Monday, August 06, 2007


Wow - I'm really starting to suck at this. My plate feels very full these days and I'm finding I just don't have the time to blog like I used to. And not that I really spent all that much time blogging in the first place. But in addition to not taking the time to post much I'm also finding my blog reading time diminished as well, and that is a hard pill to swallow. I love reading blogs! . It's hard when life gets in the way sometimes.

I have so many things I want to mention that I'm not sure where to start or how to make this post seem thoughtful, creative and organized vs. chaotic and jumbled. I fear it's just going to be a giant brain dump, messy as that will be. Topics like our recent weekend at the beach, an article I recently read about MS, going to court, my job, the kids, marital questions to ask, etc. See? Messy.

OK, first things first: my job. It's going well, I think. I've been at it a month now. I billed my first month of time last week and the payday will be nice. Over $700 for the month of part-time work from home. I like my boss - he seems like a straight-forward guy who peppers his phone conversations with me with bits of humor, so it's pleasant working for him. I've hired a "mother's helper" last week to help me with the kids during the 2 hours or so that I need to be at the computer uninterrupted. It worked out very well! She's 11 and babysitter certified, and has a disabled younger sister that she looks after for short periods, so I feel she's well trained to tackle my two rugrats. She lives down the block from us. Plus, she's very polite and cheerful and cheap: $4/hr for mothers helper. Hell yeah! Sadly she's on a 2-week vacation with her family and I'll have to muddle through without her until she's back. In the meantime I hope to have to lean on Mr. Chick's 15 yr old cousin (male) who lives about 1.5 miles away when he's with his mother and gets bored in their apartment by himself all day. He'd rather hang out with us and play with my kids than be alone with nothing to do. For food and company in exchange for entertaining kids here and there, it works out. When I don't have help, which is the vast majority of the time, we've been making more frequent trips to the library to get videos and books for the kids. Yes, I'm using the electronic babysitter in my family room so I can get some work done. I feel guilty about letting the kids have that much TV time (and extra hour or so while I work), but I try to make up for it by planning something fun and active for the afternoons to off-set any slothiness that might have taken root. So far, no-harm-no-foul. I think. It could be a lot worse - I only work maybe 2 hours per day, on average, broken up into smaller chunks of time, so I'm not putting them on "ignore" for super-long stretches. I've brought up the subject of working out "office hours" with my boss so I could set up more of a predictable schedule for myself where work was concerned, but so far I don't have such a thing. I check in with him every morning and get a feel for what he'll need from me that day, and then tackle it right away. I feel like I want to make myself available whenever something needs to be done, and that's just not efficient for the rest of my life. In another month or so I think I'll naturally develop a work schedule around the kids' school schedule, but until then, I'm winging it.

Topic 2: soccer. HOLY BURNOUT, BATMAN! Oh my holy hell - practices for FALL soccer have already started for Nicholas. That's right, you read that correctly. He now has soccer practice 2x per week for an hour. The first game isn't until mid-September, but practices have begun in earnest. For 1st graders! 6 kids per team! This is not uber-competitive soccer - this is supposed to be fun! Yikes! It seems like overkill to me. Especially when you figure Nicholas is going to a week-long (mornings only) soccer camp this week. He's going to have soccer coming out of his ears by the time school starts.

Topic 3: traffic court. Something like 6 months ago I was cited for a traffic violation: failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Or something like that. I thought it was crap, as did Mr. Chick, so I plead Not Guilty and requested a hearing, with my attorney representing me (aka Mr. Chick). The first scheduled hearing got pushed back because the officer who cited me couldn't make that date, so now the hearing is this afternoon. Mr. Chick has a whole folder prepared for my "trial" - it's pretty funny. But finally all those years of law school are paying off for me! :) See, the officer cited me under an old, repealed statute that's no longer on the books. By like 4 years. Right there I should be let off the hook because of that technicality. But if they decide to re-cite me under current statute, then Mr. Chick has more weapons in his arsenal. For example, the fact that the pedestrian wasn't IN the crosswalk (an un-regulated crosswalk - no traffic light controls it), he was standing ON the sidewalk. Also, he was wearing a construction-worker vest and I thought he was doing some work there (there had been quite a bit of construction in the area). The motorcycle cop had stopped in the opposing lane of traffic to let this guy cross, but me and the car in front of me didn't read him as a pedestrian and kept on driving down the road. The officer pulled a u-turn and got me, the unlucky last car in that string. Mr. Chick is pointing out that even the officer couldn't tell if that guy even crossed the street because of how quickly the cop came after me and when he pulled me over you couldn't see the crosswalk anymore. So was he really a pedestrian trying to cross the interesection?? I love it. Mr. Chick and his cross-examination questions. AND, even better, the cop who got me is the same cop who actually wrote an article which came out in our local newsletter telling about the new traffic laws pertaining to pedestrians, yet he cited me incorrectly. Under the new law, a pedestrian must be IN the crosswalk. This guy wasn't. Slam-dunk - I'm not guilty. At least, I shouldn't be found guilty. And at a minimum the gigantic fine such a citation charges should be dramatically reduced just for showing up to court, right? I mean, initially it's nearly $300! Even if everything goes against us, it should be at least cut in half, right? Wish us luck!

