Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Fried, Brain-Dead, Karma, or Just Plain Stupid?

Ok, here's the background, multiple choice quiz at the end of the post....

4am- edited/uploaded photos after I folded two loads of laundry (but did not match the socks, I hate matching socks. I would rather continue buying new socks instead of washing and matching socks,) answered a few work emails, cleaned a stinky hamster cage, and made Cinnamon Crumb Cake for my 10YO in response to a guilt trip he sold me.... did I really let him bully me into making a stupid crumb cake????

6:10 AM- shit, over-slept! No time for a real breakfast, (thank goodness I made the stupid crumb cake) make-up, shower, or ok let's be real here - clean underwear!

7:25 AM- Ughhh, 10 YO missed his bus. Drove 8 min out of my way to primary house and back again.

7:41 AM- Back home, forgot muck boots for 6YO field trip today.

7:50 AM- Stopped at the market for 6YO's 'picnic lunch' that I also forgot for field trip.

8:00 AM- Arrived at 6YO's school, barely slowed down enough to push 6YO out the door with his stupid muck boots, picnic lunch, and booster seat for field trip.

8:40 AM - 2:15 PM- At work, finished up as many reports and publication deadlines as I could.

2:15 PM - 2:30PM- Still at office, received time sensitive email- required response. Should have left 10 minutes ago.

2:50PM- Arrived at 6YO's school- Threatened, begged, and bribed him to leave sand box and get into car of his own free will.

3:05 PM- Wrestled 6YO away from playground and into automobile.

3:12 PM- Picked up 10YO from bus stop.

3:15 PM- 5:05 PM- Arrived home. Helped 10YO with homework. Fixed snack for both pains in the ass, I mean boys. Threw 10 YO baseball uniform in washer for game in two hours. Changed clothes, emptied dishwasher, folded laundry. Reviewed and sent a few emails. Searched for 10YO's baseball hat. Paid cable bill, checked for support payment, and ordered prescription refills online. Received email from ex-mother in law, shook my head in disbelief- she's gotta be crazy- wrote a couple of sarcastic comments saying so and forwarded email to boyfriend for a laugh. Packed up baseball equipment, water, and laptop -maybe I can edit some photos at game.

5:05 PM- Left for baseball game.

5:15 PM- Back home -10 YO forgot his cup- can't play without it.

5:25 PM- 8:45 PM- Arrived at baseball field. Watched and shot last years' undefeated league champs get slaughtered.... again. Hit fast food for dinner.

9:00 PM- At home, bathed and pajama-ed both pains in the ass- gosh I did it again, I mean boys..... Traced my foot, 10YO's foot, 6YO's foot, and Ginger-the hamster's foot for 6YO's homework. Folded laundry, reviewed 10YO's assignment book, and packed snacks for tomorrow. Put pains in the- I mean boys- to bed.

10:15 PM- Sat down. Turned on computer. checked email.

10:16 PM- Opened email from ex-mother in law. Read her response to the sarcastic comments that I sent to her when I hit "reply" instead of "forward."

10:17 PM- Present- Trying to figure out 'why me?'


What is my problem?
A) Was my head fried from trying to multi-task on 2 hours of sleep?
B) Am I brain dead?
C) Is Karma biting me in the ass for even intending to get a laugh at my M-I-L's expense?
D) Was I a natural blonde in a past life? -no offense blonde ladies, I'm just jealous but trying to hide behind demeaning sterotypes!

Scores will be posted after I have my foot sand blasted from my mouth.

***And for the record, I was kidding about the clean underwear thing! I have dozens of VS of 5 for $25 panties. As much as I despise matching socks, I hate running out of clean undies and having to resort to grannie pants even more!!!***

Thursday, April 23, 2009

An oldie but goodie

Before sharing this conversation that took place between my boys, you need some background info.....

My boyfriend lives in NYC. We do not...... we live in RURAL Massachusetts, 45 minutes away from a Target, Petco, and even a mall. Our town which is really a village- has a 'market' (small carryout,) a post office, and a ski store. The closest 'big' town (which we refer to just as Town - as in "Come on, we have to go into Town" - yes people still talk that way!) is ten minutes away and they have two fast food joints - Dunkin Donuts and McDonald's. They have one supermarket, two locally owned hardware stores, and one locally owned toy-store - and because of this we pay at least 40% more than all of you sane people who choose not to live down the road from a 'Ted Kaczynski' wanna-be, but now I'm just getting sidetracked.....

