Monday, June 29, 2009

Insurance - Psuedo-Required Torture for Your Health

So over the past few days I was lacking in material to vent about. Today, well today lightening struck twice.

Early in the afternoon I received a phone call from the hospital where my little arm surgery will be performed on Thursday afternoon. The woman was calling to inform me what my portion of the bill would be after insurance covered 70% of it. Here's how it went:

Special Office Woman: I'm calling to tell you your 30% that is due on Thursday.
ME: Ok.
SOW: Your 30% is $450 and you are required to bring that on Thursday before the surgery.
ME: What? Wait. I owe that on Thursday?
SOW: Yes, it's required.
ME: Why can't you just bill me?
SOW: Have you paid your doctor yet?
ME: No, they said they were going to bill me. I didn't even have to pay my co-pay, they said they'd just include it in the bill.
SOW: Oh, well our part is required.
ME: Why can't you just bill me?
SOW: Well you have to ask for us to bill you.
ME: So you can bill me and I don't have to bring it on Thursday?
SOW: Ok. Since you asked it's not required and we can bill you.

Score.

Later I was opening my mail and received an insurance claim (not a bill, just the statement of benefits) for my Bear. Last month the insurance folks didn't properly key in a sick visit for Bear. They claimed I owed another $190 because my pediatrician was out of network. After a phone call and insisting they search for my doctor's name, they discovered that yes, she was in-network and they'd have to re-process my claim (with a lot of drama and sighing apparently). Guess who didn't owe a damn red cent more? That'd be me, technically party of 4. Well, Bear had a well visit earlier this month and lo and behold, today's insurance claim tattled that they mis-billed it AGAIN. So I called. And I got this really, really special (lazy, rude) woman who informed me that until the insurance company sent the form to them they couldn't do anything. So I asked if she could make a note in my file so that it wouldn't get to the point where I was sent a bill and had to call back. Nope. No, in fact, they're going to waste paper and postage and mail me a bill and when I receive it I'll have to call back and get a new person and explain the whole thing over again. Like today's conversation NEVER happened. Cuz, that will be so sensible and fun. The best part of this? The lady DIDN'T BELIEVE ME that the same thing happened 4 WEEKS AGO. I had to insist that she LOOK at my last bill. And I had to INSIST that she check to see if this month's bill was keyed the same way. "Oh, yes, this will be another problem." But she can't make a note of it.

Whew. I hate that crap. I really, really wonder how many people get ripped off this way and just blindly pay their doctor's bills without checking.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tasteful Talent



Missed Girl Talk Thursday last week, life happened. This week's topic, what talent do you wish you had, is fun! There are so many things I would LOVE to do and be GOOD at.

1. Dancing. Contemporary, Jazz, Latin, Ballroom... bring it.
2. Running well without much effort.
3. Starting to love swimming.
4. ART - I would love to be able to paint like my mom, aunt or friend's mother. Whoa. Like amazing.
5. Woodworking - I LOVE to build things. I dream them up in my head and sometimes I actually get to make them. We're talking cat stands and shelves here but I dream about building a pergola on our back porch, a built in book case in our family room, and then finally building out a decent attic that is heated and cooled and has shelves and everything. Could I do this now, probably. Not well though. I want to be GOOD at this. It's in my blood.
6. Horseback riding (like crazy Darren Chiacchia Olympian good - dude I know him too!)
7. Playing piano (I regret giving this up as a teenager)
8. Playing guitar
9. Writing
10. Public speaking

But, the thing I really wish I were good at, that I had time and patience for is COOKING. I make a passable lasagna (if you come over for dinner and I haven't seen you in a while, this is most likely what I'll make) and I can do an awesome french toast casserole. But I would love to be able to cook interesting, colorful and flavorful meals, without recipes, making it up as I go and creating a masterpiece meal. Plus, I would really, really, really love to be able to make and decorate cakes well. I watched a show last week on cakes and it struck me how much I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that. It's cake, so score, right? But it's art and structure and design. It's all the things I like and have a propensity for doing. It's things I could be good at if I had the time and energy to try. My mom is an artist, my dad is an engineer. Cake decorating would be killer. I should take cooking classes and find a cake class too. That would be awesome.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Megan Young

There is a woman out there someone in this world. Her name is Megan Young. I have no idea how old she is. I know not the color of her skin, her hair, her eyes. She might have a beautiful smile, shining white teeth, and a laugh that carries the music of a thousand nightingales on its echo. She might be gracious, kind, giving, and lovely.

