Tuesday, May 26, 2009

cheap

Holy Moly, this is really happening.
Today we had our inspection (our buyer is really excited to get it done), and we literally had 3 things to fix, costing about $20 total.

Really.

I guess a huge part of me was thinking that there was going to be so much to fix that the buyers were going to back out and then we wouldn't have to *gulp* make such a huge decision about where we are going to possibly live for the next 20 or so years of our lives.

We saw lots of ...eh... so-so houses. We are looking at the top of our price range - even though we are cheap, we know we will want something with a good school district, some place we can live in for a long time.

Then, we went to a for sale by owner, and OH MY GOODNESS this house is GORGEOUS. Wainscotting in the hallways, beautiful recessed lighting everywhere, gorgeous newly done hardwoods, a kitchen in yellows and whites and so gorgeous and new it makes me want to cry. 4 bedrooms, 2 baths. You actually go up one flight of stairs for 3 of the bedrooms, and then another for the 4th. this place is GORGEEEEEEEEEOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUSSSSSSSSS. I love it. It has the coziest living room and the kitchen is so sweet and great and I love it. I LOVE IT. It is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO stinking awesome!

And then the really cheap part of me says, "Hey, we don't have to buy in the neighborhood we really, really want. We could save lots of money and just live in that other neighborhood, that would be just as fine."

(but in my heart I really really want that house - i just want to take the plunge and buy it.)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

house-hunting, family style

The children were so excited about buying a house that they let me do what I've always wanted to do to them - make them look like pigs and put those photographs on my blog. They obliged willingly:






We rejoiced in the $35 made from the sale of our house.

We had to celebrate at our favorite restaurant.

We visited a house that definitely gave us bad vibes. There was a wheelchair in the basement that had a note on it which read, "Wheelchair stays with house."

The door to the basement opened very quickly on its own.

The front door would not close (as in, the door was 1/2 inch larger than the door opening), when we tried to leave. Only when the realtor called the realtor trying to sell the house did it close with nary a finger tap. CREEEEEEEEEEPY.

Here is the feedback our realtor sent to their realtor:

Two people of the same gender live in this house. Can you guess which gender they are by the following items? The photos are from their kitchen wall. Inconpicuously absent are any number of female movie stars. My Gaydar was on high alert but I just needed my suspicions confirmed. Our realtor has been a realtor for a long time, so she charged to the back of the house, mission in mind. She knew just where to look:We found a house we both adored, so invited my family back to check it out. Dear Lord, what were we thinking? The vans arrive:Here, like a good member of my family, my sister in law Big Al rips up carpet in the corner of the closet to check for wood floors. Go, Al!:


Lucy and Carina have chosen their favorite room:

The family men check out the windows and the worst fears are confirmed - overmovement of the foundation equals no buying of a house today:

Even from the outside, the news is the same.

Our attempt to pose for a photograph in front of our once beloved not-to-be-home is shattered by my father's attempt at a joke:

In my family, it's not just buying a house. It's spreading looooooooooooooooove.

When we got home, Scott expressed to me through mime his true feelings about marrying into a family that refuses to let him buy a house with a bad foundation:

There's always tomorrow, honey. Always tomorrow.

(You're still stuck with the family, sorry.)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

manna is rot

I'm pretty sure it's too early to test, but I got BFN. I have been told that 8 DPO is too early - and I suppose, considering that even with both twin pregnancies I didn't show a BFP until 13 DPO, I should probably just chill.

Scott and I took the kids out for Mexican last night. Lucy had a tummy ache and was SO bloated, so she laid across my lap. Somehow, miraculously, she still had wherewithall to snatch a french fry now and again, dip it in some ketchup, and resume her supine position.

I commented on how stinkin' sweet these ages are, and how I love watching them develop so much. It is so true. Watching them chase each other on their tricycles, fight over strawberries, get territorial over "their" swing (I swear, they're like a pack of dogs. Each kid has his or her own swing on the swingset). I love hearing Asher's sweet voice saying words only I understand. I love hearing Lucy sing along to "Dragon Tales."

I really, really love this stage.

And then I was thinking that I really need to take a chill. Pregnant or not, house selling or not, it really doesn't matter, does it? God will supply my needs for the day. Manna, if you will.

And as we all know (or maybe you don't), manna is rot if you try to save it.

Friday, May 15, 2009

knife

I was trying to find a word for how I felt yesterday and the word just wouldn't come.

I get frustrated with myself for feeling a pang every time a new pregnancy is announced or I watch the growing bellies of friends. I don't WANT to feel that pang of jealousy and anger, but I do.

