From a Momma Bear

From a Momma Bear

2014

2013.  Oh, you’ve been eventful.  So much has changed — not much remains untouched by your presence.  One thing uncontrolled by your rapidity — yet, altered still: my momma-bear love for my little ones.

My boys have grown so; even my Connor in his short little life.  Gabe’s laugh continues to fill a room and Con’s lovely smile brightens dreary days — both little bodies warming our hearts and providing a constant reminder of what an enchanted, and sometimes monotonous, love really is.  I so love, and envy, their growth; for they see things in a way I’ve long since forgotten.

But this momma bear sees more than just their childlike innocence; I am not blind to the chaos and utter sleeplessness that little ones can bring.  Hardly.  I have been brought to complete agitation by disappointing news and pre-k hardships.  Left in zombie-like conditions by 3 o’clock feedings and teething pains.  Brought to my knees and sometimes bewildered laughter by incidental growing pains felt by parent and child alike.  No, I am not ignorant of these things.  I am all too aware.  But coupled with these sometimes back-breaking moments of sheer chaos and backwards steps are the wonderful and enlightening learned mobility I see in my kids.  And those, truly, make every sleepless night and heartache dissipate — even if just for a moment.

Oh, though I love my little ones, this year has not been without its frustrations.  I have growled and snarled; been the gruffest of momma’s.  I have not always been patient, nor have I consistently been kind.  I have misunderstood; I’ve snapped when instead I should have clung to.  But nevertheless, this old momma bear, even in her snarliest of ways, loves the little ones that I am privileged to call my own.

Upon entering 2014, we look to new beginnings, trials and errors.  Hopeful that this year brings forth good news and revelations.  And in hindsight, I hope we remember the good of the Old.  To sweet union, new life, and delightful hopes and dreams — we say Happy New Year and God Bless.

And to you gruff momma bears out there — Cheers.

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It’s Beginning to Look Like a Throwdown

It’s Beginning to Look Like a Throwdown

I am quite certain that my recent quips of annual Christmas insanity were a bit hasty.  I am absolutely positive that they would not be now.  It would seem that a large portion of Alexandria forgot that Christmas is tomorrow over the course of the weekend.  It is so maddening, in fact, that even I have been affected by the chaos — and I’ve long since finished everything on my list.  Take the other day, for instance.  I needed a few things for some last-minute baking.  I went to Wal-Mart, as it is closest (and most deadly), with my ten item list, expecting to be out in thirty minutes or so.  An hour and 45 freakishly long minutes later, I had 4 of ten items on my list, a splitting headache, and an urge to slam the nearest Bah-Humbug spirited person into aisle seven.  So crippling was my frustration and confusion, that I left my buggy in an aisle I don’t even recall wandering down and took off with someone else’s — the contents of which I can only assume (and pray) was for an ugly Christmas sweater party.  But I’ve skipped ahead.  So allow me to rewind.

Prior to losing my buggy and my mind, I had cut off (what I assumed was) a woman in the canned food section.  I honestly didn’t mean to, as I did not see her there.  Nevertheless, I did.  And she accepted my apology with an ever gracious, “Ex-cah-uuuuse you!”  Now, if you know me at all you know that phrase infuriates me.  It ignites my rage with the fires of hell.  So from that point forward, it was game on.  We ran into each other several times after our initial encounter, each more challenging than the next.  After about an hour I realized just how ridiculous I was being and made it a point to avoid the other.  I was on my way out and evidently stopped to look at something I didn’t need as I did not eventually check out with it.  Without realizing, I grabbed another shopper’s cart and made my way to the front check out lanes.  I bent down to get a Coke, and upon looking into my buggy noticed that the afore-mentioned ugly Christmas sweater party items were not that of my own.  Immediately and irrationally I began to look for that woman.  She just so happened to be behind me for a moment in the lanes, and in my tired and paranoid state just knew she had taken off with my buggy.  I looked everywhere, high and low.  I even called Evan to let him know that he might need to come bail me out and then BAM.  Right there, in the card section.  A place I don’t even recall walking down.  I shamefully grabbed my cart and headed back to the checkout lane, making quite sure that the contents were, in fact, mine.  I shook my head all the way home, mortified that I had been bitten by the Christmas Bah Humbug Bug.

smackdown

The moral of this story?  Even those of us so obnoxiously consumed in Christmas festivities lose our cool from time to time.  And also, before you throw-down in the dairy aisle, make sure you didn’t misplace your buggy, as it is doubtful anyone would jack a shopping cart.

