Sitting on go

I am unacquainted with standing by.

Apparently.

Since I have finished school, I've found myself at kind of a loss. For…well, anything.

I sit at home and listen to the alternate fighting and love of my children. I think of all the things I should be doing – laundry, writing, reading, cleaning. Making things to hang on the walls since they are all presently blank. Also, there is a strange conglomeration of 8-9 nails on the wall above my couch and I spend more time than I care to admit sitting and wondering what could have possibly ever hung there.

 

I've thought about grad school. But…what? What could I do? I'm thirty four damn years old and really I have no more idea of what I want to be when I grow up than I did when I was nine.

I thought about teaching. Praxis testing is expensive. And what happens if I do all that work and find myself in front of however many kids…and then I hate it?

Problem is, I got used to school. I got used to being occupied. I also have the fortune/misfortune of being married to a man who is always on the go, so many nights the kids and I find ourselves at home, existing through the night. I don't mind it, though. I have time to watch King of the Hill, talk about movies and games with Max, play 4,000 games of various substance with Lucy, or decipher Pretty Little Liars with Ava.

Then I think about what I'd want to do, given the chance.

I'd be creative, I'd have a different outlook on every day. I'd solve and make and do and be.

Or I'd be Beyoncé.

Anyway.

Enough. Enough with the thoughts.

 

Embracing the kook within

Historically I have never been what you would call a joiner.

It's all too much, man. Too much work.

It's why I don't have friends. It's why I find my own things and bury myself in them. Hell, it's why this blog has not died a raging fiery inferno death – because I do it whenever I please and big middle finger when I don't.

But my husband, he's a joiner. He gets all up IN all kinds of shit. And he does it because he's good at it. I support that. How could I not? It makes him happy. Happy him, happy me.

So in a grand gesture of solidarity and total outside-my-comfort-zone-ness, I am donning my brand spanking new JustUsGeeks tshirt, hauling around my weight in purple bluish memefont flyers, and going to a comic & toy convention.

Yeah, that's right. You heard it here first.

 

But you know what's crazy? I'm excited. Like, stupid excited.

So by the time you read this, Josh and The Guv and I (Catch that? Did you? Yeah, I said my name and his name but not Lucy's name. More on that later.) will be tooling off toward Kentucky. Or, well, Friday morning. So whenever you read this in relation to Friday morning. Because I think I'm going ahead and publishing this tonight.

 

See it? It's already happening. DARING.

Wish me luck!

Winter is coming?

It’s such a strange time of year.

 

Still summer, but not really. And not fall. Sweaty thighs in jeans and goose pimples in too much air conditioning. Summer seems over and (if the Starks will pardon me) winter seems that it will never come.

Things are happening, though. The kids are growing and school is chugging along. When my classes start this week it will (fingers crossed) be my last fall as an undergrad – which makes me almost giddy.

It almost feels like I should be quiet, contemplate the changing seasons or some other poetic shit, but the truth of it all is that I just feel old. I feel old to look at my kids, at my place in this point of time. And I feel like I’m waiting for something. Like the breath before the blow.

How to be condescending

If you are on Facebook (and if you’re not, WHO ARE YOU?), chances are you’ve seen a link circulating recently about how your fascination with your electronic devices can make you miss your children’s lives.

If you haven’t seen the link, here it is. It appeared on my facebook wall more times than I can possibly tell you, always accompanied by “OMG, you must read this,” or “I’m crying. So true.”

Now, the content of this article is very heartfelt and very to the point. She talks about how being lost in one’s digital gadgets can be harmful to your relationship with your children, how the children learn that whatever is happening is more important than them, all sorts of statements that had just enough truth seeded into them to make any modern-day, smartphone toting, social media savvy parent feel like dog shit gone white.

Now, to be fair – she does dedicate a couple of sentences to how this is the modern world and sometimes we have to be accessible. Sometimes it’s necessary to allow laptops and smartphones into our lives.

Generous.

May I offer my point of view? I’m gonna.

I’m a blogger, and a full-time online student. I’m also married to a podcaster who is also a full-time student. Technology and the gadgets involved are completely enmeshed in our lives.

I love my iPhone. My iPad. To a lesser degree, the computers and such which inhabit my house – and there are a lot. I love to text message. I love to steal a few minutes in the day to check facebook, tweet something random, or peruse my blog stats for the day.

Certainly, as a society, we are more interconnected than ever before. I talk to my husband while he’s at work. I always have a camera because I always have my phone. And yes, I check my phone before I talk to anyone in my family because EVERYONE IN MY FAMILY IS USUALLY STILL ASLEEP SINCE I WAKE EVERYONE UP.

