I have about seven loads of laundry to do and no way to do it in my own home - and no convenient laundromats. My washing machine still is not fixed.
We've now had two visits from the repair service. I've called the phone number to try to deal with this and get some resolution, but that has been fruitless. Several times I've been disconnected while the support person tries to transfer me. Mostly they pass the buck. Theoretically I have another service appointment on Friday ("between 8 and 5" - so helpful).
After the first attempt at repair, I mostly lost my patience with this process. I am sure that whenever a support person brings up my records, there is a flashing red warning message: BITCH! I'm not necessarily ashamed of that designation in this situation.
When things get to this level of dysfunction (and sometimes earlier), I don't deal with it well. I get very angry. Woe be to the customer support person in my path as I try to get to someone who can actually help me. And no, I don't believe them when they tell me that their supervisor is either at lunch or on a break, and the supervisor will call me back "right away." Persons at this level are never unsupervised. And call backs never happen. I'd sooner have a valid deed to a bridge in Brooklyn than a timely call back from a competent supervisor, if it happens at all.
I probably need to manage emotions better in these situations. I'll consider that. Until then, I'll just offer some advice: Don't buy any major appliances from Sears or ask Sears to repair any such appliance. They suck.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
I have about seven loads of laundry to do and no way to do it in my own home - and no convenient laundromats. My washing machine still is not fixed.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Last month after M’s annual cardiology check-up, I was relieved. No leakage in the valve, the aortic root, while still enlarged, was not dilating at a rate greater than M’s overall growth, no meds required. I’d been very nervous about the possibility of an ACE inhibitor or a beta blocker to control blood pressure. Since there was no clear cut indication that such meds would be necessary, I thought we were set for at least another year. The message I heard was one of “good as we can get, keep doing what you are doing.” My husband heard that, too.
At that appointment, Dr. B was sure to check our home phone number against the records and specifically asked for my cell number in case he came across anything in the literature.
Yesterday afternoon, as I was about to get on the erg, I was cleaning up bits of paper on the floor in the study. On my husband’s side of the desk/bookcase unit, I came across a prescription. It was for M, it was for an ACE inhibitor, and it was dated 11 days ago.
I was confused. I was shocked. I didn’t know what it all meant.
I called my husband, who was at work, and asked about it. He said that Dr. B had given it to him at a meeting last week, that Dr. B had been to a big cardiology meeting and that other pediatric cardiologists were starting to do this as part of their standard of care.
By this time, I was in tears. Here we were, facing the prospect of putting an 8 year old on a serious medication, possibly for the rest of his life, and no one had bothered to mention it to me.
I was angry that Dr. B, who specifically asked for my cell number and checked our home number did not use either. He did not discuss this with me, or even ask to have a conference call about it with my husband and me. Dr B and my husband my be colleagues in the same business but I still deserve some respect for my role as the patient’s mother, and a careful medical consumer at that.
I am extremely hurt and angry that my husband kept this from me. That opens a whole ‘nother can of worms that I thought we were done with – and I just can’t go back there right now, at least not in writing here.
As for M, he came into the study while I was searching for information on this drug and he saw my tears. He asked what was going on, and as it directly relates to him and I don’t like to lie to my children anyway, I told him in the most reassuring way I could. I told him there was no final decision on it, that we’d be careful to make the best decision. I told him the tears were just how I found out about it.
Then he asked if he had done something wrong to need the medicine. Poor guy. Smart as he is, he is only eight. I reassured him that no, he had done nothing wrong.
So this prescription sits in front of me. I don’t think we’ll fill it just yet. After a long talk last night, and some searches, we can’t find any clear cut direction uses for M’s diagnosis.
I have so many questions. This isn’t like, say C’s asthma meds that we start and stop throughout the year as symptoms rise and ebb.
Since this years’ evaluation and measurement was so good, the decision doesn’t seem clear cut, so what changed?
What is the goal for the medicine? How much will we expect his blood pressure to drop from what it is now and how will we monitor it?
Where is the data that this is the right thing to do?
What if it isn’t working, or conflicting data comes up? How will we know it isn’t working? What then? If we start down this path, is it for the rest of his life?
Are symptoms of insomnia, nausea and loss of appetite appropriate for a skinny 8 year old boy who already wakes up at the crack of dawn each day?
We’re definitely going to get a second opinion here. As much as I have been pleased with Dr. B’s care of and attention to M’s condition, this feels too big to take on faith.
Meanwhile, I have the side effects for this med without taking anything.
at 9:52 AM
Thursday, November 22, 2007
For someone who claims to love Thanksgiving, I woke up quite crabby this morning.
