Monday, December 31, 2012

I'm A Bitch...

...I'm a lover, I'm a child, I'm a mother, I'm a sinner, I'm a saint, and I don't know any other words to this song.

Anyway, all of those apply. I've always been a sweet people-pleaser, but this month, I quit.

I quit answering the phone when my MIL calls.

I've quit taking crap from my husband.

I've quit being a peace-maker.

I've quit letting the risk of ticking off someone else keep me from doing what I want.

Last November, I told my husband I was done letting him blame me for everything that was wrong, and I've called him on it every time he did it. But this month, I've called him out on all his other crap.

Now he's miserable, too, and he's insisting something has to be done to fix it. He doesn't want to be a failure and have everyone know he couldn't keep his marriage together.

So, when he tells the kids it's rude to yell at other people from another room instead of going to them, then he yells at me from another room, our hollow walls magically transform into being super-insulated and I simply can't hear him.

When he tells me to go do something instead of asking politely, or when I'm working and he's sitting on his tookas but he wants me to go do something else too, I've said, "I'm in the middle of something, you can handle that."

When he said I shouldn't have a cup of coffee at 7pm so that I can go to bed with him, I said, "I might have to punch you in the face if you try and regulate my coffee intake." He stumbled backward and replied, "Wow! Talk about me over-reacting!" I  smiled and said, "It's been a crappy day. I haven't had any caffeine. I don't like you telling me what to do. And I was joking -  I won't punch you. But I needed to make all those points in a way that you got your attention."  He muttered, "Oh," and left the room.

When he asks why I'm not sharing my opinion about something he thinks should be done, I say, "Because you won't like my thoughts, and I'd rather not get yelled at for having different thoughts than you."
Which of course sets him in a tail-spin death spiral of "I'M NOT GOING TO YELL! WHY WOULD YOU EVEN SAY THAT?"
And I went, "Uh huh. You're kinda failing at the not yelling thing. But if you want to hear my thoughts without having a tantrum, I'll be glad to share."
So then he had to cool off and listen in order to prove that he was right and I was wrong and he could listen without yelling at me. So he actually heard me and conceded that I had some valid points. Bazinga.

And when he got pissed when he found out that I opened a bank account without him on it, I told him the truth. I initially looked into opening it for our scout troop, then ended up merging with another troop without depositing any money. So I left it open in case I sold any art so that I could buy art supplies without going into our family budget. So far, it's still unfunded because all the art I sold has been cash sales. And every dollar is in my purse. But I have an account that he can't get to, and he won't make me close it since he doesn't want to waste money on my "stupid" hobbies when I should be cleaning.

When he finally noticed that the house has been clean for days on end, I said, "Yep, it's amazing what a little help can do." Meaning, of course, the iRobot Roomba that my mom gave me for Christmas. I'm in love with that thing. But I was still too tired for sex... to solve that problem, I would need a lot more help. So he loaded the dishwasher today. Bazinga again.

When my MIL was bitchy at the family Christmas get-together, I went outside and sat by myself in the freezing cold. My brother-in-law came out a few minutes later for the same reason, and asked why I wasn't in there faking it like usual. I said I was tired from staying up painting all these commissioned works, and I was to the point I either had to walk out or kick her in her false teeth. He laughed and said, "I'd pay to see that!"  I asked if he'd be taking pickures, and he went, "Oh, no. I don't want there to be any evidence to find." Nice.

When my other brother-in-law with repulsive manners and an entitlement complex was eating at the table with my kids, I walked up next to him and said, "Okay, children, remember!  Keep your elbows off the table, do NOT stuff too much in your mouth at one time, and absolutely do NOT pick up your meat and bite it off. Use your knife and cut into small pieces. Breaking those rulse is really gross and really rude, and NOBODY wants to see that." The children, by the way, were not breaking the rules to start with... that was how the 55 year old was eating. They laughed, because they saw him straighten up so I wouldn't fuss at him directly.

So this whole 'speaking my mind' thing seems to be working for me. Here's to a new year & hopefully a better one!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

I don't know how to do this.

This isn't a funny post; I've just got to get it out.

There's this couple that I know who wanted to get married while still teenagers. She had just graduated from high school, and he just finished his junior year. She had a full scholarship, and he was a lock for one. Everyone told them they were crazy. So they picked baby names, got pregnant, and got married. He got his GED & went to work. She tried to go to college, but that didn't work with a newborn, so she quit school. Then they got pregnant again, when the first was only a few months old. So 18 year old dad joined the reserves. And in basic, he started messing around with porn.

Now, a year later, with a 2 year old & and an almost 1 year old, he's not working, smoking weed, and looking at porn, and his poor sweet wife is ready to give up. My husband's been trying to talk sense into this young man and told the wife she should talk to me, since I had to get through him having a porn addiction when we first got married. She of course doesn't want to talk about it, but she knows she needs to talk it through with someone.

I'm more than willing to counsel her through it. Except I've got a problem. Even though it's been years since my husband looked at porn, he still does plenty of other douchbaggy things. I'm constantly thinking that we'd be better off without him, and am constantly struggling with the desire to just pack up the kids and leave. But then I'd be the one responsible for making the kids have a dad just every other weekend. And I don't want that on me.

They love their dad, even though they don't really like him a lot of the time, either. He's slowly improving, slowly growing, slowly becoming a better man. But it feels like it's too little, too late. I used to be a doormat people-pleaser, but being married to him made me have to learn to stand up for myself and do what I know is best even though it defied him. I'm stronger for it. I'm a better person and better mom for it... because he's a giant dick, and I can work around him.

But that's not what marriage is supposed to be. I worry that we're being a bad example for the kids. I let the kids talk about how they feel when dad loses his shit, how they don't like being yelled at or criticized all the time, and tell them to remember that feeling so they don't do the same to others.

When he was looking at porn, I was in an accountability group with three other women my age also struggling with their marriages, and one who had been married for like 40 years. The mentor said that if wives got their way, no man would ever reach their second anniversary because they'd all die in car crashes at some point in the first two years. They're all idiots who do something incredibly stupid in the first two years. But then they grow up and learn to be a real man. We all nodded, because we'd all prayed for that car crash. Yeah, yeah, I know, that's not very Christian. I think God understands, though. Of the four young wives in that group, I am the only one still married. I want to ask the others if they're happier, but I am afraid of their answers.

So now I've got this beautiful 20 year old mom of two with a husband who claims he's quit looking at porn & quit getting high, but he also doesn't think he's really done anything wrong. He won't apologize. He won't try and understand why she feels like she's been almost-cheated on. And all I can think of to say to her is that she's right to feel hurt, and that she's got to suck it up. They had kids together on purpose. They ditched their scholarships on purpose. They got married on purpose. And sometimes it sucks the big one. It's harder than they could ever have imagined, and then one day, things will be a little easier. But the kids need their dad, and she's got to give them time to heal. Men are idiots, and some take longer to grow up than others do. She needs to give him time to figure this out.

Scripture says "All things work toward good for those who love the Lord," and that seems like such a BS platitude most of the time. I don't see any good in the pain that my husband has put me through or the pain hers is putting her through. But I'm willing to give the time to see what God's going to do. I can see the turtle's pace of growth in my husband. I hope it speeds up. I hope my young friend can give the time, too. Her husband seems like a good guy, and with time he could be a great man.