Okay, to put it in perspective, Norman Rockwell's home and the town he based his paintings on is two towns over, and they don't have a supermarket, only a tiny 'General Store.'

I overheard this conversation a while back but thought about it today while feeling a little homesick for home (suburb in Cincy) and it made me smile....again! So anyway, we were driving through 'Town' one night after returning from a weekend in the city. Half way down Main St I hear:

In a quiet and inquisitive voice, almost a whisper...
"Awlex, this is kind of like the city, wright?"

"NO LUKE," very matter of fact like it was the most ridiculous question ever "this is more like Radiator Springs....."

Yep.... this is our home now, this is our Radiator Springs.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

6 Year 'Wisdom'

While driving in the car this morning....

6YO- Mom, you need to start packing me more food for my lunch and snack.

Me- Why?

6YO- Because when I'm really hungry I eat a lot of my lunch during snack time and then I eat at lunch and there's not a lot left.

Me- But you don't eat everything I pack for you.

6YO- Sometimes I do if I like everything you send. How about I pack my own lunch?

Me- How about this, how about I pack more food in your lunch box but I will put a fruit or vegetable in your snack bag with your regular snack, and if you eat just two bites of the healthy stuff, then you can have the rest..... and I will pack more snacks and a bigger lunch for you.

6YO- Okay, never mind.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Now Is Greater Than The Whole Of The Past???

This is really hard for me to put out, for just anyone to possibly see.... but I will do it anyway in hopes that someone stumbles upon it and relates....

I was looking through my old photo discs. Dozens and dozens of client shoots trying to pick out my favorites for an ad or website or something…. And of course there were old family photos mixed in on the discs. And of course after about an hour of seeing shots of my babies when they were babies and we were a real family, I started thinking. And of course, I ended up in tears despite desperately wanting NOT to cry like a twelve year old.... About a year into my 'escape,' a friend was flipping through old photo albums. As he came to the older ones, he flipped the pages slower, he studied each one. He was quiet for a bit, but was curious, you could tell. Curious about the man he had heard such awful things about. Obviously deep in thought, he remained silent as he turned each page until coming to the end. In a very matter of fact manner says “wow, you're good, you even made AD look like a good dad.” So today, looking through the hundreds of photos, I thought back to that comment. Part of me wants to say “yeah, I have an eye for touching moments; so good that I made him look better than he was.” But then there is the part of me that thinks maybe he was okay – to the boys. When he was sober, not hung-over, and present- he was a decent father. Maybe even a -gasp- good one?
So, which one is it? Are my compositions that good, or was he a loving father? Am I just bitter and not wanting to give him his due credit? If I say he was a good father then does that mean I made a mistake by leaving him? Of course that then leads me to wonder “could I have made it work?”
We had it all, we really did. He had a great job, money was never a worry (not until the last year anyway, when his gambling, drinking and drug habits picked up.) He had a nice home that I kept immaculate – garage and basement excluded. But most of all, he had two beautiful and healthy boys and a wife that could not have been any more committed or loyal. He came home (granted not until 10pm, sometimes 6am the next morning, or….ok sometimes not at all but he always was sure to point out that he did indeed come home) to a clean house, happy healthy children, a supportive wife, and every piece of his life in order. He didn’t have to lift a finger and it was obvious he didn’t want to…. I made sure all the bills were paid, the cars were maintained, the maintenance on the house was covered, his traffic violations were addressed, everyone had clean clothes to wear, the boys were nurtured and cared for, school applications were completed, doctor appointments weren’t missed and on and on…… everything was held together for him. All he had to do was go to work and show up to play with his kids. However I did request he stay clean, or at the very least, not to drink and drive..... Was his life at home really so bad that he had to consume mass amounts of alcohol and drugs just to spice things up, just to tolerate?
I can’t help but wonder “where did I fail him? What did I do wrong? Why wasn’t it enough? Why did he have to find solace in her (ok hers- plural) what did she (they) have that I didn’t?” I remember right after I found out about his ‘other’ life and he failed his first drug test we had an argument about trust. I still hadn’t decided if I was ‘in’ or not, if I could ever trust him again, or if I even wanted to…. He was trying to win me back so to speak, and he looked at me and blurted out “I was just thinking the other day driving to work, how boring my life is.” Almost immediately he regretted letting those words out of his mouth, the look on his face, startled and confused, almost surprised he had just spoken them.......Any explanation he tried to muster after that fell on deaf ears. That, that one sentence- hurt me more than any physical harm he could or would eventually inflict upon me through the coming years. And I would have to say that overall, it was his words that were most painful and left me with the deepest, most significant scars. His statement was an honest one. He exposed a vulnerable side of himself, opened up, and told me how he truly felt …. And it hurt. It hurt like hell. Of course there were plenty of devastating words spoken after that, but that one statement sticks with me. It wasn’t the most hurtful thing he ever said to me by any means, but I believe it was one of the most pure and honest feelings he ever expressed….. at least to me. After the secret of the abuse was out, and the questions of “why don’t you just leave?’ started, I remember confidently explaining that I would outlast him. Yes, he could inflict physical harm, but I would heal. The bruises would fade and the cuts would scab over. But I - I - was going to show him that no matter what, I was going to be there. No matter what he dished out, I would stand by him; I was the rock he could lean on. I would outlast this fucking addiction and the sleazy coke whores. I was his safe haven - I was his family- I was his wife and I always would be. No one else – just me. I would be his one sure thing. The one person he could be himself with –good-bad- and super fucking ugly…. We would get through anything and we would be stronger for it. I knew the man he could be and I wanted to be the one with him when he grew into his potential. I saw the goodness he buried deep inside of him. I saw through his façade, I recognized his weaknesses, I felt his insecurities and I loved him anyway. I knew he was worthy of being loved the way I loved him, and I believed with everything inside of me that someday he would realize it too…. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not seeing him in the photos that upset me. It was seeing what he represented. It was being privy to the amount of effort, commitment and loyalty invested that would never be sufficient. It was remembering that we were a family, the four of us. We had it all, we were together and that was what should have mattered- that’s what was important to me, but not important enough to him I guess. Being a family, that is what I miss, that is the loss I mourn- not AD the person. I miss having someone to gush over the perfect little devils - I mean creations – we made together. I don’t miss AD or the drama he reveled in, especially the drama; I feel the absence of being in a traditional family. I miss seeing my boys with the only other person in this world who will ever have any chance at all of feeling a connection as strong as the one I have with them.