Happy Christmas Eve..

The Money Pit

The Money Pit

Most of you know that we moved (at last) to our new digs. We finally got all of our treasured belongings crap into the house and settled in. And that’s when it hit us. We moved into The Money Pit. That’s right, y’all. Evan and I are Tom Hanks and Shelley Long. Except Ev’s not Jewish and, poor guy, I’m not leggy and blonde. Also, Evan’s alter-ego – Bruce Dern – from The ‘Burbs (another great Tom Hanks film), has taken up residence in the joint. He has threatened to shoot innocent bystander squirrels with a pellet gun (!!) for gumbo. I swear, if I see that man on a walkie-talkie, sporting a shrub, I will scream. Okay, I’ll laugh… and then hide from our neighbors in shame. I’m also on constant look-out for film crews (and Tom Hanks, of course) because seriously… this cannot be our life.

Anyway. Back to the money filled pit and the disaster at hand. Like I said, upon move-in we realized that we made a costly mistake. Not only are we being forced to rent and rent is OUTRAGEOUS, but our landlord is a freaking nincompoop. When we moved in, the following things we were not up to par. We were told they would be fixed before we moved in. They weren’t. And they aren’t. And I’m sure everyone’s getting a great laugh at our expense because we bought (rented..?) it:

  • The flooring in the laundry room was supposed to be completed. It wasn’t. It isn’t. It’s plywood. And I’m not too excited to wash clothes EVER.. because God forbid my washer go ape-shit and leak on the floor.
  • The crap that was left under our shed was supposed to be picked up and/or disposed of. It wasn’t. It isn’t. We live in Louisiana and snakes love places like that. I mean, seriously. COME GET YOUR SHIT.  Also, we cannot use the shed because the woman who still owns the property has her stuff locked inside.  She lives in Texas now.  COME GET YOUR SHIT.
  • The ice maker never worked. I was told it was working when we made our walk through. THAT pissed me off. Because hell no it wasn’t. Know why?  Because the freaking freezer door was wide the hell open when we walked through. So no.
  • The handrails around the deck and by the back and side steps were supposed to be put up or our renter’s insurance won’t cover us. Not only have they not been, but the woman asked Evan to do it. Asked him to buy the materials and everything. Without being compensated. Excusemesaywhat?! Yeah, screw you and no.

And that’s just a taste of what has gone wrong. Our dishwasher broke two days into being there. She sent out a “maintenance guy” twice. TWICE. And both times homie left garbage (!!!) on my kitchen floor and didn’t fix either appliance he had come to repair. But for real…. Do not leave your food trash on my floor, dude. Don’t do it. My house is clean. Pick up your trash, man. The second time he went out he said that the dishwasher was, in fact, working.. but (gasp!) the ice maker was still broken. No shit, guy. You think? And both times he was out he was IN MY HOUSE for one and a half to two hours. To do what? Eat in my kitchen, leave garbage on the floor, and not fix a damn thing. Can you say idiot? ‘Cause I can. Idiot.

So we finally got two out of ten things fixed. Two out of ten things that we, by virtue of our lease, are not supposed to touch. Yet we’ve been asked to fix almost all of it. Seems legit, right? At any rate, when the “fix-it” guy left our place, he graciously let a mouse in. I know this because:

  1. We are clean folk who don’t leave shit out that a mouse would love.
  2. We don’t leave doors open and there are no openings that a mouse could possibly squeeze through because…..
  3. We scoured every nook and cranny and there is no entrance a mouse could have gotten through except the back, side, or front door.
  4. …and our fresh loaf of bread, that was put away!… and unopened!, had a mouse sized hole right… through… the middle.

Immediately we set out traps. The rat bastard straight up ate the peanut butter off of the first one. The second time he wasn’t so lucky. When I got home yesterday, I noticed a missing trap. Dad said that sometimes, if the rodent is big enough, that it can walk off with the trap. So all night last night I dreamed of mice coming to get me with traps stuck to various mouse-y body parts. Freaked out and didn’t get much sleep. Did I mention that I’m pregnant? So now I’m pissed off and sleep deprived. Sigh. But today dad went to the house to look at our washer that, of course, has suddenly become possessed – probably in part to our pitfall home – and bless his heart, he found the mouse. Dead. Gone. He’s a goner. WOOHOO! So that’s one more problem down.

