No Way I Could Make this Crap Up

I’m going to tell you this story because I want there to be a written record. After I’ve been committed and someone wants to understand what was it that finally sent me into the drooling, fetal position I’m sure to end up in, I hope some kind person forwards this onto the review committee.  Maybe it’ll help them let me have the good pharmaceuticals.

It’s house inspection time! We all know what that means. Furiously clean and organise, hide evidence of how we really live and of course erase any hint that cats live here. The family comes together and moves with the precision of one masterful being and whips the house and yard into immaculate condition.

Of course by family I mean Ted and I bellow orders and threats to the kids to do chores, which they do begrudgingly and half-assed. Moving with precision means me running around frantically cleaning and then re-cleaning because some twit hasn’t bothered to clean up the crumbs they’ve sprayed everywhere. By house and yard I only mean house because there is too much yard work, the guy who does the lawn hasn’t come this week and both green bins are too full at add anything else. And lastly, by immaculate condition I mean all blatant mold spores have been removed and the boy has had to get rid of at least some of the trash in his room.  My standards are considerably lower than most people.

Today is the day so I must have everything done by the time I need to leave to take Tessi to school at 8:20 am. No problem.  I have this under control.  Two days before I learned that I have to take Connor to school by 7:30 as she is starting Choir. No problem, I can handle this. Setting the alarm for 6 am I can rise graciously, sort everything out and all will be good.  After finishing my first cup of tea I try to finish prepping the kitchen. I sincerely mean prep my kitchen because per my lease agreement, the kitchen counters must be as empty as possible because the owner is concerned that the expensive counter he installed might become damaged. The expensive two inch thick GRANITE counter he installed. As I have long since given up my demolition crew aspirations I’m not sure what exactly he thinks I can do to damage a two inch think granite counter top, but clean and clear I do.

For some only teen-rationalized reason, now is the time my son chooses to ask me for ride to school. This would mean a ten minute earlier departure time. Sure I can handle this. I am Super Mom, here me roar. Five minutes later he returns to ask if we could pick up his girlfriend as well.   Another five minutes off the clock. Right.  I agree, but then give him some chores he must do while I am running his sister to school. Desperate not to walk up the hill in the rain he agrees, almost amicably. Taking Connor to school, because of rain and traffic, unfortunately we end up being five minutes late.  This leads to pre-teen haranguing for ruining her life and any chance she has of success in school. I told her that I had to have a hobby and some day she can ruin her daughters life too. The circle of life will be complete, I started to sing the song.  Clearly UN-amused, she emits a loud harrumph! and bolts out the door, pony tail curiously shaped like a middle finger and I can pull away in peace still singing.

Once home I continue with the staging and setting up of the kitchen.  While this was happening I realized that I still had to perform some random Mom stuff.  Filling out swim carnival forms for the boy, like a NICE MOTHER DOES.  All he had to do was find an envelope.  Of course that required some effort so, instead he just yelled for me to explain where the envelopes were kept. Five years in the house and he doesn’t know where envelopes are?  Of course not. I try to explain their location in the commuter room. Apparently he understood that to mean that I would get it. Which I of course did, only to see that it was on the shelf, in front of him…if he had bothered to flippin’ look.

Annoyed, but not defeated, I charged upstairs to begin the great cat herding event of 2016. It was 7:55 and I wanted to get out the door quickly.  Both cats needed to be rounded up and placed into their carriers. I got Monty with the lure of food. He’s easy to shove into the carrier as gravity takes a hold of his girth and pulls him down into it, especially as I’m holding his head. Echo on the other hand is much lighter and infinitely more spry. I ended up having to chase her around my newly revamped and cleared craft room. I would stop and take a moment to longingly gaze at my gorgeous displays of fantastic fabric but I can’t see beyond the damn Huntsman spider hanging out on my wall.

Remembering my last attempt to get the boy to dispose of a Huntsman I decide to do it myself. Take heart Aussies, I did not kill it. I attempted the kinder, gentler, catch and release approach. I called downstairs for a large clear Tupperware container to be brought to me and begin my spider removal mantra. I hate you, but I’m not supposed kill you.

Tessi brought me a large metal bowl. Seriously?  Clear Tupperware gets interpreted as a metal bowl?  What the Hell? I tried to explain kindly that this was in fact not what I asked for but it came out in yelling and swearing. She retreated and enlisted Teddy’s help. She returned with a small dark purple bowl, then a large green one.  I can see sound at this point and the walls have strawberry Care Bears dancing on them.  My mind is officially gone.

