Monday, May 21, 2007

The Next Chapter

The progress with our move is picking up. With this being my 7th move in 10 years, I’m hoping we will remain settled for quite some time. Moving in itself is not only a stressful period, what with all the organization and packing of boxes, and physical labor, but it’s an emotionally challenging time. With every move, a cornucopia of emotions gets emptied. It seems as each chapter gets completed, another component to the sum of our lives gets added, and I can’t help but reflect on where I’ve been. If any one of you readers knew the kind of financial state my husband and I were in just 4 years ago, you would truly understand the breadth of my words. In 2003, we were living in New Jersey, in an upstairs duplex apartment in a house so riddled with fire code hazards it’s amazing we got out alive. And we lived there with CJ, as a baby. I was working at a retail store making $12/hour, then coming home at nights and running a side business of designing custom invitations and announcements. Dave could not find consistent work anymore as a commercial producer, and was providing no income. We paid $900 a month for rent and drove a 2 door 1993 Chevy Cavalier, that we had to pay $600 a year to insure. We had just declared bankruptcy the year before. So the failure was now etched into public records for all to see. We were just on the heels of having lived at my mother’s condo for 8 months after having to move back home with our tail between our legs carrying a newborn, because of our failed attempt at a business in Los Angeles, where I gave birth to CJ. I was hardly on speaking terms with my mother anymore. Life was very bleak. All I can say is that it’s a good thing kids don’t develop a memory until about the age of 3. And I knew he’d be starting to become aware of his surroundings soon, however I had no idea what we were going to do.

Personal failure is a horrible thing to overcome. At the brink of the possible mental breakdown of both me and my husband, or the possible divorce, we reached out to Dave’s family for assistance. We had tapped out my mother, who, as I mentioned, I was hardly speaking to, and we were both emotionally drained. When Dave’s sister proposed the bright idea of moving to Ohio, it was not exactly a notion I met with enthusiasm. It was yet another move, and I was growing tired of running. I wasn’t quite sure how Ohio was going to answer all of our problems, but it did provide some stability and a cheaper way of life.

After 4 years of building ourselves back, I must boast how proud I am our accomplishments. When we moved here I worked yet again at another $12/hour job, while he worked nights at a $9/hr job. We had a nicer apartment because housing is cheaper, and we had emotional assistance from family members geographically close. Life slowly turned for the better, with raises, better jobs and constant persistence at improvement. And now another baby later, time is moving at the same pace as it always does, but the state in which we were living when we first pulled into town seems like decades ago. And yes, the purchase of the house will present its own set of financial challenges for us since it’s stretching our budget, but we will own a house. For so many years, I feel like I’ve been living outside of a bubble as I watch the rest of the world buy houses, buy cars, go on vacations, and invest in their retirements while I’ve been a static bystander. There’s something that validates your maturity when you do things like get married, have a baby and buy a house. It thrusts you into adulthood.

So why am I bringing all this up? Well, this Friday we close on the house. I haven’t had much time for blogging which is obvious by the fact that I haven’t posted anything in over a week, and will have to bring blogging to a close for a little while as I settle into the next chapter of my life as a homeowner. So the pillow will be on hiatus for a few weeks. Just wanted to make sure nobody thought I got wiped out by a city bus or something like that. I’ll document the move with pictures and share when I return. Take care!

Friday, May 11, 2007

On Motherhood

I know there are a gazillion posts out there now about Mother’s Day, and why each person feels special to be a mom, and how blessed we all are, and blah blah blah. Well, here’s the reality. I was up all night with a feverish, sick child and it’s been like that almost the whole week. Andrew is sick again with a respiratory infection and he’s back on antibiotics. CJ has been getting less and less attention lately because Andrew seems to be on an endless trip of sickness and we’re moving in 2 weeks. TWO WEEKS. And hardly a box has been packed. Not to mention the added responsibilities for me at work.

Andrew’s fever spiked to over 104.5 last night. After already having a dose of Tylenol, we promptly dunked him in a cool bath, which he hated since he was so tired, but it seemed to help and got him cool enough to make him comfortable enough to fall asleep again. But about 5 hours later at approximately 4 am, he was up tossing and turning again, not as hot as before, but hot enough for another dose of Tylenol, and kept tossing and turning until 6 am. Dave took over most of the time during this sleepless interval because I have to have some of my brain functioning at work, but I didn’t sleep well and was up again at 5:30 anyway checking on him. Soon enough it was time to get up and get in the shower to get to work. Another night of interrupted sleep down the drain.