I tried so hard to outlast him. I tried so fucking hard to save our family, I really did. I put in the time as well as my whole heart - going to therapy and a priest- to try to improve myself. After all, I believed if I bettered myself, if I made a change for the better – he was bound to follow. That’s what all the relationship self help books said, even Dr. Phil said it. But that back fired on me. The more forgiving I became, the more mistakes he seemed to make. The more understanding I tried to be, the more extreme and irrational behaviors he indulged in. The more supportive I was, the more distance he created between us. The more of my faults I pointed out, the more he blamed me. The more I gave, the more he took - because he could. Had I finally proven to him that I wasn’t going anywhere?

I will never forget the last time he hit me. Usually I fought back. Usually I smarted off, threatened to leave. But not that time. “This time,” I thought as he grabbed me and threw me down, “this time I am going to show him nothing but love.” And that is exactly what I did. I tried to see him as he was - a scared, desperate, and tortured soul. I quietly begged him to stop as he pressed his knees into my chest. I cried as he slammed my head against the bathroom floor. I said as loudly as I could, “It’s okay Adam, it’s okay, I love you,” coming out instead in a raspy whisper, being all I could muster as I gasped for breath underneath the weight of his body on my stomach and the pressure of his knees on my chest. I tried to cover my face using my hands or arms or elbows… but he squeezed my wrists and pushed them towards the floor. “Please stop, “ I cried softly. The more I tried to raise my arms or turn my head in an attempt to escape inevitable blows, the more he used his elbows to contain me. That’s how I ended up with the fat lip, a mouth full of blood, bruised and swollen cheeks, and the infamous black eye- all from his fucking elbows.