I erupted in an admittedly unladylike and positively non-maternal rage and announced that like every other god-damned thing in the house, I would go do it MYSELF. Storming through the house like Patton in Palermo, I got the damn clear Tupperware bowl and returned upstairs. Sobbing visibly now, I faced my eight-legged enemy. I attempted to use spider whisperer powers and coax the spider in the bowl so I could send him outside, as all my good Aussie friends say I have to.

Know what? Spiders don’t give a flying rats ass about whispering powers or attempts at non-lethal relocation.  They do whatever the hell they want.  That miserable SOB scurried around the wall and then behind the TV cabinet, hell bent for leather. Giving this up as a bad job, I enlisted the remaining kids into retrieving Echo, who had come out of hiding to “help” with the spider, only to run back under the bed once she heard the thundering of Tessi’s feet. My children spent the next two minutes arguing with each other over who was more stupid or most useless at kitten retrieval.

This is probably when I snapped for good.  I’m not really sure as I have no clear memory of it.  I do recall something along the lines of ordering everyone to get the Hell out of my room NOW. Interestingly enough, Echo shot straight out from under the bed and ran between Tessi’s legs and down the stairs. Restarting the chase we flipped the barker lounger, the piano bench and I told Tessi if she took another god damn step that I would glue her feet to the floor. She stopped and I was able to grab the limber kitty and unceremoniously shoved her mewling butt into her carrier. Job done.

Now 8:25 am and we are insanely late. My perfect schedule is shot. It took me ten minutes in the car to calm down enough to apologize for swearing and ask if anyone saw where the spider went. Of course, no one did. So this afternoon when I finally get to return to my house I can either begin a full on search for Arachnid Annie or I can plan to live comfortably on the downstairs couch.

Not really a tough decision as the living room is clean, thanks to the inspection. I hope the spider appreciates my nice clean and organized craft room.  I’ll be on the couch, deciding where I can best hide the envelopes and clear Tupperware.

May Cause Vivid Dreams

Because my “special and unique” personality doesn’t always jive well with my “colorful and effervescent” life I sometimes have to take medicine to help me sleep.  I’m certainly tired enough, God knows I have the tired bit down cold.  Unfortunately my brain has the running at full steam 24 hours a day down even colder. I can be falling asleep at the wheel but as soon as I lay my weary head on my pillow, BOOM Chuckles the Brain needs to think about everything from tomorrow’s driving list to mating rituals of underwater arctic fauna.  No, you really don’t want inside my head.   I scare people.  So yes, in the interest of getting some kind of sleep so I don’t stab people to death with a toothpick, sometimes I take the medicinal version of a baseball bat to the head to get me to turn off for a few hours.

As with all medications, particularly the fun brain-related ones, there is a smorgasbord of side effects to contend with and be concerned about.  This particular gem of pharmaceutical genius that I partake of has the usual can occasionally cause mood or behavior changes, stomach pains, alter the tide and generally jack with the space-time continuum.  Yadda, yadda, yadda. My favorite one is that it can occasionally, in some people, on rare occasions, cause vivid dreams.

I just love that people have consider this a side effect.  It’s hilarious to me.  Suddenly we must all be concerned and wary of possibly developing an endearing personality in our minds.  *WARNING * May cause you to seem much more entertaining than you actually are. Our team of scientists caution anyone from using this drug if you are exceedingly drab and boring in real life.  Failure to do so may may lead your new fantastic dreams to kid you into believing you are really awesome.

If only that was the case in my mind.  No, I don’t become magically fantastic and wield the ways of the Force.  I get to watch OTHERS become fantastic and I am this perverse stalking viewer of the awesome.  Last night’s dream for example.

A couple that my husband and I have been dear friends with for many, many years were the main stars of my dream last night.  They were visiting a person I don’t know.  Suddenly the person stood up and shot them both and they were dead.  I was obviously destroyed by this vision and began crying.  My horror stalled momentarily when James Earl Jones stepped in the room and asked what happened.  That’s when one of my friends stood up (apparently the dead as a door knob thing was a colorful ruse) and said that Eares did it.

I was trying to juggle the whole Not Dead thing  and then worry about who Eares was when the mirror became a puddle and some other person walked out of it shooting at the room.  James Earl Jones and my friends (now both decidedly not dead) threw themselves out the window and began running serpentine style down the street; occasionally hiding to blend in with the scenery until the bullets pass by. ‘Cause dreams are like movies and bullets are fooled by hiding behind a tree.

