Friday, July 13, 2007

The keepsake

Thanks everyone for tolerating my anecdote on poor parenting decisions. I wasted my and my daughter's evening and bought the motorcycle and she has sat on it once. She is not interested in it and I hope this has been a good lesson for Hubby as he watches $110 sit in the garage. I will never again purchase a toy anywhere but a reasonably priced garage sale.
As I've mentioned a few (100) times, my dear sweet Sis has moved to St. Louis for her husband's job (Lisa asked where she lives and I honestly don't know, some suburb, I'll find out more). She is 9 months pregnant and lost her job and is going to be a SAHM for a while. Since they lost an income and will gain a baby, they downsized their house and tried to get rid of as much stuff as possible. Well, Sis tried to get rid of as much stuff as possible. As she bumps around the house and unpacks a few boxes waiting for the baby come, she is finding that her husband did not work very hard at getting rid of stuff. Her MIL does crafts and unloads a lot of craft stuff on Sis. She hates the crafts and I can't say I blame her as they aren't usually very attractive. However, her husband saves all the special things his mother makes as keepsakes. Yesterday she called me and was demanding her husband's head on a stick. Apparently, she happened upon more than a couple boxes of bad crafts and icky keepsakes in the basement. She found what appeared to be a big, dead rodent in a bag in one of the boxes and was more than a little bit startled. She gathered courage and pulled the bag out of the box for further inspection. It was hair. Human hair. A lot of human hair. Some mothers save a lock of their child's hair as a keepsake. It appears that Sis's MIL saved a thick wad of the stuff in a Ziploc baggy. I had to laugh... and admire Sis for further inspection of the creepy thing when I would have shut the box and run upstairs.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The boss is in England with a meager pile of data to present and I have some breathing space again. I was not able to get all the data she requested and I feel like I disappointed her, but she was nice about it (as always) and I know she is skilled at giving presentations and can make the best of it.

Meanwhile, I have evolved into something that disgusts me - the parent that goes to ridiculous lengths to get their child presents she doesn't need. We ordered a motorcycle for Manther's birthday. Amazon backordered it about 10 times and it's new possible arrival date is Sept 12th. The order was placed on April 24th and this is obviously a hideous amount of time to wait for a gift. My husband cannot tolerate disappointing his little girl with another delay. Manther does not seem to understand or care. She thinks her pink big wheel is a motorcycle and she makes motorcycle noises when she sits on it. I am perfectly satisfied to cancel the order and save $100. Not Hubby. So, I (I guess we, he does have a job and pay bills) spent $110 and I am driving 40 minutes to purchase a display model tonight. I predict Manther will be scared of it and it won't get used the rest of the summer.

Are the suburbs a disease that infects your brain? I am sure I wouldn't have displayed behavior like this a couple of years ago.

Friday, June 29, 2007


Here's some more sidewalk chalk art for you to enjoy compliments of the girls on my block.
I have hardly been posting and I am missing my blog time very much. Thank you all for the support you gave on my last post. I guess I didn't clarify that I was not the one giving the presentation. The resident in our lab gave the presentation, but I had to mingle with the doctor types during the scheduled lectures. I got frustrated because the resident did not prepare properly and his presentation made him, our supervisor, and our research look shoddy. As a result of my frustration, I called him an asshole when I was in the women's bathroom and the director of our department was in the next stall. My coworker was with me and tried to make nice conversation with the director and pretend like there wasn't a lunatic cursing in the bathroom, but there is only so much you can do to clean up a situation like that. You can take the girl out the the streets, but you can't always take the streets out of the girl.
Here's an update:
Nael - She is working her tail off for another presentation her boss will do in England in one week. The data is not coming together very well and it is making her cranky. Also, she is working long hours and this is making her cranky. The upside is she no longer feels like an outsider at her weekly AA meeting because she has to spew so much emotion/frustration at tables to stay sane that everyone feels like they know everything about her. Her sister has gone to St. Louis and this is sad, but they still stay in contact with almost daily phone calls and she is looking forward to visits. Apparently, she is never going to get pregnant and have a second baby. She could not even find an LH surge the past two months and is getting tired of mandatory, unspontaneous sex when she does occasionally surge.
Manther - She has learned where the park is in relation to the house and has a tantrum everytime we drive, bike, or walk by it unless we stop and play. When mommy is having a bad day, she has to drive out of her way to avoid the park because she can't tolerate the tantrum. A few days ago, Manther received some cotten candy from the neighbor and mommy cut her off after she had consumed generous amounts of it. When Manther found that the the tantrum wasn't getting her what she wanted, she went over to the neighbor and asked for more candy. Mommy was quite embarassed. Manther's terrible twos do have some positives. She does not have meltdowns when I leave her at daycare or with sitters and she is becoming a lot of fun to interact with when she isn't being a stubborn, demanding, little cuss.
Hubby - Hubby works all the time now. He worked 14 hours yesterday and he will work 16 today and probably 12 hours days all weekend. He has worked something like 21 days straight and I just pray he doesn't collapse. He has been cranky, but I forgive him.
I promise to check posts tomorrow and see where everyone is at. I can't make any promises about the next week, but I do know that on 7/9/7 the boss takes the data I have and I get some of my life back.
Happy 4th everyone.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Greater Than and Less Than

One of my struggles in recovery is trying to be 'right sized'. When I moved out of my safety zone and into the suburbs, my insecurity escalated and I noticed I was comparing myself to others (with a fully skewed perspective) and assigning rank. This behavior is very sick, self-centered, and dangerous. I end up being arrogant or feeling worthless and both extremes will lead me to a drink if I don't keep my thinking in check.

The people who send me into the worst spiral with this behavior are wealthy people. I am intimidated and terrified of them. When I am with them, I monitor their behavior closely. This is partially due to my need to imitate them so I don't do anything improper. But, I also keep a mental list of any character defects I can detect. I guess I feel this list somehow brings them closer to my level. Very sick. Yes, I know. I am working on it. My rational mind knows that there are lots of very decent people who happen to have comfortable incomes. They genuinely care about others and will not call the police just because an unfamiliar, low income person is in their neighborhood. However, my rational mind is often drowned out by fear when I am stuck in a real life situation.

Saturday night we were invited to the very nice home of my husband's sponsor and he is quite well off. I prepped like I was getting ready for a date. I dyed my hair, plucked my eyebrows, waxed, shaved, primped, and tried on 3 outfits. I also forced Manther into a little summer dress and had fits about whether or not she would behave. My husband will never admit it, but he was nervous, too. He was anxious about us being late and took inventory and commented on how nice Manther and I looked. I think the last time he commented on my looks was our wedding day. We arrived and managed to visit and converse pretty well, but I constantly felt like I was talking too much and I second guessed everything that came out of my mouth. We ate ice cream on the deck and then walked over to the golf course (yes, his home is on a golf course) to watch a firework display. It was a nice evening and I enjoyed the company and Manther enjoyed his daughters. But, the next day I was so exhausted from the stress of what should have been a simple evening with friends.

Today, I have to go to a series of presentations with a bunch of doctors. I am totally stressed out. I have worked with a few of them and they really have all been nice to me. Why do I let this stuff freak me out so much? I feel like I am walking on eggshells when I am around fancy folks. I have been sober a while, but I still cuss too much and talk too much and I am not exactly classy. I like classy. I have seen women who wear it well and I admire them. I think I have to be sober and working steps another decade before I can naturally be one of them.

Monday, June 18, 2007

All good things must come to an end

The garage sale is finally over. Three days of sitting in the sun in front of my garage and the most significant thing I have to show for it is an itty bitty tan. It takes a whole lotta sun for me to get a tan. My costs: $23 newpaper ad, $6 balloons, $0.75 cardboard sign. My profit: $30 for general crap, $50 for dryer. So, I ended up with a $50 profit for 50 hours of labor and about 10 boxes of crap of the Vietnam Veterans Association. I don't think I will ever have another garage sale, but I might change my mind by next year. Here are the most memorable moments.

