Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Black Hole is Near

I'm glad I re-start my Prozac today because boy that Depression, it can come on FAST. It's always lurking there in the background. 

It's not a fun way to live. I feel like I'm always fighting it, pushing it away and it keeps creeping in. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Monday, April 06, 2015

Things My Daughter Says

Recently Jamie has been leaving “inspirational quote” messages in Sophie’s lunchbox. Things about success, being positive, excelling, yadda yadda yadda. This has been going on for a couple of weeks. The first time I saw one I rolled my eyes to the ceiling. And I thought, “He can’t be serious, can he? What a tool.” (“Tool” is the Philly word for “dork”). And then I thought “She can’t be buying this shit, can she?” So yesterday in the car I decided to ask her.
Me: Sophie, how have you been liking Daddy’s “inspirational quote” messages he’s been leaving in your lunchbox lately?
Sophie: Listen. I like inspirational quotes as much as the next guy, but it’s pretty cheesy. Pretty, pretty cheesy. [rolling her eyes toward the roof of the car:] I can’t wait until he’s done that book.
Me: Oh, he’s getting these quotes from a book?
Sophie: Yeah
Me: What’s the book’s title, “How to inspire your school-aged child with cheesy inspirational quotes?”

Monday, March 30, 2015

Am I Nesting?

I’m not nesting because I’m definitely not pregnant, but a couple of weeks ago I did do a home project - oh, it was during spring break - and I organized a mess that desperately needed to be organized. This is what happens when I watch too much HGTV.

So, this is what our living room used to look like:

The living room contains the fireplace, cabinets, the baby grand, my work area, kids’ homework supplies and craft area. It was trying to be too many things at once, for sure! And it was over-crowded and didn’t work. It hasn’t been working since Sophie and I moved in here with Jeff. So, I FINALLY fixed it!

NOW, look at how much space we have:

Notice that not only did I remove the two bookcases, I also got rid of the ‘holding’ area for the crap on either end of the fireplaces. And I recycled the two printers that had been sitting ON our fireplace for months. 

So. much. better.

There are PLENTY of other house projects left to do (including the GIANT whole going down the stairs) - if you own a home, you know they are never done. We are still talking about and saving up for the kitchen; the backyard needs a retaining wall replaced; the bedroom doors need painted - I wanted to go with frosted doors like this:
but Jeff said no, because our hallway is too narrow and the bedrooms too close and it won’t give enough privacy or block enough light. 

I would love to replace our closet doors and oh yeah - PUT in a door to the master bathroom. 

That’s not the end of the list, of course, but it’s enough for now.


Prozac is working! I heart it! I cannot tell you what a relief it is - I did not get depressed or want to kill myself and I did not even have the urge to kill anyone else! It’s just such a relief. Sure, I still got some of the regular PMS symptoms: hunger, exhaustion and irritability - but NOTHING like what I had been experiencing for the past year. 

I can be a normal person!

As long as I take enough drugs.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Instagram Woes

So Marcy let Ethan get on Instagram because “all the cool kids were doing it.” No, seriously, I’m not exaggerating. That was her reasoning. According to the Instagram rules, you are supposed to be at least 13 years old. I personally (and this is not to judge you if you feel differently) don’t think Instagram is appropriate for a 10 year old. The kids will get into social media soon enough; then they will become obsessed with it because that is how kids their age communicate, so WHY start it any earlier??

Anyway I expressed my opinion in the beginning and Jeff just kind of shrugged it off. Until. Until one day Ethan wanted to access his Instagram account but forgot to bring his iPod over so asked Jeff if he could do it on his phone and then Jeff kept him logged in and after the kids were asleep, Jeff was scrolling through it and was like holy hell this is ridiculous. First problem was Ethan’s screen name was Ethan_[last name]. Great. Fabulous. He was following girls who were 12 and posting videos of them gabbing going “Omigod you are such a slut! [giggle giggle giggle].” What Ethan was posting out there was completely appropriate; mostly selfies and pics of Kylie. But we found out he was following a kid who wanted to commit suicide, and then my friend Kim who teaches middle school taught me how to check if location was on because if it is you can click this little map icon on any photo and see exactly where the person took it, like down to the cross streets. So if a kid is posting selfies at home and has that turned on; you guessed it: practically anyone can figure out where that kid lives. Oh yes, that’s safe. Real safe. Thank GOODNESS Ethan did NOT have that turned on. 

