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Preview: Jane says...

Jane says...

a variety of things, some of which make sense

Updated: 2014-03-18T10:30:16.291-05:00




Something come up recently and I'm blogging on a side project for a while... sorry for the absence.

Giving in


In the spirit of giving, tonight, I am giving in. Making a confession, one that I've avoided making for a while.

Internet, I am lonely.

Since the divorce - well, since the separation, really - I've dated* a few different guys, but none of them suit, for various reasons. Not smart enough, drinks too much, emotionally unavailable...

And while it's been fun to hang out with these guys, behaving like irresponsible teenagers, this last one has really hit home the truth that I've been avoiding for the last... well, for a really long time now.

I give in. I'm lonely. I miss being *someone* to someone. I miss being half of a whole. I miss mattering to someone.

That's all.

*I'm not really sure that's the right word. There have been very few actual "dates" involved. I have no idea what to call what I've been doing.

Giving up


So, this month's NaBloPoMo blogging theme is "giving." And yes, while I know I've completely abandoned my blog lately in favor of Facebook (damn you, Facebook!), it appealed to me for some reason. I have no idea if I'll actually go for an entire month, but at the same time, I wanted to give it a try.

Today's thought? Giving up.

Not only because giving up is what I would like to do at least 70% of the time. No, I'm referring to giving up in the sense of sacrifice. It seems to me that the biggest part of parenting has to do with giving up - whether you are sacrificing your time, your body, your sanity, your ability to change a tampon with the door shut, your free time, your personal life, your career... being a parent is all about giving things up.

Most of the time* I do these things gladly. I've accepted that this is The Way Things Are. I have consciously put the needs of my girls ahead of my own. The key word there is *consciously.* From what I read, or hear, or see, it seems that many parents out there do this naturally - they automatically subjugate their own wants and needs to those of their progeny like it's biological or something. But I? I can't do that. This parenting shit doesn't come naturally to me. I have to work at it. I have to consciously remind myself - their needs are more important right now. They need to spend a few hours of quality time with their mother more than I need to go see a movie. They need to sit down at the dinner table as a family more than I need to catch the Friday after-work happy hour. They need a bedtime story more than I need to watch The Office.

I give up. I give up a lot. I do it early, and often. I try not to be a martyr about it. Most days, I succeed. But every now and then, when I see all the shiny happy people my age, running around the Universe, selfish as can be, I get a little bitter. I give up so much - they don't have to give up anything. They seem so happy, so free, so fulfilled... I'm none of those things. And I have to remind myself - consciously, again - that I have *people* who love me. Who depend on me. Whose worlds would literally cease to exist without me.

It helps, a little.

*Well, at least some of the time...

Imaginary Mail


Dear Boy-that-I-like:

What the hell is your problem? Seriously? Why is it that you have to live so far away? What's so freaking great about New York, anyway? You can *so* get all that shit in Chicago.

You know, nobody asked you to come to that stupid party*. I didn't particularly need to meet someone that night. It's not *my* fault we were the only two single people there, or that we happened to hit it off. It's not like I meant for it to happen...

But you know, it's not only my fault. Plenty of this is your fault. You're smart. You're funny. You have a successful career. You're financially responsible. You're reasonably mature. You have a crooked smile that crinkles up your eyes. No self-respecting girl is immune to that shit.

So, there you have it. You made me like you. And now that I like you, you decide to be emotionally unavailable? I recognize the fact that you're enjoying your extended "adolescence," this easy time of no responsibility, easy money, and good times. And you have a right to it - you've gone through some shit in your day. You deserve a chance to relax and enjoy yourself.

But you should not have led me on like this. Knowing, as you know, that I've just come out of a long, difficult relationship, that I'm in an emotionally vulnerable place right now, that I like you - you could have just as easily passed, said "no thanks." You could have moved on, not called, not texted, not emailed. You didn't have to engage in this...flirtation. But you did. And in doing so, you let me feel false hope. Hope that you might like me. Hope that we might be more than just good friends who sleep together. Hope that this might lead... I have no idea where. It didn't particularly matter.

So now, now that we've entered this murky gray area, I have no idea how to proceed. I'm not used to indifference. It drives me crazy. I don't handle it very well. I can understand that I'm scary. I have kids. I have a past. I live in another time zone. All very good reasons to brush me off. But you didn't, haven't, yet, and I'm in fucking limbo over here.