1) Outrageous 'flare' on my front lawn as advertisements. Racing flags were strung along both sides of the driveway on pylons. I had two signs with a bunch of balloons hanging off of them. One was bright green. I am sure the neighbors were hating me.

2) A nice little old lady talked me into dropping the price of the dryer from $75 to $50 She didn't know how to get it home, so we agreed to drive the dryer across town to help her. She lived in a $750,000 home in a very exclusive subdivision. I felt like a big sucker.

3) A crackhead refused to pay 25 cents for jeans, but also refused to put them back. I ended up selling them for 10 cents to get her out of the garage before things started coming up missing.

4) Another old lady tried to hustle me by asking me to make change for her $100 bill 5 different ways. Thank God I have been employed in so many crappy cashier jobs that I was onto her.

Yeah, I need to think twice before I garage sale again.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


As I have mentioned a few times, I am trying to have a garage sale. It is taking every spare moment and even moments I don't have to spare. Today I came home from work, kissed Manther, unloaded the work bag, started chili, and rushed out to the garage to clean, price and stack. I got two feet into the garage and I heard rustling and chirping in the rafters. I froze for a second and then ran out of there and half way down the driveway. I am terrified of birds in enclosed places. The little buggers are always weaving in and out of the rafters when I grocery shop at Meijer's and it is all I can do to force myself through the produce section. The rafters in Meijer's are much higher than the rafters in my garage and I was terrified. I tended chili and soaked in the baby pool with Manther for a few minutes. I laughed at myself and my irrational behavior. It's a silly fear and there is no reason I couldn't go in there an chase that bird out. I made it three steps into the garage before terror drove me out the second time. I tried to flush the bird out from the outside. I opened and shut the garage door and I hosed down the side of the garage to make noise. It scared the bird, but instead of leaving he started recruiting other birds. He chirped and chirped and birds started swooping into the yard and perching on the fence to chirp back at him. One duck stood outside the garage and I had to run right at him to get him to leave the yard. At this point, I lost the ability to minimize my fear and I shut the garage and went inside the house to hide. I waited for Hubby to come home. When he arrived, I told him my plight and he boldly went into the garage and waved a broom around. Manther stood there with him and danced and laughed. I was scared she was going to get hurt and started to go and drag her back into the house. Then I realized Manther was safe in the garage and I was being a freak... again. The bird was chased out and Hubby and Manther clapped and laughed. I nearly cried. I can take on a lot of bugs and even an occasional rodent, but birds and bats bring me to my knees quickly.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Giving 100%

I have been blog lazy for the past few days. We are trying to have a garage sale and it is consuming all of my free time. I am glad to get rid of all the stuff, but I am not enthusiastic about the scrubbing, organizing, and pricing. I took a break today to go the a surprise 50th birthday party for the neighbor. I wish I had stayed home.
I really like the guest of honor. He is the nicest guy and frequently does our snowblowing. He is a little bit quiet and very laid back and seems to be a great father and husband. His wife is nice, also, although she is a more outspoken and louder than her spouse. I met her whole family today and it was very uncomfortable. The host of the party was the wife's best friend and the party was populated by primarily two groups of people, the wife's family and the guest of honor's coworkers. The host seemed be working very hard and I would have expected the wife's family to pitch in. They talked about it, but rather than helping they discussed how much they had already helped. Then, the wife's family decided to start drinking (and sending children to fetch drinks, one of my pet peeves) and got a louder and cruder while the host and her husband continued to work very hard. The wife ended up leaving to tend to a sick baby and that is, of course, a priority and very valid. I was frustrated her family was partying rather than stepping up and filling in.
I am sure there are folks reading this who think I am simply overreacting to the consumption of alcohol and having a 'good time'. I can't answer with certainty, but I don't think that was the case. I have been around people partying since I have gotten sober. I am not in that environment a lot because I choose to avoid it if possible, but it has happened a few times. Am I uncomfortable in this situation? Yes, usually on some level I am. Was today's discomfort different? Yes, there was a lot more frustration and anger in it.
My commitment was short and I left quickly and it bothered no one. I am glad. And grateful. I come from a famiy where pitching in is taught early on and it's hard for me to watch people celebrate at the expense of the host of the party.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007


This post is not about the Van Halen song (aren't you relieved?). It's about muppets, again. I have a deadline at work and I am working pretty darn hard right now. I came home and was exhausted yesterday and Manther's irritability suggested she was exhausted, too. Even though I knew it was a mistake, we took a nap from 6-8pm. The natural consequence of this was that Manther wasn't tired at bedtime or for a few of the hours after that. At 11:45pm I gave up and stuck her and her babies, Elmo, Cookie, and Ernie, in the bed between Hubby and I. I rolled over intending to go to sleep. Manther played nicely for a few minutes. She covered the muppets and gave them bottles and patted them on the back to put them to sleep. Then, she decided everyone should jump. She would toss a random muppet into the air and yell, "Jump Elmo" or Cookie or Ernie. I thought the quickest way to end this game might be to let her tire of it, so I tried to ignore it and doze off. But, anxiety builds in you while you are laying there wondering if you will be bombed with a stuffed animal and that anxiety makes it extremely difficult to sleep. Hubby opened one eye and asked, "Is she throwing Elmo at us?" I said, "No, the muppets are jumping on the bed." I don't know if it was genius or an effort an humor, but Hubby's response to this was amazing. He sat up and gave all the muppets a firm reprimand and told them to go to sleep. Manther was delighted that the muppets were being acknowledged as members of the family. She lined them up at the head of the bed and started wagging her finger at them and talking to them in her stern tone. I guess it wore her out because the next thing I remember is morning and Manther asleep on a pile of her Sesame Street friends.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The courage to admit you don't know the answer

I have a 1998 Mercury Sable with 160K miles on it. During a moment of extreme poverty three years ago, we had to buy a car. The best we could do was the Sable with 125K on it and even then we had to get a loan to pay for it. The car has required regular repairs ever since it was purchased and our most recent mechanic seemed pretty good. He owned a few shops and we never saw him face to face, but he would call in the early am on the morning after we dropped the car off. He gave the diagnosis and estimate and did the work fast and we had a decent running vehicle when he finished. He recently hired a full time mechanic for the shop. The new guy just doesn't have the skills his employer does.
We dropped the car off last Friday and it had a rough idle and acceleration. The Saturday morning call from the new guy reported we needed an alternator, tension pulley, and serpentine belt. This didn't sound quite right. An alternator charges your battery, but it doesn't have a whole lot to do with how the car idles. I did believe the parts he listed were old and not performing optimally, but that was true for most of the parts in the car and I didn't believe the parts he listed were causing the problem we wanted fixed. The new guy assured us this needed to be done and so we gave in and agreed to the $500. Saturday afternoon he called to tell us the repairs hadn't corrected the problem. The problem was caused by the PSE valve and he wanted to replace it. My husband told he he wouldn't pay anymore than we already had and the new guy agreed to put the PSE valve in at no cost, but it wouldn't be done until Monday morning.
Monday morning the phone call came and the report was that the problem still existed and this time the cure would be the idle control valve. He couldn't replace it for free, but, if I picked the part up at Murray's, he would put it in for free. I said we would think about it and I would pick my car up that afternoon. It was pretty obvious that guy had no clue what was causing the problem , but instead of admit that to me he was going to keep replacing parts.
I was discussing the unresolved problem with the mechanic when I went to pick the car up because I was curious what his line of reasoning was for replacing the idle control valve. He told me his wife drives a Ford (uh-huh, um , why do I care) and they were driving to Wompers Lake, a nice lake out by Saline (get to the damn point), last summer and the rpms on the car went really high (not the same problem my car has). He told her to pull over so the car didn't blow up (I guess you have evolved high enough to have self-preservation instincts). He tinkered around and got the idle to drop, but he couldn't figure out what the probem was (sounds familiar). The next day his friend at work told him it was the idle control valve.
So, I just paid $500 to someone whose high tech method of diagnosis is to ask the hillbilly working next to him. I want to be mad. I want to demand my money back. I want to call him all sorts of names and point out what an imbecile he is. But, who's the real imbecile here? Probably the fool who trusted her car to back yard mechanic who looks like he played a mountain person in the movie "Deliverance".

