Less Than 24 Hours

 

How long does it take for life to return to normal? Less than 24 hours.

I met the ex at our usual spot to pick up the kids, and no sooner did I close the car door than they were at it. Opac was teasing Veruca about something, and she was loudly and adamantly telling him to SHUT UP. She’s a little ball of frenetic pissed-offedry, and my empathic nature just absorbs all that shit and suddenly my heart is pounding with an on-the-ledge nervous energy. And she was also riding shotgun, the physical proximity of which always seems to enhance the urge to scream.

I warned O to shut it down and unsuccessfully attempted to make them both feel guilty that I haven’t seen them in 10 days and this is all they have for me. V continued looking sullen in the front seat for a few more minutes while O regaled me with humorous vacation tales. When the lull hit, she picked up the mic and started yammering on about the trip and asking me about when we’re going to do this? when are we going to do that? What are we doing tonight? What’s for dinner? Can we go there? Can we go here? What are we doing this week? Can we do this? can we do that?

I noticed that she returned with a new habit of shouting as she talks, something we have been coaching O to tone down for years. When I was in middle school, there was a kid who talked so loud all the time we referred to him as the loudspeaker, and now I think karma has come to get me. She’s been practically glued to my side for the last 2 days, so that in a single quarter-turn I’m practically stepping on her, and now she’s talking so loudly I’ve literally had to tell her not to shout at me because I’m standing right next to her.

Seriously, she’s ready for stage acting. We stopped at the grocery store for some incidentals and she’s shouting at me in the checkout line. If you can believe this, I was embarrassed. I know where she got it from too, but I’m not saying. Otherwise, I’d be having her ears checked.

So I worked the next day and they were home with Todd, who had to leave about an hour before I left work. Opac had a friend over who was asked to go home since no friends are allowed over when adults aren’t home. Todd called to update me on the kids, informing me about the friend and about Veruca’s blood sugars.

It was a busy day at work, as Mondays usually are, and the phones were ringing all day and patients coming and going. And soon after Todd left for work, V called my cell. I saw it ringing while I was on the phone. I was still on the same call when she called through a second time. And then a third. I could feel the tension rising, but it didn’t hit the wall until Opac called. By this time my call was over and I grabbed my cell and stepped away from my desk. What’s wrong? Because something HAS to be wrong if she keeps calling and then suddenly HE calls. Nothing, he says. He just wanted to know if it was okay for Kyle to come over if they stayed outside playing basketball.

Deep breath. Yes, it’s fine. Is V okay? Of course she’s fine. Our busybody needed to know what I was doing and it didn’t end there. She started texting me.

Mom did you know that Mason was supposed to leave and he didn’t. They are playing basketball. I just called you so call me or the house phone

15 minutes go by. I’m at work trying to wrap up my computer and people keep walking in and we’re suddenly busier than shit. Two of the other girls are on the phones and the third is running an errand. I couldn’t just get up and leave them.

Now someone else is here. One of his friends. Don’t know who it is

[Happy face emoticon]

Are you done work

??????????

??????????

??????????

Update it is Kyle

At this point she calls again, and my blood is boiling. I answer the call, and she’s surprised that I haven’t left yet! I calmly inform her, since my coworkers can potentially hear me and haven’t seen that other side of me, that it’s been very busy and I’ve been trying to close out my work station for the last half hour and her constant calls aren’t making that happen any quicker. Of course, I began our conversation by asking her if she was low or if there were any diabetes-related emergencies that prompted her call. I don’t need to tell you the answer to that.

She curtly replied and reminded me of the nature of her texts and aren’t I going to do something about it? I told her I’ve already discussed it with Opac and the details are noneya.

I got halfway home in the car when she called again, to report that Opac called her an “effing” something-or-other, which was after she stole the basketball they were using and took it inside the house. UGH!! And I was driving toward this circus.

I am seriously trying to get fit and healthy again, but this is driving me to break my vow to quit drinking.

Yesterday was mostly innocuous. Well, except for a glitch in my happy meter brought on by the car dealership. Neveryoumind that. Otherwise, Todd, V and I hopped into the beater truck and went to Home Depot for materials and paint for V’s bedroom.

Details to follow. Maybe.

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When the Kids Are Away

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V and O are off enjoying the sunny shores of the Outer Banks this week and, while I will admit to feeling somewhat melancholy at their initial departure, I also knew it would be a week of much needed quiet and an opportunity to get shit done. Or, more accurately, time to up my Happy Dance and stop adulting for 8 days. The only one who didn’t get the memo was the cat.