Some people escape into books. Some into painting or gardening or building rockets. This has always been the case. I don’t really see any difference.

Of course it’s important to acknowledge your family and the others in your lives. To look them in the eye, listen when they talk, and be fully present when they need you – but I don’t see that as having anything to do with being less connected. I see that as being a decent human being.

So, my response to the article is as follows:

I am a connected mom. I interact constantly and I learn constantly. My children know they are important. They know because I’m their mom. I bandage scrapes and icepack bumps and come running when they have nightmares. They do not have some woeful mourning inferiority because I sometimes play Jetpack Joyride.

Because I show them moderation, they learn that I am, as they are, members of a continuous mechanism. Everyone is connected, everyone is important. I don’t have to throw away my iPhone to be a good mom. I just have to use good sense. And I think that’s a better example than anything else.

 

Sometimes

I picked the iPad up this afternoon and this was in the camera roll.

Sometimes you just have to sleep late.

Sometimes, after you sleep late, you have to hope that the lunches the kids packed for themselves have at least one thing in them that isn’t chocolate.

Sometimes at 3:30 in the morning you go in to investigate crying, and find your weepy almost 10 year old shuddering from a night terror. One like he hasn’t had since he was two.

Sometimes you watch his baby sister climb next to him and reassure him that she’s right there beside him.

Sometimes, at 3:30 in the morning, you tell your kids to just turn on the TV until they get sleepy. Because they just damn deserve it.

Sometimes you have to shave with a dull razor.

Sometimes you have to let go of something or someone you love. Because it’s just not worth it anymore.

Sometimes you have to be a dick.

Sometimes you have to use impolite language.

Sometimes you forget who you are.

Sometimes you have to realize that you forget just so you can remember.

Sometimes it’s okay to let the baby run around naked.

Sometimes coffee is all that sounds good.

Sometimes you eat pizza after midnight.

Sometimes growing up is growing apart.

Sometimes following your dream is hard.

Sometimes the path is lost.

Sometimes you have to listen to Adele on repeat, no matter how cheesy.

Sometimes you have to cry.

Sometimes you have to laugh.

Sometimes you have to recognize that love is in spite of instead of because.

Sometimes Oprah is right.

Sometimes everyone is just tired.

Sometimes you have to wait for the rain.

 

Confession: being unthankful makes me a bitch

I realize that my life is amazing.

 

I have three kids who are healthy, smart, beautiful, and a lot of the time, they are flat out hilarious.

 

I know this. I know that something like 90% of the globe would be shitting in their pants to wake up every day (in response to a too-smart smartphone) in a climate controlled house, next to a heart-burstingly beautiful husband, to wake my children and make lunches from a full cupboard. And then send them off to get an education in a safe and nurturing environment. While I stay at home to play with the baby and watch educational tv.

 

I know that by having ANY complaints I am a mindbending bitch.

 

But I have to be able to say it somewhere – things feel so worn. So generic. I feel like I make as much impact as a sandpapered rubber stamp.

 

My husband works so hard. He works and does and makes sure we have what we need. He’s a dad and a podcast-er and my very best friend. Being anything less than doting and Stepford is, I realize, a failing of mine.

 

But basically I sit at home and wait for something to happen. Anything. My days feel like a series of wait.

 

Waiting…

 

For the bus

For the kids to come home

For Lucy to give me five minutes

For the dryer to finish

For the coffee to brew

For Josh to come home

For the oven to heat

 

I realize I’m being a big whiny baby, but I just feel like I’m missing something. I feel like I’m a week or so away from talking to the car upholstery, but if I up and say something like, “I just wish something would happen,” then someone will die or get sick or blow up.

 

Don’t get me wrong. I love my life and everything about it. I am grateful.

 

But, I admit, grateful is sometimes boring. Even if that makes me a bitch.

 

From both sides of the uterine wall

If anyone had told me three years ago that I would soon be a mother of three, I can think of a whole host of replies I would have had. They would have included distance, laughter, and a healthy dose of profanity.

To say that the news of your pending arrival was a surprise? Well, that’s one way to say it.

But it happened, you came.

And now it’s been two years since I met you. And not a day has gone by for the last two years that I have not slept with you by my side. Held you when you cried (and at first, during the colic days, it felt as though you would never do anything else). I know the way your weight changes in my grasp as you finally give up and start to dream. I know how many refusals it takes before you relent and take the juice instead of milk (three, sometimes four).

None of this should be new to me. I have, after all, done this twice before.

But this is different. I have never been this intertwined with another human being. If I had known this type of connection existed, I would never have been able to go back to work with your brother and sister. For 730 days you have changed everything. Daily.

