Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Well, the inevitable has come to pass. The manufacturing plant my husband works at announced officially today that they'll be closing the plant on February 3 of next year. We knew this was coming, and we've talked about and planned for it quite a bit... but it still gives me a little bit of a sick feeling to know that for the next two years, until he's out of school, we'll essentially be down to one income. It scares me because, when things happen to us, they happen in a big way. It's never a $50 or $75 car repair, it's always a $500 or more car repair. Or replacing the furnace because a piece came loose and almost set the duct work in the house on fire. Or whatever. I feel like I haven't had a decent night's sleep since my son was born almost 2 years ago, and this certainly isn't helping.

And then comes the never-ending mantra from my husband of 'Everything's going to be okay. We'll get through this.' For God's sake, just hit the 'play' button on the tape recorder and save yourself the energy of having to repeat this again. This is the best you've got for me? You can't come up with anything new to say?

When I was just out of college and working my first real job, tax return time would roll around and I'd dream about just cashing that big ($500 to a 22 year old is big, anyways) check, getting in my car and just driving away. Now it would be clearing out the checking account and taking a big cash advance on the credit card, but the dream is essentially the same. Why? Because I'm tired of okay. I'm tired of getting through. All we've done since we got married is get through. We've had almost 8 years of the 'worse'. I am MORE than ready for some of the 'better'. And I know all of this isn't his fault... but it's very easy to lay the blame on him because all of these things started happening after we met. Things were, or at least seemed, fine before that. Maybe not great, maybe not spectacular, but things certainly didn't seem crappy like they do now.

And here I thought a few days ago that I was content with all of this... silly me.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Yesterday, overall, was a good day. I've been battling some sort of digestive tract bug, so K. let me laze around the house until we went to his dad's for the family dinner at 3pm. I think K. was a little disappointed, because his dad made pork roast instead of turkey, but I've got a turkey breast I'm going to throw in the crockpot tomorrow so all should be fine.
My mother-in-law threw me for a loop yesterday. We were sitting on the couch, and she asked me what I'd like for Christmas. Why would this throw me, you ask? Well, K's dad had already said he'd give us cash to pay for 1/2 a year of the Dish Network, something that K has been drooling for for about a year now. That was fine with me, since most years they ask what we'd like and we tell them and we still end up getting something completely off the wall. At least the Dish Network with the DVR that records up to 100 hours of programming (no more missing House or Lost because I'm too lazy to set the VCR or can't find the remote!) is something I know we'll use. But she said this gift was from her, not her and my father-in-law, and she wanted it to be something for me.
I was absolutely at a loss. I thought and thought... we could use some new towels, some new skillets, a new standing lamp for the living room. No, it had to be something for me, not for the house. Not something practical. Just something I'd been wanting but hadn't gotten. I finally managed to come up with the new Patricia Cornwell novel, and agreed to a few other suggestions she threw out. I have to say, it was a little embarrassing and I think she was getting somewhat annoyed with me at one point.
I was telling K about it on the way home later, when the thought struck me... am I content, finally, with what I have (gasp!)? Has a sense of satisfaction about my life snuck up and overtaken me without my knowledge? How could that be? How could that happen without me realizing what was happening? I glanced back at W.T. sleeping in the back seat, his head slumped forward, totally relaxed. K. reached in the dark and put his hand on my leg... I reached down and curled my fingers into his and wondered how it was ever possible not to feel contented with all this.

Thursday, November 24, 2005


Another birthday has come and gone, and the holiday season has now officially begun. 36 sounds like such an awful number. My birthday is never a happy time for me - too much reflection and introspection and contemplation and all that. And I found a gray hair last week. The first one, or at least the first one I've found. So that doesn't make things any better.

When I got to work yesterday, my desk was, as expected, festooned with streamers and balloons and letters on a string spelling out 'Happy Birthday'. After the fourth or fifth person that walked by and said 'Oh, is today your birthday?' Instead of responding as I wanted to by saying 'No shit', I took the decorations down.

I always look at where I am, and where I'm going. This year, of course, I'm thinking about my dad, and my mom, and the fact that this will be the first holiday season without both of them, which leaves me with a very lonely feeling. And I think about my birth mother (yes, I was adopted at 2 months old) and wonder if she's thinking about me and wondering whatever happened to the baby girl she gave up. Yet another question I'll probably never have an answer to. I've half-heartedly tried a few times to track her down, but it's just never seemed worth the effort.

