Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Divorce, 1 year later

So today is my Divorce anniversary. I realize that sounds odd, that someone would remember such a thing and call it an anniversary but it really wasn't that big of a deal to me then and kinda isn't now.

The day I got divorced I took the day off of work. Brian and I met at the courthouse, waited for our judge to not show up and so we were shipped to another judge who asked us questions about our parenting plan (that is in a total shambles today by the way) and if I was pregnant. I swore I wasn't (and I wasn't) and we were divorced. We giggled before and after. Decided it would be in bad taste to have a party.

After that I went back to Micah's apartment and we went out brunch, went to the shooting range and I got my back tattoo. It's a Forget Me Not and has a lot of meaning to me on so many levels.

I remember my mother being devastated about her divorce. She lost weight. She pushed through but she had a really rough first year after my father left.

I didn't have that. I blossomed. I developed hobbies. I tried new food. I traveled. I got pregnant. Opps. I found a family that loved me for me and didn't judge that I was or wasn't something else. And they weren't my biological family. My first year of being divorced coincided with my best summer of all time and my new life that I embraced warmly.

I've been asked by other women how I dealt with the devastation of divorce. Normally they are staring into the pit of despair at possibly the end of their marriage and are terrified. People like to talk to me and I'm pretty open about everything in my life so it's natural that they look at me. But I feel guilty because I have to be honest with them and tell them that for me it wasn't a pit of despair and it wasn't devastating. I cried, to be sure. But I cried for my hopes and dreams, for all my plans, for my failure to my children and to my family. I didn't cry because I missed him or because he was gone. I cried because the picture in my MIND was gone. The plans I had made were gone. But in reality, looking back on it, they were never going to come to fruition like I had hoped anyways.

I occasionally tell one or two stories about my ex so that people can get a feel for why the breakup wasn't hard. Besides telling them we were living completely separate lives as roommates LONG before we separated. These stories are as follows:

A winter or two after we had moved to Colorado I decided I needed a winter coat. I had a 5 year old hoodie made out of sweatshirt material that my mother had given me but it was falling apart and wasn't very warm. I went out in search of a coat in December. I found one at Burlington Coat Factory that I adored. It was sort of a pea coat and was black. It went down to my knees and was made of wool. It was Colorado perfect. I called my then husband to ask him if I could buy the coat. He asked me how much it was. I told him it was $80. He told me no. He said if I could find a coat for $20 I could have it. Yes, he was serious. This, despite the fact that we had over $5000 liquid cash in our checking account and slightly over $10,ooo in our savings account plus various other savings vehicles. Of course a plus size woman in the beginning of winter in Colorado can't find a $20 winter coat so I didn't get one. I just wore my hoodie for the entire winter. I even shoveled snow in that hoodie. He had a wool coat plus a military coat for winter that was good up to -30F I believe.

My other story is about after he moved out. One week he told me he couldn't pick up Lulu from daycare after work, despite the fact that it was on his way home. Every day it was a different reason, he had to work late, he had plans after work etc. So I picked her up. I also made dinner for myself and the kids every night, gave baths, helped with homework, did laundry, tidied the house (I wont lie, I didn't CLEAN it every night) and did the various other tasks moms do. On the weekend I took the kids to do some sort of family "thing". After that week, Monday night, Brian asked if I had "noticed". I asked him "Noticed what?" He wanted to know if I had noticed how much harder that week had been without him there to help. He had avoided picking up Lulu to show me what my life would be like without him.

I laughed. I told him nothing about my life had changed in that week, except I had to pick up Lulu from daycare. But essentially, my life had gone on as normal. He didn't cook. He didn't tidy. He didn't do laundry, or bedtimes or homework. He didn't go family stuff on the weekend and he didn't cuddle with me at night in bed. My life had been pretty normal.

He didn't react well to that at all. He expected me to be exhausted and devastated and begging him to come home. He hadn't really thought about what my life was like when he had something better to do every night of the week and weekends than be with me and the kids.

So there. There are my 2 stories to illustrate why my divorce isn't the devastating thing that it was for my mother and many, many other couples and women out there. My husband was a husband in name only, not deed. His leaving effected me economically more than emotionally but then, by the time he left, I had already prepared for that as well.

Sure, there have been ups and downs in the last year. Sure, it's been hard. But honestly? Micah has taken my children to more appointments and taken more sick time to care for them than Brian did in 10 years of marriage. Overall, I got a much better deal after the divorce.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Happy 14th Birthday Kylito!

Happy Birthday my biggest girl!

You are my first baby and so I know sometimes things are hard as we grow up together, you as a human, me as a mother. But I think you're surviving and beginning to thrive which is all I ask for.

You are my independent individual. While you care what other people think you rarely let that influence a decision that you make. You have always been my child with orange pants and a neon pink shirt and mismatched socks. And you loved it. Right now you have purple hair which I love more than the green before it (pictures to be posted later) and are learning to tame your makeup usage to a dull roar instead of an intense scream. I appreciate this. You wear all black even though none of your friends do and listen to music by bands whose names are weird, even to most weird people.

You're sense of humor is certainly developed and you have moved far past the fart jokes of old and are onto dry sarcasm. I know you get this from me and often we have some really fun times in the car where the sarcasm is free to roam. I adore this about you and can't help but imagine that this is certainly helping you get through these fun teenage years.

