Saturday, February 27, 2010

Not Compatible

In college, I always managed to live in basically what amounted to Grand Central Station. Lots of roommates, someone always sleeping somewhere in the apartment, someone always cooking something in the apartment, someone always drunk, someone always hungover. Always people to hang out with.

Occasionally I had a roommate that I was not compatible with. This was usually (always?) because of that person's lack of cleanliness. I liked things orderly. I could handle the crowds and the chaos and the noise and the lack of privacy and the drama and the parties and the steady stream of people in and out (in fact, I loved most of those things) as long as a mop was shoved across the floor and the toilets scrubbed out on a regular basis.

When I came across someone that was a pig hard to live with, it was nice to know that living arrangements would be changing up again. And soon. College was one fluid motion of classes and new apartments and seasons changing and moving and new roommates. I could endure anyone, for it was never longer than a year before I had a chance to opt-out of any given living arrangement.

As you can imagine, my need for cleanliness has not lessened since getting married and having kids. However, babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and school-aged children tend to reek havoc on my nice, tidy ideals.

And I have lowered my standards, quite a few times, since becoming a mother.

I feel like I've now reached the rock-bottom for how low I'm willing to go. Living with these other four humans drives me INSANE. Not a single one of them gives two shits about being even the littlest bit tidy.

Joan and Kate leave a tidal wave of dirty dishes, wrappers, scraps of paper, little bits of broken toys, crumbs, crushed food bits, sticky spills, pee drips, muddy footprints, peeled-off socks, dirty laundry, crushed/torn school projects, discarded napkins, and grime in the wake. Marin is following in their footsteps.

David is guilty in that he doesn't see any of their messes, and if he does, he doesn't DO anything about any of it. He helps me clean, sure, but he does the bare minimum- vacuums only the most obvious places, takes out the recycling only when it's towering near the ceiling, and has never organized a single, solitary aspect of our home in 11 years of co-habitation.

If this were college, I'd clean like a fool and placidly tell myself that next year will be different.

But I can't do that anymore. I have to live with these people for the unforeseeable future, and the thought of their never ending messes... well, I can only think about it with despair. I love these people deeply and desperately, and yet I cannot stand wading through their junk.

I've tried, and am trying, to teach the children- and, as it turns out, the husband- how to clean up after themselves. I don't "allow" them to throw their garbage around. And yet, they all still do. So, I make them pick it up. But their definition of "picked up" and mine are very different, and no amount of training is helping to improve the situation.

I am simply not compatible with my housemates. What do I do now?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Fun Fact Friday: The Updates Edition

-Posie, our kitten, is and has been a really wonderful pet for our kids. She's so "puppy-like", minus the need to be let outside to take a crap. She loves people, is not afraid of anyone, runs to the door when it opens, and follows the kids around. That is, when they are not carrying her somewhere.

She has a penchant for household appliances, however. I told you about the fridge. She also has repeated climbed into the dryer as I load wet clothes in. And yesterday she tried to jump into the microwave. This cat is itching to die via household appliance... such an interesting fetish.

Last weekend, we had a wedding to attend, so the kids stayed overnight at David's brother's house. The next morning, as we slept in (until 8:30!), Posie was pacing between the girls' two bedrooms, like DUDES where are my kids???

-The Tired is about the same. All my blood work came back with zip, zero, zilch indicating a reason for it. My average blood sugar (which measured the time over Thanksgiving and Christmas!) was very low, which is odd. We did another blood draw to check a few other things, but I'm not very hopeful that this is going to be easily solved.

-I've moved on from Secret Life, and I'm now watching Teen Mom. Which. Hallo. I've never talked to the tv (slash computer screen, aka hulu I heart you!) so much in my life. And the parents of the teen moms? When they are not being absolutely RIDICULOUSLY neglectful, they are beating a dead horse. (You've got a baby now. You have to think of your baby. You need to work things out for your baby. Listen, THEY GET IT. THEY HAVE A BABY, can you talk about something else at dinner for once?).