To see you now – to watch Max and Ava and to see how they both stumble over themselves to be near you – I realize I had no idea how incomplete we were before we met you. You have filled a hole in our family we never knew existed.

I guess, Lucy Grace, what I need to say more than anything else, is thank you.

Thank you for the giggles and the sass.

Thank you for the kisses and the curls.

Thank you for turning my husband into a daddy.

Thank you for giving your brother and sister someone to be an example for.

Thank you for needing me more than anyone ever has.

Thank you for being my baby.

I love you so much, my big two year old girl.

Love, Mama

;

—————

(I’m so terrible with things like this, but thanks to my wonderful wife for letting me have a part of her blog today. I’ll go back to being geeky over at http://justusgeeks.com)

For the rest of my life, no matter what happens, I will always remember seeing you for the first time. I heard your first sound. I counted your fingers and toes at least ten times. At least. On a day, which I admit I was not at my best, you were perfect. Perfect.

One of the things I worried about was that even though your Mom and I had thought Lucy Grace was the perfect name for you, you’d be a Mary. Or Janet. Or something else entirely.

But there you were…my Lucy Grace Steen.

And how right we were. As you’ve grown up so much in the last few months and weeks you say that name with a certain authority. You are becoming your own person, and there’s not a lot your Mother and I can do about it.

But why would we want anything differently?

You amaze me on a daily basis. You’re learning more, getting smarter, and you somehow know that you are what makes us “go” on a daily basis.

I’d do anything for you. Anything.

Your Mother and I talked not long ago about just how perfect for us you were. One day we’ll explain to you about how we never thought we’d be able to even be anyone’s collective Mom and Dad, let alone yours.

And how you saved us.

How you saved me.

No matter what happens on the rest of our journey together, Lucy Grace Steen, I will always be in your debt. And although you might not always act it, you’ll still be my perfect little girl.

But for now, while I can, I’ll hold you. We’ll dance and jump. Take Big Steps. Watch Jessie until the DVD wears out. Ride your bike. And get bigger, and bigger, and bigger.

There are so many people who love you; don’t you ever forget that. You may take advantage of that, but always remember that all you have to do is be you and we’ll love you.

On your big big day, know that I love you more than the world. And I always will. I’m so glad to be Lucy’s Daddy.

 

Enlist

So the good thing about having a blog is that sometimes I can just randomly list things that I think, or that I want you to know. This is one of those times. Therefore….

  1. I saw The Hunger Games and it was so brilliant that I kind of want to weep because I have to wait so long for the next movies.
  2. I have not yet used shampoo on my hair since the last time we talked about it. My hair feels great, though I don’t know if it looks any different. Josh says (embarrassingly in front of other humans) that I have dandruff, but I used some apple cider vinegar and I don’t see any flakes, so maybe that took care of it.
  3. I registered for next semester this weekend, and seeing the words, “Classification for registration: Senior” kind of blew me away. I may have been so taken aback that I teared up a little.
  4. Lucy talks a lot more these days. A kind of whole hell of a lot. My other two were verbose, but she is…I don’t even know. Tenacious.
  5. Ava and I write letters to each other. I am ashamed to admit that the last letter (before yesterday) was sent months ago, and it has totally been my turn all this time. I feel awful about it. But she is just the sweetest thing ever and wrote me right back, so now it’s my turn again. Dammit.
  6. Ava also went shopping with her Nana yesterday and came home with two bras. This contorts my mind on so many levels that I can’t really even begin to describe. Yeah, I can, actually. I hid them. She’s been wearing little sports-bra/camisole things for a while now, but these are for real triangles and hooks. They have CUPS, people. I am not ready for this.
  7. Max is completely and totally awkward. I love him a ridiculous amount, but (I’m probably a terrible mother for admitting this) sometimes his oblivious dorkiness makes me cringe. He tries so hard – too hard – to be entertaining and cool. I don’t know how to tell him that he’s much more awesome when he doesn’t try.
  8. Josh and his friends are hosting a podcast. It’s actually pretty entertaining.
  9. The bedroom that we live in is getting kind of out of hand. Like the Hoarders people would have a field day in here.
  10. I read Fifty Shades of Grey. If you don’t know what that is, then I can only explain it as housewife porn. I have never really read stuff that is so totally and completely kinky. I can’t say for sure, but I may or may not be planning to read the next two books (it’s a trifecta of kink).
  11. I have started playing Draw Something. It makes me happy. Probably a little too happy. My favorite part is watching the other person try to guess my drawing. My username is Emylibef, so, you know…we should play.
  12. I missed my therapy appointment last week, and I feel like I stood up a friend. I suppose that either speaks well of my therapist or badly of my tendency to overpersonalize.
  13. My hair, since I already brought it up, is getting really long. I really like it, but I have these ridiculous waves of let’s-cut-that-shit-off and so far I’m pretty proud of how I’m holding up. I’m even growing my bangs out and that now means I have to pin them up in a weird little bouffant. I try to tell myself it’s a vintage look. Like it matters, since really Lucy and the cat are the only ones who ever see it.
  14. Lucy took this picture after she stole my ipad. I have, literally, three dozen incarnations of this photo on my camera roll.

