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.

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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.

 

 


Break In

On Friday morning, Mea and I packed ourselves up, and left for work/school like we do every other work/school day.  Locked the doors, scampered out to the car, running around like usual.

Friday night was the Father-Daughter dance at school.  Mea was so excited.  She and her Daddy had color coordinated their outfits, they were going to eat and dance with her friends.  As we pulled in the driveway and walked to the front door she was yammering at me about all of these things.

I stopped at the mail box, pulled the mail out of the box, and opened the screen door.

I found the front door wide open. In a bit of shock I stepped in and noticed our “technology basket” in the middle of the floor tipped on its side and empty.  I looked up and noticed that the sliding door to the back porch was standing open, looked further still and could see where the door to the back porch stood slightly ajar with splintered wood all around where the door had been forced open.

I started to panic, I pulled out my cell and called 911.  They told me to take Mea and go wait in the car.  When my husband came home, he said that he and Mea were still going to the dance, and that we needed to get in and get her ready to go.  I made sure that no one touched anything, I took the first look into my bedroom.

All of the dresser drawers were pulled out and dumped on the floor.  Clothes were everywhere, they had been through my closet and had pulled all of my purses out and searched through them all.

All of my jewelry, with exception of the things I was wearing, and a few pairs of earrings is gone.

My husband’s diamond wedding band, is gone.

All of Mack’s baby jewelry is gone.

All of our watches.

Four of my Coach bags.

Two Coach wallets.

Mea’s DS.

Two camera’s and our video camera.

Two bottles of cologne, and two bottles of brand new perfume.

A box with Mea’s “Nana necklace” in it.

I don’t even know what else.  I am finding odds and ends that are missing here and there with each day that passes.

I am starting to feel like the universe is out to get me.

I am serious.

We have insurance.  I keep trying to tell myself that it is just stuff.

But that stuff was mine.

And so many things had memories attached to them.

I am just sick.

My great great grandmother’s cameo.  It is little.  It is probably of no value what-so-ever, but all of us have worn it pinned to the inside of our wedding dresses as our “something old.”  My guess is that it is in a dumpster somewhere.  Which makes me even sicker.

Now we will have to find something to replace it.

I was pleasantly surprised by a few things on our insurance, but it seems like it’s going to take a lot of work to prove that I owned this stuff for twenty-plus years.

I am just glad we were not home.

I am also pleased to tell you all that we are the proud owners of a security system.  I hate that it is something that we feel that we “have to” have, I also have decided that as soon as it is economically possible that we will be moving.


Bad Movie

I feel like I am a character in a bad Lifetime movie.

It seems that each time things are starting to move in the right direction in one part of my life, or the lives of my loved ones, something else falls apart in another area of my life or another loved one.

I am getting really sick of it.

I mean really fucking sick of it.

This morning, Mea’s babysitter pulled me aside and told me that her husband has cancer.  They do not know what kind yet, (they have ruled out prostate, but have said very little else to them) they just have a location, something in his lower area, most likely back/hip/pelvis area.  PET test to come sometime next week, so they will know what they are dealing with.

She told me and I burst into tears.  They are the closest thing to a second set of grandparents that Mea has, Mack too for that matter.

These people are more than just Mea’s babysitter.  I have known them since I was a child.  Mack was Jimbo’s girl.  Every time I see him he asks me about Mack.  Which is almost daily.  Mea is his little cuddle bug too.

I am just sick.

I am worried about them. 

I sent them flowers and candy this afternoon.

And although it is somewhat selfish, I have been worried about what it will mean for our daycare situation.  I hate the thought of Mea going anywhere but there.  I also don’t know how they will be able to keep up with daycare, and take care of Jim’s needs once they come up with a treatment plan. 

I know firsthand how crazy those first several months were with my Mom, and I also know that if she had a bunch of kids around her all day long every single day that she would have gone nuts.  Not to mention that it can be a little scary for the little kids to see someone they love sick.  I am terrified that this is starting to be a “normal” thing that Mea has to see and live with.

I just need a break from all this stupid cancer business. 

I am sure all the people who are actually dealing with it want the same thing.

It just pisses me off. 

I am just so done.

 


Rattling Around

Believe it or not, I have come to this place many times in the last several weeks.  I just couldn’t make any words come out when I would sit down.   

I have a little green notebook in my purse where I have been jotting down ideas of things to blog about.

Whether it is some silly Meaism, or a story from my past, or something that has happened recently, those ideas have gone in this little notebook.

The thing is when I get here, and sign in, I kind of freeze, and no matter how many times I look at the pages of notes I have made in the little green notebook, I can’t pull the words together to form even one sentence.

Today, I opened the notebook, and then picked it back up and buried it back into the bottom of my purse.

I miss it here.  I miss you friends out there so much.  I hope you are still there.  I hope you haven’t given up on me.

I won’t lie, this year has been a hard one.  Most likely the hardest in all of my life.  First my Mom getting sick, my old job, new job, Mack moving so very far away, I just haven’t dealt with it all too well.  I am trying, but I am also trying not to get too lost. 