After grumping my way through breakfast hour, finishing a tart, and making cornbread, I identified several sources for my foul mood. Among other things, my husband's job has been demanding the last couple of weeks. I've prepared for this holiday pretty much by myself, while trying to keep the kids appropriately occupied (not always successfully). My husband gets home late, wiped out physically and emotionally from his day, and isn't much help. This also means he isn't particularly emotionally engaged on the homefront. The kids need and want his attention, too, and we're all pretty much melting down at this point. Thankfully (See?! I'm thankful for something this day!), his bad work schedule ends tonight at midnight - but he'll be playing catchup on his regular stuff for a week or so, and so will we as a couple and a family be finding our way back to baseline.
Sometimes I resent my husband's job, and the demands it makes on all of us. This is one of those times. I'm not saying we need to make a major change, or that it's horrible or anything like that. I'm just saying that in the balance of things - in the choices we've made for our life - things feel a little out of balance right now. It will resolve soon enough.
The other thing that was making me grumpy is family. Due to some interesting family dynamics, we are pretty much left alone on Thanksgiving. I'd say ignored, but I don't think it's about ignoring, I think it's about intentionally not saying anything. It's assumed we'll go off and do our own thing, and that it won't involve family. Not a single family member has asked after our plans for Thanksgiving. It's just not discussed - even when I ask after other family members. Weird, huh? I'm fine having dinner with friends, as we are today, but it would be nice to be asked about our plans. And the years we have ended up having dinner with family (that I can count on one hand with fingers left over in the last couple decades), it's always been oddly last minute.
Late this morning, as I put the finished tart in the dining room, next to the pear pie, I looked around at the set table, the sunlight streaming in, the desserts...and I was fine again.
I went and exercised (a holiday distance challenge starts today), the potatoes are cut up and ready to be cooked, the turkey is about to go in the oven, the kids are mostly quiet (S is eating CinnaBunnies for lunch), and our friends will be here in a couple hours. Hopefully my husband will be home in a couple hours (he's the gravy master) and we'll sit down around 4:30.
I have much to be thankful for in my life.
at 11:55 AM
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
When I was growing up, a neighbor down the street had a pomegranate tree in their yard. The tree bore well, and there was no way the family could use all the pomegranates. At least that is what the couple dozen kids on the block told ourselves to justify "sneaking" to the tree to grab one.
To open the thick skins, we'd throw the fruits down on the asphalt of our dead-end street, sit on the curb, and pick through the membranes to eat the gorgeous little jewel seeds. As neat as we tried to be, there were always stains on our fingers and lips to give us away - and a big mess on the road. Our parents would scold us a little, but I suppose the neighbors from whom we swiped the pomegranates didn't mind so much or a bigger stink would have been made.
Several years ago, before this latest pomegranate craze really revved up, I spied some pomegranates in the market and brought them home. The boys loved them, and still do. Then one Thanksgiving, on the spur of the moment just before sitting down to eat, I put a handful of pomegranate seeds into the cranberry relish. And a family Thanksgiving tradition was born.
A couple years after that, when visiting my family, I noticed that my brother has a pomegranate tree in his backyard. I arranged a trade with him: he would send me pomegranates from his yard, and I would send him cranberries from the local bogs. That was really fun. My sister-in-law, who didn't much care for cranberry sauce before, liked the recipe I gave her and the pomegranate addition.
Last year and this year, there were no cranberries for sale from the local bogs (some bad production years), and my brother's tree didn't bear well. No matter. When the local bogs and their tree are bearing well again, we'll resume.
Meantime, I made my favorite cranberry sauce last night. It's this recipe. I have a pomegranate ready for the boys to take apart tomorrow morning while I work on other parts of Thanksgiving dinner.
By the way, a trick I learned from Sunset magazine (at least I think it was Sunset): the best way to separate a pomegranate's seeds from the white membrane is to do it in a bowl of water. The membranes float to the top and the seeds sink to the bottom.
Happy Day Before Thanksgiving.
at 6:40 AM
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Your Inner European is Irish!
Sprited and boisterous!
You drink everyone under the table.
You Are a Boston Creme Donut
You have a tough exterior. No one wants to mess with you.
But on the inside, you're a total pushover and completely soft.
You're a traditionalist, and you don't change easily.
You're likely to eat the same doughnut every morning, and pout if it's sold out.
at 10:20 PM
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Yesterday evening we attended a small gathering of church people at a lovely woman’s house. The intent was for people from the church to get to know one another outside the realm of post-service coffee hour. I’d seen all but one of the other attendees around; the one gentleman I didn’t know usually attends the earlier Sunday service.
Conversation remained light, for the most part. Toward the end of our time together, some reference was made about the “troubles” in the church. I said something about it’s interesting to watch what is happening with these dioceses that are splitting. And that’s all I said.
