So many questions

Do you ever get the feeling you should be feeling something, and yet you’re feeling something completely different?

Last year for Mother’s Day my brothers spoiled me. MutantPirate gave me a gift certificate for a manicure/pedicure at a little spa close to my house and MutantWino got me a gift certificate for an hour massage at a different little spa by my house.

I never used them.

I’m strange with “nice things” and am guilty of the “save it for something special” as often as I’m guilty of the “use it right now” method. I found the gift certificates again a month or so ago and realized the massage one has an expiration date of March 16, 2013. I didn’t book the appointment right then but I kept telling myself, “As soon as I have money for tip I must book this. And the mani/pedi too.”

My kids’ school is having a gala this year at Fairchild Tropical Garden. Tickets are $85 a person and out of my league. I have become friendly with a lot of the moms there and some of them are aware of the situation at home. But still, they asked if I was going. “No, I can’t.” “You have the kids that weekend?” they would sweetly ask. “No actually, I just can’t afford it,” I’d reply. Which really sucks to say out loud, especially to people who are several levels of wealth above you. It’s awkward for everyone. One of the room moms for Daughter’s class pulled me aside and told me she had a family that wanted to donate a pair of tickets for someone to go to the Gala and would I be interested? YES! And so it is that suddenly I was going to the gala.

The thing with the gala is that in my mind I kept putting it off as a thing that was happening far away and suddenly, it became a thing that was happening this weekend, today in fact. So on Wednesday the light bulb went off and I made my appointment for my mani/pedi and got my nails done yesterday.

manipedi

OPI Thrill of Brazil is the color

It. Was. Amazing! They gave me a glass of wine. And they were sweet to me. And the lady that did my nails didn’t barrage me with questions or small talk which is nice because I usually just like to sit and be quiet and enjoy the fact that I am being taken care of. I came home feeling all pretty and lovely and stuff. And then I got stressed out about what on earth to wear because I have nothing for this event and the dress I had planned on wearing, I realized is missing the belt that came with it because I lent it to a bridesmaid. My mom had the idea of calling MutantWino’s fiancee and so Stallion finished up bedtime so I could run over to their house and try on dresses.

I left with a pretty ivory lace sheath dress which I will be pairing with an awesome vintage red swing coat I’ve had in my closet for a couple years that I got for free when my friend was doing a garage sale.  And I will be wearing that with these really pretty black and grey peep toe heels my cousin gave me from her last Purging of the Shoes. And I will be carrying a really cute red clutch my BFF gave me for my birthday. Funny, I just realized my outfit will cost me zero dollars. Oh wait, I did buy the knockoff Spanx thing I’m going to wear under the dress but I bought that several months ago– does it still count?

Oh yeah, and my massage is booked for next Wednesday night after work.

So all of this awesome and I am feeling… completely exhausted, drained, and worried. Baby is going through something and I’m stuck. He wet the bed again last night and yesterday he got in trouble at school. My mom told me he was absolutely wild with her yesterday. This morning he was absolutely crazy with me too. On Monday I have an appointment with a counselor. My job gives free counseling on-campus and they also give referrals. I’m going to talk to them about the situation I am in with the kids and their father and also explore the possibility of the kids going to therapy. I have a FSA I contribute to so the money is there, and it looks like they need it. It can’t hurt.

On top of all that I’ve been dealing with this coughing, congesting, voice hoarsening thing for a week now. The NyQuil is making a mess out of my mornings. I keep passing out on the couch. I have a midterm on Tuesday. I really need to see my friends more often because I’m feeling lonely and too dependent on Stallion. I’m anxious about tonight because I’ve never been to a gala so will I be overdressed or underdressed and I don’t even know where they ended up seating me so I have no idea who will be chatting with me and big things make me anxious these days and  seriously aren’t I too old to be caring about this crap anyways?

So there you go. Trying to shift from Eeyore into Jem (she knows how to have a good time, right? SYNERGY!) is not easy. But I am trying. And hopefully I will enjoy my awesome weekend and accomplish everything I want to– enjoy the gala, crochet, hang out with the BFF, do the Google+ hangout I have planned, study, see my other friends, build Baby’s bike, ride my bike, and enjoy alone time with Stallion (yes pervs, that’s exactly what I’m hinting at).