That night on the bathroom floor was different. I didn’t resist and displayed nothing but love and reassurance. That time was different and I knew it. I knew after it was over and he descended to the kitchen to fetch me a couple of ice packs, that unless he got help – serious help- it was over, it had to be. I knew that night I had reached my limit – he had gone too far, taken it to a whole new level – he had left marks on my face. There’s no going back after you reach that point. You can predict someone’s future behavior by examining their past actions. He had reached the point of no return? More importantly how would the pattern of escalation proceed now? Would he put me in the hospital, kill me, or even worse – turn on the boys? I knew him; I knew that once he crossed a line, he would only take it farther the next time, there was no going back- he would and could not retreat, that would mean failure –or worse still- that he was wrong.

But I knew that you don’t just stop patterns of abuse, you have to acknowledge it and figure out why you turn to violence/drugs to deal in the first place. There was never any acknowledgement of a problem on his side. And of course Adam, he had figured it all out on his own. After a week, he claimed to know his problem and how to stop it. He had sold himself on the idea that he was in total control; I on the other hand, was not buying it- not anymore anyway.

I wonder if he knew how easy it could have been. If he just would have said ‘yes’ when I calmly asked him to get help. I wonder if he knew the future of our marriage –our family- was balanced so delicately on his answer. I wonder what else I could have done, what it was that he needed from me – from his life - that I had not provided to him. I don’t regret leaving – not in any way. I may question if it was the best decision for the boys – however I don’t regret the decision. I felt as sure about leaving as I had felt about staying all those months as everyone begged me to leave. Just as I don’t regret leaving – I don’t regret staying as long as I did either. Sure, looking back I feel foolish and gullible and naïve and stupid and….. But I don’t regret my decisions.

I do however, wonder what it would have taken and how close – or far away – we actually were to saving our family….. I also wonder if he ever wonders these same things.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Conflict of Interests

Yeah, I know you see a hard boiled egg. I see a baby chick that never came to be, slimy -coagulated like- amniotic fluid, and of course, cholesterol.....

My kid sees opportunity when I cringe as he puts the coagulated amniotic fluid in his mouth.

"fut, me?" he says through a mouth full of easter egg, "Fi'm fust eating fhe egg."

But he is going to take full advantage of making me gag while he eats his egg....

Wow, my kid has class.
I will point out that these are the genes from my ex's side of the family.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Kindergarten Gangsta

I had to laugh when I pulled this out of 6YO's backpack....

He got kicked out of gym class. That's quite an accomplishment, being kicked out by the teacher that only has to put up with him three times a week for an hour.

At least he made it this far into the year before a letter came home.
Maybe we have been spending too much time at the skate park and those pierced and baggy pant wearing punks are rubbing off on him!

Those wings did have blood spatter on them after all. I mean really - what did you expect?


6YO got his wings!

A little blood spatter, but hey- beggers can't be choosers!
I hope it's not his last set ;-)


Last night 10YR and I were talking. He is in therapy and had an appointment yesterday. He asked if he could talk to me about it and here is part of the conversation:

10YO: We wrote out some of my worries and put them in the Worry Doll.

Me: Hmmm, only some?

10YO: Yeah, but I only have four big worries.

Me: Like your brother will play your DS games or I will embarrass you in front of your friends?

10YO: No Mom, those are stupid things. Those things don't matter. My worries are big ones.

Me: Well we can talk about it when you want.

10YO: You already know them, I've told you before. The ones I put in the worry doll today were that Dad will get drunk and hurt me or Luke. And that Dad will get drunk and hurt you.

Me: Really, you still worry about that?

10YO: Next week I am going to put in that I am afraid Dad will hurt Margo (new girlfriend) and that Dad will go back to jail.

The conversation went on, but his four worries were the eye opening and surprising part for me. I would think that after moving 9 hours away from my ex three years ago combined with the passage of time those worries would have subsided. And I am kind of surprised that the last two worries are still a concern for him after all of this time.

I can't figure out if it will always be a fear for him because he saw some of the abuse and lived through the absences caused by his fathers' incarceration or if during visits with his father he still sees the old frightening qualities. Is it the memories causing the concern or his fathers' present actions? Does he see that his father hasn't changed or is he just haunted by the past?