Yesterday the neighbors heard Lucy screaming and told me they figured they knew what was going on. Sometimes I want to talk about how hard it is and others, I want to pretend she is normal. When people ask how things with her are going I sometimes lie and say, "great!" because I know things could be so much worse and I should be thankful that they aren't.

Bottom line is that I still have a daughter who will deal with her body's nacent failure to recognize how to develop correctly for the rest of her life.

My brother Nathan told me that he heard a guy with brittle bone disease tell how, after he had fallen down a flight of stairs and broken his nose and all of his limbs, his mother said, "This can either make you bitter or make you strong. It's your choice."

I long to be that parent, the parent of whom people say, "She is just so strong! She just never complains! Wow, what an amazing mother!"

However.

If I am suddently that person, then the knife of my authenticity ceases to hone instelf on the dull edge of the sadness that has become a crucial part of me. I have to continue to fight, to be honest, in order to change and to grow.

A friend and I were talking today about how people deal with grief. What is the correct way to deal with it? Is it unbiblical to be sad; to live with that sadness all of your life? In a fallen world, I tend to think not.

I feel like my body failed her, on a mitochondrial level. Of course, in the light of day, I know that "things happen", and "it wasn't my fault", and I believe these things - at least on the surface of them.

But when the authenticity knife scratches that surface and the hurt comes slithering out like snakes, I'm facing it again: the raw underbelly of helplessness.

I sat across from a friend yesterday at Costco. I have two friends I meet at Costco, and I almost feel like I'm cheating on each one of them by meeting the other there as well. Secret's out, ladies. Churros and Diet Coke: the best therapy ever. Yesterday, I pondered telling Lizzie I couldn't come, because my hair was greasy and she always looks cute. (Damn her.)

I poured it all out to her. She said,

"There's a fine line between being sad about it and letting it turn into something else. But it's OK to be sad."

And I have to agree, and that little comment made me feel so much better. Right now, I am vulnerable. I am raw. These past few months have been HARD. I realized that the miscarriages and the sadness about Lucy are intertwined, and anything pregnancy-related drudges it all back up. I shoved it down after she was born, and it has resurfaced. I have to deal with it.

My mom was a little surprised at how I seem to understand grief, at least on the base level. "You haven't had all roses with your children, and I think you just 'get it' more than most," she said.

I'll never be the girl with the carefree pregnancies and the anatomically perfect children. I lost luggage during the journey that will never be replaced. I have to be OK with the grief, with not explaining it away or being embarassed when someone sees me wear it and does not understand why I don't take it off.

Old scars die hard, especially when you are reminded of them every four hours, here 'til eternity.

Some days I am happy and some days I am sad. And right now I really, really need to shut off my Facebook account. I can do this, I can. I can do this.

Through grateful tears, sad eyes see glimpses of redemption -

even if it's only for three hours and forty-five minutes at a time.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

anxious

Today has been a tough day. And it's all stuff that is going on internally.

I hate when I wake up feeling all anxious and directionless. I hate it.

I want to blog about it, but what good would it do? Someone would go ahead and tell me I am an ungrateful whiner. And I'm really not in the mood for that sort of pontification from people I do not know.

So, just know this. If you're feeling anxious and you just want to drown your sorrows in a big huge vat of cake mix,

I've got the spoons.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

gonna do it

Yesterday I met a friend at the park. On the way, I had the Epiphany.

"If I could do anything in the world, what do you think it would be that I would want to do? What is my dream?" I asked her.

I forget what she guessed first, but her second guess was, "Write a book." BINGO!

This epiphany has been a long time coming. The night before that, and the night before that, and the night before that, people have been there in my line of view, chomping on my ideas and encouraging me.

I was in Barnes and Noble a few weeks ago, thinking about my dream. "Wouldn't it be amazing to write a book? To see my words on pages? To weep the words through pen when I am unable to speak them?"

Where do I even start? How do I find an agent? What is the purpose of the book? Egads, there is so much competition, so many people wanting to do the same thing. I get overwhelmed when I sit there, thinking, "What do I want an agent to know about me?" "How many times will I be rejected before there is a bite?"

And then another thought occurred to me: Each and every one of these mother-loving books in Barnes and Noble was written by someone who didn't have a clue what they were doing when they started. They just stepped out into the ocean and started swimming.

The waves roil and I think, "No one will read this damn thing." And then I think, "I have a story to tell, and gosh darn it, only I can do the telling."

I am so excited.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

a letter from the branch

Lucy and Asher,


Today I willed myself to go and see your great grandmother. She is 96 and I love her very much. But some days, it's hard to drive that ribbon of road to her door. I know the woman she was, and I know the woman she was isn't the same as the woman she is now.

