Friday, November 30, 2007

The best things in life are free

But screw them all, I'd rather have the money.

Have I mentioned lately how we're broke? How we have literally no money whatsoever to our names? Creditors breathing down our necks? Let's put it this way:

If I died today, they'd have to bury me in a refrigerator box in the backyard, because that's all we could afford.

It sucks to live this way. Money has been one of the major problems in our marriage. We were raised with very different ways of looking at and dealing with money, and we have pretty much followed in our parents' footsteps. He looks at it from one point of view, and deals with it in the way that he saw growing up. I look at it a completely different way, and I handle it (when I'm in the power seat) in the way that I saw growing up. Notice how intentionally vague I'm being? Not pointing out which one of us is parsimonious, and which one burns through money like kindling?

Let's just say that having no money, earning absolute shit wages for what I do, owing lots of money to lots of people, and constantly worrying about where I'll find enough money to fill the gas tank and/or pay for daycare, etc. has not been great for my anxiety. I freak out about money. Husband is much more philosophical about it, if that's the right word. It's been this way since the very very very beginning of our marriage. I'll always contend that it started with the washer and dryer.

When we moved into our townhouse, two weeks before the wedding, it was brand new and had no washer or dryer. Since it was a long way to the nearest laundromat, and all those quarters can really add up, we felt that we would be better off buying an inexpensive washer and dryer set. So buy we did, a very cheap set with no bells or whistles. It cost about $500, all told, and we put it on my credit card. Not a biggie. I paid off my balance every month, and I had a stellar credit rating. It all sort of somehow escalated from there, what with moving and kids and cars and a house that needed "fixing" and trying to pay of his old debts and a million other little things that kept adding up.

You know that commercial where the guy is showing you all these nice things he has - big house in a good neighborhood, nice car, riding lawn mower? And then he says "How do I manage it?" with this big shit-eating grin on his face? And then he says, same big frozen smile, "I'm in debt up to my eyeballs!"

That's us.

I hate it. Hate it hate it hate it hate it with the fire of a thousand nuns. If I could fix one thing about my life, it would be our debt. It's an absolutely soul-crushing pressure every minute of every day. Screw fixing the Bear's asthma or my mom's MS or selling our house or losing fifty pounds or having perfect eyesight or perfect hair or world peace or whatever it is the kids are wishing for these days. No. I just want to pay off our debt. I don't mind working hard for a living. I don't mind having to budget for the things we need. I don't want to be rich. I just don't want to mired in debt for the rest of my life. That's all.

Anyway, it's just bothering me today, a lot. It sucks my will to live. Hate to bitch about something so trivial, especially when there are people in the world who have it so much worse than I do. Who am I to complain, really? I have a roof over my head and food for my children. We have health insurance and good jobs. It's not that bad, considering.

It's just that I teach a bunch of spoiled rich kids every day, and it's so frustrating that they have all this money and can't appreciate it, and here I am, struggling to stay out of the poorhouse, and I don't have a quarter of what they do. The world is not a fair place. At all.

Fuck. Phone ringing. Another creditor. I bet I know what they want...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Time keeps on slipping

4 years

48 months

1,461 days

35,064 hours

2,103,840 minutes

126,230,400 seconds

and counting...

I wonder how many of those hours were spent fighting, how many spent laughing, crying. I wonder how many of those days were spent apart, how many were spent entirely together. How many of those months did I spend pregnant? How many days spent sleeping? How many hours logged in the car, on the phone, in bed?

Being married is the hardest thing I've ever done. Drug-free childbirth was a cake walk compared to this. There are days I'd like to chuck it all and head for the hills. There are other days when I worry that if something happened to him, I'd die too. I love him more than anyone else on the face of the planet, and there's no one alive who can make me so incredibly angry. These 1,461 days have not been easy ones - we've fought, cried, yelled, thrown things, talked in circles all night long. We've also become incredibly close. He has seen me give birth - twice. He held my hand as I miscarried our baby. He has seen me at my ugliest and at my most lovely. He has seen me at my most vulnerable - completely broken down, ready to give up. He has taken care of me when I needed him most. He loves me in spite of my flaws.

He has also let me down more times than I can count, and has hurt me more than anyone else ever has. He has broken my trust. He has some horribly annoying habits, which he categorically refuses to change. He can be an insufferable jackass.

Nobody ever told me that marriage was going to be easy. Sure, maybe they glossed over the less-than-glamorous parts, but nobody ever promised me puppies and sunshine all the time. And that's okay. Our life is never boring.

I'm glad that we are where we are. I'm starting to think that things will be okay. I like the way my life - our life - is turning out. I'm interested to see where we'll be in another four years. Sure, we have our differences. But I love him more than I have ever loved anyone, and I know that he loves me, too. I wouldn't trade the experience of the last four years for anything. I may not be a perfect wife, and he may not be a perfect husband, but we belong to each other, and at the end of the day, that's all that matters to me.

Happy Anniversary.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Man. What a day. Seriously.

It's 11:55. I'm so going to get this up before midnight.

I'm tired.

I stood in line at the grocery store for 35 minutes. New cashier. I had to tell her how to use her machine. That's actually a good story. Note to self: talk about Diane tomorrow.

I got lost three times on the way to the pediatrician's office with Tank. Then, when I got there, I didn't have her shot records. And she kept running away. Like ten times. Also, eating dirt and rocks and crap can be a sign of anemia in babies, so he wants her tested for that. Not a bad idea.

I just made like nine dozen enchiladas* and about five pounds each of rice and beans. With my "helpers," who really enjoy throwing food on the floor and pulling things out of cabinets. To feed other people tomorrow - not even my own family!

Long day, long night, and I still have to shower and get to bed before the alarm goes off at 4:30.

Midnight. I'm done.

*Four different kinds...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Today was a Good Day

Today was one of those days where I think I might have actually made a Difference. I did good things for people. I:

did community service at a bakery in a home for developmentally disabled adults (I cracked eggs! and scooped cookie dough!)

led an after-school study session that actually helped a student understand a concept (we sat and went over his quiz question by question until he could get them right)

organized all the desks and books in my classroom (so clean! all numbered! and color-coded!)

gave a quiz that not a single student failed (it was on the computer, and I let them take it as many times as they could in a single period, and kept the best score)

gave a co-worker and her two little boys a ride home in the cold so they wouldn't have to walk (they're just the same ages as the Bear and Tank, and so cute)

felt fairly self-satisfied, naturally.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Working Girl

Good God, but it's hard to get back in the swing of things after a five-day holiday weekend. Work was an absolute madhouse today. As in, I'm talking Bedlam, break out the straightjackets, where's my soma? fucking sideshow.

