Bloggling Twenty-Three, MIA Version

I have been MIA, for this I am sorry.  I don’t know that I have any really good reason for being missing, but I just haven’t come here.  Or to any of your blogs either, which I am even more sorry.

It started out simply enough, in that I was trying to make sure to spend time off of my phone and my computer when I was home with my husband and Mea.  I did a great job of staying off my computer, I had to dust it off, and update a million things before I could even sign on to start this post, I still feel like I am on my phone too much, but it is a work in process.

I really discovered that the majority of my  blogging time was done when I was at work.  Whether it was reading blogs, or writing my blog posts, I did much of it while I was at work.  Which does not really make for a very productive employee.  Regardless, I do miss this place, I do miss your places, and I miss my friends in my computer.

So I am going to try to find a happy balance between everything so that I can get caught up, and still stay in touch with all of you.

 

On to the bloggling…

  • We drove to Ohio to visit Mack and her boyfriend.  It was a great visit, and could have only been made better, if I could have spent a few more days with them.  It was one hell of a car ride, thirteen hours in the car is too much to do in one day.
  • My Mom is doing very well.  Her doctors are very impressed with her health, and she continues to amaze everyone.  Last round of labs, and CT scan came back great, and the tumor on her chest wall may actually be getting smaller.  Her hip is healed, she is off the walker, and only uses a cane when she remembers to use it.
  • Mea has been doing great in school with one exception.  She has a new friend that is causing some issues in the class room.  I had already had some concerns, as we have had a few phone problems, where this girl has called our house well after Mea has gone to bed, or even once at 11:50 at night on the weekend.
  • On more than a few of these phone call interactions I have had with this girl, I have told her not to call our house after 7:30, and I tell her that she needs to get her homework done and get to bed on time too.
  • I have also heard from Mea that she has been absent from school because her parents didn’t want to get up, or they overslept, or the parents didn’t feel good.
  • After much discussion, my husband and I decided to switch her to the school that is our actual school for our neighborhood.
  • There are a couple of reasons, first the school she is attending is considered an “at-risk” school.  Which means that the school has not done well in standardized testing, and the students are not learning at the same rate as the other schools.  I have not been concerned with Mea’s education.  We work with he at home, she likes to learn, and has been at the top of her class for both reading and math.
  • She was only going to this school because it was the only school that our old sitter could take/pick up from, so now that she is no longer watching Mea, it seems stupid to have her go to this school that I really don’t like anyway.
  • She will be attending a grade school where all of the kids in the school will end up in the same middle school.  I worried with her going to the old school that she would have fewer friends going into middle school, and although I know she can make friends, it is easier if you know more people when you get there.
  • Does make me wonder if she will do even better in a new learning environment.
  • We were lucky enough to find a new daycare provider, and we are all extremely excited about it.  Mea is going to go to daycare with her baby nephew, at her sister’s best friend’s house.  She is my youngest stepdaughter’s best friend, and she is wonderful.  Mea can’t wait.  Quite frankly, neither can I.
  • I really don’t like my job.  I am over-qualified for it, my manager is a bit of a spoiled brat, and can’t manage her way out of anything.  I have been able to get her to set me up with some job shadows so I can have an idea as to where I want to transfer to when my year with them is up.  July 8, cannot come soon enough.

I think that is it for now, I am going to really try to get back here.  I have missed it, and I have missed all of you.

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Metro

The day that our social worker called us and told us that Mea would be coming home to us, I dropped by Mack’s old sitter Lois’ house to see if she would take Mea in her daycare once she was home. 

At that time, Lois had quit taking babies.  Two to three years old was the youngest she would take them. 

She said she couldn’t promise anything but she would try it.  She was concerned, she kind of didn’t think it would work with a “little” baby and the rest of her big kids.  She said that if it didn’t work out she would let me know, and give me time to find someone else to watch her.

After the first week, they were two peas in a pod.  Lois loved Mea, and Mea loved Lolo.  It was an instant bond.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have much time saved up to take when she came home, and my Aunt was sick, so I had lots of “being away for work” guilt, so Mea started with Lois the second week she was home.

