Tuesday, January 30, 2007

One of the gifts of being a mother

"You'll bestow on this family the wonder that lets parents see though child's eyes, helping them recapture the innocence and moments of sweet surprise."

from 'the Gift of an Angel' by Marianne Richmond

This quote is from a book my sister gave me when I was pregnant and it tells the story of God choosing a guardian angel for a child right before the child is born. The line above is one of the duties that God assigns his angel. The book is very sweet and I cried and blubbered everytime I read it when I was pregnant. Of course, I cried several times a day the first five months of my pregnancy so it didn't take much to trigger the waterworks. As I watched Manther last night, the truth that these words express became clear to me. We were at the library for storytime and stayed a few minutes to play on the computer. It was dark when we left and it was snowing. The snow was big and fluffy and the flakes were falling thick and fast. Manther stopped walking and held her arms out to watch the snow collect and melt in the folds of her hands and coat. We live in Michigan, so she knew what it was and was repeating "snow...snow...snow" softly to herself. After a few minutes, I convinced her to keep walking. She made it a few feet and then looked up and saw the patterns of swirling snow in the lights of the parking lot. She squealed with delight and ran into the middle of the parking lot. She danced clumsy, toddler circles underneath the lights as she sang, "Snow!..Snow!..Snow! It has been years since I was able to be delighted by a fluffy snowstorm and I was immersed in Manther's 'wonder' and 'surprise'. This only lasted a minute because I felt I should remove my child from the middle of a parking lot at night in a snowstorm. But, a minute was long enough for me to recognize that I am truly blessed to be a mother.

Monday, January 29, 2007

I think I spoke too soon....

A few weeks ago, I posted something on television and toddlers and naively stated that my daughter (21 months old) was not interested in TV. I was WAY wrong. Either Manther was too young to truly appreciate TV or the weather wasn't cold enough yet, but this weekend she focused on the digital images and fell in love. We have an overindulgent neighbor who was concerned that my spoiled daughter might not have enough TV in her life, so he supplied us with 5 children's DVDs (3 Sesame Street with Elmo) and a DVD player. Manther has been completely and irretrievably hooked on the TV and now asks for it at least 5 times a day.

In her defense, there is not a whole lot to do in Michigan in January. It is too cold to play outside, so I dragged her tricycle and big wheel into the basement. She sat down on one and scooted 11 ft to the wall and then looked at me and whined. A damp basement is not really a good alternative to the great outdoors. We did find a bit of entertainment washing comforters at the laundrymat. Manther enjoyed opening and shutting the washing machine doors, pushing the carts around, and running up and down all the aisleways. After a few minutes of this, the manager started shooting me dirty looks so I had to calm her down. She migrated over to a group of kids who were also trapped at the laundrymat enjoying a Michigan winter. After a few minutes, a tween age girl came up to me and told me Manther was following her. I admitted that I had noticed this and thought it was because the girl had such cool shoes (they had wheels in the heels). This was a lie and I think the little girl knew this, but she played with Manther anyway and she didn't even ask for money. Only 8 more weeks of winter to go!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

A Highly Skilled Grocery Bagger

I work in a research laboratory and and about 6 of every 18 months one of the clinicians from our department comes and works with me. Right now I have a coworker and it's a nice break from being here by myself. Today I found out that my new coworker is not only a clinician and a surgeon, but also a highly skilled grocery bagger. Apparently, he won a contest when he was in high school for grocery bagging. You must be able to fill evenly weighted grocery bags with great speed and he made it to the finals. However, the day of the finals there was a power outage. He and his manager heard the competition would be rescheduled, so they stayed home. As you may have guessed, the contest was delayed, not rescheduled, so he missed his opportunity to compete. He seems to have recovered well, but I am sure he wonders what could have been.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Is liquid soap really neater?

