Archive for the ‘Blessed and possessed’ Category

Five for Friday.

November 3, 2017

My daughter is relentless. Apparently, someone misses my blog posts. Apparently, someone wanted me to write a Five for Friday post today. Apparently, someone inherited her mama’s patience because a draft of an all-Gracie Five for Friday came floating across my texts no long after the demand request for a post did.

The problem is that I have two daughters. So. I edited the draft a little.

1 I might not have been writing for my blog much lately, but I have certainly been writing! I’ve been writing book reviews for a freelance gig, and a bunch of journaling for therapy, and then I cranked out a tight-deadline article about my favorite books set in the lovely city of Detroit. There is nothing I love as much as when the creative juices are flowing when you need them to!

2 Speaking of Detroit, OHMYGOSH I want to visit! Enough that I would even get on an airplane, even after a day spent thinking about how much I hate flying. That is how enraptured I am right now! Want to do a little reading? Pick up Angela Flournoy’s The Turner House or Charlie LeDuff’s non-fic Detroit: An American Autopsy. Both reads will stay on your mind for a goodish while.

3 Is everyone caught up on Stranger Things 2?! Because I don’t know how much longer I can contain my gushing! (And a few critiques.) I will say this, though: I impressed even myself when a certain person read a few lines out loud and I immediately recognized it as Anne of Green Gables. It wasn’t even an obvious section – it was when Anne marvels that her parents had noble professions, and perfectly lovely names, and how she was left an orphan in spite of all the wonderfulness. Two, maybe three lines. It was a small piece of an understated scene, taking up maybe 10 seconds of our time. Most of which I spent freaking out over my own awesomeness. Just call me 012. Heh.

4 If you’re wondering why there wasn’t a Halloween post, it’s because for the first time, we didn’t go trick-or-treating. Gracie decided she was going to stay home and hand out candy. Bee decided, at first, that she wanted to walk around. But I wasn’t crazy about leaving Gracie home alone with the candy (or the crazies), and walking Bee around by myself wasn’t that appealing. So I bribed my daughter with candy. Oh yes I did – if she stayed home, I told her that she and her sister could have all the leftover candy. And then I got All The Feels because we weren’t trick-or-treating. Yes, I do know I’m crazy.

5 And although I’m tempted to post my Five without mentioning a single thing Gracie drafted, because I’m mean and twisted and my sense of humor is beyond warped, I can’t really do that to her. So I’ll mention one thing. Drumroll, please! Gracie made All-City Band! I am sooooo proud of her! Tryouts might have been mandatory for eighth-graders, but participants include high schoolers and students of all abilities. Gracie must be be pretty good at this whole drumming thing! (Congrats, kiddo!)

Now. With that, may I please go back to looking at puppies, Gracie-girl? Or are you going to draft an article for me to post tomorrow, too? You are SO demanding! Ha!

Have a good weekend, everyone!

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Quote of the Day.

September 26, 2017

Yesterday was my Uncle Teddy’s birthday. And four years is a crazy long time, but not so long that I didn’t have myself a good cry last night.

So of course, the girls were in rare form.

Setting the scene: Gracie walks in on me texting my cousin, and crying.
Gracie: Aw! What’s wrong??!
Me: It’s Uncle Teddy’s birthday.
Gracie: I know! I should not get in the shower [like I had been yelling at her to do], and make you cinnamon rolls and cheer you up instead!
Me: Um…no.

Setting the scene, Part II: Bee walks in on me crying, after I’ve shuttled her sister into the other room.
Bee: What’s wrong, Mum?
Me: It’s Uncle Teddy’s birthday, and I’m texting Uncle Kene.
Bee: You should tell him to go to Crazy Uncle Mike’s house and play with the cup holders that light up. Those are cool.

Like my cousin said – those two might be a leetle bit related to us!

Thowback Thursday, Sunday Night version. (Remember Sunday Night Meltdowns?)

September 25, 2017

Quite a few friends of mine have just had babies or are about to have babies, and so I’ve found myself in the middle of conversations lately where I’m the Official Extender of Hope. Don’t worry. They’ll sleep soon – and so will you. They won’t always be toddlers. You’ll get to be a person, too, very soon. Because I looked up one day and my little toddlers, my loving little energy-drainers, were teen- and tweenagers! How did that happen?! Not to say teens aren’t without their own problems. They certainly are. Just…different ones from toddlers.