Lolo and her husband have been like a second set of grandparents to both of my kids.  First Mack, and now Mea, they are forever bonded to this couple. 

On November 20, Lois pulled me aside and said that she needed the week of Thanksgiving off.  She told me that her husband had cancer, but they didn’t know where or how bad yet.  The week of Thanksgiving was when they were doing the majority of the testing.  The evening before Thanksgiving, I had a call from one of the other mother’s to tell me that Lois was done. Her husband was pretty bad, and she couldn’t do daycare anymore starting immediately.

I was a little hurt that she didn’t call me herself.  (This is a post for a different day.  We have visited and called since and it is yet another heartbreaking story to go down for 2013.)

In addition to her being Mea’s babysitter, she is my friend.  I have cried all over her and her husband so many times over the years it is ridiculous.  I gave them a little space, knowing just how much they were going through at that time, I just left them be for a few days.

Then the search was on.

No one can replace a Lolo, but I was determined to try.

Mea was adamant from the beginning that she did not want to go to Metrokids, the school’s before and after care program.  I didn’t know why at the time she didn’t want to go, but she was so upset whenever I even mentioned it, I was going to try hard to find somewhere else.

I called all the centers all around us, and none of them had an opening for Mea’s school.  It is a big school.  One of the largest elementary schools in our city.  Not one of them had room on their bus for before and after, or after school only.

I posted a few things on Facebook, looking for opinions or suggestions of friends.

I looked online.

We found a website for state approved daycare providers within our area, and called a few that were close.  I set up appointments to go over to these homes, and interview the babysitters.

At the first house, it was clean.  The girl seemed nice enough, a little young, but nice.  Then she told me that she forgot that her own child had early out from school that day.  She goes to a private Catholic school, that only does early outs every now and then instead of every week like Mea’s school. 

But, you guys, she FORGOT HER OWN CHILD!!!!

While we were there someone from her child’s school brought her daughter home and another daycare child!

WTF.

As I am talking to her she tells me that she picks up from another school that gets out at the same time as Mea, but what she will do is pick up from the other school first, and Mea could cross the street with the crossing guard and wait on a street opposite from the school until she gets there.  It should only take her ten minutes.

ONLY TEN MINUTES????!!!  My kid is not standing in the cold, on a street corner, away from her school while she waits for you to get there.

Next.

The next house.  This house was across the street from the school.  It looked okay from the street.

It looked less okay up close and personal.

It was awful.  Mea goes tearing off playing with the kids.  The babysitter asks me if I want to see the rest of the house, I agreed only because I don’t know if I knew what to say.  It was filthy.  If you knew someone was going to be coming to your house, wouldn’t you run the vacuum?  Wipe down the counters in your kitchen? 

But then again, from the looks of things, this probably was “clean” to them.  She asked me if I wanted to sit down in the living room and I declined because the couch was so filthy I was afraid to sit on it.  There were no legs on the couch or love seat.  There were visible stains on both couches, that were almost “crunchy” looking. 

Of course, Mea saw nothing wrong with this place.  At all.  She was so mad when I said that she was absolutely not going to go to either of these places.  After the last one, I quit calling any in-home daycare providers.

We basically had no choice.  It had been two weeks, I needed someplace for her to go.  I told her that she had to go to Metrokids at the school, and if she hated it, I would do my best to find somewhere else.

The night before the first day, we had read some of her latest chapter book and were snuggling in bed.  She says in her whining tiny little voice that she does not want to go to Metro.  I asked her what was bothering her so bad about it.

She said, “Metro is in the cafeteria, and during lunch we have to sit and be quiet and not talk, or they turn the lights out.  I don’t want to sit in the dark from after school until you get there Momma.”

Oh, my heart. 

“Mea, just because Metro is in the cafeteria doesn’t mean that it is just like when you are in the cafeteria for lunch.  At Metro they play games, they play with some toys and do crafts.  They play outside when it is nice enough outside, and it’s supposed to be fun.”

