Monday, November 6, 2017

Closing Doors

I thought about starting a new blog but there really is nothing new in what I have to say, so I'm coming back to this one.

I've been closing doors the last couple weeks.

As of October 1st, the husband and I officially separated, divorce to come, and I had to start referring to him as the ex-husband. ....Because I guess that's what you do? I can't exactly call him the husband, and the soon-to-be-ex-husband is too long... But I don't want to get into the nomenclature angle today. Today I want to talk about a different door.

When the then-husband and I decided we were through, we broached the subject at dinner one night to discuss with the children. T's 9 and E's 7, and it seemed like a good idea to handle this with a sort of Q & A. T, after all, is a self-proclaimed expert on divorce, having read about it in numerous books and having friends with divorced parents. The Q's were far from what we expected, however.

E: "How am I going to decide who to live with?"

A: Sorry, kid. You don't get to pick. That's already been decided. You're going to go live with the bears in the woods.

T: "When are you going to smash all the pictures?"

A: I'm not sure about the books you're reading but... there will be no smashing of pictures.  No one is angry.

E did ask the million-dollar question. "If you still care about each other, why are you getting divorced?"

But let's back up to this picture-smashing business.

It's been a little over a month. I'm looking at the shelf of pictures, which has two pictures of the ex-husband and I on top, along with our fancy champagne flutes from our wedding just over 11 years ago. The larger picture, taken just after our wedding ceremony. A reminder of opening this door, starting on this journey, a journey that's now over. The smaller picture, taken on our trip to Vegas, celebrating 10 years together.  And I'm thinking, staring up at these photographs. Should I smash them?

It's so ridiculously dramatic. So over-the-top. But what purpose does saving them serve? Yes, we had good times on that journey. There was a lot of laughter.  There were adventures. Achievements. Shared success. And I don't want to erase the past; it's a part of who I am. So many wonderful things came out of our marriage. Including three amazing human beings.

If I'm not going to save them, maybe I should smash them. Just - close that door once and for all. Not put it away in a box to potentially be rediscovered. But smash it to pieces so it can't be put back together again.

Is that why people smash pictures?

I don't know, but I have to symbolically close that door somehow, so I get the box of leftover wedding matches and decide to burn them. In my mind, this causes a large fireball that shoots up toward the sky and frightens the neighbors. Even more dramatic than smashing photographs!

But no, matches don't burn well en masse. They are frustratingly difficult to burn, in fact, and you have to be really mad or really upset to want to sit there and strike hundreds of matches one at a time.

I did burn all the matches, because when I'm determined to finish something, I will. I added newspaper and twigs and some branches and I burned all those leftover matches from that September day in 2006 when this journey started.

And now it's over. That's how I closed the door this weekend.

"When are you going to smash all the pictures?"

I'm not, T. They're important, even if they no longer belong on the shelf.

Now as to Ethan's question... the answer to that's more than can fit into any blog post.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Rule of three

Are you familiar with the Rule of Three? Basically, bad things come in sets of three. For example, one year we had three people in our family lose their jobs.

We bought a television a couple years ago. It was a decent television, although not one of the major brands you would immediately think of. We cobbled together some funds for it through Amazon gift cards so that we could see the score during sports games again. Within the first couple months, the back started growing what looked like a plastic mold. The husband researched it, and it turns out that sometimes the fire retardant leaks out of the plastic and forms crystals when it meets the air. The husband stated, "It's probably not good for you," but we left it at that. Since getting pregnant, I'd been avoiding cleaning around the TV so I wouldn't disrupt the "crystals," which also fall off the TV occasionally and created a nice layer of dandruffy-looking dust on the console.

Well, the day I come home from the hospital, the husband took it upon himself to clean around the TV. I complained - "I've been avoiding touching that stuff for 9 months, and the day I bring the baby home and sit next to it, you stir it all up?" So the husband re-researched it and was horrified. He suddenly insisted that the television be evicted immediately. He treated it with more disdain and caution than our asbestos floor tiles, to put it in perspective. He wrapped it in saran wrap while we were outside of the house and quarantined it in the basement under wraps until he could decide what to do with it.

So we had to buy a new television. Even though ours worked perfectly fine.

A few days later, the husband attempted to mow the lawn. But the lawnmower will not run for more than a minute. It is probably the battery, but a new battery is 2/3 the price of a whole new lawnmower.

So we have to buy a new lawnmower. Even though ours MIGHT work perfectly fine.

The next day, I got in my car to see if I was recovered enough from my Mr. Smee Section to drive the kids to school. My car would not start. The battery was completely dead. It would appear it does not like to sit idle for two weeks, the fickle machine. So the husband attempted to jump the battery. He had not yet succeeded when our awesome neighbor gave him a jump with one of those battery pack jumper thingies (real name). Husband then attempted to drive around town to recharge the battery but stalled the vehicle because he is not an experienced stick shift driver.

Now the vehicle would not start again. The husband called me and told me we need a new car. I called AAA. They could not find the husband or the car - probably because we told them the wrong town. I called AAA with the correct address. They told me they'd be there in the next three hours. The husband walked home and we all got in our other car - me, Baby Z, a very sleepy E, and T. He drove to the "bad" car and spent almost half an hour trying to jump it. Hallelujah, it worked.

So for now... we don't have to buy a new car. Since ours works mostly fine. If you drive it often.
Knock on wood. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

My archenemies returned

The ants are back in my kitchen. Just like always, it started with one on Friday. Then there were a couple on Saturday. And three more Sunday. And today they're coming in droves - I've already killed about ten.

I don't mess around with ants. I called the Ant Man. (I'm myrmecophobic) This will be his third visit to our house in four years. The first visit, he determined we had a satellite nest actually in our house. The next year we found its remnants under our side stairs. The second visit, last year, he thought we might have a nest starting in the attic. No idea what their deal is this year; they seem to be coming in from about the kitchen window. I will let Ant Man be the judge. Typically after his visits, they immediately stop entering the house.