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Celebrities that I would marry

I mentioned something about marrying a celebrity in the case of my husband's untimely death in my last post. And, someone was kind enough to inquire about my list of future celebrity husbands. I must forewarn you that I like the ruggedly handsome, superhero, over the top macho men. Get ready to roll your eyes.

1) Russell Crowe - Australian men have got something special
2) Harrison Ford - I know he's getting old, but his machismo is still there
3) Mel Gibson - He's got a drinking problem, but he's Australian

Those are the top three. There are others I might date: Bruce Willis - macho and attractive but a little too obnoxious to marry. Keanu Reeves - very cute but might be annoying stupid. Anthony Kiedis - so very, very hot but he has been living the lifestyle since he was young and I think he's damaged (the poor dear). If you're thinking that there are no recent celebrities on the list, you would be right. I have been living with very little TV or celebrity news since Manther was born, so I might have missed some serious hotties that recently entered the scene.

Friday, June 1, 2007

10 reasons I love flip flops

1) Everyone can own a dozen pair because they only cost $1

2) They come in an endless variety of colors

3) If they get dirty, you can just hose them off

4) They dry in minutes even if they're soaking wet

5) It's easy to get a good fit

6) Easy off and on

7) They make a rythmic, slapping sound when you walk in them.

8) You can wear them with shorts, jeans, capris, or dresses

9) It's acceptable to trip when you're wearing them

10) They automatically exclude you from events that require running


Thursday, May 31, 2007

And the answer is...

This is a sidewalk chalk original that was a gift to me from Lila, the 10 year old who lives down the block. The older girls on the block came over to play with Manther today and they were so excited about the sidewalk chalk. It's from Crayola and it's shaped like eggs. They told me it was cool. It may be the only cool thing I've ever done.
As long as we're on the topic of me not being cool, I have to share something. When I did a meme a few days ago I revealed that Nael is not my real name. A couple people asked what my real name is and why I picked Nael. My real name is Sarah, but I was concerned about anonymity when I started this blog so I used a pen name. I guess I'm still a bit concerned about anonymity, but I'm sure this won't allow anyone to identify me because there are a lot of sarahs out there. The nerdy thing is how I picked 'Nael'. It's a bit unlikely because I think it's an male irish name and I am neither male nor irish. I took the words sober and clean and I spelled them backwards and came up with Nael C. Robes. After sharing this, you are probably wondering if I am a pathetic 10 year old and whether I spend my spare time writing my first name next to the last name of hot celebrities so I can see how my name will look after we get married. I am not 10 years old, but I might still occasionally think about marrying a celebrity if my husband kicked off. You are definitely not reading a cool person's blog.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A beautiful summer night

I just spent a few minutes on the patio with hubby enjoying a summer night. The moon is full and the air is thick and it felt magical. He must have felt the same way because he looked at me and asked, "Do you have any idea how lucky we are?" He listed his gratitudes and I agreed with every one.
The attitude of gratitude was prompted by more than just the summer air. Hubby had just returned from a job site where I had also been helping move appliances. The site is a condo that is being sold to a young couple. The previous owner/landlord is replacing floors and painting as part of the rent to own agreement. My husband sold the floors and the installation is half done. The owner is already finding every possible thing to complain about. There are smudges on the wall here and a hairline fracture in the molding behind the door and he was quite certain that scratch wasn't here before the installation started. The young couple doesn't seem particularly concerned with any of these things, but that doesn't relax the owner's attitude at all. He even tried to micromanage the relocation and hook-up of the appliances, something my husband and the young man are experienced in and the owner has probably never really done.
Finally, we made it out of there and home to the patio to relax. Hubby could have been miserable and I would have forgiven him after dealing with that wretched little jerk for 2 hours, but instead he was grateful. After he shared his gratitudes, he told me it didn't matter how much money the owner of that condo had. He was obviously a miserable man and Hubby was glad he didn't have that life. I completely agree.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A sea of gratitude for the anonymous lady at CVS

My husband and I planned all sorts of home improvements and repairs for Memorial Day weekend. We did a respectable job of getting things accomplished despite the distraction of Manther being a whiny, clingy, obstinate, two year old terror. By Monday afternoon, I was worn out. But, we still had one very important job to complete. When we moved into this house, my mother-in-law gave us her old living room furniture to replace the nasty, beat-up, sectional we had. That was three years ago and we never managed to move it to our house. The move was finally going to happen on Monday. As we struggled to squeeze the couch through the doorway of the spare bedroom it was stored in, Manther had a meltdown and gave repeated loud, piercing screams for 5 minutes. It was impossible for us to continue moving furniture with that racket so I took a few minutes to calm her down. I soon realized a pacifier was absolutely necessary for us to complete this move and I had not brought one. We drove to CVS and Manther spotted her 'noogies' as soon as we entered the baby aisle. I snatched them off the shelf and quickly paid. She was begging and insisting so I opened the package as soon as we stepped out the door. The silence that followed was heavenly.

We returned to my mother-in-law's house and I started to exit the car. I couldn't find my wallet anywhere and I felt rising panic. The neighborhoods surrounding my mother-in-law's have seen a lot of poverty and drugs in recent years and the CVS I had visited was in a ghetto. I could not recall what I had done with my wallet, but I was certain that I would be robbed if I left it anywhere near that store. My husband had just given me money for bills and there was $600 in the wallet. I was in tears. My husband and I (and Manther who is now totally silent and quite interested in mommy's meltdown) raced back to the store. As we pulled in the driveway, I saw a woman standing in front of the store with my wallet in her hands. She had found it sitting on the trash can and was wondering whether to take it back into the store. All of my cash was still in it. I thanked her several times and I wanted to hug her, but I didn't want to scare her with my drama. It would have taken my husband and I a month to replace that money and it would have been a financial burden for that month and probably the next. I was convinced we would never find that wallet and, if we did, it wouldn't have any cash in it. I am so grateful to the anonymous woman for her honesty and I pray that I an always be that honest, also.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Evidence for expression of my genes...finally

Manther has always favored her father and his side of the family. She looks like him and acts like him. They share favorite foods, a wide instep, and a predisposition for cold sores. That's the short list. Everyday we find a new characteristic she and her father share and sometimes I feel like the outsider. I had my day on Saturday. We lost electricity and went to McDonald's for lunch. She can't eat at McDonald's because the allure of the play area is too overwhelming, so she ate when we got home. I put some ketchup on a plate so she could dip her fries and nuggets and left the room to do laundry (what else?). When I returned, she was face first in the ketchup licking it from the plate. This is my little sister's signature move and definitely a contribution from my gene pool. I guess she is half mine after all!


Thursday, May 24, 2007

10 things you never cared to know about Nael

I got this one from girl and I have to list 10 things about myself. I had a lot of trouble coming up with 10 things I haven't talked about already in this blog. I've been pretty open and I just don't have that much going on in my life that is interesting. Here's my best effort.

1) I'm a P. K. That means pastor's kid. My Dad is a retired Lutheran minister.