But just when we think things are shaping up, now we have a skunk (or skunk family) dwelling under our house. The smell is insane. Evan said it like this, “Remember when you were a kid.. and you’d erase paper just for the sake of erasing it? And it had that awful burning smell for a second? That’s what our house smells like.” Guess what guys? HE NAILED IT. That is exactly what it smells like. And I have Febreeze’d, and mopped, and scrubbed, and cleaned. I have done everything short of having an elaborate rain dance in our living room. And it still smells like skunk butt. We simply cannot win for losing.

To add the cherry on top of the melted sundae we are living in, one of our neighbors has a donkey. And a rooster. Both of them like to make their animal noises at ungodly hours of the morning. I have always liked donkeys. I have never seen the point in them, but they’re nice enough animals. But at two in the morning? Sir. Save your hee-hawing for more noon-time hours. And if that rooster crows before five am one more time….

I swear on my left shoe that I just might let Evan have his fun and play-pretend like Lt. Mark Rumsfield. I’ll let you know when soup’s on… or the gumbo, that is.

Leaves are a’Changin’

Leaves are a’Changin’

I can hardly believe that it is finally, FINALLY fall.  We are actually experiencing one here in CenLa, and lemme tell y’all — it is beautiful.  For those of you who aren’t from around this area, the weather here is about as reliable as a coin toss.  It can go either way… and sometimes, quite another.  I pretty much hate coming to work now because I am missing the beauty of the days.  I am (slightly) consoled, however, since my chair allows full view of the brilliant autumnal colors.

I think that’s my favorite — the colors, that is.  Don’t get me wrong; the cool air (sans dripping humidity) is refreshing.  But the colors.  I’ve always found it peculiar that even in death the leaves are stunning — as if in their short “lives” they’ve lived extraordinarily.  I adore, and sometimes envy, them for that.

Gabe and I… well, our own lives are changing although, thankfully, not dying.  On the contrary — it blooms.  Or so it would seem.  Gabe and I are finally possessing some stability.  A stability that has taken nearly a year (and lots of love and support) to cultivate.  Relieved.. that would be putting it lightly.  We have had a truly amazing support system and are finally ready to venture out away from our comfy spot… in the knowledge that we’ll be alright.  We have already stumbled upon a few roadblocks, but have jolted back up just as quickly as we fell.  For now, we opt to remain contented with what we have and just be happy.

Oddly, even in my relief, I am a bit saddened.  I’m saying goodbye to what I’ve known for some time now and approaching something almost completely foreign.  Granted, it’s not as dramatic a change as I make it out to be.  I’m not saying goodbye to the people, just familiarity.  But I’ve known this was coming for a while, as has everyone else.  I’m ridiculous, I know.

At any rate, this is November.  And the 2nd at that!  And during this month of gratitude I choose to be thankful for hits & misses.  Friends & family.  Blessings — even tough ones that don’t go as I wanted them to.  Thankful for health and wealth that most don’t have.  This month I will be grateful.  This month I will take a step back and take in everything that I’ve been given and try not to think about what I haven’t.  Because maybe I haven’t earned it.. or maybe.. it’s a blessing in disguise.

I have so much to be thankful for, and for the next month I will try my damnedest to post about things I feel I’ve been blessed by.  Whether it be people or events… although in no particular order.

The leaves, they are a’changin’.  And they give me hope.  Even as they die, they are lively.  I will be grateful that as long I have breath in my body, I too can be vibrant.  I too can live.

Composting Can Kiss My Ass

Composting Can Kiss My Ass

I have lived in the sticks for going on ten years now.  This does not by any means make me:

  1. a country girl.
  2. outdoorsy.
  3. eco-friendly.

I’ll go so far as to say, that the only things “country” about me is:

  1. my fondness for some country music.
  2. my love for fall outdoorsy things (weather, etc.)
  3. …nevermind.

