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2006 March

If You Are Looking For Funny, Move Along

March 9, 2006

Yesterday I got a phone call from a long lost friend of the family. His mother had talked to my mother on the phone and was very concerned about her behavior. She seemed overly emotional crying about nothing and talking about her wedding next wedding. Which is all well and good except that she is already married.

She was crying to them and everyone else that she called that she needed me, she needed to talk to me, that if I would just call her she would be okay again. They thought she might have had a stroke. Though oddly enough going to the doctor or emergency room never entered anyone’s mind.

I haven’t spoken to my mother in seven years.

There are so many reasons, but it comes down to the fact that she is mentally ill and mean. And while I have moved on from all the things she inflicted upon me growing up, I am an adult now and there is no reason for me to allow her to have that hold over my emotional well being.

Even though I really didn’t want to, I called her last night. I had been told all day long she was waiting for my call and was so frail and sad. I couldn’t not call. The thought of doing that seemed cruel. Perhaps she had changed in the past few years.

I picked up the phone and dialed the phone number, the same number I have had for my entire childhood.

“Hello?”

“Hi, It’s Christine.”

“Who?”

“Christine… your daughter.”

“You are not my daughter. If you were my daughter you would be here. I only have one daughter. That is (name of step sister) and she is getting everything when I die. I want that to be clear. My daughter Christine is dead.”

Then she hung up.

If I were smart I would have left it there. But somehow when parents are involved I think we all resort to playing the role of child. And as much as I steeled myself against getting hurt by her words, they still cut. A good reminder of how powerful and lasting the words of a parent can be, not one I will soon forget. Physical abuse heals, emotional abuse stays raw a lifetime. My husband often says that I am so thin skinned and my feelings get hurt way too easily. I think it is because there isn’t much left intact on the inside. I’m just a raw bloody mess, things that other people would just brush off hurt me terribly.

My step sister, who was at the house, called me back. A party to the craziness. For two hours I listened to my mother. Listened to her instructing people to repeat her words verbatim. Things like “You are a jealous brat who ruined my life.” “You will get nothing when I die.” “You are dead to me.” Alternating with her pleading for me to bring the grandbabies over for her wedding. A wedding that is going to be held at her house and will feature peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, as well a legal document for me to sign saying that I get nothing when she dies. How’s that for a party favor? A wedding AND a disinheritance party, multi tasking craziness at it’s finest.

I know I should feel more empathy. But when I found out she brought this dementia on herself by suddenly stopping all her medications, it was difficult to muster. It was the same old Ann, manipulating those around her, playing the role of victim, being abusive to me once again while people look on.

I want to tell her that I don’t want any of her material possessions when she dies. A piece of jewelry or furniture does not make up for a lifetime. It’s too late. Everything I wanted from her in the past she was unable, or unwilling, to give. And yet, at the same time, I find I can’t say anything. I listen and take it all, acting like the ungrateful bitch I have been painted to be. And my saying that she needed to be brought to the emergency room and admitted to a psych ward did nothing to endear anyone to me.

Today I will be looking at my own children anew. Silently promising them that I will never inflict this sort of crap onto them. Every ounce of love I have to give, I will, with no strings attached. I am not perfect. I make mistakes. I say things I regret. But as an adult I take ownership of those things. As an adult I can apologize for any hurt I ever cause my children.

I am drained.

Posted by Chris @ 8:24 am | 75 Comments  

It’s Wednesday Again! **

March 8, 2006

Friday night I took the children to a restaurant for dinner. We had to wait for quite a bit of time for a table large enough to accommodate us. There were several other families waiting in the lobby area as well, when the inevitable happened.

Woman, “Oh my gosh. Look at all those kids.”

Daughter, “That’s a lot of kids.”

Woman, pointing while she counts, “One, two, three…”

Daughter, “Four, Five, Six…”

Woman, “There are six kids!”

Daughter, “Seven, Eight…”

Woman, “You got eight?”

Daughter, pointing, “I think you forgot to count that one over there”

Woman and daughter, “One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven…”

Woman, “I think we got them all that time. Seven!”

Daughter, “Wow!”

Woman, “Holy cow! Seven children!”

While all of this is going on I am standing, holding my youngest child, less than two feet away from her. I am looking at her the entire time while she loudly counts and recounts, yet she never acknowledges me.

This happens frequently and I never understand how people don’t think this is rude. It’s almost as if I am invisible. Or deaf and blind.

****************************

Top Ten Fourteen Rudest and/or Strangest Questions/Comments That I Am Routinely Subjected To In Front Of My Children By Complete Strangers:

14) You couldn’t possibly give your children enough time/ attention/ stuff. We’re only having (insert small number, like one) because we want to give our child(ren) everything.

13) Do you want this big bag of hand-me-downs? I was going to throw it all away because the clothing is worn, stained, torn and otherwise not fit for my children to wear any longer, but I thought you might be able to use it.