When I was a very young child, liquid soap was a thing used in public restrooms. The soap used in your bathroom at home was a solid chunk of stuff that you lathered under water. The soap did leave a goopy mess on the edge of the sink and I guess this is why liquid soap in cute, little pump bottles was so popular when it appeared on grocery store shelves. I believe 'Softsoap' was the first brand on the market and it was available in all sorts of cool colors and scents. I like the smells and colors and the opportunity to accessorize my bathroom, so I have a pale green, cucumber-melon bottle of liquid soap in my bathroom. Recently, Manther has become tall enough to reach onto tables and countertops and I noticed she also fancies the liquid soap. Whenever the opportunity presents itself, she drags the bottle into a discreet corner of the house and starts pumping. I have found puddles of liquid soap on the carpet, on the wood floor, on my end tables, and in the bottom of the laundry basket (she thinks I can't see her when she's sitting in the laundry basket). If I smell cucumber-melon on her and she's been out of sight for a few minutes, I know it's time to start looking for the sticky puddle. Even though I'm going to miss the fresh color and fruity scent, I think it's time to replace the nifty pump bottle with a boring bar of Dial.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Economic Insecurity times 10

A few days ago, I wrote about economic insecurity. It is one of my big struggles as a recovering alcoholic (probably as a regular person, too, I don't know, I don't think I've ever been a regular person). Well, it has shown it's ugly head again. I live in Michigan and the economy has been weak here, but yesterday it got a lot weaker as a major pharmaceutical company and employer of thousands announced it will shut it's doors. I have family, friends, and colleagues who are (were?) employed there and their heads are spinning. My prayers go out to all of them because they are facing some serious challenges. It will be virtually impossible to find another job in Michigan with the unemployment rates over 7% and rising. They will have to job hunt nationally and, if they're lucky enough to find employment, uproot families, sell houses at below bargain rate, and start over again. The employer had promised to relocate 70% of employees, but I would be surprised if they relocated even 50%. I firmly believe this is a lie they perpetuate to keep their ex-employees from bombing the facility. For the rest of us who live in Michigan and still have jobs, the future looks so bleak. It will be years before we can recover from the losses of the auto industry and every loss we experience on top of that extends those years. Much of southeast Michigan is experiencing urban blight already and the poverty is going to keep growing. I want to believe that we will be okay and that God has a plan, but it is a struggle. I am so fearful that layoffs will continue, that funding for my job will be cut, that the sales my husband's job depends on will drop so he loses his job, that we will be struggling to pay for a house that is in a neighborhood that has become unlivable due to the surrounding crime and poverty. I know these fears sound irrational because we still have jobs and there is still some commerce and economy in Michigan. I am doing my best to pray a lot and remember that God has brought us through many things and has the power to bring us (and the rest of the folks in Michigan) through this also.

Monday, January 22, 2007


Manther has always been an avid eater. She starting nursing with no coaching when she was about 20 minutes old and she nursed for hours and hours each day. She was constantly hungry until she was ~ 10 months old and was given solid, chewable food. She is 21 months old next Saturday and I never have to coax her to eat. Sometimes I have to convince her to eat the right things, but she generally approaches food unprejudiced and enthusiastically. She has a 'Little Tykes' kitchen and enjoys pretending with food when she's not using the real stuff. I know all this about her, but her behaviors this weekend made me realize that I had probably underestimated her passion for food. Saturday morning she stumbled out of bed and wandered into the kitchen. I assumed she was looking for me and turned to greet her. She looked at the refrigerator and exclaimed, "HUG!", as she stretched her arms the width of the refrigerator and tightly embraced the door. Perhaps we can skip the four year BA/BS and send her straight to culinary school?