What are YOUR plans this weekend? How can I make an extra $25 a month so every other month I can get pampered with an awesome mani/pedi? Why don’t my nails look like that when I do them myself? Have you ever put your kids in therapy? What’s it like when kids get therapy? Am I being silly and stressed for nothing? What do you do when you’re being silly and stressed for nothing? Am I asking too many questions? Do you ask this many questions? This is too many questions isn’t it?

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You know how I know I’m older?

I blame NicoleandMaggie’s giggle-worthy post, I had a Midlife Crisis in Class Today, for this one. Read it! Then come back!

Just yesterday I was walking out of class and it just hit me out of nowhere– there is a LOT of skin on campus!! Holy crap. Tiny shorts and tiny tank tops and everyone wears flip flops! I swear to god it wasn’t like that the first time I went to college– was it? And then I couldn’t really remember and that made things even worse.

And then just the other day the kids and I were in the car and we were blah blah blabbing and somehow it got to me telling stories of things my brothers and I did as kids. And then it dawned on me the reason we sounded so much crazier than my own kids is because we had way less “easy” entertainment, i.e. video games, movies,internet, cable were not in my house until I was in the double digit years, so the 90’s. I was explaining about TV before cable and counted off the channels we had access to– all 7 of them. Eldest says, “Yeah but one of them was a kids’ channel at least, right?”

No, my child. I had to explain there were no channels dedicated to children’s programming, there were only time blocks dedicated to children’s programming– after school until the 5 o’clock news, Saturday morning until noon, and then on Sunday ABC would put on an ABC Family presentation in the early evening and it was usually a Disney movie or something like that. They were freaking out.

But they suddenly understood why we did things like play pranks on each other (I sprayed them with a hose from outside through the window screen when they were in the tub a couple times and I was notorious for rigging up buckets filled with LEGO pieces and Hot Wheels on top of their bedroom doors and then waiting patiently until I heard the crash and the screams of the bucket falling on their heads).

Or why we played lots of imagination-based games– like declaring the whole floor was lava and then proceeding to walking around the room by climbing on furniture and jumping onto bean bags or pretending their bunk bed was a giant pirate ship and we were stuck in a storm.

Or why we were always doing things outside like running in sprinklers, riding bikes and roller skates everywhere, climbing trees to hide and read in (just me), and playing football in the street.

Or why it seems we were always tangled up in some sort of physical assault. I’ll never forget the time I shoved my brother and he cracked his head open against the iron bars and my mom freaked out. Or the time he and I were fighting and he got put in time out and I didn’t and like the asshat I was, I went skipping up and down the hallway he was stuck in showing off my freedom when he kicked his leg out, tripped me, and sent me flying down the hallway. Well played MutantWino, well played. Or the times I’d go in and pull MutantWino off MutantPirate. Or the time MutantWino broke his finger chasing MutantPirate around the room. Or the time MutantPirate turned his eye all red and demonic looking by running into a bedpost while being chased after by MutantWino.

And I also realized why it always seemed to me that as kids we played with our toys more than kids do today. That never clicked in my head until that conversation. Answer: we DID play with our toys more often, because we had to.

So my kids and I talked about it and we decided this weekend, we are turning the clock back 30 years and living like it’s 1983. And the fact that was 30 years ago is enough to make me slightly nauseated.

And then, today I was watching the amazing video Google put out about Glass and actually got choked up! We have come so far, this was science fiction when I was little!

What about you? What recent happenings make you feel older?

The Good, The Better, and the Amazing

Sometimes, I don’t feel like doing these. But I really push myself to do them because I know deep inside that my life just isn’t that bad and it’s my way of fighting off the yuck. So without further ado, here is this week’s Good, Better, and Amazing.

Three Smiley Faces

The Good

  • Something’s wrong with my car, my mechanic is blaming the transmission, and my warranty ran out about 700 miles ago. Might be time for a new car. Maybe.
  • Eldest was sick last week but is a-ok now and it looks like no one else got it.
  • My parents are still helping me as child support is still not coming through. Their father IS receiving Unemployment and it’s not being garnished and he’s not paying. This is why so many people just give the hell up. From what I could gather, he’s received three payments so far. And not one garnishment. And not one payment. But at least I have my parents. Thank God I have my parents.