However, that scene where Tyler proposed to Caitlyn? Seriously the best, sweetest, most heart-wrenching proposal in the history of the world. Yes, they are too young to get married. Yes. Much too young. However. That was the sweetest scene EVAH. They both come from such fucked up homes, and yet they are both so articulate and mature and basically parenting THEIR parents... It was beautiful. And I cried. And cried.

-The Crazy (aka let's try going off zoloft wheeeeeee) is going ok. I've been depressed these past weeks(/months?), but it's winter, and it's too cold to do anything, and there's not enough daylight etc. The longer the days get, and the sunnier they days are, the better I feel, so I'm chalking it up to "WINTER" instead of "I NEED MEDS". For now, anyway.

The two z-free things I struggle with are 1)feeling like I loose my temper w/o any warning and 2)feeling like I never know if I'm saying something inappropriate or not.

The latter is stressing me out a little. I'm often thinking, mid sentence, "Wait a minute. Am I not supposed to be talking about this?" I'm not sure why I'm paranoid about this, unless I actually AM constantly saying things I shouldn't. And I'm not simply worried about betraying confidences, though that's part of it. It's also that I feel like I'm unsure of boundaries right now.

Normally I have good, healthy boundaries and mature reactions to things. My confusion lately is a new sensation, and I don't know what to make of it.

-I haven't solved anything with my dad and his girlfriend yet. And I dread the next time I have to see her in person. (My dad and I will be fine.) The silver lining to living so far from your family? These sorts of conflicts affect my daily life very little.

-Marin told David at dinner tonight- "Daddy, when you get bigger and you go to kindergarten, you will probably get loose teeth too!" She said this apropos of... absolutely nothing.

This morning at the grocery store, I agreed to buy some ice cream sandwiches. When I told her yes, she said "Oh, yeah, my mom said yes, uh-huh, oh yeah ice cream sandwiches oh yeah" all while doing this little victory dance. And I stood there, audibly laughing at her, not even able to pretend to be annoyed by her antics.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Scenes of a (Hopefully) Fading Winter

*Farm fresh, colorful, local eggs.

*Indoor play-messes wherein the play continues from day to day without ever putting the toys away in between.

*Static, static everywhere... but less so all the time.

*Pears ripening in the windowsill.

*Cat naps... and cats napping.

*Snowbanks taller than the children, and in some cases, taller than the parents too.

*Those last few inches of new fallen snow, optimistically left unshoveled... in hopes they melt instead.

*Giggling, for the joy of giggling. (Also, a form of "winter exercise", when all else fails.)

*Ice houses leaving the lake, one by one.

*3D movies from the library.

*Projects that pass the time due to needing glue... lots and lots and LOTS of glue.

*Anticipation of warmer days, snow melting, thawing soil, spring flowers, and neighborhood walks so vivid that it aches.

*Perusing of summer photos, most especially summer foods, to remind yourself that winter does end, and it WILL end soon.

*Snow forts- tall enough to stand in!- built by a dedicated daddy.

*Sanity saving friends that you are so grateful for that you want to kiss their feet or stroke their hair or simply weep each time you see them.

*Timeouts for- out of sheer boredom- being just a little too rough with the kitten.

*Thinking about Easter dresses, and emails planning Easter meals.

*Putting "flowers" on the grocery list. For real.


Also, several of your comments from yesterday's post made me laugh. Out loud. As in: a noise was actually coming from my throat. (Sarah's yeti comment has me intermittently chuckling whenever I think of it...) I've responded to several of them, so if you left a comment you may want to check back.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


-Having friends over can really help with the winter blahs.

-So can completing projects, when the inspiration strikes. And throwing stuff away. OMYGOD, I am practically giddy with glee when I fill a trash bag.

-Whenever I chat with Seester online, I end up laughing so hard that I'm glad no one is watching me. It's ridiculous, really.

