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