But I have come to loathe this woman.

This woman once lived within the walls I now call home. I don't know which room she slept in though. She collected mail and bills at this address. At some point I am assuming she paid some.

But then, for whatever reason or circumstance, she stopped paying her bills. And then, seemingly, disappeared off the face of the known universe.

Daily I receive telephone calls to our home phone line from debt collectors looking for Megan Young. I understand the human beings on the other end of the line are just doing their jobs. I practice my patience and tell them Megan Young doesn't live at this address, hasn't for at least three years. But they still call. If I don't answer the phone because I see it's an 800# and I know now who they are, they just call back. All day. Every hour. So I answer. I tell them to remove our number from their lists. A number never associated with Megan Young. They call anyways. I am astounded at the number of debt collection company names out there that this woman seems to owe money to.

Weekly I open my mail box to find bills and letters addressed to Megan Young. I write "RTS - No longer at this address" on the envelopes and put them back in the mailbox. Another week passes and more letters arrive.

Repo-men have shown up at our front door. Men who are allowed on my property by law to investigate whether Megan Young still resides here. It makes my skin crawl.

This woman, she is a nuisance of my time and energy.

Megan Young - where ever you are, I hope you are lovely. I am sorry for whatever circumstances transpired to cause you to default on so many debts. But for the love of all things good and wonderful, please, please resurface on this plant, in this state, perhaps this city, and rightfully claim responsibility for what was originally yours to begin with.

Monday, June 22, 2009

What up?

So I totally missed Girl Talk Thursday last week. I was sad but I forgot Thursday and didn't have any time because...

We went to Myrtle Beach, SC this weekend without the kids! Holy crap. It was just one night (damn hotels are expensive) but it was great. Our friends Ty & Ryan got married and it was a perfect opportunity for us to travel and leave them. I have not had a night's sleep without a baby monitor or a baby attached to me in 3.5 years. It was time. Guess who still woke up out of habit at 6:15am though? That would be me, party of one, cuz hubby didn't wake up until 7:30 I think.

The wedding was awesome. Even sitting at a table with a Georgia Bulldog! She was way cool but with the exception of her fiancé we were all GATORS. We laughed at her expense. A LOT. Luckily she was one awesome and rolled with the punches. I can now say I like two people who are Bulldog fans. I can't say the same for Tennessee or some other SEC colleges. :)

I forgot how easy it was to travel without kids. Lunch, both days, took less than an hour. In January when we took a road trip it was 1.5 hours each day. Extra potty break stops, longer everything. It never seems bad at the time so that's good, but yeah, traveling just us was easy. Let me tell you though, every time some asshole tailgated us or zoomed in to spaces there was no room for and caused a chain reaction of brake tapping, I cringed inwardly. I was, just a little bit, worried about accidents and whatnot and not making it home to my kids. I'm such a worrier. Never did I worry about the kids, I worried about not making it home to the kids. Ugh.

In other news there will be no monumental medical journal entry with my name (or a name I chose, like Messponential!) next to a newly discovered benign tumor. Alas, the full panel of biopsy screens came back, all negative (whew!) and what I have is a fibroadipose tissue growth. Normal. Boring. Nothing noteworthy. Right now I'm scheduled to have it removed July 2nd. I do not like the nurse I've had to deal with to schedule the damn thing either. Once it's removed and the doctor did his job well, I'm gonna let him know that she needs to work on her bedside manor. I have a right to ask about the procedure and to be involved in decisions about it too.

Yesterday when we were driving we had a conversation that I immediately followed up with "wow, that's blog fodder." I don't remember it now. But I guarantee it was funny. I've sat here for 15 minutes waiting to write this last paragraph... and in the deep recesses of my memory all I hear is... (cricket)... (cricket)...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A "Special" Doctor

Yesterday I got to travel to the home of my heart, Gainesville. Unfortunately it was for a doctor's visit but I did get to spend some time with a few friends and that was wonderful. So Marc, Joyce, Lain, Gwenny, Ludivine & Remington, thanks for the catch-up.

The doctor I had to see was an Orthopedic Oncologist. I have this large lump on my left forearm that, after about seven years, I finally decided to have looked at. About a month ago I was referred to an Orthopedist here in Jacksonville and he took some Xrays, didn't think it was a big deal, then ordered an MRI to map my soft tissues so he could remove it. Well the first MRI didn't go so well and I was called back the next day to have another one with contrast fluid. Yeah, I sort of freaked out. I mean, if you've never been in an MRI tube, it's not exactly a beach walk. After the second MRI the doctor was like "Oh this could be bad, but maybe not, so I can't help you. You have to go to a tumor specialist in Gainesville."