Quickly this gentleman I had just met spoke up, “Well, I know personally the bishops of the four dioceses that are leaving, and they just feel they can not reconcile their theology with the church. That Jefferts Schiori, she’s a tiger, she is. She’s not a theologist, she’s an ichthyologist, with an emphasis on the ich.”
I was stunned. I quickly made a decision not so say anymore for the sake of a pleasant evening, and apparently the others in the room made the same decision, because there was silence for a moment before moving on to another topic.
After we left the gathering, I spoke to my husband about my shock over this gentleman’s obvious disrespect for the presiding bishop, his very possible misogyny, and his factual errors:
1) She isn’t a theologist, she’s an ordained person. She has an M.Div, not a Ph.D in Theology, or even an MA. There’s a difference. From the information I can find, neither are the bishops of the rogue dioceses theologists either.
2) As for the ichthyologist reference, certainly this is a reference, and an irrelevant one at that, to Jefferts Schiori’s previous career in oceanography.
3) And why the heck call her a “tiger?” The only reason I can see is to disparage her.
4) All this completely misses some of the major points of the conflict anyway. If the bishops don’t want to be in the church, they are free to leave, but they can’t take entire dioceses and church property with them. Among other things – many other things.
This gentleman and the bishops are scared white men. Afraid of change, afraid of smart woman, afraid of truly discerning messages that might challenge their status quo. They use their age and their position to declare that theirs is the only possible truth. But we already know that.
I also realized that what bothered me most about the conversation was this man’s personal attack on the presiding bishop mostly likely because of her gender – and that I didn’t stand up to that for the sake of a “pleasant evening.”
What the heck has happened to me?
I didn’t used to be this way. I would challenge what I thought was wrong. Granted, I would sometimes push too far in that direction, and knew that I needed to find better balance. Last night it seemed like the pendulum had swung too far the other way. Yes, it probably was a no-win situation, but to have remained so silent makes me disappointed in myself.
at 12:41 PM
Saturday, November 17, 2007
About 4AM, S woke up needing some comfort. She ended up coming into bed with us. That was fine.
At 5:30AM, my husband received a work call. He should not have gotten it. It was for a very small matter, and there is a chain of people that should have been called first. He was annoyed, and as he made several calls to find out where the protocol had broken down, his voice rose such that I woke up and could hear him well, even though he was downstairs.
I tried to settle back to sleep, but it was taking a while. Just as I got close...
About 6:15AM, S started crying that her tummy hurt. Uh-oh, I thought. I ran through various scenarios in my mind, how I would handle the day, the plans. We think she really just needs to poop, and helped her to the potty. Some progress. I settled her and I back down, hopefully for more sleep, but....
Shortly thereafter my husband started getting ready for work, making bits of noise around the room. Oh, well. So much for more sleep.
S decided she wanted to watch PBS, so I set it up for her. After my husband left for work, I went downstairs to get some coffee. While downstairs, I heard something fall upstairs. S had knocked a wine glass from late last night off my bedside table and it shattered.
After cleaning that up, I was back downstairs trying to motivate C to take the dog out. It is his responsibility to take the dog out in back morning and evenings for her usual business. After taking her out once to pee and feed her, I asked him to take her out again so she could poop, as she usually does after breakfast. C did take her out, but came back in rather quickly. Not enough time to let the poor dog do her stuff. I asked if she had pooped, and he said yes.
After a few moments of conversation and mom-looks, I learned that, no, she hadn't pooped, and he'd been lying to me on this topic intermittently. Today's excuse? It's cold out there.
So C is grounded for a while. This is not his first lying offense, but it has been a while. We'll have a long talk later about how he is trouble for the lying part, not the wanting to come in because it's cold part. And we'll talk about responsibility and how not giving the dog enough opportunity to relieve herself is not fair to the dog. Etc.
All before 9AM on a Saturday morning.
at 9:04 AM
Friday, November 16, 2007
I don’t know if you have seen the reports in the news in the last few days about the female former Supreme Court Justice and her husband with Alzheimer’s. Apparently, the husband, who is in an assisted living facility due to advancing Alzheimer’s, has fallen in love with another woman. And it’s okay with the former justice.
When I first heard the headlines, I wondered if the media was being sensationalist for the sake of headlines, and I suppose they are. They didn’t have to report this story at all. It’s mostly a private family issue.
But I also was intrigued. I have met this justice, and she is such a dignified woman. I admired her. While I didn’t always agree with her court opinions, I felt she always looked hard at the issues and the law and not necessarily at political party lines. Also, she knew my father, and I recently came across a letter from her to him; it’s a lovely remembrance. So I read the media stories – and my admiration for her only increased.