With toddlers? The brand of person my friend lovingly refers to as tiny terrorists? It used to be that by the end of the weekend, the bastion of hope that our time together enforcing rules and refusing sleep, the symbol of Sunday Night we lovingly referred to as Sunday Night Meltdowns. Without fail. Either the toddlers hosted the meltdowns because mom is nothing by unfair all the time. ALL THE TIME! Or else I was the one snapping and crying because I was never going to get a break. Never, ever, EVER.

My kids had just about eased out of the phenomenon when we were graced with the Xman. And hoo boy – then I really learned the meaning because Sunday Night Meltdowns lasted all weekend long.

Then, last Fall, that problem was quite suddenly solved. And if I grieved over losing the person I thought might have been The One, it was soothed a little by also losing the constant battles.

Last night, though, we had a throwback Sunday night.

Gracie started it. She texted me to celebrate our win and as thrilled as I am to know she’s following football from home, I thought maybe she was going to ask to come home early. Alas. So I was already a little sad when she texted about an hour later to see what we were having for dinner. That’s when it really began. Chicken? She didn’t want chicken! They just had it for lunch! And for dinner last week! And she hated chicken! [Uh, that is almost verbatim. I am so not hyperbolizing for once.] I snapped back that when I made pasta – our household cheat meal – they had both complained too! No matter what I cook, everyone complains!

At least she had the grace to keep her mouth shut.

Bee-girl started in when she got home. She didn’t like dinner. (That one I was expecting.) She didn’t want to go grocery shopping when I was done. (I was expecting that too – usually I’ve gotten that done during the day and we just netflix and chill after dinner.) But you know what? Thems the breaks. And when mama says to stop whining? Stop. Whining. And if you don’t have the sense to do that? Then you better definitely stop if she threatens to take away privileges.

Privileges were lost. In fact, the girls were lucky to escape with their lives by the end of the evening. They sniped all night about the tiniest little things that were bothering them. They kept trying to boss each other and one-up each other while we were out. I very nearly put my 11-year-old in Time-Out in the middle of Target!

Of course, by the time we got home and bedtime was near, the girls saw the light. Gracie made the peanut butter no-bake squares she’d talked me into buying. Bee-girl waited until five minutes before bedtime to start making her lunch for today – something I had stopped reminding her to do because she’s been buying lunch.

It was a little too late. Gracie tried to recoup bedtime by offering to play cards with me – something that nearly always works. Bee even offered to have a sleepover – something she knows I’m a sucker for after a weekend filled with scary dreams [sidebar: do not see Mother – it’s horrible and irrational in a completely unfun sort of way].

In short, I was glad to see the night end. And only slightly surprised when I saw a text from Bee-girl this morning…

Bee: Mom, I grabbed your lunch by mistake.

I’m making my sacrifices to the Gods of Monday Morning right now, before the rest of this morning slides down the incinerator shoot…

Get it together, Mom.

August 22, 2017

Okay. It’s “only” Day 2.  I have lots of days to recover. And it could be worse. I realize there’s perspective. I just haven’t…found…it yet.

A good mom would remember to re-up Gracie’s lunch account balance.

A good mom would remember to create an account for Bee, in her new school district.

A good mom would have remembered to check on school lunch pack-ability at their other house before 9 p.m. But at least I offered to drop packed lunches off if it was needed?

It’s going to be a long, long year.

School is here! The sun isn’t! Trump is Trumping! And, oh, hey – I’m back.

August 21, 2017

I’m back! Back in black. No – really. (It’s so I can be a ninja when I disappear during the eclipse. Guys – you gotta make the most of this.) It’s been a while, but not much was going on and I was taking a break. I needed to catch my breath. The good news is that it’s caught, because I feel like a runner crouched at the starting line, ready to hurl myself into the great unknown. Chances I’ll remain in my lane are low.

But – could we make for a busier day? School is back! Gracie is ready for 8th grade, her last year in junior high. (STAWWWWP WITH THE GROWING!) And Bee is starting what we think of as middle school for her, because 6th grade is middle school in the district she was in, but is part of the elementary school in the district she’s switched to. So while she’s in elementary school again, it’s like a bridge year for her. So! cell phone privileges all around! Also: no uniform policy for her, so she’s pretty stoked about that.

So there’s that whole schedule adjustment going on – today it was all smiles and excitement, but tonight there will be endless forms and another alarm tomorrow, and I’m thinking the allure will be gone. Basically, today is the first day of Jurassic Park, when all the dinosaurs are still in their cages and all the guests are happy and not running for their lives.