I had, in no particular order, tears, vomit, YouTube, and detention. What's that you say? Your day was more interesting than that? Doubtful.

I showed this video to my homeroom today, mostly to mock their shitty taste in music, but also because it's freaking hilarious if you've heard the original song.

Then someone puked all over her desk and papers during first period. The funny thing was, nobody noticed until about five minutes later, after she had jumped up and run out. We just sort of kept on going, and finally someone was all, like, um, not to disturb class, but she puked on her desk. I managed to clean it up and keep us mostly on track, which was impressive to me. Stealth vomit.

Then I made a poor boy cry because he couldn't finish his quiz in time. How is it my fault if he spends half his time staring out the window instead of focusing on his quiz. Right? You can lead a horse to water...

THEN some little shit who's not even in my class thought it would be funny to lean on the door so that I couldn't open it when I went to let my class in. I let him plead his case with the Head - I was ready to beat him about the head with a sack full of doorknobs.

Plus, I had "the talk" with my favorite group of girls, all of whom I adore and would cheerfully adopt, but who tend to fixate on all the small details and nitpick everything to death. I had to tell them that they waste too much time obsessing and not learning new material. They decided it was the breakup talk, and that I was dumping them. It was a really funny metaphor - we carried it out all through class.

Then we had a peach fuzz/beard hair discussion (again - I think they think I'm their mother or something...).

So, I'm still behind on my grading, I have to make a quiz first thing tomorrow (after my 7:30! meeting), then there's our community service, a field trip coming up, time for more progress reports, all kinds of other shit - never a dull moment.

Hard to believe some days that I actually *wanted* to do this for a living - and that I still enjoy it. Ninety-nine days out of a hundred, I wouldn't trade my job for one of those cushy desk jobs where the money's good and the living's easy. But there's always that one day out of a hundred... I'm tired just thinking about it.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Let Us Break Bread Together

Screw Thanksgiving. Our meal was mediocre at best, salvaged only by a store-bought (!) pie.

On our anniversary-esque-outing-getaway, we Ate. A lot. And lo, it was good.

On the menu:

a real Greek salad
fish and chips
*real* beer
eggs florentine with bacon, spinach, and fresh tomatoes
pancakes with warm cinnamon cream

Also on the menu:

sleep. and sex. and more sleep. real estate window shopping, and the first real snow of the year, not to mention the world's weirdest piano guy. He was like a Piano Man gone bad wedding DJ. It was the funniest shit ever. He actually didn't sound too bad so long as you didn't look at him. But if you looked at him, he made Little Richard look like he was sitting still. The mouth shapes and the faces... it was awesome.

So, anyway, it's back to the usual grind tomorrow. But it was a nice respite for a day.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


I'm getting in my daily post early today, because I have to leave. I have to pack a little bag, get in the car, leave the kids with Grandma, drive to a fancy schmancy hotel with Husband, go out to dinner, and have sex. After which, I will sleep until I wake up - without someone climbing on top of me and proclaiming "Morning! Time for Wakey!" at crack of dawn.

It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it.

Friday, November 23, 2007


Well, we all survived the Giving of Thanks tolerably well. There were only a few bouts of tears and/or hysteria. I don't much enjoy holidays (I feel like I've discussed this one before, but I'm too lazy to link back to it), but this one wasn't terrible, as holidays go. I still felt fairly anxious/tense/irritable all day, but I think I did an okay job of keeping it under wraps.

The day didn't start off so well - when the whole family marched off to church, bright and early, I tried to persuade Husband to a different type of sacred rite. And I was rebuffed. Me! Denied! It's unconscionable, I tell you.

Maybe I'll Come To Jesus after all - I'll bet he never denied anyone salvation on account of being "too tired." Humph.

Then the children were, ahem, a bit fractious. But we kind of let them get away with whatever they wanted, and it seemed to placate them pretty well.**

I made stuffing, from scratch, without a recipe, and it turned out famously. Absolutely perfect.

The turkey wasn't cooked through all the way, but I didn't stress about it too much, because it wasn't my turkey. If that had happened at my house, I would have been hiding in a closet.*** Since it was my MIL's turkey, I didn't much mind. In fact, it gave me a great idea for next year's Thanksgiving celebration. By then, I'll be in a house of my own (or dead, one), and I'm going to host Thanksgiving there. I'm going to have an entire buffet of nothing but everyone's favorite side dishes. Every single side dish you could ever imagine, and not a drop of turkey to be found. The sides are the best part of the meal anyway, IMO. I can't wait.

So now I'm watching Irving Berlin's White Christmas and loving it. Not a bad holiday at all.

*This title has nothing to do with this post, except that 200 seems like kind of a milestone or something. Whatever.
**Gee, I wonder why that is.
***Such a thing would never happen at my house, though.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Sick and tired

Hi. It's me. I'm tired. I'm always tired.

I can't tell if it's normal mom-tired, or if it's more than that. I have no frame of reference for this. I am always tired. If I get eight hours of sleep, I wake up feeling groggy and drowsy, and definitely not rested. I fall asleep while driving at least three times a week. If I sit still for longer than about ten minutes, I will fall asleep. I don't have the energy to shower some days. I could cheerfully go to bed at eight every night, and still probably wake up tired. I drag. I yawn. My head is fuzzy. It's not just a physical tired, it's also a mental tired. I drag my ass around behind me in a sling every day. Remember when your first kid was new and colicky and you never got any sleep, ever, but were still trying to work full-time and commute and figure out what to do with the new small person in your house who screamed for hours on end every night? Newborn tired? I am newborn tired. Trouble is, my newborn will be two in a few months.