Friday, January 19, 2007

A Hole in the Ceiling

This post is to set things straight with my coworker, L. Occasionally, I come into work and complain about my husband. He is a good husband and father, but he falls behind in the house repairs. Last week I posted a picture of Manther's potty. There is a pretty clear view of the bathroom floor surrounding the potty and it looks great. My husband does floors and we have beautiful ceramic, wood, and vinyl/limestone composition tile in our home. My coworker, L, saw the picture (bless her heart for reading this crappy blog) and immediately labeled me as a husband nag. I felt I had to defend myself so I have supplied two fine examples of negligence with the repairs in our home.
1) The top picture is our kitchen ceiling. It has looked damaged since we moved into the house (2 years ago) and a month ago it broke through completely and dumped water on the floor. It now leaks whenever we get enough rain. I am pretty sure it will fall in on us after a few more days of heavy rain.
2) The bottom picture is our tub and there is a huge gouge in the ceramic along the edge. This has been there since we moved in, also.
In his defense, my husband does work a lot of weekends, the house was obviously a 'fixer-upper', and we are far too broke to contract this work out. So, is the word 'negligent' too strong? I don't think so. My husband manages to find time for every major sporting event. I think it's an issue of priority more than time. I hope my husband reprioritizes before the entire ceiling in on the kitchen floor.


Thursday, January 18, 2007


"Willingness, honesty and open mindedness are the essentials of recovery." - pg 569 Big Book

I attended my weekly AA meeting last night and we spoke about honesty at the table. I did my best to relate my most recent dishonest, alcoholic behavior (a smoking relapse and then stashing the pack of cigarettes in the car for weeks afterward planning my next smoke). Everyone else at the table shared similar dishonesties and it was a good table. I really felt like everyone was being honest with their behaviors and/or feelings.

But, I think there is a bigger problem that I was not honest about because I was not very brave at the tables. I relocated from a small college city/town to the suburbs a few months ago. It was difficult because I left the AA family I had gotten sober with and I was very close to them. I am having a lot of trouble connecting with my new AA family. I feel like an ex-junkie surrounded by housewives who used to drink. The reality is I have never emphasized or even shared specifics about my drug use, I frequently share about my problems with alcohol, I live in the suburbs, I own a house, and I am a wife. I appear to fit the criteria for a housewife who used to drink. I just really feel like an outsider looking in. I am sure that this is a problem that will go away with time and I will eventually start to feel like part of. I am trying to remember if I felt this way when I first came into the program. I was in treatment and we went to meetings as a group, so I guess I was already part of a group and that group melted into the larger group of AA.

I do know this. I will definitely not let this stop me from attending meetings and I will do my best to connect with the other women in recovery.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Women who inspire me - part 2

Susan and Janice at '5 minutes for mom' were kind enough to list my unrefined blog on their list of mom blogs. Thank you so much. They were also kind enough to do a little interview and post that. Here it is.

Today I am going to post again on women who inspire me and I am going to post about my grandmother. I know some readers may roll their eyes at this, but please continue reading because my grandmother is truly one of the stongest women I know. The stories I have heard indicate to me that my grandmother was motivated, even early in life. As a child, she spent one entire Michigan winter in bed from an undefined chest/bronchial malady and was too weak in the spring to stand up straight. Her brothers teased her (don't they always), so she spent the summer on the front porch backing her feet up to the support beam and forcing her shoulders against the same beam to straighten her posture. This experience stayed with her and I will always remember her as a tall woman standing with her chest out and shoulders back. Even though it was a bit unusual in the 1920's, she was active and played organized sports. We have a picture of her playing basketball in skirt. (Who makes girls play basketball in a skirt?) She pursued an education before she married and had a nursing degree and was working as a nurse when she met my grandfather.

He was a minister with a church in Milwaukee and she left her career and the town she grew up for his career. They both worked hard and she did everything she could to pinch pennies because the depression had come and they had 5 children on a minister's salary (some weeks they were paid with eggs and milk). Shortly after they moved back to a church in Michigan, my grandfather suffered a paralyzing stroke. He lost his ability to speak and could not perform his duties as a minister. I cannot imagine how terrifying it was for my grandmother to see their meager income eliminated as she looked at the 5 children (one a preschooler) and paralyzed adult she had to somehow provide for. She found an old farmhouse a church member let them rent at minimal cost and got a job working nights as a nurse. She spent her days getting the children to school, taking her husband to physical therapy, desperately trying to do a few house chores and catch a nap, feeding and bedding everyone when they returned home, and then returning to work. Of course, she attended church on Sundays and thanked God for taking care of her family.