12) You must have to shop at consignment stores, buy generic food, beg for hand me downs, grow and can all your own food, sew all your own clothing.

11) Do they all have the same father?

10) You’re not going to have any more kids, are you?

9) How can you afford all those kids? ( or the variations :Do you get public assistance?, How big is your house?, What does your husband do? usually while they try to discreetly check out my wedding rings)
8) Do you work? What do you do? (asked with the implication that I am on welfare)

7) You must be crazy. (or a saint, or Catholic, or Mormon)

6) Better you than me.

5) Don’t you know what causes that? They have things to prevent that, you know. Ever hear of birth control?

4) How do you feed all those kids? How much do you spend on groceries every month? How many gallons of milk do you go through a week?

3) Do you drive a bus? Does it beep when you back up?

2) Don’t you have a television?

1) I feel sorry for your kids.

As much as I would like to say I use rude and snarky comebacks, I don’t. I usually nod and smile. If someone is being particularly rude I’ll ask, “Why? Why are you asking me this?” Most often I will walk away and verbally fillet the person inside my head. It might be my upbringing, but it takes a lot for me to be rude to someone.

Then there are the people, usually cashiers that I can not get away from, who, after asking if they are all mine, proceed to tell me a story about their friend’s neighbor’s second cousin twice removed who had lots of kids and went crazy. And one day they found her completely naked, except for her shoes and socks with little balls on the back of the ankles, tap dancing on her roof.

I’m left standing there with my mouth hanging open, having no idea how to respond, except to say, “I don’t have tap shoes.”

****************************************

Friday night when the woman standing next to me turned and looked at me I fully expected to hear one of the above comments or a variation thereof.

Woman, “Wow, you are so brave to go to a restaurant with your kids and all their friends.”

I laughed.

*Carmen should have her version of this topic up today also.

** I resurrected portions of this post from my a post in my archives.

Posted by Chris @ 8:04 am | 69 Comments  

Max For The Minimum

March 7, 2006

Today I went to TJMaxx to return some things I bought a few weeks ago and to look for a new pair of black shoes to wear to the upcoming wedding. As I waited at the costumer service counter the older boys were looking at the jewelry display case. Ooohing and Aaaahing over all the sparkling jewelry while leaving every possible surface covered with their fingerprints and noseprints.

They spotted a ring that they thought looked like my engagement ring and screamed my name repeatedly waited patiently until I came over. It did look similar to my ring, you know if you were blind or a child under 10 years old, But it is TJ Maxx, not a jewelry store and it was priced at $299, so I don’t think the quality of the jewelry should come as any surprise.

I said to the kids, “It does look like it, but this jewelry isn’t real.”

As we turned to walk away the man who was standing behind the counter says, “Yes, this jewelry is real.”

“Pardon me?” I said, thinking I must have heard him wrong.

“This here jewelry is real,” he repeated, tapping his finger on the glass display case.

“Well, in the sense that it isn’t imaginary, yes I suppose it is real.”

I’m just thankful that my husband didn’t buy me that kind of “real” jewelry when we got married, or there would have been an imaginary bride at the altar.

But they do have real shoes. And I bought a pair that were $3. I know. That’s practically disposable.

Also, I bought I big ceramic Valentine’s Day platter for $2. Uh-huh… Way. It cancels out the $50 pair of shoes I bought. It sounds like such a better bargain to say two pair of shoes and a platter for $55. Doesn’t it?

Posted by Chris @ 3:37 pm | 20 Comments  

Things I Thought Were Obvious, But Apparently Were Not Based On The Following Evidence

March 5, 2006

alternate title:
Another post which will have people telling me how bratty my children are and that I should slap them

Exhibit A:

“What’s that all over the wall?” I ask.

“Glue. We ran out of tape and I wanted to hang my pictures up.” answers my 5 year old son.

Exhibit B:

When it is cold out we still have to bring the garbage all the way out to the trashcan. Opening the front door and tossing it all on the front porch is not acceptable. No, it isn’t acceptable even when it is -20 with the windchill. No, not even when there is snow whipping around outside. No, even if there is a tornado I want the trash in the garbage can. Alien space ship landing? Well, in that case grab all of the trash and bring it onto their mothership with you. I think the aliens will like it and it will save me a trip to the dump.

Exhibit C:

Under no circumstances should you try to open up a bottle with you front teeth. Your grown up second teeth. Yes, even if you think they look like they are like huge beaver teeth.

Exhibit D:

Porcelain tooth veneers are expensive. There are not many paying jobs for ten year olds.

Exhibit E:

When filling out the little wedding reception RSVP card I was unable to find a pen that worked and had to resort to using a purple crayon. I like to think that it gives the card a little something extra.

Exhibit F:

If you are going to write a “bad” word on the bathroom wall, you know to give our house that little extra special crack house appeal, you should make sure that you spell the word correctly. Because it will make it very easy to deduce who wrote it. The youngest four can easily be eliminated because they can’t write. The oldest two know how to spell. That leaves you, oh 8 year old who hasn’t mastered that silent “t” yet.