Please. I am begging you. Just do something, already. Show some interest. Ditch me. At this point, I don't even care which. Anything to end this pointless stagnation. I am trying so hard to hold my ground here, not to push, not to pursue, but my willpower is slipping. I'm so tempted to call you, to email you. I won't be able to hold off much longer... Please don't make me make an ass of myself. Ditch me now and save me the trouble of caring. At this point, I'd rather escape with my self-respect intact than find romance right now.

Although, for all your shortcomings, you really are a great guy... call me?


*Except for the person who invited you, of course.



At dinner tonight, the Bear announced that she wanted to get married. I told that she could, if she wanted to, when she got older, but that she didn't have to if she didn't want to.

She said "you can either marry a boy or a girl." That's right, I told her, it's completely up to you. "I want to marry a girl," she said. That's fine by me, I told her. We talked about how, sometimes, people who are married don't make each other very happy, and then they don't always stay married. She said "I'm going to make my girl happy. All the time. I'm going to try so hard."

I didn't know how to tell her that sometimes, trying so hard still isn't enough.

In other news, I need to work on making sure that my happiness comes from me, not from the people around me. I've been falling into the trap lately, and I need out.



STBE-Husband dropped the girls off tonight, and as we were sitting at the table, talking computers or something, I looked over at him and realized how much I miss him sometimes. I was just talking this afternoon with a divorced friend about the feelings of loneliness that you get, and how much you can miss the day-to-day intimacy of living with someone else. Sitting there, I got a little rush of sadness, of longing for the days when we could sit together, talk together. He has gray hairs. I love them. They're none of my concern anymore. I couldn't help wishing that things had gone differently, that we had worked through our problems, that there was still hope for us.

And then, of course, as I'm trying to get the girls to stop sobbing, it comes out that they didn't take a bath the entire weekend that they were there. And that now, at half an hour past bedtime, on a school night, I'm going to have to stick them both in the tub and get them clean, thus pushing bedtime back another half hour, which, if you're going to bring the kids home late, the least you could do would be to give them a bath first. Duh. And just like that, my moment of weakness was gone, and I remembered all the things that drove me crazy about him in the first place.

It's better this way. He is a most infuriating man. But that doesn't lessen my desire to run my fingers through his hair like I used to.



Please know that the aforementioned Ugh has nothing to do with the events of today* and everything to do with my mental state.

Internet, I have man troubles.

Like I mentioned before, I met this guy, and we've been talking, and, well...

I have a crush on him. A bona fide, 13-year-old, blushing, giggling, stammering crush.

I am nearly 30. I am Too Old For This Shit. I am a mother, for godsakes. I have daughters of my own, who all too soon will come home laughing and/or crying over crushes of their own. I have no business having a crush on anyone. I feel like an idiot.

I've been working with myself, forcing myself to slow down, to wait, to hold back, to *not* get excited. It's no use.

The world is full of rainbows and unicorns. Dammit.




I was awakened at 4:19 am this morning by the following text message:

Him: Actually. I'm in love with you. So to Hell with It

I should interrupt at this point to say that the Him in question is the guy who I was dating over the summer/early fall - the first post-separation relationship. Lasted about three months. I broke it off because I saw absolutely no future in it. He, ah, didn't feel the same way, apparently. We've stayed in touch and are, I thought, good friends, although when we hung out over the holidays I detected awkward overtones. I was not wrong.

Me: Are you drunk?

Him: You can say that.

Me: Sorry, that probably wasn't the most tactful response, but it's 4 am, Saturday night, you're feeling confessional...

Him: No. I love you.

Me: So what prompted this?

Him: Not cause tonight. (Which I interpreted to mean, it's not just because I'm drunk tonight that I'm saying this.).

Me: How about this? Why don't you text me when you wake up in the morning, and we can talk about it then?

Needless to say, how was I supposed to go back to sleep after that? I was very careful to not lead him in that direction when we were together. I knew there was no future to be had there, and I didn't want to lead him on unnecessarily. I don't really know how this happened. As promised, he texted back in the morning:

Him: Life is short and I stick by what I said. I love you. Ditch me if you have to.