So as I was trying to soothe Andrew back to sleep it the haze of the early morning darkness, I couldn’t help but reflect on the moment. I can’t say I had some great revelation about motherhood at 4 am, but in the stillness and being half awake, I just laid there next to him, holding his hand. And thought of all the other nights I’d been awake with a baby. Whether it was with CJ or with him. And then I thought about my friend’s sister, who is dealing with her 10 year old son, who is fighting Leukemia right now and how she posted this on their website about the nights they had been having lately:

Things have been really rough since our last posting. I can honestly say that since this all began there has been very little "it's not fair" going on in this household, but sometimes it is just too much. It turns out that the abdominal stress he was experiencing in the hospital was , at least in part, due to some kind of lower GI bug that has really knocked him down. I am not sure of the names we were given but it could be a side effect of the antibiotics he is taking or he could have picked it up somewhere else as it is highly contagious we are told. That's great news around here. Its effect has been a vicious sudden onset diarrhea made all the more complicated by the fact Jack struggles to get out of bed as it is and can't walk on his own. Around 1AM last night he attempted to do both and fell as he entered the bathroom spraining his foot a little and banging his knee. You've never heard such a cry-out. That led to a long night of panicky bathroom visits and Beth bore the brunt of it, as usual. Well, it's just not fair. There....I said it. Our good friend and podiatrist, Dr Greg Bordiuk made a housecall and Jack is fine. He likes Dr Bords a lot and I think it gave him some much-needed confidence having him visit and wrap his foot in an Ace Bandage. We have such good friends. So, onward we march during Jack's so-called "vacation" with new meds and the hope this will disappear quickly.

That was written by her husband, who does most of the postings on the site. And I don’t mean to turn this post into a sappy, be-thankful-for-what-you’ve-got kind of post, but I was feeling so worn out and tired this morning, after being defeated once again by Andrew’s wakefulness, that even as I use toothpicks to keep my eyes open today, I can’t help but think that it could be worse. Things could be worse. I know I’ve been blogging a lot lately about sick kids, house hunting, my job and all the shit that comes along with those things, but I’m really happy to be a mom. I think that is what has kept my spirits up. I’m just really happy to be a mom. Life is too short to fret. Andrew is not dying of Leukemia.

So I’m enjoying myself this Mother’s Day, but I don’t think I necessarily “deserve” anything. My kids didn’t ask to be born into the world and so I should really use my time to just enjoy them. I wanted them. That doesn’t make up for the grogginess from sleepless nights, or the endless questions from an inquisitive preschooler, or a beligirent child who won’t eat his peas, but after all that we have to remember that we wanted these kids. And whatever happens to them, we’re here to help them make it in the world.

Have a great Mother’s Day everyone!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Seven Facts and Habits

So I’m really glad my buddy over at Mayberry Mom tagged me for this list of 7 habits or facts about me, because I’ve had total writer’s block this week. Left without anything to write about these days other than houses, sick kids, and job transfers, I will be happy to oblige with a silly and senseless post today. (No offense to those serious meme-ers out there). I’ve had a little blog-apathy lately, so this is a great excuse to steal some time today for a little dose of fun blogging.

Fact: I have had the same breakfast for over 20 years. Growing up in the best bagel region in the country, New Jersey, was purely the reason for my breakfast addiction: a sesame bagel with butter (and cream cheese if I want to spice it up a little, but I really prefer whipped cream cheese).

Habit: I bite my fingernails. Down to the quick. I can’t stand having nails on my fingertips, although I really like neatly pedicured toenails. I think I’ve had my fingernails painted maybe once in my life.

Fact: I’m addicted to HGTV. And I’m not sure if the addiction will go away once we’re all moved into the new house or not. When I was pregnant both times, I was addicted to every pregnancy show on Discovery Health network and TLC. As soon as I gave birth, those shows held absolutely no interest for me.

Habit: I’m a perfectionist. I really like my hair to be perfectly coifed, and I’m a maniac about spelling. It must be correct. There’s nothing that irritates me more than seeing a misspelled word in a business document. To me, it’s totally unacceptable. I know - I need to lighten up.

Fact: I hate to shop for clothes. Unless I have an unlimited budget, and in that case, I will buy whatever I think looks good. Since that doesn’t exist in my world, I’m always forced to decide between which piece of clothing I can buy because I can’t afford both, or which one goes with the rest of my wardrobe, etc. To me, those decisions make me anxious.

Habit: I don’t touch elevator buttons with my fingers. And I try to avoid touching doorknobs as well, by using my sleeve. I was in a McDonald’s once, a mother placed her child’s food directly on the table. I was with a couple of other people and mentioned how I was completely appalled and grossed out that someone would do that, they looked at me and asked, “What are you some kind of germophobe or something?” Well, so maybe I am a little uncomfortable with germs, but I think feeding your child food from a public table is not only unsanitary but dangerous.

Fact: I don’t cook. And I mean AT ALL. In fact, I don’t grocery shop either. I have no idea what a loaf of bread costs. If I were a contestant on The Price is Right, I would totally lose. All I can say is that it’s a good thing I married a husband who not only likes to cook, but is good at it, too, because if it were left up to me to feed the family we would be eating mac & cheese out a box everyday, because I wouldn’t know how to cook anything else and I wouldn’t want to go to grocery store.