I can't figure it out. And the worst part is that I can't even promise him that I won't let his father hurt him. I can assure him that as long as he is with me, he will not get hurt- but I can not promise him that he and his brother will be safe no matter what. That is the most difficult part of the whole thing, I can not ensure him that his father will never hurt him or his brother. I can not promise him that he will always be safe.

Not being able to promise my children safety has got to be the worst feeling of helplessness I have - or could - ever feel.

Monday, April 6, 2009


Last Friday morning I went to pack the boys lunches. I had everything - fruit, yogurt, oreo crisps, cinnamon bread, cheese sticks, and ham..... but no bread. Of course - I had just been to the store but forgotten the wheat bread. Ughh... the boys had seriously considered all of their lunch box options the night before, carefully picked out snacks -they love choosing what to fill their boxes with. There was always the cinnamon bread, but with ham? I was tempted, but I just couldn't do it, they were going to have to buy their lunches. They were reluctant but had no choice and I felt guilty for a whole ten minutes because we didn't have bread in the house....

So fast forward to this morning. We had been in the city all weekend and took the 8:16pm train last night which got us to our car at 10:06pm (not that the exact time means anything) and then home by 11pm. Usually the boys sleep part of the trip, but not last night . So needless to say, the boys were tired this morning! I woke 10YO, got him to the bus stop and waited until the bus was slowing down and broke the bad news- we were still out of bread he was going to have to buy his lunch again. He was disappointed, but took the news alright.

I went back inside to try to wake 6YO, no luck. I got him dressed while he was still asleep, it's easier that way- less of a struggle. I carried him from his bed to bathroom, pried open his mouth to brush (for real, I brush his teeth while he is sleeping. If you use just a dab of paste and don't wet it, there is only minimal foam and not too much gets ingested) and we made our way to the car where he dozed in and out of sleep. I woke him after the 90 second ride to school and he was woozey- maybe from the toothpaste I force fed him- but he woke up enough to walk. I gave him a hug, told him he had a snack but had to 'order' lunch. (It's called ordering- not buying at his school, they order from the local coffee shop across the street and if you even start to say "buy" and "lunch" in the same sentence he will hostilely correct you ) He shuffled off in the cold misty rain. I jumped in the car and drove to work feeling a little guilty that my kid was sleep walking into kindergarten....

Fast forward 6 hours.... I collected 6YO and while we walked to the car he looked up at me and here is the conversation that followed:

6 YO- "Mom did you say I had to order today or did I see that in my sleep (dream)?"

Me- "Yes, I packed you a snack, but not your lunchbox because we are still out of bread."

6YO - "NO- we had bread, there was lunch for me. Why did you tell me I had to order?"

Me- "No Luke that cinnamon bread was just your snack, I didn't have any bread for the ham. We will go to the market to get some bread, I'm sorry. So you still ordered right? You had more than cinnamon bread for lunch right? "

6YO- "No Mom, it's ok! You did make me a ham sandwich, it was in my back pack, it just fell out of my snack bag!"

Hmmmm, ok, what happened here? I pondered this question during the 90 second ride to 10YO's bus stop. Did someone bring him lunch and put it in his backpack? Unlikely!
If it was a ham sandwich from home, how long had it been in there? I never put lunches in his snack bag, it wouldn't have been there in the first place. The last ham sandwich I made was on Thursday, so it is at least that old? But was his back pack in the truck all weekend? Maybe it was cold enough in the truck not to spoil. How long before meat spoils? How will I know if the ham was bad and will he blow chunks everywhere? Why do I even feed my kids ham, I'm a vegetarian?

As we waited for 10YO, I nonchalantly began my questions. I asked him why he didn't order lunch anyway since I told him to. He didn't need to, he said in a confused but certain tone, he had a sandwich in his back pack- duh. I asked him if he ate it. Yes he did, he was hungry he didn't have breakfast, he was too tired, he said. I asked if it tasted ok. Instead of answering me, he looked at me and asked "why?"

Oh crap, he was asking questions. I had to terminate the conversation or there was the chance he might catch on and realize he ate a four day old ham sandwich....... 10 YO got off the bus and the conversation was safely diverted.

My kid ate a four day old (at least) ham sandwich for lunch today, one that I left in his backpack since last Thursday.

I am ashamed, I am utterly ashamed (and slightly worried he still might blow chunks!)