Tomorrow he'll do his inspection. I don't know how I'll manage until he can do the treatment. Disgusting six-legged freaks. Until they are gone I live with a constant uneasy feeling, waiting for them to creep or dash suddenly out of nowhere. *shudder*

Friday, May 8, 2015

Life with baby

Baby Z and I have now been home for a week together, getting used to things and recovering from last week's escapades. This is a lot less exciting than it sounds (in case you didn't gather from the previous post). While adorable and cuddly, newborns are not the greatest companions. I downloaded an app to track feedings, diapers, etc. and here is what an average day looks like:

  • Wake up at 7:30. Eat for 12 minutes. Pass out.
  • Wake up needing to burp. Sleep for 10 minutes.
  • Wake up hungry; eat for 10 minutes. Pass out.
  • Wake up needing to burp. Get clean diaper. Sleep for two hours.
  • Wake up hungry. Eat for 10 minutes. Pass out.
  • Wake up and burp. Get clean diaper. Eat for another 7 minutes.
  • Pass out for twenty minutes and wake up hungry. Eat more. Pass out again.
  • Wake up to burp and get clean diaper. Pass out for an hour and a half.

... that takes us into the afternoon, anyhow. You get the picture. I just use the app so when the husband comes home I pull it out and say, "Look what we did today!"

Meanwhile, since I'm recovering from what my children now refer to as my "Mr. Smee Section," I am just getting to the point where I can bend over and pick things up, or get into and out of bed smoothly (almost there!) - things that I have been looking forward to for months.

We're getting there, one day at a time.  Next week we even get to drive again...

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Oh, you're making a poop for me... exciting.

That's been my day today with Baby Z.

Monday, May 4, 2015

One week later

Last Monday at this time, I was in the hospital with contractions, debating how soon I would need an epidural. One week later, I'm sitting here with Baby 3 - now officially Baby Z - asleep in the swing. The surreal part is that Baby Z's birth wound up being the most dramatic yet. After a textbook 41 weeks of pregnancy, right down to even being Group B Strep negative, my body even started having contractions on its own Sunday night - no Pitocin required!

And then suddenly, Monday afternoon, everything took a bad turn. My blood pressure plummeted - the husband says it's a common problem with anesthesia, but it's never happened with my prior two epidurals - which several people ran in and out trying to correct. It stabilized for a bit, and then, when it came time to push, it started to go wonky again, AND Baby Z's heart rate dropped. And stayed down. So of course I am freaking out - and trying not to freak out, because surely that won't help the baby - and nurses and doctors keep appearing and reminding me to breathe and moving things around, and then they rush us down the halls to the OR so they can prep for a C-section. I'm trying to remember to breathe and praying I don't wind up delivering a dead baby. It's not a worry that's crossed my mind much this pregnancy, but now it's real and staring me in the face.

Thankfully, for whatever reason, Baby Z stabilized. He still couldn't come out, though; apparently he was in an awkward position and got stuck on my bladder, sunny side up. So they did wind up doing a C-section, and pulled out a very alive and pretty healthy Baby Z.

It's taken us a solid week to get settled at home. Last Monday at this time, I was thinking I'd deliver a healthy baby by 2, have some visitors in the evening, get home Wednesday, and be ready to take care of three kids by Monday. One week later, and nothing's gone "according to plan;" yet, I'm still a little in awe that we're both here - Z and I. There's a very good chance we might not have made it to see the sun rise this week without those doctors and nurses. And for that, I'll forever be grateful.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Eviction Day Tomorrow

For the third time, my body has refused to kick out the baby (or my baby has refused to listen; not sure which). So some synthetic "get the heck out" drugs (Pitocin) will be served tomorrow morning for breakfast.

This means I no longer have an excuse for not packing my hospital bag with the proper essentials (toothbrush, hairbrush, clothes, nursing pads, lanolin, phone charger, camera, deodorant, lotion), a task I have thus far ignored entirely for 41 weeks, telling myself I'd do it when I was actually having contractions.

This means I had to go grocery shopping one last time today, something I was desperately hoping to avoid all week. And buy extra muffins for the muffin monsters who devour them in my house. And think about what food I might want to cook at the end of the week when I've (hopefully) regained mobility enough to make a meal for the currently-walking three members of my family. (Freezer meals? You're joking, right? No one in my house eats reheated food. Just today, the husband found one of the three "meals" I made recently and said, "I took out this creepy looking food in a black dish. I think you want to throw it out." They will be ordering takeout or fast food until I return to forcing healthier alternatives onto their plates.)

This means I have no excuse for the house being a mess (at least for 24 hours), because I've had a week's warning of when I'll be going out of commission, so I should have taken care of the laundry/dishes/vacuuming/etc. - right? Instead of having a baby, I wonder if I should have hired a housekeeping service.

With my excuses gone and the baby still here, comfy cozy, I'm stuck cleaning and preparing without the excitement of whatever "nesting" is. The day has finally come- without water breaking dramatically; without seeing whatever a mucous plug is; without a race to the hospital; without a frantic phone call.

But then - everything about Baby 3 has been low-key. From the first "announcement" (sending the husband a text with a picture of the pee stick and the words this totally just happened) until now - the just-another-Sunday before tomorrow's scheduled induction.

And maybe that's okay. Because I didn't want Baby 3 to be life-altering, earth-shattering. I just want it to join us on our muffin-munching trek through the daily grind, where we continually adjust to the chaos the world throws our way until we find our new normal.

So, yeah. We're meeting Baby 3 tomorrow. You'd never know it by looking at any of us right now, but we're ready.