But for all that, I do have quite a bit to be thankful for today. My son and husband, of course. Close friends that have become my family. In-laws that, however frustrating, are loving and helpful in their own way. A house, a job, and food on the table.
So happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. I truly hope you all are as blessed as I am!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

People Magazine's 2005 Sexiest Man Alive


Clash of the Titans

As strange as it might sound... this weekend over any other might have more meaning for me when it comes to remembering my father. Not a particular date each year, but rather the weekend that the OSU Buckeyes play the Michigan Wolverines in football. Forgive me when I say this is and Ohio thing. Or a Michigan thing, if you live up north. This is the very definition of a sports rivalry. I don't know about the Michigan folks, but I do know that Ohio fans would rather see our Buckeyes lose every other game of the season, but beat Michigan, than have it the other way around.

My father was an OSU fan to the core. I was raised on Buckeye football in the glory days of Woody Hayes and Art Schleister. We usually went to at least one game each season while I was growing up, and were glued to the radio and then the television for the remainder of them. It was an institution in our household that was not to be dishonered. When my brother was to rebel as a young teen, he proclaimed himself a Michigan fan and started wearing a blue and gold football jersey around the house, because he knew how this would get to our dad. After my mother died 7 years ago, I'd visit my dad on Saturdays in the fall, and we'd watch the games together. It was our tradition that continued when he came to live with us after his stroke and after we eventually had to move him to a nursing home. It was something that connected us like nothing else could.

This is my first OSU football season without my father. I haven't been able to bring myself to watch any of the other games. But today I managed to get W.T. down for a nap just after the game started, so I sat down with the memories of my father all around me, and watched the Buckeyes pull out a W in the final seconds of the game. And I cried and cried, and then cried some more.

It's been just over 6 months since my dad passed away. I miss him terribly. Quite honestly, I miss him more than I ever thought I would. He was not the perfect father; who is? And I don't know that he really, truly wanted to be a father. But he loved my mother enough to agree to adopting two children. He worked hard, and we while we didn't always have what we wanted, we always had what we needed. It's unfortunate that we don't learn the difference between those until we're grown. We grew closer after my mother died, and I was able to let go of the disappointment I often felt when remembering my childhood. We grew closer still after he had a stroke in 2001 and came to live with us. His death was somewhat sudden, so I will always have the typical 'I wish I would've had the chance to tell him this...' feelings. I can't talk to him now, but I like to think that he can hear what's in my heart.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Storm of the century?

I've been remiss in my blogging duties. I've decided that I need either 4 more hours in the day or to learn to function on less sleep. I'm not holding my breath for either of those.

I am happy to say that my father-in-law did not come to our house several days ago to stay with the little one. Possible crisis averted, but not in the way I'd hoped.

Did you see the stunning 2-part tv-movie 'Category 7'? My life mimics this right now; a serious of weather systems all converging on the same spot to create the be-all, end-all storm.

My father-in-law ended up not staying with the boy a few days ago, because my husband's car wouldn't start. Once again, we had it towed to the shop. Now we're looking at a $1600 car repair bill to fix a leaking head gasket and replace a short-circuited timing module. I am trying to remember that we did not pay for this car, rather it was given to us by my father when he came to live with us a few years before his death. But we're certainly paying for it now. What I would give to be able to afford a second car payment...

That was Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the babysitter came, and told me before I left for work that she'd found a full-time job, and would be starting it the week after Thanksgiving.

That same morning, my husband called at my work from his work, to let me know that the management had officially announced that they're shutting down the plant he works at. So in approximately 30 days he will be without a job.

Now I know that life isn't easy. And I certainly do my best not to complain too much about things, because it generally doesn't do any good and can sometimes annoy the people around me. But for the love of God... how much is one person, or one family, expected to put up with?

I believe it was Mother Teresa that said 'I know God won't give me more than I can handle, I just wish he wouldn't trust me so much.' I think I'm going to cross-stitch this on a sampler for the living room wall.

Smack the Penguin

Stress relief for a boring Thursday afternoon at work...

