Ah Cr-

It was Christmas Eve evening, my appetizers had been plated.  The boys were running around my parents house in church clothes.  Thankfully Horton Hears a Who was on instead of A Christmas Story.  The Husband was finishing wrapping his white elephant gift.  My dad played with Tornado A, and my mom was putting on the last minute touches on her outfit.

And I found myself with nothing to do, the first time in days.  So I picked up The Flip.  I noticed The Husband hadn’t cleaned the memory after he made a cool Christmas video card.  I did the natural thing; I deleted all the footage to make sure we had plenty of room for Christmas Eve and Christmas (because I would totally forget later if I didn’t do it right then).  A full two hours of memory was ready and waiting for special Christmas memories.  Ah, memories.

The Husband: Ok, finished wrapping.  Anything else you need done?

Me: Nope.  We’re good.  Hey, you didn’t clean the memory off the Flip.

The Husband: Yeah, I didn’t save it on the computer yet.

WHAT?!  An hour of family memories and Disneyland footage gone?!  WHAT?!  What have I done?!  And why didn’t he save it all when he was editing?!

Me: (Probably with a look of pure horror on my face) You didn’t save it on the computer yet?  (pause)  But you made that video.  You were messing with clips.

The Husband: I was working it off of the camera.  I didn’t have a lot of time.

Me: Crap.

The Husband: What?

Me: I erased it.  I erased the whole memory.

The Husband: You did what?!

Me: I deleted everything to make room for Christmas memories.  I assumed you would have saved everything when you made the video card.

The Husband: I guess you should have asked before you erased it all.

Me: I was about to.  But then I thought “Of course, he saved it.  What a stupid question?”  I suck.  God, that sucks so bad.

The Husband: Well, at least all the good stuff is saved on the computer already.

Me: We have that.  And I guess that means we need to go back to Disneyland to record it all over again.

The Husband: Guess so.  Um, can I have that before you do any more damage?

I handed it over before the thing randomly exploded.  No one trust me with technology.

Something is different and very weird

In my second semester in college, something clicked in me.  I stopped stressing about finals.  During finals week as my friends freaked out, studied until their eyes popped out, I would take a little time to review and then turn on the TV or surf the web.  It drove some of my friends CrAzY.  But my mom had taught me how to study.  A little every day.  Study for 15 mins, break 5, 15 more mins, break 5, and so on.  If the test was cumulative, I should know most of the material any way.  If the test was on just part of the semester, then I should just treat it like any other test.  I relaxed, watching how much nicer people were to each other, even though they were all stressed, because they were all in the same boat.  Professors and students were scrambling to finish the semester.  And I walked in slow motion as the rest of the world sped by.

Which is how I feel right now.

And I have no right to feel that way.

No right, what so ever.

My Christmas cards aren’t even at my house yet because I ordered them on Sunday.  So they are not addressed, stamped, and mailed out.  Oh, and I forgot to put something like “Tornado E, Tornado S, and Tornado A wish you a Merry Christmas” on the cards.  So someone has to do that too.

As for the jar mixes that I have to put together for my grandparents and aunts and uncles, I still have to buy the jars.

Tornado E needs another gift from Santa, but at least everything else is bought for the boys.

Nothing is bought for my family.  Ok, I lied.  I bought a few knickknacks last year after Christmas, but not enough to give as gifts.

Which means, nothing is wrapped either.

My boxes to my in-laws and my two best friends are not even packed.  (Didn’t I say I would get those out early this year?)

The annual professional pictures I wanted to get of the boys never got done.

I have not baked a damn thing, though I have all the stuff.  Except butterscotch chips.  I need those.

The handmade ornaments and gifts from the boys. I scratched out the gifts, and they have only made one set of ornaments done.  But I burnt those.  (Did any one know you can burn clay?)

And then there’s the grand debate of should I or should I not get some sort of gift for The Husband.  Are there rules for this sh*t?  But I rather err on the side of sainthood than b*tchhood.

Let’s not forget I blew over 200 bucks of the budget on things I forgot to budget for.  Add another 150 because I forgot to add regular groceries into the budget.  Brilliant, I know.  At least, The Husband has done his dirty work too by snagging 150, but he goes and slays dragons for that stuff.  And I don’t feel too bad over the budget.  I mean, Tornado A did NEED his shots, and the boys did NEED haircuts.  They looked like they had been timewarped from the 70s.