It makes me sad. I want to pay some repair man twenty dollars so he can come and fix it.

I started showing her some pictures of the two of you, because bits of conversation proferred up to her dropped like a lead balloon and your presence, even on my old camera, was like butterflies. Her face lit up as she watched your images wrestle and giggle on the screen.

I'm feeling pretty dang lucky today - I get to be "Mom" to a feisty 4 year old girl and a grumpy 2 year old boy. And really, kids, the double blessing, some days, is more than I can bear.

Sun up to sun down is filled with caring for you two:

  • wiping sticky fingers

  • filling requests for chocolate milk

  • settling fights

  • doling out medicine

  • wiping noses

  • making 'spaghetti dogs' for you - oh, how I love to watch you guys stand and giggle in anticipation, fists clenched, on your tip toes, grinning at your good fortune

  • changing pants. I change pants all day.

  • kissing boo boos

  • reading to you

  • singing you to sleep

  • pushing you on the swings

  • taking you on our daily walk

  • trying to use the computer and hearing, "MAMA" at the top of the steps after 2 minutes, because you two have more pressing things for me to do

  • making a tent house in the living room

  • chasing you around parking lots

  • getting the house ready to show, only to see that someone has once again used their dirty mitts to get something scroungy

  • giving in to your demands for candy in the store

  • doing Color Wonder until we've done the whole 26 pages in a day

  • running errands with Asher while Lucy is at school - I love that time together, Bub! Sometimes you just look at me in the rearview mirror and give me a big grin

  • letting the phone ring because you guys are my priority

  • snuggling with you after your baths when I have many other things I should be doing

  • being surprised when you know how to do something and I can't figure out when you learned it

  • watching the relationship between the two of you grow

  • cuddling with you before you fall asleep, Lu. You always kiss me and tell me, "You're a very special mom" before you fall asleep - it is so gentle and good and right.

  • watching you attack your dad when he comes home

  • imagining you, Asher, a smelly 16 year old with blond bangs in his eyes. You'll be just as grumpy as you are now in the mornings.

  • going to Chic-fil-A and watching you two stand in the corner of the play room, acting like you are really really shy. Daddy and I just laugh at you two and enjoy our time talking together.

  • watching the surprise on your faces when I get dressed up. You both have a contented little grin on your face, and it's super sweet to see you staring at me, trying to figure out what changed.

Thank you for choosing me, babies. You're getting older, growing, changing. I love it, and some days, I still want that repair man to come and fix something - the thing that makes these days all too short, even when I am knee deep in human crap and it's only 3 pm and the only thing between me and insanity is Dr. Phil and one of his creepy guests.

So, I mentioned butterflies earlier. I was watching you two swing yesterday, and the butterflies came to mind again. As you sailed through the air on happy kid adrenaline, I imagined you sailing through your lives much the same. You, the butterflies - floating, flying, finding your way...

and I the branch, the partial observer, staying quiet and crisp and hoping that you come back to land on me.

The branch is the foundation, the lifting-off point. The place where, on crouched appendages, the butterfly says to herself, "Yes, I can go now. I have transformed, this branch has held me while the change was stirring."

The change stirs still, in the midst of the chaos and the noise.

I am not naive enough to be a branch that does not bend; that does not see that the change is a bittersweet, beautiful thing, and that I am a blessed one for having been chosen the crouching-off point for such radiant and resplendent little beings.

In the choosing lies the joy.

Thank you for choosing me.

Mom

Thursday, May 7, 2009

it's gonna be all right

**turn up your volume to hear the song**

I wanted to post something deeply moving and eloquent and I don't have it in me today, friends.

My hair looks like Chubby Checker made a hamburger in it, and my jean shorts are circa 1999. I was considering not taking Lu to preschool because social interaction seems like too much today, but it was actually good to get out of the house and get some fresh air.

I have witnessed, the past many months, the most amazing bravery and love. I hope that you, dear reader, know people in your life who show you the same.

I have witnessed a hope that doesn't make any sense. A hope that can stand and see past the horizon of devastation, into a land of eternal promise and joy.

And to you, dear friends, you know who you are, never in my life have I been party to something so breathtakingly beautiful, so real. I sit here sobbing because I don't know what you are going through but I want you to know I am here.

You are an amazing testament to the love of a mother and father for their sons. You are an amazing testament to the will of the human spirit.

You are an amazing testament to Love.

It's gonna be all right.