And then this afternoon is The Great Solar Eclipse, and WHO DECIDED TODAY WAS A GOOD DAY FOR SENDING KIDS BACK TO SCHOOL?! I mean, it’s gonna be a nutsy afternoon anyways! So that’s ridiculous. And so is the fact that I flipped channels the entire way to work and didn’t hear “Total Eclipse of the Heart” even once. What up with that?! Someone is doing it wrong. I thought for sure that would be on every other song today.

Then, tonight is addressing the nation – because we didn’t have enough going on. And I hear it’s not about how the Navy can’t seem to be in charge of boats any more, or a resignation, and please god don’t let it be about a red button. Other than any of that, I think I’ll catch the recap because I have a busy day booked and I really can’t end it with a picture of his face.

I hope you’ve all been kind to yourselves while I’ve been gone. I can’t wait to catch up with you all. Just as soon as I finished 29342038 days of new school year forms.

Supermama mode is exhausting!

July 24, 2017

The poor girls and I didn’t get much of a weekend. I mean, it was AWESOME, because we were in PACK EVERYTHING! mode. But you know what? Packing is exhausting!

We spent Friday night picking out clothes and getting that mostly situated. It also involved about 193 loads of laundry. Clothes, towels, bedsheets, blankets – I want everything clean, clean, clean when I come home!

Saturday while Bee-girl was picking up the mess of toys in the front room that I’ve let her ignore for three week…ahem…Gracie and I went to the store to get a toilet kit. The guts had stopped working and the toilet wouldn’t shut off after it filled with water. The water just constantly trickled down the overflow pipe. Unless you held the weight above the water for about five minutes to trick it, and then it would shut off. I was so sick of doing that, I had handed the job to Gracie. Gracie was beyond sick of it, and both kids were tired of ignoring their toilet and using mine (unless there were guests over)(uh, besides Gracie’s bestie Em who might as well be my third daughter), so it was beyond time to just get that toilet fixed.

We went to Home Depot, with Gracie mutter under her breath the entire time that she was busy and she didn’t want to fix a toilet and blah blah blah. She listened to the man explain to me that I probably just needed this $3 piece to replace in the top of thing inside, and assured me that I had picked out the correct mechanism if I needed to replace the entire thing. The mechanism was only $7, so I got them both and figured I’d return whatever one I didn’t need. Since Gracie did such a good job listening to the guy (this will matter when she has her own toilets and has to fix them – she thinks she’s not retaining anything, but she is!), so I bought her a brat from the Hot Dog Guy on the way out. The way to bribe Gracie to do anything is with food!

Now that we had a happy Gracie, she was very helpful in helping me drain the toilet tank and fetching dry rags to catch any drips and run off. She learned how to shut off the water to the toilet (and I told her where the water to the house was, just in case), how to unscrew the guts’ master screw under the tank and the seal inside the tank. And then she learned how to put a new one in, working backwards from all the steps we had employed. She even spotted my mistake when I accidentally connected the water tubing to spray into the overflow pipe instead of the toilet tank. “See?” I told her. “You are going to be so happy later when you have a toilet issue and you know how to fix it.” Gracie just rolled her eyes.

So it was a luxury to use the girls’ bathroom once again, and while Gracie was cleaning that mess up, I was fixing something else. I mean, hey – if we’re cleaning so we can come home from vacation to a clean house, we might as well make it a working and functional one, too, right?

That’s why there were boxes of sandwich bags and saran wrap and tin foil and waxed paper scattered all over the floor in the corner of the kitchen. The drawer that holds clips and elastics, pens and scissors, playing cards – it’s not a junk drawer, because everything in there is a thing of necessity! – and the drawer was off the track.

It’s happened before. the track attaches to a flimsy white bracket, which has broken a couple times. I nail in something in a different one of the holes, secure it to the wood, and we’re good to go again. So I had a nail, a hammer, and I had smooshed myself into the cabinet, head, shoulders, boobs, and all.

That drawer did not want to attach.

Seven nails, the bruised feelings of one 11-year-old, eleventy new curse-words, and I don’t know HOW I kept dropping the nails just before they caught and held up on their own, but I did! It’s because I have my own special brand of awesome. Eventually, after my entire upper body had disappeared into the cabinet, I somehow got the nail in. The drawer doesn’t open and close perfectly, but it’s good enough for me!