Counseling her is bringing up a lot of my old pain that I'd buried deep, so I'm kind of struggling right now. I'd appreciate some prayers.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Beatitudes for Geeks

A Geeks's Interpretation of Matthew 5:3-12 (aka The Beatitudes or the intro to the Sermon on the Mount)

The Geek Attitudes

“Blessed are the four humans,
    for theirs is the kingdom of Narnia.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for at least they will know they're not Cylons.
Blessed are the geeks,
    for they will inherit middle earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for quidditch,
    for they will fly.
Blessed are the Whovains,
    for they will be decorate everything with a Tardis.
Blessed are those who study the cosmos,
    for they will get all the jokes aimed at Sheldon Cooper.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called on to use The Force.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because they were Browncoats,
    for theirs are the Border Planets (so long as they can steer clear of Reavers).
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because they don't get how cool Comic Cons are. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward once you're their boss, for in the same way they persecuted the geeks who were before you.

(I could have easily done this using ONLY Firefly quotes.)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

For that, Starbucks should be expensive!

Starbuck is a character in Moby Dick, aka the Great White Whale. Aside from the fact that Herman Melville's writing sucks harder than a Dyson, I enjoy a good perverted allegory. Maybe he didn't mean for "Moby Dick" and "White Whale" to sound like uncreative names for pornos, but they just do.

Beckett: "They call you The White Whale."
Castle: "Really? Not Moby Dick?"
 So, with that digression of intellect in mind, look closely at the Starbucks logo. I have no idea why she has two tails. It seems like that would make it extremely difficult to swim. But she's got two tails, and she's got them spread wide, pulled up by her head. Look - it's mermaid porn! You can't unsee this now! She's a total ho-bag, spread eagle, waiting for Moby Dick!

(Perhaps I need a nap. Or some coffee.)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Worst pick-up attempt ever

So I was 15 years old and walking home from school. Lady Godiva hair down to my butt. J-Lo booty, that is. Five foot nine. Embarassingly tight jeans. Push-up bra. And a big honkin' backpack.

J. A. I. L. B. A. I. T.   Clearly.

And this car pulls up beside me. "Hey baby! What's your name?" I glance up. This guy who looks about forty is in a big redneck truck. Well, he was black, so I guess redneck isn't the right word, but you get the picture. Anyway, he pulls over and asks again. I smile & nod & keep walking.

"You know you're gorgeous?" You know you're old and creepy?  I say, "Thanks," and keep walking. But now he's driving and two miles per hour talking to me through the passenger window, and I have nowhere to go.

"Can I take you out sometime?"

Seriously? I stop.

"Don't you think I'm a little young for you?"

"It's okay. I'm a prison guard. I'm safe."

Does that mean he's got a gun? Is he constantly around vile and violent people? Why would he think a kid would see that as a plus?

I walk faster. He keeps rolling alongside me on the shoulder of the road.

"I see. Sorry. I can't."

"Come on. Can't I at least have you number?"

"Yeah. No. I don't really give that out."

"We can talk. You can get to know me. You'll see. I'm a good guy. I've got a badge and everything.  I've taken girls like you out before."

"Um. Sorry."

"Come on. Just give me your number, and I'll leave you alone."

If he followed me any further, he'd see where I lived. So I smiled, gave him a fake number, and said it was nice to meet him. I figured that he'd be less suspicious and wouldn't keep following if he thought I was looking forward to it. It worked. He turned his truck around and went on his way.

The school was exactly one mile down my street, but from then on, I walked a couple of blocks back into the neighborhood and wove through it with different routes. My parents didn't understand why I didn't want to walk down the main road anymore. People honked and whistled all the time - I claimed to have a fan club. I was, of course, being sarcastic - I didn't think I was all that and a box of chocolates, just that guys were creeps who'd hit on anyone. Which is pretty much true.

It hasn't changed all that much, except now I get qualifiers like last week's, "Dang, you look good for having four kids." You know what? The last half of that sentence didn't have to be said. I know I've got post-pregnancy flab. When someone says something like that, I hear, "Hey, your face is pretty, but your gut looks like you've got a butt in the front, too."

So, thank you, fellas. And congratulations. You still know how to absolutely suck at hitting on chicks.

Monday, October 22, 2012

I love my church people

Yesterday morning I got to church and my first three conversations went like this:

Steph:  Good morning! How are you doing this morning?
Me:      Oh, I'm fine.
Steph:  You are lyin'! And you're a terrible liar.
Me:      Isn't that a good thing?
Steph:   Yep; I guess that's a good thing.  So how are you really doing?
Me:      It's just one of those mornings where kids won't follow directions and my husband thinks that they would if I was just a better mom.
Steph:  (shakes her head) Want me to kick him in the nads for you?

Linda: (Gestures over her face, then points at me) What is this?  You look mad or something.
Me:     Just one of those days.
Linda:  Uh-huh.  Whatever.

Preacher: Good morning! And how are you?
Me:      I'm making it.
Preacher: Well, you know, whenever I think I've had a bad week, I think ,  "Well, at least I'm not Tiffany." I mean , I don't know how you handle it all.

I wasn't sure if I should feel offended or vindicated.


Then, after church, conversations went like this:

Linda: Hun, I'm going to pray for you this week cause I don't like seeing that look on your face.
Me:  Good. Thanks.

Me: My knees hurt.
Steph: Well, tell your husband to take care of things himself.
Me: (Not getting the innuendo) He can't handle being in charge of everything for more than two hours.
Linda: Seriously. If you're taking care of the house & kids, he can take care of himself so your knees don't hurt.
Me: (Still hurting and frustrated and not getting it) Nah. It's just that I don't have cartilage in my knees, so it grinds bone-on-bone.
Linda: (snickers at perceived innuendo from "bone-on-bone")
Steph: Wow. That sucks.
Linda: That's what she said.

Steph: I'm going to show up at your house one day this week with a bottle of wine to make you relax.       Your husband is going to get home and be like, "What's up with you? Why are you in such a good mood?" And you can be like, "Steph crashed my crib and liquored me up and got me to mellow out."
(The preacher's wife gives us a dirty look.)
Steph: So, what's your poison? Pinot?
Me:     Actually, I don't really like wine. But I wouldn't mind the visit.
Steph: So... chocolate? I'm bringing something.
Me:     Ice cream. I love ice cream.
Steph: YUM! Sounds like a plan!

After church, we stayed for a women's potluck lunch and devo, where the message was about how much of a blessing the leader's special needs kid is. I wasn't in the mood to appreciate her sentiment, yet I listened and hope one day I can feel the same way. I know that there are many blessings, and, honestly, it's not the special-needs part of my kid I take issue with. It's the defiant, obstinant, rude attitude; and that the younger kids are acting out like he does because that's the example set for them.

Then the crazy lady showed up and tried to take my pizza: My husband had brought pizza for the lunch, but we'd already started the devo by the time he got there, so everyone went up afterward to get some. Just then, someone who wasn't there for the lunch or devo showed up and wedged herself in the middle of the ladies fixing their plates, picked up a full pizza box and started to walk off.

I was like, "Whatcha doin'?"

And she said, "Oh. Can I have this?"

"I think people are still getting pizza, and several people have already asked if they could take some leftovers."

A man who has been working on some building repairs, volunteering his time, asked politely if he could have some. "Sure, go ahead," I say.

She starts getting antsy because the pizza is running out and she still wants a full box.
So she huffs, "Well, Cris got a whole box." I open my hand and showed her the cash that Cris put in my hand so she could take a full box. "Cris asked if she could buy a box because she has to work today."  I knew that this crazy lady would not be working today.  She just didn't want to cook dinner. 

But it really just rubbed me the wrong way that she walked up and took a box without asking while people were still trying to eat!  Ugh! How selfish is that? She used to be a good friend, but she's so self-absorbed that she takes advantage of people all the time and doesn't even realize that it's wrong.

