Thursday, February 25, 2016

TBT to 1991: The Parent Fight

Get ready, kids. This Throwback to Hell is way harsher, way darker, way longer, and way more real than our previous historical journeys.

...Except not really more real. Because from where in the world did I cull such a detailed drama about parents getting divorced? Not from my own household, that's for sure.

Check out this convoluted tale of a family in anguish, as documented in my 1991 novella, The Parent Fight. Please note it was published by a renowned local agency - my elementary school's "book publishing center" - when I was a 10-year-old fifth grader.

The Parent Fight
By Cathy Gorga, May 1991

     "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy!"
     Tony and Drew (my two little brothers) were fighting. Tony was chasing Drew around the house, and obviously Drew did not enjoy it. Drew and Tony are four and six. (Tony's older.) Dawn, my sister, is eight.
     I'm Melody Austin, and I'm ten. I'm the oldest in my family. Personally, I think it's really okay. You get more advantages. But you do get blamed for most everything.
     I've noticed my parents fighting a lot. I really don't like it. It makes me real nervous. I hear them fighting at nighttime mostly. Hopefully they will get over it.
     "Help! Melly! Melly! Help me!" Drew was still shrieking.
     "Hold it!" I said. "Tony, stop that! Drew hates it. Why are you chasing Drew anyway?"
     "He started it!" Tony exclaimed.
     "By doing what?" I asked.
     "Hitting me," Tony replied. "Besides, it's none of your beeswax."
     I sighed. "Drew, go tell Mom."
     "Okay. Thanks, Me-"
     Drew was cut off by the sound of...
     "Pam, where did you put my keys?"
     "Derek, I'm telling you I didn't touch them!"
     "Pam, I know you have them somewhere..."
     "Derek I didn't take them! Don't you trust me?"
     "Not anymore."
     My parents were fighting again. Dad stomped into the room.
     "Daddy?" Drew said in a small voice.
     "Yes, Drew?" Dad stopped stomping for a minute.
     "Daddy, I know where your keys are." Drew reached into his pocket.
     "Oh," Dad said sheepishly as Drew handed him the keys. Then he walked off into the kitchen. Whoa, I thought.
     That night I laid in my bed listening to Mom and Dad fight.
     "Derek, I can't believe that you can't trust me!"
     "Listen, I trust you. It was all a simple, little old mistake."
     "You said so yourself - you don't trust me! It's not a simple little old mistake. Drew took your keys but you blamed me! Why?"
     "Pam, listen, I'm sorry but -"
     "Nothing! But nothing!"
     I heard some mumbles. This went on for quite awhile. Finally I heard something.
     "We're going to have to work things out, Pamela."
     "How, know-it-all?"
     "Well, there's only one way..."
     "Pamela Austin, I think that...that a divorce is the only way."
     A divorce? I gasped.
     I didn't know for sure about Mom and Dad getting a divorce until five days after they said so. I was dying of suspense. Were my parents going to be - divorced?
     After I got home from school on Wednesday I walked in the kitchen and saw Tony Drew and Dawn already there. Mom and Dad were also there.
     "Honey," Mom said, "we need to talk to you."
     Dad took a deep breath and said, "Well, kids, you know your Mom and I have been fighting a lot lately."
     "No, really?" I thought sarcastically.
     "So we've decided to do something about it," Mom said.
     "Kids, we - we're getting a divorce." Dad looked at us.
     "Now I'll be like Rachel," Dawn wailed. (Rachel Corn is her best friend.)
     Drew asked, "What's a divorce?"
     "It's when two married people decide they can't live with each other anymore, so they decide not to be married anymore," Mom explained. Drew started crying. Tony just stood there looking bewildered.
     "How could you?" I cried. "How on earth could you? You promised me that you wouldn't get a divorce and now what are you doing? Getting a divorce! You lied to me! You lied!" I ran off crying tears of anger and tears of sadness.