2) I haven't lived at home full time since I was 14. I went to boarding school and I would come back to visit over summer and vacation, but I never lived at home during the school year.

3) I screw up plane tickets terribly. I can purchase them correctly, but I can't read them. In the first big screw up, I showed up for departure when the plane was landing at it's destination. The second big screw up I showed up at the wrong airport. I now have someone review my ticket with me after I purchase it so I know where to show up and when.

4) I was told I would not be able to conceive without the aid of medication when I was 17. They were wrong.

5) This one I think everyone probably knows. Nael is not my real name.

6) I have freakishly skinny ankles...and very broad I sort of look like a triangle upside down. I probably shouldn't wear capri's, but I do.

7) I was engaged to another man about 7-8 years ago. It fell through because we both got strung out on drugs.

8) I have never lived outside of Michigan, but I have lived in about 6 cities in Michigan. I always thought I would leave Michigan after college and live in a big city like Chicago or New York.

9) I love to mow lawns. We did it all the time as kids for extra money and I find it very soothing. I mow our lawn all the time, but I have not told my husband I enjoy it and I never will.

10) I look more attractive with a baseball cap than without. I have a big head and big hair and the cap sort of makes the hair smaller.

Well, I hope that entertained and informed. Now to pass this little gem on. How about Tab and Christine?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

My laundry basket overfloweth

If shorts and T-shirts are half the size of sweaters and jeans, why does the laundry basket fill 3 times faster in warm weather than it does in cold weather? I washed darks on Sunday and this was staring me in the face when I came home from work today. I think the laundry procreates when I'm gone at work because the pile didn't look this big in the morning.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Gold Star

I've talked a lot about my recovery on this blog, but I don't often mention how hard Hubby has worked to get sober again. About two years ago, Hubby relapsed after 14 years sober. A few months previous, hubby had a car accident that left him unemployed with a disabling back injury. Along with these challenges, there were consequences from law enforcement and child protective services following the relapse. He did everything he was told to do. He dropped all painkillers except for ibuprofen and forced himself to outpatient therapy, meetings, parenting classes, and doctor's appointments for almost 6 months. He stuck it out through surgery and rehab and gave up his installation business and interviewed for jobs. He has been at his new job 14 months and he just received his 3rd raise yesterday (yeah!) because he has worked hard to become an outstanding employee and (in my opinion) quite a salesman. On top of all this, he's moonlighting as an installer every chance he gets to bring extra money in. I'm very proud of his amazing progress in the program and in life and so grateful for effort he makes to build a future for us.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Your mama is so big...

My husband stole one of the promotional balloons from a sale at work and brought it home. It is gigantic and Manther loves it. Manther only completes about 1 night a week in her own bed (major bad habit that her parents are slacking on), so, when Manther moved to our bed, the balloon spent the night with us, too. I woke up staring at this monstrous blue circle and my first thought was a line I heard at a comedy show, "Your mama is so big she has her own moon." I guess it's time to go on a diet.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Tag from A to Z

Toni tagged me with this a few days ago and I put it off until Friday. Here goes nothing.

A- Attached or Single? Umm, married. Attached sounds like something you do with a part of your body.

B- Best Friend- IRL, Lisa and Amie. They were in transitional housing with me for a year and they are still sober and my buddies. They were there to pick up the pieces when I had a wedding the weekend of no electricity, they helped the nurse give my daughter her first bath, and they babysat and gave support when hubby relapsed. They are my lifeline.

C- Cake or Pie- that cake or pie? With strawberries in sauce and real whipping cream on top. YUMMMM.

D- Drink of choice- Used to by anything with alcohol. Nowadays I won't even drink too much caffeine. I love and embrace my lameness. The answer is: fruit punch juicy juice, straight, undiluted.

E- Essential Items- Phone, wallet, keys. The three things I pat myself down for every time I leave the house.

F- Favorite color- green, lots of different shades of it.

G- Gummi Bears or Worms- I'm with Toni. I'm not really into the gummi thing. Chocolate or hard candy.

H- Hometown- I call Ann Arbor my hometown. I can't afford to live there, but I live close and I feel safest when I am there.

I- Indulgence- Ice cream. So fattening, but I still do it. Breyer's, usually dark cherry with chocolate.

J- January or February?- February. January is way too long.

K- Kids- 1 girl. Working on number two. My husband has to learn how to get home before 10 pm so we can work on number 2.

L- Life is incomplete without- sobriety, family, friends. In that order.

M- Marriage Date- August 16, 2003. The weekend the electricity went out in the eastern quadrant. See 'U'.

N-Number of Siblings- Two sisters, one brother. All are fantastic people. My sisters are the other end of my lifeline.

O- Oranges or Apples?- Apples, oranges get all over when you peel them and you smell citrusy for the rest of the day.

P- Phobias/Fears- Flying things, birds and bats, especially in enclosed spaces.

Q- Favorite Quote- Alexander Graham Bell, “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”

R- Reason to Smile- I am sober today.

S- Seasons- Fall, I am too pale for summer, intolerant of the bitter winter temps, and there's always a lot of work to do in spring. Also, fall clothes are the cutest.

T- Tags- This is a bit tricky, I don't want to screw up the format of anybody's blog (like Trudging's gratitude list). How about Lushgirl and A. J. Reams?

U- Unknown fact about me- Two days before my wedding, the largest blackout in North America occurred. This is now known as Northeast Blackout of 2003. There was no gas or air conditioning until about 10 hours before the ceremony. I was a wreck. But, everyone was able to gas up in time to get there (even my parents coming to MI from Toronto) and we took what we could get for flowers and menu. I guess it worked because we're still married.

V- Vegetarian or oppressor of animals? Meat, I love meat. I even worked in a few butcher shops.

W- Worse Habit- The snooze alarm. I just hate being woken up in the morning.

X-X-rays or ultrasounds- I don't really have a strong preference here. I guess you don't have to drink gallons of water for an X-ray so I prefer those.

Y- Your Favorite Food- There are so many. I guess a really good hoagie.

Z- Zodiac- Saggitarius

Thanks Toni! I hope you have a great weekend away!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The best job of all

Last night was meeting night and I am pleased to say that I was able to feel pretty comfortable at my table again. I am learning names and faces and I don't feel like a stranger in a foreign land. The table was about resentments and many shared about resentments related to their jobs. I heard about condescending bosses and demanding customers and backstabbing coworkers. I was filled with gratitude because I have an awesome job today.

Before recovery, I had a high-stress, big-money pharmaceutical job. I lost it due to crappy using behavior and it was one of my drunken regrets. In the back of my mind, I intended to return to that type of job when I was sober enough to handle the stress. Barely employable in early sobriety, I took whatever job came along, short order cook at Bill Knapp's, meat counter at Meijer (I really liked this job and almost stayed), and cashier at the local Alano Club (terrible, cruel, condescending boss, lots of 13 steppers, not all things recovery are good). After two years of sobriety, my sponsor told me I could move on and put in resumes related to my previous career.

I left a big black mark on my record in the pharmaceutical industry, so I applied at the local academic research institution initially. I was given a chance by a kind MD/professor and worked hard for him. I continued to watch the job openings and, almost a year after he hired me, I got an interview at a pharmaceutical company. I really thought this was where I was supposed to be and I was crushed when I was not offered the job. I worked through it with the help of the program and got comfortable with the job I had. We bought a house and got pregnant and, in my 3rd month, I found out our project had lost funding.