There was a half a box left, so she asked if she could take it  for lunch - after everyone had gotten what they have wanted. I caved and said yes... and I motioned with my pen that I was stabbing her as she walked away, which made Steph and Linda almost spew Sprite out of their noses laughing. The preacher's wife pretended to not see. Then Crazy's husband walked up, laughing and shaking his head, and gave me a few bucks to cover the price of the half-pizza.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Lunching with Crazy

One day, I sat in Burger King with my family and my mother-in-law, and my sister-in-law. Since the MIL likes to see the kids and buy them stuff, but not actually hear or interact with them, we sat outside of the kids area. The MIL and SIL were in the midst of a minor war and were taunting each other much like the Vizzini/ Man In Black battle of wits in The Princess Bride. However, no one died at the end. (Maybe that would have make this lunch better. Anyone know how to get hold of iocane powder?)

So I decided that 10 screaming children were preferable to the verbal bitch-slaps at the table and took my food into the kids' area to "monitor the children." I got my kids to worry down two or three crown-shaped "chicken" nuggets and a few greasy fries without hurling, and I ate a "hamburger."

This is what nuggets are made of :  nugget paste. Yummy, right?

Then my MIL decided she'd rather bear the kid-noise and talk to me rather than deal with her progeny calling her out on her bullcrap, and joined me at my table.

Her first point of discussion: my teenage step-son stinks. As if I didn't notice. She said she bought him some medicated acne soap that should kill the stinky germs. And she bought him some deodorant.

My response was that we've got plenty of soap and deodorant, but 1), he's autistic, 2) he's 14, 3) he's a boy, and 4) his main personality trait is apathy. To put it bluntly, he stinks because he won't bathe because he doesn't care enough to bother. He turns the hot water on full blast, gets wet before it heats up too much, then stands out of the spray and watches it go down the drain until all the hot water is gone. Then he gets out, doesn't dry off, and sits on his bed, lost in imagination. So (sucks for him) my husband has had to start monitoring his showers again like he's a 5 year old.

And it all went in one ear and out the other. My MIL's rebuttal was that we just weren't giving him the right soap.

We've got deodorant soap.

She argued; I went back to eating french fries.

So, since I didn't engage, she tried a different tack. "Maybe he's playing with his new toy."

"What new toy?"

"I heard a story years ago about a poor farmer whose teenage son needed new clothes and a new toy, but the farmer only had enough money to buy one or the other. So he bought a new pair of overalls and cut a circle out of the front of them, so he could play with his  'toy'  he'd just discovered."

She laughed. I was mortified. As were the other three sets of parents within earshot. She didn't notice, kept laughing, and went towards the door, then loudly said, "YOU KNOW, HIS TOY DOWN THERE," while gesturing at her crotch.

Then she went back to her table. She wasn't laughing because she'd embarrassed me on purpose - she didn't even seem to realize I was embarrassed and disgusted and wanting to barf- she just thought she was so very funny and clever with her story.

My SIL came in, looking interested and amused, and said, "You know, you have a very expressive face. What did she just say to you?"

I told her, and she simply hung her head, then looked at the other parents, and said, "I'm so sorry she had to share her crazy with the rest of you."

The irony is that he hasn't discovered his toy down there yet, even though now he's 15.

But, for real, iocane powder. Send me some.

(Legal disclaimer: I won't actually poison her. She's old. I'll just wait.)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I'm so brave. Lemme tell ya.

Well, I smell like a campfire which is awesome, considering that I’ve been playing with fire and I looooove to play with fire. I have a fire pit in my backyard that I built all by myself, so we had a fire outside with hot chocolate and s’mores. I'm a complete stop pyro. I love fire. I love my fire pit. I have a hammock near it and some nice lounge chairs surrounding it.

I have found that fire is excellent bribery, too. See, pyromania is apparently hereditary, so the shorties will clean up their toys in the yard so that we can have a bonfire. Well… not so much a “bonfire” as a tame little fire in a small brick pit about 3 feet across (sized like the green sand box turtles that preschoolers have, because I can take the lid off the sandbox and put it on the firepit so that it doesn’t get rained in). Of course it's October, which is the driest month of the year in Alabama. We typically only have one day with rain in October; so this afternoon, when my children were supposed to be eating their lunch at the patio table, my daughter decided to get up and go get the hammock and put it in the storage room. I don't know why, other than she was doing whatever she could to not follow directions and eat her lunch. I had gone inside to check on something – I don’t even know what- and came out and saw that she had not eaten but she put away my hammock that I was about to lie in to read Frozen Heat. She had gotten the ropes all tangled up , so I gave her a speech about how to roll it up the right way and that she shouldn't have messed with it because it doesn't ever rain and October. Perhaps I was being a bit whiny and dramatic. Anyway, we cleaned up the yard, played, had dinner, started a fire, burned documents (because it's more fun than shredding them), and roasted marshmallows.

When the flames finally died down, I ushered the children inside, got them in bed, then grabbed my laptop and headed back out to watch the last few embers die down. I love watching embers, blowing on them and watch them sparkle… then I throw random things in it just to watch them flare up,  because I like fire. Have I mentioned that? I like fire. It’s pretty.

And then something started making noise behind me; not my dog and the neighbors moved away so no dogs there, but there was something in the yard moving around and that's always kind of freaky.

Especially  since, earlier,  I had  told my children that there were little monsters making noises in the mulch. They looked at me like I was crazy because it was very clearly something so small as a frog or maybe even a cricket… but this… this was bigger… maybe a possum, maybe a raccoon, but I couldn’t see I froze and listened… And I could hear rustling… and it was getting closer… And I still couldn't see it…. I tried to use the laptop as a big flashlight, but I still didn't see anything back there… It got louder and was getting closer, but every time I stopped to look around, it would be still. It was starting to wig me out a little. It was going to bite me, give me rabies and chomp my skull into little pieces... I was about to come inside and then there was more noise above me, rattling, and something dropping near me -what the hell - then I realized what the new sound was… it was rain. Only a few sprinkles, but it was enough to make me feel like a douche for fussing at M for putting the hammock away when she saw clouds. And then the little bitty bird that was jumping around behind me went up into its tree and I came inside.

Happy fall, y'all!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sometimes God Pisses Me Off.

For real. Maybe it's sacreligious to voice my frustrations. But since I allow my kid to vent when she needs to, just to get it out and move on, and I don't hold it against her; I think God gives us the same grace. Since, you know, grace is His big thing.

So here's the deal.  My stepson is 15 and has Asperger's Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy and Brain damage from his birth experience, as well as either a general F-You attitude or Oppositional Defiance Disorder, the doctors can't decide. He also claims to have voices in his head, but that seems to be yet another one of his many many lies to get attention and pity and a free pass in life. He also steals and pretends to be mentally retarded around people who don't know him so that they'll do everything for him. And he's got tons more bad stuff that I'm not willing to put out there into cyberspace.

I've got a girl that just turned 8 who is sick of her big brother's crap and is acting out and becoming increasingly defiant.

I've got 5 year old twins who adore their older siblings and copy whatever they do. Unless the oldest does something particularly asinine or disgusting, then they tell him he's stupid or gross.

I've got a husband who thinks that if I tried harder, all of this would be better than it is.

I've got a Biblical example of what a good wife is like, described in Proverbs, and she's a bronze-age superwoman.

I've got a culture who says I should be able to be Superwoman and should be nice and skinny, too.

And I've got trouble buying God's promises; ones like "All things work together for good for those who love the Lord." 