The basic story is that the former justice’s husband as Alzheimer’s Disease, diagnosed over a decade ago. As his disease progressed, she resigned her position to devote more of her time and energy to his care. Her husband eventually had to be placed in a care situation outside of their home. At first, he was upset and depressed. Then he met this other woman, also a patient, and his whole manner changed. Apparently he is like a teenager in love – and he is happy with where he is.
As I read about the situation, I thought to myself, “That is true love.” This former justice is accepting her husband and his illness wholly, and all that it means. Not to say there probably isn’t a little fear around it, too, but to achieve that level of acceptance…I marvel at it and aspire to it.
In the early 90s, when my grandmother was in her last years, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I remember reading a bit about it – that those diagnosed had long term memory but no short term memory. I also saw a documentary on PBS that a woman made about her mother with Alzheimer’s – in the film, the woman, rather than fight her mother’s memory lapses went along with them, and learned much about who her mother was as a young woman, prior to marriage or motherhood. As her mother lived in her memories, the filmmaker went along for the ride. This was less disturbing for her mother and ended up being a mostly positive thing for the filmmaker, though I suspect bittersweet as well.
Once when we visited my grandmother in those last years, she was in a home-based care situation. My mother, husband and I visited around lunchtime. We sat out on the patio and tried to chat. My grandmother was in another world, but I thought about the documentary and wondered what I might learn about his formerly imposing woman. I was looking for a way to start down this path, but was impeded as my mother was trying to control the conversation.
Finally, my mother was quiet for a few moments, and my grandmother said, “Well, it’s getting late. I should get back to work soon.”
I said, “Tell me about where you work.”
My mother could not handle this at all. She was almost angry as she interrupted, strongly, “No, Mom. You don’t work. You are in a nursing home. You are 92 years old. You have no where to go.”
I could see some shock and confusion in my grandmother’s eyes. I felt between a rock and a hard place. We quickly organized ourselves to go. I kissed my grandmother good-bye. I think I saw her once or twice more before she died in 1997. I never did learn about where she worked as a younger woman.
Several days after that visit with my grandmother, I tried to talk to my mother about the documentary. She looked at me like I was crazy.
I think my mother and my grandmother loved each other, but I don’t think they ever managed to truly accept the other (a recurring theme in our family).
When I think about the former justice and her husband, I wonder if she feels pangs of jealousy for this other woman – this woman who is seeing the youthful side of her husband, possibly the side of the husband that the justice herself married so many years ago. I wonder if it’s hard amid the acceptance.
Regardless of the state of their marriage before all this (Still romantic? Devoted but mostly platonic? Some other combination? Does it matter? Not at all!), the former justice is putting her husband’s happiness and contentment within a devastating diagnosis above appearances, and in that, I think, sets an incredible example of love and commitment and acceptance.
at 5:32 PM
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
We usually eat pretty well around here. We have a repertoire of recipes we rotate through, and it works pretty well. Usually it's pretty balanced. It has been getting a little rote, though.
On Sunday as I was preparing the weekly menu and shopping list, my husband handed me a recipe for an Asian inspired beef and noodle dish. It's looked fine - just fine. I figured sure, I'll give it a try. Some of the ingredients seemed a little interesting, but there have been other times I've looked cross-ways at a recipe only to have it become a favorite.
So I made it tonight - and it was horrible. I could barely eat it, and so wasn't about to insist the kids were clean plate rangers. I checked the recipe, wondering if I had missed an ingredient or a step, but no.
The more surprising part to me was the recipe's source - it was from a Christopher Kimball publication, and usually those recipes are good ones (even if he is a pompous windbag at times).
Does this ever happen to you? Try something new and it's awful? I'd love to hear stories of failed meals. I've had some in my day, to be sure.
So here I sit, completely unsatisfied with what I ate for dinner, and not many leftovers in the fridge to pick through. Might be time for a peanut butter sandwich.
at 10:11 PM
CC Sabathia wins the Cy Young? Excuse me? Over our Wonderboy?
Let's see - Sabathia was 19-7. Beckett was 20-7.
Yes, Sabathia's ERA was better. By .06. Six hundreths. Beckett's career ERA beats Sabathia. And, yes, Sabathia did pitch more innings. But still.
And what about post season? (And, yes, I know this is voted on prior to the post season, but it shouldn't be!)
Beckett, hands down.
They were both 1-0 in the division series (but Sabathia had an ERA of 5.40 in the division series to Beckett's 0.00 ERA), then Beckett went 2-0 (1.93 ERA) in the championship series to Sabathia's 0-2 (10.45 ERA).
Can't compare World Series records because Sabathia HAS NONE!
Is it because Beckett already has been a World Series MVP?
All I can think is that SOME PEOPLE are a little jealous and don't want our boys to win ALL the awards.
Extra shout out to our little American League Rookie of the Year.