I was just rattling around doing the best at I could at functioning for a while.  The things I loved to do took a back seat while I tried to pull myself back together.  I haven’t read an entire book in more than six months.  I have bought several, started and stopped them.  My cooking and baking has taking a hiatus, which has had a positive effect on all of our waistlines, but still.  My blog and my blog peeps.

The thing is, that this blog is my best therapy.  I have to tell myself that you guys don’t necessarily need a funny, jokey story where I make fun of myself, every single time you come here.  Sadly, sometimes I just need to be me and vent my bad shit out so I can go on.

I think this is where I am.  I need to get some of the bad out, so the good can come back in. 

Even if it’s something short, I will be back daily for a while.  I need to get back in the groove of things. 

Little Green Book

Little Green Book

I may need to start things off by getting rid of this.  It hasn’t done me any favors.  I may go bury it in the backyard when I get home.


The Bag Lady

I first noticed her a little over ten years ago.  She would come into my office, dragging two large heavy plastic reusable grocery bags, from a discount grocery store.  They were packed to the limit. 

Where I worked, it was common for us to serve clients who were quite well off, and also serve clients who could barely rub two nickels together.  I could never quite figure out The Bag Lady’s circumstances.  She looked clean, she looked kept, but she had those bags, and seemingly, nowhere to go.

I saw her everywhere.

On every single side of town. 

She rode the bus, so I did see her frequently while I was at work.  At least several times per week.

Always with those two stuffed bags.

She was older, definitely should have been retired.  Frail enough that watching her carry those bags always concerned me, they looked so heavy.

I often wondered what she had in there.  I would find myself thinking about it at odd times.  If she were homeless, she might have all of her earthly possessions in those bags.  What if someone stole them from her?  What if she lost one?  What if one of them ripped and she started losing things?

She went missing for a while.  I didn’t see her.  This was over winter, so then I really began wondering if she was one of the homeless as so many of them head south for winter.

Then when the weather started warming up I began to see her again. 

Back with her bags.

Only this time they had multiplied. 

The first time I saw her she had four bags.

Then at least six.

Then she was walking around with at least ten or more of these bags filled to the brim, so heavy she could barely carry them herself.  She would walk two to four bags about twenty feet or so, then go back and get more bags, over and over and over again.

I couldn’t imagine how long it was taking her to get to wherever it was that she needed to be while carrying all of those bags.

Then one day, I realized she was gone.  I hadn’t seen her for months. More than a few seasons had passed.

She was gone.

So were her bags.

 

I am still here.  I will be back in this place.  I have been dragging around a bunch of baggage.  My brain has been so heavy it’s been hard to put all of my stuff away, and walk away without any of my bags, but please know this…..

I miss you.  I miss this space and the cheap therapy it gives me.  I miss making people laugh,  I miss reading your stories.   

I don’t know what happened to the bag lady.  I hope that some family member intervened and either got her some mental help that she may have needed, or helped her into an assisted living facility of some sort who could also help her. 

 


Dead Man’s Float

When I was younger, I was a swimmer.  I took private lessons from the time I was an infant, and my Mom could drag me to the pool.  Both of my parents were extremely anxious around water, my Dad couldn’t swim, and my Mom really just didn’t like to.  My Mom has a cousin who died at two years of age in a pool.  She was quite passionate about my sister and I being good swimmers.

I took to the water.  I loved it.

I had a swimming instructor who taught me to do a dead man’s float.  Along with treading water, this was a strength and conditioning type thing he made me do periodically.  I have asthma, so making sure I was taking time to breathe was an important part of our training.

Lately, I feel like this.  Like I am just floating along on the water.  Arms splayed out, taking a deep breath when I can, or when I have to, and then just going back into the float.

Arms and legs splayed out.  Taking in air when I have to.

Just floating along.

I sort of feel over-whelmed, and under-whelmed at the same time.  I just can’t quite get out of this funk.  I am worried that it is here to stay, and that I can’t get my happy back.

I am not finding joy in many things lately.

I know that I need to snap out of it, and I know that I will.  I just feel a bit like I am drowning instead of pulling my head out of the water to take that deep breath of air that I need.

I miss my friends in my computer.

I miss writing.

I miss my daughter.

Having Mack so far away, is so hard.  I have never gone this long without a hug from my big girl.  Even when she was a Yellow State, I still saw her at least once a month.  It’s been five weeks since she left.

I miss my Mom.  (I know she is still here, I just miss the way she used to be.  Seeing her sick is hard.  One of the worst things I have ever had to deal with.  I fucking hate it.)

I miss being close with my sister.

I miss going to work and loving what I was doing, and being excited to be there.

I need to make some changes, but I need to also get the courage to make those changes.  I need to be able to think things through, and start slow.

I know that I cannot keep on floating along like this.

The Dead Man’s Float is a survival tool, it is not intended to be used forever.