I also get headaches. I've always had headaches. All my life, since middle school or so, I have always gotten headaches. In a normal week, I'd say I have a headache 3-5 days out of 7. That's normal to me. It doesn't faze me. That's just the way my body is - I'm used to it by now. Lots of times, they're tension headaches, down there in the back of the skull, right at the top of the neck. Other times, they're in my eyes - I have horrible eyesight, and sometimes when my prescription needs updating, I get headaches. Occasionally, I get migraines. When I don't have caffeine by amout 10 am, I get a headache. Too much red wine? Headache.

This all seems very nornal to me. It's just a part of who I am, what my life is like. Husband, on the other hand, thinks that it's all part of something larger. He's convinced that I'm sick with something. Who knows what - something that gives you headaches and makes you tired. And he's tired, too - tired of listening to me complain, tired of me not feeling good, tired of putting up with me when I'm like this. It's gotten to the point that I don't like to even let him know what I'm feeling - I'm afraid if he thinks I'm sick too much, he'll leave me for someone with more energy, someone who feels great all the time.

This post has no point except for me to voice my worry that Husband is going to leave me because he's tired of me being sick and tired. And I don't know that he would do that - but I don't know that he wouldn't.* It's only up here because I have to post something every day, and that's what's on my mind right now. I wish I felt better - I wish I had the energy to care.

*Wow, is that ever a post for another day.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Guilt redux

Well, my day of hedonistic pleasure is officially caput. It was nice while it lasted.

I should tell you that the girls daycare/preschool had a turkey lunch today that parents were invited to attend. It's not a big fancy feast, just a sort of family sit-down thing with kids and parents. From my perspective, not a lot of parents come, because if the parents were available for lunch, then the kids probably wouldn't be in school for the day. They'd be home, together.

Long story short, I'm home all day, not at work, but the kids are at school so that I can get grading done. And relax. And grade (117 papers in the last hour and a half. I'm on a roll). I had said that I would go to the turkey-fest, and then I didn't. I didn't go. I said I would, and I didn't. I was sleeping. Soundly. With a cat. I am the world's worst mother.

I know Tank won't notice, and I'm not sure if the Bear will make a big deal of it or not. If she does, we'll have a special treat to make up for it. She gets these things.

But my MIL called, from work, specifically to ask me how it went. And when I told her I didn't go, she sounded heartbroken. Like I had let her down. Like it was some sort of huge failing. She was sad. *SHE* was sad, because *I* didn't go. Not sad that I missed out on a cute children bonding experience. No, sad for my kids because they have such an uncaring, unfeeling slacker mother. She feels sorry that my kids have me, lazy sloppy unfeeling poorly medicated crazy old me, for a mom.

And you know what? Now I feel sorry for them, too. My own mother never missed a damn thing I did. Not one. And I can't even show up to sit down and eat a turkey sandwich with two dozen three year olds.

I have to go get ready now. I have a date with my old friend, Guilt. I hope he didn't bring Anxiety with him. I'm not up for a threesome tonight, and I haven't shaved my legs.

Hedonistic Pleasures

Sometimes a girl feels the need to indulge, you know?

It's my day off. Everyone else is at work or school. I got an extra day of turkey vacation. So far today I've:

slept in*
taken the girls to school
came back home
went back to bed
slept til noon
had Taco Bell for lunch
watched some Law & Order
not graded a single one of the 5872 papers in my bag

Life is good. Really, really good. After yesterday, I wanted to relax and enjoy myself. And I have.

Now I'm going to grade papers. Promise. But I'm not going to beat myself up if I don't get them all done. Life's too short.

*til 6:30! The sun was already up!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Have you ever had an anxiety attack?

You should try it.

First, run out of money to refill your meds. Wait a few days. Then, start feeling all irrational and panicky. Be certain that the Universe is conspiring against you.

You will feel tired and sluggish. The room will spin around you. This is normal.

Get irritated with everyone that you see. This is because they are all idiots. The Universe is conspiring to fill your day with morons. Yell at people to make yourself feel better.

Sit at your desk feeling overwhelmed. You won't accomplish anything, of couse. Drive home. Miss your exit.

Get your children. Sit in the car with them at the pharmacy. Pull up behind a minivan. Wait. Another car will pull up behind you. You will get boxed in. The minivan in front of you will sit there, unmoving, for half an hour. You won't be able to move. The car behind you will not let you out. Listen to the Bear cry. She will panic because her arm hurts. Listen as she sobs out "it's breaking me!" for a full ten minutes. Wait for the van to move. Notice that you're still boxed in. Listen to the children crying in the backseat. Wait for the van to move. Notice that you're still boxed in. Listen to the children crying in the backseat. Wait for the van to move. Notice that you're still boxed in. Listen to the children crying in the backseat. Call your husband's cell. He won't answer. Call his desk phone. He won't answer. Call your husband's cell. He won't answer. Call his desk phone. He won't answer. Call your husband's cell. He won't answer. Call his desk phone. He won't answer. Your hands will start to shake. Your chest will constrict. A stabbing pain will shoot through your lungs. You will panic and start yelling at the van in front of you. Your hands will shake harder. You will start to hyperventilate. Try to breathe. Fail. Your brain will race in circles. Good luck trying to calm that one down. Round and round, round and round. You are convinced that you will never make it out of this car, that you will never be able to maintain your calm long enough to take the children home without screaming/beating/killing them. The pharmacy won't have your prescription. They won't have a refill for your daughter's inhaler. Your husband will say matter-of-fact things that are true but unhelpful. You will scream at him and hang up the phone. Consider throwing the phone out the window and running over it several times, a la Office Space. Decide against it. No money for new cell phone. Keep panicking - you'll get the hang of it soon. Drive away. Breathe deeply. Listen to the children suddenly laughing together again. Keep driving. Keep breathing.

Go home. Eat toast for dinner. Lots of jam. Feed toast to children for dinner. Shut up - it's whole wheat. Take pills. Paxil. Valium. Meclizine. Sit on the couch. Let the children romp. Keep breathing. Keep sitting. Soon, you'll start to relax. You'll still feel an underlying anxiety. Yell at your children and family at random intervals. Stare at the television. The sharp pain in your chest will come back. You are having a heart attack. You are dying. Feel a sharp twinge in your midsection. It is appendicitis. It doesn't matter that your appendix is on the other side. This is it. It's a kidney stone. You're ovulating. A hernia.

Realize that you're an idiot.