Things proceeded this way for years and the children grew and started to leave home. My grandfather suffered another stroke and passed away. My grandmother was offered a job at a Christian nursing home that had just opened. There were no good bonuses or pay raises, but they paid her what they could and gave her an apartment in the complex to live in. She did everything that needed to be done, administered meds, cooked meals, changed bedding, washed, cleaned and cared for the folks in this home. She worked far more than the hours she was paid everyday.

At 70, my grandmother retired and I remember her retirement party. The tears flowed everywhere as the family and friends she had inspired over the 20+ years as a humble Christian servant bid her farewell. My grandmother retired, but she did not sit still. Finally, after 50 years of waiting on everyone and working herself to the bone, she traveled. She went to Europe, Alaska, and anyplace else there was a car going that had space for an extra passenger. She traveled constantly for about 10 years and then less frequently for the next 10.

My grandmother is still alive today and is 95. She lives by herself with several of her children close by to tend to her needs (finally, the shoe is on the other foot). She has nearly 30 great grandchildren and does a fantastic job of remembering their names and most of the time their birthdays. I know she is tired frequently and her bones ache, but I never hear her complain. She considers everything a gift from God and never questions when it seems that God does not hear her prayers. Last year, I was busy feeling sorry for myself at a family gathering and telling everyone how difficult it was for me with an infant and a husband out of work with a back injury. I saw my grandmother from the corner of my eye and I was immediately ashamed. I am honored to be her grandaughter and hope I can always remember her example as a Christian mother, wife, employee, and woman.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


I watch very little television as a working mother, but last night I watched part of the television show '24'. I saw the leader of the Islamic-American Alliance being unjustly accused of obstructing official business and placed into a detention center. Apparently, these detention centers were put in place to restrain Arab Americans during bomb threats from Islamic militant groups, something that is an act of racism on the part of the government and a huge violation of civil rights. As I drove into work this morning, I was listening to the radio (101.1 WRIF) and they were discussing that the episode of '24', the Arab American racism portrayed there, and how it reflects the racism in our country today.

This brought up a point that I think is very interesting. I believe (as did the radio show hosts and I hope most other people) that the radical Islamic groups that are committing acts of terror represent a tiny minority of the nation of Islam. However, the nation of Islam does appear to be divided on whether or not they should speak out against these groups. There are definitely Muslims who are frustrated that the radical terrorist groups use Islam as their motivation and justification for these behaviors and have stood up and openly stated this is not representative of the teachings in the Quran. The other groups seems to be perhaps more traditional in their beliefs (I am a bit uncertain as to what traditional is in this religion, but the aren't the modern Muslims so I will call them traditional). Apparently, they feel strong alliances to the Muslim world and are hesitant to speak out against terrorist groups that have their roots in the Muslim world. If I relocated to a foreign country, I am sure I would be homesick and the culture and beliefs of my homeland would become very precious to me. I can understand why it might be difficult for me to speak out against others who were part of my homeland. However, if I feel that I am under attack because my countrymen have committed hideous, violent actions and I am being grouped with them, I am certainly going to stand up to defend myself and my family. I am a bit confused by the innocent Muslim contingent that is hesitating to speak up for themselves.

If I have any readers, I am sure they will jump all over me for my ignorance of Islam and current events. I certainly didn't intend to offend. I was just pondering a question. You're still welcome to jump on me.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Ice is beautiful

Happy Monday everyone! I hope all the bloggers survived the wintry weather this weekend. I know it was bitter cold out West, but here in Michigan the theme for the weekend was ice. We've had two days of ice storms and I think a third is coming. It is certainly dangerous as the cars slide into ditches and the power lines and tree limbs fall into the roadways, but it is so beautiful. The trees look surreal with every inch covered in sparkle and shine. I know the people in warmer climates wonder how we survive winter after winter and I admit that winter can be a drag. If they could look out my office window right now and see the brilliant, frozen trees on the Ann Arbor skyline, they might have to admit they were missing something.