     I woke up the next morning and a question came to mind. Who was I going to live with? I asked Mom that question at breakfast.
     "Well," she replied. "Dad and I decided Drew and Tony were too little to make choices on their own, so they will live with Dad. It's up to you and Dawn to make choices for yourselves."
     Wow, I thought. This will be one of the hardest decisions that I will probably ever have to make. It took me days and days to make my final decision. Dad was moving to Kentucky. Mom was staying here in Florida. Dawn and I sat in my room talking.
    "I want to stay here, I guess. I mean, I know Mom better than Dad. I have more friends here. I like the beach but I still love Dad and I might like Kentucky. Oh, this is so hard," Dawn said.
     "I know," I replied. "I feel the same way. I love Dad, I might love Kentucky, you know..." I sighed. "I just hope I make the right decision."
     "Oh, no!" Dawn suddenly cried.
     "What? What?" I shrieked.
     "I just thought of something else. We have to decide about - well, it's either you go with Mom or you with Dad. And Drew and Tony, remember?"
     "Oh, my gosh! I totally forgot! Oh, great."
     "Well," Dawn said, "Mom said we'd be visiting whichever parent we didn't live with for three months each year. So, really, we'll still live with each of them."
     "I guess you're right," I said.
     "Well, I'm going with Mom," Dawn said.
     "Yeah...okay," I said. "Um, Dawn?"
     "I've got some homework," I lied. "I better do it now, alone."
     "Oh, sorry. Well, talk to me later," Dawn said. "Or else."
     I smiled. "All right," I replied.
     As soon as Dawn left I closed the door. I had to think. I soon found my answer. I would be staying with...Mrs. Pamela Austin. I made my decision by taking Tony's t-ball hat, putting two slips of paper saying Mom and Dad in the hat, jiggling the hat, closing my eyes and picking the slip that said "Mom" on it, so that's who I would live with.
     Three weeks after I made up my mind, Dad, Drew and Tony moved to Kentucky. As soon as they left in Dad's Cadillac, I ran into my room and burst into tears.
     Mom knocked on my door a couple minutes later. "Honey? Melody? Can I talk to you?" she asked.
     "Go away," I grumbled.
     "Mel, I need to talk to you."
     "Leave me alone!"
     "Melody, I -"
     "Mom, go away! Now!"
     "Okay," Mom sighed, but she left me alone.
     "Dumb person," I mumbled.
     I sighed. Hot tears kept stinging my eyes. I wanted to cry. I wanted Mom and Dad to live together, along with Drew, Tony, and Dawn. This was not fair.
     Not one of my friends could relate to me, either. They all had two married parents. I started crying again. Mom and Dad were being unfair to me. But really, they were doing the right thing. And I knew it.
     At school the next day, I asked Miss Rodment, my teacher, if I could stay in for recess.
     "Sure," she said. "Read Larson has a tiny cold, so her mother asked if she could stay in, too. Hey, Melody, is anything wrong?"
     "My - my parents got...got...a...divorce." By the time I had said "divorce" I was almost whispering.
     "Oh, Mel, I'm sorry," Miss Rodment said.
     "It's okay," I told her. "It really is."
     "Okay. But I'm still sorry."
     I grinned. I found my hour and 15 minutes of recess quite helpful. I:
     1. Cleaned out my desk.
     2. Clean out my area.
     3. Finished all of my homework.
     After I was done with that, I cleaned out three bookcases. While Read and I worked, we talked.
     "I'm glad my parents aren't divorced," Read commented. "It would be really hard on Lewis and me." (Read's four year old brother is Lewis.)
     "Yeah," I agreed. "My Dad just moved to Kentucky yesterday. Drew and Tony went with him."
     "Boy," Read said after awhile. "My parents wouldn't ever do a thing like that. Or at least, they probably won't ever do a thing like that."
     "You'll be lucky if they don't," I told her.