Me: Dude, I don't know what to say...

Him: I know you have nothing going on that way. I'm just struck. You're beautiful, smart, and fun! I don't want to fuck up but I might have. That was not a statement to text.

It goes on, but that's the gist. I was very careful not to do or say anything that might make him emotionally attached, it didn't work, he declares he's in love with me, which I sort of saw coming after a few comments he made over the holidays, I don't reciprocate those feelings, now what? I'd like to remain friends, but I don't want to make him uncomfortable, either, by my continued non-reciprocation of the feelings. All of this is made more complicated by the fact that I've been talking to this new guy. And... he's intriguing. And... I like him. And... I don't know if he likes me or not, but we talk every day, pretty much. And so, my emotions are leaning toward this guy*, but this other guy's emotions are obviously attached to me...

God, it's a mess. I have no idea what to make of it. I'm trying to be tactful and non-hurtful, because I can imagine what it must be like to tell someone you love them and know that there's no chance they feel the same way about you, while at the same time attempting to play it cool toward this other guy, because a single mom with two kids can easily cross the line from "cool chick" to "desperate cougar" in just a few steps.**


*Not in an I-love-you way, because let's just back right up there for a minute. But in an I'm-interested-in-you way, definitely. In an I'd-like-to-know-you-better way.

**And yes, I realize that at 28 I'm too old to be a chick and way too young to be a cougar, but there's no handy terminology for people in my particular situation, you know?

Sunshine and puppies


Seriously, though, this has just been the best day. The kids are *angelic,* dinnertime and bedtime were a breeze, nobody is crying, nobody yelled... I felt the need to somehow document that it has been, overall, a great day.



I've been having a bit of a dry spell with the blogging lately. I was out of town, visiting, and didn't take my laptop, but that's not the only thing.

I keep wanting to update with this and that, random stuff, etc. and find myself not doing it because I know that Soon-To-Be-Ex-Husband still reads my blog. And truly, I know that I shouldn't care what he thinks, and I don't, not really, but there are things I just don't feel comfortable sharing in front of him. Things I think he'd disapprove of. Things I think he'd store in his memory and somehow try to use against me in the future, for some as-yet-undetermined nefarious purpose. Not that he would do that - too much effort involved.

Here's something I can share, completely (mostly) harmless: my children are not sleeping. They have decided that bedtime is when all of their anxieties and fears and sense of loss and bewilderment, not to mention their healthy natural sense of stubborn, will manifest themselves.

The Tank* will primarily lay in her bed and cry for daddy. She wants him, she misses him, she loves him, she wants to see him, she wants to go to his house, what day is it, what day can she go, etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum ad infinitum.

The Bear, slightly older and more sophisticated, becomes anxious. Am I going to leave the house while she's asleep? Where will I be? What will I be doing? When will I be going to bed? What if she can't hear me? Lately I have to pinky-swear to her that I will not leave the house. Not that I have ever left the house while she's asleep. You can't do that. I wouldn't do that.

We've made charts - every night that they go directly to bed without an unholy fuss, they get a sticker. Ten stickers gets you a treat. Only works maybe one night out of five.

I would love to just lock them in there and let them scream it out, but that seems impractical. Reasoning is out, for all the obvious reasons. Bribery has no effect. My parenting arsenal is depleted. Thoughts?

*Who has christened herself Rerun, by the way. Totally hilarious. Perfect nickname for her. And she always uses it in the third person - Rerun is wearing a blue shirt, Rerun is hungry, etc. I love it. I will admit, I encourage it.



Yeah, no, screw that. I'm ruining my children's lives. Forever. They will be hideously warped and twisted individuals. They will hate me forever for ripping apart their family. My only consolation would be if they were as angry at their father as they will be at me.

Finding it


Well, I think I finally did it. I think I'm there.


I'm not upset. I'm not angry. I'm not hurt. I'm really kind of okay with it. Happy about it, even.

This is good.

I just dropped off the kids for a week of Christmas vacation with their dad. Nobody cried. I expected to feel worse. At the moment, I'm kind of numb. Not a good thing, but also, at the moment, not a bad thing. I feel shitty that I can't be with them on the holidays, but I realize that they need to spend time with their dad, too. So be it.

I've started to imagine the future, a future beyond this particular time. There are even days when I think it will probably be okay.