When I hear platitudes like, "Well, Joseph was sold into slavery and then went to jail, and that was, like, 40 years of his life before he found out how it would do great things for him, for God, and for his whole family." Or, "Abraham waited decades between God making him a promise for children and actually fulfilling it, because if it had been earlier, it wouldn't have been seen as a miracle, and he was doing it to show his power." Or plain old, "Wait on God's timing, not man's."

Because, those Old Testament fellas lived for hundreds of years, so 20 or 40 years wasn't such a huge chunk of their lives. And God lives in eternity, so it's not like time means something to him.

I'm tired of the stresses of life. I need some deliverance. I need some hope. I can't be Superwoman. I can't do all and be all. And I can't carry all this without breaking soon. If I could just see clearly the good that this is all working toward, just a little enlightenment, then I could breathe deeper and not constantly want to scoop up my three little ones and just run away.

Dangit, Jesus, gimme a little help here.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Gee, Thanks. That's an "interesting" gift.

So we got a new gift from my mother-in-law. It is a cassette tape, so is not really new. It's was made in 2001, so this was about the time that she got married to her now-deceased husband… so she would have been about 70 and he would've been about 82, I think; and he bought this for them. Now that he's passed away, my mother-in-law has been passing on his stuff that he left behind… most of which, she is passing to us.

It's a cassette tape with a picture of a middle-aged couple on the front (if I could get my scanner to work I would show you the picture). The couple is cuddling in the middle of a tall grassy field. At first glance it looks like maybe a Focus On The Family inspirational tape.


But it's titled Health Secrets for Better Sex, Volume 1: Tapping into Your Sexual Senses, and it was recorded by Roger Libby, PhD, certified sex therapist. He looks like a much older version of the dad on Full House.


So… the description on the back says

How to Experience Sensual Sex

In this special audio cassette presentation you'll hear one of the world's leading authorities on sex describe the results of the all new research into the most fascinating subject known to humankind sexuality. Specifically in this discussion you will learn about:

o   common causes of sexual problems

o   how the senses can be your best sexual asset

o   hotspots for arousal and orgasm

o   food and nutrients that can electrify sex

o   and more!

And more? Can you believe that there is more? Wow! I can't wait to see what volumes two, three, and four are about!!!

I’m just kind of in shock and awe…  that an 82-year-old man & 70-year-old woman would have this tape (it doesn't look well-worn, though, so that's good) because it just kind of skeeves me out to think of Them doing the nasty because that's just, like, nasty!

And then , Oh, my God, how embarrassing, my creepy mother-in-law thinks, Who should I give this tape to? I can't just throw it in the trash. Hey, I've had an idea, Matt and Tiffany have four kids, so you know they must do it all the time… maybe this'll make it even more fun!

Tapping into your Sexual Senses, How to Experience Sensual Sex… I'm just a little bit at a loss for words. I don't know what to say about this. To my husband's credit, he laughed and passed it on to me, and I sat it next to the computer, of course, to share with y'all. But after eight years of marriage, I think we've got it pretty much figured out…  don't really need Bob Saget’s old creepy cousin to improve my nookie.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

My latest art

Well, after 9 days straight of staying up until 3am painting, turning in everything I finished, then spending the next 4 days in a foggy haze, I finally feel like I'm human again.

Here's why I abandoned y'all:

Anything that doesn't sell at the show (Oct. 17-20) will go into an etsy shop and will be for sale to the general public. I also do commissioned work, so let me know if you want something specific!
I hope you liked them!!!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

In the meantime...

I haven't been writing because I've been painting. I got a last minute invitation to be in a show, and I have the potential of selling like 15 paintings. The problem is that I got invited with six days to the show's submission deadline, but I only had five paintings done and ready to sell. So, I'm painting like a madwoman, and I will continue to do so for the next three days. Then I'll post pictures. Pictures of the paintings and pictures of our vacation that I blogged about. Maybe I'm delusional, but my pageview count makes me think y'all actually might give a crap. Y'all are awesome.

In the meantime, here's an awesome song - David Garrett, violinist, covering AC/DC's Thunderstruck:

This is my favorite music style for while I paint. Rock on.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Dear Scott,

I realized today that my daughter is now the exact age I was when you began molesting me. I thought of it because a friend of mine has a teenage daughter who was almost raped last week - she got away with injuries - and my friend was having trouble deciding what to tell her two younger daughters. I told her that they needed to know, because it could happen to them, too. They're in Jr High and High School, while the oldest is in college. I told her that all of her girls needed to take a self defense class, and offered to give the a-hole's name to my black belt friends from when I took Tae Kwon Do, Juijitsu, and Aikido in college. (Which, I did as soon as I get home, and one of them knows the guy. So, I won't be surprised if he gets punched really hard in the next few days.)

So, this morning, I told my seven-year-old that, when I was her age, an older boy hurt me. I told her I was too embarrassed to tell on you, and I didn't want to upset either one of our moms, so I didn't tell. I pretended like it didn't happen. Then I asked her if she knew what to do if somebody tried to touch her privates. She grinned and said, "Kick him. Kick him really hard."

That's my girl.

I gave her permission to kick him in the balls as hard as she can, and if she couldn't reach his balls, then to kick him in the shins then punch him in the throat. She laughed. Then I told her to come and tell me. She won't get in trouble, and she won't be blamed at all. Tell me, and I'll talk to the boy and his parents. She agreed. Then we painted a picture of a clown fish and went on with our day.

I let go of the pain you caused me a long time ago, but I can't let go of the memories. I even prayed for your salvation once. Just once - I'm not that nice. I tolerated your presence when we had to be in the same place as I grew up, but I'm glad you've disappeared out of my life. I'm pretty sure that's because you know my parents will stab you through the throat if they ever lay eyes on you again, since I finally told them what you did to me. I held that information until I was 25 years old.

But you should know what you did to me. You gave me the ability to distance myself emotionally from harmful situations. You made me not want to ever be touched by a boy again and question my sexuality. You made me notice that a scoop of ice cream looks a lot like balls. You made me not able to really enjoy giving my husband a BJ because I remember being forced to do it to you at eight years old. You made me have a horrendous memory of being 9 years old and watching hard-core porn (once I figured out exactly what I was looking at, I left the room and you laughed at me).  You made me be a kid full of shame, because no matter how much I hated what you did to me, the physical touch still felt good, and I couldn't understand why, so I felt like it was my fault. You made me be a 12 year old with a first boyfriend who didn't understand why I wouldn't kiss him, but I had already been French kissing for four years, and that had finally just ended.

And why did it end? Because I quit acting uncomfortable with it and quit fighting you. I went along, just to get it over with faster. I guess you got bored then, huh? I was almost 12, and you were, what? About 18? 19?

That's how my friend's daughter got away from her date-rapist, too. She realized that fighting was doing no good, and finally gave up. She pretended to like it, and said she had an obligation, but she'd come back and pick up where they left off. He was cocky enough to believe her. Now he's in jail.

And, now I also know that I was right about the pain the knowledge would have caused my mom and yours. I hugged my friend as she tried not to fall apart. She knows where that guy lives. She's forcing herself to not go murder him. And, now that I'm a mom to beautiful little girls,  I don't know that I'd have that restraint. God help the boy who hurt one of my babies, because I sure as Hell won't show him the same grace I showed you.

Here's what else you gave me: strength I wouldn't have otherwise, martial arts training that filled me with confidence, understanding of the struggle victims have with sexuality choices, the ability to forgive (or at least let go of the right to revenge), and the knowledge that everyone's got some secret wound that they're having to overcome. I have empathy, grace, and power. And those traits are stronger because of you.