I was really shaken and more than a little bit angry. Why would God refuse me the tasty pharmaceutical job and also take away my humble academic position? I am the primary income and insurance carrier in our little family. I had a baby on the way and had no choice but to interview with my protruding belly. I was hired by the most amazing boss ever. She is a pediatric MD, a surgeon, a researcher, and mother of 4. She is one of the smartest people I have ever met, yet she respects my opinion and decisions and is grateful for the work I do. My first year working for her, I missed time for childbirth, my husband's car accident, back injury, relapse related court dates and parenting classes, and back surgery. On top of all this, Manther was diagnosed with 5 earaches her first year in daycare and I had to drag her out of daycare and to the doc's numerous times. I was ashamed of my trailer trash life and all the work I missed, but I tried to stay on top of things and be focused at work. She never criticized me or questioned all the personal time, but instead told me I was doing a great job and gave me a merit raise.

There is nothing I dread about coming into work and I could never have picked a job that allows me to split my time between mother, wife, and employee. God had to pick this job for me. That pharmaceutical job I wanted? That company shut it's doors this year and I would have been standing in an unemployment line if I had gotten my way 3 years ago. I am so grateful God took care of me and put me where I am today. I only wish I had been more accomodating while he was working things out for me.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Cats and Dogs

This is not mine. It got forwarded to me via email yesterday and it made me laugh. I hope it does the same for you.
First, A Dog's Diary:
8:00 am - Dog food! My favorite thing!
9:30 am - A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40 am - A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10:30 am - Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
12:00 pm - Lunch! My favorite thing!
1:00 pm - Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00 pm - Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
5:00 pm - Milk bones! My favorite thing!
7:00 pm - Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
8:00 pm - Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!
11:00 pm - Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!

"Excerpts from a Cat's Diary" Day 983 of my captivity. My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength. The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet.
Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a "good little hunter" I am. Bastards!
There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of "allergies." I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage.
Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow -- but at the top of the stairs. I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released - and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded. The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicating with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe. For now...

Happy Middle of the Week!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Catchin Coons

Two posts in one day! I'm posting again because I'm a bit concerned about my folks. They are willful senior citizens, as many senior citizens are, and they frequently think the rules (laws) don't apply to them. They have had a raccoon with babies living in the walls of their condo for a few weeks. The critter company has been trying for 10 days to catch it. I got this email today.

'We now know why the raccoon moved to the wall between the liv. room and bedroom. Scott from ###### placed the trap right up against the opening where the coon went in. It had no choice but to enter the trap. So the smart little devil was working on another opening. Don't know if she was successful. I made a bed in the study with couch cushions and closed the door. Dad said from time to time the noice and banging would wake him. My imagination ran away with me and I tho't I smelled sawdust in our bedroom.

Dad is oiling his gun.'

Perhaps some of you think I gun is an okay idea in this situation. I assure you it is not. My father's gun is older than I am and I have only seen him use it once about 15 years ago. He has lost 75% of his sight since then and I am pretty convinced he won't be a good shot. This is a condominium community, not the plains of Montana. You can't just open fire whenever you think it's appopriate. What the hell. I wrote them back and asked them to come stay with me for a while rather than resort to gunfire. I hope that stupid coon enters the trap before my parents get arrested. I really don't want to read about this on the front page of the paper.


Oh yeah, I'm doing it. I have to go to a birthday party tonight. For a nephew and a mother-in-law. I have to go to a potluck tomorrow. For a coworker. All are nice people, but I want to frolick and bike ride and run through the thick, lush spring grass with my daughter. I don't want to spend my precious and limited time after work going to parties and making pasta dishes. Okay, enough whining. I am an adult and therefore must accept a serious reduction in frolicking time. I will dutifully go to Meijer's and proceed with wrapping gifts and cooking. Yuck.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Party Favors

I got to see my sister this weekend. We behaved in a very juvenile manner and it was fun. We were reliving her baby shower and laughing at her mother-in-law. My mother, who refuses to say anything bad about anyone no matter how much fun it might be, says that my sister's MIL is a very 'focused' and 'directed' person. My sister uses other words to describe her. Her MIL is excited about the baby and did a lot of work for the shower. She enjoys crafts and usually makes some very nice stuff (well, not as nice as girl's, but still decent). She went to all the work to paint faces and embroider hats and make lace thingys for these little doll heads. I think she made about 30 of them. But, they have no body and they are freaky looking. I don't know exactly what they are. The MIL called them an 'ornament'. They look more like an unattached head to me. My sister and I had to try and keep a straight face as we set a bodyless doll at each place setting. The worst part is that the heads were stored in these egg cartons. While 1 of these looks a little freaky, 12 of them perched at angles in an egg carton was hysterical. My mother was hissing at us under her breath as we tried to suppress our giggles. The truth is I cannot do crafts AT ALL. I nearly failed 'art' in grade school and sewing is like torture for me. So, do I have the right to laugh? Not at all. It was terrible behavior, but you just can't be good all the time.

Friday, May 11, 2007

He cars and she cars

Manther is a tomboy and really enjoys vehicles. 'Car' was a word she learned early on and shortly after that she started referring to my sedan as 'mama car' and her father's van as 'dada car'. When we went for walks, she would point out other sedans and say 'mama car' or 'dada car' when large square vehicles drove by. I acknowledged what she was saying by repeating, "Yes, that does look like mama's car." or "Yes, a van just like dada's." Slowly, her language skills are improved and she pointed out trucks and motorcycles. Despite her improved vocabulary, she continues to call smaller sedans and compacts 'mama car' and larger vans and minivans 'dada car'. A she talked more and more about these cars and vans, I began to realize the 'mama' and 'dada' indicate that she has assigned them a gender and I have reinforced this by agreeing with her for the past 6 months. Apparently, all smaller, low-to-ground vehicles are feminine and taller square vehicles are masculine. Trucks and motorcycles are outlyers right now. I don't really know how to correct this situation, or if I need to. I think the vehicles in 'Cars' had a gender. Weren't some of those feminine? So, I guess I'll let her go on thinking there are 'he' cars and 'she' cars. I think men have been assigning a gender to their vehicles for decades and it doesn't appear to have screwed them up. Or has it?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Nael finally has a meeting

Yes, it's true. I went to my Wednesday night meeting and I was sort of comfortable for the first time in suburban AA. I knew almost everyone at the table and it was suggested I lead. Last time this was suggested, I led with the format that is typically used at that meeting, i.e. lots of table leader feedback, and it felt awkward and uncomfortable. This time I decided to just do it the way I was comfortable. We shared around the table and I shared last and I think everyone, including me, thought it was a good table. Whew! I might be able to get some recovery in the suburbs yet.
The downer is that a very active, long-time member of AA in our community has lost his job. It was quite a good job and he is taking it hard. Jobs are so scarce in this state and I would be surprised if he is able to find employment without relocating. If he leaves the state, he leaves behind a daughter who lives with his ex-wife. I am sure he will still get visits with her, but they will probably go from once a week to once every 6 months. Everyone please send M your prayers so he can make it through this and still remain an active part of his daughter's life.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

The Baby Shower

My sister's baby shower was this weekend and I think everyone had a nice time. I come from a long line of loud, gregarious, talk-with-your-hands, say-what's-on-your-mind women and most of them showed up for the shower. The family of the father-to-be walked in, said 'hello', and politely took their seats. They chatted pleasantly and snacked until game time when they listened and played along. My family walked in and spent an inordinately long time greeting each other with big hugs and kisses. They walked around and snacked and conversed loudly with hand gestures until we SUGGESTED they sit so we could start the games. They rearranged chairs so no one could tell whose door prize belonged to who and had animated conversations the entire time we were conducting games. No one won anything because I don't think anyone was actually participating in the games. Finally, we surrendered to the chaos and handed everyone a prize and told my sister to start opening gifts. I am making fun of my family, but I am proud to be one of them. They are a group of sympathetic, smart, strong individuals and I think these are all admirable characteristics. I'll continue to enjoy their antics, even if family gatherings feel a like being trapped in a room with 20 agitated cockatoos.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007, not that kind

I was driving by our city buildings yesterday and something caught my eye. No, it was not the building itself, although I am startled by the ostentatious glass structure set in the middle of what was recently a cornfield. I focused on one of the blurbs in the prominent, lit-up, scrolling sign that reads, “Keep it neat! Grass should be no higher than 5 inches.” This bothers me on several levels. I am very American in that I hate it when the government regulates any part of my life that I feel they have no business in. I definitely think they crossed that boundary when they give me suggestions on the length of a proper lawn. The other thing that nagged me is the suggested length, 5 inches. I think my lawn is 5 inches long when I finish cutting it, not when I decide to cut it. This is ‘setting the bar high’, even for the suburbs. So, here’s MY suggestion. Let’s not worry about the length of the lawn because that’s really not hurting anybody. Instead, let’s work on the dangerously aggressive mode of driving that is fashionable in my burb. If we can convince the SUV and minivan drivin’ mamas to view a human life as equal to getting Bobby and Sue to soccer practice on time, we might actually create a safer place to live.

