Monday, February 15, 2010

Longing for that Empty Nest

Ooh - what an irritating and frustrating day this has been! I feel on edge and all bent out of shape. I can't really blame that on anybody but myself, either. As I remind the boys daily, "You can't control what others do - but you can control your response." I haven't murdered anyone yet today, so I guess I'm controlling myself somewhat, but neither have I overcome my irritation.

I woke up to snow - again. I really don't mind the snow. Everyone is complaining constantly now. We have never had a winter like this before. We've had snow on the ground since Dec. 6th with no break. There's been no January or February thaw - just regular snow every 4 days or so. I've just decided that we won't see spring until May so I don't get too worked up about it. But I did have to go out to West Des Moines today and the inclement weather meant I needed to leave early. Paul assured me that the roads were fine (then why were so many area schools cancelling/starting late? I had to wonder). They weren't bad until I got on the bypass. Then I fishtailed all over the place and came very close to joining all the other vehicles lining the ditches. So I had to crawl.

I had my chiropractic appointment and immediately had a run-in with Ben who thought he needed to bring in his new cd player to listen to while we there. He has been extremely argumentative lately and it's very wearying to me. He won't listen, but has to tell me why I am so wrong and why he is so right. Then, once in there he didn't want to sit where I told him to and then he had to keep messing with the dr's equipment. I wanted to smack him. The good news was that my spine is almost perfect alignment - "the best it's been!" the chiropractor chirped.

I then had an hour to kill before Ben's dentist appointment so I went to Penneys. I have a $10 coupon and I always like to use those. I needed some new jeans so I thought it would be best to use it for that. I really hate buying jeans. I never know anymore (since my stroke and losing weight) what my size is and different brands fit differently. It's about as bad as bra shopping used to be (I say "used to be" because I finally started biting the bullet and only buy my bras now at Victoria's Secret. The girls fit me, find what I'm looking for, and the bras are SO comfortable - worth the price). So, I'll wear jeans until they're falling apart just so I don't have to buy new ones. I did manage to find some today. I went to pay for them and found that my coupon excluded Levi's! Argh! But I went ahead and bought them. After all that work and trying on so many pairs, I didn't want to have to go through that again. Will needs a new dress shirt and tie for the upcoming Prom Alternative so I'll probably use my coupon for that.

So then I took Ben to the dentist. He needed to have a tooth pulled. The kids can watch movies while the dr. works on them and Ben wasn't satisfied with the selection they offered and he demanded that the nurse find him a Scooby Doo video. Then, he didn't like the video she started for him and insisted she change it. I think why I am so irritated is because I let Ben get away with it. I was afraid of confronting him in public, in front of another adult (in case he flipped out on me) so it was easier to let him be a brat than to insist that he take what was offered. But I let him have it once we were done and in the van. Oh, and then I forgot that I was going to have to cough up $45 for the nitrous oxide they used on him, so that was bothersome, too.

When I got home, at noon, I discovered Will and David playing video games - and the house was a mess, even though they swore up and down they had cleaned it and it "just got messy since then." I'm not a dummy. Sam was still in his pjs and was soaked. I was not amused. So they lost all their gaming privileges and I made them do the dishes (which I had intended on doing myself). And then they wonder why Mom is in a bad mood!

Ok, all that wasn't even on my "blog" list. I'll get to that now. Hopefully, the mood will improve from here!

Yesterday was Valentine's Day, of course. I spent way too much on the boys' gifts. It gets harder as they get older. Their expectations rise, as do the cost of the things they are interested in! Paul gave me candy, a little sign for my laundry area, and a "princess" hook (it says "princess" on it). He also gave me the nicest, most romantic card. I got him one that wasn't quite romantic, but it was funny! After church we all (except for Will who was sledding with his youth group) went to Fazolis for lunch, which was great. Any time I don't have to cook, I'm happy! Then, we went shopping and ordered my anniversary present!!! Oh, I'm excited...

Our anniversary is in 5 days. We bought a brand new stove! We had to special-order it and it should be here within a week or so. It's black, electric, with countertop burners. No more cruddy, smoking burners! It even has a dual coil on one, so I can adjust it to the size of pot I'm using. It's self cleaning and programmable, which I think will be great, esp on Sundays when we want to come home to a ready dinner. Our current stove still works, although I've had some trouble with it in the last year with food getting more done towards the back of the stove. We bought it used 10 1/2 years ago and I just don't think that thing is ever going to give up the ghost! I decided a few years ago that I want all black appliances now so that was another reason I am anxious to get rid of it - its' white, as is the fridge. When we bought our dishwasher 2 years ago, I made sure to get a black one.

Oh, and speaking of the refrigerators: we looked at those yesterday, too. I am really wanting a new fridge. Specifically, I want a side by side black one with an ice dispenser in the door - one that will give me crushed ice. Other than all that, I don't care what we get! :) Paul said if I want to start looking around for a used one - maybe on Craig's list and found a good deal, we could go ahead and get that too. So, I don't know what is out there. And truly, there is no hurry. Our current refrigerator, ancient as it is, works fine. But I'll be keeping my eye out!

Sam has started announcing, "Sam hug!" and then he walks, arms spread, to whomever he has decided is the lucky recipient of his hugging. I can't tell you how good that makes me feel when I'm the one getting hugged!