This was the only gift I needed this year.

The Strangest Feeling


So I was at work today, glibly teaching a batch of seventh graders the words to "O Come All Ye Faithful" in Spanish, staring out my window at the snow* falling, and I cracked a random joke (I have no idea - I make stupid teacher jokes all the time), and I felt this very odd sensation somewhere in my chest.

Later, I was chatting with a colleague - again by the window, watching the snow fall - and I felt it again.

I successfully made a particularly difficult phone call to a parent, and went to report to my boss about it. She looked shocked and pleased. She called me a miracle worker. We talked about my messy personal life, she said flattering things. There was that feeling again.

Helping my eighth graders, all decked out in Santa hats and Uggs, deliver boxes of food and baskets of wrapped gifts to needy families, I noticed it again. I was standing out in the snow this time, watching it land on the shiny wrapping paper and bows, on the shiny faces of the children we love to hate. Seriously, what was that damn feeling?

There I was, driving home in the snow.* Traffic is awful, moving at a crawl, cars skidding left and right. Excellent music on the radio. Am I stressed? No. Can't figure it out. Can I run the errand I needed to? No. Who cares? Still, not stressed. What the hell?

Kids, rolling in the snow. Rolling. No snow pants, no waterproof, well, anything except boots. That's so cute! Are you having fun? We'll dry off with hot chocolate and sweatpants! Who cares if you're soaked and bedraggled and caked with snow? Why am I not more upset about this?

I have it on good authority that, due to the driving conditions, my soon-to-be-ex-Husband is shacking up with his new girlfriend tonight. You know they're totally having sex. I am surprisingly unbothered. Huh. Who knew?

I asked my friend at work today, because I was suspicious. She confirmed my hunch.

It's the holiday spirit. Whatever the hell that really means, I think I have some. This is all very, very strange to me. I'm like, happy, and stuff. For no good reason. I can't quite understand where this is coming from. Frankly, it makes me kind of uncomfortable. Do normal people feel like this all the time? Is it that "special time of year" getting to me? What is going on with me?

*It was this really awesome snow. Light, fluffy, powdery, falling straight down like the fake snow in movies - perfect.

**Less awesome now, and may I just say, Richard M. Daley, that I don't give a damn how broke your city is, you pay for salt and plows. Period. It took me 2 hours to drive the five miles roundtrip that it takes me to pick up both girls and get home. And in those 2 hours, I saw not a single plow, and only one salt truck. Five miles of main thoroughfares, including the city's longest street. Are you kidding me, Dick? Seriously?

Sounds coming from the bedroom


No, probably not the sounds you're thinking of, because, hi, it's just me and the cat. No, I'm sitting on the couch, working, the girls having been put to bed moments earlier and now talking in direct defiance of my directive to Just Go To Sleep Already. Then, from amongst the chatter, I pick out the following exchange.



No, no, Tank. It's Ba-Rock O-Bomb-A.

Ba-rack Oba-ma!

Tomorrow, Barack Obama is coming to my school to play with all the kids there. He's big and he's very nice. He will come in and have to take off his big old shoes! ::riotous laughter::

What, is he like a giant with big old feet? Are you scared of him?

No, he will play games with me and eat crackers.

I have no idea where they're getting this! I took them to vote and the Bear watched his acceptance speech with me, but we *never* talk about this. I never even told them his name - lest the kids at preschool get into a political fracas over it. But, apparently, they've heard it somewhere. At least they think he sounds like a nice man. May they never live to be disappointed in the ideals of their youth.



Odd, but you never really think about the sheer amount of crap that you have to do in a single day. For some people, it kind of seems like a "work 9-5, go home and relax" kind of scenario, even though I'm sure they have things to do, too. Today, for some reason, was really busy, or else it just seemed really busy.

I woke up at 6, as always. Three people fed and dressed for the weather, ready to leave the door by 7.

Arrive school, 7:45. Morning duty at 8 - standing outside in the freezing cold for half an hour, yay. Straight from there to homeroom.

Class. Class. Class. Class. Class.

Lunch. Brought enough for me, but neighbor has none. Share - neither person really full. Doesn't matter, time for...

Mass! Sit, listen to priest selling stuff I totally don't buy. Police children for bad Mass Manners.