Great.

So that was my appointment yesterday. I got an x-ray, a biopsy and a few good laughs out of the day.

During the explanation of the procedure to remove the lump -

Me: I don't have to be put under do I?
Doc: Well we'll do a nerve block and then give you some general anesthesia to keep you happy. You can be as out of it as you want to be.
Me: But if I have the nerve block do I need the general anesthesia?
Doc: (looking at me like I'm a loon) Everyone wants the happy gas.
Me: But I had two c-sections and didn't have happy gas. I was conscious the whole time and that is considered major surgery. I mean, I heard all the cauterizing of the bleeders and everything.
Doc: (now laughing at me) I've never had anyone tell me that before. But it's true! So we'll decide the day of how much, or not, happy gas you'll get. ok?
Me: Ok!

During the biopsy -

Me: So can you tell by the stuff coming out if it's bad or not? Anything alarming?
Doc: No, nothing alarming. Obviously we still have to do the tests but the color looks like it's not bad.
Me: So you still think is benign?
Doc: Yes, I am like 90% sure.
Me: Ooh, my odds have gone down. It was 95% when you looked at the MRIs just a little while ago.
Doc: Well I just realize that I have to be careful what I say around you! You keep me on my toes.
(holy crap I hope so. Nice little CYA there.)

A few minutes later during the biopsy -

Doc: So you do marketing? What did you go to UF for? What's your degree in?
Me: Marketing. I'm someone who actually is using the degree I went to school for and I didn't go for law or medicine.
Doc: Yeah, I got my degree in Psychology and here I am doing Orthopedics.
Me: Well I hope you went back to school to get a degree in Orthopedics.
Doc: No, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express once.
(silence... followed by me laughing my ass off.)

Nicely played doctor. Nicely played.

Later in the day when the nurse called me with the results of my freeze biopsy -

Nurse: So the first test came back benign but we still don't have a name for this tumor.
Me: A name?
Nurse: Yes we don't know what to call it. We might not be able to give it a name until after it's out and we can fully examine it.
(let's call it George!)
Me: So this is something you've never seen before?
Nurse: Yes, so far.
Me: Well if it's something new can you guys name it after me?
(silence)
Nurse: I've never had anyone ask me that before.
Me: Well I just think that'd be cool if I have a new type of tumor to have it named after me in the medical journals.
Nurse: Ok... I can make a note of that.
Me: Cool!
(I start laughing which resulted in her cracking up too.)

I don't think doctors know how to take me. In the OR for my second c-section my OB told me she was going to give me a prettier scar (my first c-section scar was pretty ugly). So she said she's try but couldn't guarantee it. I just looked up at her and said "the only thing you can guarantee is death and taxes." Well the entire OR started laughing at me (with me). I was just trying to lighten the mood before they, you know, cut open my stomach. Jeez.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Blurry Lines

I have never been someone who compartmentalizes her life and my life is pretty much an open book.

I grew up in Western NY and then moved to Florida when I was almost 16. Then I went to the University of Florida, stayed there for seven years after I graduated (cause I sure LOVE that Gainesville town!) and then moved back to Jax with my family in 2006. I've had several jobs, participated in a major organization of people with karate, and now I'm on Twitter. And I'm starting to forget how I know people! PLUS, I forget that some of my friends don't actually KNOW each other.

When I log in to Facebook I start reading my news stream I'll see something my friend Julie from NY says and immediately think, "Oh, I wonder if Vivien saw this." Vivien, now in Colorado, is someone I met in Gainesville. Then I'll see something on Twitter and wonder if someone else from an old job saw it. I'm relating you all to each other and in my world you all know each other. It's sort of maddening when reality dawns.

You know then I get in to the whole "Hey Mom, I talked to Joyce today and she told me this story about Gwenny." Then later "Mom, I talked to Vivien and she said..." or "Hey, my friend Angie said Max was doing this..." So Joyce is the only one I've actually spoken too, as in, heard her voice. Vivien is instant messaging. Angie is Twitter. And my Mom is supposed to KNOW this. And "talking" now means any sort of communicating. Jeez.

