Sorry, guys

Yeah, I got nothin'.

Finished 11th grade tests today. Moved to 7th grade. Move to math next Friday. Dixie's grandma and uncle are here to play with the girls and help with some of the chaos.

The girls did a Kindergarten Circus at school on Tuesday. It was adorable. Charlie is back to categorizing and classifying things to the irritation of all in his presence.

That's about it.


This may get old quickly . . .

Dowlan started working for the census today. His training is 40 hours this week during standard business hours. After that, he is allowed to work any hours he wishes, as long as it is daylight. The plan is for me to keep working at Pearson 42.5 hours a week and at Sylvan for 10-15 hours a week and have him go out and work whatever hours I'm home. For this week, we have childcare arranged; after this week, it is tag-team parenting.

It seems insane, yes, but my Pearson job only runs for 4 more weeks and the entire census job may be done in as few as 5 weeks. That they overlap is annoying, but there's not much else on the horizon for awhile and so we need to take them.

To make matters less interesting, we both find ourselves in jobs we're not allowed to talk about. He's under oath to not reveal anything about the households he works; I'm not allowed to reveal anything about the papers I score. I probably shouldn't say too much about the kids I tutor, either. So I anticipate dinner conversations about like this:

D: Hi, I'm home.
G: Hi, honey! How was your day?
D: Fine. Yours?
G: Fine.

It must be what it's like working for the CIA.


Keep a safe distance

So yesterday, Charlie was collapsing into tears at the drop of a hat and only eating soft foods. Every time he coughed, he'd grimace in pain. You can see where this is going, right?

I love, love, love having a pediatric practice with weekend hours. Dowlan got him to the doctor at 8 this morning. Yep, strep.

While he was gone, Dixie was whining, cranky and mean. After the third time she stomped off in tears for getting trouble for being mean to her sister, I thought to look in her throat.

They'll be seeing her at 9:50.

Melody is feeling quite fortunate to be without tonsils.


Oh, what a night!

So I spent last weekend curled up in pain dealing with what I assumed was a migraine, but wasn't quite like other migraines I'd had.

And I was exhausted all week. But exhaustion is normal for my life.

Then yesterday morning I wake up with full-body pain. the pads on the bottoms of my toes burned. I've had fibromyalgia for fifteen years, so I figured I was in for another round of pain.

At the end of my work day, I began to get cold. Shivery cold. My workplace is often ridiculously cold, but I soon realized that no one else was shivering despite having on a long-sleeved shirt, a hoodie, a coat and a blanket.

I head home.

With the heater full-blast, I finally stop shivering. I don't really remember much about driving home and, in retrospect, shouldn't have done that. I sat out in the warm car in the driveway and napped a bit after getting home.

Eventually, I made it to the couch. The kids covered me with blankets and Dowlan took them off to play. Doctor Melody returned for awhile to take my blood pressure, my temperature and write thorough notes on a clipboard that pertained to my allergies and what I'd most recently eaten. After Doctor Dixie gave me a shot and drew a picture for me, Dowlan took them all out for 'chicken and a playground'.

In that time, I was pretty delirious. I am not sure if I was hallucinating or having really vivid dreams, but apparently Dowlan found me really out of it when he got home. Muttering and shivering. Fever at 104.8

Theraflu, Motrin, Tylenol and a cool bath later, things made a bit more sense. I felt a bit more human. The dreams were still strange, but at least I knew they were dreams. In the middle of the night, I awoke feeling like there was something covering my nose because i couldn't breathe in. No runny nose, no sneezing. Just like there wasn't enough space in there.

This morning, the body-pain was gone and the throat pain had begun. I called in for a doctor appointment at a low-cost clinic and was in and out all day. Every time I woke up, I woke up startled and freaking out that I'd overslept and missed my appointment.

Then I head for my appointment. It's in a town ten miles north of here that I'm not as familiar with. I get lost twice and am freaking out that I will be late and they will not see me.

The wait may have been long, but I slept through most of it. I think I fell asleep twice while they were checking me in. I remember startling to and looking up at the lady who awaited an answer.

The doctor is perhaps the nicest doctor I've ever had. He gave me the good once-over, asked the pertinent questions and diagnosed me with an ear infection, a sinus infection and what he referred to as 'raging strep' before writing me an antibiotic prescription. I wish he'd done a flu test, given how badly I felt yesterday, but the strep could also explain that.

I was surprised to have strep, as my throat only began hurting today. But considering I feel like I'm swallowing razor blades, it isn't that surprising.

I was surprised to have a sinus infection, as I have no sneezing or drainage. He said everything is swollen in there and I have polyps. I'll have to google that. No wonder it felt like their wasn't room to breathe.

I am pleased to report, however, that the antibiotics are working and that I am definitely on the upward path.


Oh, Boy!