     After months and months of having my parents divorced, I began to get used to it. And after months and months of switching from Florida to Kentucky, I finally got used to that. But the only thing I never got used to was holidays. They felt so...well, empty. But I suppose I'll get used to everything after awhile. But no matter what, I always will remember the good things that happened when Drew, Dawn, Tony, Mom, Dad, and I were one family, living together in one happy house.


I can only imagine what the poor mother who typed up this story was thinking.  The publishing center was a pretty awesome concept - students wrote their stories and chose a fabric for the cover, and parent volunteers would type them up and create an actual book. Even the kindergartners could participate. My mom was legendarily active at our elementary school, including at the publishing center, and I'm sure the other volunteers knew who she was...and wondered if Mrs. Pamela Austin (gotta love how I utilized that full name, and repeatedly) was perhaps based on a true story.

Trust me, she wasn't. My parents rarely fought, and when they did, they didn't throw out lines like, "Pam, I know you have them somewhere!" I'm guessing this story grew out of my inadvertently-romanticized view of divorce, which I garnered thanks to a slew of YA authors in the '70s and '80s who did their best to spin it in a positive light. Judy Blume, Paula Danziger, Ann M. Martin - I spent my days and nights with my nose buried in their books, where I learned that, when your parents got divorced, you got to decorate two bedrooms, celebrate two Christmases, and potentially even be separated from your most annoying siblings (score!). But I had no personal experience with divorce...just made shit up for the publishing center. You know, though - my little sister pulled a similar stunt and published a story called The Drunk Boyfriend that is both entirely fabricated and PURE GOLD (please let me post it here!!), so maybe the publishing center volunteers were used to seeing some weird shit.

^^ Probably WANTED her parents to get divorced, just to be cool like
the kids in her favorite books. And maybe so she could get her own room.

Can we also examine my name choices? I know I wasn't the only one with a running list (from elementary school through...okay, currently) of my favorite names. I'd use them for my stories, but also whenever my sisters or friends and I played pretend. Melody Austin was one of my perennial top picks, likely because I had an absolute crush on Melody from the Nickelodeon TV show "Hey Dude". If I remember correctly, my little sister and I always argued over who got to be Melody when we played. My other names are pretty solid (ahem, solidly homogenous), including the surnames - with the notable exception of Rachel Corn, Melody's sister's friend. Also not sure where I came up with the name Read Larson, but can I just say that she is...kind of a bitch? "I'm glad my parents aren't divorced....My parents wouldn't ever do a thing like that." Newsflash to Read Larson: When your recess buddy is struggling because her folks just split up, don't throw your happy family in her face, okay? God. Bitch.

So, in conclusion, if you're ever stuck on a major decision, such as which divorced parent to live with, just throw your choices into your brother's t-ball hat. You, too, might get the opportunity to live with Mrs. Pamela Austin for nine months out of the year, and then with Derek for another three months, in the weirdest custody agreement and sibling configuration my 10-year-old brain could conjure.

Oh, and? If you need to suggest divorce to your partner, the coolest way is to say it just like Derek did: "Mrs. Pamela Austin, I think that...that a divorce is the only way." BAM.

Good Throwback Thursday to you, and don't forget to check out the rest of this series if you need to feel better about yourself for a little while.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

lol, remember when this blog was all about our kitchen?

Once upon a time, we remodeled our kitchen. And I diligently documented the process here (like, 25 posts' worth of documentation) for the entire nine months it took us, right up until...I got knocked up. Just like that, all my blog posts shifted to BABY BABY BABY, and I never actually got around to showing our "after" shots.

So, you know. Here it is these days.

Just because I know all of your lives have been on hold while you waited for this big reveal, I decided I'm bringing the Bitchin' Kitchen back, for a limited time only! (It's fine if you have to take a minute to reign in your excitement. I understand.) Just a few final posts to show our before and after pics, to dish about our remodel hits (*~*~hex tile backsplash~*~*) and misses (screw you, garbage cabinet), and to share my kitchen organization ideas.

For those of you who never saw the kitchen posts, here's the basic story. When we moved into this house in June of 2009, the entire place was in need of some...um, let's say aesthetic updates. The previous owner, a sweet 92-year-old woman who moved in when the neighborhood was built in the '60s, had stopped decorating somewhere in the '80s...possibly earlier. We had floral wallpaper, salmon-pink bathroom fixtures, and green shag carpeting. Little by little, J.J. and I (mostly me, since redecorating is not J.J.'s cup of post-workday tea) chipped away at each room, which we were mostly able to afford to do thanks to President Obama's First-Time Homebuyer Credit. In case you don't remember, anyone purchasing their first home around 2008-09 (and who met some other qualifications that I don't totally recall) was gifted 8,000 shiny government dollars, ostensibly to put back into the house. {Thanks, Obama!} We spent a huge chunk on new windows, since ours, being original to the house, (1) didn't lock, and (2) kept randomly falling out of their frames. The rest went towards paint, light fixtures, some plumbing and electrical issues, and I don't even remember what else.

Eventually, we reached the point where the only room we really hadn't addressed was the kitchen. And...it needed to be addressed.

Circa June 2009 - move-in day.
Everything worked, technically, but there was almost no storage (no pantry at all), the appliances were on their last legs, and aesthetically, it just wasn't us. We had painted the walls blue and tried adding some furniture, but I just kept thinking the room had so much more potential. For example, it'd be great if we could open the dishwasher without it getting stuck on the oven door handle.