Topic 4: MS. I've mentioned that one of my sisters has Multiple Sclerosis, haven't I? Thankfully, it's not dramatically affecting her at this point and she's only had 2 "episodes" of difficulty since her diagnosis 4 years ago. As you know, there is no cure for MS. No one really even knows what causes it. It's most common in women, and usually strikes between the ages of 20-40. I know several people with it - it sucks. Early last week I was reading the paper and came across an article about MS and how researchers may have found a gene that increases the likelihood of getting MS. This finding may make it more possible to come up with better treatments and hopefully, a cure, for this horrible disease. I was so thrilled when I read that article. As a sister, I worry for my sister and feel so badly that she has to deal with this. But I also have a nagging worry that it's perhaps genetic and my chances of getting it have now increased. No one knows for sure if it's genetic - they've never been able to prove it. But now they've identified this gene. So, I guess it IS genetic to a point. But - BUT - now they're onto something to make it better. And that hope is wonderful. It would be the greatest thing if she could lick this before something really bad happens.

Topic 5: Beach Weekend. This past weekend we went to the Oregon coast with some friends. Our two families are similar and it was good fun for all. The house we stayed in is owned by our friends' parents. The same people who own the place in Palm Springs I went to last fall. Yeah, they do quite well for themselves - it must be nice. They live very well. On Saturday we took the kids down to the beach (the house is beach-front) to play. At one point Mr. Chick decides the 4 of us should walk to the place he'd found earlier on his run that was a goldmine for finding whole, intact sand dollars. So we went, and it was a glorious walk with the kids. We were completely unencumbered and content. Everyone was in a good mood - no cranky kids, no whining. Just fun. We ran and skipped and chased waves. We found sticks and dragged them in the sand. I marveled at how free and perfect our kids are. How happy. I was enjoying just watching them in all their golden, childhood glory. Just running on the beach without a care in the world, completely living in the moment. And, as a bonus, we did find 5 or 6 perfect sand dollars. The beach was littered with their broken remains, but we unearthed a few and protected our treasures all the way back. I couldn't have scripted a better hour. The night before we had a wonderful bonfire on the beach so we could roast marshmallows and make s'mores. Yum! I think Nicholas ate 3, at least. The last day (yesterday) we went to a different beach and this time immersed ourselves in making sand castles. Only we'd forgotten our buckets and shovels in the car. So we improvised and in doing so, taught our children to be innovative. We found rocks to help us dig. We used our hands. Nicholas found a discarded bottle and after he admonished whoever left it on the beach for littering, set about using it as a tool. We created a "good" castle, complete with moat and lookout tower and bridge and wall, and the neighboring "bad" castle, more forbidding. We envisioned elaborate attacks and came up with defenses. At one point Mr. Chick, who was the lead architect of the evil empire, had Nicholas out scouting for a suitable disco ball. Because what bad castle would be complete without a disco ball??! He nicknamed the bad castle the "Palace of Pimp" (just between us, of course) and elaborated on that theme. He ended up with satellite dishes and a disco ball and all sorts of embellishments that the "good" castle went without. I gave my compound such things as gardens and protective walls made from rocks and pebbles. The bottle upended became the lookout tower that doubled as the prison for the bad guys. I was more era-specific in my imaginings whereas Mr. Chick was quite contemporary. And the kids ate it up and we consumed a nice chunk of time with our industry. The kids completely forgot that we didn't have any sand toys after 5 minutes. I savored the imagination and creativity.

Last topic: A marital question. At one point during the weekend Mr. Chick and I got into a heated discussion. It didn't help that he'd had a few drinks more than me, or that I'm pre-menstrual and feeling hormonal and extra-emotional. A lethal combination. Mr. Chick asked me to identify what I do specifically for him to show my love and affection. What gestures to I make to show him that? He told me that he feels he does a lot for me - unexpected backrubs and foot massages if we're sitting on the couch, for example, whereas I don't seem to do ANYTHING for him and he was feeling pissy about it. And lately he's started making me my coffee in the morning before I get up. Which is lovely and I appreciate it and have told him so numerous times. But of course talking about all of this got me on the defensive immediately. And I can't think straight when that happens. Unlike a lot of women, I can't recall a damn thing when we get in a disagreement. My mind goes blank. It took me a bit to play catch-up and start to identify all the little ways I try to show him that I'm thinking about him and love him, etc. But his argument was that the stuff *I* do also benefits me and/or the kids as well. I don't do anything JUST for him - just to make HIM feel good. The only example he could come up with was massages. My take-away was that I needed to offer more spontaneous foot rubs when we're sitting on the couch watching television. Sexual stuff doesn't count, according to him. That topic was off the table. He mentioned it would be nice if I programmed the coffee pot so there was coffee for HIM in the morning, but just this morning I asked him if he wanted a cup of coffee to-go and he said no, like he always does, which I know, so what would be the point of ensuring he had some before work?? So, I'm asking anyone who reads this - what do YOU do for your spouse or special someone to show them that you love them? I'd love to hear about it so I could generate some new ideas - I'm fresh out and apparently need to up my game.