I am not, nor I have I ever been, big on gardening; bugs; COMPOSTING… you get the idea.  So imagine my horror today when I got to move two semi-rotted watermelons & one gecko resort watermelon from one locale to the composting bin.  My supplies?  Two heavy-duty trashbags (God rest their little plastic souls), one wheelbarrow, and my friggin’ hands. 

At first I thought my task would be a simple one.  Move some watermelons from Point A to Point B?  Sure!  No problem!  And that’s when it hit me.  Almost literally… but not quite.  Let me just say, for your future (but then, hopefully not) reference:  when picking up a watermelon, one should never, I repeat, NEVER hear a sloshing sound.  If, in fact, you do, gently put the watermelon down, and coax the vomit that has erupted in your mouth back downward.  Repeat this process until you have managed to put the watermelon in the vehicular device, or in this case, a wheelbarrow.

When I FINALLY managed to grow a pair and place the two semi-rotted watermelon corpses & the residential area into the device, I moved on to the compost bin, where I would later throw up a little bit more.  When I got to the compost, I noticed a long stick laying on top of the lid.  “Must be to push down the pine straw & whatnot,” I foolishly thought.  Nope.  Its used to BEAT OFF THE MAGGOT COLONY LIVING IN APPLE HUTS.  For crying out loud, guys… they had their own zip code!  One of them, the big one– Big D, even flipped me the bird.  I thought I was going to lose my lunch.

From three weeks ago.

Calmly not so calmly, I placed the lid back on the bin, cried a bit, and threw them in another compost bin that probably was not built to hold watermelons.  Just to play it safe, I grabbed some trashbags & threw very gently placed the growing subdivision watermelon into the bags, where the thing exploded & began to eat through said bags (RE: “God rest their souls”).  I came back in the house, even more pale than usual, and pondered pouring myself a drink.  But, reasoning that is was only nine o’clock (and I only have light beer), I decided to pass and ate some white chocolate chips instead.  The little buggers never stood a chance, anyway.

The moral of this story?  Ol’ MacDonald can have all the farm he wants, so long as he keeps the HELL away from me.  And I don’t even want to hear about a bloody compost pile, or its maggot population, ever again.

Life Lessons

Life Lessons

As a general rule, I’m the first to say, “Live & learn.”  More often than not, however, I don’t take my own advice.

I HATE life lessons… when they first happen, anyway.  I usually learn to love ’em… just not immediately.  At first occurence, my first instinct is to be embarrassed or irritated.

Like yesterday, for example.  Some of you know that I am incredibly pale.  Put me in a room with a black light and I’ll glow, baby, glow.  So yesterday, in an effort to put a 14 day fix on my blinding whiteness, I went to “tan”.  Thirty five dollars & 15 minutes later, I emerge from the spray on (yes.  spray on.) tan booth.  Thirty five dollars & 15 minutes later I was bronzed, streaky, & spotted.  That tan went on about as evenly as painted tree bark.  Unfortunately, I didn’t notice it until I got home and the “tan” had darkened.  Needless to say, I was mortified.  Still am.  I’ll have this wonderful “glow” (yeah.. think orange push pop or oompa loompa) for 2 weeks.  It ain’t goin’ anywhere too fast.  Whoopee.

I think it is safe to say that I’ve learned my lesson, though.  Guess I’m just meant to be painfully pale… and avoid any bronzer that might come anywhere near my skin.

Gabe, on the other hand, seems to enjoy life lessons… though, granted, not all of them.  At his age, this is good.  Hell.. who am I kidding.  At MY age, this is good… I just don’t care for it.  The difference between my bright-eyed boy & myself?  He takes it and runs with it (sometimes literally).  Me?  I sit and stew… and often times text my girl friends about my aggravating situations (God bless their hearts).

Life lesson #2 for the week: Learn from my son’s love for new adventures.  Take it and let it soar.  These lessons in life — no matter how painful, embarrassing, or maddening they may be — are helping me grow.  I think it is safe to say that we all need a little growth in our lives… so long as that growth is not mold, bacteria of any kind, or unwanted facial hair.  😉

Gabe’s life lesson for the week, #362: Dried cranberries, no matter how good out of the box, are NOT good with pocket lint on them.  Ever.

Little Red Tennis Shoes
Yep. This is how he roams around our yard. Pantless, with shoes. He's a little strange. ♥