So we scrimped and saved for a long time and finally bit the bullet: We purchased some new appliances and started demoing left and right. When all was said and done, we (with the occasional help from family members and a few professionals):

  • Replaced the refrigerator, range, range hood, microwave, and toaster (everything but the dishwasher)
  • Reconfigured the cabinets/shelving to add accessibility and more storage (including adding three new cabinets, hidden trash and recycling, an Ikea dresser, and a fridge surround)
  • Built and installed a pantry
  • Added decorative moulding to the cabinet doors, painted all the cabinets white, and replaced all the hinges, knobs, and pulls
  • Swapped out two ceiling lights and the light over the sink
  • Had a new quartz countertop, new sink, and new faucet installed
  • Had a new backsplash installed
  • Laid new vinyl tiles over the old flooring
  • Added a console table and frame wall by the garage entry

Ugh, I get tired just thinking about all the work that went into this kitchen. Thankfully, more than three years after we finished it, I still look around almost daily and think, "I am so glad we did this."

For befores & afters, I'll go clockwise around the room...

...Starting with the fridge and range wall. I didn't really get a good "before" shot of this area, but here's our original range, range hood, and sexy copper backsplash. For the remodel, we relocated the range way over to the left to accommodate a new bank of cabinets where the oven had been.

That curved range hood = one of my fave things in the new kitchen.

Moving to the right a bit...

Demo in progress...
...and final result.

And here's the dishwasher/sink area, plus our long island of cabinets:

Another in-progress shot...
...and another happy after.
Ahh, much better.

Moving along the open wall - look closely, and you'll see that there used to be an iron gate between the support pole and the far wall. Also, our desktop lived in the kitchen until I turned our guest room closet into an office. Now that big blank wall houses the pantry and Rowan's little table, where she eats and does projects every day.

After scooting the range and refrigerator over, we still had some blank wall space to contend with. I originally wanted this to be a work station with a desk, but the right desk eluded us (those bitches are hard to find!). So I ended up going with a console table and frame wall. Oh, and I added two baskets underneath the table. One stores Rowan's shoes, boots, and winter gear (or towels and swimsuits in the summer), and the other stores grown-up shoes.

And some final wider shots of the kitchen, before (check out that checkered flooring and boob light in this progress shot!)...

and after:

I'm serious when I say I think about how much I love this kitchen almost daily. It's so much brighter, has so much more storage, and doesn't have any dead landline wires poking out of the wall by the sink (always a bonus). As for whether we'd make all the same decisions if we were to do it all over again? That's another post for another day, but for the most part, absolutely. Um...as long as someone else was in charge of the manual labor. :)

Monday, February 22, 2016

anxiety dreams come true.

I had a dream on Sunday morning that I was going blind. My view grew darker and narrower by the minute, and I was crying and fumbling around and shouting, "My fucking contacts! I KNEW they'd do this to me!" When I floated back into consciousness, terror gripped me for a moment before I snapped my eyes open and, to my relief, saw the blue walls of my bedroom, hazy in the dim morning light.


Then it turned out I had - in actual waking life - some sinus issues or an ear infection all day Sunday, and my right ear was rendered almost completely deaf. My balance was off, I bumped into doorways, and everyday noises like running water and laughter were piercing to my functioning ear. Still, I kept thinking all day long that I'm pretty sure I'd choose going deaf over going blind.


And anxiety over depression.


I'm guessing that's what the blindness dream was - an anxiety dream. A new storyline to add to my usual motifs: teeth falling out, fingers slipping as I try to dial 911, can't find the building for my final exam because I accidentally skipped every class session for the semester. My anxiety baseline has shifted so dramatically - positively - since becoming a stay-at-home mom that I sort of forgot how sneakily consuming it is. Even if I'm not willing to admit to it or acknowledge it during the day, it seeps out of me at night.

And it's not much of a shock that the dream came halfway through my weekend. When we rang in 2016, I had one job: full-time stay-at-home mom. Now, less than two months later, I'm juggling a bunch of random stuff: morning baby-sitting play groups, a few guest blog posts, my Etsy shop, some early childhood consulting appointments, and working as the new Kids Columnist for a local community journal. Oh, and, you know, still being a full-time stay-at-home mom (though thankfully with reliable and unbelievably amazing child care, courtesy of Grandma). I'm thrilled with each and every one of these, but each and every one is also a brand-new venture for me, complete with kinks and fine-tuning and recalibrating. I mean, it's been a long time since I had to deal with technical difficulties affecting my work performance. And these days I don't actually have on-site IT...or off-site IT, for that matter.