Listen to the Bear cough and hack in her bed. Listen to Tank cry and scream in hers. Klonopin. At some point, the anxiety will subside in favor of a nice fuzzy feeling. You will still be anxious, but you won't really care. See bugs on the carpet. Wait, no. That's just you. Are the lights moving? No, that's just you.

Go to bed. Tomorrow is another day.

Monday, November 19, 2007

I'm IT

Because Summer tagged me:

7 Random Things About Me (In No Particular Order)

1. I have been considering shaving my head for the last three months. Seriously. I have the worst hair in the known Universe. I figure if I shave it all off, maybe it will grow back in better?

2. I was engaged to a different Boy when I met Husband (again). I broke it off with him, and the rest (as they say) is History. Only very rarely do I wonder what would have happened if I hadn't done that.

3. I have always wished I was *older* than I am. I *look* a lot younger than I actually am. I hate that. I feel old. I want to look it, too. (I'm sure when I hit 40 I'll change my tune.)

4. On more than one occasion, I have wanted to smack one of my students for being a shit. I content myself with counting slowly to ten, and imagining mean things in my head.

5. Husband has a foot fetish. He, um, likes feet. A lot. I'm down with that. And yet, paradoxically, I can't get him to actually rub my feet when they're sore and hurting and tired. Why is this?

6. I own a girdle. I have been known to wear it in order to fit into certain clothes without busting out the muffin top.

7. I have kleptomaniacal tendencies. Hide the valuables, kids. Just sayin'.

If you want to play, consider yourself tagged and leave a link in the comments. Lots of people have already done this one - not sure if I can think of seven people who haven't!

And now - THREE!

Things that come in threes:

Cry-ers. I made three separate people cry today. Or, more accurately, they made themselves cry. I was just there, and they happened to blame it on me. It's not my fault if you A) forgot you had a quiz today; B) ran and yelled in the hall after I told you not to and ended up in detention; or C) got written up for your third uniform violation, which is going to result in a detention, which totally isn't fair, because it's your mom's fault you didn't get dressed right in the morning, and then your mean old (young) teacher gave you homework for tonight even though technically you weren't supposed to have homework in any classes tonight, but tough shit, you pissed me off and now you have to pay. Really. None of these were my fault. Swear.

Also in threes: nipples. Yesterday, the Bear was in the tub and looked down at her chest.

What are these?

Um, well, those are nipples. When you grow up and have a baby, and it's hungry, that's where the milk comes out. Remember when Tank was a baby, and she had mommy milk?

I remember that!

Yes, well, that's what nipples are for.

She was, of course, fascinated. I had to distract her because she kept pinching them and laughing. (Somewhere, Husband is freaking out just thinking about that.)

Then, later, she was sitting around as I was putting on my pajama top, when, LOOK!

"NIBBLES!" she exclaimed.

Um, yeah. You could call them that, too...

The irony of that is not lost on me. At all. In fact, I'm thinking of renaming mine. Sounds like a tasty snack, no?

Finally, on the radio this morning, the DJ was taking a call from a guy in Naples, FL. You know how they always say "so-and-so, from Naples" before they come on? Well, the DJ said that, and then he was all, like, holy shit, what a crazy name for a town, I can't believe you're from Naples! You mean Naples, like on boobs? And his female cohort was all like, dumbass, those are *nipples*. Naples is a town in Florida - nipples are on your chest.

I guess that story is only funny if you know that it all took place in Spanish. Because, duh, in Enlish it's just not remotely amusing. Just dumb. Somehow, though, with the language confusion, it was hilarious. I can see where "nipples" and "Naples" sound very similar to someone whose first language isn't English.

So, there you have it. Three references to nipples, and three people made to cry. Plus a meme!

My work here is done.

*Or at least, I used to look, before having children made me all haggard and shit.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Weekend Update

It was actually a fairly productive weekend around here. Yesterday was a pretty good day overall. We got up and made pancakes for breakfast, then spent three hours doing the Bear's "homework" from preschool. For Thanksgiving, all the kids were given a sheet of brown construction paper and told to make a turkey to bring in for their celebration on Wednesday. Two turkeys = three hours. There was craft foam, there was glue, there were stick-on letters, there was glitter, there were fluffly pom-poms, there was "cutting with scissors," which is the Bear's new favorite activity. The kitchen was an absolute mess. We had a pretty good time, though. Then there were muffins to be made, dinner to eat, baths to take.

Today, less fun. We had french toast for breakfast, cleaned out my car, went through the carwash, bought some pantyhose (geez, my weekend sounds boring when you write it out like that), laundry to do, fold, put away, beds to make, cleaning, etc. People were grouchy, tempers were short, I was snippy.

Now Husband is home, all tired and grouchy, I'm still tired and grouchy, the Bear is sick, which makes her tired and grouchy, and Tank broke, lost, or destroyed at least ten different things I needed today. I have a horribly shitty meeting (I accidentally typed *meating* there, and it wasn't even that far off) to look forward to tomorrow morning, and I'm tired and grouchy. Feel like I already said that one.

Wow. Weekend Update was so much funnier when Tina Fey was doing it. I kind of suck at this game.

That's okay. I'm sure the meating will provide lots of fodder for tomorrow.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Yesterday, as I was surveying the lunchroom, making sure that all was right in the world of lunch-swapping and surreptitious avoidance of veggies in favor of cupcakes, one of my students called out my name as I passed and beckoned me over.

"Hey, what's up?" said I.

"Check it out, Señora!" he cried, pointing to his face.

"Um, what am I looking at here?" I queried. (The acne? The lopsided hair in need of a combing? The braces?)


"Oh, I'm so proud! You go home and show that to your mother. She'll cry."

"I don't have to shave yet, but soon I'll have to," he said. He was so inordinately proud of having produced this one solitary chin hair, he was about to burst his buttons. It was hilarious. It was all I could do to keep a straight face as I congratulated him on this rite of passage, and somehow got involved in a discussion with the other boys at the table of who has shaved yet, how often, who else is growing facial hair. Kind of bizarre, although I do pride myself on being more approachable than some of my colleagues.

Moments like these are some of my favorite parts of being a teacher, especially in a middle school. That one beard hair, and the fact that he wanted to show it to me, gave me warm fuzzies.*

*Not warm and fuzzy enough to wish that my own children were boys, though. I enjoy these things from a distance.