Then, because mama wasn’t done getting the house in ship-shape and Bristol fashion, we tackled smoke detector batters. ALWAYS CHANGE YOUR SMOKE ALARM BATTERIES TWICE A YEAR! New Year’s Day and 4th of July is how I remember. And I’m a little late, but don’t tell!

It was easy enough: I grabbed the ladder and a new pack of 9volt batteries (it’s important to have a new package to ensure the batteries aren’t run down at all), and I dragged that ladder all over the house, swapping out batteries and hoping we didn’t get that quick “BEEP!” right after, meaning either the battery was bad, or I had goobered something up. Mostly it went just fine. In less than an hour, I had fresh batteries in all of my smoke detectors and that means: peace of mind.

So I slayed toilet monsters, drawer dragons, battery ding-a-lings, and…the mall?

Yes, The Mall. Because Gracie owns only one pair of sweatpants and has outgrown all of her long-sleeved shirts. So we stopped by Old Navy (conveniently next to the library so we could return our books), and then walked half the mall. Bee-girl was amazingly patient and helped keep up the goofy mischief. I wouldn’t survive a mall trip without it.

We didn’t find any long-sleeve shirts, but Gracie girl did find a cute hoodie and sweatpants combo for the plane. The hoodie was really good quality, too. And PINK! Gracie-girl never wears pink! Well…unless its emblazoned with the word PINK somewhere on the front. So that felt like a triple win!  Gracie will just have to shop for her long-sleeve shirts from my closet.

Or not. Because I’ve lost three of my favorite tshirts that way. And no amount of dragon-slayin’ tactics is going to work getting those back – once my girlie has ’em? THEY GONE.

[Shhh….Don’t tell Gracie, but…. I love when she shops my closet and steals my clothes. Not just that we’re close enough in sizes, and fashion taste, but because…well, it just makes me feel close to her. I love the idea of sharing clothes with my daughter. It’s peak!]

And that was that! Nothing tops that. A productive weekend, but one with still SO MUCH to do!

Five for Friday.

July 21, 2017

Morning, all! I have a LOT going on in my brain right now, so let’s see what I can do to shake some of it out this colander so I can maybe be productive. And because there are just SEVEN MORE SLEEPS until vacation, guess what this week’s theme is? Ready? GO!

1 Like I said – only SEVEN MORE SLEEPS until vacation! Gah! I am wicked broke, but I swear my excited goes up the more my bank account balance goes down. I am ready to just cut loose and have fun with my family and visit with everyone! I have no idea how I’m going to fit it all in, but I will. We have our family cookout on the second Saturday, but there’s no way I can wait until then to see everyone. I’ve been talking quite a bit, particularly, with one of my “baby” cousins (who is a grown-up, but I’m – what? 14 years? – older, so you get where I’m coming from) these past few months, and I CANNOT wait an entire week to see her face. So. There are possibly kidnapping plans afoot. And then I want to see my besties from high school – maybe I can twist their arms and get them to come to Connecticut for dinner a night? Because we can’t stay at my parents until after dinner – we would go insane, and they all go to bed in the living rooms, so. No place. And then I have another group of friends from high school who don’t really hang out with the first group…. And then there are all the cousins I’d like to see apart from the family cookout where I’ll be spread a bit thin…. And then there are my Connecticut friends that I “borrow” from my sister from time-to-time. Maybe we can do a game night one night? With fancy drinks and bar snacks? Yeah, I need more time and more of me! HALP! Heh.

2 While my brain is spinning around faster than a fidget spinner trying to figure out my visitation schedule with the fam and friends, the rest of me is spinning around trying to organize everything else. Gracie cried a little when she looked at the whiteboard on the fridge, filled to the fuzzy edges with everything I we needed to get done this weekend. I knew it was coming. I knew. The whining! The travesty! OH MY GAWD, MAKING THEM CLEAN! I’ve been very lax this summer once my precious tweeny teens were shuttled back to their dad’s house. When I get to see them, the last thing I want to do is clean house together. So it’s…a little primitive just now. Nothing that CPS would think twice about, but nothing I’d want to show to company, either. And there’s nothing I love more than coming home to a shiny, clean house after vacation. Bottom line: there’s gonna be some heavy cleaning this weekend, and not a single one of us is gonna like it.