Really good at pretend-cleaning. Troubleshooting an HTML mishap, not so much.

So, exciting and mind-boggling as it all is, I basically rolled my (operational) eyes at myself when I realized that the typical stress of starting a few new jobs had tipped over into anxiety. The great thing, though, was that it felt like the only way out was through. I couldn't just snivel on the couch into a box of Cheez-its; I had to book the meetings and transcribe the interviews and schedule the photography and hammer out the game plan and create, create, create. 

(I mean, I did access my long-standing coping mechanism of hoovering sugar while pounding out over 5,000 words this weekend, but you know. Whatever.)

Mostly, I was able to remind myself that there's a learning curve with new jobs, and also a learning curve with returning to work. Especially when it's a work format you've never attempted before - part-time working from home with a wacky toddler scampering around, wanting to wear nothing but a tutu. We compromised on clothing + wings for today's library trip.

Would share a tushie-and-tutu pic here if I weren't scared of sanctimommy backlash.


There's always more anxiety around the bend. Thursday is my follow-up appointment with nephrology. Friday is my final interview for my first column, which is due just a couple days later, which doesn't leave me much time to actually write it. And I'm harboring a fair amount of bitterness over the anxiety regularly yanking me out of the moment.

Master of Being Here Now.

And have I mentioned that Rowan's latest obsession (besides naked ballet)? She crams a baby doll into her shirt, cradles it gently, and even births it. Oh, boy. Today she wore her surrogate belly (and wings) to the FedEx store, and she told every passerby that she had a baby in her belly. At home, she zooms her Daniel Tiger trolley back and forth across the table and pretends that Daniel Tiger's mom is bringing the baby home for everyone to meet. In her crib, she sings herself to sleep with Daniel Tiger lyrics like we really love our baby and I want to play with my sister all day. She pats my stomach lovingly while we read books and asks, "Is there a baby in there for me?" Then she quickly answers herself: "Not yet!" It's all pretty adorable and endearing, but geez, kid, back off a little, eh? I'm still guiltily ambivalent about having another baby, and I just started all these new gigs, and Rowan only sleeps through the night like 70% of the time, and STOP PRESSURING ME ALREADY, CHILD.

That said, I'll take nine more of you, please.


Netflix and dinner for now. Side note, we had a free trial (plus an accidental bonus week) of Blue Apron deliveries, and not only were they freakin' stellar, but we've been re-making a few of our favorites, thanks to the detailed recipe cards. So I'm off to tuck into my warm grain salad with orange, avocado, and gorgonzola. Hell yes. Oh, and to add airborne Benadryl to our HVAC system so Rowan will start falling asleep before 9:00 at night.

Sleep tight.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

here's a list of things I hate. for love day.

I'm not sure why I'm stuck in a sneaky hate spiral today, especially considering it's Valentine's Day. I assure you, the fact that it's Valentine's Day isn't the problem. It was wonderful opening little thoughtful gifts with my sweet family this morning (a stuffed BB-8 for Rowan, a framed watercolor painting of Rowan for J.J., and sugar for me), and we went to a lovely brunch with my dad, siblings, nieces, and nephews.

But then we went back home.

And while I rocked Rowan (in what was ultimately a fruitless attempt to get her to sleep), all the hateful thoughts came crashing down on me.

So here. Here's a list of things I hate right now, even though it's a totally assholey privileged list of bullshit, which makes me also meta-hate the list itself.

:: I hate that it's cold as balls outside. I don't care that it was 60 degrees on Christmas Eve and that it'll be 50 degrees again by the end of the week; I just hate the cold and want it to be summer.

:: Or I want to go on a tropical vacation, and I hate that I can't. I hate that I can't even take my family somewhere for the weekend. I hate that Rowan's never spent the night away from this house, and I hate that the only times I have (since Rowan was born) were to take care of my mom overnight.

:: I hate that Rowan didn't nap today, especially since she's been staying awake until 9:00 every night lately. I hate that we may be approaching the end of the nap era.

:: I hate that we don't have more preschool options. It's weird - I get warm fuzzy feelings whenever we visit her preschool for the fall, and it's seriously a dreamy place, but I wish it were more than two and a half hours, twice a week. You know how much I can get done in that time? Pretty much nothing. Who knows, maybe I would choose the same school even if I could pick anywhere, but I just wish we had more options.