Finally, an hour to myself! Return emails, check grades, plan for tomorrow, run copies, hunt down students, bemoan the general lack of time before Christmas break... wait, did I say an hour to *myself*? Kidding.

4:00. Leave to pick up kids. First the Bear. It's snacktime. Wait til snack is over, chat with 4 year olds. They say "GRRR!" a lot. Wow. Then the Tank. Finally, a good day for her. About time! Home by 5.

Dinner. Cook, eat, clean kitchen. Take out trash. Help Bear finish homework, undone over the weekend at Dad's.

7:00. Charlie Brown Christmas Special! Hot chocolate all around. Can I grade papers with a Tank in my lap? Not really, though I try.

8:00. Bedtime. Over-tired - I should have gone for 7:30. Jammies, teeth, allergy meds, potty, story (a book of Christmas carols, sung!), bed. Up, potty, bed. Repeat with other child. Sleep triumphs eventually.

8:30. A glass of wine and approximately 600 papers to grade. Tonight, I'm content to sort into stacks by assignment and class, and put correct names and dates for each in the gradebook. Serious grading to begin tomorrow.

10:30. Self-indulgent blog post. Children coughing in the background. Time for bed. But first, a chapter of my new book.

And? And? It's sleeting. Yay for tomorrow's 7:30 meeting and snow boots for all. Plus the car scraping. You can never discount the car scraping. That shit takes way more time than you think!

You know, it never seems like a lot, because you just do it, otherwise it wouldn't get done. But really, now, seventeen hours after my alarm first rang, it seems like a whole shitload of stuff. And I'm pretty tired. Although, when you write it out like that, it really looks like you actually accomplished something in your day. I know I didn't really get that much done, compared to what I might have, but it sure looks like a lot! To bed

Good Grief!


So, we put up our Christmas tree tonight, and I'm really trying to maintain a positive attitude about it, for the girls's sake, etc., but ugh. I hate it. It's such a stupid, paltry, chintzy looking little thing. It's a total Charlie Brown Christmas tree. When we moved, I took the smaller of our two artificial trees, because I don't have space for the big one. This one is short, and sparse, and fake-looking, and really really ugly.

And the ornaments! Where are my ornaments? Can't have breakables (Tank, cat) so we settled for a bag of wooden and plastic non-breakables. There are, not kidding, maybe twenty ornaments on the whole tree. And they're cheap and ugly (well, not the ones from my childhood, which are cheap and ugly but with sentimental value). In all my twenty-eight years, this is, without a doubt, the worst Christmas tree ever. And I let the girls hang the ornaments, which means they're all clustered around the bottom, which just chafes my soul.

And then they'll go to their dad's (grandma's) house, and they have two trees, and they're big and bright. And while everything on those two trees is undoubtedly cheaper and uglier and plastic-er than the things on my tree, when you're four, you only notice that it's big and shiny, not that it's decorated in poor taste. So they'll come home and see our pathetic little reject tree and be disappointed that ours isn't better.

But they haven't figured that out yet. Tonight, they are in awe. They love it. They think it's the most amazing thing ever. They have hung stockings and put out our few miserable decorations, and they think it is all perfectly lovely. The Bear, tonight, said "this house *is* Christmas," and they both wanted to turn out the lights and just stare at it. They can't tell how pathetic it is, and I'm grateful for that. All too soon, they'll realize how shoddy it is, compared to others'. My own childhood memories include a ten-foot tree that brushed the top of our ceiling, boxes and boxes of ornaments, each with a story attached, that we had to climb ladders to hang. Whatever. In the true spirit of things, I'm trying to teach the girls to appreciate the things they have, and to find beauty in the small, often overlooked things. But when I think of what they could be having, and what they're missing, it breaks my heart a little bit.



The number of miles I logged in my car over the holiday weekend. I really should have taken an extra lap around the city to bump it up to an even 2000. Sigh. Back, all in one piece, and, for the sake of posting something, look! a meme. A one-word meme. If you know me at all, one-word answers are, shall we say, challenging?

Where is your cell phone? dunno

Where is your significant other? who?!