There's going to be some blogging on this, let me tell you.
at 2:15 PM
Monday, November 12, 2007
Remember a few weeks ago my sister told me all about her affair, and justified it by saying God wanted her to be happy? And remember just a few days ago when I mentioned this book I am making about my father for all his grandkids and the ridiculous pictures she sent?
Anyway, after my sister’s email announcing her activities, I didn’t tell her how I felt about all of it because I knew that if I did, I’d never get the pictures I needed from her for the Dad book. The pictures were pretty worthless anyway, but I was trying. I figured it would be worthless to confront her anyway, she wouldn’t really listen in that type of situation.
I pretty much finished the Dad book. I’m ordering one copy as a proof. But before I sent it off a few minutes ago, I called my sister to try to check one fact.
While on the phone with her, I asked if she thought, as I did, that our mother might get pretty upset about the book. That we made one of Dad but not of her. My sister agreed that Mom probably would be upset. We then agreed that we can stop any potential whining if Mom does complain by stating the obvious: Dad is dead, and she (Mom) is alive and still has the ability and opportunity to be in her grandchildren’s lives. Whether or not she will take the opportunity is up to her.
It was then that I saw an opportunity to let her know how I felt about her extramarital activities without a direct confrontation.
“You know it could have been different,” I said.
“What do you mean?” she asked.
“The affair changed everything,” I said. “As soon as we found out about that, our loyalties and affections shifted one hundred percent to Dad, regardless of what the relationships were before.”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right,” she said.
“And it’s not like she ever admitted she made a mistake,” I continued. “If she had ever said, ‘I was wrong and I should have handled everything differently,’ I think things would have been different over the years. But she never did and I doubt she ever will. I wonder if she even understands the depth of relationship she has lost with all of us.”
“I don’t know,” she said, “But you’re right that the affair changed everything.”
Then her call waiting clicked, and it was her youngest son. She had to go.
I don’t know that this conversation will change anything – probably it won’t. But she knows where I stand, and that’s all that I needed for right now.
at 4:21 PM
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Yesterday we met up with some friends at the regional children’s museum. It’s recently been completely redone and expanded and it’s really nice. Our friends that we met are people we first met when we lived down south – C and their J were in preschool together. They also have a son C who is two months older than M.
I think it may well have been our last visit to this children’s museum. My C and J are just too old for it, and M and their C are at the outer limits for much of it. S loved it, though.
On the top floor, in the construction area, the boys really degenerated. My C started by stealing M’s shoes. Then the other boys got into it, and soon they – well, mostly my boys - were starting to throw things, completely disregarding all the small children around them. I kept trying to get them to settle (which was hard because using a strong voice requires a deep breath and deep breaths are still very painful), but finally had to physically pull them out of the space. I was angry and embarrassed (and in pain). Other parents (not our friends) were looking at me like I was a crappy parent first for having kids that did that at all and then for disciplining them strongly.
They know better than to behave like this. They do. They had to sit quietly for a few minutes then, and they have had some consequences at home.
It’s not that I don’t want them to have fun. Clearly it would have been better to just let them run and wrestle in an open space, but it was only in the 30s outside, and as our friends live 90 minutes north of us, we were tying to find a place to meet that was a distance compromise. The children’s museum was just too young for them and they were bored - that was our well-intentioned mistake.
I have no interest in going back there just for S if C and M can’t get some enjoyment and behave, but it’s kind of sad to think that that part of my parenting life is over – likely no more children’s museums.
The episode and the eyes of the other parents also reminded me of a small event five years ago, also in November.
My husband’s work requires that he take several two week rotations a year of a very bad schedule. He’s going to work early, he’s getting home late, he’s working weekends, and he’s making calls when he is home. For the last several years, he’s volunteered to take the two weeks leading up to and including Thanksgiving so that he can be sure he is on a normal schedule for Christmas. He’s on this schedule right now.
Every year in our town the local art association has a very nice juried art and craft show. It’s a wonderful place to get a few holiday gifts and support a local organization. This show is always the weekend before Thanksgiving – so it’s always during a time that my husband is working. If I want to go, I have to take the kids.
Five years I go, I tried to go on the early side while the boys were in a good mood. It was already busy. I tried to limit my looking, and even with that, it was trying. Quickly enough, I narrowed down what I wanted to achieve, and I was trying to purchase a lovely pillow for my mom. The boys were having none of this. It was so frustrating. Finally, using a low strong voice I placed the boys on their bums on the floor just out of the way of traffic and next to the booth I needed to be in.
A minute or two later, as I was writing my check and almost done, an older lady comes by and says, “Oh! Are these two boys for sale, too?” I thought she was joking, of course, and said, “Yes, and really cheap, too!”
The lady looked at me and became aghast. “Oh! I would never, even on my worst days, want to sell my kids!” Then she walked away.