:: I hate that just the other day my cup was runnething over all over the damn place, and today I hate everything.

:: I hate that, when I tried to fix my printer, I broke it entirely. That's bullshit, printer!

:: I hate that I have emails and bills piling up like mad and zero will to manage them.

:: I hate that I never did little Valentine's Day projects with Rowan like I meant to, and I hate that I still haven't written thank-you cards for her Christmas presents. At least our Christmas tree Martin Luther King, Jr. tree is finally down. 

:: I hate that I feel like a great mom but a terrible wife lately. 

:: I hate opening up my closet and hating all my clothes.

:: I even hate that Walking Dead is back on tonight, because I bet they're gonna kill Glenn, and that's not acceptable.

:: I hate that my house is so gross right now. Not messy (well, messy by my anal standards, but not actually messy), but dirty. I just haven't had time to clean. Someone needs to pick up, to wash all the linens, to shake out the rug, to sweep and wash the floors, and to dust. I hate dusting.

:: I hate when I'm jealous. Which I am. Which I hate.

:: I hate that my contacts are being finicky jerks.

So there! Totally assholey privileged list of bullshit. Haaaate!

At least I have these two for comic relief. Rowan loves to have us read Go The F**k To Sleep, by Adam Mansbach, which somehow made its way into her piles of books. Obviously, we have to clean up the language when we read it to her, which cracks us up every time...which, in turn, cracks Rowan up. She calls it "the funny book." Here's part of this morning's rendition, as you may have seen on Instagram:

All right. I love them a lot.

...But I still feel hatey.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

night life.

Tonight was:

:: Figuring out dinner for Rowan after walking in the door at 5:20 p.m. with a girl who was famished after a fun afternoon at Grandma's.

:: Finishing three Etsy orders while J.J. handled post-dinner play time and bath time for Rowan.
They did yoga. She wore a raincoat and socks. ONLY a raincoat and socks.

:: Rushing upstairs to gather laundry before J.J. handed off Rowie to me for hair brushing and stories.

:: Reaching to wipe a smear of toothpaste off my sleeve and noticing watercolor stains on my wrist.

:: Lingering for an extra cuddle with my sweet-smelling girl before heading back downstairs.

:: Hearing about J.J.'s work day over the sounds of us making dinner and Rowan singing to herself in her crib.

:: Deciding between working on a guest blog post that I'm anxious to finish and transcribing my interview from the other night (chose the blog post).

:: Getting intermittent text updates from a friend in labor with her baby girl (!!!).

:: Remembering to update my blog's Facebook page with yesterday's blog post, but forgetting to actually write today's blog post (and remembering that I never wrote my next Scary Mommy post, which would've been perfect for Valentine's Day...).

:: Fielding three more incoming Etsy requests and putting finishing touches on two current orders.

Pic from yesterday, technically, but the counter looks like this all day, erry day.

:: Trying to remember when I last changed my left-eye contact, because it's supposed to last for two weeks, but I'm pretty sure it's blurry after only a few days, which is maddening.

:: Doing research for another interview I'm conducting on Saturday and checking to see if my third interview subject has been cleared by my supervisor yet...nope, not yet.

:: Noticing around 8:45 that Rowan is quiet? I think? Possibly?

:: Watching an actual YouTube video to figure out how to assemble valentines for Rowan's valentine party with friends tomorrow. AN ACTUAL YOUTUBE VIDEO. FOR VALENTINES. And here I thought I took the easy way out by buying the $2 Kroger valentines.

Nope, Rowan did not help with these even a teeny tiny bit.

:: Folding laundry, and laundry, and more laundry.

:: Organizing our tax documents and wondering how our tax return will play out this year, since it'll be the first year since...I don't know, 1998?...that I've had zero income.

:: Digging out a box of old work materials to prep for some upcoming early childhood consulting ventures.

:: Not exercising or cleaning...oops. As if there was time for that. Plus, I ate zero Cheez-its tonight (only Combos), so I basically exercised.

:: Wondering how it all came to this - all of a sudden realizing that I'm still a surprisingly-at-home mom, but that I'm pretty steadily transitioning to a work-from-home mom.


I had to order new checks last week. The online coupon I found only worked on the checks with fancy designs, so, naturally, I got Wonder Woman checks. And while I still had to employ deep breathing exercises when I balanced my Wonder Woman checkbook yesterday, I didn't have actual heart palpitations. Hooray!