So that's it for now. Sorry if your brain feels scrambled after reading all this mess from mine. I need to get in a bit of work before it's time to go pick up Nicholas from soccer camp and then get dressed and ready for court. And hit Costco at some point. Geez - it never ends, does it?!


I've been wondering where you've been. Nice to read the miscellany, we've all got lots of that.
WOW on the soccer. Talk about overkill.
Good luck on the traffic court. I'm sure Mr. Chick will be successful in getting you out of that crap.
What do I do for my dh?? If you ask me, WAAAYYY more than he dos for me (when he is home, because you know he travels A LOT). I program the coffee maker every evening so it's ready when he gets up in the morning. (I drink different coffee than he does so I do mine and his). Let's see (this may be a long list) I make dinner, do laundry, clean the house, do all the typing of reports and bookkeeping, I'm also the receptionist, iron clothes, do all the shopping and personal bill paying, take care of this kids and take them to their various activities. I agree, most of these things aren't just "for him" other than the coffee maker but let me tell you, he appreciates the fact that when he's gone, he knows everything is taken care of and when he comes home, other than cutting the grass (I REFUSE to do that too) that he can enjoy what time he has at home spending time with his family. And honestly, I really think he appreciates what I do because he tells me frequently, he could not do what I do.
What a find on the mommy's helper. My mommy's helper starts in 2 days - SCHOOL. Yippee, no more staying up into the wee hours to get work done. I do have mixed feelings about it since Faith is my last baby, but after 5 years of being a WAHM, I am looking forward to the sheer enjoyment of having a day here and there for just ME.
It was great to get an update on you, post again soon.
Christine! I hear you on your list. I do the same stuff, and that's what I pointed out during our fight. I show him my love by partnering with him and taking care of the kids and house so that he doesn't have to. I try to ease his burden everyday so that he can just focus on his job. But grocery shopping, cleaning, kid care, laundry, etc. isn't JUST for him specifically and benefits us all, so it doesn't count as an answer to his question. THAT'S why it's so frustrating. Again, the only thing he could really bring up was the coffee making, which just started happening, and the spontaneous foot rubs, etc. during television. I'm drawing a blank on what more I could be doing for him. I pointed out that I call him during the day to just touch base and see how it's going. I tell him I love him everyday. Most mornings (and admittedly, not as much in recent weeks) I walk him to the door when he leaves for work to see him off. I give him eye-candy each night when I undress for bed. Little stuff, but he's not reading it the same as me. He's not expecting little gifts or anything. Today I'm going to send him a little love-note email as my small gesture of affection. Just for him. But it's so hard because I feel like I keep him and our family top-of-mind all day long. Gah! I was able to vent my frustration about his completely neutral state about my job. He's been really non-commital about it, never really congratulating me or telling me he appreciates what I'm doing for our family. He sees it as something I'm doing for ME, which is not completely true. And trust me, I wouldn't keep my YMCA job if it weren't for the benefits. I do that for the family greater-good. So he's not feeling acknowledged enough, and neither am I, just in different ways. Not a fun conversations, but helpful to clear the air. No one should feel taken advantage of, and if that's how he feels I need to address it. Just trying to figure out HOW is another story.

I forgot school starts so EARLY in your part of the world - wow! You'll love having so much time without the kids! I'll get 10-12 hours each week myself. Unimaginable at this point.
Hey, I like miscellany! Sometimes it's the most interesting thing in a blog, so don't apologize for goodness sake! Sounds like your beach trip was fab & I'm sure you and your dh will resolve things. It's great that you both can communicate so openly. You've actually gotten me thinking about what I actually do for my husband.... bedroom time definitely counts in his book, so I guess I'm lucky in that respect. But, maybe I should give him more pampering & care. It's good food for thought!
Mr. Chick sounds very selfish. You are doing so much for him & your family = too bad he doesn't recognize it and appreciate it. Why would he not validate your job? What time do you get for yourself? Doesn't he also have extra curricular activities?
Hi. I am a new reader and so far, I am so fascinated with your life. Your sure are a very busy mom! I am also a mom to twins and have been a SAHM for 10 months now. I am loving it but gosh, I need some money! LOL. I need to find a part time job too and soon.

Anyway, bout your last ques - in my case, my hubby also accepts sex as something that I do for him, since he knows I couldn't care less. After the kids, I could go on for months before I got some so basically that is ALL for him! But I do also do everything in the house and even though the kids and I benefit from it as well, he understands that he also does too. But since your man is feeling that way, my suggestion would be to leave him some love notes, give him some back rubs every now and then, do his laundry, etc. Maybe he's just feeling a little lost and lonely. We all do sometimes.
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