Don't be an a-****

Short post as I finally figured out how to log in. Unfortunately LJ ate the post I worked on.

Be assured Brian and I and our families are fine. Through the wonders of Facebook I've reconnected with someone I didn't quite not know in college. She has been amazingly open and inspiring as her husband went through cancer treatment, hospice and death. Today she posted a post-funeral blog that detailed some of the behind closed door turmoil that came with these experiences.

It spurred Brian and I to finally pull out our wills and read and revise this morning, its only been on the to do list for 2 years.

Short version. Its not all about you. Even if you are dying of cancer, have Alzheimer, or other horrible disease there are other people who are going to have to care for you as you die and be left behind to clean up your stuff afterwards. Life isn't fair. So if you are an adult, adult up and talk with those who might get stuck dealing with your stuff when you can't.

Refusing to discuss when you would be willing to go to hospice or a nursing home isn't nice. Refusing to tell people what you want at your funeral or how you want your stuff divided up is rude. My MIL had one of her husband's adult granddaughters dissolve into hysterics while planning his funeral when she found out my MIL was planning on keeping something the granddaughter felt was hers. But since the man in question wasn't willing to acknowledge that he was dying he never cleared up the ownership issues. Not cool. Yeah he was the one who died so that was about him but that meant he got to move on and leave people who loved him feeling even worse and angry. Because it is never just about you.

Get a will. Get life insurance. Have an "If I won the lottery I'd" type discussion. Are you okay with a nursing home? Be considerate. For better or for worse sounds great but there's worse and then there's an on call 24 hour hospice nurse despite having never received the training, not having picked it as a vocation, without the salary for a position normally held by at least 3 people(3x8=24) at least while still being a parent and working a salary paying job. Its not fair and its sucky that the people around you will continue living while you die. Adult up. You don't have to go so far as the woman who just wrote a personal add for her husband. Simply, do you love those people? Then gift them the ability to have lives while and after you die. Don't be an a-****.

Please don't make me adult today.

This is just a o'dark thirty grumbling post.
Life is fine. Better than. I have friends and relatives dealing with big stuff and I know this is small stuff.
But it's my current small stuff. Yesterday Virgil got up when Brian's alarm went off at 5:30 so I got up with him. (While Brian hit snooze and went back to sleep.). Then Virgil fell asleep in the car on the way to religious school and slept 2.5 hrs. Which meant I got minimal done sitting in the parking lot. Bizarrely he went to sleep with relative ease when we got home despite the long nap.
That means for 2 nights in a row I've gotten him to sleep relatively easily. It's a nice change from some of the postThanksgiving break battles we've been having. Just in time for winter break. It also meant leaving the chickens and sheep to Brian so it still cuts into adult time.
It also means 2 mornings in a row of a well rested child waking up way before I've had enough sleep.
So yes I am very very blessed. I have a wonderful privileged life. I am grateful for that. But I'm very tired this morning so I'm hoping to get by with minimal adulting at least for the next few hours.

Make new friends but keep the old.

I'm feeling Mama Bear protective of my kids just now. Only there's no one to roar at or smack.

Back in first grade Perry made a best friend. And he moved. They've stayed in touch but the distance makes it harder, plus Perry's an introvert and just not the type to randomly call someone up to chat. (Side note - he I did get him to call a friend at a different school once this year to set up a play date and after talking excitedly with his friend for a while he actually stopped in the middle of one of his sentences and said to his friend, "We've been talking for a long time. Can I hang up now?" Right phone manners on the to do list.)

He started to make another friend, he moved several time zones away. Then there's the friend above who chose to go to a different middle school so while he hasn't moved physically he has socially. Another almost friend, had a Dad who after 16 years in the area suddenly was offered an amazing job, that he didn't even apply for!!! several states away. And his one good friend from the public school is having a rough time with the middle school and looking at changing schools.

Galen's had an even harder time of it since he's inherited my social awkwardness and lack of a sense of humor. Some of his Kindergarten friends haven't even moved so much as stabbed him in the back and stomped on him. Although a number of the ones who stayed friendly with him just happened by luck to be in the other 1/2 of our school district and go to the other middle school. But there's been one friend since first grade. A really tight good friend who sticks with you through the good and the bad and who I really like and Virgil loves him too (Which if you know who I'm talking about you'd be shocked because I totally would never have figured how much this boy and Virgil would like each other.). He's also had some issues with our middle school administration. Mostly over his sense of humor (and what seems to be a lack of a sense of humor on the schools). Today his mom let me know they're done with our middle school so while we'll still see them Galen loses the school and bus socialization time with this friend.

I just feel so frustrated. I can't choose my kids friends for them and I wouldn't want to. But they've for the most part picked really nice kids. Kids who understand their quirks (which helpfully often tends to be because these kids have quirks of their own so their parents don't think my kids are too odd when they're over at their houses and they often appreciate the fact that I think their kids are totally normal and their quirks don't bother me.) Yes this is a transitory area, although much less so than it used to be. See 16 years comment above.