Friday, November 16, 2007


Well, I made it like halfway through NaBloPoMo on a pretty decent streak. But now, just past the halfway point, I'm totally fried. My brain is like bleeding out my ears.

I have my period.
I quit my soda habit.
It was Halloween week followed by progress reports followed by Parent/Teacher Conferences week.
My ILs were out of town (kind of nice) but my mother was in (kind of stressful).
My children are sick. (Two mild cases of the flu, one middle ear infection, and one amazingly fierce case of hives.)
I'm sick.
Husband is sick.
My FIL is sick.
Tank has taken to waking up at 3 am. For fun. Ready to play.
I had a sub who was a total wack job. That's a whole day I'll never get back.
I have a parent meeting monday with the biggest bitch I've ever met. If you crossed Shirley MacLaine's character from Steel Magnolias with Kathy Bates's character from Misery and threw in a little Glenn Close from Fatal Attraction, this lady would still be worse. Must. Not. Bitchslap. Must. Not. Bitchslap.
I am chubby. (Seriously. I have become pudgy. It's gross.)
We're broke. Flat fucking broke.
We have an open house tomorrow. Please, God, let someone want my house.
It's cold. It's supposed to snow tomorrow.

So, it's not that things are *bad*, per se, but there's a lot going on right now, and it's just all been building up. I can't wait for next week. Can't. Wait. No school Wednesday (all day to work on grading, with a break for Turkey dinner at preschool with the kids), feasting and football all day Thursday, lazy lazy Friday (I categorically refuse to leave the house on Black Friday ever again), and then, Saturday...

a night on the town!

As an anniversary gift, my mom and dad got us a night at a *very* nice hotel downtown, and we're going to go out and eat and play and do... stuff. I don't know. Whatever. Four years and nobody's dead yet. Five cars, four moves, three pregnancies, three jobs apiece, two kids in two years, two nights with a blonde waitress, one nervous breakdown, and one gigantic 2200 square foot Victorian albatross hanging around our necks, and we're still together.* Four years next week. (Well, slightly more than a week, but less than two.)

So, yeah. My brain is mush. I planned to go to bed early tonight with a good book, but got caught up playing with the kids, and then sat reading the archives over at UnDomestic for over an hour and watching last week's episode of House. Even though I've already seen it. Because I'm too tired to haul my ass off the couch and off to bed.**

The girls and I have big plans for tomorrow. Pancakes, bran muffins for the week ahead, hand turkeys, and a thorough detailing of my car with the best window-washer and trash-picker-upper a girl could want.

*Feeling like I want to add a partridge in a pear tree here.
**Which I get to myself tonight. Which is nice for stretching out and getting comfy, but also pretty lonely. Meh.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Kids mumble. Did you know that? They slur their words together. They can turn an entire sentence into two syllables. True story.

In class, a particularly bad mumbler wanted to answer a question. He kept yelling "Me! Me! Cago?! Cago?!"

Note the first: the phrase "me cagó" roughly translates as "I shat myself."

Note the second: I finally figured out that he was saying "Can I go?"

Note the third: I have a native speaker in that class.

Note the fourth: We were laughing our asses off and nobody else could figure out what was so funny. They must have missed that particular vocabulary list. Highly inappropriate, very funny. Especially from this kid.

On a totally different note, how many damn times did John Edwards use the phrase "Bush, Cheney, and the Neocons" during tonight's debate*? One too many for my taste, that's for sure. Four years ago I found him mildly interesting. Now he's just annoying.

There was something else, but lord knows what it was. My brain is fried. For the first time in a while, I'm not so much looking forward to getting up and going to work tomorrow. I just want to curl up in bed with a bottle of Nyquil.

*Not a debate. It's a forum. A debate has two sides, not eight. Quit calling it a debate, Anderson Cooper. You know you were already on my shit list. Get it? Shit list? This post has a theme. Awesome.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Hills are Alive!

I witnessed the craziest thing today at work. My kids are putting on a concert, and we were all invited to watch the dress rehearsal today. I went, since I couldn't make it to the concert tonight. I went, prepared for the typical middle school fare. I was totally blown away.

My seventh grade boys, who are the most ridiculous set of humans I've ever met (with perhaps the exception of my sixth grade boys), were *so* into this singing thing. They were up on stage, feet plated shoulder width apart, hands at the sides, occasionally tapping a toe or bobbing a head to the beat. Their mouths were open wide, their attention was totally focused, they were putting all kinds of effort into this.

They were so off-key, it wasn't even funny. They're twelve. They have no idea how to sing high or low, where their voices can reach and where they can't, and matching a pitch can be a challenge. When their director says "with enthusiasm," they amp it up by nearly shouting. It was the funniest thing to watch. I was absolutely loving it.

I have never, ever seen that group of boys so focused on anything that wasn't a sport or a girl. Never. But there they were, singing their hearts out, and having a great time doing it. It was such a great sight. I clapped for them until my hands hurt. The girls were hooting and hollering, and the teachers were just beaming. I was so proud of them. So proud. I had nothing to do with the concert, but I was proud that these boys were my students.

The big kicker? Their best song: "Eat It" by Weird Al Yankovic. Not kidding. They were loving it. Somewhere under all that bravado and bad hair are some very cool kids.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sorry, no cherry blossoms here

ah, sinus headache
harbinger of doom returns
dripping green mucous

Tylenol Sinus
lurking behind the counter
at the local Walgreen's

welcome drugs, bringing
sweet oblivion of sleep
drool on my pillow

Monday, November 12, 2007

oh, boy

What a freaking day. Tank is sick, had to get a sub, had to go into work to make plans, had to take her with me, the sub was a total fucking wack job, I'm way over my head with grading, didn't get much done today because I had a feverish sleeping lump on my arm, Husband is sick and I gave him some Tylenol Sinus and he passed out on the couch. I came out and found him sound asleep on the couch, holding the Bear's chapter book, and she was just sitting next to him, watching the football game, waiting for someone to come put her to bed. Geez, what a day.

