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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

My new table...and a realization.

So if you happen to follow my shenanigans on my facebook page, you might have seen the really cool table that I found today. I know that it's not a priceless relic or anything like that, but I'm just absolutely in love with it. I had to wander around the house for a while this evening, trying to figure out exactly where to put it, because there just isn't much space in here for anything else.

I finally found the spot - right next to the rocking chair that still had the boys' stuff on it from last school year. But of course, because I'm me - in order to put the table beside the chair, I had to get rid of all of the crap on the chair. And that meant that I had to sort it all out and put it where it belonged. But that of course meant that I had to pull the chair out and sweep the floor underneath it, which led to moving all of the living room furniture to do the rest of the floor, which led to cleaning under the couch cushions - and so on, and so on.....

But, the table has found a home.

(*Mental note: buy more duct tape to fix the footstool again.)(Don't judge - it was Gramma's footstool.)

But honestly, what I think is really cool - and some people might disagree - is that for once, I saw something that I liked and I got it. Not because I needed it or because it was on sale or because I had been saving up like Scrooge for it - but just because I saw it and I liked it. There was a time not so long ago that doing something like this would have not only been impossible, but would have caused us to not have food on the table for a few days (or more).

It's been 3 years since I lost what seemed like everything. I lost my house, my van, my marriage..... I almost lost my kids because of my financial situation at the time. Things have turned around for me in so many ways. Having a little bit of extra money to spend every now and then is still a novelty - but it's also something that I know I have to watch if we're ever going to be able to get a house of our own.

Knowing that my financial stability started as a result of receiving the Social Security after my ex passed away still causes some guilt. I know, I know - I shouldn't feel guilty. But I do. And knowing that Daniel and I are getting a pretty significant increase in that Social Security as of tomorrow causes even more guilt. But like I've said before, it is what it is, period. And now that I have a "real job" - the finances are finally looking better.

We still aren't rich. We still aren't taking any road trips in the near future (especially with the van still acting really wonky) or going on any exotic vacations. But, I'm saving for a house (and a newer van), and every now and then, I can buy something that I want.

It's a pretty cool feeling.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

You asked, I answered....

So a few days ago, I asked people to ask me questions on my facebook page. These are some of them - finally with answers!!!

Katie asked: How do you manage stress?? With all the kids work school ect you seem like you manage everything so wonderfully...How in the world do you do it??? 

I'll let you in on a little secret: I don't manage it all. I really don't. I'll give you an example.

See that chair in the picture? That's the chair that's in the corner of my living room. I walk past it about 873 times every day. See the pile of stuff on the chair? That's the stuff that came home in the boys' backpacks on their last day of school. In May. 3 months ago. It's still sitting there on that chair, and I still haven't touched it, and school started last week. I keep telling myself that I'm going to get to it, and it hasn't happened yet. So yeah, I keep up with the important stuff, most of the time - but I really don't have it all together.

Jessie asked: What are you future plans? How do you think others view you? What are your top 2 biggest insecurities? What are your greatest achievements? On your days off what do you do ideally? ... Okay thats all I can come up with for now lol 

Wow - lots of questions! I'll try to answer all of them.

Future plans right now include buying a house in the town where my older 3 kids go to school so that I can get all of my kids into the same school district to cut down on stress, chaos, and mileage. At that point, The Dude will hopefully be officially moving in with us, and we'll all live happily ever after.

How do others view me? I think that depends on who you ask. I'm sure that my boss considers me to be a scatterbrain, my family has all sorts of mixed feelings about me, my kids think I'm pretty cool some of the times and the meanest mom in the world other times, and The Dude apparently thinks that I'm pretty awesome with a touch of OCD. Honestly though, I quit worrying about what other people think and I just try to be the best person that I can be.

Biggest insecurities....I question my parenting tactics all of the time and wonder just how badly I'm screwing up my kids (that's normal, right?) and I'm always afraid of losing the people I love.

Greatest achievements? Easy. My kids. They are the best things that have ever come from me.

Days off....I don't get many of them, but I try to spend time with The Dude (fishing is always good) or with the kids if they're not in school - or I clean and do everything around the house that I can't get done any other time.

Lorena asked: don´t you just LOVE MOTHERHOOD?.....I LOVED IT WHEN THEY ALL ATE AT THE TABLE AND TALKED!! WHAT HAS been your favorite moments til now? Besides them being asleep at night!

Motherhood has been pretty awesome. It has had its moments when I wanted to curl up in a corner in the fetal position and never come out, but those little buggers force me to keep going no matter what. Dinners together - though few and far between - are amazing.....assuming that they all like what I made.

As for favorite moments....there are so many! All of the 'firsts' of course, and now that they're getting older I love being able to have real conversations about real topics with them, especially with the girls.

Bianca asked: Best thing about your new job? 