I guess the beauty is affecting me because I feel very grateful today. I only got two, but here's the list.

1)My technorati link wasn't working properly and I emailed them and, guess what? They fixed it! I was not expecting this at all. It is a free service and I assumed I would never get a reply to my email and, hopefully, the bug might work itself out during some standard maintenance and updates. I was SO wrong. I got a personally written email (it included the tech's name) approximately 48hrs after I sent the complaint saying they had addressed the problem and they hoped it was fixed. Yes it is and THANK YOU. I wish my mechanic were as prompt, polite, and inexpensive.

2) Manther used the potty. I know this is trivial and you are rolling your eyes, but I was truly convinced I seriously delayed the training process. Last night we were in the bathroom trying to organize a bath and I turned around and she was sitting on the potty. There were only two drops and I think it was an accident, but I still celebrated like I had won the lottery.

That's it. If I can figure out enough html to put a cool picture by my blog title, I will really feel like God is smiling on me.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Sugar and Spice??

Thank you so much for the comment about Elmo and potty training. I have an Amazon gift card and I am going to look for the Elmo DVD (and maybe book) online. Thank you also for visiting my site. It's cozy to meet another mom from A2 and I look forward to visiting your site.

The end of the weekend approaches and I have reached my time limit for household chores, although they are nowhere near done. I did manage the grocery shopping this morning. As I was looking for cheese in the rubble that was left of the cheese display after the suburbanites attacked, I noticed the woman who was stocking (and patiently waiting for me to move) looking at Manther sweetly. "I have three boys. I always wanted a little girl," she commented. I looked at Manther. Her terminal bedhead had been hosed down with leave-in conditioner, but the misplaced kinks and waves were still very visible and the bangs crooked from a penny-pinching, homemade haircut. Her eyes and nose were gunky and she displayed a green marker streak across her face and an orange one across her shirt. As always, she is dressed in the bold, primary colors of Sesame Street. The only pink visible is on the stripes of her scuffed, muddy sneakers. Manther is only 21 months and it is impossible to know what the future holds, but she does appear to be a bit of a tomboy. I had no idea how to respond. "Umm, me too," I stumbled, "maybe next time I'll get one."

Friday, January 12, 2007

Potty Terrors

This is my Manther's training potty and she is terrified of it. Manther is not a particularly brave child and is always apprehensive and frequently fearful in new situations. Apparently, I underestimated how much time it would require for her to warm up to the potty. I brought it in and let her look at it for a day, and then the next morning I slid her pants down and put her on it. She screamed and jumped off of it like I had just dipped her bare behind in hot water. That one bad parenting decision probably pushed the ETA for potty training back about 6 months. The potty has been sitting in the bathroom for about three weeks and she's started playing with it. She opens and closes it and puts things in it (something I'm discouraging) and sometimes even sits on it with her clothes on. I cheer when she sits on it and she looks confused. My next plan of attack is to decorate the thing with Elmos and buy a 'Elmo goes to the potty' book. I hope I can find one.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

Wednesday Night AA part II

Last night was my weekly meeting and I was able to receive it much better than last week. There was a nice mix of old timers and newcomers at the table and it made for the perfect meeting. One guy was attending his first meeting and he left with tears in his eyes. He was in some sort of trouble (weren't we all at some point in time?) and he was really scared, but I think he was also grateful there were others out there that he could relate to. I left feeling energized (maybe the candy hearts I passed out?) and serene all at the same time.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Paranoid Alcoholic at Daycare

Whew! I had a few emotional hurdles today and I am working on 'starting my day over'. The daycare staff tried to tell me Manther has pink eye and had to go home. This might sound reasonable, except they sent Manther home 3 of the 10 days she attended daycare in December and 2 of the 3 diagnoses were bogus. As a matter of fact, one of these bogus diagnoses was pink eye. The staff member who spotted the alleged pink eye today quickly swept Manther out of the room and took her to the manager to determine if they could kick her out. Initially, I stood in the room stunned at how quickly my daughter had been dragged down the hall and uncertain how to proceed. Then, I realized that I had a right to be part of the conversation and walked down the hall. As I could have guessed, they had decided to send Manther home. I explained that eye boogers are typical symptoms of a cold virus and not pink eye for Manther, however, I had already put the previously prescribed erythromycin goop on her eyes, just in case. They grudgingly agreed to let her stay on the condition that her eyes not make boogers anymore. What the hell ever. I lost composure at this point, but I believe I managed to make my way out the door before this became really obvious.