Things I thought I might want to get done:

Finish the laundry room and move the litterbox, paint the guest bedroom and the workout room, refurbish some old dining room chairs, patch a hole and paint the kitchen wall, clean the cobwebby corners of the cathedral ceilings, repaint the foyer/vestibule, make a headboard for our bed, finish my walk-in closet, change the paint in the kids’ bathroom, call a pool company for an estimate on a pool, …

What I “might” actually have done –

Played pool,

Lost several hours on the computer doing I-don’t-even-remember-anymore,

[Still learning to] play a song on the keyboard,

Mopped up a pile of cat vomit strategically deposited at the bottom of the stairs,

Drank several bottles of Dogfish 60-Minute,

Did the absolute minimum to clean the house,

Brushed up on my Spanish for about 30 minutes (which really means, re-learning it),

Binge-watched the new season of Orange is the New Black,

Drank wine,

Cleaned out the fridge and prepped some food for easy grab-snacks,

Gave myself a pedicure,

Slept through every night since Friday (well, except for my body’s programmed 3 a.m. wakeup),

Put a filet on the grill and forgot about it. For an hour.

Drank more wine,

Stayed in bed an extra hour this morning to show Oliver who’s boss because he woke me up out of a sound sleep by standing on my arm. All 17 pounds of him. Because, hungry.

Boring?

I’m not sorry.

There’s a lot more trouble to be had, but I’m currently an hour into a bottle of Domaine Bellevue Touraine Rose and patching a hole in the kitchen wall is probably NOT a good idea. Sabra is watching me closely to see if I will follow through on my threat of giving her a bath, but alas – she is off the hook until the kids come back.

Todd made me help wash the car this morning and I pulled an Opac and swiped at it with a sponge a few times and then complained about the pain in my arm and suddenly remembered a phone call I had to make.

Reality returns shortly and so does the whining. I’ve got less than 3 days to squeeze in some more slackin and I’m going all out. I refuse to be a productive adult, at least outside of my job, until Sunday.

Pass me that bottle of wine.

Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough

People have asked me why I’m not writing much… this is [one reason] why. Life is busier than I expected it would be these last three months. And now that school has let out – and Veruca’s softball season has ended – summer workouts for football have begun.

The title of this post is kinda random, since I was listening to the radio when I picked Opac up from summer workouts and this was on. I love this song, I love to belt it out and had it turned up until he got into the car. I watched him walking out from the building, looking like somebody had dragged him across the field on his head. He got into the car and reached over to turn down the volume saying “I gotta turn this shit down, it’s not my victory song” as he did so.

And so it goes. The kids are full of it these days – wit and wisdom. Two days ago he went to practice early so he could watch and “help” with the freshmen workouts, because “freshman make a lot of mistakes (they can’t help it).”

Meanwhile back in Veruca-land, where the world has to be just so or hellfire will burn your house down, a conversation about Opac being a junior now and my melancholy at this revelation that he’ll be graduating in two years prompted V to comfort me with a whispered, “don’t worry, he’s not going to be able to support himself, so he’ll come back home.” Who ARE these children??

Unfortunately, the frequency with which they make me laugh since school let out 36 hours ago is not surpassing the frequency with which the urge to kill is rising. V is testing every limit I have established for my nerves and sanity. She’s pissed that she can’t leave for vacation with her dad until Friday; she’s pissed that Opac is threatening not to go on said vacation; she’s pissed that I won’t buy tater tots; she’s pissed I won’t get her another manicure before her vacation; she’s pissed that Opac won’t play Call of Duty with her; she’s pissed that she can’t go to work with me. Seriously.

Today was the first day of summer vacation. I took V for a repeat blood test she needed (and, for the first time ever, she went back without me), picked up my new glasses again (long story, that one), spent $17 on lunch at Wawa, and then drove O to Dick’s Sporting Goods for some crazy-ass device you wear on your face to basically add more stress to your heart and lungs so you can build endurance. I talked him out of it, by the way. Seriously.

And then we stopped at Macy’s because I still have credit and a small shred of dignity and thought I’d see if there were any decent swimsuits to be had. As usual, I was wrong. The selection was abysmal, because hello! June. And everything this year has this new trend called “cutouts,” which are not really for real women but for meth addicts and size 0 bulimic models. We literally circled the store and the department in less than 10 minutes and were back in the car.

Wait. Back up. Opac was in the car, with V screaming at him that he promised she would get the front seat and she’s freaking out because “my stuff” is in the front seat. And guess what – he threw her “stuff” over his shoulder into the backseat, which only incensed her more. He threw her stuff! Good lord, what is the world coming to?

This, on the first day of summer vacation.