-I'm pretty sure I'm not giving up anything for lent. Ah, well, I'm not catholic or anything.

-I had a headache for about 9 days, for all or part of each and every one of those 9 days. Finally, on Thursday, I wanted to go to book club so bad that I took a left-over percoset from one of my many surgeries, and headed out the door, with my head pounding.

-Within minutes of arriving, my head no longer hurt, AT ALL. However. I was... well, totally fucking high. At one point I had the strong urge to hug a friend who was sitting across the room. So I JUMPED up, but then realized how silly I looked. Panning the room, I realized no one noticed, but now I was stuck standing in the middle of the room. So I sank to the floor and sat there.

-I know that doesn't sound like anything, but MAN. I was so HIGH. Soon after, I was weeping from laughter. Turns out things weren't quite as "unnoticed" as I thought.

-Friends that laugh mostly WITH you and only slightly AT you, FTW!

-The highness of my high could have been because about 2 hours before book club, I also took a torodol- also left-over from surgery- but it didn't help the headache. So then I took the percoset. Perhaps the combination of the two? Did me in?

-Anyway, I have about 50 percoset left, so at least now I know a "cure" for my headaches. One that makes me soar, even! (I've never before taken any of my left-over pains meds, but I held on to them, which turns out to have been a GENIUS MOVE on my part!) (Or possibly colossally STUPID. You know, which ever.)

-I left my razor at my mom's house on Christmas. I haven't shaved anything since.

-(True story).

-(There may or may not have been some intermittent trimming going on since then. You'll never know!)

-Speaking of armpits (wait, just to clarify, I don't "trim" my armpits), tonight I was scratching one of mine, and then I smelled it, and then I looked up to see my daughter had a video camera pointed at me. I've entered the phase of parenthood where I have no secrets and no privacy.

-Since I'm on a roll of the highly personal and probably absolutely unneeded sharing of information, I'm going to tell you that my husband believes the old wives tale that celery makes your sperm taste sweeter.

-We had celery for dinner tonight, so he makes oogly eyes at me and says "I'm eating lots of CELERY". And I'm all "For WHO?"

-I do not know if celery actually makes sperm taste sweeter, IF YOU GET MY DRIFT. That shit's for dark corners at college keggers and special occasions only. Very, VERY special occasions.

-I'm publishing before my twitchy trigger finger deletes this entire hott mess.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Who Are They?

During my first pregnancy, before I even knew I was having twins, I spent some time fretting and analyzing what it would be like to bring home another human, another life-time member of our family.

It was unnerving to me that I did not get ANY say it what kind of human I would be giving birth to. I couldn't choose whether it was boy-human or girl-human, whether s/he was tall, short, funny, skittish, obnoxious, obedient, mouthy, kind, gentle... or even if this new human would be healthy. (Ha, ha, ha, or as it turned out, even if this new human was singular or plural!)

Of course- besides wondering about the sex and health of the baby- I worried most about getting a human that I didn't like, or one that didn't like me. "It's one thing to get married, because you choose who you're marrying. But I don't get to choose my child..." I mused to David one night.

I was met with a blank stare.

(Sometimes he really no fun at all.)

But anyway, after the girls arrived, I forgot about my gestational train of thought as I jumped into parenthood with two feet. Honestly, in those early days I didn't have the head space OR energy to think about much at all, beyond the girls' immediate needs.

As they've grown older, though, I've spent more time wondering WHO these girls of mine were.

I was right: I can not choose if my girls are nice or mean, happy or fretting, kind-spirited or disconnected...

I love them immeasurably, whoever they turn out to be. But sometimes I find myself bucking against who they are. When they don't let a friend have her way (be polite! she's our guest!), I get frustrated. When they are anxious about simple things, I get impatient. When they insist on doing something differently than I want, I get mad.

Even though I've known for ages that I don't get to choose who they are, it still doesn't stop me from trying to control them, to mold them into who I want them to be.