I did not handle the situation well. The scenario above is very common in group daycare and I have exchanged complaints about this with many daycare parents. I am glad that I advocated for myself and Manther (who felt good and wanted to stay and play), however, I am disappointed in myself because I got really angry and paranoid. Manther's daycare is affiliated with my workplace and I have a 32% scholarship applied to her tuition. I work in an academic setting with doctors and professors and earn a fraction of what they earn, so, daycare helps me out with a scholarship. Rather than be grateful, my crazy alcoholic brain IMMEDIATELY assumes that they are targeting me (and Manther) because we are poorer than the other kids in daycare. I know this is irrational, but I have alcoholic thinking. Frequently, the glasses I view the world with distort things for me and that is where I was this morning. I'm the victim and someone's out to get me and it's all about me.

How did I finally work my way out of this? God helped me. I made a few phone calls and that took the edge off the anger, but I was still a mess. I came into the office and I just happen to be working with a resident right now. He's a doctor and his wife's a doctor and he related a very similar situation he went through with his two year old in daycare. Can you imagine that? Not just one, but TWO doctors who probably weren't junkies in a previous life getting the same treatment I was. That shut me up and brought me back to a more rational line of thinking. I am grateful to my higher power for putting the right person in the right place to save my from my crazy head. Thanks everybody for listening and I am going to get on with my day now.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Women who inspire me - part one

Recently, I was listing my blog on a 'mom' site and I had to fill out a little bio. One of the questions was, "What inspires you?" My first answer was, "Moms who do it all and do it well, whether they are SAHM, WM, or WAHM." This answer is not accurate. I am inspired by women who do it all and do it well. It does not matter to me if they are moms. I decided that I will occasionally (maybe weekly?) post on a women who inspires me. There are many unsung heroes in my life and I want to sing about them!

Today I am featuring my 3rd and 4th grade (small school, combined classrooms) teacher, Laura Lemke. Miss Lemke was passionate about books, art, music, and learning and showed children how to love these things, too. I can remember days that story hour lasted twice as long as the scheduled time because we were at a good part in the book and she didn't want to stop. She was a gifted teacher and created a learning atmosphere that made it possible for children to learn on many different levels. As far as I could tell, she received no great rewards for her work. She was paid a meager salary because she taught at a small, parochial school. She lived in a little, brown, wood house that was in someone's back yard and she drove a car that looked like it only had a few more miles left in it. None of these things appeared to dissuade or embitter her. She was always enthusiastic and motivated in the classroom. I don't think Miss Lemke teaches anymore because she returned to school to obtain a graduate degree. I consider myself fortunate to have had to opportunity to be one of her students.

A few weeks ago, I believe I saw Miss Lemke as I was dragging Manther out of the car at my niece's Christmas pagent. I was caught off guard and I didn't call out to her and thank her for being my teacher. I regret that I didn't seize the opportunity and, if the situation arises again, I will make it a point to express my gratitude.