She was still terribly nervous.  I promised her we would go early and I would stay with her for a little while so that she could meet some friends.  The lady who met us at the door was a little gruff, but nice enough, the other ladies inside were sweet and talked to Mea about some things.  She saw a friend playing “restaurant” with some other little girls, so I took her over to say hello.  They immediately asked her if she wanted to be a “worker or a customer” and brought her into their game.  I stood back for a little while and watched. 

I walked over to her after a few minutes and asked if it was okay for me to leave. She nodded her head and kissed me goodbye.

When I picked her up after I got off from work, she asked me why I came to get her so early.


Done.

I am turning into not a very nice person.  The last year, has had an unfortunate effect of making me a bitter, crabby, bitchy person.  This is probably not really all that true, but I just don’t know how much more I can take.

Mea has said to me, too many times to count, that I am always making a frowny face.  Which is not good for my overall mood, not to mention that I am going to end up with permanent frown lines, and need Botox or something.

Let’s do a recap of 2013 so far…

My Mom diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.

Fired from job of 10 years.

Unemployment for four and a half months.

More than one friend or friend’s spouse diagnosed with cancer.

One job offer, at a significant cut in pay.

Big daughter moves to Ohio.

House is broken into.

Small daughter’s babysitter quits with no notice right before Thanksgiving.

Big daughter calls crying as her work will not let her have any time off for Christmas, and she cannot come home.

This last one is just the icing on the cake.

Mack can’t afford to just quit her job, it took her 2 months to even find this crappy job she doesn’t really like, she had talked about just quitting and coming home, but this just isn’t really a reasonable thing to do.  My Mom is just devastated.  My heart hurts, I cried at work this morning.  Blubbered all over one of my co-workers. 

I cannot even begin to tell you what this is going to do to Mea.  She is going to be crushed.  She has said multiple times that she only wants Mack home for Christmas.  Now, she’s not fooling me completely, she still wants a guitar (she’s getting that) a computer (not so much) a I-Pod Touch (nope) and a Nerf bow and arrow (yes!), but I cannot provide the one thing that she has asked for over and over again.  It is at the top of each Christmas list.  I have even heard her whispering it to Sparkle Heart….

“I want my MackamooSissy home for Christmas….”

This breaks my heart, not just for Mea, but for me too.  I miss Mack like crazy.  I have been good, I haven’t complained about her not being here, I was sad when she wasn’t here for Thanksgiving, and I had to suck it up a few times.  I can only begin to imagine what Christmas without her is going to be like. 

Every year, for as long as she has been alive, and old enough to actually “help” Nana decorate their house for Christmas, she has been the main “elf” doing all of the decorating.  She told my Mom before she left for Ohio, that she understood that decorating couldn’t wait, but to please save the nativity for her to put out. 

My Mom made the nativity scene with her ceramics ladies.  Sanded, painted, and fired each piece herself.  The nativity has always been Mack’s last duty in the decorating.  Mom was saving it for her.

My Mom sent me a text that she can’t put it out.  She had my Dad put the box back in storage.

 We are going to pull everything together, get it wrapped so that I can get it shipped out in time for Mack and her boyfriend to have gifts to open.  Some of her stuff isn’t here yet, so I guess she may end up getting some of her presents in installments.  She has been making many of her gifts for the kids and grown-ups, so they are not all finished either.  I told her I would help her with the shipping when she was ready and able.

We have been planning on going out to visit over Spring Break, and to be honest, March 14th cannot come soon enough for me.  I need to see my girl.  I need to be able to touch her and give her a hug.  Skype is wonderful, but it’s not exactly the same thing as giving your big girl a snuggle.

I am over this year. 

It has been awful, and I just don’t know how much more I can take.

I’m tired of whining.

I’m tired of not being my normal snarky, somewhat happy self.

 

 


Gotcha Party

Like most parents, I try to limit the amount of TV that Mea watches.  I also try to make sure that she is watching TV shows or movies that are, for the most part, age appropriate.

In our perpetual search for appropriate TV that everyone can stand to watch, we often end up watching Nick or Disney.  We were huge iCarly fans, so when the show ended last year we were all a little sad, and had to try to find a new show that we would all like to watch again.