As I followed behind them, desperate to catch up I noticed that poor James is dead.  My friends propped him up behind a building to lure the bad guys away as they went running across a field. Shooting starts up again…this time there are helicopters and once more, they both fall over dead.  Crying I catch up to them, it takes a while because in my dream only they get cool, spy-like speed.  I trip as I go over the car, stumble over some damn cat and limp around the building.  I really could use some dream power right now. I finally catch up and yet again…. WAIT A MINUTE!  STILL NOT DEAD! Blood is pouring everywhere but for some reason my friends are not bothered by it and continue on their quest.

I swear to God, this is what happened next.  A graveyard of old Ferris wheels appeared in front of us.  Hundreds of HUGE Ferris wheels laying on their sides in the dirt, and the three of us were running from seat to seat trying to find the best one to hide in.  Baddies breathing down our necks, I awkwardly followed my ridiculously limber and rather annoyingly agile friends (I get it, you’ve been working out, are we done? ) through this gruesome and somewhat comical display of carnival rides until we get to a door which opens and leads my friends to safety.  I on the other hand am left out in the fray.  Why am I so lucky?  Apparently it’s the safe house for those worthy and limber people who have been shot and survived at least 7 times and I don’t rate.  I wake up to the sound of me banging on the door begging to be let in.  In real life the banging sound was Monty and Echo flipping each other into the glass door playing another rousing game of  Kill the Weak One.

So my dear children, listen closely, there are some intensely profound messages to be gleamed from this bizarre dream and I feel I must share them with you all.

1) I miss my friends and wish they would visit.  

2) Big Pharma ain’t mucking about when it warns you about vivid dreams….take this seriously.  VIVID dreams.

3) Always remember that while you may think that you are crazy, but you aren’t  “James Earl Jones helps your friends escape death from deranged mirror-morphing bad guys”crazy.

Keep it in perspective People.


Symbolism Can’t Be Denied

As far as the mysteries of Life go, How did you do that? is not one of the more complex questions.  There should be less cognitive thought involved with the answer than say was used to conceptualize sticking a beer in the snow of cool it off. I’m not passing any judgement here; I’m just saying that not a lot of gray matter was used in the problem solving stage of that particular gem.

I cut my finger this morning.  The question How did you do that? really should be simple. Trite, banal, or dare I say, even inane?  Yes, I dare.  But it’s my hand and the incident occurred in my house.  Therefore we must depart from the mundane and travel to the absurd to find our answer.

I have three extra kids in the house today.  This is actually a good thing as all three offspring will be occupied with their respective friends and when they get bored with that, the friend groups will team up to annoy each other. By the time they figure out that they can go after me, I’m hoping the sun will be out and I can throw at least 2/3 of them in the pool.  When the allure of THAT activity is long gone, it will be time for 2/3 of them to leave.  The remaining friend is staying for a sleepover and they will both hide in the older girls room for a candy fueled recap how much they hate the older boys.  When that’s done, I’ll be in bed and it will all become my husbands problem.  This will be a good day. I am actually looking forward to it all.

Because I am a good mother and I want happy kids for as long as conceivably possible…five,  maybe even six minutes…I decide make brownies.  I make them because it’s too expensive to buy brownies to feed seven people.  Yes, damn it, I want some brownie too.  Some non-vegan, extra not-paleo, full of carcinogenic sugar brownies.  YUM.

I’m making two boxes worth because I know all seven of us are more than capable of bogarting one box.  I realize we have a crap ton of leftover candy canes and I think, “HEY!!  I will do one of those cool Pinterest things! I’ll crush up the candy  canes and sprinkle them on the top of one of the batches!”  I am rockin’ this Mom gig today.  Ro-ckin’ it.  I start the Kitchenaid and the sound brings Tessi flying into the room to help and of course Connor comes in asking to eat a candy cane.  Their guests haven’t arrived yet so they are happy to not have to watch Teddy be happy with his friend.

Tessi starts happily mixing, but then I had the gall….the unmitigated GALL to suggest that Connor unwrap  candy canes to put in the bag for crushing. Miss Pre-teen is miffed at having to do everything in the entire world all the time.  Right.  We had a quick one-sided discussion about attitude adjustment, digging the Sequoia tree out of one’s rear-end, sigh….an even FASTER explanation of what the non-Australian Sequoia tree is and then a threat of no brownies and banishment to her room and suddenly, everyone is a happy kitchen helper.