So ten days before Christmas, I’m buried under a mountain of stuff to do.  And I’m not worried.  I’m not freaking out.  I’m just chilling.  It’s weird.  The only theory I have come up with is that I’m so worried and freaked out and obsessed over my marriage and my path to maturity that I just don’t have any room for the rest of the stuff out there.  The kids will get to school on time, and they will be properly fed, dressed, and rested every day.  The bills are paid.  Everything else will fall into place.  Gifts will be wrapped.  Food will be prepared.  Budgets will be fixed.  And the boys will have a wonderful Christmas in spite the fact that all the adults are filled with chaos over the separation.

Remind me of this zen place when I’m building two bikes at 1am Christmas morning.

Recap 10/29

1. I don’t think it’s weird to catch lunch all by myself at a restaurant, but apparently my husband and mother do.

2. Having the swing in the office makes it 100% easier to post when a baby refuses to nap.  (And he’s adorable.)

3. All three sons make great skeletons.

4. Talking to The Husband, who’s all the way in London, makes my day.  Is that corny or what?

5. Talking to other moms of girls, I’m learning boys are completely different.  Ah, the Y chromosome.

6. Tornado A has the roll of the house.

7. Assertive-training books written in the ’70s for women don’t always apply to women of the 20-teens.  (Example: Assertive exercise: open a checking account.  Um, done and done and done and done and done and done.  Right.)

8.  Someone explain to me why I can’t get my house clean, catch-up with blogs, do a few new projects and such when I have my evenings free of spending time with The Husband.  Nothing is getting done here!

9. Um, so Halloween is this Sunday and the boys’ costumes are not finished yet.

10. Neither are the sugar cookies, but the dough was made two days ago.  (Yeah, this isn’t like me either.)

Steps needed to build a crib

1. How does one convince The Husband to help clean the master bedroom so that we have room to build the crib that Tornado A so desperately needs in yesterday?  Key word: convince.  Not nag.  Convince.

2. Then there is the need to get said crib out of the garage, without dropping it on my foot.

3. But that would entail moving boxes.  And dealing with the honey that I accidentally dropped and broke the jar over two months ago.

Does any one have any suggestions getting honey off of a garage floor?  Without wetting all the boxes?

4.  Then we have to build the crib, which is a two-man job.  Preferably a husband and wife team that will nag, criticize, and wonder why they are still married when the other one is obviously an idiot who can’t follow directions.  Yes, my parents did build my crib for me when I was pregnant with Tornado E.

5. Did I mention I need to replace the mobile that Tornado S broke in his excitement to be able to stand in the crib and grab those cute little puppies?

6. Maybe it would be easier to just let Tornado A sleep with me in bed until he’s ready for a twin.

7. Obviously, I’m highly delusional.  And 4am tomorrow, I will wonder how the hell do I get The Husband to clean his f-ing stuff up or should I toss it in the home office.

Recap 10/08

1. I hate mosquitos!

2. I planning a vendetta against them.

3. I hate when the boys refuse to nap and drive me crazy and keep me from the only source of chocolate in the house, a Moon Pie.  F- this.  I’ll be back.

4. It’s amazing what a little chocolate will due to one’s mood.

5. Of course, Tornado E shows signs of illness when his classmates are dropping like flies around him.

6. Guess how many bottoms need to be wiped during a 40 minute sells call.  Go ahead and guess.

7. I’m sure I said this before, but I’m putting in an official request for a longer day.

8. I think we need to put up the crib.  Tornado A is the length of the bassinet.

9. Tornado S needs company while he has a bowl movement or he sings.

10. After hearing about the wonderful food in Vegas, I’ve decided once Tornado A is weaned, The Husband and I are going for a couple’s weekend.

The shadow in me

This summer I learned that I couldn’t do everything on my own, that I had some major issues (sh*t is what I like to call it) and I had to own them.  Though I had known for over a year, I accepted I was co-dependent and I needed to go to Co-Dependents Anonymous

It started when my best friend insisted I read Co-Dependent No More, and I learned then that I had some real issues.  I had already realized that I couldn’t keep obsessively worrying over The Husband and where he was and what he was doing.  I stopped nagging him 21 months ago and gave him room to breathe.  But I didn’t tell him what I was doing or why, and he took it to mean I no longer cared, which got the ball rolling to the sh*t storm we are dealing with right now.  But that’s not what I want to talk about now.

Some of you might have already hit the link, maybe you didn’t.  But I think a co-dependent is someone who believes to be happy he or she has to make sure all the people around him/her are happy and safe.  The co-dependent knows best.  Damnit. So the co-dependent tries to manipulate people and situations to “protect” his/her loved ones.  Those loved ones don’t want to be controlled and resent the co-dependent, who then, in turn, feels resented, used, and hurt.  Then the co-dependent tries to control more.  It‘s a vicious cycle.