Monday, May 7, 2007


I haven't been posting much the past few days. I feel (and look) like ICK from a nasty cold Manther brought home from daycare. Manther and hubby and I are all stuck in the ICK and the theme at our house is short tempered irritability with lots of crying and whining. My husband is the one doing most of the crying and whining. Manther has decided to get as many waking hours as possible with the ICK and only sleeps about 6 hours a night. These hours are not consecutive. I was feeling like a wimp, but then I came into work and saw a coworker who also has the ICK. I am not mentally exaggerating how crappy I look because she was stumbling around wearing a thick sweater and a pale face with sunken eyes and a puffy, red nose. I could totally relate and am wearing the same sweater and face. So, lots of fluids and rest and I hope to post something more upbeat tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

I am a super-genius

I have not only managed to add a banner to my blog (thanks to tips for new bloggers), but I also made a web page for my profile and linked to it. Click on my profile and see for yourself. I realized these are remedial skills for the average blogger, but I am not your average blogger. I fall someplace below average. Okay, that was a lot of thinking for me and I am blog-tired. See ya tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

On bad bedside manner

Manther had her two year check-up yesterday and I had a special problem I wanted to point out to the doctor. Manther has an intermittent lazy eye that she inherited from my husband's side of the family. I first noticed it a few months ago and immediately went to the internet because I wanted to confirm that some latent virus had not gone beserk and attacked her neurological system. I did research and more or less excluded this possibility and also found intermittent lazy eyes do not usually affect sight, especially at 2 years old. Based on this, I decided to wait until her two year check up to point it out to the doctor and proceed with treatment.
During the appointment yesterday, the doctor asked if I noticed anything unusual and I mentioned the eye.

Her reply, "I'm SO glad you brought that up. That's SO important." I started to reply and was cut off.

"That HAS to be looked at. If this is not treated while she if young, the brain could shut down in that area. Do you know what that means?" I start to reply and I am cut off.

"She could go BLIND in that eye. If the brain shuts down in that area, she'll be BLIND in one eye. Now, I know you can live with one eye, but do you want that for her?" I stop trying to reply and start suppressing a smirk. The doctor sees that I am trying not to laugh at her because I am thinking of 'A Christmas Story' and 'you'll poke your eye out' and she takes it down a notch.

"I know losing sight at this age is not likely, but if this goes untreated that could happen."

Can someone tell me at what point in time during this appointment I denied that my child had a medical condition or refused treatment? Here's a word of advice to the pediatricians out there: it's a bit upsetting for parents to be told their children are going blind, so maybe that shouldn't be EM-PHA-SIZED unless necessary. If you enjoy watching a mother weeping and clutching her chest in the examination room while begging for immediate surgery to save her poor baby's eye, then this is definitely the approach you want to take. However, if you would like everyone to remain sane during the appointment, how about responding with, "I'm glad you brought that up. I'm going to give you a referral to ophthalmology and they can tell you how to proceed." Jeesh!

Monday, April 30, 2007

This one's for Trudging!

Trudging, you told me not to trust that Elmo and you were right. I left the muppets alone on the back patio and look what I returned to. Muppets gettin freaky. AND, I'm not convinced Cookie's participation is voluntary.


3rd step prayer

I'm working on the third step today and it's a struggle for me. It's really gets in the way of what I want and I HATE not getting what I want.

It was a beautiful weekend and we celebrated Manther's birthday. This meant lawn mowing and housecleaning and shopping and cooking all scrunched into Saturday day so we could decorate and celebrate on Sunday. Of course, hubby was working both days so I was running around like crazy. I am getting used to this and I didn't mind. Also, I had to take 2 hours out of my day on Sunday to run materials to hubby's job site, but I didn't mind this, either. I could squeeze it in before the party and I was able to help him out. I really love my family, house, and home life and I like being able to throw myself into the weekends and get stuff done.

The weather was beautiful and the extended family came over for the party and the meal was yummy because Grandma helped cook it (I was running materials to the job site, remember?). Then, grandma (my mom) pulled me aside and told me that my dad got drunk, drove, and ran into their garage door. He didn't just hit it. He drove all the way to the middle of the garage before she ran out to stop him. His drinking is out of control and, if we don't get him into treatment, he's going to kill somebody. Mom's going to make some phone calls to determine what we can get him into and we're going to proceed with an intervention.

I don't want to do this. I just want it to go away. I just struggled through my husband's first couple years of sobriety and I'm not prepared to go through the drama with someone else. I want to fix up my house and have another baby and make more money and move to a nicer neighborhood and be Ward and Beverly Cleaver. Apparently, this is not what God had planned. I am praying and I am praying and trying to accept his will. It might be a while before I have peaceful and serene acceptance of this situation, but at least I am working that direction.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Happy Birthday Manther!

Yesterday was Manther's second birthday. The celebration is on Sunday, but I had my own little celebration with her at home. I bought her a fake cell phone and the candy she picked out at the dollar store. Then, I put all my chores on the back burner and went outside and played with her all night. We had a fantastic time.

This is a picture of Manther watering our new tree in the back yard. She is watering it with a squirt bottle.This is a picture of Manther walking Cookie Monster and Elmo in the wagon. We saw two fire engines on this walk. One had sirens on.
This is a picture of Manther helping Cookie Monster touch the street lamp at the end of the street. Manther enjoys the texture and feel of objects and she likes to share this with her friends. Happy Birthday Big Girl!


Friday, April 27, 2007

I am an unfashionable hypocrite

Evidence for my hypocrisy was provided in the previous post. The unfashionable thing is a separate problem and should have been obvious to me much earlier in life. I am a nerd to the core and I have always known this. I have a sixth sense for picking the thing that is uncool and not trendy. SO, if I am poking fun at a new fashion trend, everyone should go out and get one because it is guaranteed to be a big hit. Last week, I made fun of a hairstyle and, inspired by my coworkers interpretation of what she saw at the mall, I called it 'skunk hair'. Well, L (the coworker) did a little research this week and guess what she found? It's SUPPOSED to look like a skunk . (read paragraph 3 in this link). I am really clueless when it comes to the cutting edge of anything. Case in point, I started blogging in December of this year and had really never heard of it before. As I quickly learned, blogging had been around for quite a while and I am definitely entering the crowd somewhere near the end. Oh well, if my misfit nerdiness has saves me from doing freaky things to me head, I guess I'm okay with it.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

I am a hypocrite

After all that bitching about yuppies spending money on their kids, guess what Manther is getting for her birthday. She has fallen in love with motorcycles and her daddy just can't say 'no'. This little thing is motorized (really unnecessary since she has boundless energy) and cost as much as cable and internet access for 1 month. Or one week of groceries. Or 1 month's cell phone bill. Or two weeks of gas. You get the picture. Ai-yai-yai. I was going to take a firm stand against it's purchase, but some of the moms I work with suggested I let hubby spoil Manther a bit. I just have to make certain this does not become a regular occurrence. That won't be too difficult. If it becomes a regular occurrence, we won't have a house or garage to store her beautiful gifts in.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Baby Shower Games