And then, then there's my family. My mom's side, my dad's side, my husband's mom's side and my husband's dad's side. They're all getting on Facebook. And I'll see Keely post something and wonder if Chrissy saw it and what she thinks. Those are two of my cousins... NOT from the same branch. Doubt they even know each other. Or Joby's Aunt Janice will say something and I'll think MY Aunt Priscilla will think it's funny.

I can't keep it straight!

Please tell me that someone else out there gets this...

Friday, June 12, 2009

Love Ya'll!!!

A couple weeks after Maria graced me with the One Lovely Blog award, after I decided who I would pass that award on to but before I actually got around to writing said post, my girl Katie at Why Bother, sent me this bloggy award too!



The "Love Ya" Award states:

These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.

The following people are who I am awarding this award to:

1. Tatiana at A Very Good Year

2. Angie at Our Life as the Parents of a Premie

3. Vernacular at Hot Sauce Redemption

4. Stacie at Stacie's Madness

5. Jackie at In Full Blum (side note: I went to High School with Jackie and she's been blogging about her pregnancies and children and life for forever. She's a Stay at Home Mom and I've emailed her once about getting Twitter but as of yet, she hasn't... nudge, nudge) :)

6. Maria at Mommy Melee (I mean jeez, I talk about her enough, right? Of course I love her. And she's the host of Girl Talk Thursday! Bringing chicks together to dish.)

7. Jenni at Jiggety Jig

8. Danielle at New Mommy Rant. She's also got a site at My Smart Hands (The Smart Hands site isn't really a blog but I'm a huge fan of Baby Signing so she's getting mad props here too.)

Thanks for all your share. I've enjoyed reading along.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Steamy Esteem

It's Thursday and despite this being one of my favorite days to post... I've feared this day for weeks! Gah! I have to talk about myself, my self-esteem and sexuality. Double Gah!!!



Luckily, I have to go a little PG-rated here this week because I learned that some friends from the next generation happen upon my blog on occasion. And I like them and don't want to freak them out. But, I'm not gonna go all Disney-G on everyone because we all know those shrewd and lovely little Princesses are NOT anatomically correct, nor innocent with their batty eyelashes anyways. Someday they have to admit to implants. They have to.

So Maria pretty much hit the nail on the head with her description of sexuality post-partum. After Bug was born I called myself the "Milk Cow Pack Mule." I was a mom, complete with boobs become milk jugs, laden with a diaper bag full of baby gear I might need and if I didn't bring would absolutely need. While being mom is something I am so proud of, and I know I am good mom, the complete lack of my body to be anything but lumpy and my deep need of sleep just left me feeling hopeless in the love-vibes department. It was much worse the second time around, after Bear was born.

Now I think my biggest problem with the whole body image thing is that my image of myself is so different from the actual body shape. I don't think of myself as being over-weight until I see myself in photos. Photos of myself make me die inside. I see myself in the mirror every day, and when I'm not up against someone else, like in a pic, it's not that bad. But wow, photos tell me otherwise. I have learned not to care so much what the actual scale says, but I care more about how my clothes fit and how I will feel when I see me looking better in photos with my family. I don't want to be that fat-mom watching her kids from the soccer sideline. I don't want my kids to be embarrassed by me.

I also believe that my non-body-image related self-esteem totally affects my sexuality too. The last two years of my life have also been rough in the friend/acquaintences/work category. I felt like things were hitting me from all levels and really bringing me down. But I've recently made an active choice, with the help of some real, true friends and an awesome Zen-advice blog, to not use others opinions of me to invalidate what I know to be true. This does take mindfulness on my part when I feel myself slipping in to my emotions. But every step I traverse away from the bridges that burned and the water that runs swiftly in the ravine I tried to cross, I feel stronger. I breathe deeper, the air is fresher and I'm finding my mind on a much more even keel. Plus, as my self-esteem strengthens I am starting to feel better in other areas of my life too. Now if I can just get this body back in to some sort of pleasing shape, I'll be in business and feeling quite whole and spunky again.

OMG I just typed the word spunky. Twice.

To cap off the post I'll share with you the results of the new Facebook quiz I took just a half hour before starting this post. I found it quite hilarious given what I was about to type.

Which of your Chakras is most open?
Your Result: Sacral Chakra

The Sacral Chakra represents feelings, emotions, and sexuality. You are able to express your feelings flowingly, and are comfortable in showing your emotions. You are open to intimacy, and have no problem accepting your sexuality. Your personality is passionate and lively. Try not to become too over-emotional or passionate, as this may lead to you becoming emotionally attached to people.