At first I wanted to know who twisted me into this deformed lover.

Society.  Our society has been telling women for generations to be successful, happy, and a valuable member of society, she had to produce a happy, healthy, functioning  family.  Behind every great man is a great woman.  Those children are so polite and smart; it must be because of the mother.  Oh, he killed three people; what kind of mother did he have?  Yup, women are responsible for all that is their family. 

Yet I read many of you, and you don’t have the craziness that’s in me.  So there must be other factors.

Like my mother.  And her mother.  Controlling women.  They give and give and give.  And if we are not sufficiently grateful, if we decide to ignore their advice, then we are foolish or horrible or stupid or too young to know better.  I’m watching my mom push away my brother, and slowly she’s beginning to push me away with all her well-meaning advice.  Her constant, loud, frequent, bossy advice.  My aunts and uncle all have issues, and I believe it stems from my grandma’s need to help her children be happy and safe.

But there’s plenty of blame to go around.

How about that emotionally abusive relationship in college?  The one where my boyfriend was passive-aggressive with time.   He tried to manipulate me to become a script writer for him.  (I wanted to write novels.)  He once told me I was getting fat from all the desserts I ate.  (Hardly, and I got up and grabbed three more.)  He got upset with me because we took a class together and I wouldn’t only study with him.  (I’m sorry, I don’t settle for B’s or C’s.)

Of course, my college counselor pointed out I was more than willing to cut myself up and put myself into a neat little package for the boyfriend without being asked.  Ugh.

And then there’s The Husband.  He brought his own craziness into the mix.  Which made me crazier.  Which made him crazier.  It’s a vicious cycle.

I thought about this the first week I started going to CoDA, and I realized that if I laid blame on someone, I would start to absolve myself from my actions.  Like an alcoholic, I was responsible for my actions, even if someone had poisoned me into not knowing how to truly love and how to be truly me.  It didn’t matter.  I was responsible, and I had to start living responsibly.

I’m co-dependent.  If I call enough and yell enough, The Husband will want to come home and be with me.  If I argue with my mom enough, she’ll see things my way.  If I keep my boys safe in the way I see things are safe, they will be safe.  If I make everything even between The Husband and me, I’ll have what I want and need.

But it doesn’t work that way.  I have to let The Husband and my mom be who they are, think the way they want, say the things they want.  I’ll have to slowly let go of my boys so they can experience the world and they won’t ever have the need to run away because I’m trying to control them.  I have to figure out what I need and want to be a healthy, happy, whole person.

Tornado E and Tornado S Appleseed

I haven’t picked apples since I was a kid.  The family cabin had three apple trees, one twig and two giants.  One late summer weekend, I spent the trip in the branches of one of the giants, eating apples and reading Little Women.

Last year I decided we needed to go to an orchard and pick apples.  But with The Husband’s work schedule, football season, and my lack of motivation, we never went.

This year I was determined to go.  So after a few plans laid to waster, I put my foot down and told everyone we were going, hell or high water.

After driving for an hour, The Husband started to legally represent the children with the adult version of “Are we there yet?”

The Husband: How far are we going?  Did that sign just advertise a hotel in New Mexico?  Are we going to get there today?  Good job, Fae; we should’ve gone to California.

My husband’s wit is particularly biting and humorous with lack of sleep.

Then we got there.  And the boys were bounding to get out into the fields.  As The Husband hunted for the perfect Golden Delicious Apples, I taught Tornado E and Tornado S how to pick with Tornado A strapped to me like a ticking bomb.

Me: Ok, you grab, twist, and pull.

Tornado S reached out and grabbed an apple.

Tornado S: Twist.

He twisted the apple.

Tornado S: Pull.

He pulled it off the tree and wandered over to the wagon and the five gallon bucket.  He dropped it in and meandered back.  He picked his next apple and grabbed it.

Tornado S: Twist.

He twisted the apple.

Tornado S: And pull.

He pulled the apple off.  He wandered back to the apple bucket and dropped in the apple.  Repeat.

Tornado E, on the other hand, singled out his victim and yanked it off the tree.  He filled his arms with apples plucked from the tree, sometimes with leaves still attached.

Tornado E: We tried apples at school!  I liked Granny Smith the best!  Can I pick a bunch of Granny Smith apples?  Please!  Hey!  Mommy!  Is this apple a Granny Smith apple?  Is this one a Granny Smith apple?  How about this one?