I won't say thank you, though. I'm sure you'll understand.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Trip Tales, part 4

Okay so the next day we went to go to Castaway Cay. We got up early, hustled down to breakfast. And my mother-in-law told me that she had set us up an appointment for a pedicure.( I don't like pedicures; I think they’re creepy. I really don't want a stranger rubbing on my feet, and I can paint my own toenails, thank you very much. I also think they are insulting and demoralizing to the person who does them. Like I think they're so far beneath me that it's okay to let them scrub my dirty feet. Now, I know it's their job and that they chose that job, but I still don't want to make someone do something so gross. My feet are clean but they're calloused and we should probably take a belt sander to those bad boys.)

 The afternoon before when she said that she needed to spend some money and suggested going to get a pedi, I said, “No, thank you.” I said we were going to the beach on Castaway Cay the next day and that I was going snorkeling. So… she made the appointment for 3:00 in the afternoon.

My husband said that we would enjoy the morning on the beach, do a little snorkeling, eat lunch, and be back in plenty of time for the appointment. No, no, no, that wasn't okay with me. They had hammocks on the beach and a contained children's area, and I planned to spend the entire morning taking advantage of those. And then I wanted to snorkel after lunch and keep playing on the beach until the boat blew its horn that we had to get back on or get left behind. I wanted my toes in the sand for as many hours as possible, and that would exfoliate my feet plenty.

After we sprayed everyone down with sunscreen, we got off the boat and walked the half-mile to the beaches. The mother-in-law rode the tram, looked around, got back on the tram, and got back on the boat. I don't think she was on the island for more than 15 minutes. Now, with the however many thousand people were on the ship now on the beach, it looked like one of those Discovery Channel videos of when the walruses are crowding over the rocks on the shoreline, only more lily white. We walked through the area where you could buy souvenirs and tried to find somewhere with hammocks close enough to the water to be able to supervise the children as they swim. But once we found a spot, where the hammocks were still a good 100 feet away from the water, we realized that you had to rent the floats, and the rental shack was probably a half-mile down the beach. So we forgot the hammocks and got in the water with the kids. It was fun, fish swam around our legs, and we had a great time.

 We spent more time swimming than we had planned, so I found some towels and headed over to the kids play area. It had splash pad and a real dead whale! Now, one may ask why we're letting our children play on a dead whale, but it had been dead for at least 100 years. Some explorer found the skeletal remains of a huge sperm whale, and when Disney bought the island, they reburied the excavation and made it into an attraction so the children could excavate the bones! It was really cool.

We got lunch, took our time, and I drew all over our picnic table with the water that had dripped off my cup. People stopped and watched; someone even took pictures; but I was just being my regular ADD self. My husband and I walked around a little more and then he said, "It's time to go pick up the kids so you can make it back in time for your appointment!" I told him I didn't want to. I told him I didn't get to snorkel. I told him that I said yesterday I didn't want a pedicure. He said too bad. I wanted to hit him. I wanted to cry. This was the one and only thing I wanted to do the whole trip. He said his mom didn't want to get lost on the ship again and have to have an employee take her back to her room (and that right there was the real reason she included me in the appointment). He said it wouldn't be as awful as I thought. I almost refused. Almost.

But she did pay for this trip. And my husband thinks we should do anything she wants because she pays for stuff (and she's scary). So, basically, we're whores.

So we gathered up the kids, then went back to get their shoes, then went back again to get their hats and sunglasses, then went back to get the shoes that they put down what they were getting their sunglasses, took a few more pictures and got on the tram to go back to the ship.

Capt. Hook and Mr. Smee were outside the ship taking pictures, antagonizing the little boys who were getting pictures made with them by pretending to steal their shoes and throw them in the water. Everyone could tell it was a joke, but my little boy was really worried and didn't understand why Capt. Hook was being such a meanie. He wouldn't even get close to him.

The husband took the kids to the pool while I went to shower and get dressed. That alone made me worry because it was hard enough to keep an eye on all of them when both of us were there. This appointment bothered me to almost an irrational level. I felt completely under the weight of the poverty that most of the cruise line workers come from and the riches that the cruise line customers have. Most Americans consider themselves to be middle class, but our poverty level income is higher than the average income of 90% of the world. As I got ready, I cried like I was being forced into prostitution, I prayed some more, I almost called the spa and canceled, and I finally got myself together and went to the appointment.

Pedicures are supposed to be fun, right? Or, at least relaxing? But, when you're are sitting with someone who bothers you so much, whose voice sounds like an old southern version of Fran Drescher, you're embarrassed by the wealth that is being flaunted, and you don't like people touching you, it makes you even more tense than when you started.

The lady who did my feet was from Jamaica and has three kids. She had to leave those three children behind with family because there was no work on the island. When she said that, that was the only time her big Disney smile cracked. The flash of pain was only there for a second, but it was unmistakable. I told her that my church was heading to Jamaica this summer for a mission trip.

When she asked why I don't take care of my feet I told her I didn't have time. That I worked and taught my kids and volunteered helping others. We didn’t ever do this kind of thing, but my MIL wanted to take us. I think I confused her more than anything. I asked her how long they work on the ship she said they have different contract amounts so they could contract for however long they wanted to work. I asked what their hours were per day. 8 AM to 10 PM, with a short lunch break and a short dinner break. She works 14 hours a day scrubbing people's feet so her children can eat… and I had to gall to think that I work hard.

She did a great job. The lady next to her did a great job on my mother-in-law. And then the desk girl brought the ticket for my mother-in-law to sign to pay for the two pedicures. They were $70 each. She tipped six dollars.


I asked her why, and she said that she accidentally over-tipped the girl yesterday, so under-tipping today would even it out. Six dollars on the $140 ticket. And she thought that was fair. As she started to walk out, I told her I wanted to ask the ladies one more thing. I asked them what the standard tip was and they looked at me like I had just asked him to share national security secrets. I told them that I wasn't going to get offended or anything, I just didn't know what the industry standard was; that I was pretty sure that it was higher than six. One of them nodded, and she said standard was $15-$20. I told them I would make sure they got it before the day was over.

But I also knew that I could not let my mother-in-law know that I was bringing them “extra” tips or she would end up trying to even it out by gypping someone else out of theirs, too.  I went up to the room, got $10 each, and took it back to the girl at the desk. I explained what it was for and that I didn't want it on our room’s record; just to get the money straight to the two ladies that did our feet. So, at least they got a fair amount.

I'm pretty sure that that's not how a day at the beach is supposed to go.

I'm also pretty sure that most people won't understand how I felt and will think I was just being an ungrateful bitch. Oh well.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Trip Tales, part 3

I couldn't figure out what was bothering the monster-in-law. She was being short with me and downright mean to her son, and was even testy with the kids. But she didn't say why. We didn't ask, either - just let the beast lie.The ship docked in Nassau, but we didn't get off. I wouldn't have minded seeing the town, but while we were planning the trip, the MIL had several shit-fits that she wasn't paying for any shore trips, despite how many times we assured her we'd pay for excursions. I wanted to snorkel or go diving. I didn't care about anything else on the cruise. The luxury, the plays, the fancy food; I really didn't care about any of it. I'm a low-maintenance girl. But swimming with wild creatures, the freedom, the beauty? Aaah, I really wanted to do that.

But that day, there was tons to do on the boat, and we had a really cool day. The girls met every single Disney princess in the history of ever-after, and the boys met Captain Hook, Mr. Smee, and Peter Pan. We went to the pool, which was maybe 30 feet in diameter (shaped like Mickey's head) but there were at least 100 kids in it. Some boys were playing rough and jumped on my 7 year old's head. She fussed at them and told them to stop it or she was telling their mom. He apologized and said he was trying to jump on someone else's head. And there was a splash pad. And a big ole slide. And too many people packed in close to be able to see all three areas. Me = anxious. Kids = best day ever.