Posted by Chris @ 10:29 pm | 36 Comments  

In Which I Ponder The Merits Of Buying A Rascal*

March 3, 2006

Limp, limp limp. I am still limping around with my bum knee.

It was sore before last Saturday, when I fell off of my boots, from running. It was sore, but not particularly painful, for about a week.

I know that proper footwear is important. And one would think that since I was going to be running/walking/gasping for breath for 2 miles that I would not be so lazy as to not walk upstairs and get my running sneakers. But I am that lazy. That additional 100ft or so really might kill me.

But now I have learned my lesson. Walking fast in Birkenstock clogs is not a good idea. Neither is kicking them off to run barefoot. I am in the market for a new good pair of sneakers. Cross trainers? Is that what I would want for walking and running?

Anyway, today I did what anyone with a computer does and consulted with Dr Google** about my knee.

I have diagnosed myself with chondromalcia. Also known as runner’s knee. That pleases me (the name not the injury) as it makes me sound way more athletic than I actually am. Look at me I am a runner, I have runner’s knee to prove it!

It’s also has the nickname of “housemaid’s knee” which I don’t like at all, though it is probably a much more accurate description of my life.

And “secretary’s knee” which is just odd. It makes me think of this movie . If that is what causes secretary’s knee then I can understand, but otherwise how does a secretary injure her knee by sitting at a desk all day.

So, no more running for me for awhile. Walking is quite enough. I hope it heals up in time for the wedding next month because I don’t want to wear my new dress with a pair of easy spirit orthopedic shoes. That would just be wrong.

* This is a Rascal. I could be so playfully mischievous riding around on that thing, hitting people in the back of their ankles. I wonder if I could get a child seat attached onto it like people do on bicycles.

**if it still is hurting next week I’ll go to a real in the flesh living doctor

Posted by Chris @ 8:12 am | 17 Comments  

Ten Years Ago

March 2, 2006

Ten years ago I left the world of parents outnumbering their children and became a mother of two. Looking over the photographs and deciding what to write about for my son on his birthday has made me realize what an injustice photographs do for the experience.

We all look so happy and clean. You can’t tell in the photographs that I hadn’t slept for days or showered for weeks, or was it the other way around. Probably because there are very few photographs of me from that time since I was constantly in sweats with my hair tied back into a ponytail, and who wants to be remembered looking like that. So very unlike now.

Shut-up.

But I came across this photograph and in the interest of keeping it real, THIS is what it was like most days to have two babies 15 months apart. The crying in unison, the spitting up, the pacifier that Baby #1 kept pulling out of the mouth of Baby #2

roband2babies

It’s a wonder I had any more kids.

Posted by Chris @ 1:15 pm | 17 Comments  

The New Snake-oil Peddlers

I get a lot of spam mail to my yahoo account.

The spam seems to come in cycles. It used to be lots of v*I*a*g*r*A, or ViiiiaGRRRRRA, V!AaaGr*A, or some variation there of consisting of errant capitalization and punctuation. They offer to sell it to me cheap and without a prescription, which I am not sure is what should be the deciding factor in buying a prescriptive drug of that nature. Personally, I prefer my medications not be made in someone’s garage. Also, there is that pesky issue of me not having erect!le dy$function.

Then it moved on to mortgage refinancing offers. Amazingly, without even applying I have been approved for numerous mortgaagE offers at Lo%w rr@*tes. Sometimes I am not even sure what I am being sold and feel like I need a secret decoder ring to make out all of the asteriks, stars, explanation points. The lack of spelling skillz and grasp of the english language do not inspire any sort of confidence that I would like to have in a mortgage broker. I know my standards are high.

Yesterday’s batch of emails, with a sent date of May 2005, promised that I had been approved for a mortgage of $420,000 with payments of $400 a month. But I had to act quickly as the raaatEs were going to increase. The only thing I can imagine is that you pay $400 for the first six months at which point a balloon payment of $720,000, once all the fees are factored in, is due immediately. Failure to pay immediately will bring over a bunch of goodfellas who will break the legs of your family and cut off the little finger of your spouse.

Today I got one promising me an erection of $teel guaranteed to make my partner happy.

Color me crazy, but somehow I don’t think Rob would be happy if I had an erection of $teel.

Posted by Chris @ 7:26 am | 10 Comments  

If He Gets A College Scholarship One Day I Will Consider All The Aggravation Worth It, Maybe

March 1, 2006

“I swear you will argue with me about anything, just for the sake of being contrary. It doesn’t matter what it is. If I said the sky was blue, you would tell me it wasn’t”

“Well, Mom. Sunlight is made up of all different colors of light, but the color blue is scattered much more efficiently in our atmosphere than the other colors. The sky is actually not blue, it only appears that way.”

“That was just an example.”

“Yes it was. And who was wrong? Uh-huh, I thought so.”

Help.

Posted by Chris @ 7:22 am | 32 Comments