Your hair? frowzy

Your mother? here

Your father? awesome

Your favorite thing? sleep

Your dream last night? sex

Your goal? stability

The room you’re in? living

Your fear? rejection

Where do you want to be in 6 years? happy

Where were you last night? Missouri

What you’re not? fit

Muffins? blueberry

One of your wish list items? money :)

Where you grew up? Midwest

The last thing you did? bills

What are you wearing? jeans

Your TV? off

Your pet? Maggie

Your computer? dying

Your life? hectic

Your mood? jaded

Missing someone? yes

Your car? Hyundai

Something you’re not wearing? bra

Your summer? lovely

Love someone? kids

Your favorite color? green

When is the last time you laughed? today

Last time you cried? today

There you have it. Me in a nutshell. No, wait, this is me in a nutshell. ::mimes being trapped in giant nutshell, a la Austin Powers:: Had an awesome roadtrip with my kids (sounds crazy, but they were great). Mom bought me a new green sweater for a Christmas party I got invited to - amazing color. Survived our first Thanksgiving without Husband. Put hideous plastic snowman-shaped clingy-things on the window. Things are ok, I think. Cautiously optimistic, even...



Ok, let me just stop right here to say that if you haven't read the series, you should. Don't pull the "just for kids" crap - I know plenty of grown women who confess to liking them. Loads. I'm sitting here, thinking about the premiere of the movie version of Twilight tomorrow night. Excitement has been rampant at school - it's a middle school, for pity's sake. All the girls have their copies with them, reading surreptitiously when they should be studying, holing up in corners of the playground, hiding from the bitter wind between the pages. I've been rereading, too. I finished Twilight and New Moon again over the weekend, sans children. I was looking forward to doing the same this weekend with Eclipse and Breaking Dawn, but I (oh so selflessly) loaned them to our middle school counselor, a kindly fiftysomething woman who has taken an interest, too. As I sat around after school today, talking Twilight with some of my eighth graders, they expressed surprise that *I* had read all the books and enjoyed them. They know I'm into a lot of the same things that they are, or at least conversant with a lot of the same things. One of them asked me if I was "attracted" to Edward, and that set me off thinking - why do I like this series so much?It's certainly not the high-quality writing. As one of my more astute ladies pointed out, it's not exactly Shakespeare. It's teenage fluff in its purest incarnation. And yet, I am strangely attracted to the books, to the characters. I want to know more about them. I want to *be* them (you know, in that silly "wish I was a character in a book" way that we all get). It's not the perfection. Of course, Meyer describes Edward as "perfect" at every turn, with enough similes to gag a maggot. That's not it. It's a combination of two things, for me. 1. The sexual tension. Sure, it's all fairly chaste, on the surface, but if you read the thirst that Edward feels for Bella's blood as a metaphor for the sexual tension between the two... I had to go take a cold shower after the third novel. It's incredible. I've felt that type of friction, the lure of the denied intimacy, many times, and on many different levels, over the last 15 years. But the desire, the longing, the basic animal need these two seem to feel? I am way envious. It's incredibly intense. I can only wish I had something like that, which leads me to...2. Love. These two are so incredibly in love, and not just lust, but really, in love, that it defies all knowing. I've been in love once or twice or three times before, but what they have? It's an entirely different brand. I think, on some level, I'm really incredibly jealous of Bella, that she has someone who loves her so intensely, without pretense, condition, question, regard to anything else. Most of us* never feel that kind of love, and frankly, I am a little envious. He loves her in spite of the fact that it can never work out. She loves him more than she loves herself, more than life, more than breath. It's just all so - intense. I wish that someone loved me that way. I would totally face death and destruction and dismemberment and complete annihilation for the chance at a love like that. And now, to reason out why I can't go see the movie with my students tomorrow night. After all, I'm a grown woman. I don't want to be the pathetic single lady in a theater full of kids so young they had to bring their moms to get in...*Maybe it's just me? Maybe the rest of you have someone who loves you like that? Don't tell me, if you do.[...]

Come On, Feel the Negativity


Ok, I completely realize that this blog has become an exercise in negativity and bitterness. To be fair, that's kind of my life, but it must get really old to outsiders after a while.

So, rather than writing the post I'm inclined to write, about my three-day headache, my sudden incredible fatigue (holy shit so much worse than normal, and normal ain't so hot), my money woes, my kid worries, etc. etc., I'm going to write a post celebrating the good and positive things that are going on.