Hours of fun later, we went up to shower and dress for dinner, but the 14 year old thought the good day needed to be topped off with a belligerent meltdown. Just for kicks, I guess. So I stayed behind with him while everyone else headed down to the restaurant. When the voices in his head calmed down enough that he could put on clothes (much easier when there were no other kids to antagonize or adults who will argue with you. I just sat and played on the computer and said, "Cool it. Get dressed." Over. And. Over. Until he got bored with me and got dressed.), we headed down, too. We weren't that far behind them, but they hadn't been seated yet. I figured they stopped to browse in a shop. After fifteen minutes, I went looking for them.

And, oh, crap, this restaurant had two entrances. They'd been waiting for us at the other one. They were pissed.

Apparently, while they were waiting for us, the MIL decided to finally let loose with why she was so mad. In front of a huge crowd. She went to the bar earlier in the day and asked if refills on drinks were free. He said no. Despite all the literature that said sodas, juices, milk, tea, coffee, etc. were free; that alcoholic drinks and fancy espressos were the only drinks you had to pay for; she went to the bar to ask about free refills.

So, she decided that the kids' Sprite refills at dinner the night before had cost her seven whole dollars  extra each!  And she was "not going to pay extra for those kids Sprites - they can drink water if it kills them! Y'all are not spending all of my damn money!" She was loud, and she was in front of lots of people. Fun times. (She spent $14,000ish on this trip, by the way.)

I asked Palmer the superwaiter to let her know that Sprite refills were free (he assured me they were), but he was apparently to dang smart to even speak to my MIL. He didn't say another word to her the entire trip that wasn't job-required. He looked afraid.

Which, she was cool with that since she's a bigot. She didn't speak to us for the rest of dinner, and she didn't sit with us at the play afterward.

The play, though, was fun... except that it creeped me out. Hades was down because Hercules defeated him, so he quit trying to be evil. Then the three scary-as-Hell witchy women told him he'd lose his job as god of the underworld if he didn't evil the place up a bit. So he rounded up all the Disney villains from Cruella DeVille to Scar to Ursula, and they had all the kids cheer and clap for the god of the underworld and all the evil people he was friends with. "Let them know how much you love them, even though they're evil!"

Um, not, cool, Disney. Not cool.

But it was well performed, and we talked about good vs. evil afterward.

My mother-in-law could have been in that play. Just sayin'.

And yet... you don't get the full ridiculousness of her misinformed Sprite tirade until you know what she did the next morning.

This, she didn't do as an apology - she never for a second believed she was wrong. In fact, she still believes they hid the cost of those Sprites in her bill. This she did to regain her position of Lord of All Her Family Does.

She bought into the Disney Vacation Club. She bought .01% of a room in a Disney World Orlando hotel, and got in return discounts and free stays at hundreds of hotels worldwide. The down payment was $22,000.00. Plus $100 per month dues. For the next forty-five fricking years. And she wrote a dadgum check for it!

I came in the room, and she was all smiles, saying, "We've got to go spend some money!" Apparently, she got a $500 credit to her on-ship account for being such a sucker, so she was acting like she just won Powerball.

What. The. Crap?

But she was still irritated about the imaginary $7 Sprites?

Her reason for this purchase she'll never use?

"So all my grandkids will have a place to stay on their honeymoons. They could go to Venice!" 

I'm pretty sure the two boys won't be spending 22K on honeymoon hotels... and if they do, then they must end up riding some gravy train I'm sure to be tagging along behind. I do frequently say that my 5 year old little man is a little Rick Castle, so, it could happen.

Then she let me know that she wrote down that I would be paying the $100 monthly dues along with my sister-in-law. (My SIL's vacations extend only as far as her husband's gun show hobby takes them. They only go places with shootin' and fishin'.)

So I went about my day as if I wasn't living in Crazytown.  I mean, come on, how was I supposed to react to that?

She didn't want to go to the pool, so we spent another day without her. She went to the spa and got lost & had to find a staff member ("one of those for'ner's") to bring her back to the room.

I know I mentioned how awesome the staff was, but they really went above and beyond. On the second day, we saw housekeeping outside a room far away from ours. The young lady stopped, said, "Oh, you're the Turners in room 7144, right? I'm Maria, and I'll be taking care of your stateroom this week." There were incredible towel-origami animals every day along with the perfect work Maria did. Dang, I hope they're paid well. Amazing staff. Truly.

Dinner, ventriloquist show (cool!), and bed. But I couldn't sleep. So I walked around, prayed for the employees, their home countries, and the families they left behind, then I went to the adults-only pool and hot tub. Niiiiiiice. I need me one of those.

Five days down, two to go. The next day would be at Castaway Cay - Disney's private island. They have snorkeling with manta rays around a reef. The one thing this whole trip I really wanted to do.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Trip Tales, part 2

The second day of our trip, we went to the Astronaut Hall of Fame and the War Birds Museum. I found all the astronaut stuff to be really cool, and there were plenty of simulators and interactive displays, so the kids were entertained as well. That's the best kind of learning, you know. They thought they were just playing, but now they can tell you about mission control and how to land a space shuttle.

(If I could find the mini-USB cable, I'd upload some pics for you to see.  But that's what you got for reading an ADD blogger. Hundreds of great photos, not way to share even one. My kids are cute, and you'll just have to take my word for it. Maybe my husband will help me with that tonight, and I'll post pictures next.)

I'd like to say that my mother-in-law enjoyed the day, too; but I have no idea. Her tantrum wore her out, so she decided to stay in her hotel room all day. Before we left, she was searching for Xanax, Benadryl, and some other anti-depressant. She must have found them, because when we got back, she looked rested and acted like a normal person again. Well, semi-normal; she still refused to eat dinner with us. I think she did walk around the hotel and even wandered into neighboring hotels, though, just to look around. I guess when you're 80, maybe that's exciting enough.

The third day was Get On The Boat day. We could see the Disney Dream from the bridge as we approached, and the kids were thrilled. The MIL even looked pleased.

I've got to admit - Disney has got their act together. That concourse with thousands of people in it ran like a well-oiled machine. TSA should send their staff to be trained by Disney, so people would be okay with getting frisked at the airport because the TSA agents would just be too dang happy  and friendly for passengers to get mad at them.

We signed in, signed up the kids for their activities, saw Mickey & Minnie, and got honest answers from staff about which play room to put the autistic 14-year old in. I appreciate that. Too many people act like a special-needs kid should either be treated like he's got the plague or like he's royalty. He's just a kid - treat him like any other kid, just one less mature than his actual age. There is a "clubhouse" for kids up to 11, one for 11-14, and one for 14-17. I expected to send him to the 11-14 room, but they told me he'd have to be allowed to come and go as he pleased, then they told me what would be in the younger kids' room that he might enjoy. They had computer games with pirate ship battles that he'd probably like. The staff was very gracious in letting me know that he was welcome in whichever clubhouse fit his needs best, and that they want every kid to have a great time while we're confident that he's safe.

So, being he gets lost on a walk around the block, but will happily play computer games all day, he got signed up for the same clubhouse as the three little kids. And it worked out great.

The kids each got a wristband that would be scanned as they went in and out of the clubhouse so that their computers always showed what room they were in and who signed them in and out. I like that. Everyone got a personalized "Key to the World" card that is the key card to the room as well as a charge card at any of the stores.

And that prompted the MIL's first hissy fit of the day. She didn't hear that kids couldn't buy stuff without their parent present. And since my kids are, apparently, wild hooligans who think they can do and have anything they want, she had a fit that "those kids don't need those cards because they'll charge hundreds of dollars to my account!" I told her I'd take the cards after we got on, but they would need them to get on and off the ship. She sneered. I ignored her.