Monday, January 8, 2007

I eat like a 15 year old boy

In the very early hours this morning, I was in my bathroom depositing a little upchuck in the toilet (I did include a link for throwing up, what a great link!). I was grateful because I was pretty certain I would feel better afterwards, but I was also a little curious about the source. As I lay my sweaty head on the wonderfully cold ceramic tile following the purge, I ran over the list of possiblities in my head. My child attends daycare, so it is usually very obvious where the virus originated and who amplified it so it could attack me. But, she hasn't puked since the beginning of December and this doesn't mesh with the 14 day incubation period of your standard virus. My next candidate was food poisining. I made a mental list of what I ate yesterday and I was so disgusted I almost lost my lunch all over again. Are you ready? (this is chronological): a generous thermos of coffee, stale pretzels and graham crackers from the diaper bag, mashed potatoes, roast beef, corn, ~ 2 candy bars worth of chocolate, 3 stale Christmas cookies, another cup of coffee, 2 generous plates of food at your standard cafeteria style all you can eat restaurant (in-laws Bday party), and a piece of strawberry birthday cake. I have been blessed with a high metabolism, so I don't weigh 350 lbs as I obviously should with a diet like this. However, I don't care what you're metabolism is, obscene overeating is NOT good for you. I gave up trying to decide what made me sick and decided to make a belated New Year's resolution to care about myself and my family enough to not eat like a teenager. We'll see if I can stick to it.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Economic Insecurity

As anyone who has been at enough AA meetings will tell you, there is this excerpt from the AA book called 'the promises' that is read at many meetings and it is my favorite reading. My first six months, my latent bitterness and anger would mount when I heard this reading. I considered it a sales pitch and I was certain the gifts outlined in the promises would never come true for me. I was wrong, just as I am sure many other alcoholics were. As I continued to come to meetings and work the steps with my sponsor, these beautiful miracles unfolded in my life one after another and I was given 10 fold more than I thought was possible.

However, I still struggle with economic insecurity. God has always provided, although sometimes it was tough. My husband sustained a debilitating back injury and ugly relapse 18months ago and I thought we would never get through. I got a second job that I could take the baby to on weekends and we pinched every penny and made it through with lots of tears and prayers. My husband healed and found a job that fit his physical limitations (another miracle since we live in Michigan during the worst economic blight this state has seen). The job is far from perfect, but it is a job. Yesterday, my husband's supervisor once AGAIN took money out of his check because there were two holiday days this week and the asshole rhino just decided not to pay people for holiday days. I am furious and, of course, the bottom line is fear. I am terrified there won't be enough and I feel like this A LOT. My fear of economic insecurity increased exponentially when I had a kid. Suddenly, I have to bring home the bacon or this little being will starve. The reality is we have never really come close to starving and, as I mentioned previously, God has always brought us through. So, why is this fear such a big one for me? My husband (who is really on my sweetheart list right now) is out busting his butt on sidejobs this weekend and I know he has more coming down the pipeline. I am going to straighten this house up and drink some coffee and do some praying while Manther sleeps. I am tired of letting fear rule me.

Friday, January 5, 2007

The VooDoo Muppet

Thank you to everyone who left comments yesterday. They were the first comments I received and I was feeling very warm and fuzzy after I read them. I didn't respond to them directly because I am on the learning curve and couldn't figure our exactly how to do it. Give me some time.
I anticipated last night would be an uneventful evening and I intended to do a few house chores and play with my daughter (who I will refer to as Manther from this point forward). Things were going smoothly and I was sorting some laundry while Manther studied my movements. She spied a dirty ELMO t-shirt and started a temper tantrum. I tried to reason with her (I know I'm a fool) and point out that she was ALREADY wearing an ELMO sweatshirt and Mommy really needed to wash the filthy Elmos so she can continue her quest for '100 days of sporting ELMO' at daycare. My pleas/threats/discussions fell on deaf ears and the dramatic weeping continued. Manther finished the evening wearing an ELMO t-shirt over the top of her ELMO sweatshirt.
I was feeling a bit less than serene after getting the laundry to the washer and, while Manther and I were having some col0ring time at the kitchen table, I decided to mold a little ELMO from playdough (I know this looks more like 'Mr. Bill' than ELMO). Then, I gave ELMO a very satisfying slam onto the kitchen table. A few seconds of tense silence followed as I realized I had just crushed my daughter's incarnation of safety and security right before her very eyes. I braced myself for the tears that would certainly have to follow such a thoughtless action. Instead, she giggled with perverse delight and asked me to do it again (MO ELMO!). I believe I have finally found a game we will both enjoy.