We have been enjoying Good Luck Charlie, and lately Jessie, on the Disney channel.

Jessie has opened up many conversations about adoption with Mea.  Jessie is a show about a nanny from Texas, a wealthy couple in a New York penthouse, and their four children.  One biological child, and three adopted children, one domestic, and two international.  A little too Pitt/Jolie for my taste, but it is still good to see adoption portrayed in a positive way on TV.

On a recent episode that we watched the youngest daughter wanted to plan a huge Gotcha Day celebration.

We always do something special to celebrate the day Mea came home.  (I really don’t care for the “gotcha day” phrase, just seems weird and wrong in my mind, so we have always just said it was the day she came home or her home anniversary, something along those lines.)

Last night I was laying down with her watching a different episode of Jessie, and she asked if we could have a party to celebrate the day she came home.  She wanted to invite all of our family, and have a BBQ, with cake.

She asked about the day she came home again, and I told her the story again about how her foster mother June brought her to us, that when she arrived it was just Mack and I home, and that Daddy joined us later after baseball.  How she cried a little, and then ate lunch, her favorite, spaghetti.  We went outside and played for a bit, and then she took a nap snuggling in my arms.

We usually talk about that first week.  How she met her Nana and Papa (in the hospital) when I took her to meet her babysitter, that we had her pictures taken, we celebrated Mack’s fifteenth birthday, all the things that I can remember from those first days home.

There have been times when we have seen adoption portrayed on TV or a movie and it has not been something Mea could relate to.  Now we are not rich, we do not live in a penthouse in New York, but the youngest character in the show is about Mea’s age, and black.  She seems to see some similarities between herself and Zuri.

I think this is all a good thing.  It keeps us talking.  It keeps the adoption conversation going.  It actually is a cute show.

In the mean time, I am going to try to pull together a family BBQ on the 22nd.


Three Days In

I am three days into the new job.

So far, I think it is going to be okay.  I am liking the people on the team, and not only have been learning new things about the job that I am going to be doing, once I am actually trained to do it, but I have actually been able to share some of my own knowledge with other members on our team.

There are a few things that are going to take a little getting used to.

The weirds…

I have never worked in an actual “office” type setting before.  I have always worked in some sort of retail establishment.  Bricks and mortar is what we always said.  For the last ten years I have had an office with a door.  I now have a cubical.  I have an ID card that I have to scan to get in everywhere I have to go.

I have one key to my desk vs. having a janitor’s ring with keys to all the things on it.

Waiting for elevators is weird.  Elevator etiquette is strange.

The hours of 9 to 6 might kill me.  I wake up at five every single day.  I have for years.  My internal clock just says it’s time to be up.

Six doesn’t seem late, but it is.  We haven’t had dinner before seven once this week.  I am going to have to bust out the crock-pot, especially once school starts.

The last six years, I have had my own bathroom.  Women’s restrooms are gross even in an office type setting.  Flush the GD toilet, at least make sure that the toilet did actually flush.  Throw your used paper towels in the trash can.  If you miss, pick up after yourself.

It’s weird not being the boss.

It’s weird being new.

I have forgotten that I can be a major introvert when I don’t know what I am doing, or when I am around new people.

I hate not knowing ALL. THE. THINGS.  (It will come, I know.  I am just not overly patient.)

My ass hurts from sitting all day.

My chair sucks.  (I will say something about this eventually, because I think it will break my back. And butt.)

I miss my random computer time, blogging, and my friends who live in my phone.

I do miss my Mea Mea something terrible, she has been horribly sad and clingy before and after work.  She cried yesterday when I took her to daycare.

The positives…

I missed working downtown.

I missed the many block walk to and from the parking lot.  You can get yourself focused for the day, and prepared for the days events.  It’s also a good time to clear your head after a long day.  (I did remind myself this morning about how I need to watch my step, and that walking can be hazardous to my own health.  The last time that I worked downtown, I fell at least four times, just walking to and from the parking lot.  Grace, thy name is Kelly.)

It’s kind of nice to not be the boss.