The Better

  • Crochet is relaxing.
  • The Single Parent Stories series is so good. I hope you guys have been able to read them and enjoy them.
  • Stallion is working crazy hours. I think last week he worked almost 50.
  • I paid my car off. The one with the bad transmission? Yeah it’s officially MY car with a bad transmission not the bank’s car with a bad transmission. So yay.

The Amazing

  • Teenager came in from Tampa to surprise Stallion this weekend as an early birthday present. He was overwhelmed and amazed and it was fantastic.

Now you tell me– what’s Good, Better, and Amazing in your part of the world?

The Good, the Better, and the Amazing

Three Smiley Faces

It’s Monday! And instead of being all Boo-Hiss about it, I’m trying to get into the Woo-Hoo frame of mind instead. And with that, I bring you this week’s, The Good, the Better, and the Amazing!!

The Good

  • I feel pretty today. Oh and yesterday too.
  • I really like the book we are reading from class right now, Natsume Soseki’s Kokoro. It’s my favorite so far although Hedda Gabler was pretty awesome.
  • My car started doing this crazy shaking thing this morning while I was taking the kids to school. I was able to get them to school AND drive the car to the mechanic. At first look he says it’s just a spark plug but wanted to let the car completely cool before taking a deeper look. So fingers crossed it’s just the spark plug.

The Better

The Amazing

  • I have the coolest idea for Stallion’s birthday. Still munching over details but the gears are turning. I love surprising people with something awesome that they really want.
  • I tried a new to me crochet technique this weekend called filet crochet. It looks so much harder than it actually is. I made a neat little skull doily type thing I am going to send to an artist as a thank you for some stuff they’ve sent me. And now I’ve got a new technique to add to my skill set!

So what about you? What’s your Good, Better, and Amazing this week?

What we did this weekend: AT-AT Walker Model building, girls play date, swing twisting, fort building, chores with the gecko, taco night, and filet crochet

 

We’re Back

We’re back! We actually got back on Monday, but I was wiped out. And then yesterday I went to the dentist and that ruined my day. So, today is the day I get to jump on here and tell you all the trip was a huge success. I stayed on budget and we had an amazing time. I wish I could share pictures but apparently the battery fell out of the charger in my old purse when I moved everything over and I didn’t notice. So I had to buy disposable cameras and we haven’t used them up yet to develop them. So weird having to wait to show you photos.

Yesterday was dentist day for me. You guys, I’m not scared of the dentist anymore, but I seriously dislike going. I mean seriously.

So here’s the verdict. My teeth are mostly in good condition. I have no cavities but my two upper wisdom teeth are going to have to come out. They are in awful condition and one is already protruding and it’s coming in backwards.

The real problem is my gums. My gums are a mess. When I was younger, a part of my lower gums got sliced by a hygienist by accident. And when I got braces, the lower gums got really irritated. And of course, neglect has led to major problems.

So we are doing a deep cleaning in four parts. Part one was yesterday. Part Two next Thursday and so on and so forth. After that, they’re doing another x-ray to make sure they’ve cleaned everything thoroughly.

After that, I’m being referred to a periodontist to do a skin graft from the roof of my mouth to my front gumline to save my teeth.

The deep cleanings suck. I’m still bleeding from yesterday’s cleaning. Apparently, that’s what they want though– to drain out the gums of all the CRAP. It’s so gross. Seriously. Gross. And then people wonder why I don’t like the dentist.

But, I did it and I’m going to go with it and do the rest of it. Maybe once I clean all this crap out of me I won’t get sick as often. And then going to the dentist won’t suck as bad.

So there you go. I went on a trip, stayed on budget, and went to the dentist. It’s like I don’t even know myself anymore!

The Compromise

On Friday, I let everyone in on the stressful situation that is going on in my life right now. And there was this huge flood of amazing support and words of advice and encouragement. Thank you to the Grumpies, by the way, for steering so much of it this way. You two are my Cheerleaders but totally awesome feminist ones.

I have been reading, and responding, to your comments all weekend. You are a very wise bunch. And what I decided was to compromise.

This trip does mean a lot to me. It’s not as simple as Take Kids to Theme Park. It’s more layered than that. And one of the things it means to me is keeping promises. I hate broken promises, I really do. Probably because I’ve been the victim of so many in my own life.

