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Thursday, September 29, 2005


y'know how sometimes life hands you a day, and other times you're handed A Day?

this, for me, was A Day, In Spades.

woke up early, tried to get in the groove, dozed off in bits and pieces thinking about what the day would hold, what i wanted to get done, listening, in the background, to hubby puttering around...

and was suddenly snapped awake. i tried to make the sound into a soundtrack for a Zatoichi film - grunts and screams as part of a combat scene. but when i crept downstairs, i found the reality was much grimier. the television was blank. and hubby was sick enough to be hurling.

much of my day comprised of checking in on hubby, making sure he was alive, offering to help, and mopping up. you know it's a bad day all around when you slop down the back stairs.

(did i mention that his migraine pattern has been getting worse, and i had to call the doctor on his behalf? or, honestly, not so much on his behalf as in self-defense. having had migraines where i all i wanted to do was crawl out of my own skin, my heart hurts for him when he's in that much pain.)

another good (?) portion of the day was spent in painful conversation. i get that my friends and family are worried about the choices that hubby and i have made, and how we may or may not come out on top. i love that these people care enough to make their thoughts known. it means the world to me to have that network out there. however...

when you get a call, and what you mostly hear is 'how can you not have a job by now, damnit?', and the person is calling as family... well. you can say the exact same words to me as family, or as friend. and depending on the hat you've chosen to wear, i'll hear it differently. family members are able to hit so many more triggers (not of their own volition, necessarily, more that as listener, it's much harder to separate emotional triggers when it comes to family) that the most well intentioned comments can be heard as emotional smackdowns. hell, i'm 38, but i heard the whole conversation as if i were 12. and it's been a loooooong time since that happened. ;)

my immediate reactions were these:

1. how is it you think i haven't been looking?
2. when did pretty become a standard for getting hired?
3. we all make assumptions when we don't have the whole picture. how is it that you assumed in the negative?
4. why do you think i can't see the big picture, and know the risks i've taken on?
5. and why is it that you seem to assume that i'm not able to look out for my own family?

there was a follow-on conversation, and i hope that i was able to explain that i get said person called out of love. i treasure the people in my life who belly up to the bar, so to speak, and put it all out there. i also needed to put a few things out there, after dealing with it all the way the 12 year old in me reacted. i am more than well aware of the risks that hubby and i have assumed; we both know how well or badly this may turn out, that we made these choices freely and of our own volition, and that we love our friends, but don't answer to them. calling up to tell us what we should do, or how we might fail? nope.

call and say you're scared for us. call to offer an ear or a shoulder. call to ask 'how can i help?'

don't call and rip me a new one. i'm more than capable of doing that on my own, thanks.

and then... (oh, yes, that's only about half the day) after i rushed thru grocery shopping, i got to work it out with Little Man. he's been dragging his his heels and testing the limits every night lately. he threw a fit when i went to pick him up... just as the center was closing. 'buuuuuuut why can't i stay?' here i am thinking that a parent saying it's time to go might be enough. silly me. (first and worst assumption of parenting, as i've found (YMMVW): never think that a small child sees the world as an adult does. don't reason with them as if they think the same way you do.)

hubby has been telling him that whining will get him in trouble. so we get into the car, and i say, 'you're not in trouble, but i want to remind you. no complaining, no fits, no showdowns. dad talked to you about this last week. you don't lose anything tonight, and i'm not mad, but. i'm reminding you.' and so ensues the temper tantrum.

then we get home. we have dinner, and i explain to LM that he has half an hour to get things done before bed. we discuss what he has to do, and he's spot on, knowing what has to happen. mind you, this is all about not nagging. so i don't. LM chooses to futz around and not wash up or do his homework. i tell him, at least three times, that i'm headed out and he needs to get his stuff out of my car. he continues to choose to futz around. and i leave.

and then i get the phone call. 'you left with his homework!' yes. yes, i did. he had at least three chances to get it, and didn't. '...' see you in a few minutes. LM then drags out the homework time, and i tell him he can finish it in the morning. 'but i... but i.... but i....' and hubby comes down on me. i chose not to give in.

hubby thinks that i am setting up LM for failure. i think that i'm trying to guide LM to be more responsible for his time, and mirror school rules at home, ultimately setting him up for success.

more puke, more hamster pee, more mess...


it would be lovely if tomorrow were uneventful.

ed. note: some of you may have caught the original version of this post. i nearly never recall posts once they are out there, because i don't want to get caught in the revision loop. however, the primary rule for me is that i won't publish anything that i'm not willing to say to anyone face to face. i let my anger get away with me last night, and that's not right. so i recalled the original version, did some light editing, and reposted. the content isn't all that different, and the ideas are all the same. i did choose to take out some things that were over the top... because i don't want to hurt anyone.

:: scribbled at 1:14 AM ... ... o

Monday, September 26, 2005

y'know, i thought i was going to be able to dismiss the run-in with The Other Parent, but it turns out, the incident stuck with me.

(sort of like bad Chinese food leftovers come back to haunt you, the morning after a late night fridge raid...)

what happened at the birthday party was this: i was having a private conversation (as private as these things ever are in public) with another mother, working out who was with whom, and figuring out introductions. it's always a bit odd, when you know someone by sight, to say a year after you first see each other 'hey, do we know each other's names?' but i figured it was better to just bite the bullet and build a new relationship.

as we were talking, i could sense The Witless and Troublesome Parent (you work out the acronym) hovering over my shoulder. and sure as shit, as soon as i mentioned that i was Little Man's stepmother, The Witless and Troublesome Parent jumped right in, uninvited, and commandeered the conversation. 'oh, well, you know who Little Man's mother is, right?' says she to the first mother. first mother looked blank, either because she didn't know, or was shocked by the interruption, dunno. so i stepped in, and tried to gracefully explain who TEW is. all went well, and i felt as if i walked away having taken the high road and used manners.

but man, oh man... the incident kept niggling around at the borders of my thoughts, and making my nutty. (hush, you. no comments.) and it all coalesced this morning.

set aside that The Witless and Troublesome Parent interrupted a conversation. set aside that she wasn't invited to the party, so to speak. who the fuck is she to explain my family for me? honestly, who the fuck does she think she is? and i considered ways to present this to her, and thought about reversing the situation - if i jumped into one of her conversations, and said to the other person, 'oh, well, you must know who her husband is, don't you?' she would hate it, *because it's not my place to explain her family*.

and it gets stickier. The Witless and Troublesome Parent is close friends with TEW, and has always gone to bat for her friend. no harm there, in the big scheme of things - that's what we all do for friends. however. we've been fortunate, hubby and i, to have worked out a civil, decent relationship with TEW lately. but The Witless and Troublesome Parent doesn't seem to be privy to that development, has chosen to disregard it, or there's more to the mix than i'm aware of at the moment. so. The Witless and Troublesome Parent continues to insert herself into situations where she's not welcome, because she... is defending her friend? is needing to be noticed? has to be a Nosy Nelly? wants to stir up trouble as gossip fodder? who the hell knows...

what i do know is this: the next time it happens (and trust me, it will - note the 'witless' part of the description), i will have a ready retort in the holster. i was tempted to take The Witless and Troublesome Parent aside tomorrow and discuss the recent incident, but hubby pointed out that that approach was more hassle than it's worth. no, i'll just be prepared next time to cut her off at the knees (politely, of course), and let her know that her interference is both rude and unwelcome.

and i'll try to do it in a way that doesn't involve taking her into the girls room and locking her in a stall. ;)

:: scribbled at 2:03 AM ... ... o