Charlie: Daddy, can you hold me?
Dowlan picks him up and puts him on his shoulders.
C: You put me on your head? What the heck?
D: Charlie, where did you learn that?
C: At church.
D: Who said it?
C: I did. (pause) I got in trouble.
D: When you're surprised, you can say, "Oh, boy!"
C: I can't say that.
D: When you're surprised, you can say, "What happened?"
C: A surprise? A present? A green present?


He did it!

Charlie has been in gymnastics for a year now. Really, not in it. More like circumnavigating the class with a charming and daring grin on his face as he glances back at you while you chase after him.

There are five classes of kids in the gym at once and all of them, ALL of them know Charlie's name. He's like Jeffery on the airplane with Bill Cosby.

No Charlie! Charlie, stop. Charlie, sit down! Come back, Charlie! It's not your turn, Charlie!

Well, tonight, he did it. He went in, joined the group and did it. He did his warm-ups, he went with his group. He sat on his spot. He waited his turn.

When he got up to do his stuff, he did the things he was supposed to do, in the order he was supposed to do them. If he didn't feel like he did a good job, he'd stand up again, think about it a second, and take a second go at it. He referred to the activities by name. He did not just the things he liked, but the things he has never, ever done before.

For the first time, he seemed vaguely aware that there were other children present.


One funny per kid

Melody has renamed eyeliner. It shall now be known as Eye Underwear, "because you wear it under your eyes, mama!"


Dixie: sigh. Girls just don't get what boys want.

Me: What does that mean exactly?

Dixie: That's my little secret.


Charlie is running around naked after a bath and we are playing the booty game--where I chase him down, smacking his little naked booty and yelling 'booty! booty! booty!'

Yes, I am a great role model.

About halfway through the game, I have him pinned on the couch and say, "Your booty is like pudding! You have booty pudding!"

He becomes indignant, "My booty is NOT. You do not eat my booty. It is not tasty."


It's a cake

renee's cake

So my friend Renee is expecting and her shower is tomorrow. I had the new experience this week of making fondant from scratch, coloring it, making monkeys and trees out of it and then baking a cake to put it on.

renee's cake

The cake should be good--I found a chocolate pound cake recipe that involved things I've never done before like folding in egg whites after beating them to stiff peaks. That was a crazy mess. Between the 3 layers, I spread some of the strawberry jam I canned last summer. I made some almond buttercream to go between the fondant and the cake.


I'm tired, and my feet hurt. But I made one freaking awesome cake.


Easter Backlash

Charlie has discovered a new Guy in his life: Eggy. After dyeing a couple dozen eggs green for Easter, he now considers each and every oblong spheroid to be his nearest and dearest friend.

Tonight, I cruelly stood in the kitchen and cracked Eggy after Eggy after Eggy, viciously sloshing his innards from one half of his shattered former exterior into the other, separating his golden nucleus from his mucous surroundings. I was then dropping said golden nucleus, still clinging itself together by the sheer forces of hope and a solid protein base, into a bowl to be ripped apart by the rapid tattoo of the whirring mixer.

EGGY! he cried, lunging for each and every one of his ten eviscerated pals until Daddy appeared to drag his wailing and writhing form into bed. All the time, Daddy was making promises of NEW Eggies to be purchased tomorrow, after the store woke up. After all, even the store has Pajama Time.

It's probably a good thing that he went to bed a good hour before I poured the remaining whites of those ten Eggy guys into the bowl and beat them into stiff white peaks. Even more insulting, I then folded them into the batter of a cake that Charlie isn't even allowed to eat.

It's hard sitting there in the kitchen, watching your friends go, one by one. Poor fella.



You know you've been busy when you forget about the broken nose.

On Good Friday, I get home after a long and exhausting day. Charlie is wired beyond what I can describe. I've been home perhaps five minutes when he jumps head-first into my face.

Stars. Blackness. Explosion of pain.

I go straight to bed with an ice pack. After an hour, Dowlan comes to check on me and brings a hand mirror. I am swollen and Rudolphian in profile.

Fortunately, there was no significant bruising and the swelling was down before I had to go to work the next week. This left me with only two problems: sneezing and glasses. The first time I sneezed, I thought I was going to die. More stars and blackness.

After trying many different ways to hold them up, shift them over, etc, I gave up. Wearing them freaking hurt. By the end of each day, I was icing myself down, even in public. And, two weeks later, the pain is down to an annoying dull ache.

Unfortunately, I no longer have any idea where my glasses are. Yeah, things are going that well.


I could have sworn we'd covered this already

Melody showed me last night that we have not yet covered all aspect of race relations in a publicly humiliating forum, that we had more ground to cover. We went to the wedding of a church friend last night. The bride moved here from Nigeria about five years ago and it has been so neat to get to know her. Her husband is from England and we had not met him before the wedding.