Click to make the penguin jump and then click again in - time to make the polar bear swing the bat to hit the penguin across the ice!

My high score is 322.9 and counting... what's yours?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

There's no nice way to say this. There's no politically correct way to get my feelings across. There's no way to sugar-coat this bit of information. So here it is...

I can't stand my in-laws. I tolerate them, but I have no real fondness for them. And I have moments when I think to myself that, if we didn't have a child, I might seriously consider divorcing my husband just to get away from them. My father-in-law is overbearing, obnoxious, and every other synonym for those traits that you can think of. My mother-in-law (or more accurately, my step-mother-in-law) is a twit. My brother-in-law is an irritating carbon-copy of my father-in-law. I won't even discuss my brother-in-law's wife.

Now to be fair, my father-in-law has done quite a bit for us since we got married. He's set up IRA accounts for both of us, and an educational savings IRA for W.T. He gave us the money for the downpayment on our house (after choosing a realtor and making appointments to look at houses he thought we should consider). He's helping pay for tuition and books for the classes that K is taking right now. We have not asked for any of this. And, of course, we can't tell his wife about any of it, because then he'd expect him to do the same for her daughters, and he doesn't think he should have to because they're not his children. These things are grudgingly appreciated, but there always feels as if there are strings attached. I can only assume that it's because he does these things that he thinks it's acceptable for him to talk to K and I as if we're still in junior high school. I can only assume that it's because of these things that he thinks it was acceptable to tell us that, with what our combined yearly income is (did I mention that he also does our taxes?), he thinks we should be able to spend around $50-$75 per person at Christmas. Or that he thought it was appropriate for him to tell me that I needed to get my bathrooms cleaned when he'd made arrangements for his plumber to install new toilets for us when we did some bathroom remodeling last year.

In the interest of keeping peace in the family, I have kept my mouth shut. I kept my mouth shut when he came into our house while we were gone (how, I have yet to figure out because to my knowledge he doesn't have a key) and left things sitting on our dining room table. I kept my mouth shut when he told me I was foolish to worry about withholding taxes from what we pay our private babysitter. I kept my mouth shut when he (yes, he himself, not someone he took W.T. too) CUT MY SON'S HAIR without my knowledge or permission. But we may have reached a breaking point.

He is coming to our house tomorrow (a thought that makes me cringe) to sit with W.T. while K runs errands. Usually, we take W.T. to the inlaw's house, but for some reason he's insistent on coming here in the morning. K is actually worried that his father will go through our personal papers and records. That he'll open desk drawers and look at the bills we have due. I have warned K that if I find out this has happened, I will keep my mouth shut NO LONGER. I will keep you posted.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

10 things I'd like to see while I'm here on Earth (in no particular order)

1) the Eiffel Tower

2) the Aurora Borealis

3) the Great Wall of China

4) the tower of London

5) the lavender fields of Provence

6) Angel Falls in Venezuela

7) the palace of Versailles

8) the pyramids at Giza

9) the ruins of Corinth

10) the Taj Mahal

My mother was the quintessential armchair traveler. My father never brought home the kind of income that allowed for wonderful trips, either in this country or abroad, but the bookshelves in our house were filled with large volumes that showed pictures and told stories of far off lands. I've always thought that this, at least in part, is where my restless nature comes from. I never got the sense from my mother that she was satisfied where she was, or with her life in general, but unfortunately there wasn't much she could do to quell the disappointment she felt about the fate that life had handed her. Although our bloodline was not the same, she managed to find a way to pass this disquieted spirit on to me.

I think from all of this, though, that I'm learning that it's not the destination but the journey that you should hold on to. I'm learning to be more content with where I am and what I have. I'm learning to count the blessing around me. Could this be the real lesson my mother was trying to pass on to me? Is she telling me in her (not so) subtle way not to squander the time I have here on Earth wishing for more, but to be thankful for what I've already been given?

For now, all I can do speculate. But I definitely plan on asking her when I see her again.