Today, I chatted with a new co-worker and helped her work through some issues she's having with other co-workers.

I pioneered a new technology we have at school - nobody else in the middle school has used it in their classroom yet. I win. And it was actually pretty cool.

I have all my plans ready to go for tomorrow.

I had a decent conversation with the Bear, for once. It took a few false starts, but I think I may have figured out what's going on with her at school. Or at least, I'm trying.

I cooked a healthy dinner.

So there. Something to tide you over til the doom and gloom express returns. Don't worry, I can't stay positive for long.

Second (Third, Fourth) Verse, Same as the First


I know I blog about this every winter, multiple times, but really, can I just state again for the record how much I loathe childhood asthma?

I can say that because, as the parent of a child with asthma, I had asthma myself as a child (I like to claim I've grown out of it now) and so I know how much it sucks from both ends - for her and for me.

The Bear, like many other tiny kids with asthma, doesn't necessarily have the same kind of asthma attacks that I remember from about 10 or so onward. In her case, it manifests with coughing. And coughing. And more coughing. After a while, it's all one big cough, she can't breathe, her face turns beet red, her eyes and nose start streaming, and eventually she pukes.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

The worst part for her (obviously) is the coughing til you can't breathe and choke and puke. The worst part (for me) is having to sit here, watching her, helping her, knowing that there's really nothing I can do to help.

Things we've done tonight, in no particular order, to stave off the coughing so she can sleep:

the regular inhaler (controller, not rescue)
the nebulizer (yay albuterol)
Benadryl (to dry up the gah runny nose everywhere)
sips of water through a straw
steaming (in the bathroom, hot steam for a while, followed by a trip to the open window for cold dry air)
Vicks on the chest
a teaspoon of honey

She did puke eventually, which usually helps to clear the passages, somehow, but she's still laying over there on the couch, hacking away into her stuffed dog pillow.

And it's late and it's cold and I'm tired and I miss my husband.



If you were adequately able to imagine my delight at yesterday's fill-up, then you will easily be able to imagine my dismay when, eight hours later, I drove past the same gas station and the price had dropped to $2.36. Five whole cents a gallon cheaper! How dare they!

The kids are gone to their dad's house, and I have the apartment to myself for the weekend. I know I bitch and moan when they're here, but god, this place is so *quiet* with them gone. I do like it, a little bit, the freedom, the peace. I came home early this morning after crashing on a friend's couch last night. I had breakfast, did some reading, took a nap, did some more reading, ate dinner, did some more reading. I'm watching a movie now. Contemplating a bubble bath. It sounds ideal, but truly, I'm lonely.

I don't think it would be as bad if there was another adult around to hang out with, even if only in companionable silence. Someone to *see,* to know that someone was there, to feel the presence of another person...

My goal has always been to put the girls first, and my own needs second, until they're grown. But I'm honestly not sure I can tough out being this lonely for the next sixteen years.



Nothing makes me happier than things that are cheap. I get an actual little thrill from saving even a little bit of money, and when I find I've spent more than I needed to, I get mad.

Imagine my delight when I filled up my entirely empty, running on fumes, coasting into the station gas tank today for UNDER $30! At the height of the oil price hikes, it cost $48 to fill an empty tank. Today - $28! I did a little dance in the front seat. $2.41 a gallon!

Then, on to the gorgeous, expensive grocery store in my neighborhood for cat litter. The cheap-ass store is farther, so it's more practical to buy single items at the nice store. Name-brand cat litter? $10.99 a jug. Off-brand cat litter? $7.99 a jug. My selection? Only $6.99 with my Super-Saver-Thingie card. On which I get 10% off all purchases until mid-December (in Chicago, that's the equivalent of not having to pay tax). Plus, aforementioned jug of cat litter had a coupon attached for an extra $1 off! So, my $7.99 cat litter only cost me $5.99, including tax! Almost half of the fancy name-brand stuff.

In my life, I never thought saving $2 cat litter would make me as happy as it did today. But when you are scrimping and saving, having decided to suck it up and send your kid to fancy-pants private school, every $2 helps.

Incidentally, we used to live in a state that actually had a town called Tightwad. Also Peculiar. And a few other gems. But Tightwad was my favorite (duh).