For the record, the kids didn't ask for anything the whole trip. Even when we walked through the shop with the intention of buying one thing for each of them, they played with lots of stuff, got excited about lots of stuff, and all picked out ONE thing they really wanted. It was awesome hearing the 7 year old girl tell her 5 year old sister, "That's really pretty, but it costs a lot. Let's try and find something you'll like just as much that's a better deal." And they put everything they played with back on the shelves where they belonged. I was so proud!

We embarked, explored the ship, got fruity mixed drinks (then remembered to ask about the price - $10 - oops), and headed up for lunch. The waitstaff was amazingly friendly, and the food was delicious. Every employee's home country is on their name tag under their name. Mostly poor, Caribbean countries, with the occasional Brit or Canadian thrown in. The British & Canadians all looked like college students on summer break, while all the others looked like this was their full time adult job. I wondered if they left families behind because there wasn't work on their island.

The ship itself was a stunning art deco work of sculpture. Every tiny detail was looked after in the design. Simply gorgeous. Plus, it even had an art gallery. It was beautiful. I wondered if they pay their employees well, or if they're supposed to feel privileged to work for beans because they get to do it in such a nice place. Of course, Disney could pay them in magic beans.

They met Princess Tiana from The Princess & the Frog, Peter Pan, and Pluto. They checked out the clubhouse, which was amazing.

I almost hugged Tiana on the second day on the ship, because, after all day of trying to figure out foreign accents while trying to watch the kids and MIL interrupting complaining about the foreign accents and a bazillion other people laughing, talking, and yelling... Tiana is from Louisiana. And I don't know if the young lady playing Tiana was actually Southern, or if she just did the accent really well. But...

She said, "Hey, y'all! Are y'all havin' a good time?" The girls nodded yes and hugged her. And I said (perhaps too excitedly), "Aah, finally, an accent I can understand!"  I almost hugged her. She laughed at me.

We got dressed for dinner (our bags were at our door when we got there), where the MIL complained that she didn't want to dress up. I told her that was fine, but we go to a casual church, so we don't get the opportunity to dress up often. So we were going to dress up. Just because I wanted to. She didn't have to.

So she put on a skirt and then headed to the restaurant.

Our servers introduced themselves - Palmer and Sweetie - and said they'd be our servers every night. They'd change restaurants with us, that way, they'd already know what kind of drinks and salad dressing and food allergies without us having to tell a different server every night. Palmer is a tall older African man, and Sweetie is a short Pacific Islander young lady. She smiled constantly, and my five year old son fell in love with her. At the buffet breakfasts & lunches, he asked where Sweetie was. Of course, they didn't know, and her real name was Angkhana, so they may not have even know the nickname she'd introduced herself to us with. But he kept searching for her. "Where's Sweetie? Do you know where Sweetie is? Have you seen Sweetie?" Adorable!

The walls and ceiling glowed to look like you were outside. The furniture looked like frilly garden furniture. The light fixtures looked like flowers, and they opened as the walls and ceiling shifted from blue to pink to purple, looking like sunset. And it didn't shift evenly- it changed slowly from one side of the room to the other like a real sunset. It was very cool.

And we were wiped out. So we took the kids to the clubhouse and went to see a play. It was Broadway-quality and had bits of The Lion King that was pretty badass. I never thought I'd say that about a musical, but it was! And now I really want to see The Lion King. I'll have to figure out a way to make that happen.

Then we were really wiped out, gathered up kids, and crashed.

I'll try to be less detailed in the next post, but since y'all don't comment (except Mary - thanks Mary!-), I don't know if this is too much or if it's good. I want you to enjoy what I write, so please give me some feedback!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Trip tales, part 1

OK, so after we drove from central Alabama to Cocoa Beach, Florida in one night, we couldn't check into the hotel until after noon. So we stopped at Denny's for breakfast then found our hotel so we wouldn't be lost, went on in the lobby restrooms to freshen up, then headed on over to the Kennedy Space Center.

It didn't open for another two hours, but there was a beach nearby, so what did my husband choose to do? "Let's drive around and see what there is to see."


So we drove back to Cocoa Beach and rode around. His rationale was that the kids would get all wet and sandy if we went to hang out on the beach, but we had been driving since 8pm, and this made the drive time continue to 10am. I was feeling stabby.

Then we went to the space center. I thought it would be terrible since no one had slept, but it was actually pretty awesome. My husband can be a real butt nugget when he's tired (I may have pointed this out while planning the trip), so he worked hard to be nice even though he was exhausted. Thank God! We saw all the exhibits and a 3D movie made from Hubble images - that was really cool - and the kids had a great time... although they fell asleep during the bus tour of the launch pads. We got to hear a 4-mission astronaut talking about how to take a dump in space ("Gravity doesn't work, so there is no separation. You get a glove to aid in that.") and how Coke syrup separates from the carbonated water to make a weird separated floating liquid glob that you just jab your straw into as it floats by(even though Coke wasn't allowed on the shuttle - they snuck the McDonald's cup in inside a jacket) and other various quirks about being in the shuttle.

All in all, I'd say that was my favorite day of the whole trip. Partially because there was no drama, but mostly because I'm a dork and the space stuff is fascinating to me. The only way it could have been better was if they'd had some sort of homage to space sci-fi, specifically to "Firefly." Really, I couldn't give two farts about any other sci-fi show (I know, I know! That  totally kills my dork street cred!), but the 7-foot Lego model of the Serenity is pretty dang awesome. I need a Captain Mal minifigure. But I digress.

The Saturn V rocket is unbelievably huge, and just, it's just too rad to describe. All the computers of the entire space program combined had less capability than my laptop, and they put men on the moon using slide rules and tin foil. That's crazy brilliant. And the Mars stuff they've got in the works now? GAH! Too cool.

Finally, all worn out and ready for bed, we headed back to the hotel to decide on where to eat dinner. And that was when it started going down hill.

My husband parked and decided to go get us a cart for the luggage. Unbeknownst to me, he sat the van keys on the console. I was looking for something & didn't notice. Aaannnnnd I sat something on top of the keys. We got the cart, unloaded the luggage, then allowed the kids out of the van. Shockingly, they were behaving like angels up until that point. But the luggage cart looked too much like monkey bars for the sleep-deprived and hungry little things, so they started to get wild. But I calmed them down pretty quickly and herded them inside.

We got to the rooms, divided up who would take which room, then were ready to go eat. But the husband not only left the keys on the console, he also locked the van.

He tried to find them, but they couldn't be seen through the window, so we searched all over, hoping they'd been dropped. My MIL kept letting the kids into her room, where, being five years old, sleep-deprived, and starving, they jumped on the bed.

I mean, come on! What kid doesn't jump on the bed when they get to a hotel room?

She didn't say anything to them. She never says anything to the kids, just lets them behave like banshees on acid then gets mad because they misbehaved. I walked in the room and started to speak, and she yelled, "You're just going to let them jump on the bed like that!?" At this point, I haven't even registered that they were jumping, because they had just Supermanned from one bed to the other and landed in a belly flop, so it looked like they were laying down when I came in.

I ordered pizza to be delivered to the room, and my mother-in-law yelled at me. See, it was all my fault that the keys were locked in the van. Not my husband's for putting them down or for locking the van. But because the kids climbed on the luggage cart and distracted him, and if I wasn't such a bad mother, I would have had controlled them. (Even though the luggage cart jungle gym thing was after he'd locked up the van.)

(No punching old ladies. No punching old ladies. No punching old ladies.)