I am seeing people I know, at the new job and from my old job.  I am talking to grown-ups.  This is nice.

I am missing the people watching that comes from being where the people are.

I think this job will challenge me for a while, and give me many opportunities once I get to the point where I may need a change of pace.  It is fast paced, and seems like there is always something to do.

 

I think this is about it for now.  I am happy to be working, but I miss all of my friends who live in my computer.

 


Dueling Mothers

I hope that all of my Momma friends had wonderful Mother’s Days, full of all the things that you like to do.

We had a really nice day.

Mea had a friend sleepover, and we had our youngest grandson overnight as well. They were both picked up by 9:30, and we headed over to my sister’s house for brunch shortly after.

I had printed the letter on nice paper and left it in my parent’s car as we were walking into my sister’s.  I didn’t want her to turn into a puddle in front of everyone, and I know I would have been bawling too.  My sister and I pooled together and bought my Mom a rosebush, and a gift certificate to a favorite restaurant my parents go to when they go out-of-town.  Their 41st anniversary was on Monday, and they are headed out-of-town for a few days this afternoon after my Mom’s chemo treatment.  (This is the weekly chemo, not the big one.  Less side effects on this small treatment.)

They are excited to get away for a few days.

Mack, Mea and I spent a good portion of the afternoon together, playing, and shopping.  It was a really nice day.

I had really nice messages from the big girls as well.

The past few days there has been some major drama going on with my youngest step-daughter and the baby’s father.  To break it down simply, he borrowed her car, and messed it up.  It is going to be costly to fix, and he is not working.  I wish that these girls would learn from each other when dealing with their baby daddy drama, but I suppose it is something that they each have to learn for themselves.

Yesterday, the baby had a doctor’s appointment for his six month check-up.  Little chunky man is doing well, despite the fact that he has a major cold going on.

While I was waiting for Mea at gymnastics last night, I sent her a text message asking how is appointment went, and if there was any news on what is going on with her car.

Her Mom has been working on getting the car fixed with some mechanic she and her boyfriend usually use.  At some point she was talking to E, and her phone cut out so she couldn’t hear her mother, and her mom got pissed off thinking she wasn’t listening and hung up on her, then wouldn’t take her phone calls.

This makes me completely crazy.

These are our adult children.  They are not teenagers, they are not children.  Now sometimes they may act like it, but still.  Then again, we all know how mature their mother can act.

We texted back and forth for the majority of the hour during Mea’s gymnastics class.  She talked to me a bit about the drama going on with her baby’s dad, the issue with his mother (another grandma) doing daycare, and him holding daycare over her head if they get into arguments.

I talked her through it a bit, gave her my opinion, and offered to take the baby anytime she needed me to while I am not working.  Due to this latest development with the car and the baby’s dad, daycare was going to be an issue for today.  We agreed that I would watch him while she worked today, she had missed two days this week because of the car, and the baby not feeling well, in addition to the fact that he told her that she couldn’t bring the baby for daycare.

While Mea and I were in route back home, and stopping for dinner, E posted this on Facebook…

I’m so blessed to have not only one wonderful mom but two… Love you Kelly, thank you so much for being there for me!!

When I get these messages from the big girls, I cannot begin to tell you how happy it makes me.  It was a long time coming.  It took a lot of love, patience, and time.

This morning she sent me a text stating that her mom called in sick to work so that she could watch the baby, but that she may have me watch him tomorrow.

It is fine.

But at the same time, it is ignorant.  I know that her mom took a paid day off from her job because it was going to be me that was watching him.

I sent her a text back saying that I would be happy to watch him if she needed me to.

My husband called a bit ago to see how the baby was doing.  When I told him that I didn’t have him, and what I speculated the reason to be with his ex-wife, he reminded me that these reactions to things are part of the reason that she is an ex-wife.

I get it.

I just don’t really understand it.  My husband isn’t jealous of her boyfriend of twenty years.  He understands that he has been a big part of their lives.  She is their mom.  I know this.  They are also grown-ups, and should be able to have adult relationships with anyone they want to have a relationship.

Sometimes it feels like she is constantly challenging me to some sort of weird better mother duel.