Well, there you have it. If you feel like playing, I now officially tag Kathy, Allison, Christina, Laura, Heather, LA Daddy and CTD.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A Little Bit of This and A Little Bit of That

A Little Bit of This
Some time ago, I joined an awesome web site called,
Indie Bloggers. Lately, I’ve been a little remiss with submitted posts, because, well, I’ve hardly had time to keep up with my own damn blog. Which, I’m sure is obvious to my loyal readers. However, I submitted my post that I wrote about my house hunting adventures a long time ago, and thought it just got lost in submission hell. Well, lo and behold, it’s up on the site today! Ah, it’s nice to be syndicated.

So go check it out, it’s a great site. Lots of awesome writers are part of the group.

A Little Bit of That
Ever question religion? The power of prayer? Well, Friday, when Andrew was at his regular (not the urologist) checkup with his pediatrician, the Dr was concerned that he was not standing up and cruising the furniture yet. As were we, which was a topic we planned to discuss at the visit. Well, he ordered a hip X-ray, and recommended we enroll him in physical therapy with Columbus Children’s Hospital. So those of you who have been reading my blog regularly, and know all the ups and downs we’ve been living through with Andrew lately, you’re saying, “Wha? What else can go wrong with this little kid?” So Friday was not a good day for me. Because in addition to learning about all the deficiencies with my youngest son, I get a call from the speech therapist at my older son’s future school where he is enrolled in Kindergarten. They held an “evaluation” that Dave took him to last Thursday, and discovered he has articulation problems, is socially introverted, and has trouble with motor skills such as cutting and writing. My first response was that if his preschool teachers could hear anybody put the words “CJ” and “socially introverted” in the same sentence, they would surely think they were crazy. So we chalked that up to kindergarten jitters. The articulation problems came as no surprise, and we expected him to most likely visit a speech therapist in the fall, because he does stutter occasionally and has a lisp. And last but not least, the motor skills? Well, I’ve seen him hold a pair of scissors and he cuts just fine, and he writes his name and other words with ease. CJ has been in a very good preschool for the past 2 years, and I have no doubt he will excel in kindergarten, even before we address his speech problems. I appreciate the attentiveness on the part of the teachers at the school, but these days all this scrutiny seems a little like the professional way to “cover-your-ass”. But alas, the prayers from grandma seemed to work. At least someone is going to Church in this family. She was so upset about the possible physical problems with Andrew, she began to pray immediately for him. So for a kid who was just getting a hip X-ray on Saturday at noon, who then decides to start pulling himself up and standing a mere 6 hours later, the timing is a little suspicious. And I kid you not. Since mid-day Saturday he is already an old pro at pulling himself up and stands all the time now. Obviously the hip X-ray came back with no abnormalities, and perhaps it’s divine intervention. Personally, I think the trauma of the hip X-ray scared him into walking. He must have known that we mean business now, and that it’s time to make his debut. I was so excited!

A Little Bit of This
We are closing on the house on May 25th. I’m so freakin' excited I can hardly stand myself. We are literally tripping over ourselves and toys in the place we live in now, and in another strange coincidence, the place we rent now is starting to fall apart just in time. The hot water heater is leaking, when you turn on the outdoor faucet it leaks into the basement, the wood around the French doors leading to the backyard is literally rotting and falling off in pieces, and the holes in the screens are getting so big you can put your fist through them, hence the big wasp we discovered in the kids room one morning. I know it sounds like I live in the ghetto, but I really don’t, it’s just a 2 bedroom townhouse that has seen better days and we are busting at the seams. Personally, all I want at this point is my $500 security deposit back. So I plan to make it so clean you could eat off the floor. I would be surprised if our landlord screws us, because he’s a pretty nice guy, but after renting various dwellings over the past 15 years since college, nothing would surprise me. So it’s all about packing and cleaning in our household these days, while teaching a 15 month old to walk, while trying to entertain a 5 year old. It’s fun, fun, fun. Wanna come over?

A Little Bit of That

And finally, my transition here at work is in full swing. I’m transferring into the marketing group and it should be a much better fit for me and for my skills. What’s funny is that 4 years ago, when we had just moved to Columbus and I was beating down doors to find a job, I couldn’t get arrested in a marketing firm, and so I had to settle on the only job I could find that was nowhere near a match for my skills. Now that an exciting opportunity such as this has landed in my lap, it’s a little unbelievable. Lesson to the kids: perseverance and making friends with the right executives will get you far in life. The weight of providing for the family rests clearly on my shoulders, and I’m treading into uncertain waters, so it would be insincere of me to admit that I am not scared of something new, especially at a time when I just bought a house. And by the quotes I’m receiving for home insurance, I’m getting poorer and poorer by the minute…