And that, my friends, pretty much sums up what I feel that Maria didn't say. I mean, her post was about herself and all... it just fit so well in to my own feelings too.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I can hear it now...

So if you happened to be on the main drag outside my neighborhood around 5:30 tonight you might have seen a slighly overweight woman (me) attempting to push a double jogging stroller with two little boys in it all while lumbering along in a psudeo run. If my father-in-law were driving by he'd observe this woman who was sweating profusely in the damn near 80% humidity and he'd say "Bless her heart." Meaning - God love her for trying but crap, it ain't really working for you. Normally when I see those sad souls who desperately need the exercise but aren't winning eye candy awards I say "better her (or him) out there than me." I'm mean. Actually now I applaud those people. I'm ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE!

Here were my munchkins in the stroller.

 


Alex was all chillaxin' with his feet up the entire time, unless he was dropping his hat (causing me to stop and curse under my breath because you can't put a string on it to keep him from dropping it otherwise he'd choke himself, or his brother). Bran on the other hand only dropped his water cup once and then proceeded to talk to me the entire time, which is totally cute and bonding and sugar and spice. EXCEPT when he insists that I answer back (and bond, because it's a bonding experience, this run of mine with a double jogging stroller in 90 degree heat) and I can't talk to him becuase I'm panting like a freaking dog, which only increases the volume and speed that he says "Mommy! Look!" repeatedly. The good thing is that he's very encouraging to me. He likes to go "fast" and when I slow down he says "Faster! Faster! Faster Mommy!!" Oh kid... I'm trying! BLESS MY HEART DAMMIT!

In other news of working out and not seeing results - I swam "some" laps last Friday and Sunday for the first time ever doing swimming as a workout. Holy hurt.
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One Lovely Blog (or Three)

My real life friend Maria, who got me blogging more seriously this Spring, recently shared even more love with me with the One Lovely Blog Award. I was really excited because her blog is just awesome. She makes me laugh, she's made me cry. Yeah, Mad Love!

I am also developing Mad Love for some of you other bloggers out there. My Google Reader is growing in leaps and bounds and I struggle to keep up. So I'm very happy to share the love and pass this little award on.

The rules:
1) Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link.

2) Pass the award to other blogs that you’ve newly discovered. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

Katie - Katie likes to keep things real over at her blog Why Bother. Her son is the same age as Brandon and I love to read about him and her adventures in being a single mom in this totally crazy world. I admire everything she has to do to make it all work. She is super sweet and has been great to me as I learn this whole blogger/twitter world business.

Colleen - One of the other firsts to come over and support me on this blog, Colleen blogs at Mommy Always Wins. She's balancing life with a new job of her dreams (which came with giving up the one she felt awesome security in), her hubster and two boys. Her boys are the next age steps up from mine and she gives me glimpses in to the stages (torture?) we'll enter soon. Plus, her name is just cool.

Sissy - Holy crap this woman makes me laugh over at My Kids Might Be Martians. She has two kids and is done (as in not having more), something that seems like a foreign concept to the people in her real life community. She's a trip and if you haven't read her yet, check her out. Now she knows I'm a fan-girl and that is just mildly embarrassing.

Thanks Maria!
Love your fan-girl,
Me :)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Whoosh!

I got a phone call from my mother a couple hours ago. After exchanging Hellos she said "well - If we need a plumber I'm going to give you a call." Uh... What?!

Brandon flushed his underwear down the toilet.

For real.

Apparently he bawled his eyes out too. I know it was an accident. Without being there I still know exactly how it happened.

He forgot to flush the potty right away. He washed his hands, then gathered up his shorts and underwear in his arms, realized he forgot to flush and reached out to do it. He probably leaned over to look in - he likes to say goodbye to the pee-pee. His underwear was probably on top and fell in. It probably happened so fast and he was probably paralyzed with fear that he'd be in trouble.

My mother said he wailed.

I feel horrible.

But I also laughed my ass off.

I had to laugh before I see him because I know him. He'll be stressed out about this for a while. I have to put on my best Mommy face and say "honey it was an accident. let's make sure it doesn't happen again though." And then I'll have to hug him.

I just hope they don't need a plumber. I hope his tiny size 3T underwear, tighty-whities with Thomas the Train on them is smaller than the size of a wad of the other stuff adults flush every day.

I can't believe I just typed that.

Sigh... Potty stories always make me laugh.