And more good news: remember last spring/summer sometime when I bounced 3 checks? I was just distraught and so disappointed in myself because I really keep very close tabs on our money and I couldn't figure out how it happened. We found out in Dec. and it was not my fault after all! A year ago Paul had signed up for some service that, for $1.95, charged to our bank account, would send us listings of local foreclosures. Well, we didn't know it but this company then gave our name and account number to another company (or just another division of theirs) that then was taking out $40 monthly in two different payments listed under two different companies. They called it "Easy Saver" something or other and the other was "Money Edge." Well, Paul cancelled the foreclosure service but he didn't know anything about the other payments that were now going out. My fault in this is that I really dislike going through the checkbook and comparing it to the bank statement. I tend to put that off as long as I can. When I did do it, I saw these things and I remember marking them to ask Paul about - and then I forgot to do so. Really, what they did was illegal and I should take the time to report them to the Attorney General. It was in early Dec. that we figured out what was going on. By this time our account had been debited over $400 that we didn't know about. And that is why I bounced last year when money was tight. It took a couple of stern phone calls, but we did get reimbursed all that had been taken. But I am just SO glad to know that I really didn't screw up our money after all!

The other day Paul and I were chatting - actually, talking about death. It has long been a concern of mine that Ben will get cancer at some point because when he was little we used to slather him in this ointment called "Protopic." It was for his eczema. First we had to wait for FDA approval. Then it came and we started using it like crazy. Well, then they ended up yanking it off the market a couple of years later because some tests showed it caused cancer. I don't lay awake and worry about it, but I do wonder sometimes what will happen down the road. On the other hand, in many ways, it would be good if Ben did die before Paul and I do - but that's a whole different blog post! So, anyway, we were talking and I idly said, "You know, I wonder what Ben will eventually die from?" There's the whole eczema/cream thing and then drs have never given us a lifespan expectancy for him. I honestly don't know how long brain injured people live - is it just as long as those with healthy brains? What about cerebral palsy? Is that life limiting? I don't know. I remember asking the head of the NICU these questions and she archly commented, "His lifespan will depend on how well you take care of him." Thanks - no pressure there! Gee whiz...But anyway, it was so funny. I said that and in tandem, both of us paused and then said, "He'll get hit by a car!" It's really not funny, because that's probably more true than not (we have never been able to train Ben to stop and look for oncoming traffic - he still runs out into parking lots and across streets without looking) but it was because we were both thinking the same thing at the same time.

Are you reading any good books right now? I just finished one last week called "The Last Madam." It was the story of Norma Wallace who ran a whorehouse in New Orleans from the 1920s- 60s. It was an interesting look at not only Norma's life and the seedy business she was in, but of New Orleans itself. The culture down there is just so steeped in corruption and vice - has been for centuries. And it was interesting, too, because her world is so, so far removed from my conservative, middle-class, rural one fifty years later. It was sad, too, because Norma ended up blowing out her brains in her early seventies. She had wealth, friends in high places, and a husband 50 years her junior - but she never escaped her feelings of inadequacy, which probably led, in part, anyway, to her choice of careers.

I am also reading "Liberty and Tyranny" by Mark Levin. One of Paul's customers loaned it to me. We were over at his house a few weeks ago so Paul could do some measuring for a job. We got to talking politics and before I left, this book was in my hands. I think I should have finished college in order to read this - it's so deep and has SO many big words! I continually have to think as I am reading, so it's taking awhile to get through it.

And lastly, I'm still in a bit of a good mood from last Thursday. I've mentioned my FaithWriter's attempts here before. Last year I entered a few pieces to this website's weekly writing challenge. I never even placed. And that's a little discouraging, of course, although I quickly got to the point where I expected NOT to win. I got out of the habit of entering and then my friend Kristi suggested that we both commit to entering weekly this year, or at least as often as we could. I knew if Kristi could do that, I could. Kristi is a pastor's wife and has two sons on the autism spectrum. So her life is pretty hectic, too. But sometimes you just have to make time for pursuing your dreams - even if it's just in little spurts and pokes. I entered one the first week in Feb. They post the winners a week later. I finally got around to checking the website Thursday afternoon - and discovered that I had placed 3rd in the Beginner's division! I about fell over, I was so shocked! The irony is that I really didn't care all that much for the piece I wrote! So, now I've been bumped out of "Beginners" and now will be competing in the "Intermediate" division. But that just made my day! In fact, I'm still grinning about it 4 days later! This doesn't mean my future as a writer is secured, by any means, but it was enough of a "boost" for me to want to continue on, as much as I am able during this stage of life. Sometimes it just takes a little "atta girl" to perk up the energy levels!

Well, my children keep attempting to talk to me while I am writing. I suspect that they are the main reason that the next Great American Novel has yet to flow out of my fingertips. I'm going to call it quits for now because I can see that they aren't about to leave me alone. Days like today I sure am yearning for that empty nest!

1 comment:

  1. FAV line - "I haven't murdered anyone yet today, so I guess I'm controlling myself somewhat, but neither have I overcome my irritation. " That describes my single mom tuesdays to a T!!!! Working through one right now.

    I am in desperate need for new bras - I am down to ONE good one. I dislike shopping for bras so much I avoid it like the plague! i found a style I like years ago and then of course they discontinued that line a while back. need to find a GOOD one, the last few cheap ones I have bought wore out in no time (underwire) and so I think i am going to invest some money this time - you get what you pay for.

    I hope that you and Paul have a great anniversary!! Enjoy the new stove when it comes (especially now that it is more of a neccesity then just a want). And boy could I go for one of those Sam hugs right now. :) Aiden gives great bear hugs too. :) such a sweet, tender age. I wish they never grew out of that.

    Never stop writing, you have a gift!!. I need this break from my reality to learn more about yours, learn more about life, and yes even laugh about how not killing our kids is a good day. :) And when the empty nest days are upon us, I am sure both of us will both be longing for the good old days.