Okay, fellow female bloggers (or male if you're into this sort of thing), I need some help. Sis's baby shower is in 1 week. She has had so much chaos this pregnancy: bleeding, job loss (both her's and her hubby's), house sale, relocation, house purchase, and lots of stressful stuff. I want to make her shower really fun and I want some fun (and not too high maintenance) baby shower games to get the crowd laughing. Any ideas?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The screen door is not a trampoline

I am a fresh air fanatic and, for this reason, my patio screen door is very important to me. I love being able to throw open the windows and doors to rid the house of the stale bedroom and cooking odors that harbor in the corners without giving free entry to every bug in Michigan. Our house is a beat-up shack (all we could afford) that had been abused by the previous owners and the patio screen door had not escaped their destructive hand. The corner of the screen was ripped out and, although I had repeatedly tucked it back in with a butter knife, it had to be replaced.
I finally replaced it last weekend and it was a monstrous job. The door could not be popped out easily and I had to wedge and kick and eventually disassemble the surprisingly heavy beast to remove it. I have a hobble now because I punctured the top of my foot in the process. I spent over an hour on the back patio forcing the little gasket and screen in the tiny groove with (you guessed it) my butter knife. Manther learned some new words and also learned she can have all the candy she wants when mommy does house repairs. I forced the door back in and slammed it back and forth (punctured my hand) about 50 times until it jumped onto track. I nearly cried tears of relief and victory when it was back in place. The most amazing thing is that it actually looks pretty good. There weren't a lot of weird waves or bends in the screen. It looked smooth and almost professional.
Manther is fascinated with the new screen. It has good bounce and firmness and makes fine vertical trampoline. She bounces her hands off of it and rolls her face back and forth feeling the screen against her eyes, nose, and mouth. She's tried to climb it a few times and likes to throw her body against it. Yesterday, she started to take a running jump into it, but my screeching stopped her. She pretends to heed my begging and pleas, but returns to her fun screen door games as soon as I am not in the room. Since I work full time, I am 'not in the room' a lot. Today, I will try punishment and I will give her timeouts when she trounces on the screen door. It might prolong the life of the screen door, but I doubt it will save it.
I am working on accepting that the screen door is a luxury for those who don't have dogs and children. If I am able to see it as a 'visitor' rather than a 'permanent resident' in our household, I may actually be able to enjoy it's brief stay with us.

Monday, April 23, 2007


Spring finally showed itself this weekend. The list of housework and yard work was so long, that I barely visited my blog late last night. I definitely feel a sense of accomplishment and I have the aching bones that go along with this. I seeded the bare spots in the lawn and planted a little tree. I wanted to include a picture of it, but I ran out of time. Maybe later in the week. I also replaced the screen in my patio screen door (this is a terrible job), cleaned a bit of the house, mowed the lawn, laundry, grocery shopping, church, and a meeting. My child was left to raise herself most of the weekend with my racing around the house and my husband working 7 days, but the weather was nice and she didn't seem to mind very much. I did enough mothering to throw some Cheerios, cheese, and juice out on her picnic table every couple of hours and reapply the sunscreen. She sure was dirty when I finally brought her in. Yikes. I wonder if the neighbors noticed a filthy child wandering the back yard unattended for hours. Oh well, none of the authorities showed up so I guess it was okay.

The big news is that I got to go to a meeting this weekend. I am usually only allowed one a week because hubby's attendance is mandatory due to probation and someone does have to stay home with the little one. However, a girl I used to support was in treatment in our neighborhood and feeling a bit isolated, so I paid the buck for a babysitter and I went and supported her. It was wonderful to see her, although I wish it was under better circumstances. Her road trip was rough and she was feeling miserable. She had a few years sober, but went off of her meds (she's bipolar I think) and started with self-destructive behavior that ended with using. She kept telling me how homesick she was. She doesn't have a home to return to, but she desperately wants to return to her hometown and is waiting on a 3/4 house there. I can relate. She is from Ann Arbor. I got sober in Ann Arbor and have lived there half of my life. Ann Arbor is a decent size college town and, in my opinion, a great place to live. I have always considered it home. The level of diversity and culture has made it a really unique place on the map of Michigan. When you travel 20 minutes outside of Ann Arbor, the 'feel' of your environment changes dramatically. My husband and I bought a home outside of Ann Arbor and, although it is a nice neighborhood and a great place to raise a family, I have been homesick ever since my move. I am adjusting SLOWLY and I know I will feel comfortable as a suburban housewife eventually. My friend doesn't have to make the adjustment. She can return home after her brief stay in treatment and I reminded her of that. She appreciated the visit and I appreciated being able to sit and laugh with the treatment folks.

So, now back to work. I am trying to stay focused today so I can get the heck out of here and back into the sun before it leaves us. Happy blogging everyone!

Friday, April 20, 2007

A little game

Who can guess what these two unexpectedly similar objects are (don't look below and cheat)? If you guessed 1) the coat of a brown spotted skunk 2) a woman's hairstyle then you were right!
Everyone please forgive me here, but I am going to pick on the suburban wives with whom I coexist. I feel a bit guilty, but they're mean and that alleviates the guilt. Yes, the trend in the obnoxious, new money suburb that we moved to is to dye your hair funky red brown with chunks of blonde. This artificial look is best accompanied with overdone nails and overpriced shoes. Now, before anyone judges me too quickly, let me say that I do think funky hair is quite appropriate and attractive and when it is on a fun, funky person (see below). I know she is a cheerleader, but still likable.
However, when this look is on an IKEA-shopping, man-emasculating, must-flaunt-my-money housewife, it really loses it's funky fun appeal. It is about as appealing as the picture below.
Okay, I'm done with the rotten name calling. I would call my sponsor and make amends, but I don't feel bad about this yet. Maybe someday.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Please believe me when I tell you this is bad behavior

Well, Manther and I had quite a morning. She was a brat extraodinaire at the daycare drop off. This drop off has been getting worse and worse over the past two months. Nothing external has changed. She has been in the same daycare since she was four months old and the caregivers are quite consistent. However, she has started hanging on me and refusing to remove her coat and insisting on a pacifier and (the straw that broke the camel's back) insisting on keeping her own stuffed animals with her.

I know to the unskilled observer this might look like separation anxiety and, initially, I thought that's what it was. I slowed down and was very gentle and took my time letting her warm up to the environment before I left. This was okay for a week or two, but every accommodation I made was met with a new stubborn action. I give an inch, Manther takes a mile. I believe she is manipulating the situation (yes I do believe a two year old can manipulate) and I am quite sick of it. The caregivers are looking sideways at me and I know they are wondering what the heck I am doing wrong. They keep saying, "She's so well behaved while she is here." Apparently, this is code for, "What sort of crappy parenting makes a kid act like that?" The truth is Manther always behaves for other people. She saves all her rebellion for me. The little darling.

Well, she pushed me to the edge this morning and I left angry with a flushed face. This will not happen again. No stuffed animals will accompany us to daycare even if that means I have to drag her into the car kicking and screaming. I intend to walk into the room, fill out the necessary paperwork, stick lunch in the fridge, give a quick kiss goodbye, and walk out the door again. She is welcome to sit in the middle of the room with her coat on and scream for the next 8 hours. As long as she works through it by thte time I show up to pick her up, I'm okay with it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Does not play well with others

This is a post so I can gripe about my job. I try not to post about my job because it is really great in a lot of ways, but sometimes it still gets me down. I am a scientist or, more accurately, research tech. I do experiments for people who have gotten some grant money from the government to do research. I love doing experiments in cell biology, molecular biology, and genetics and that is why I chose this field. There are many failed experiments and the low success rate can be frustrating, but I can work through this with occasional venting.