And of course the pets are following suit. Sabra has finally been spayed, and she’s doing great, except for the running and jumping she’s not supposed to be doing. She’s managed to slip under the fence into the neighbor’s yard, and yesterday she chased the  squirrel who buried his nuts in my potted plants last fall, from one tree to another.

Oliver has been more vocal than ever, running into the kitchen during my 3 a.m. blood sugar checks for Veruca, meowing at me like he hasn’t eaten in 39 days. This morning, at least, he waited until I woke up for the day… I sat up and saw he had stuffed his Biggie Smalls body into an empty Eminem shoebox I’d left near the foot of the bed. I need a picture of this.

So meanwhile, we’re all on pins and needles while Opac decides whether he’s going on vaca with his dad. I feel compelled to protect his feelings and his privacy, so I can’t explain his reasoning behind it all. But I am surprisingly surprised that some things (or people) just never change. Seriously.

 

Where I’ve Been – May 2017 Edition

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Once we cremated everybody and celebrated their individual lives, we returned to ours. Which is not to say that ours was anything close to normal. It was easily the busiest month I have known in a loooong time.

Four straight days of training in Philly, leaving the house at 7 to arrive by 9 at the Wanamaker Building and not departing before 4:30. I was a nervous wreck in the days and hours leading up to that first day. I’m not that familiar with Philly and was worried getting there and parking.

I found myself wondering how and when I – the girl who left rural PA to attend NYU and once drove to Annapolis in a torrential downpour in the early 90s with nothing but scribbled directions on a piece of paper – became such a slave to anxiety. My GPS got me to Market Street remarkably unscathed, though completely frazzled. I was fortunate to find parking directly across the street and I was early.

Having spent the previous weeks at my office, I felt confident when I sat down in this windowless, arctic computer room with five other women. When we broke for lunch, everyone scattered except for “Jane” and me – so we decided to lunch together downstairs in the café.

She lamented to me about this crash course we were taking, how confusing it was, and how her first and only day in the office was so busy she could only sit back and watch, befuddled. She was worried about passing the final assessment, and how anyone who failed had to repeat it until they did. We discussed other things, like our kids and where we came from.

In the days that followed I became comfortable with the commute. I was invigorated by the city, at once knowing where I was and how to get there, the city sounds calling me back to an earlier time in my life. I found a parking garage around the corner when the lot closed across the street, and managed not to get lost finding my way back to my building. I lunched with Jane again and also with “Tracy,” the three of us easy friends by virtue of age I suppose. We walked to the Reading Terminal Market, which was crowded at lunchtime but I loved the bustle and stimulation. It was easy for me to slip back into my urban state of mind, and I loved it.

The last day was spent on “quick” morning review that dragged on for three hours, and when the trainer asked if we were ready for the assessment all I could think was, but it’s 12:30 and we haven’t had lunch! I took the assessment with a burning knot forming in my neck and shoulder, and no food in my stomach. I finished sometime after 4. Seven hours without a break, or food. I was stressed. I was sure I’d made a catastrophic error twice, but somehow managed to save my ass and pull it off anyway. I still can’t tell you how or what I did.

Jane finished before me. It didn’t go well. Before the trainer was finished grading her, she stood up and announced that she did her best under the impossible circumstances of a “crash course,” that we all needed more time to learn this stuff, and she’s “done”.

Me? I passed the assessment. With a 100%. I don’t know how Tracy did. I left for home before she was finished.

Meanwhile, back in Maryland, life carried on without me. The house grew dirtier and dishes piled in the sink, laundry overflowed, meals were made on the fly as we raced off to Veruca’s softball games, we were constantly in need of groceries, and the animals moped around the house looking downtrodden. I was getting home close to seven every night, exhausted and literally wilting into the couch by the day’s end. The weeks that followed Philly saw me at the office four days a week, now doing practical training with real people in real time, and answering phones which scared me only just a little.

There were doctor’s appointments and vet appointments to get to, Todd’s art show opened on a Friday night and the next day I worked until noon and raced home to prepare for Veruca’s birthday sleepover party. The restaurant continues to be short-staffed and so I chased all those little girls out on Sunday morning so I could work Mother’s Day too. And then we had a much-anticipated wedding the following weekend where I danced the night away with Todd and our friends, and I didn’t pass out on the drive home as he’d snidely predicted. (To be fair, I almost always do.)

Last week was my final “training” week. It took me forever to adjust to working four days a week and managing our lives like normal people who have jobs do, and now I’m down to two days a week which is what I was hired for. This week has been anticlimactic, at best.

At least there’s more time for writing.