Speaking of Bears, she is totally three now. Oh, is she three. And she's good at it. The fits are world-class. The silliness is in full effect - not just the baby silly, but the purposeful acting like a goon silly that little kids do that I find so annoying. Baby talk, toilet humor, random gibberish, you name it. So obnoxious. I could just sit on her some days. Seriously.

And it's only Monday, and I'm so tired.

On the upside, I only had one can of Dr. Pepper today, and that was the only thing I had all day that was bad for me. I have decided that enough is enough. I am declaring jihad on junk food. (Except for the last three cans of Dr. Pepper in the fridge. Because I have to get rid of them, or else they'll just be in there, taunting me, all the time.) No more shit for me.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Mmmmmm... fooooooood...

I like to eat. Pretty much anything you can think of, I like to eat. Food is a gift from the gods, meant to be enjoyed and savored as well as to nourish us.

Trouble is, food is much more than sustenance to me. Food is one of my best friends.

I think about food a lot. I think about what I'm going to eat, when I'm going to eat it, how much I'm going to eat of it, how eating it will make me feel, etc. all the time. I have some serious food-related issues.

I eat when I am sad. I eat when I am frustrated. I eat when I am bored. I eat when I am depressed (hi, that's a lot, in case you were wondering). I eat when I'm hungry. I eat when I'm not hungry. I eat when I see food, just because it's there. Sometimes I eat something that I'm not really hungry for, just so that nobody else can eat it. I am territorial about food. I have been known to hide my food so that nobody else can find it. I have been known to steal other people's food and eat it, then deny it. I have been known to consume an entire pizza in a single sitting. I can eat an entire slice of pizza in three bites.

I used to be anorexic. For years in high school, I lived on Diet Coke and Camel Lights. I worked out three hours a day. I weighed 103 pounds (I'm 5'5"). I thought I looked better than I ever had or have since. I loved every minute of it. I loved the way I looked, I loved the way I felt about myself, I loved the attention I got from others, I loved the feeling of superiority I had over my bigger friends.

All through college I managed to maintain a decent weight. Not as skinny as I would have liked, by any means, but not as hefty as some people. I was a size 6 when I got married. Then I got pregnant. I gained 51 pounds when I was pregnant with the Bear. Lost it all, plus five more pounds, within about 6 months. Got pregnant with Tank, and gained 42 pounds. Lost all of it, but started going up and down with the same 5-10 pounds as my moods went up and down.

Since I left my house (February/March), I have gained over 30 pounds. I'm up to a size 12. This is the heaviest I've ever been (7+ months pregnant excepted). My face is hard to recognize. I feel like shit - sluggish, tired, easily winded on the stairs, no energy at all. I hate the way I look. I hate that I have no control over what I eat, when I eat it, how much I eat.

That's not true. I'm sure that somewhere under there, I do have the ability to control this. But right now, I feel like I can't. I feel like I'm addicted - like the food is controlling me, not vice versa. I am ugly and fat, and it's all because I use food to make myself feel better. I eat to fill the emotional hunger, not the physical hunger. And that's not right. I was going to join Weight Watchers, but the $$ factor cancelled that plan. I live with my in-laws, so I have no control over what kind of food is in the house, or what the kids and I eat. I take advantage of that. I blame my lack of self-control on the situation I'm in, on my MIL for buying crap food, on my in-laws for having awful eating habits, on anything and anyone but myself. I know I can do better than this - I just have to figure out how. I have to *make* myself. And I can. I have more willpower (usually) than most people. I quit smoking cold turkey - twice. I quit Paxil cold turkey (ugh). I went through natural childbirth - twice. I was anorexic, for Pete's sake! I know I have the willpower to make myself stop eating. I just need to find something that will fill the emotional void, once I can't use food to do it anymore.

Geez, this is rambly and disorganized. I'm just frustrated by the fat, and by my seeming inability to just put down the damn fork, already. I need to find a way to kickstart myself into losing weight. I don't want to be a supermodel. I just want to be able to zip my pants.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Pretty Much a Dead Dog

PMDD for short.

Hi. I'm Jane. I suffer from PMDD. My mood swings would make an angry water buffalo turn and run back to his mommy.

The first step is to admit that I am powerless over my hormones, and my PMDD has become unmanageable. (Isn't that the first step?) Whatever. My brain hates me and always has. The chemicals and I, we don't get along.

Today has been a very sucky day that way. I am grouchy and energetic by turns. The girls and I raked the yard - so fun! There are pictures!! The sun! The fresh air! Then I threw a petty fit and had to go put myself in time out. Bad Mommy. Then we played. Yay! Then I took a three hour nap. Boo. (I tend to sleep a lot when I'm depressed.) Then I made soup! Yay! Then bathtime was a disaster. Guilt. Living with me must be like riding a damn rollercoaster. The kind where you get stuck hanging upside down for three hours, or where you hit a bump and get decapitated, or where small children are thrown from their harnesses.

I am the Carnival Ride of Death. My family must love me.

I went on the Pill at 14 to help control this, and stayed on it until I found out I was pregnant with the Bear. (Yeah, you read that right.) I went back on briefly between kids, went back off, went back on after Tank was born, and then went off a year after Husband had his vasectomy. I was all, why put artificial hormones into my body, why not let my body do what it was intended to do, why not embrace all the aspects of my womanhood, blah blah fucking blah. And at first, it was not bad. My cycle finally settled back into a regular pattern (31 days exactly), my periods are shorter than ever, the cramps are almost nil. I could love this. But a week before my period, I am like Jack Nicholson in The Shining. Seriously. Just that one week. For the rest of the time, I feel like I'm pretty stable. I don't know. Husband, what do you think?

Anyway, the upshot of all this is that I'm considering going back on the Pill just to control the damn hormonal fluctuations. It has worked for me in the past, but I really don't want to if I don't have to. Still, if my pretty impressive drug regimen doesn't control the raging PMS, what else is out there?


Friday, November 09, 2007

Fed up

You know how much I love my job? You should. I've been blabbing about it the last two days in a row. A few stats, if you will:

I moved to a city that has a cost of living three times as high as the one I left.

The cost of a house like ours, if we tried to buy it in Chicago, would be over a million dollars.

I went from paying $120 a week for daycare to $255. That's an extra $1350 per year.

It will likely cost us at least $5000 to put the Bear in a decent preschool next year. An almost equal amount for Tank, too.