But then I stop. I watch, and I listen, and I see. I see that they are strong, beautiful, and being perfectly who they are meant to be. Even if their traits don't manifest themselves as positive, I see that they ARE good traits: they are not going to get walked on by friends; they worry about things because they are sensitive and thoughtful; they know exactly who they are, and they don't want me to interfere.

They are so different. And so alike. And they've known all along who they are and what they want. They are still in process, sure, but the process is not in the forming of their personalities, it's in the unveiling.

In many ways, this whole process has been easier with the youngest child. I'm more laid back now, more willing to let her reveal herself to me.

Also, her personality is more compatible with mine. Or really, with anyone's. She's easy-going, happy, and sweet most of the time.

But I have to wonder if she's not this way because I've been more accepting of who she is. I spent less time trying to control her, trying to mold her. She's been much more free to just BE who she is than the older two daughters...

I am still learning who these children are. Everyday, I understand them a bit more (and sometimes- at the very same time- a bit less too).

I'm still learning that they already ARE who they are, and I don't have to do anything but nurture them.

I can't think of anything more exciting about parenthood than discovering who my children are. As the mystery continues to unfold before me, I hope I can remember to not meddle/control/manipulate, but to simply sit back and enjoy the show.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

New Shoes

We went out shopping for a new teapot (I ruined mine by letting it boil dry... oops)....

...and came home with new shoes.

(Everyone should buy new shoes in February.)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Drawing a Blank on Titles

Wowza, what a week of funk.

I've been extra tired lately, and thus feeling unmotivated, and thus feeling depressed. And then wondering if I'm depressed because I'm tired or tired because I'm depressed or depressed because I'm unmotivated or unmotivated because I'm tired. GEEZUZ. Which came first, the chicken or the egg, ya know?

I mentioned before that I've heard of theories that say that kids have six months of equilibrium and six months of disequilibrium. And that I felt like we were in the six "good" months. Although I'm not nearly organized enough to track if our "good" times versus our "bad" times are exactly six months, I think this pattern holds true. We have several months of chugging along peacefully followed by several months of swimming upstream.

So even though we are chugging along peacefully at the moment, I still spend a great deal of time fretting over the impact that whatever-is-wrong-with-me is negatively effecting the kids. I once even googled "how depression effects children" and WHOOO BOY don't do that. Just, don't.

My biggest complaint of being med-free is that I feel like I SNAP without any warning. Which isn't pretty OR fair to the children. That alone is making me wonder if I do in fact need to try another drug. A drug that will effect my brain. GAH.

So, hey, Shelley is having a fun convo over at her place yesterday and today, and she even quoted me! You should hop over and add your two cents. And feel free to disagree with me- I love a thoughtful debate. Do YOU believe in unconditional love?

Meanwhile, I'll be here, wishing and hoping that spring is all I need to cure what ails me.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Another Day

Since the first of the year, our children have not had a single full week of school. Late starts, early outs, canceled days... EVERY. WEEK.

Monday morning they were let out at 9:30am. Today, school was canceled for the day. We were so desperate, we spent two and one half HOURS at McD's. Along with about 7 families we know. And none of us planned to meet the others there.

I heard the "other" public place in Tiny Town to take kids (aka: the library) was packed too.

Trust me, if Marin had not been collapsing on herself from nap-need, we would have gone there as well.

Our snow piles are now taller than I am in many places. Our streets are a little "tunnel-like", with the snow piled high on each side. I can't see if anyone is coming when I back out of my driveway, because the snow drift is so tall.

This year, at least our "snow days" are for, you know, actual snow. Instead of freeze-your-face-off below zero temps.

Let me be very clear: I really love having my oldest two children around. However. When they are around at random and unplanned times, without any particular schedule or routine to follow, things can get tilted a little bit off kilter.