Its hard to make new friends. Its harder when you eat weird food. My kids are the ones who eat salads not sandwiches. They never eat pizza and when they do its made with a cauliflower crust. There's no grape jelly, or cheese sticks, or chicken nuggets in the house for visitors. I'm just tired. I'm tired of the adversarial relationship between schools and students. I'm tired of a system that deals with "problem" students by suspending them and isolating them. I'm cautiously proud (because that whole goeth before a fall thing) of my kids and my parenting that we aren't having these issues with the middle school. But mostly I'm sad that my kids are loosing out on the social aspect because the school can't/won't take the time to understand what's underneath these behaviors.

What a month.

I turned 40. It was a quiet normal day with cake for breakfast.

Virgil climbed up on a bookcase and it fell with him on it and on top of him. Thankfully he was not injured much. Unsecured bookcases has been a point of contention between Brian and I for some years, with me arguing that this is a big child fatality risk. Brian bought braces that evening and the bookcases are now secured. *

I figure we burned a lot of karma keeping Virgil safe. And so the fallout so far has been 3 plumber visits in 2 weeks. One electrician visit. And tomorrow we will get the HVAC people out to figure out why the upstairs unit is making a burning plastic smell. And we all got sick. The older two had to be picked up from their sleepover Wed. Everyone but me has recovered within 24 hours but I seem to be having more issues kicking this crud. I am finally feeling better and have proved that I can still put together a nice Thanksgiving even if someone else has to chop the onion because the scent was too overwhelming. Of course Brian did the turkey - which he does every year, and it was especially delicious this year. Brian also found a really good gluten free gravy recipe. Yay good gravy for the first time in years.

I think its all a win because I can deal with all the fallout so far because I'm so glad Virgil wasn't significantly hurt. The biggest remaining loose end is one sheep which needs her hoof trimmed and we were going to do it Wed night and that got nixed.

*The big fight was more about weight. The large bookshelves in the library have always been secured. The lighter mostly empty particleboard ones were the ones in question.
Las Vegas

The run down so far.

1 Very successful Bar Mitzvah.
Many friends and relatives seen.
Much fun, including gaga ball.
A plan hatched to make Saturday's more fun and attached for our family.

1 Dead duck. Brian saw the hawk take it out so we were able to harvest it. Always a fun way to entertain guests. And it was one of our 3 drakes so that's something.
1 Goody bag hidden from Virgil never handed out.
2 Jars of Kimchi not handed out.
Tons of Ants invading the house, and the baits don't seem to be leading to colony collapse.
1 Broken glass.
2 children feeling intestinal issues
2 very tired parents.

All in all it has been a wonderful weekend and tomorrow should be a great visit with friends.

Instead of coffee.

Where to start the story?

I think at the end with the important information that everyone is healthy and the Bar Mitzvah stuff got purchased.

This morning was normal with me running on the edge of late until.... the Police came to the door. That's enough to burn off some brain fog all by itself. I figured it was going to be another fight about the animals or something. Emmett had just been out barking like a crazy dog in the front yard moments before. (Um yeah, not a bad response to an unknown male with a gun pulling into the driveway. Good call dog.)

Nope. He was doing a well check on our neighbor who's just been through a major health issue and wanted to know if I had a key or phone #s for someone who might know where she was. Her car was at the house. Next followed me grabbing our phone list with DIL's phone #. Turning on my phone to get other #s and turning on the computer to Facebook message people. Two busy signals and 1 voice mail later I am still telling the very nice officer (I think this is important to stress he was really really nice!) about my neighbors health issues and trying to convince him no don't wait just go check on her she could need immediate medical attention.

In my head I was less calm. A back part of my brain was sobbing and screaming, "No, no, no!!! This can't be happening." While the part that reads books was sighing resignedly because see there's the other whole post I didn't type up. The one bouncing around in my head. And we know things repeat and happen in 3s because that's the whole point of foreshadowing in a narrative.

Which leads to ....
Galen's Bar Mitzvah is this weekend. I'm busy. Today was the day to buy centerpieces and food for Friday night while Virgil was in school. Its a time of joy in our household. We have a 13 year old. He's worked so hard to learn his Parsha. Family and friends are coming to celebrate. Its such a happy time.

There's a theory that the reason we smash a glass at weddings is to remind us in our time of joy that we shouldn't be too happy because somewhere else, someone is suffering and even during our greatest joys we should be aware of them.

A year ago on Nov 4 my friend and neighbor (and best friend of the neighbor the police were checking on) called to let me know her husband died. We went to a funeral that weekend.

Two years ago on Oct 31 we buried Gabriella. Galen's classmate since they were in preschool. There is already so much heartache and sadness for so many of us as we begin the Benei Mitzvot of Gabriella's class without her.