So I thought about it and vented on Stallion in a big, big, big way. I pretty much threw my tantrum with the tears and the boogers and the, “It’s not fair!” Very classy. And after he hugged me and told me it’ll be ok I calmed down and made a decision.

We are not going to Disney, but we are going to Universal. The tickets for Universal are free, they are for both parks, and their confirmation number was sent to me last week. They are there waiting for me. And it is scheduled for the 12th of August, Eldest’s birthday. As I had mentioned, the kids received money for the trip, and my grandmother and mother have told me they will be giving me Eldest’s trip money as well. With that money, I have the cost of the hotel covered, the gas, and I think even the food. The only big ticket item that is not yet covered is the one ticket for Stallion’s daughter which is her birthday present as well. Her mother is giving her money for food so that should be perfect.

As for Disney, it is not cancelled, but it is postponed. I am going to work my little tookus off and see if I can manage to put together enough to fund a trip to Disney in December when it’s all decorated for Christmas. We’ve never seen the park that time of year, the weather will be nicer, and the two littlest ones will get their birthday wishes filled then. That will be the new goal– survive and Disney in December.

Like I told Stallion, the reason this has been so hard for me to let go of is because how long I’ve been working at it– and how close I was. I have been diligently saving and saving and saving. Over half the child support payments have been going to saving up for things like the school’s $2700 registration fee (private school, my parents pay the tuition if I pay the registration) which I paid in full at the beginning of the year. When my tax refund came in, I did the math and put a portion of it into my emergency fund, a portion into my big ticket savings like the summer camp, the trip, and Christmas, and sent a huge chunk to my credit cards. You know, the responsible thing.

And it was working!

When my car broke down in March I had enough money to pay for the repair. When school let out, I had the $3000 to put them in summer camp. When I woke up one morning to find my cat had been vomiting everywhere and had a fever, I had the $450 to cover the vet bill. I think I might rename my cat and call her Disney.

The big thing now is what I am going to tell the children. My kids are pretty young. The youngest just turned 4 and 6 in June and the oldest turns 9 this Sunday. Money is really hard to explain to the youngest ones and unfortunately, they are the ones who wanted Disney. Eldest is the one who wanted Universal as he is obsessed with Harry Potter.

I’m thinking of going about it this way.

First things first: Be (vaguely) Honest. I’m going to explain that I had to make changes to the trip this weekend and that one of the parks is going to be postponed. I’m going to explain I am not making as much money every month as I used to. I might use coins to explain this. Show them four coins and explain that’s how much I was making, take away two coins and explain that’s how much I’m making now. I am extremely wary resistant to the idea of explaining their father’s role, or lack thereof, in all of this because of how young they are, how sensitive a topic it is, and how complicated it may get to explain. Eldest can probably handle it and maybe he and I will have a separate conversation later, if he wants one. I think I’m just going to explain that there were two ways I was making money and because the economy is bad, one of them isn’t making money right now. It might start making money again one day, but I’m not sure when, etc. etc. etc.

I am then going to explain we are going to Universal Studios only because the tickets were free. I did not choose which park we went to. I asked around my group of friends and the connection that came through was for Universal. I want this to be clear because I don’t want them to think I was choosing favorites or anything and besides it’s completely true. If the tickets to Universal weren’t free, we wouldn’t be going anywhere.

I’ll then lay out my plan to try and make more money so that we can go in December to Disney to see the park at Christmas time. And then I’ll ask them to please look at the Universal website with me and try and get them fired up about what we’re going to do and see there.

The bad part is, it’s the youngest kids’ trip whose getting postponed. The good part is, they are distracted easier.

I feel a lot better about this weekend now that I’ve made this decision. One of the things that struck me after reading your comments and throwing my tantrum was the reason I’m so frustrated and angry about postponing part of the trip is exactly the reason I need to postpone part of the trip.

I have been doing things the right way for so long, why blow it? If there’s one thing I’ve learned is that it’s far easier to create problems than to fix them. The right way worked. It did what it was supposed to do– I just hadn’t been able to fund it long enough to cover me more than it already has.

The wrong way, I’ve already done that before. I know where that goes and what it does to a person. So thank you for helping me get to this place I am in right now. I’m not going to lie, I’m still a bit down at the mouth and I would really like to practice some sort of physical violence, but I am trying very hard to pull up and out and I just wanted to thank you all for the boost.