What. The. Fuck.I was floored. My mouth was open. After 10 or 15 seconds, I pulled myself together, finished paying for the pillow and we left. I was angry. If I could have remembered what the woman looked like, I would have sought her out - so it's probably better that I didn't.
Back at the car, I started crying. I was stressed, I was tired, and I had been trying so hard. Yet I had failed, or so I thought. I took the boys home, fed them lunch, then settled them into afternoon quiet time and cried some more.
Every parent has bad days. I have yet to meet a perfect parent. Some days I think that I won't really know how I did as a parent until I see how much therapy the kids need later - and some days I think there's going to be LOTS of therapy. Other days are pretty good. Most days are a mix.
But on the other days, a little compassion - and a little humor - would go a long way.
at 10:28 AM
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Try to say that five times fast!
I appear to have costochondritis now. Man, it hurts. It hurts to breathe. It hurts to push the lever on the toaster. It hurts to do anything with my right side. And there’s nothing I can do except for not doing the things that exacerbate the pain and take an anti-inflammatory.
I had coccidioidomycosis as a child. Most people growing up in the desert southwest do at some point. I don’t remember it. What it means to me now is that when I have a chest x-ray, as I did this morning to rule out other conditions for the costchondritis diagnosis, I need to make sure the history of coccidioidomycosis is noted and the radiologist reading the x-ray is aware of it. Otherwise, they might freak out and think I have TB or something. Coccidioidomycosis leaves little scars all over the lungs that can be mistaken for other, more serious medical issues.
I'd really like a do-over for this week.
Time for more Vitamin I.
at 4:45 PM
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
My washing machine broke down today. It just stopped. I look in, and the clothing in there (mostly S's and mine) is sitting in a tub of water. I can't get to the laundry. It's a front loader; the door is locked and persistently so. I've tried cutting the breaker to reset the computer, and nothing. I tried other ways of tricking it, but it's stuck.
I called for a repair. I bought the extended warranty when I bought this washer less than two years ago (after the other one died at four and a half years), and although that warranty will pay for the visit and the repair, they can't get a technician here until Tuesday.
That's Tuesday, six days away.
Until then, I have laundry stew in the basement and I am NOT PLEASED!
at 10:12 PM
Monday, November 05, 2007
- Last week my husband took a new train line on its opening day. He called to tell me he'd been interviewed by the local paper and his picture had been taken. He asked me to keep an eye out online. Later that afternoon, I did spy the photo online. Then the next day his photo was on the front of the B section of the local paper. Then it was included in the online photos of the week (just four clicks after my favorite rookie!). We had many fun phone calls and emails from people who saw it. My local celebrity. Funny part was that he hadn't intended to take that train; he missed his intended train due to slow traffic!
- On the klutz front, I was putting away dishes on Friday afternoon when I was distracted by S as I tried to hang a pot on the pot rack. I missed the hook, and managed to drop a heavy Calphalon sauce pot on my face. Ow. Luckily I missed my eye, and it's not visibly bruising - but laying on that side of my face and smiling does smart a bit.
- C's French Horn had to be repaired for, I think, the fourth or fifth time in a year. His teachers assured me that this was not negligence on C's part. French Horn valves are sensitive and can be kludgy, and the solder points delicate. But when we received the horn back this time, there was a pencil in it. I was upset. I called and complained. Then I received a very nasty call back during which the music store owner accused my son of sabotaging his instrument. C is no saint, but he did not do this. Given timing and circumstance, he never had the opportunity to do such a stupid thing - never mind that I don't think it ever occurred to him to try something like that. He likes music! He likes his French Horn! I called C's teacher and she was very supportive and tried to help. She stuck up for C to the music company, and although they aren't backing down on their accusation, it's (at the very least) nice for C to have someone other that family supporting him in this way. We managed to get the pencil out with electrical wire and some old surgical instruments. I don't know what we will do about repairs in the future. We are renting to own with an insurance policy for repairs from this place, but I never want to see them again. Assholes.
- On Friday night we went into town to hear our favorite humorist. The same one about whom my sister and I were speaking when she made her idiotic comments. It was great fun. We always come away from those event with catch words and phrases that make one another laugh. One of my favorite parts of the evening is when he reads from his diary. I can't begin to convey the subject matter with any justice, but it was very, very funny.
- We live near a very well-known, very large, and very well endowed university, but I have to tell you something. Just because there is an "H" attached to something doesn't make it the end-all, be-all of all existence, it doesn't make it the best for you, and it doesn't even make it the best. It just makes it a rich university with good and well-funded marketing and press departments. Choosing something just because of that H and not thinking it through yourself is, well, stupid. And that's just what the H people think you are. This is not to say there aren't some very smart people over there - there are. But it's always better to think for yourself.