Melody sits through the entire wedding. By 'sits' I mean flops, lies, clings, whimpers and flips.

At the end, they are coming down the aisle and everyone is so happy for them. After they pass by and the music stops and everything is quiet, Melody asks, "MOM! Did a white man just marry a black woman?"

Thanks, thanks kid.

She goes on to say, "I knew they could be friends, but I didn't know they could MARRY. I thought white people were supposed to marry white people."

I began to think of all the friends we have and, while we have a lot of friends from different cultures and ethnicities, I could think of only two inter-racial couples, and only one interracial couple they're around much.

I told her, "Even though we may look different on the outside, God made us all the same. We're all His children, all equal. Anyone can marry anyone who wants to marry them. Someday, when they're bigger, Charlie could marry Lydia."

She thinks about this and comes back with, "Yeah, well he'd have to stop hitting her first."


You know those Easter pictures you were promised? Well, I found the camera they are on. Now if I can find the cord, we'll be in good shape.



After having porkloin for lunch and ham for dinner Sunday, Melody asked 'Why all the pig?' and then later wanted to know if we could have bacon-wrapped hot dogs for lunch on Monday.


After spending time with an older friend, Dixie had many interesting things to say about men and women. Went something like this:

D: I know why people REALLY want to have boyfriends and girlfriends.
M: Oh, really? Why is that?
D: It has to do with their . . . (freeze. turn red. pause for at least two minutes. drop voice to a whisper) . . . their bellybuttons.
M: You don't say.
D: Yes. See, boys and girls . . . men and women . . . (suddenly talking very quickly) You know how your bellybutton is different than Daddy's? His is all . . . and yours is all . . . Well, they're different. Knowhatimean?
M: Their bellybuttons are different? Sure. Yeah.
D: And people have boyfriends and girlfriends because they're going around looking for someone whose bellybutton matches theirs. Well, not matches, because they want one that's different. It's like they're looking for a bellybutton that fits with theirs.
M: So it's all about the bellybutton? That's what it's all about? (Thinking: Not the hokey-pokey?)
D: Yes. Bellybuttons. It is all about the bellybuttons and how they fit. And . . . maybe it has something also to do with the (whisper) penis.


The squeaky wheel gets the shaft

That's the old saying, right?

I called Health and Human Services today to see if anything could be done to expedite reactivating Medicaid. Cheryl, the extremely kind and thorough person I spoke with, tried to figure out the problem and the problem is this: it wasn't supposed to be made temporarily inactive, it was supposed to be canceled.

Apparently, I no longer have qualifying children in the household. I told her,
"Well, I'm looking at three of them right now and they're still in my household," and she giggled a bit.

She sent a new application in case appeals doesn't work out and forwarded my call to appeals. Appeals took notes on the case then sent me to a caseworker. The caseworker took notes on my case then forwarded me to the voicemail of the person who is supposed to be my caseworker. She will call me back by the end of business hours tomorrow.

Total call time: 1:07:34

Why The Face, you say? Why The Face, indeed.


Two steps back

My head may explode. Charlie's occupational therapy center called today to say that his medicaid coverage was shown as inactive for the month of April. Dowlan called in to see what was wrong. Apparently, it was a simple mistake on their part and they corrected it, but it takes 30 days to return to active. So there's 10ish hours of therapy that Charlie misses unless I can find some way to get someone to push it through.

I want to throw up. This will be the third time his therapies have been interrupted by their incompetence. The longest uninterrupted stretch he's ever had is two months. He's made so much progress in the time he's been receiving help. I don't want to regress.

He starts his two-weeks at PPCD next week, so that should prevent some of that. Still, it's frustrating that we get six months of certification at a time and can never use the first 4-6 weeks of that because something is always screwed up. Now, exactly halfway through that six months, this happens. It's not our fault, we had no way to cause or prevent it. Yet our child's well-being is impacted negatively by it.


This Easter, there will be children's church during the service. This gives me hope of making it through alive.

Last year, by the time we even made it to the brunch at church, I was exhausted. Whining children, twisted feet on tights and uncooperative bonnets had conspired against me but there we were, at church and reasonably on time. It took a great deal of effort to leave the house with them looking like this:


I didn't look so bad myself:

We'd barely made it in the door and gotten everyone somewhat seated when an exceedingly chipper churchmember tells me, "Gretchen! You should have worn a hat like ladies used to wear to church! It would look so cute with you in a hat and the kids in theirs! Too bad you didn't think of it."

Are you #$(**ing kidding me lady? Wasn't this work enough??

As Easter 2010 nears, I realize that, not only have I not found anything for Charlie to wear, I have no eggs, no dye, no basket stuff and no time.

Grrrr . . . Holidays were so much better when all I had to do was wake up and hunt eggs.