Oy. That's a tough one, because the job is hard. And it's not really that much fun. And the pay, while good, isn't great. And we all know that the hours suck. But I really think that one of my favorite parts is working with the teenagers and young adults. Listening to them talking about school and dating and college and hopes and dreams has actually restored a little bit of my faith in humanity. They're really a good group of kids.

Sarah asked: If you could change anything in your life, what would it be? if anything that is! 

There is only one thing about my life that I would change, and it's something that causes most people to look at me like I'm insane. But, I had my tubes tied after I had Daniel. I didn't really want to do it, but at that time it was the best decision to make. I do regret that decision because if I had my way I would have more kids (stop looking at me like that) - but, I can't change it now and at my age it's probably smart to not even think about starting over again!

Dianne asked: I want to know how you have so much energy with no little sleep each night? Please do tell...im a mom of 4 and i have 0 energy!

I've often said that it's simply a matter of survival. Before The Dude came into the picture, I was doing it all on my own. I had no choice in the matter, and I had no help. I had to get everything done, and sleep was not going to happen until I got it done. I'm still in that mindset to a point, although he helps me out tremendously around the house. At the same time, I know that my house is my responsibility and I try not to shove too much of that off onto him. I depend on caffeine (bad, I know) and I just keep moving, because if I sit down for too long, I'm gone.

Jennifer asked: What is your biggest fear?

Losing my kids or The Dude. I would be lost without them.

Kathy asked: If money was no concern, where is the first place you would travel? Who gets to go with you? 

Easy. Back home - back to Pennsylvania to see my family and friends. I try to make that trip every year, but we couldn't afford to do it this year and I hate that. Hopefully we can do it next year.

Gloria asked: Do you want more kids with the Dude ? 

See above. :)

Paula asked: Where did you meet the Dude? (Think we all want to see if there's anyone even remotely as brilliant as he is!) Did he chat you up, or you him, and what was the first thing that was said? Where did you go on your first date? 

There's a whole blog post dedicated to exactly that.

Donna said: No questions...just this: between you and the crumb diaries, some days both your blogs either bring a huge smile of delight to my life OR a tear to my heart and a reminder that my dramas are not as bad as I think they are. SO PLEASE...Just keep blogging and THANKS for sharing your life.

Thank you! I love the crumb diaries so much, and to be paired with her is a huge honor for me. She is amazing, and has become a very good friend in this amazing world of blogging.

Andrea asked: What is your favorite thing to do for yourself? Get your nails done? Read a book? Watch a movie? What? 

I used to do my nails all of the time, but I can't even wear polish at work now so that's out of the question. I love to sew, but I haven't been able to touch my machine in months unless it was to fix something - I have so many projects started (and that I have to start) but I just haven't had the time. Boo.


So, that's it for this round. Sorry it took me so long to get to it, but you know, things are always crazy around here. I hate not blogging as much, but it's been so hard to find the time - I've actually been considering doing a few video blogs - that way I can say what I want to say while I'm driving or walking or doing the dishes or folding laundry or whatever - but with my horrible internet connection that might be more of a hassle than it's worth. I might try a short one in the next few days just to see how it works. Or I might not. We'll see.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

I couldn't do it...

...if it wasn't for The Dude.

Seriously. As I get ready to start my third week of this full-time working gig, it's really dawned on me just how amazing he has has been - and continues to be.

If he doesn't come over and spend the night before I have to work, he gets up around 4:00am so that he can be here between 4:30 and 5:00am. He makes sure that I get up when my alarm goes off (not a feat for the weak, mind you) and then he sleeps for a couple more hours until the kids get out of bed. While I'm at work, he feeds them breakfast and lunch, makes sure that they don't kill each other, and he takes care of the house. My house. Not his house or our house - but my house. He'll do dishes and do laundry and take out the trash or whatever needs to be done - and if I leave him a list, he does everything on it. He makes me something to eat when I come staggering back in the door at 2:00 - or sometimes as late as 3:30pm.

And with school starting this week, he'll soon be responsible for getting the kids up and dressed and fed and to school in the mornings too - which is not an easy thing to do on a good day.

Yesterday, we got the chance to go to a cookout that some friends of his were having. The weather was finally nice after close to 2 weeks of solid rain and flooding, and we had a great time. The kids got to run around and act like idiots and bounce in the bouncy house and swing on the swings, and he and I got to sit and visit with people and just relax. Afterwards, we did a little bit of shopping since we were in the city and had a few more options of places to go (I still can't find any more pants that I like for work) and then we came home and relaxed. The boys went to spend the night with The Dude's mother for an impromptu sleepover, so we had the house to ourselves for the night.

He knew that I was exhausted - so he didn't give me too hard of a time when I slept through the entire movie that we had planned to watch together. We woke up this morning and he went and picked Alex up and brought him back over here so that he could go spend the day with his father, and I promptly fell asleep again. At some point, I got up and moved to the couch so that we could watch another movie, and -  you guessed it - I slept through it. Finally, The Dude made me get up and go back to bed, and he went back to his place and took Daniel swimming for a couple of hours so that I could sleep some more. He brought Daniel back sometime in the afternoon - and then Daniel promptly fell asleep. I finally got up - for real - around 5:00pm.