The more challenging part is the people (isn't this true for every job?). I believe that most scientists have an arrogant and antisocial attitude that stems from, well, being a nerd. All the little resentments that were built early in life as a social outcast turn sideways in adulthood and create a weird, defensive jerk. Is the jerk intelligent? Maybe. Does this intelligence compensate for the jerky behavior? Absolutely not, except maybe in the case of Albert Einstein. Do I belong to this club? You betcha, baby. I have very consciously tried to work on this with my personal inventory, but I still struggle with it.

Okay, what this is really about is cells. I grow cells for experiments, as many of my coworkers do. When the cells get contaminated, the finger pointing starts so we can properly lay blame on the incompetent who was the source of our woe. Although it is never said aloud, scientists believe that almost everything that goes wrong in the laboratory (and in life) is due to someone else's incompetence. I contaminated my own cells last week and, while I was frustrated by the loss of cells, I was also freaked out that I was going to contaminate someone else's cell line and get the incompetent finger pointed at me. So, I quickly announced the problem and spent the following days carefully finding the source (my media bottle) and obsessively cleaning all surfaces I could find. I started my cell lines again and they are fine. My coworker got contamination this morning. While she never stated that she thought I was responsible and she actually stated the opposite, I certainly feel like I am staring right at the tip of the incompetent finger.

I want to scream, "I didn't do it!', but maybe I did. Who really knows? Bacteria are tricky little bastards and it's really hard to get rid of all of them. It only takes one before you have a colony. There is no way to escape my psycho, paranoid head until I attend my meeting tonight. I will go and share this and someone else will relate their paranoid freak story and I will be able to laugh at them and myself and feel normal.

Until then, I am going to find a new incubator to house my cells because someone's incompetence has introduced bacteria into the incubator I am using.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


As soon as I finished my post yesterday, I heard about the shootings at Virginia Tech. Everything was immediately put into perspective and I could once again see the beautiful gift that my life is and how petty and self centered I frequently am. My prayers go out to the family and friends of the victims of this crime. I pray that everyone is given the strength and support needed to work through their loss. My prayers also go out to the University leaders and police force who I believe made the best decision they could with the information they were given.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Now you see it, now you don't

I haven't had a period for 31 days. Now, the logical reason behind all this is pregnancy and my husband and I have been working (unsuccessfully) that direction. I took a test on Friday that was negative. I was angry and decided I'm not spending $10 to find out I'm not pregnant ever, ever again. I will just wait until I've gone 90 days without a period and my belly starts expanding and then I will assume I am pregnant and make a doctor's appointment. This morning I think my period started. I cried and cursed like crazy on the drive into work. Then, I got here and it stopped. I really am not enjoying this game.

My husband is no emotional support at all so I turned to my mother. She is annoyingly practical in all things. She said,"Would you quit worrying about another baby! That's in God's hands. What you should worry about is potty training the one you have. What would you do with two in diapers anyway?" Thanks for the love, Ma. I guess your point is that I am not only fertility challenged but also a neglectful mother and barely capable of raising the child I have brought into this world.

The motivation for this comment is that Manther is two (next week) and not potty trained and my mother thinks this absolutely disgraceful. She feels the average child should be potty trained by ~ 18 months. I have three siblings and I am quite certain NONE of us were potty trained at 2 years old, but my mother's memory gets weaker and her distaste for diapers gets stronger every year.

So, I am sitting at my desk silently raging because I don't know if I'm pregnant or not and my mother and husband refuse to listen to my ranting and raving. Thank God for the internet.

Friday, April 13, 2007

A plea for sanity from the yuppies

I pulled into my daughter's daycare this morning and was greeted by a fleet of bikes. Apparently, it is 'bike day' for the bigger kids and everyone had brought their wheels. It was very cheery and springlike, until I looked closer and saw the make and model of these vehicles. In my younger days, I was more active and liked to do some mountain biking. I know what type of value and price tag are associated with bike names like 'Trek' and 'Specialized'. Until today, I was not aware than you could spend that amount of money on a bike for your 3 year old. The little thing pictured here will run you $129 and this was one of the bikes in the group this morning. Am I the only one who thinks this is an extreme amount of money to spend on a starter bike that will last 1-2 years, will never go > 5 mph, and will spend 50% of it's life on it's side because CHILDREN FALL A LOT when learning to ride a bike? I can't really see the need for an extra light frame or superior handling with the bike will never make it past the block you live on. What happened to the little pink thing that you get at Target? I have a proposal for you yuppies, so listen up. If you can't bear to spend less than $120 on a bike, then why not buy 3 $40 bikes and donate the other 2 to a worthy cause? I understand that this means there are two poor children who will have a status equal to your child's in bike world, but you might actually teach your child a lesson about the value of a dollar, how to help people, better stuff does not make you a better person, and kindness. If you're worried about what the neighbors might think if your kid is on a cheap bike, buy a used one and tell everyone you're really into recycling.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The ugly face of resentment

Yes, it's returned to ruin our serenity and steal our peace. Of course, I am referring to the ugly face of resentment. A few months back, my husband returned to to meetings very actively following a relapse. He started picking up a friend who needed a ride very regularly. The friend also needed a ride to the meeting I attend so I pick him up and take him on Wednesdays. Well, we did him a couple of fav0rs and didn't set boundaries properly and things have become uncomfortable. My husband would buy him cigarettes or pick up the tab when the group went out for coffee afterwards. The cigarette money has escalated to $200 of borrowed money and the cup of coffee has turned into a full meal at least once a week. My husband even started avoiding his home group so he could avoid buying this guy dinner. The icing on the cake is that the dude smoked in my car. Now, I used to smoke and smoke a lot and I might be more forgiving of this, BUT, I have a daughter with terrible congestion problems who rides in that car everyday. So, I built a case against this guy (he's not disabled from Hep C, I worked with Hep C, why are my taxes paying for his meal ticket, you get the picture) I fully understand that he is only doing what any other fine, red blooded, move-shootin, ex druggie alkie would do in the same situation, but he's doing it to me and I hate being the sucker. So, my husband called his sponsor last night and I am going to call 'my girls' today and we will work on polite ways to say, "Quit spending my money and poisining my child,' or something like that.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

What a strange power there is in clothing. ~Isaac Bashevis Singer

Manther expressed strong opinions about her clothing very early on in life. She is not drawn to the frilly, pink princess styles that attract many little girls, but rather bold, primary colors with striking patterns or drawings on them. She began temper tantrums at 19 months whenever she was not allowed to wear a shirt with an 'Elmo' on it. I am ashamed to say that she won this battle and wore Elmo shirts everywhere for the m0nths following. After 6 months, this phase is passing and she will wear non-Elmo clothing several days a week. However, she insists on picking out her own clothes and her mood certainly dictates her style.

I knew Manther was opinionated about her clothes, but I didn't realize how deeply she cared for them until last night. I was in the basement doing laundry and Manther was assisting (something I encourage). We put the wet clothes in the dryer and sorted the darks on the floor. I didn't have enough for a load, so I stacked the sorted darks on the washer and waved Manther toward the stairway telling her we were done and it was time to go upstairs. When I got to the foot of the stairs, I turned to let Manther pass me. She was not behind me, but still standing in front of the washer. She was waving to the stack of clothes on the washer and saying farewell, "bye-bye shirts, bye-bye pants, bye-bye socks." It was only after I assured her that the clothes will be returned to her after washing that she was willing to go upstairs and get ready for bed. I predict a serious shopping addiction before this kid gets out of junior high.