White Noise

When I was in high school I had no trouble getting up the first time the alarm went off at 5:45am. I never hit snooze. I hated getting out of bed but the mere thought of being late for school was enough of a push to muddle through a shower, breakfast, 30 minutes of hair and make-up and then another 30 minute-commute to school. I ate lunch at 10:30am and was home by 3pm unless I had soccer or some choir practice after school. I was in bed and asleep by 10:30 most nights. Back then any little sound could wake me up and disturb my slumber, and I slept in a wonderful dark, quiet, and cozy room.

Then came college. The first semester I signed up for 8:30 classes. That was a full hour after high school started so I didn't think it would be a big deal... I mean seriously, right? But somewhere that first semester I learned about snooze. Some mornings I didn't hear the alarm even. I learned to sleep through everything. People coming in and leaving at all hours of the night, my dorm room being right near the bathroom meant listening to all that activity too. I adapted. Nothing could wake me up - as was evidenced by me oversleeping on the day of my first final of my first semester of my first year of college. I arrived at the final with 10 minutes left to take it, thanks to staying up late to study, then taking cold medicine because I had whatever bug was traveling through the floor that week. Thank God the teacher took pity on me and gave me another 45 minutes to take it. I think he took one look at my bed-head, runny nose, sweaty face from booking it across campus, and bedraggled appearance and believed I had the look of honesty. My hand was so shaky from nerves and anxiety that I couldn't fill in the tiny damn bubbles on that scantron form. He told me to circle my answers on the sheet and fill in the bubbles when I was done so I could calm down. For every college test after that one I asked my mom to call me in the morning, an hour before I had to be there.

After I left the dorms and had my own apartment I got better about not sleeping through my alarm. I had more responsibilities, a job too, and gone were my late nights of partying and talking to friends in the dorm's lounge. I began to sleep in a quiet room, and once again, little things could wake me up easily. I still hit snooze occassionally but it wasn't as necessary anymore.

Then I got cats. Holy crap, I love them but what a huge mistake that was for more reasons than just my sleep. My older cat insisted on sleeping directly in front of my face and pressed her nose on mine. She has long hair. So imagine needing to tickle your nose because her whiskers and long hair are all over your face. And when you reached up to tickle her, well she knew you were awake and would start to purr. LOUDLY. She was sweet but so damn annoying. The second cat was just neurotic. Certifiably. And she peed. EVERYWHERE. If I heard her scratching something I bolted upright and raced out of bed because I knew she was going to pee on my carpet again. Then it got to the point where I could hear her just walking across the house, even if she wasn't going to pee on anything. I started sleeping with a cool mist humidifier on (in Florida, yeah, I know) because the white noise helped block out the sound of my cats traipsing through house at night. (Now the cats sleep outside on the porch. I don't let them inside anymore.)

When we would travel I found that I needed that white noise to sleep, even if the cats were not with us. If the place was too quiet I couldn't relax my brain and sleep. A few years later when my first son was born I somehow managed to wean myself off the white noise machine. I think maybe it was because I was so damn tired I could sleep anywhere, on anything, at any time. So I gave up white noise again.

And then my second son was born, the world's noisiest sleeper. He grunts, farts, and squirms everywhere when he sleeps. Everything he did woke me up. Even when he moved to his room I could hear everything over the monitor despite the volume being low. I slept a lot on the sofa with him that first year, again, I was so tired I could have slept anywhere. But then when he was sleeping better and we'd let him fuss for a while in the middle of the night to see if he could settle back down I started needing white noise again to be able to fall back asleep. If I could hear him thrashing around I'd worry about him. And I'd lie awake or skimming the borders of true sleep. It wasn't restful.

So now I need it again. That quiet hum that helps me focus and settle my active mind. The whirl that drowns out the noises except the cries or emergencies at night. And I'd love to find a machine (instead of the cool mist humidifier because this is FLORIDA and I don't need any more damn humidity in the summer) that isn't a 30 second loop of sound over and over again because my husband can hear the break in the loop and it drives him crazy. So, suggestions are encouraged as I start researching what's out there again. :)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Friendship

I really don't know when I heard this saying first - but it has stuck with me through the years.

To have friends you must first be a good one.

I mean, doesn't this make sense? So , how do you know who deserves to have your friendship to begin with? Kind of chicken vs. egg question I think. And what happens when, despite your best efforts to be a good, true, and honest friend, someone else doesn't want to be friends with you?