Jeff got pissed and laid into Marcy about the account, now that he saw what it was all about. The thing that bugs me THE MOST is that Marcy herself, the parent who permitted Ethan to get ON the site in the first place, NEVER ONCE BOTHERED TO CHECK AND SEE WHAT HE WAS DOING ON IT. Dude, if you are going to allow young kids (or any age, actually) ON social media, you need to know what is going on there. I know many parents debate about it - -privacy and all that and kids have to have some privacy and back in our day it was journals and now it is texting, etc. but I believe my mom DID read my journals and there is no way I’m NOT going to monitor Sophie’s social media activity and yes I will be transparent and upfront about it. Anyway, especially when your kid is only 10, and it’s his first experience with social media, you, as the parent, should absolutely have access to the account and should monitor it. 

Anyway, Jeff gave into Marcy but they did make Ethan change his screen name and get his full name off of there. Jeff continues to monitor his account and enjoys marking others’ posts (people following Ethan) as inappropriate when the case is warranted. 

I wanted to say “I told you so” but I bit my tongue. 
Sophie gave Ethan a “lecture” about being on Instagram in the first place because she is a goody-goody two shoes rule follower and if the rules state “must be 13” then that is what she is going to go by. Which she also knows that doesn’t mean she automatically gets an Instagram account when she turns 13. 

I am tech savvy but this whole young-kids-on-social-media thing scares me. So many private conversations kids can have, whereas back in my day, all my mom had to do was stand on the other side of my bedroom door to hear what I was talking about. Not to mention that when I was in school, a mean girl really had to make an effort to spread rumors or gossip. You had to talk to people, you had to write notes and pass them around, you had to get people on your side. Now you just type and press SEND and voila - it’s all over the school. No effort and disastrous effects.

If you are parenting a tween or teenager and have any advice on the social media world and what you do to monitor, what you allow, what to watch out for, etc., I’m all ears.

Ethan in 25 Years

I love this. Jeff was at Ethan’s parent-teacher conference the other week and snapped a photo of this assignment which was displayed on the wall; apparently the kids had to write about what their life will be like in 25 years. Here is what Ethan said:
What I will be like in 25 years
“My life will be very different in 25 years. I will be married and have three kids: Lucas, Jack and Ashley. I will go to Mizzou for college and study sports. I want to be a MLB player because it’s fun and I get payed [sic] a lot of money. My favorite food will be salad, cheeseburger and bacon. My favorite things to do will be play baseball. My life will be great in 25 years.”
I love that he already has his kids’ named (after his BFFs and a girl he has a crush on). I’m worried that our retirement is dependent on Ethan becoming a major league baseball player and Sophie becoming an actress. We *might* need a back up plan. 

Experiment: FAILED

Yesterday Jamie and I got our wires crossed - I thought he was taking Sophie during the DAY but he just thought from 3:30 on. So then Jeff was taking off so Ethan could have his BFF Jack over (the boys have been together at Marcy’s non-stop since Thursday - yes, going on 6 days - we call Jack our “Friday night son” because he comes over every Friday night we have Ethan, and apparently he spends the other Friday nights at Marcy’s) and because I had to drop Sophie off early at her Musical Theater rehearsal, I just decided to work from home. 

Now Sophie can be LOUD. She can be one of the loudest in our family, though we are all pretty loud. But she is used to me working from home so she is also good at doing quiet activities while I’m on a conference call or whatever - coloring, reading, crafting, etc. And she is good when she has a friend over - they either go outside or downstairs in Sophie’s playroom to play school or American Girl Dolls. So it’s not totally Ethan’s fault or anything, I don’t want to sound like I am harping on him but cap guns and stomping around and chasing the dog and sliding down the hall and slamming doors (on accident, not because he was mad but the door coming into the house from the garage is heavy and slams easily if you are not careful), etc. well let’s just say it was EXTREMELY difficult to concentrate. 

The good news is that all three kids played basketball outside for quite a while and did sidewalk chalk. 

Yesterday overall was frustrating because this also happened:
That is the electric panel to the furnace in my old house - the one I’m renting. My renter called me about it - she is awesome; I hardly ever hear from her and get paid on time each month - she came home from work and smelled smoke, burning; she traced the smell, turned off the heater, opened the panel, saw sparks and melted wires. Basically, my entire house could have burned down. Thankfully Jeff has a friend that is a heating/cooling guy and he is coming to the house today but I am 99% sure I will need to dip into savings to purchase a new furnace. That sucks but at least I have savings. I couldn’t find through my paper work how old that thing is either but I’m just thankful my renter is smart and aware and that my house didn’t burn to the ground and that nobody was hurt.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Birds & the Bees

Last week we received a letter in the mail from the school, saying that the 4th graders (i.e. Sophie) were going to watch a movie called “Just Around the Corner.” They split up the girls and the boys and that is the name of the girls’ movie. We know about it already though because Sophie’s BFF Taylor that is in 5th grade already told us about it since she watched it last year and said it was so corny and lame and from like 1980. I bet it could even be the same movie *I* watched in 6th grade.