My Facebook feed has been full this week of memorial posts. For some time now I find my mind flips quietly between the juxtaposition of excitement for my child and my family and grief for my friends that resolves into thankfulness for my blessed life.

So I sat there on the floor juggling a cell phone, a handset, and a laptop with a toothbrush tossed to the side and a child wearing only socks and underwear just knowing that we'd be going to a funeral this week for the third time in three years. How could the plot line be any different?

Thankfully, Baruch shmo! life isn't a book. It doesn't have to follow any silly preconceived notions. My neighbor is on vacation with friends having a lovely time. Her newspaper delivery person is hyper-vigilant and the local police are compassionate and didn't have to break down any doors or windows.

And Virgil was only 24 minutes late to preschool, not bad since traffic was awful outside the HOV lane and we left 40 minutes late. I got all my shopping done.

And I didn't need coffee. I may not need coffee for a few days the way my adrenaline got pumped up this morning.

(no subject)

Its the little things. After dropping off the older boys Virgil and I stopped at Giant to look for Lamb. We decided too get Roses for Shabbat. At the checkout a woman at the next register asked if I had 4c. I gave her a whole dime.
I was just thrilled I even had change because my wallet really doesn't have room for change and I empty it out frequently. Not to mention giving 3 kids change for Tzedaka. (Which I've been really lax at recently. Oops.
When I looked back at the screen it said: Personal Discount. I'm sure there was probably some hidden deal I unlocked or something but....

I choose to believe that giving 4c to a stranger earned me free Shabbat flowers. What a great feeling.

Parenting Win

There are days when things go poorly and I think am I utterly failing at this parenting thing.

Then there are other days where you get smacked over the head with what you're doing. Today was one of those days. I've been smacked repeatedly in a good way.

This morning Virgil suddenly ran off in the middle of a task and wouldn't respond to Brian because .... he heard the bus and he ran to the door and screamed, "Galen and Perry, I love you. Have a good day!!!" They say kids mimic the things their parents do. Yay us! It was so touching to see him drop everything to make sure his brothers got a proper send off.

Then I've spent the morning cleaning up. AKA unearthing the guest bed before Oct 30 - imagine that!) I found an old school paper of Galen's stating, "I know my father loves me because ______" He filled it in with "gives me choices". This time of year I remember to look at his Kindergarten project also a fill in: "My favorite rule for living is" "that my mother and dad love me."

I'm just really tripping on pride at the moment so I'm sure this afternoon/evening will burst any hubris but for right now I'm enjoying my tea, filling up the recycling bin, and the donation bags (and putting what feels like 1/10 of the library back downstairs) and thinking yeah we got this parenting thing.
Las Vegas


In the past I've had issues with car shops not doing what they are paid to do. The best one of course being the time we went to pick up the car and it had a flat tire and the shop was all, "Not our fault". Um it wasn't flat when we brought it in and it hasn't left your lot and only your staff had access to it. Yes its your problem.

Thankfully it was an easy fix. The cap for the valve stem was sitting on the asphalt next to the flat tire and once we filled it with air and put the cap on - done. We had the car for several more years without another tire problem.

Anyway..... I had painted our old tires with nail polish so I could see if they were actually rotating the tires and where to. I hadn't had time to do that with the new tires yet.

Well G-d took care of that. Yesterday morning there was a dead skunk stretched out across the road and due to traffic I couldn't do anything but run over it. The car is pungent. Specifically, 1 tire was particularly pungent. After yesterday's oil change the stench is now stronger on the other side of the van.

Off to get Galen his sports physical and get ready for Yom Kippur. If I have offended someone this year I'm sorry. And I'm still chuckling about the time saving gift of having the car skunked.


I am sick. I am not a graceful sick person. I am a big cranky when I am sick. I want to curl up in bed and be waited on. I want everyone around me to have ESP and just know what I want when I want it.

I am frustrated that I can't rest. Frustrated that I'm not spending quality time with my children. Resentful that my children can't just magically go somewhere else for the day and be wonderfully taken care by someone who isn't me.

I have abdominal symptoms. Which is a nice way of saying lots of pain and a very close relationship with all the toilets in the house. Also with disinfectant.

My thoughts turn to birth. Our society assumes pain in childbirth. It compares sickness pain to birth pain. Believe me if birthing were painful I would be the first to run for an epidural or general anesthesia. I am a nasty awful person when I'm sick who keeps plenty of OTC pills in the house (And thank G-d for children's meltaways because if you can't swallow water you can't swallow big pills. I am sure G-d loves me and I qualify as a decent human being because he has given us Tylenol in my house in a form that dissolves.)

Last whine, my favorite way to deal with chills and fever is to sweat it out. I can't drink enough tea or soup right now to do that and yesterday we had no heat upstairs. Even now the glorified toaster plus fan combo makes it hard to warm up.