I decide to compromise and help out Madam Snorting Anger Face, WARNING!!!  NEVER COMPROMISE!  It leads to disaster.  I begin peeling the plastic off the canes.  Since they’re a few weeks old and we’ve had some heat, they are sticky and the wrappers are tough to remove.  I dug out one of Ted;s new spiffy kitchen knives to try to slit open the wrapper.

Look, you know what happened next, I’m not actually typing it.  You damn well know what I did.  Judge all you want.

Afterwards, I swore uproariously and yelled for a paper towel.  Five minutes later the damn finger is still pouring blood….not the best for brownie batter,  so I dug out a band-aid.  It would seem that I have been a bit lax in maternal duty of band-aid re stocking as I couldn’t even find an old Hannah Montana band-aid. All I could muster up was one of the large water proof patches we had for Teddy’s surgery stitches.  Bugger.  I remember this thing as being a real PIA to put on with two hands and here I am using only one to wrap it around the other hand’s finger.

It didn’t go well.  Do I really need to elaborate?  Double sided sticky clear plastic wrapping around a bandage on a finger.   I ended up with this mutated mushroom looking thing that wouldn’t stick.  No more band aids in the house so I adapted and overcame.  I dug in one of the drawers in the laundry room and found packing tape.  I wrapped the snot out of my finger in packing tape and triumphantly spun on my heel, heading back to the kitchen to resume the good work.

Walking past the living room and therefore the video game playing stage, my son’s friend looked at me and said, “How did you do that?”  I looked down at my finger and then back up at him.   I muttered a non-committal, “I Dunno” and scurried back into the kitchen.  Connor must have smelled weakness and a chance to avenge her oppressed status, because she charged out of the kitchen to share with the boys what I had done.  My son offered the response he usually reserves for his sister. A deadpan delivery of “You’re an idiot.”

Normally that would call for a parental ass-kicking, but I had to ask myself….was he wrong?  No.  I begrudgingly gave in, he wasn’t.  Doesn’t mean I’m not going to get even with him by showing his girlfriend the picture of Himself as a two-year old of drawing all over himself in marker while wearing just a diaper (nappy).  Oh, I’ll definitely doing that…but I have to accept that it takes a special kind of dumb ass to end up with package tape-covered finger wound from making brownies.

I can’t blame the kids for this, nor can I blame being an American in foreign county.  I have to own it.  This is me and it describes my life.  I am neither proud nor ashamed of it.  It is what it is. The most accurate symbol of my life that I can create.




Not Fooling Anyone

I have been a mother of three kids long enough to fear the presence of happiness and a strong sense of team spirit amongst my offspring.  All you perfectly happy mothers can tsk, tsk all you want, I know better.  When they are collaborating amicably, Life is about to take a dramatic turn south.

Over the weekend we were invited to lunch at Teddy’s girlfriend’s house. Dear God. My son has a girlfriend…how is this even possible? It was a fantastic afternoon as Ted and I really enjoy talking with her parents. All the kids got along great, mainly because my girls think that Teddy’s girlfriend walks on water. The hero-worship is strong in this house.

As we left I learned that they were playing Guitar Hero on the Wii. Now this is a game we had YEARS ago, along with the drum kit, guitar and microphone. It has long gone into the bin because no one would play with it.

Except now suddenly, this is game is the life force that will bind the universe together if you listen to these three talk about it. We hadn’t even pulled away from the house before they started excitedly plotting how they were going to buy the game for our house.

“Wait, just a damn minute!” I bellowed in the middle of my three-point turn on curvy hill. “You had that game, and then you stopped playing it. Does NO ONE remember singing Eye of the Tiger six times a day for three weeks?!?!?!  I still have nightmares.  I am not buying you another one for you to just chuck aside.”

Silence is the most loud when a deceptive plan is being concocted.

In my rear view mirror I saw furtive glances, knowing looks and more than a few determined head nods. This was not over, not by a long shot.  They were using their mental powers to organize. No matching jackets or a team song but I felt the bond growing between them and was sure that some sort of union pitch was coming my way eminently.

The next day as I would move from room-to-room I would catch phrases like, “Target has it for two more days.” Or “I have $50 from Grandma.” My favorite was the over-acted mock concern. “Only if you’re sure. I don’t want to pressure you into spending your money” What drivel.  I am thoroughly disappointed in the child that fell for that line. Clearly I need to up the instruction on how not to be an easy mark.