I guess I was way more tired than even I thought that I was.

My job is hard. The hours suck, it's physically demanding, and it makes me lose a lot of time with my kids. But I know that it is what I need to do right now in order to get us into our own house, which is the ultimate end goal at this point. I know that it's what I need to do, even if it's not always fun and pleasant. But the bottom line is that none of this would be possible without the love and support from The Dude. Whether he's taking care of everything at the house while I'm at work, or simply letting me sleep - I couldn't do it without him.


Just a couple more shots from around the cookout...

There was a really big fish.

Alex being Alex. I tried not to watch him so that I didn't
have a panic attack.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


There has been a lot of stuff going on in my life lately.

I've talked about some of it here. The new job, trying to buy a house, life in general.

Some of it, I haven't. Suffice it to say that there's a lot of stuff going on in the background that I won't go into here for many reasons.

I have my moments when I sit and think about everything that is happening, and I wonder if I will ever get any of it accomplished. I am living in such a state of limbo right now, waiting for the right pieces to fall into place in so many aspects of my life, and it seems like it's never ever going to happen. Seriously - there is so much crap that is out of my control right now, and I have to wait for things to happen. I have done everything that I can humanly do, and now it's a waiting game.

And of course there have been those instances when I think that everything has fallen into place, and then something else falls out and crashes - and I have to start all over again. It's life. It happens. Pick up the pieces and get going with the reassembly process.

The boys and I went out walking around the neighborhood today, scoping out the damage from last night's storm. We walked to a nearby creek that has been dry for what seems like years, and found that it was full and overflowing, finally.

And then I had a "do as I say and not as I do" moment and I walked up to the top of the railroad bridge. No, I didn't walk across it, even though it was tempting. Instead, I just sat on the rail for a moment and snapped a few pictures looking down the tracks.

Kind of a neat view, isn't it?

It reminded me of a lesson that one of my teachers taught in high school. It was actually in geometry class, and it was about parallel lines: lines that will go on and on forever without ever intersecting. I remember the teacher talking about various examples of parallel lines, and then he went off on a tangent (get it?) about optical illusions, and the specific example that he used was railroad tracks. We know that they're parallel - we know that they never cross, but yet if you look far enough down the track it looks like they do come together.

It seems like things are so far from falling into place for us right now - but I know that if I look far enough down the line, it will all come together. And it won't be an illusion - it will happen. I just have to be patient.

Monday, August 5, 2013

So I made these plans...

Tomorrow is my day off. And I had plans.

I was going to get everything done that I had to do tonight. Lots of computer work mainly, but some other stuff too. Then, because I wouldn't have anything that HAD to be done tomorrow, I could sit around and sew.


Ha. Ha. Ha.

Instead, we had this little thunderstorm roll through the area. Now, we all know that I'm one of those nuts who loves a good thunderstorm. I go out and videotape them from the porch. I watch and enjoy.

Instead, I saw what this one looked like on the radar, and I opted to not only turn the computer off, but to unplug it. The television too. I lit candles.

And it hit. It hit like an angry PMSing Mother Nature on steroids who stepped on a lego in her barefeet after finding out that chocolate and wine were now illegal.

Water started running in through my laundry room light fixture. Then in a line down the laundry room ceiling. Then through the ceiling of the furnace room. The wind started howling. The thunder and lightning were unreal. I wandered around the house, watching the ceilings to see if there were going to be any more leaks. The power went out, and came back on, and went out, and came back on..... 5 or 6 times total. Then finally, the storm started to slow down a bit. I stepped out on the front porch to watch. I stood out there for a few minutes, just watching and listening.

And then it happened.

There was a Z-Z-Z-z-z-zzzzzzzzot!!!! followed immediately by blinding light and the sounds of an explosion. Just the sound itself almost knocked me off of my feet and I ran (I admit it) full speed back into the house. I didn't know at that point what the lightning hit, but I knew that my hair was standing up on end and my body was tingling. My lights were still on and I looked out the side window to see that the neighbor's lights were still on - so it didn't hit either of our houses.

When the storm finally stopped, I looked outside. I could tell from the amount of debris that either a tree got hit by lightning, or we have a helluva lot of wind damage. I grabbed my camera and went out back (imagine that). I couldn't see much, and was just pretty much aiming blindly to see if I could get an idea of the damage, and these are the shots that I got.

It's a waterslide!

We got a little bit of rain.

Kind of weird here - it was bubbling up around this block
of cement. Nothing like standing in your yard in the dark
and hearing gurgling coming from right beside you.

So much for my naked ladies.

So. Yeah. There you have it.

Tomorrow's plans?

sit around and sew all day long
clean up yard and assess damage