- On Saturday, the remains of a tropical storm hit our region. So much for our planned yard work day. We were very lucky that we only had a few branches down - large trees came down in other parts of town. The power went out about 2pm, just as I was starting to exercise. That was a very boring 12,000m erg.
- We were set to go to a benefit at and for the library on Saturday night. At 5, with the power still not back, I figured we had to cancel. There was no way I could ask a sitter to hang out in the dark. Especially a new and younger sitter. So I called our friends with whom we had planned to attend and told them, and assuming they were in a similar situation. They, however, had power. After some brainstorming, and a call to the sitter and her mother, we ended up taking our kids and our sitter to their house, getting ready there and attending the library benefit after all. All was going well until 8pm when they sitter called and our friends' house was now without power. The sitter handled it all very well. We went back to our friends' house, took the sitter home (having paid her well - hazard pay we called it), and then went home. Luckily our house had power by then - our friends didn't get it back until 3am.
- The cat left us a gift on Sunday morning. Actually half a gift. As in half a mouse. Usually I handle these things pretty well, but I was tired. Sunday is my husband's sleep-in morning. Since the kids woke up by the sun and not the clock, there was only one person in the house who was able to take advantage of the extra overnight hour. I still can't think about the possible fate of the other half. Since we have yet to find that other half...well, euw, whatever the fate may be.
- Back to a sister story. I may have mentioned that I am trying to put together a book about my dad for all the grandkids. I have scanned in every photo I have, and have borrowed and scanned photos from my brother. I was trying for a very specific kinds of photos - photos of us with Dad, photos of the grandkids with Dad, etc. The basic criteria being that Dad must be in all the photos. It's a book about Dad. Getting photos from my sister has been a real challenge. I begged, cajoled, bothered and nagged. I assured here that there would be a direct benefit to her, even if it was delayed. I specified exactly what I needed: two or three pictures of each of her kids with Dad, and two or three pictures of her wedding with Dad in the shots. I finally gave her a deadline, and although she missed it, a FedEx envelope did arrive late Friday afternoon. I was ecstatic until I opened the envelope. There were many, many photos in there, but perhaps 10% included Dad, and none fit the specified criteria. At least half were just of my sister, and another 25% were of my sister and her kids. The rest were random extended family shots - excuse me, why would I put pictures of your in-laws in this book? I should not have been surprised. When her kids wonder why there are fewer pictures of them with their grandfather, I don't know what I will say. Anyway, I scanned what I could use, and shook my head the whole time.
- I managed to pull a muscle in my chest wall on Saturday while I was exercising. It hurts to take a deep breath. Ugh.
- We finally started our outdoor fall cleanup yesterday. We are maybe a third of the way through. As I finally dead-headed the hydrangeas I was amazed how much color was still in the flowers in November. The nasturtiums and pelargonium are trying to come back to life. And the morning glory is hanging on. It's November for goodness sake. Yes, our checkbook will enjoy the fact of not turning on the heat until October 30, but this is just not right.
- Now, off to begin another busy week with a day off of school tomorrow for the boys, dentist appointments, story time at the library, soccer, French Horn lessons, my husband starting a bad schedule for a couple of weeks at work, trying to think about Turkey Day, never-ending laundry, etc., etc.
at 9:25 AM
Friday, November 02, 2007
It's amazing how different kids in the same family can be. My husband says that about my sister and me all the time. I look at C and M. Same parents, totally different kids. Where C is sensitive, M lets things roll off his back. Where M is boisterous and "Mr. Instant Gratification," C is reserved. It's an interesting study in contrasts.
When I picked up C yesterday afternoon, I took him down to the harbor to talk to him. For a while it was mostly me talking and C kind of listening, but mostly being mortally embarrassed that his mother would actually acknowledge him in a public space (even though there were no other kids around, and few adults).
After about ten minutes, he started talking. It turns out the thing with M was just a symptom of an issue with another boy, D. C describes D as being a loud and boastful, a kiss-ass to teachers, a cheater, always having something negative to say about everyone, always making fun of other kids, and someone who desperately wants to be M's friend. M is easy going enough that he laughs when D does outrageous things. M may not see the whole picture - or if he does, he doesn't really know what to do. C also describes D as having called C a "f*ggot" under his breath on multiple occasions. C says he has gone to the teacher to say that D has been annoying him, without giving specifics, and has only been told, "Ignore him."
It sounds to me like D is insecure and jealous of the friendship M and C do have (they are not best friends, but they are good pals). But regardless of D's underlying issues, C is hurt by what has been said to him and frustrated by what he sees.
We got back to the email for a few minutes and discussed some better strategies for email communication and general friend interactions. That went went well. I think he understands a little better.