Husband took a 5% pay cut when we moved.

I work for a wonderful school in a wonderful city, and I love what I do. I make $4000 more here than I did before we moved.

Full tuition at my fancy-pants private school is 40% of my annual salary.

My annual salary, before taxes, would buy me this car, and probably a tank of gas and a grande chai latte.

I'm okay with that. If I had wanted to make the big bucks, I never would have gone into education. I don't hang out with 12-year olds all day for the money, that's for sure!*

Recently, the news has been covering this story about Township School District 211 in Illinois (western suburbs, to be specific).** An hour and twenty minutes before the negotiations were set to expire, the teachers accepted a temporary contract and decided not to strike.

How magnanimous of them.

The average annual salary of a teacher in Township School District 211 in Illinois is $85,766. That's in USD, people. And they were going to strike. For more money.

Greed has taken over the human race. When over a thousand teachers, teaching in cushy white-bread suburban schools making nearly $100,000 per year want to strike to get more money, it's time for a revolution. And those fuckers better the the first against the wall when it comes.

I don't deny that teachers, like any other group of workers, have the right to collective bargaining to achieve the things that they need - I was almost part of a CPS strike four years ago over a number of factors, including a cap on class sizes (at 30!). That's fairly realistic, when you have a class of 36 and some kids have to sit on the floor for lack of space. Go on, hire more teachers. The current teachers don't want more money for themselves, they want more teachers and therefore more attention for their students. Good. I would walk a picket line for that. But for a raise over my $85,766 salary? To bring it to an even $90,000, for example? No. Staying in class with my kids is way more important. What kind of message does that send?

"I'm not here for you, I'm here so I can afford the payments on my McMansion."

"I don't care about your education, I care about my paycheck."

I'm ashamed to even be a part of a profession that spawns people like these. This man, John Braglia, the president of the Township School District 211 Teachers' Union, works in a *very* cushy white-bread suburban school, making at or above the $85,766 average salary (I would assume, based on his education and years of experience). He teaches four sessions of the same class (1 PREP, kids!), which only takes up half a day. That's it. He does union stuff and sits around his office for the rest of the day.

To all the teachers of District 211 - go fuck yourselves. I hope your children go to school and have teachers just like you. That's the worst (and most fitting) retribution I can think of. And especially you, John Braglia. I'm keying your Lexus with laser beams from my eyes.

*I'm really trying not to give out specific numbers or details. My mother always said it was vulgar to talk about money. I'm being intentionally vague here.

**These bastards don't deserve it, though. I don't care if I plaster their names all over here. I'd post mug shots, if I could.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


Some people call them parent-teacher conferences. I call them affirmations of how kick-ass I am. Who doesn't want a chance to sit in your own room and have people come in to tell you how fabulous you are? Just another reason that my job rocks.

I had many pleasant things to say, and many pleasant things said to me. Even the tough things I had to say were quickly and easily done. Good time had by all. And, for icing on the cake, the one conference I was dreading (Hi, Lady - You're Batshit Crazy!) was a no show, so I didn't even have to break the bad news there. All in all - a success.

Of course, I'm tired as all hell, and I haven't seen the kids since 5:30 this morning, but I'm off at noon tomorrow, so I'm going to try to do something fun with them, if they're not super-sick still. What I can do with two sick kids and no money in 40 degree weather? I'm drawing a blank on this one - any thoughts?

There. That was a little more positive than the last two days. I am nothing if not uplifting.

You're welcome!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Oh, screw it.

Well, the picture that goes here is freaking not there, where I left it. Whatever. It was a picture of the ginormous pile of shit on my desk at work. It's huge. Organized in my special "piling" system. Get it? Like a filing system, but with piles? A piling system?

Work is crazy right now. I am super tired and getting sick, I think, courtesy of my children, who bring home germs from other peoples' children from daycare, and courtesy of my students, who bring their damn germs from home and cough them all over the room. Still, I love my job. Love it. How many people can truly say that? Highlights from my day:

A 7th grade boy (let's call him Kumar) working on his homework in my room after school. He looks up to ask if he's phrased his sentence the right way. His sentence? "I am a communist." Rockin.

Same 7th grade class, earlier in the day. The question? "Is 'Catholic' a religious affliction?"* Priceless.

A 7th grade girl, leaving my class at the bell - "I'm so excited! I think I actually get it!" Seriously. She had a little tiny breakthrough right there. It was so sweet!

Giving phonetic pronunciations to my 6th graders, who are learned to count to 100 today. Foniks R funn!

A 6th grade girl asking me if I would promise to stay and be their teacher until they graduate.

*We were talking about the correct verb used to indicate religious or political *affiliation.* Covers Catholicism and Communism - afflictions both, I guess! :)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Fuck this.

Hi. It's day 6. I'm tired. I'm snuffly. I just ruined my new green sweater. It got bleach on it. My MIL was doing the bleaching. Ergo, she's really the one who ruined my new green sweater. I only got to wear it twice. My children are sick and pissy. I myself am rather pissy. My in-laws irritate the ever-loving shit out of me. It's cold here. I have parent-teacher conferences this week. They're going to make me miss Grey's Anatomy. I can't stop eating. My face is covered with zits. I'm tired. I wish it was Friday. This is all I can manage today. And I really don't care.


Monday, November 05, 2007

Serious introspective blog posting OMG barf

Today's snapshot: down by the Museum Campus. Again with the damn lake. You may see a lot of it this month. Mmmm. Pretty sunrise.

So, I made a dumb mistake in class today. Really dumb, truth be told. It was a simple transposition of masculine and feminine, which ends up changing the meaning of the word in question. And it was a little thing, but I felt like a total idiot.

I am ashamed of what I do. I feel like a poser. Like a fraud. I feel guilty for teaching students a language which isn't my native language. There are millions upon millions of native speakers out there, right now, probably much more knowledgeable than I. Where does this guera get off trying to pretend she knows more than she does?

Whenever someone presses me to talk to a native speaker, or even to a second-generation speaker, I always feel like an idiot. Like I'm going to sound stupid. Like I won't know enough. Like my vocabulary won't be as large, or I'll sound too "textbook" and not "natural" enough. I feel like they're always going to laugh at me. How can I ever be good enough?