Motherhood = multiple personalities

I am really starting to believe this is true. I have never felt quite so manic as I have since I found out I was pregnant in May of 2003. Now I don't mean to go on about all of this. But it is, after all, the focal point of things right now in our household. Or it is for me, at least. It just amazes me. And it makes me wonder daily why I'm so affected by all of this, and why K does not seem to be. I know he loves W.T. and me, and he's turning out to be a wonderful father. But I don't see the stress of all of it affecting him. At least not as much as it seems to affect me. He gets tense, say, when the little angel is throwing a fit, but other than that it's as if we've just added a live-in playmate for him. Are all fathers like that? And if so, why? I'm sure this is a question I'll never have an answer to.

I will admit my son's reaction to me lately (see prior post) is affecting me greatly right now, but was heartened to read the comments left by a fellow blogger. As I said in my reply to her comments, I remember now the subject of when babies recognize themselves coming up at a pediatrician's appointment when W.T. was about 6 or 8 months old. The doctor told us that, from what he knew, it hadn't been determined yet exactly when that self-awareness develops, and that for the first few stages of life, the child actually thinks that they and their mother are the same person. It makes some sense, then, that they would have this rejection-reaction as their sense of self and sense of independence develops.

Forgive me if I sound bitchy, but why is it that daddy gets to have all the fun? Who carried the boy for 9 months? Shot herself up with insulin daily to keep the blood sugar under control? Watched like the Nazi SS what she ate so that she didn't gain to much weight? Pushed for over an hour (AFTER the epidural wore off) because the boy's head was stuck on her pelvic bone? Aren't the hormones and the post-partum depression punishment enough? Do we have to get slapped with the rejection also? Why is it that mothers seem to get the big, cosmic F- You? I think I'm starting to understand why my mother seemed to be in such a bad mood so much of the time.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Monday, Monday...

Happy, happy, joy, joy... another Monday at work is winding to a close. My boss is back from his business trip that took him out of the office last week. I wish I could say this was a good thing. Picture, if you will, Rico Sua-ve walking briskly through the aisles of cubicles with a cordless phone headset attached to his ear, chattering constantly. We're all waiting for him to walk into the men's room someday while he's talking. It's not pretty.

As I sit on a conference call, pretending to pay attention to things that have nothing to do with me, I'm reflecting on this past weekend. Parenthood, in a word, can be a bitch. W.T. was in rare form this past weekend. His strong personality is shining through more and more each day. The frequency of temper tantrums is increasing rapidly. On a positive note, time-out seems to be working since we now have a designated spot for it in the dining room that is out of sight from the television. For whatever reason, he's not too hip on mommy right now, depending on his mood of course. Several times now he's refused to let me get him out of his crib, and I'm usually the one that gets slapped when he's upset about something. We always hurt the ones we love, right? I'm a smart girl. I know he knows I'm his Mama. And I know he loves me. And I know he's just feeling his way as he discovers his independence as a little person of his own. But I just can't help feeling like I've been pricked by a little knife each time he reaches for daddy instead of me when he's ready to get out of his crib. Or needs his diaper changed. Or whatever. I'm trying my best not to take it to heart. I'm trying my best not to get pouty when he scowls when I walk through the door, yet chortles with joy when Daddy comes home. It's just part of having an almost two-year old in the house. God give me strength.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Word of the day

From 100 Words Every Word Lover Should Know:

INVEIGLE: 1) To win over by coaxing, flattery, or artful talk 2) To obtain by cajolery

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

10 reasons why I'd like to smack the person that sits in the cubicle behind me, if I wouldn't get fired for it (all true and in no particular order)

1) She sings out loud while listening to Britney Spears on her headphones

2) When not singing along with Britney, she listens to conservative talk radio and comments out loud on Rush Limbaugh's topic du jour

3) When she sends a 'FWD: FWD: FWD' email to everyone, she shouts out 'incoming'

4) She has microwave popcorn for breakfast every morning, yet burns it 2-3 times each week

5) When not singing along with Britney or debating with Rush, she gives us regular news and/or weather updates... but hey, at least we're all current, right?

6) She doesn't pay attention at unit meetings, or read emails, then asks stupid questions about what we're supposed to be doing

7) She calls everyone 'boss'

8) If I have my headphones on (in an effort to drown out her singing) and she wants to get my attention, she throws a wadded up Post-it note over the cubicle wall

9) She has purple Christmas lights lining her cubicle, because purple is her favorite color

10) She insists on decorating your cubicle with streamers if it's your birthday