We're not there yet. But we're working our way towards more stability. Which means, yeah, I'm up until midnight most nights and have significantly less down time - but stability, man. It's the dream.

One night at a time.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

in the name of love.

Sooooo. This is really, truly awkward.

But here's the reality.

You know how annoying NPR pledge drives are? I KNOW. Really annoying. There they go again, making horribly valid points about why you should consider donating.

I'm not NPR. Not even a teeny-tiny bit.


I'm here creating content that you (hopefully) enjoy. At the very least, you're consuming it, right? And I love creating it and sharing it. Most of all, I'd love to continue creating and sharing. So...

...With that in mind, and following the example of trusted mentors, I've set up a PayPal account to help support this blog. You can access it via the PayPal button on my sidebar (over there to the right!), or via the button at the end of this post.

If you've found your time here worthwhile, I hope you'll consider funneling some funds to keep this blog fueled (by Cheez-its, okay? This is all for the Cheez-its). You can give nothing (obviously!), you can toss five bucks my way (hooray!), and you can even set up a monthly donation, much like a magazine subscription.

Thank you, and thanks for stopping by regardless, and good night, and that's all, and /end awkwardness [as if].

Thursday, February 4, 2016

TBT to 1993: "The Queen of Not-Fair-Ness."

Is there anything more emo than the summer before you turn thirteen? You're stuck at home all the time with your annoying siblings, your friends are all off at cool sleepaway camps (or, perhaps, Orchestra Camp), and there's no school to break up the monotony of suburban tween angst. It sucks.

...That's the only disclaimer I have in defense of the following journal entry, which documents the horrors of being twelve, including NO ONE understanding me, no one UNDERSTANDING me, and no one understanding ME.

Just in case the writing isn't humiliating enough, here's a picture
of me in my bathing suit, taken a few weeks after the diary entry was
written...tan lines and all. Whoever made the middle-school swimmers and
divers (I was a diver) take a yearbook picture in their bathing suits was evil.

August 7, 1993
     My only wish in the entire world is for someone - anyone - to understand me, which happens to be one of the dumbest wishes in the world because I know and everyone else knows that no one will ever, ever understand me. And the thing is, I'M NOT HARD TO UNDERSTAND. It's just that I have no one to talk to that will be ready to listen. Even pouring out my feelings in this journal doesn't help much because the journal doesn't know anything to do to make me feel better, even though I've heard that writing down your feelings is great for the mind and it helps your self-confidence (which I happen to be a little low on lately). None of my friends (except Sarah) are home. They're all at camp or on vacation. (That's true. They are.)
     I suppose I'm grounded now because I just slugged Steve for being a little brat. He deserved it, though, and that's what nobody seems to understand. I guess, though, that that's partly my fault, because I can't explain why I hit him. It's been building inside of me for a long time, my hate for him. Finally now it's out of me (my hate for him is out of me, I mean), and look at all the good it did for me.
     No one understands how hard it is for me to be stuck in the middle of things. Half the time, I'm one of "the little kids," and the other half of the time I'm old enough to earn money and it's, "Cathy, gimme money. I need money and I'm too helpless to go to the bank and oh don't worry I'll pay you back."
     It's just not fair!!
     Life's not fair, Cathy.
     Dammit, I know life's not fair. Who should know better than me, the Queen of Not-Fair-ness.
     Because I hit Steve, the hard-earned money used to pay for the Nintendo Game we got is going to waste because Mom said no.
     NOT FAIR.

Well. That escalated quickly. I don't recall harboring such hatred for my younger brother, but there you have it. Sorry, Steve, that you were the recipient of my hormonal rage bubbling over. I also don't recall being my siblings' personal financier, and I'm not exactly sure what's up with me talking to myself towards the end of the entry ("Life's not fair, Cathy"). I think I really did wish that someone would stumble on my journal and just totally GET me and provide all the answers for me. I don't know who that someone was; probably an imaginary boyfriend.

And now look at me, with a husband who understands me all too well and enjoys nothing more than watching his wife and his daughter (the...Princess of Not-Fair-ness?) get into the ultimate Battles of Gorga-tude against one another. Can't wait to see what works of melodramatic art Rowan's tween years produce! After all, I've heard that writing down your feelings is great for the mind.

Yikes. Good night, and good Throwback Thursday to you.

(Find more Throwbacks to Hell here!)

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