3 I actually started in with the cleaning last night after the girls and I pigged out on pasta that we said we weren’t hungry for, but then tucked in like it was our last meal. But – I digress. I cleaned. I ran three loads of laundry (and that was just a dent). I still need to do towels and beach stuff and blankets, blankets, blankets. But at least knocking out all of our clothes means that we have a closet full of clean clothes from which to pick our outfits for vacation. And that’s what’s on the docket for tonight – outfit-palooza! We know how to party down on a Friday night at Casa de Katie, you guys. Don’t let anyone tell ya different!

4 Once we get our outfits picked out – which, all teasing aside, is actually kind of fun – we get to sit down and figure out our Mix Tape sich. I have one all planned out already, but I’m not as super psyched about it as I usually am. I mean, is it just me, or are there not really a bunch of good summer songs out this year? The few good ones have been out so long that I’m over them already, then there’s the group of songs made specifically for the tween set (thank you Chainsmokers), and then there’s…what’s left. On my CD.  So there’s that, and then there’s a Best of Vacationland mix I’m making. And then there’s a surprise theme that I’ve been thinking about off and on for a few trips, but never seem to have the time to pull together. That might happen. Again – all depends on how much I get done this weekend.

5 One outfit we usually pack every year is a dress for a tea party. It started back when my mom could still participate and was practically the same Mum we grew up with. [Sidenote: I can hear everyone protesting, and I know Mum is still Mum. But one of my coping mechanisms is thinking of Mum as Old Mum and Now Mum; making her two different people allows me to love and respect both while respectfully allowing each to have their own limitations and rules. It’s a functionality-type thing.] Mum loved having tea parties with us when we were little, and with Gracie and Bee when they were little. So we packed a dress. The past few years, we haven’t needed the dress. It takes up space. And at some point, you start wondering why you’re taking up space with something you’re not going to wear, especially if it comes with another pair of shoes. But this year, this year we’re vacationing at Lake Winnipesaukee in the middle of the week, and Rhi suggested packing a “gawdy” dress and jewelry like Gram would have worn, so we can go down the boardwalk and find a dance or bingo or some sort of Gram-approved activity. It’s perfect. I have to pack a dress.

So there you have it! Five things that have taken over my brain and won’t let up – not even with them pinned down on paper. Here’s hoping the rest of the day is kind to me because it looks like I’ll need it this weekend!

 

5 for Friday.

July 14, 2017

Good gracious – is it really Friday? I can’t believe this week sped by so fast. Things happened.

1. Postcards for the girls arrived from Auntie Kim’s stay in Prince Edward island. They were stunning; gorgeous pictures dotted the front and Kim described such happy adventures…I was seriously tempted to steal them. In fact, I was given the idea because Kim told Bee not to let me do it! I put them down on the kitchen table for the girls to find…but I maybe placed them on the corner quite close to my bedroom door. With an idea that they might accidentally fly in through the doorway later. Then the next day my own postcard arrived! And it was a postcard packet of tea! Which means it was lovely and descriptive and delicious! I immediately placed the girls’ postcards on their placemats. All was well.

2. Speaking of Auntie Kim, this arrived in the mail this week, too:

Anne Hair

All I’m gonna say is you should maybe expect to see it again this summer when Kim is here. Mwa ha ha!

3. I told a cute story on Facebook this week, and it could be its own post, but I have another story that relates to it, so I need to re-tell it.

Bee has been enjoying quite a few sleepovers with Mama this summer. We made the delightful discovery that she’s outgrown her kicking and sleeping-sideways phase, and now can go an entire night on the other side of the bed better than anyone I’ve shared a room with. (Yes, that includes 4 different college roommates, and Auntie Kim, with the exception of Audra, my roommate junior year – she was gloriously quiet and considerate and a good egg.) Anywho, George, Bee’s pet giraffe who serves as her protector, was in my room still, and so I told Bee that I had slept with him the night before while she was at her Dad’s house.

Bee: Moooooom!!!!
Me: But I had bad dreams!

And then that night after work I went looking for George so I could take a playful picture and send it to Bee, for we are a playful family.

Bee: Aw, man! You found him?!
Me: Yeah, he fell under the bed, waaaaay under, behind some boxes, and inside a bag! Silly George!

George

And then I slept with George again. Because July is long.