***********

It's going to be alright
It's going to be alright

I can tell by your eyes that you're not getting any sleep
And you try to rise above it, but feel you're sinking in too deep
Oh, oh I believe, I believe that

It's going to be alright
It's going to be alright

I believe you'll outlive this pain in you heart
And you'll gain such a strength from what is tearing you apart

Oh, oh I believe I believe that

It's going to be alright
It's going to be alright

When some time has past us, and the story is retold
It will mirror the strength and the courage in your soul

Oh, oh, I believe I believe,
I believeI believe

I did not come here to offer you clichÈ's
I will not pretend to know of all your pain
Just when you cannot, then I will hold out faith, for you

It's going to be alright
It's going to be alright

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

redemption

I met a WWII veteran on my morning walk today. I slipped away before the demands of the day put their sticky little hands in mine and asked for toast and milk and diaper changes and fight arbitrations.

His hat gave him away, so I slowed my pace and asked him question after question about where he went, what he saw. He was more than happy to share.

"War is a terrible thing. I still wake up at night, 60 years later, and see a guy with his arm blown off at Normandie. I don't know if he died or not. I drove one of the amphibious tanks that landed there. I still think of him. But, you know what? The worst thing, even worse than war, was losing my wife after 50 years to breast cancer."

I noticed his wedding ring still on his finger, so I asked about that:

"Before she died, she told me that the one thing she wanted to do when she got better was to go out to lunch at Furr's with her best friend Roberta. I was devastated, just so devastated, after losing her. One day I saw Roberta in the church foyer, and her husband recently died of cancer. She and a friend were chatting.

I want to honor my wife's wish, so I said to Roberta, I said, 'Can I take you and your friend here to Furr's? We can still go, to honor them. And besides, having 3 of us there will keep the rumor mill from starting up.'

"And you know what? I married Roberta. She's one of the best things that has ever happened to me," he said, with a smile on his face and tears in his eyes.

I've been thinking about what he said, about loss of life and sadness and hope and redemption.

There's always redemption, you know?

Sometimes, though, you just have to look really hard to find it.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

baby Nathan

I wonder if you sit there, numb, looking at the reminders that he did really exist

oxygen machine - crib - blankets - clothing

smell of hair,
sound of sweet voice,
softness of skin after bath,
first smiles at you, the light of his world -

your son.

I don't have words, I don't have words,

I don't, I don't. Tears fray the edges of composure and the darkness escorts herself in.

It is helpless and horrible.

Shards of soul spin into midnight sky and I sob and type and sob again.

You are the kind of mother I aspire to be. Totally devoted, loving, strong.

I love you for it...

and so did he.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

new poetry

An Excuse For Not Returning the Visit of a Friend
by Mei-Yao Ch'en

Do not be offended because
I am slow to go out.
You know
Me too well for that.
On my lap
I hold my little girl.
At my
Knees stands my handsome little son.
One has just begun to talk.
The other chatters without
Stopping.
They hang on my clothes
And follow my every step.
I can't get any farther
Than the door.
I am afraid
I will never make it to your house.

Friday, May 1, 2009

safer

I'm sorry to disappoint the commenter who came here expecting to find photos of sunshine and puppies vomiting flowers. Please, before you read further, go here.

A friend called me yesterday and said, "I can't believe the things anonymous people were saying on your blog!" And then I thought about it, downed some more Margarita and remembered, and said, "Oh, yes, that was funny!"

And then I realized that something has changed in me. Was it turning 30? Was it looking down at my sagging boobs? Was it buying wrinkle reducer at Aldi? Was it realizing that I have priorities and trying to please everyone is no longer one of them? I don't know. I don't know what has clicked in me, but whatever it is, I am glad to see it.

I am still waiting for the pandemic.

Wait, if it is such a pandemic, why haven't we closed our Mexican borders?? I mean, wouldn't that be the logical first step? Biden told us that closing the borders would be like closing the barn doors after the horses have escaped - but not all sick Mexicans are here yet. Right? I mean, there are still more crossing the borders, getting access to free American health care. So why wouldn't we close the borders?

Didn't they say it was a pandemic? Or are they just hoping it is so? Obama did ask for 1.5 billion more to fight the pandemic.

And just to clear the air. Of course other presidencies have used these same tactics to gain power. Hello, GWB and his infamous patriot act? His accentuations on terrorism?

Did you all know that Kathleen Sebelius wants to repeal the Conscience clause, which, in essence, takes away a doctor's right not to perform an abortion?

Land of the free and home of the brave!!!!!!!!!

You know, kitties sure are a lot safer, and I'm off to the mall for some mindless consuming.