A Teacher's Lament


Tonight I received the following:

Ms. Teacher Jane -

Just checking in to see how Miffy did on the quiz. She said she did not get it. Please help her.


To which I responded:

Ms. Entitled Mom -

Traditionally, the time to seek help is *before* the quiz, rather than after you've already failed it. In addition to which, it is my JOB to help her. You are paying $14,000 a year for me to help her. I have two degrees and five years of experience helping people like her. However, my telepathic powers are a bit weak at the moment, and unless Miffy raises her hand to ask a question, or shows some other sign of life, it's very difficult to help her.

K thanks bye,

To which she will undoubtedly respond with:

Ms. Teacher Jane -

Whatever. I have a squash game and an appointment at the spa. Just make sure she gets an A on her report card, will you?


To which, with a certain vengeful glee, I would say:

Ms. Entitled Mom -

I'll be sure to do that, just as soon as you shove that gigantic squash racket up your ass. Sideways. Your kid is a C student. All your money can't make her any smarter than that. But have fun trying!


So help me sweet baby Jesus...


if these children don't go to sleep, and soon, I am going to LOSE. IT.

I don't know if my kids are good sleepers or bad sleepers when compared to all the other small people in the world. I would guess they're average to above-average. But I am below-average when it comes to dealing with them.

After 8 pm, I do. not. want. kids. I have no desire to be a parent after bedtime. I want an hour to sit on the couch and work, or catch up on emails, or veg out, or whatever, before I collapse. Just an hour. One quiet hour. After bedtime, I do not want to see or hear my kids again until sunrise. Period. I hate nighttime parenting, and I know I've devoted many a post to this before. I don't know if it's my temper, anger issues, general impatience with all things small, but I HATE being a mom at night. If you could feel the force with which I just typed those four capital letters - there needs to be a stronger word than hate. If a knife-wielding attacker came smashing though my window right this very minute, I would say to him "please please please slit my throat first so I don't have to listen to these goddamn children anymore!" I would volunteer for death and dismemberment before I would volunteer for nighttime parenting.

I am fairly certain that if my daily routine didn't involve fourteen hours of running in circles with barely time to pee, I wouldn't complain so much. I could catch my hour of quiet time at midnight - I wouldn't have to get up at ten til six every day. I could shower at naptime. Hell, I could NAP at naptime. But that's not it. My time is never my own. I run around after my own children while I'm home; I run around after 120 others while I'm at work. I stood in the open door of the bathroom for almost ten minutes today, having been waylaid by both a coworker and a student while on my way to pee on my way to stand out in the freezing cold for half an hour on afternoon duty. Seriously. An hour. That's all I want.

And instead, my children give me up, down, in bed, out of bed, need to pee, need to poop, drink of water, hungry, thirsty, tired, not tired, sad, laughing, one-more-story, move-the-cat, get-back-in-your-own-bed-now-young-lady bullshit. After 8 pm, I frequently pull parenting maneuvers that I'm not proud of. Why, just tonight, I've:

been generally bitchy

and that's just in the last two hours that we've been working on this. At this point, 9:23 pm CST, after a yelling (gar yaergh go back to bed now or else dammit), a threatening (no sticker on bedtime chart hence no ice cream at daddy's house this weekend), much grouchiness, and a cat-ectomy (why that accursed feline feels the need to sleep *on* the Tank's pillow, I'll never know), there is finally, maybe, quiet in there. I hesitate to get up and go check, for fear of disturbing whatever fragile balance may be in effect. I am tempted to sleep fully clothed, sitting up on the couch, so as not to walk on my squeaky hardwood floors and risk disturbing a child. Seriously. I am Hating This.

Send chocolates laced with arsenic. Please.

Mental Giant


You know those times when you predicate your entire thought process around something that you *know* to be true, one of those pieces of knowledge that you feel, in the very core of your being, has to be true?

Say, the knowledge that Wednesday is payday?

Only to discover, of course, that you're an idiot, that Wednesday is only the 12th, and you still have to make it through the end of the week?

I have a calendar on my phone, a calendar on my computer, a calendar at work, a paper agenda, and a working knowledge that Tuesday was Veterans' Day. Given that, it still took me ten minutes of staring at my bank balance in dismay to figure out why I hadn't gotten paid yet - today is only the 12th.

Good grief.