After Tornado E held as many apples as he could (around three or four), he ran and dropped the whole bunch into the bucket.  Then he ran back to the trees and yanked more of the trees.

So that’s how we bought 26 pounds of apples.

Any one have a good recipe for apple pie?  Or any other apple recipes?

Who needs sleep?

I’m starting to suspect there’s something wrong with me.  I’m not getting more than six hours of sleep, and I have no urge to nap.  I’m up late with The Husband, and I’m up early with the boys.  With Tornado A’s randomly short nap schedule, I’m always on the move.  Even when The Husband was away for the Chargers’ game, I still stayed up late . . . cleaning.

Now I’m no stranger to living on little sleep.  I mastered  it in college, writing papers at 2 am, after everyone was asleep.  Then there were the years of Tornado E waking through the night.   But I’m no longer as young as I was, and I’m beginning to wonder how bad this no sleep is for me.

I stopped going to bed at a decent time earlier this summer when my world shattered around me.  I feared laying in bed, thinking, analyzing, worrying, and basically driving myself crazy.  I feared nightmares and dreams.  I feared that all I would want to do would sleep for weeks until my soul healed.  I couldn’t do that.  So I worked myself to exhaustion and crumbled into bed to sleep deep enough to forget my dreams when I woke to the first cry or “Mommy” in the morning.

It seemed like a good plan until now when I’m starting to get only five hours of sleep and I feel fine.  Now I wonder if next month I’ll be down to four.  I wonder how this will affect my mind and body.  Will this keep me from making a right choice or react in a helpful way?

At least, on the bright side, my house looks great, the boys are happy, and The Husband I are actually sitting down and talking about something other than kids, bills, or politics.  And I’m doing some soul searching.  Now if I could only cram more blogging and writing, life would be golden.  Oh, and some more sleep.

A little advice

During the summer, I attended parenting classes that were hosted at my son’s school.  At first I thought they were offered by the church, but it turns out it is a county run program, teaching parents to be better parents.  Holy crap!  A good idea use of public funds!  Lately I felt that would never happen.

Now I didn’t agree a 100% with everything taught.  I’m not how sure that a pure democracy in the household would actually work.  I believe you give children an inch, they’ll take the mile because, seriously, they don’t know any better.  And in my household, The Husband and I are about to be outvoted in another year, when Tornado A can actually use his voice.

The class strived to teach us that children are people too with insecurities and pride, intelligence and emotions.  I know.  I was always under the belief that children were like dogs that talked.  Messy, loud dogs.

All right if you been here a while, you know I don’t believe that.  I actually compare them to raptors or tornadoes.  Usually tornadoes.  But that’s probably insulting.  They do reason, so I’ll try to stick with raptors.

All kidding aside, I did learn quite a few things from the class.

Like:

Pick your battles.  It’s so easy to go into a power struggle with a child.  The teacher would often say, “Just stop and think.  You’re an adult caught in a power struggle with a little child.  Really?”  If it’s not dangerous or crazy, why not let the kid eat with his hands; he’ll learn by example what he’s expected to do.  So she wants to shut the car door; she thinks she’s helping.

Every action has an emotion.  Deal with the emotion.

Husbands can admit they’re wrong.  The Husband went to one class out of six, but as we walked out he said, “You were right about not spanking.  I’m glad I listened to you.”

There was a lot of other stuff to that I have plainly forgotten.  I guess I should go back and read all those handouts.

Now they are doing a new class, and the principal of the school believes in it so much that she’s volunteered to do the child watching (due to church budget cuts, the sitting was cut after the last class).  So last week, The Husband came (and plans to keep going) with me.  We learned to Respond, Not React.  Because when we react, we often don’t act right.  Or we sound like our parents.

Another Happy Homemaker Moment

I hate when I have them.

I’m really enjoying making Tornado E lunches for school.  I bake a dessert every weekend.  I bought little boxes and containers, even finding a few with cute animal faces.  I cut out sandwiches with cookie cutters.  I’m still searching for unique and fun menus.  I make him a little note with stickers.  Everything fits in his awesome metal pirate lunch box.

It’s all very cute and lovely.

Then last night as I finished humming and building a lunch, I thought, “I wish The Husband went to work, and I could make his lunches too.”

AND I could make his lunches too.

Does this mean I have to give up my feminist card?  And forget the secret handshake?  And break all my Ani DiFranco cds?  And burn my “God’s a girl and she’s cute” shirt?

Maybe I just need a stiff drink.