I go out of my way to avoid the maintenance crew at work. I'm afraid they'll all make fun of my accent. Last weekend, at a birthday party, I purposely snubbed someone's abuelita because I didn't want her to think I was trying to be something that I'm not. It's gotten to the point that I feel like I look dumber for avoiding speaking than I would for just coming out and talking.

This is a very distilled version of something that's been bothering me for months, but it's all I can manage tonight. I think it all goes back to self-confidence. I have none. I feel like an idiot, and I wish I could just like who I am, cool or uncool. I need to embrace my inner white girl, in all her geekdom. I'm just not quite there yet.

Sunday, November 04, 2007


Well, picking up where I left off yesterday:

8. foul - not in the sense of a foul ball, but in the sense of, dear God, what is that foul smell? Kind of like vile. Just so expressive.

9. effulgent - just cause I like the way it sounds. You could say shiny, but where's the fun in that?

10. preparedness - and you have to say it with the emphasis on the ED: prepare-ed-ness. I use this one all the time on my students.

11. fluidity - I don't much care for "fluids" in the sense of bodily fluids, but I like "fluidity" in the sense of grace of movement.

12. anathema - when I was younger, I thought it was "an athema," and I could never figure out what an "athema" was. Silly. It's not a particularly pleasant word, but I like the sound of it.

13. fuck - far and away my favorite word, and one that I use far more than I should. It's so multifaceted, and so expressive of so many things. It can be used in so many ways. Just perfect, really.

So, that's it. I could expand this to a list of more like 50, but that's a slippery slope. I was an English major in college, and Husband is forever mocking my word choice. I love words. I always have.

Bear is still sick, and today was just like the day from hell. Very uncool. I am zapped. I think maybe because it was pitch black at 5:00 tonight? That's a serious downer. Oh, well. Tomorrow is another day. ::said in best Scarlett O'Hara voice::



Saturday, November 03, 2007


Always one of my favorite numbers, mostly because most people are "afraid" of it, which I think is stupid.

Anyway, this meme, taken from a variety of places, even though I haven't been tagged, just because I like it, and also because I haven't left the house all day (sick Bear), ergo no commuting pictures.

13 Bloody Good Words, Without Which The World Would Not Be Nearly As Nice A Place To Live (in no particular order):

1. defenestrate - I love the fact that there's a whole separate word just for throwing someone out a window. Because you couldn't just say "He got thrown out a window." Well, you could. But it sounds so much cooler to say "He was defenstrated." Oh, yeah.

2. vile - so very descriptive. I love the way it sounds when you say it. Very emphatic.

3. frumious - a la Lewis Carroll, of course. A made-up word on his part, but one to which co-workers and I have given a case-specific meaning. A "frumious bandersnatch," in the Jabberwocky sense, is some sort of terrible beast. However, given the way that "bandersnatch" sounds very similar to something nasty you could call a woman of a particular temperament, we've co-opted "frumious" as a code word for "bitchy."

4. undulate - once upon a time I had a director who would always yell at us for crossing behind the backstage curtain. If you weren't careful, the curtain would very gently wave, and the audience could tell you were back there, which pissed her off to no end. And she would always catch us doing it during rehearsal and call out "The curtain is undulating!" I love the sound of "undulate."

5. fizzle - I like the onomotopoetic aspect of it, and also its variety of uses. Just cool.

6. existential - whenever I was having a hard time back in high school or college, I always used "existential crisis" as my explanation. It seems so... elemental.

7. wrath - so much better than plain old anger. I mean, come on.

8. um...

Well, this one may have to be continued tomorrow. I'm seriously brain dead, and the turning back of the clock only means that Tank is going to wake up at 5 instead of 6. Yay.

Friday, November 02, 2007

So quiet it's eerie

So this morning, when I got up and headed out the door, earlier than God, on my way to work, in the frosty cold pitch-blackness that is the Midwest before the sun comes up (I could see my breath, people), I was struck by how very quiet it was on my street at that moment. It's not a particularly busy street at the best of times, but there are always dogs barking and TVs blaring and cars on the next road over and the general white noise of the neighborhood.

But not this morning. As I stood there, keys in hand, ready to open my car door, I stopped and listened for a minute. And I heard (I'm not even shitting you here) the sound of leaves falling. It was so quiet and still that I could actually hear the leaves detaching themselves from the trees and rustling slowly to the ground. I stood and watched a few in the streetlight. One landed on the neighbor's car. Another drifted out into the street. I'm sure it's been ground into dust by now under the weight of a thousand tires. But for just a moment this morning, I stood and listened as it died and drifted away.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

On the road. Again.

So, hey, it's November already. I'm going to try that whole posting everyday thing again. Last year I didn't manage so well. This year I'm doing much better, thank you very much. I may or may not be talking about Teh Crazy this month. It's my anniversary, after all. A whole year since the worst week of my life. Things are better in some ways, not as good in others. Life is like that.

But now we've moved, and I have a new job, and boy, is it far away from where we're *temporarily* staying until our old house sells and we can make a more permanent move. I drive an hour and a half to work each way, morning and evening. It's a really pretty drive, though, and I don't really mind it except for when I'm super-tired. In fact, most days I wish I had a camera with me in the car, because I see some awesome stuff.

So my goal this year for NaBloPoMo is to post a picture a day from my commute, and some sort of little blurb about the picture or the commute or the day or... whatever.

I would give a gold star to the person who could identify where I'm at just from looking at this picture. In fact, that right there is Lake Michigan, which is pretty much my constant commuting companion. I follow it from home to work and back home, skirting the shoreline from south to north and back again, every day. I love the water - it's never the same from one minute to the next. It's constantly changing - it reflects its moods just like a person. Some days the wind whips it into a fury; some days it's so flat you can see a reflection on it. Its colors change from moment to moment - sometimes I like to think up Crayola names for the colors of the water, like olive drab, peacock blue, silver lining, etc. Whatever. I like water.

Anyway, this picture is just off of Lake Shore Drive, right around Fullerton (nobody cares about that unless you're actually from Chicago, but just in case...). If I had turned around 180 degrees I could have shot the cars flying past and the high-rise condos in the background. I like this shot better. It's so peaceful - how many people can really say that they found inner peace during their morning commute?