Then we talked about the D thing more. It sounds like he needs to say something. We set a deadline of Tuesday afternoon for C to go to the guidance office or a teacher and ask for help and advice in dealing with "a classmate behaving inappropriately." After Tuesday, if he has not done it, I will email the guidance office on the same topic.
I don't want to fight his battles for him, but I do want to help guide him. I hope I am finding the right balance. I think I respond strongly to this because I feel that I received very little such guidance from my mom at the same age. By the time I was approaching adolescence, my mother was so done with child-rearing. She'd already been through two and just had no interest. I remember coming home in tears once when some girl had been nasty to me and called me names and said no one would ever be my friend. She said, "Her loss." And that was the extent of the comfort and counseling.
We'll figure this out with C. Or rather, we'll help C figure it out. Just wish it wasn't so hard - for all of us.
at 10:56 AM
Thursday, November 01, 2007
We had a less than typical Halloween here. Usually I’m all over making costumes, getting a start in late September. This year, my apathy was palpable. I started working on M’s costume about 4:30 yesterday afternoon.
So, S was a butterfly. We already had the wings from a previous year, so I just put her in pink clothing, put on the wings and we were done there. M and C had complementary costumes: M was a tree to C’s lumberjack. C was easy: jeans, plaid shirt, prop axe. With M, I needed to hot glue leaves to a tshirt.
When I finally started with the hot glue and the leaves, I realized I didn’t have enough hot glue sticks to finish the job. Ugh. Had to borrow from a neighbor. I finished it up just in time, and M and C made quite the pair. M would go up to houses, say, “Trick or treat. I’m in a rush; there’s a lumber jack after me,” then run off. Then C would go up and say, “Did you see which way the tree went?” At some point, S grabbed the prop axe and was carrying it around. At that point she was no longer a butterfly – she was a butterfly with an attitude.
Beyond the costume issues, C is going through some (I think) fairly typical pre-adolescent stuff. It’s hard to watch, and I am doing my best to help him through it, but it’s frustrating on so many levels. It’s complicated by email communication.
The latest episode started a few days ago. His friend M sent him a chain email (that’s about all they have to send to each other at this age). C replied, “STUPID!” We had a talk about that – about appropriate email communication. I said 1) if you don’t want to get emails like that, reply kindly. For example, “Hey, M, please don’t send me those emails in the future. I really don’t like them.” Better, just delete and ignore. And 2) writing in all-caps is like shouting, so don’t. Finally, 3) it can be difficult to convey emotion accurately on email. Something may be written in jest, but come off mean, etc. So if in doubt about how to convey something, best not to try, and also try to keep an open mind and a sense of humor when reading email.
So then C emails M again with, “SORRY ABOUT THAT.” M replied, “You better be!” with some big formatting. Ugh.
Now, I suspect, M was replying with humor. Even if he wasn’t, I talked to C about letting the whole issue drop. Just leave it.
Then C came home from school yesterday in quite a state. It took me a few minutes to get it out of him, and by the end he was nearly in tears. Apparently he suggested to M that they trick or treat together in a nearby neighborhood last week, but never followed up. Even if he had followed up, going out together was unlikely – M has three younger siblings and extremely social and gregarious parents, so likely there was some other plan already in place. Then yesterday at school, M was shouting across the lunchroom to another boy about going out into that boy’s neighborhood. C felt intentionally excluded, and I can understand that, though I doubt he really was. I tried to talk to him about that, but he really didn’t want to hear what I was saying. He was pretty committed to those feelings.
After this conversation, C said he wanted to email M back and apologize again. I specifically and firmly told him no, he may not email back again. He must drop it. He must give it time. No, no, no.
I naively thought that was the end of it. We went out trick or treating ourselves and C enjoyed himself.
This morning I checked C’s email (as I do regularly – he’s only 11 after all), and he snuck onto the other computer yesterday and emailed M. The content of that email is, “sorry about any hard feelings. if you want me out your life let me know (you would not be the the first, easy to see to see y huh.”
I’m so frustrated. I feel sad that he has these feelings. I wish I could protect him from that. I feel upset that he specifically did what I told him not to do. I’m frustrated that I have to wait until tonight to address this with him. I’m anxious for whether or not M has actually read the message and what he might say at school.
I think part of his response is from being tired. The last week had been exciting with his brother’s birthday, baseball and other little things. I think he needs to sleep in on Saturday morning. Another part of this is personality differences. C *is* a bit sensitive. He tends to want fewer closer friendships, and that doesn’t always work at this age. (M is quite social and has *many* buddies).
I don’t know quite how to resolve this. I’ll talk to him, of course. We’ll suspend email privileges for a bit (I’ve already changed the password on his account). But I also think we’ll have more issue like this that we’ll have to work through over the next few years.
at 9:00 AM