the school bus going over a hill.  I may have a small-scale attack once a day.  But mostly I’m thrust back into that old ‘are mothers allowed to have anxiety’ pattern of wondering how I can possibly be a good mother when I can’t even deal with a family member being ill without falling apart a little.  How can I take care of a child when I don’t even really know how to handle life?

I’m hoping that I can figure out the magical combination of control-actions to make this all manageable, because right now I don’t know how I’m going to go out and buy stamps tomorrow.

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It’s been a couple of busy days, so let’s see where to start. Christmas Eve was the jaunt to the MIL’s with the Italian in-laws. Lots of food. Tons of food in fact, most of which is in our fridge since they were leaving on Christmas for Austria. Lucy got a Leapster and an American Girl doll with, among others, an ice skating outfit and teeny skates. As a former skater, this was a definite warm fuzzy. But, of course, not as warm and fuzzy as the alpaca scarf for me from C’s uncle who lives in Chile. Which was sweet, but not as sweet as the box of Godiva truffles from C’s other uncle and aunt. Lucy pulled in an I love Elmo outfit (which is actually cute despite my cringing at the red monster from hell) and an alpaca tam and worry doll pin, and nesting dolls.

We got home, threw Lucy into bed, and dollhouse contruction commenced while Python played in the background. Or foreground as the case may be. After a couple of beers, C and I decided to open our goodies from each other and his sister. I think he liked the Arsenal jacket I got him, and I definitely loved the Maleficent pajamas from my SIL, but the biggest hit by far was me brand…new…cherry…red…Left handed bass guitar! Oh it rocks. Hard. I’ve always wanted to learn bass, and playing around with C’s one night led us both to realize that I play left-handed, bringing the official list of things I do lefty to batting, golfing, jumping/spinning in skating, and playing bass. Go figure.

Yesterday. Lucy woke up at around 8, and urged me out into the living room because she was hungry. She parked at the coffee table and gave her breakfast order. C sat down next to the dollhouse and stocking while I got her food ready, and we both stared at her for a few minutes before I finally asked her if she wanted to see if Santa had come. Chaos ensued.

It was probably for the best that there was little time to play with everything because, while we thought we had kept things pretty light, the pile of kid stuff was incredible. We got dressed, assured Lucy that there would be plenty of time to play with everything, and then headed out to the FIL’s for a lasagne feast. Which was delicious, and yielded another ton of leftovers. Came home, cleaned up a bit, and then had the conference call gift opening with my family. Who are really hard to follow on speaker because everyone is constantly making smart-aleck comments and making everyone else laugh. It was good to hear everyone’s voices, though, and sort of sad to get off the phone after it was over. I go into mute mode on conference calls and so every ten minutes or so someone had to ask if I was still there 🙂

I was in bed by 10 and happy to be so. Today, I’m going to eat. And then eat some more. And then watch Arsenal, and eat some more. Anyone want to come over for leftovers? We have roast beast, ham, lasagne, truffles, green beans, broccoli, and countless other goodies!

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