Luckily we are in a season of (mostly) harmony around here. (Do you believe in the "six months on six months off" theory? I do...). But still, these long snowy days are starting to wear us all down. No one is getting enough fresh air, or sunshine/light. No one is getting enough exercise*. No one is getting enough "alone" time. No one is getting enough mental stimulation.

Tomorrow, GOD WILLING, there will be school. And Thursday too. But then our kids are out Friday, Monday, and Tuesday. You know, just the local school district's attempt to test the sanity of area parents.

I hope I pass their little test.

*I've been doing that beshitted 30 Day Shred again, and my children- so desperate are they to move their little bodies- have been joining me. Which just about makes all those bicycle crunches livable.

However, I still want to kick Anita's smiley little perky fucking teeth in. Or maybe pull her ever-bouncy ponytail.

However-however, I sort of have a girl-crush in Jillian. Did I really just admit that? Meh. This whole thing was doomed from the start. And now you all know I had absolutely NOTHING to say today. Or, you know, for the past week. Blerg.

Friday, February 5, 2010


So, you know how you buy a bunch of cilantro for a recipe, and then can never, EVER use it all up no matter how hard you try? And how that same bunch never seems to get any smaller, no matter how many meals you try to use the cilantro in?

Well, thanks to Beth Fish, I've got a solution for you: Cilantro Pesto!

As anyone who's ever made basil pesto can tell you, you can start with a laundry basket full of basil and end up with a nice little bowl of pesto. Same with the cilantro. You start with a big ol' bunch, and you end up with a nice little amount that you won't want to waste a single bite of. As a lover of cilantro in it's basic plain jane form, I could not believe that I could love it anymore. BUT I DO.

Cilantro Pesto:

In a little CuisineArt type gadget, whir together cilantro and about 2 cloves of garlic. (I used about 1 cup of cilantro). Then add a glug of olive oil, a handful of grated Parmesan cheese, a squirt of lemon juice, and some salt. Whir again until well blended.

We used it to top our black beans and rice burritos. I'm eating the leftovers RIGHT NOW, and it is probably even *better* than it was originally. Mmmmmm, Mmmmmm, Mmmmmm.

For black beans that even my uber-picky husband will somewhat willingly choke down, I saute a slice of diced onion and add the can of rinsed beans to the pan and heat through. I often use minute rice, but I add salt and a little pad of butter to the boiling water before the rice.

I made the entire meal in about 10 minutes. And that's including the quesadillas I made for the children. (I am a realist, folks.)

Also? I have no more cilantro wilting in my fridge. Win!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Combating Winter Blah's... sort of

Winter blah's are still going strong in these parts, which goes hand-in-hand (apparently) with blogging blah's.

A few things we've been doing to combat the blah's:

-Going OUT grocery shopping or whatever after school. The girls and I spent 2 hours at Walmart-usually the most depressing place in the county- but it was actually pleasant. We picked up some groceries, chose Valentines for the girls' classrooms, browsed the toy aisles. Miraculously, we only visited the bathrooms once, which has to be some kind of Green Family Record.

-Buying and eating all kinds of fruits and veggies we wouldn't normally buy this time of year. The girls picked out grapes (and I bought them, even though they were from Chile!), mangoes, and blueberries. None of these are even close to being in season, or even semi-local. However, it lifted all of our spirits to break away from oranges and bananas (also not local, but at least in season.)

-Watching Secret Life of the American Teenager has been my new obsession, and you can laugh at me if you want to. I'm man enough to admit that I even got a little choked up at a television show made for and about teenagers. What of it?

-Trying to figure out how the HELL I'm going to run 5 miles (not 5k, as I originally thought I was agreeing to) on the 4th of July. It's too cold and icy for me to jump back on the C25K program right now, but I think by next month that could be possible. For now, Marin and I have started the 30 Day Shred again. (So if you see me in person and notice how I whimper while climbing stairs, just quickly look away. NOTHING TO SEE HERE I'M FINE AND... OUCH.)

And um. That's about it.