Yesterday all their hard work came to fruition and their clever plan was coyly presented to me while I was in the middle of packing up the Christmas Tree.  Full marks for trying to catch me when I’m off guard.  No one is at their best when they are fighting with plastic green needles and 40,000 dark and tangled lights.

They came in with a full frontal assault.  One marched into my face and informed me that the game was on sale and that the three of them together had the money. Generous grandparents who are sad to be apart at Christmas time are cash-strapped kids salvation.

Flanking from the left came the pronouncement that since it was their money, they felt they should be allowed to purchase what they want.  After all, this isn’t on my list of bad games and it would bring the family together. I think one of them actually used the word harmony, I don’t know, I was choking on tinsel.   Tessi piped up that she was looking forward to not being on YouTube so she could play the game.  Nice touch, perhaps she was listening to my “You lot are using up all the monthly download!!” speeches.  She didn’t conjure up a tear at the edge of her eye but she did manage a slight lip quiver. I was the youngest in my family, I am an expert of lip quivers.

Impressive.  I’ll give that a 6 out of 10.  Can’t really go higher with such minimal effort.

Alrighty then, I will humor this fantasy they have created. I will drive my son to the shops and he can buy the game for them to share and lovingly play together.   Not one of them is fooling me though. They will play this game once, maybe twice before the first death threat is thrown out. Hell, they might make it to four times before someone throws a remote in disgust and leaves the room. There will be tears and the House odds are only going 60/40 on bloodshed, as Connor has been growing one fingernail dangerously long.

I’ll keep you posted on the outcome.  If they really annoy me, there will be artwork.

Another Loss for Our Family

We put Damn Dog down two days after Christmas.

I can’t believe I just typed that.  The dog who ate two whole cooked chickens and the wrappers they came in, an entire box of Singulair medicine, an inhaler, chocolate cheesecake, socks and undies too numerous to count and God knows what else. The dog I knew Satan wasn’t ready to have back, the one who survived an accidental crack to the head with a cricket bat and then comforted the sobbing girl who hit her.  The unbelievable dog who jumped up on a grill to steal a lamb roast and didn’t have a singe mark on her.

I was with her at the end, just like I was with Holly.  It’s stupid really, I understand that she has less mental cognitive ability than a toddler but I could not allow her to be alone with strangers at the end.  That seemed a violation to me.  A break in the promise I made to her when we adopted her that I would take of her.  So I was there, sitting on the floor, holding her head looking into her eyes.  She couldn’t walk so she laid there and gazed up at me.  I looked into her eyes, telling her I loved her and to please find me someday, that is….if she could forgive me for killing her.  Oh, how I begged for forgiveness from those brown eyes, until there was no one behind the eyes anymore.  Then I laid her head down, kissed her goodbye and walked out to my grieving family.

My husband said me being able to stay with her at the end was proof of my strength.  I feel anything but strong.  I’ve watched two animals die within about six months and I feel as weak as a newborn babe.  Why do I allow myself to get so attached?  I know so many people who have animals and while they are sad when they pass, they know they did the right thing and can move on.  Some get a new animal within days.  I can not.  I have been sobbing since it happened.  I avert my eyes when I drive past the local dog park and I change the channel if a dog appears.

I am ashamed, but I fear this loss has broken me.  I have lost the only creature in the house that always liked me, no matter what.  Part of being a mom is having your kids hate you from time to time and certainly part of my marriage involves conflict.  The cats only like me when I’m bringing them food.  My friends love me but being human, they can only handle so much of me.  But Sasha?  No matter what, even when I was taking her to the vet or screaming my head off at her about whatever she had just done, she always loved me.  That unconditional love is gone now and I can barely breathe because of the absence of it.

My children seem alright.  My son is upset, but understands that Sasha was suffering and that we couldn’t tolerate that.  My girls handled it just as I thought they would.  Big explosions of feelings at first, like water bursting from a loosened tap….then nothing, as if the tap was closed.  In many ways Autism is a blessing, at least for my girls.   My youngest wants to know when we are getting a new dog.  I both envy and resent them for their ability to shut off feelings.  I would give anything for that right now.  I’m an open raw wound, with a thinly layered band-aid on it.  I can be brave and functional for minutes at a time but I have to be near a door so I can quick run out to sob when the band-aid gets unexpectedly ripped off.

Indulge me Friends, and please help me remember my Sasha, forever known as Damn Dog, a surely psychotic animal and my friend. I miss her terribly.

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