Anyway, I gave Jamie a heads up and he was ALL about it. Oh, btw: the letter came home and you could sign the form and send it back if you did NOT want your child to participate. I don’t even think they are really talking about sex, I think they are talking about puberty and changes they can expect to happen in their bodies. Taylor informed us that in 5th grade, the girls learn what the boys go through and the boys learn what the girls go through.
*Tangent:* I have to share this story. It’s not my story, but it’s about my friend’s son; we’ll call him “J.”
So J is in 5th or 6th grade and yes he learned this year what the girls go through. He came home and literally told his mom, “I’m so sorry you had to go through that.” Mom was flabbergasted and pleasantly surprised, until her son revealed that he though girls only had to go through that ONCE. Once in their lifetime, not every g-damn month! THEN he was even more horrified and said something to the effect of “No wonder you get so cranky!” True that.
*End Tangent*

Okay so Jamie was all about it and he planned to sit Sophie down on Wednesday and talk to her about sex. I told him to go for it and have fun.
Then I told Sophie her dad was going to do that and she said, “Well then I’m not going over there on Wednesday and I said oh yes you are.” (I just wanted her to prepare herself for that talk by letting her know – she is an anxious kid and hates surprises but no, she was not getting out of it).
Then I started teasing Sophie about puberty and asking if she wanted to talk about it and did she have any questions for me and her face would turn bright red and she would say “Stop it!”

So Jamie gave me the run-down of how it went last night. He wrote down six questions; questions like, “What changes can I expect in my body” and “How are babies made” and told Sophie to pick which one she wanted to tackle tonight. Her response was, “Oh I know all of that already.” So Jamie called her on it (which I appreciated – oh and yes he had TT there for support and to speak from the woman’s point of view) and said, “Okay, well then why don’t you tell me what you know about how babies are made.”
Sophie’s answer? “Mommies and Daddies give each other a special hug.”
I joked with Jamie, “Wow; that must be one REALLY special hug.”
Anyway, he told her about eggs and sperm and didn’t go into great detail about how the sperm got into the egg, just that it has to in order to fertilize it and create a baby. She was pretty freaked out by the fact of eggs floating around inside her but Jamie told her that humans don’t LAY eggs like chickens. I could just imagine Sophie thinking that.
I mean WHO KNOWS what kind of mis-information these kids get from their peers, TV, internet, older siblings.

So it wasn’t - just to get something straight: it wasn’t that I *DIDN’T* want to talk to Sophie about this stuff so I let Jamie do it; it’s just that a)I wasn’t sure how b)I wanted to do it on my own timetable, not forced into a timetable by Jamie or the school. Besides, he volunteered and frankly? No, I don’t feel guilty because I do all the OTHER hard stuff. I find all the doctors, all the daycares, I plan all the summers, I ensure all vaccinations are up to date, etc. So, he can do something hard for once, I don’t mind. (I’m sure I’ll get - and will welcome - questions from Sophie tonight.)

If you have any advice on how to do this – if you have been through this – let me know. Most of my sex education was via watching Lifetime movies with my mom and her forcefully stating her opinion on what went down (i.e. “You see, stupid girls fall in love and aren’t safe and fall for whatever lies the guys tell them and then they end up pregnant but you betcha’ I’m not going to be raising an infant while you’re off partying so you better be smart…” Yeah, she was pretty scary).

I did read, “Are you there, God? It’s me, Margaret.” And I know from Sophie that TT’s education was “My parents threw a book at me and said, ‘here, read this’” and a couple of months ago Sophie said, “I hope you don’t just throw a book at me.” She *wants* to talk about it, but she doesn’t because it’s awkward and embarrassing.

To end on a funny note though – if you have not seen this clip from “Weeds” I highly suggest you watch it. The Uncle is telling the son of Mary-Louise Parker how to properly masturbate and it is the best, funniest thing ever. I think it’s something Jeff is probably overdue showing Ethan as much as I shudder at the thought…(BLAH!)