4. So the story that relates: Bee came home last night and rushed into the house. “You better not have hidden George!” I teased. Well – half-teased. Bee was only staying for dinner, and then I was on my own to fend against bad dreams and PTSD. Bee kinda did the deer in the headlights thing, so I told her to go find him. “But he’s mine!” she whined. I checked for packages as we were having The Great George Debate, and thank god my Prime Day packages arrived. Know what my big splurge was? A gallon of white Elmer’s Glue! Bee has been the Glorious Slime Master this summer, so much so that I’ve refused to spend any more money on it, because glue and shaving foam adds up! (We have borax for years, thanks to Uncle Kene.) Bee has been pouring all of her allowance into the necessary items, and I lucked into my glue purchase for just $8! I have never gotten such hugs. And then George turned up pretty quickly. Huzzah for Prime Deals!

5. My cousin Hillary is reading the Dark Tower series with me and I AM SO EXCITED!! She made it six chapter in during her commute yesterday, and I didn’t get a chance to talk to her last night (the first night in a long time we haven’t chatted – I love reconnecting with cousins!), so I’m curious to see if she made it through to Tull yet. I forget exactly when the movie comes out, but I think it’s when I’m back home. I know the movie conflates the first couple books and I don’t know if Hill can make it that far, but by golly, I’m going to use every trick in my bag to try to get her there. Because adding her and Em to our movie adventure would make it so much more fun! And if I can’t bully my baby sister into reading my favorite book of all time, then I’m glad I can make someone else read it! Huzzah! And Harrumph!

And that’s just a small slice (mmm…pie) of my week. Here’s hoping for a wild and fun weekend you guys!

It’s going to be a very long month.

July 11, 2017

It’s only been three days. Wait, no – scratch that. Two days. I saw the girls the day before yesterday. But two days feels like three days; it feels a long longer than even “just” three! The girls are spending their month of summer visitation with their dad, and it feels like an eternity.

When the girls were little – those late toddler years and early school years – July was a much needed respite from broken nights of sleep and exhausted late evening hours filled with whining and bickering. I could sleep in sometimes as much as 45 whole minutes on work mornings if I didn’t need to drop the girls off at daycare, or, later, twenty minutes if I didn’t need to drop them off at Stepmom’s. I could spend evenings hanging at Crisanna’s pool, or on my own patio in a lounge chair reading a book. I could cook grown-up meals with herb-crusted chicken and asparagus or mac&cheese that didn’t involve shapes. It was a delirious month-long staycation, even though there was still work and responsibility. I still got to see Bee and Gracie for dinner two nights a week, and I still got to keep my weekends, and that was just enough time to enjoy fun summer activities, but take a break from each other so we could leap into each others’ arms and finish off the summer with gusto and renewed appreciation for one another’s company. And that’s just how it worked out.

But then this thing happened when my daughters morphed from little kids with all the trappings of early childhood (tantrums, stubbornness, grouchies, minds of their own, the Up And Down Bedtime Brigade, , vivid imaginations in the middle of the night, picky appetites…) into imaginative and delightful kids in the thick of middle childhood, and then Young Adults and burgeoning Actual People who I would be honored to call my friends. Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m their mama, not their friend. I am not afraid to pull rank or put my foot down. I set the rules, and I expect them to be followed. Without fail. There are consequences for rule-breakage. And there are rewards when toes stay on the right side of the line. And for the most part, that’s how it goes, generally. I have good kids. Kids I enjoy spending time with. Kids I like watching – and discussing – movies with, or participating in readathons with, or going adventuring with. It’s fun! It’s not fun all the time, but enough of the times.

Enough of the time for me to feel it keenly this year. More this year than other years. Because my house is really empty this year. This year there is no boyfriend or boyfriend’s extremely willful kindergardner-who-acts-like-a-toddler. This year there is no puppy-dog to hang out with, or cuddle with, or talk to, or go on runs with. It was more than two years ago when I picked out the boyfriend, and more than three years ago when I adopted the puppy-dog, and that long ago the girls were still in the blossoming stages of middle childhood. Young enough that I still needed the break. Long enough ago that things were different.

And so July is passing by turtle slow. There are 90 minutes left before I’ll see the girls again and enjoy my mid-week sleepover. A week-and-a-half before my next weekend with them. Seventeen more sleeps before vacation. And after vacation, July will be over and I will have survived it for one more year! And, if my memory serves, almost immediately after that, there will some sort of incident that comes with an inevitable rock re-entry that will make me wish we were still back in July.

But that, like July, will pass. My girls will be home and all will be well.