Thursday, January 4, 2007

Wednesday Night AA

Yes, last night was my weekly AA meeting I was excited about it. My current family circumstances only allow me one a week, although I obviously need more as I am sure readers will ascertain from the following post. I really look forward to this meeting because I get to sit still for an entire hour without nags from a supervisor, toddler, husband, or telephone. I have a brutal cold that my daughter brought home from daycare and I was a bit feverish and hoarse, but I didn't let this stop me. Frequently, I leave the meeting feeling refreshed and serene, however, I ocasionally leave feeling irritated and this happened last night. I know it's wrong and the problem is me and my compromised health rather than the folks surrounding me. BUT, I am going to use my blog to bitch because it's mine and I can.

Why do people who have been sober a few years share their clean time at every table they sit at? This is not a competition. The NEWCOMER is the most important person, not YOU with your 11, 14, 17, or 28 years sober. Certainly, it is wonderful to show newcomers that the program works, but there weren't any newcomers at our table. What happened last night certainly felt like an I'm-more-sober-than-you-a -thon and I was annoyed. The take home lesson for me is humility. I need to remain teachable no matter how many '24 hrs' it has been since my last drink.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Television for Toddlers

I decided to post on this topic because it appears to be very controversial and I can practice putting all sorts of nifty links in my post. Apparantly, the recent experts on the subject are the American Academy of Pediatrics and they say don't let children under two watch television. It seems this has generated a lot of guilt for moms. Apparently, TV watching is an even worse sin when you do it in a car? I have a 20 month old and I did decide not to turn the TV on and let her watch children's programs as long as I could realistically avoid it. However, her father is an absolute fanatic about sports and, when he is home, there is always a TV on in the house. She sees a whole lot of ESPN.

Recently, I did break down and play a children's video. My daughter adores ELMO and I saw an ELMO exercise video at the library and thought it might be fun (and maybe I might burn a few calories). She watched with interest the first few minutes when Elmo was on the screen, but then she played with toys and only glanced at the TV occasionally. I exercised and danced to Elmo alone and looked like a fool doing it. I guess I'm lucky. My kid isn't particularly interested in TV right now. However, I have a niece who was addicted when she was younger. When she needed consolation from an injury or an injustice, she would ask for a 'wideo'. Her mother was a WAHM who tried to control the intake of videos, but it was a constant struggle. The kid could watch 6 hrs of videos back to back from the age of 2 and a half. She is a very normal, socially fit, academically strong, athletic, and active 12 year old now. She is not overweight or autistic (I think the autism research is a really crappy way to lay blame on the parents of autistic children).

Kids have addictive tendencies and they will usually do fun things in excess. Many adults will, too. My daughter happens to be obsessed with junk food and candy rather than TV. I guess it is our job as parents to limit this stuff before it fries their brains or screws up their metabolism, but I'm not going to beat myself up if my kid wins sometimes. I will just do my best to stash the candy bowl and turn the TV off and go for a walk or play a game together.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Work Sucks, Slot machines are fun

Welcome back everybody. It was a painful and arduous crawl to get into work this morning, but I made it and I was on time. That is all I have accomplished at this point. I am grateful to have a job, but if I could exist comfortably without a job I would quit really fast.

The New Year's celebrations have come and gone. I celebrated New Year's Eve by traveling to my local grocery store and buying a bag of hot wings and a 2 liter of Pepsi. We proceeded to watch South Park and eat hot wings. There was one minor catastrophe when my daughter rubbed hot wing juice into her eye, but other than that we made it through unscathed.

We celebrated New Year's Day watching our favorite team's bowl game and it was a miserable showing. We offset the misery by playing with the neighbor's slot machines. They're real slot machines, but you can't win real money because he uses tokens. Our 20 month old quickly learned how to jam the coins in and push the buttons and she was absolutely delighted. That is the longest I have ever seen her entertained by one object. The coins would come shooting out and the lights would flash when she won and I have never before seen such pure joy in her eyes. I am a little scared for what the future holds.