With the biggest fake smile I could muster, I said, "Well, it is after 9:00 at night, the pizza I ordered won't be here until almost 10, they've been awake for 24 of the last 26 hours, and they're little bitty kids."

Oh. My. Gosh. I deserve a medal. Because she said, "Well, I haven't slept either, and I'm old! And you saying that is just making excuses for them, and they'll never grow up to be anything if you keep making excuses for them!"

I gritted my teeth and left the room. She went back to her room, where my 14 year old stepson "G" would be sleeping in the other bed. She told him to come with her. But then she didn't watch him. (Remember, he's autistic, severely ADHD, and refused to sleep the night before on purpose.) So he left her room and hung over the balcony rail - fifth floor - to yell and wave at random strangers.

So a random stranger came up and yelled at my mother-in-law for letting him.

So my husband comes up after the locksmith has opened the van, and she yells at him because his special needs, sleep deprived, starving kid acted irresponsibly. (As if her letting him out of the room wasn't irresponsible.)

The pizza arrived, and I told my husband to tell his mom she could have some (I couldn't be cordial to her just then, as I was feeling very stabby), but she yelled that she was just going to have some water and slammed the door in his face.

So we ate, got the kids settled for bed, let G's sleep meds kick in, and let him into the MIL's room to sleep, and  then we all finally crashed.

The next morning, as we got ready, my MIL came in, sounding apologetic. "I wasn't trying to hurt your feelings with what I said last night. I don't want to make you mad... but... if you did a better job of controlling those kids, none of that would have happened last night. That's why nobody likes them. That's why I don't ever invite them over to my house."

Why, F you very much for that almost-apology. I thought you just didn't invite them over because you have all those porcelain dolls on the floor at kid-level (cheap ones, mostly from the Dollar Tree)  but you don't want the kids to play with them; but you'll invite G over because you can put him in the garage with some Tonka trucks and let him do whatever he wants. Like that time he'd almost passed out from heat exhaustion because you locked him out and forgot, and he didn't know how to open the garage door, but it was July, and he'd been banging on the door to be let back in for twenty minutes by the time I got there, but you're deaf and went to sleep. So now, if he comes over, you just stick him in from of the TV since he's afraid to go outside again, and you have the Military Channel, so he's happy. And you think you're being a good grandma. Yeah. You're friggin awesome. And you wonder why he never gets to come visit anymore. Frackin nutjob. And, FYI, everybody loves my little ones, because they are hilarious and beautiful and smart and generally well-behaved. But how many people came to the last party you had? You invited 80, and three showed up. No joke. Nobody likes you. But I'm still tired and maybe I'm being petty.

I turned around and walked away again instead of answering her out loud.

I really hoped the rest of the trip wouldn't go like this. Thankfully, that was the low point. For me, anyway. I wasn't present for her major melt down a few days later. That was special for her son, and was rolled up in far more insanity than this little exhaustion-induced tantrum.

But cool things happened before I get to that lovely event.... (To be continued.)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Who's the Adult here?

I was reading The Bloggess's latest post about her new dead pegasus when my seven year old daughter walked up. I covered up the cuss words and let her see the pictures. Her response was, "Huh. When the dog dies, can we get a kitten?"

Seriously? You see a picture of a pegasus with a kitten riding on its head and you focus on the kitten?

I looked at her blankly, so she asked, "Is that a real pegasus?"  There's the normal response I expected. As if there is a "normal response" to seeing a real pegasus with a kitten on its head.

"No, it's a zebra colt with goose feathers sewn on. But it looks pretty real, doesn't it?"

"Yeah. So? The kitten?"

"A pet pegasus would be way better than a kitten."

She rolled her eyes at me. "You'd just go flying around everywhere all the time."

Well, no duh. "Yeah, and it would be totally awesome."

"I guess. It could fly G to school so we wouldn't have to drive him. That would be great."

Why on earth is my little girl so dang practical? It's weird. If she hadn't squirted out of me and if she didn't look like my little clone, I'd swear she wasn't even mine.


I know I owe you stories from my vacay (travelling circus asylum). I'm just having trouble writing right now. Sorry. Responsibility overload.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

I Am Sick As A Dog (a Daschund, not a St. Bernard)

I'm sick. And my four kids are just getting over being sick. Yee haw. Good times. Not.

I haven't been able to pull my big butt off the couch long enough to come tell y'all about my insane vacation. Oh. My. Crap. It was so full of crazy!

But I've managed to read Let's Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson (the Bloggess) and The Help by Kathryn Stockett, and let me tell you - those are some awesome books. Two special kinds of crazy there.

Being inside Jenny Lawson's head is like giving rabid raccoons crystal meth and laughing gas. It is hilarious.

And the insanity of racial/ class/ gender discrimination described by Stockett borders on ridiculous. It made me cry several times, and I'm not a crier. I still see it from time to time, mostly among older generations, and I can't fathom how they don't recognize the crazy as it comes out of their mouths. But it's far worse in the places I've visited up North, for the record.

Anyway, I got on here to let you know that I'll be able to think coherently again in a few days and will post about the trip with my psycho mother-in-law. And I'll post more on my fiction works that I've abandoned for weeks.

(Crappiest blog post ever. Sorry.) Much love!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Road Trip Day 2

Awesome things we saw today: alligator, manatee, pod of 12 dolphins, humongous double rainbow over the ocean, Astronaut Hall of Fame, space shuttle Inspiration, & War Birds Museum.
Awesome things we saw yesterday: 9 foot alligator, 10-foot-wide 40-year-old bald eagles' nest, space shuttle launch platform, rocket launch pad, 5-story-tall garage for shuttles, talk from an astronaut, humongous Saturn 5 rocket, the lunar lander, a full-size moon buggy made out of legos, Apollo command module, Apollo mission control, a Mars rover, & a 3D IMAX movie from the Hubble telescope. They played on mission control simulators, flight sims, and lunar lander sims, and we touched a moonrock.
Crappy things today: Mother-in-law & husband fighting, me telling husband that her attitude must be where he gets it from, 14 year old acting like a turd (I guess that goes without saying) but off meds and paranoid, kids running off at the beach, rain while on a beach walk in normal clothes, finding out that my husband & son didn't follow the packing list & brought half the clothes they need, husband locked the keys in the van (no biggie, but it made dinner late & the MIL freak out like the Russians were invading), and the MIL acting like my kids were terrible and I'm a bad mom because at 10pm they were out of control because they were just getting dinner and were awake for 23 of the last 26 hours.
But the Kennedy Space Center is pretty dang cool! And tomorrow, we get on a Disney Cruise Ship.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Road Trip

We just drove 9 hours to Orlando. Me. My husband. Our four kids. My mother in law. (Sigh.)

We drove through the night. I objected, saying that it was a bad idea. They didn't listen. They didn't get packed and ready to go until 8 pm. 'They' being the other two adults.

The idea was that the kids and the crazy old lady would sleep.


But no.

The three youngest got a grand total of 3 hours sleep. They were miserable.

The 14 year old got 30 minutes. I might punch him in the face if he's a jerk today, since he intentionally refused to sleep.

I did threaten to punch my mother in law, but she's deaf. Every time everyone started to fall asleep, she would start talking. About pollops. And dia-rear. (She can't pronounce diarrhea.) And vomit. Please, God, this would be a good time for the Rapture.

The adults may have each gotten 30 minutes. Yay.

We're supposed to tour the Kennedy Space Center today and the Astronaut Hall of Fame tomorrow.

But right now, I'm sitting in the fine dining establishment Denny's (yick) with four hyper, exhausted kids that just ran out the door with the grandma. Gotta go!