All will be well, all will be well, and all manner of things will be well.

Or, so I’ve been told.

Five for Friday.

July 7, 2017

It’s been a weird, tough week. But not too tough for Five for Friday! I love my little mental colander that lets me sort out the things I can throw overboard before the weekend. We don’t need no clutter ’round here, mental or otherwise!

Let’s see what we’ve got…

1 Poor Bee is home with a fever. I got the girls for dinner last night, and Bee mentioned a headache, but that’s not necessarily out of the ordinary (though I hate the near-constant pattern, poor thing). As soon as we got home, Bee went to lie down instead of towards the kitchen for food, so I knew it was serious. I checked on her a little bit later, and as I brushed back her hair, I noticed she was approximately 390°. Okay, or maybe just 101.3°, once I checked with the thermometer. Stepmom graciously allowed Bee to stay the night with me so I could take care of my sweet baby. Her temp did go down a little with some Tylenol, and it’s gone this morning, but the headache lingered. Here’s hoping it’s not an ear infection from her swim lessons!

2 I was glad for the company because I was a little afraid of sleeping alone in the house last night. Know why? The night before, my house alarm went off in the middle of the night! Scared the pants off me! I called 911 and the cops took their sweet time – more than 10 minutes to get to the house. They didn’t see anything amiss, and all the doors and windows that I could see (I wasn’t going into rooms where the doors were closed until the cops got there) were secure, but I was still scared out of my mind. That happened at 2:30 a.m. and I never went back to bed. Every time I shut off the lights and tried to close my eyes, I broke out in a sweat and started to freak out. So nope. I didn’t necessarily want Bee to be scared like that if it happened again, but I like having another person around to help me make sense of everything. I hate being alone. I can do it, I’m tough – but I hate it.

3 Which is just one reason why I hate July so much. It’s the month the girlies go to their Dad and Stepmom’s, and I have to stay home by myself. The custody arrangement flip flops. I used to love it when the girls were toddlers and I needed a break. But now the girls are older and (usually) fun to be around and I enjoy my time off with them. The arrangement has stayed the same, regardless. I just have very different feelings about it. (And so does Bee – she begged me not to make her go, but I think that might have had everything to with the fact that she got in trouble and didn’t want to face up. She knows better though – Dad, Stepmom, and I have worked hard to be a united front, so she was marched straight back over to her dad’s. No mercy! Heh.)

4 There’s a nice big reward at the end of the month for those of us who make it through. I purchased our tickets to go home! It’s the same week we’ve gone since time out of mind – nothing ever changes in our family routine – so we’ll be vacationing the first week of August, like always, including the weekends on either sides, like always. I’m so excited, I have perpetual Kermit-arms over here!!! I can’t wait for our family cookout and to catch up with cousins and see family and friends and hear everyone talk with the right accent and have a break from this insipid heat and eat some real fish & chips… oh my god, the list is my happy place! Kim asked me what the girls were the most excited about, and I didn’t have an answer, although honest-to-god, it might be packing. HA! Prepping for and anticipating the vacation is at least half the fun!

5 I think besides catching up with my favorite people, what I am most looking forward to is our vacation-within-our-vacation. My sister Kim graciously sprang for a cabin in New Hampshire at Weirs Beach. It’s the same property (if not the same house) that my family has vacationed in since I was a little girl, and we’ve stayed there with the girls before. We have all the fun! It’s a 2-minute walk from the boardwalk, there’s a beach, arcades, mini golf, bumper cars, tiny little tourist shops, boat rides… I fell asleep last night daydreaming that we were there and having fun doing all of the things we’ll get to do in a little less than a month. And having our vacation-within-a-vacation smack dab in the middle of our trip home is so well-planned because I’m sure by then we’ll be ready to get away from my parents’ house for awhile. I love my parents, but seeing how sick my mom is…it’s harder than words could ever describe. And my dad is…well. He’s the same as he’s ever been. I sacrifice my children as buffers. (Sorry childrens.) So the vacation will break all of that up, and still give us enough time on the back side of the trip to get back in good graces with the parents and aunts after leaving for a few days. Oh! And my brother was able to take that entire week off from work, so the girls will have fun hanging out with their crazy uncle! I am really, really, really looking forward to going home!

And that is a very happy place to leave our 5 For Friday! Hopefully the fun and excitement carries me through today and spits me out the other side ready for some fun this weekend! What do YOU have planned? Anything fun?