I am ever so thankful that she is not on Facebook.  I have a feeling that the messages that I get from the big girls would either not happen, or the meaning and thought behind the messages would get ruined by this woman.

In the meantime, I will continue my internal dialog to myself, saying, “I am the more mature one, I will not do or say anything to ruin the relationship I have worked so hard for with these girls.”

I think I will silently hate her in my head for the rest of my life.

 


What I’ve Learned

In the last five weeks, I have learned many new things about myself, about searching for a job, about things that are done during the hours of 8 to 5, Monday through Friday.

Let’s move into handy bullet post fashion for this very educational post.

  • Daytime TV will suck out your soul, and sell it to the devil.
  • Parents of school aged children are crazy, and do not know how to drive.
  • Many of them cannot read either, as they cannot follow a simple sign that states, “No left turns, between the hours of 7:45-8:15 am and 2:45-3:15 pm”
  • I have thought about getting out of my car and directing traffic, I think this very well could be an activity within my skill set, but I value my life, and I do not want to go to prison.  Plus, I do not look good in orange.
  • Based on the amount of fighting going on between Mea and I, it is time to go back to work, and get back in the routine.  She is making me crazy, and I am making her crazy.
  • My house is clean.
  • Like clean, clean.
  • In fact, I am running out of things to clean.  I scrubbed all the hard wood floors (otherwise known as the entire house) on my hands and knees, in one day.  My whole body hurt so bad the following day, I was cursing myself for taking on such a task.
  • It’s not like I couldn’t have spread the chore out a little bit.
  • My next thing to do is to clean out the cupboards.
  • If I don’t start a job soon, I may break down and start painting rooms.
  • Truthfully, it kind of needs done, but the ceiling in my kitchen is a deep cranberry color.  It took me four weeks, and four gallons of paint to get it solid everywhere.  The thought of trying to paint over it, makes me slightly suicidal.
  • Loading the DVR with lots of good crappy TV shows, does burn a bit of time.
  • It also melts your brain and turns you into a zombie.
  • I have read nine books in the last almost five weeks, a few really good ones.
  • I have made dessert more in the last five weeks, than I have in a year, and I have still lost weight
  • I am now down 17 pounds.  Clearly dropping fast food, and caramel lattes is a very good thing for me.
  • I have actually cooked dinner, different things from the usual stuff that I make, many times in the last five weeks.
  • Once I do get a job, none of my clothes are going to fit.
  • Shopping is a good hobby, and fun to do during the daytime, but it costs money, and I am trying very hard not to do that, so I can stay on budget.
  • I have acquired Mea’s summer wardrobe, was able to shop around for the best deals, and found some really cute things.  I even went to Wal-Mart.  (It is somewhat less evil during the day.)
  • I have been able to spend time with my Mom.  (And this is very, very, good.  Maybe the only great thing that unemployment has given me.)
  • It has been nearly twenty-one years since I have not worked for this long of a time frame.  (I took twelve weeks off of work after Mack was born, but did go back to school four weeks after her birth.)
  • I wish that Donahue and Oprah were still on TV.  (Aging myself with the Donahue, aren’t I?)
  • I need a hobby, besides watching bad reality TV, and reading.  These are both fine things to have as a hobby when you work 40-50 hours per week, but they fall short when you are not.
  • What in the hell happened to soap operas?
  • I tried to see if I could get back into some of my old soaps, and they are so fucking crazy I just sat shaking my head for ten minutes before turning the TV off, and buying another book on my Kindle.  By the way, Richard Simmons is back on General Hospital.
  • That dude is a crayon short of a full box.
  • Why is watching people get the results of DNA and lie detector tests entertaining?
  • I have been trying to determine who my favorite TV judge is.  Right now it’s a three-way tie between Judge Marilyn Milian, Judge Joe Brown, and Judge Mathis.  It is sad, but I like all three of them for different reasons.
  • That last bullet point proves that I am watching way too much TV, which takes us back to my very first bullet point.

A smattering of things I have learned while not working.  Let’s pray for a job offer soon before I lose my marbles.