That’s all I have for today.

 

 

The shit and the stylus, a tale of woe

As some of you know, last year Max got an ereader for his birthday.

Which he promptly dropped into the toilet. It never recovered.

Following the swimming ereader incident, Max pretty much didn’t have a great deal of contact with electronics. Then, with his Christmas money, he bought himself a Nintendo 3DS, and in the time he hasn’t been grounded from it (which hasn’t been just a WHOLE ton), he’s done pretty well. He’s kept it from falling, he’s taken pretty good care of it.

So much so, as a matter of fact, that recently I’d begun trying to persuade Josh that maybe he needed a shot at another ereader. The thing is, I have all these books – classics and not so – that he should, could, and probably would read…but I have them in ebook format. I do have actual books, but most of them are in storage. If they haven’t been sold to Storage Wars or something.

Friday, totally randomly, my kids were out of school. Like, school didn’t meet. Apropos of nothing. Max said it was in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday….somehow I doubt.

We passed the day pretty low key, playing dance-in-a-circle with Lucy, watching Family Guy reruns, and waiting for storms. Max and Ava whipped out their gaming gadgets and played various games against each other. I hadn’t really been paying attention to the gaming unfoldery, and Max had gone to the back of the house – I figured to go to his room.

I was wrong. He was in the bathroom. I thought nothing of it.

Soon, though, Ava stood up and streaked back to the back of the house. I heard the two of them whispering (like seriously, they whisper louder than they talk), and I went back to investigate.

It was like I had caught them canoodling each other, except…not at all, because Ava was standing in the bathroom door with her hands on her hips while Max was digging in the rank and disgusting toilet with some sort of grabber….thing.

It looked like this:

Kind of. You get the idea.

Max, my son, who by the way is in the gifted program and has had people ooh and aah about his brains since he was born….was prospecting in a cloudy pile of shit for what turned out to be the stylus to his 3DS. Now, in case you don’t know, the stylus for the 3DS is somewhat unique in that it is collapsible and metal. It’s not the plastic things like I used to use to write on those grey cellophane things that stuck to a cardboard plaque of wax.

Anyway.

Without getting (further) into disgusting detail, the stylus was retrieved, the grabber thing was tossed, and Max spent almost 45 minutes out in the yard with rubbing alcohol and scrubbing implements. And I made him swear not to allow anyone else to touch that stylus.

I probably should have just bought a new one.

Also, Dan bought him a Kindle. Stay tuned for its eventual fate.

Muckbrain

I’d like to say that I’ve been relatively quiet lately because I’ve been bustling busy, being scholarly and cleaning house and such. 

 

Alas.

 

I think the fairest way to say it is that I just ran out of words. Like I’ve said before, I have this calendar of post ideas and the idea is to jog creativity and such. And everything I’ve ever read about serious writing says that to be a writer, you write. You write on days when you’re sick and days when you’re tired and days when you have nothing to say. 

 

And normally I do. But for the past week or so, it just hasn’t been there. Nothing at all. I’m not depressed or anything, I think I just needed a bit of a break. So I took one. I didn’t Facebook like I usually do. I didn’t respond to emails. I didn’t really tweet. 

 

This past weekend was pretty lovely, and Josh and I spent most of it geocaching, which is perhaps the greatest thing ever. If you’ve never heard of it, concisely it’s like a worldwide scavenger hunt, and you participate using GPSs. You drive around wherever it takes you (there’s a handy iPhone app), and you usually end up going some pretty cool places. 

 

Josh and I started geocaching last year, took a break over the summer because damn it’s hot, and then we remembered a few weeks ago…”oh yeah, that’s super fun, let’s do it again.”

 

So we did. This weekend we went all over North Mississippi/Tennessee/Alabama, following blinking GPS dots, digging in the brush, climbing hills, and – in one instance – trying not to get sucked into the muck of a sulphur spring.

 

I don’t really know why I like it so much. I have a habit of scanning out the window while we drive, to see if I see any dead bodies in the woods. 

 

I never said I wasn’t, you know, weird.