Blah, it sucks. But you move on. I've learned you can't stop being who you are and why should you compromise your own integrity for the sake of befriending someone who doesn't have the same values and beliefs as you? In the end you end up giving more of yourself and are never refueled in return. So the lesson you have to learn, and apply often so as not make the same mistake over and over again, is to figure out the fakes and the frauds for the true blues. It takes a little trial and error but in the end you will end up happier to walk away sooner. Screw the whole "keep your friends close and your enemies closer." (well, unless it's business and you have no clear choice.) Surrounding yourself with your enemies is dangerous for your heart. Friendship, not just friendly interactions, is a two-way street and the people who just sit around and have others flock to them are the people you should run like hell from. Besides, when you can stop running and really look around, you'll probably find all your really NEED right there under your nose.

I hope my children will accept this lesson before they are 32 years old. I will teach them to be true, honest and loyal friends to the people who deserve them. And I hope to teach them how to pick out the phonies before they invest too much of their time, effort and love. Oh this thing called parenting. It's so damn hard. I know they will have to experience life on their own. They'll have to learn some of this on their own. But I am doing everything I can to not set them up for failure.

I love, honor and cherish my true blue friends. You all ROCK the planet and I'll be there for you every step of this life journey we're on.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Booze Me Baby



In the latest installment of Girl Talk Thursday... Booze.

The first time I got drunk was my high school senior graduation party. (Um, Mom & dad - yeah that cat's out of the bag now). I got drunk on two Zimas. I can't believe I just admitted that. Zima - that sprite like thing with minimal alcohol that people who didn't want to drink beer drank.

I actually didn't have alcohol again until college. And not even then until later in my first year when the people in our karate club used to have parties almost every weekend. Well, parties back then were just everyone getting together anyways and there'd be beer there. I have some ridiculous photos of me drunk off my ass with people I am still friends with today. I remember drinking a beer at one party, thinking I was totally badass that I'd moved on from Zima, and my friend Joyce was talking to this guy Ray and I started talking to them. Ray asked how I got involved in karate and Joyce told me he was a lawyer in Jacksonville. I remember saying "really? what exactly do you specialize in?" And Ray busts out "well I'm the Assistant Deputy for the State Attorney's office. Here's my police badge." (no, no, no, not the assistant TO the deputy for the state attorney's office...) And I slowly stooped down and "secretly" put my beer bottle on the step behind me. I was 19. Anyways, Ray laughed and said he couldn't arrest me because I was out of his jurisdiction. Woo! And then, years later, still friends, he composed a piano piece for my husband and I and played it in the church as I walked down the aisle to be married.

At one of those same parties my freshman year Joyce introduced me to tequila shots. I learned to lick, shoot, suck with the best of them and thought I was totally hot for being able to do it. A few shots later I looked at Joyce and said "wow. I'm hot. I must have tequila hot." I was so drunk and sweating like a fool in the spring Florida humidity. But it was tequila hot and we still laugh about that to this day. Some day too we'll shoot tequila at this girls' weekend we plan on taking whenever the money tree grows out back. Spa, massages, indulgent food and tequila. J, V - you ready??

That same freshman year (God I sound like a lush) I also learned to shoot vodka. That didn't last long because that stuff is NASTY. But when the Village People did a free concert outside my dorm in one of the fields I got drunk with my friends shooting vodka in my dorm room and then watching weird construction people sing the YMCA. I have never shot vodka since then.

There have only been a handful of occasions that I have gotten really drunk since my freshman year of college. I don't know what happened. I guess I wised up, got serious about school, all that stuff. One of those times was at my sister's wedding. Her friend Dave from high school thought it'd be a riot to get Sharon's little sister drunk from Screwdrivers. DRUNK. So drunk I took the microphone from the DJ because I thought I could do better and I danced around interviewing guests at the wedding and then revealing to everyone that my cousin Erick REALLY, REALLY, REALLY liked the girl he'd brought with him as his guest to the wedding - they'd been dating on a month or so. Oh Molly - I'm so glad you ended up marrying him and are now Alex's God-mother. And I'm sorry I spilled that drink on your beautiful cream colored dress. After the wedding my other cousin Kristin walked me around the horse pastures in my purple bridesmaid dress to try to sober me up before a long car ride. I pet the horses... in high heels and a purple bridesmaid dress. I. pet. the. horses.

Ok last drunk story - I know, we all have drunk stories... um, right?! Several years ago, before hubby and I had kids we drove up to my parents house for the weekend of my Dad's birthday. Sunday morning we were going to brunch at this fancy (EXPENSIVE) place in St. Augustine with our dear family friends to celebrate. Well with nothing to do Saturday night we all decide to play Scrabble. And drink. My parents. Us. Wine. Nearly 4 bottles of White Zin plus an entire bottle of Bailey's Irish Creme. The big one. It was by far the funniest game of Scrabble I've ever played. Towards the end of the 4th bottle of wine my Dad would fill up the four glasses by pulling them all together in a circle and just sort of sloshing the bottle around as it got everywhere. It was hilarious. The best part was my Mom. I guess she hit her wall or the room started to spin or something because very suddenly she declared "I have to go to be now. Right now." And with that she got up and left the kitchen table. 5 minutes later I decided to check on her and she was surprisingly changed in to pajamas, in bed and snoring. She was very hung over the next day. And didn't really enjoy our fancy-shmancy brunch.

Now - well now we keep our fruit and veggies drawer in the fridge stocked with an assortment of whichever beer is on sale that week. You got that? No fruits & veggies, beer. It's usually New Castle, Amberbach or Coronas. We have one or two in the week and maybe one or two on the weekends. We really don't drink much at all. If we are going some place special, like an open-bar wedding or something I'll order a vodka and cranberry juice. And, shamelessly - I really like Arbor Mist cheap-ass wine. It goes down like punch. Yes, I just admitted that too. Zima and Arbor Mist - in the same post. Gah!!

Cheers!!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Because it just figures

OK so since my last post, I have been so busy with work that I have had to ignore my Google Reader, Twitter and Facebook. NO!!! Today was the first day I actually read CNN in three days. Like, that NEVER happens. Even on a vacay I read CNN from my phone.

So here are some highlights of my last few days:

I stayed up until midnight on Sunday working on a work project. I cranked out the rest of it all day Monday, finished at 5:30pm and was so excited to have an evening to myself. But... wait for it... while we are taking a walk to the playground with our kids my distressed body decides that NOW would be a good time to have a freaking migraine. Complete with an aura, nausea, vomiting, shaking chills and sweats I end up in bed at 6:45 and "sleep" until 6:00 Tues morning, also known as today. Still have a lot of migraine pain today, but it's tolerable.

Today my boss calls me at 7:45am and likes the proofs I sent him the night before around midnight. However, he wanted to make just one minor change. A minor change means re-collecting data for 40 different communities, which takes a couple hours, re-doing the charts, a few hours, then re-saving it all out to be print ready, several hours... oh and just rip out half of this one card and re-do it like this... another hour. The babysitter didn't show up until nearly 10:00 either, so I got an uninterrupted late start this morning. And now I'm determined to complete this tonight. I actually don't mind the work at all, that is no problem. It's just getting it done that stresses me out. Why you ask? Because I'm still trying to do this across two computers. My Dell is still dysfunctional and after speaking with someone AGAIN today on the other side of the globe I finally am getting some new hardware to arrive in two days. We'll see if that helps. I hope to God it helps. I'm like starting to twitch.

Bug also decided today to be bored while he was on the potty. Bored to the tune of investigating the poop he was waiting for me to wipe off his butt. Bored to the tune of getting it on his hands and then panicking that "I'd find out" and proceeding to wipe his hands on his shirt, on the toilet, on his legs, on the bathtub next to the toilet and, wait for it, on his face. And that's all I have to say about that.

Bear also wanted to contribute to a stellar day and took half of his afternoon nap on my shoulder. This I can deal with though. It was very sweet. It just derailed the aforementioned tasks I have still to complete.

On our way home from teaching karate tonight I was doling out chocolate rice cakes to the kids in the back seat, because why not?, and Bug was delighted when Bear decided to toss his over to his older brother. And here's how that went:

Bug: "Mommy! Alex tossed me his rice cake!"
Bear: "bababaaa do dah! Baby! IDIDIT!"
Bug: (roots around in the seat and finds it, holds it up with disdain and whines) "Mommy! I don't want this one! It's wet... here you go Alex." (tosses it back, continues to wipe his hands all over the car seat and his pants). "Mommy! That was wet. Alex licked it and then tossed it to me. Ewwwwww.... Give me a dry one Mommy."
Bear: "Aye! Aye! Aye! IDIDIT!" (roots around for the soggy rice cake, finds it, tosses it somewhere I'll find in a month) "Ewwwww!"

Yeah, pretty much.