You still are one of the smartest kids in your class as evidenced by your yearly testing that we received last month. Advanced in Writing and proficient but within 10 points of advance in Reading and Math. You seem to skate through school with little effort which is a little worrisome for me but then, I was similar and so can relate.

For the first time ever you have more friends than our living room can hold and I was so pleased to come home and find 13 teenagers hanging out last Saturday for your birthday party. There were days not too long ago where we had to troll the neighborhood on the day of your party searching for kids to come and see the magician or I had to invite my friends kids to make the party seem less empty when only 1 or 2 friends would show up. This year I don't think we had enough sitting space and while 13 kids hanging out, eating pizza, watching bad horror movies and throwing M&M's around my living doesn't sound like heaven I'm sure for you it was your best birthday ever. I'm so glad to see your peers growing into you (finally) and you are blossoming socially.

People often view teenagers as selfish and I wont lie, you certainly have your moments where that rings true but that's because people don't see the you that I see. They don't see the daughter that holds my hand in the car when no one is looking. They don't see the child who asks if I can help her keep her anxiety in check. No one knows the teenager who went shopping with her mom for baby clothes before anyone even knew there was another baby on the way. Or the girl who wants to be there for the birth of her youngest sibling. Or who walked her mother down the aisle and signed the marriage certificate. The girl that puts her mothers shoes on can not be all selfish.

We are starting to talk about college and career choices in earnest now. You don't seem to know every much about college other than that you want to attend the University of Arizona in Tucson but you are pretty sure that you want to be into some kind of art. You've talked about being a tattoo artist but are smart enough to discuss the crummy economy and how that might not be profitable in the long run. You've talked about maybe business so you could run your own and I think that is truly where you will end up. Doing something creative on your own. You aren't my worker bee child or my rule follower, you are dancing to the beat of your own drummer. I'm sure your career choice will follow along that path as well.

You're recognition of world events is remarkable to me and you have a firm grasp of history not only of our own country but of the world. You also seem to lean more to the left than the right politically and I wont lie, that makes me smile. When you compared the plight of our POW's to the plight of those in Gitmo to your possibly someday step mother I was pretty impressed, not only that you could see the similarities but that you were brave enough to point it out to an adult. Standing up for yourself and your moral's and values is always a good thing. Always. Your sense of justice amazes me and I'm continually impressed by it.

Happy Birthday my little Kylito. I hope this next year is even better than the last. And no, you may not get your belly button pierced.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Happy 5th Birthday Lizzie Lou!

*Yes, I'm late with the birthday post. I was busy Saturday, sorry.*

Happy Birthday Lizzie Lou Who!

I asked you Saturday if you were sure you were 5. Because it seems like just yesterday you were still inside me. You of course assured me you were 5 and but also that time has gone by fast. The problem sometimes is that you are so small and petite that it's easy to forget you are actually 5 and in Kindergarten and not still toddling around in diapers.

You are my mellow (so far) child. You just seem to allow life to trickle over you like a water and tend to very rarely get upset about anything. You go to bed with no problems and can generally be made to at least try anything on your plate with no fuss.

You are eager to please and make friends where ever you go. I was concerned when you started Kindergarten that you would feel left out as you hadn't attended Pre-school there but you seemed to blossom. When I asked you how many classmates you wanted to invite to your birthday party you eagerly told me 15 and then named them all off. You are so quick to welcome strangers into your life with instant love that sometimes I worry. You are also easy to bruise when kids tell you that they aren't your friend anymore and you cry when that happens. I alternate between wanting you to develop a thicker skin and not because I worry that your eagerness to love might somehow diminish if I did that.

You are my helper child. If I am doing any activity you are quick to step up and offer to help. You recently "helped" me mop the kitchen floor which actually led to a much dirty floor than when we started out but again, I'm not in a hurry to tell you to stop. You have been setting the table since you were at least 2.5 years old and occasionally help me make my bed in the morning. You still struggle with picking up all your toys by yourself but if an adult offers to help YOU then you're eager to get that done as well.

You're best gift for your birthday this year was your bicycle. You embraced the change and couldn't wait to hop on it Friday morning at 6:15am.

You are my brave child. You cant wait to try new things and rarely do you get scared or say no to something. At your birthday party you had no fear of the hissing cockroach and petting it. Jumping on your new bike, walking into a new classroom or meeting new people, nothing seems to frighten you.

You are also certainly a dog person although you love all animals. Our two dogs Tasha and Molly adore you and while that occasionally frustrates you as they are about your size when they are on all 4's you also love them and are so incredibly gentle. You and Tasha seem to have a connection that I can't quite explain. You love all dogs though and have embraced your Dad's dogs, strange dogs next door and the little baby puppies the neighbors have. You love our cat and adore stroking and petting him but dogs seem to hold your attention longer and you are more excited when you see them than the cat or any other pet.

You started Kindergarten this year and are so in love with your class, your school and your teacher. Mrs. Brunning is your favorite adult I believe and you participate in your classroom whenever possible. You have embraced buying lunch at school and overall have thrived and blossomed. You are always excited for Monday mornings but then, you seem excited for every new day, every morning.

You are very much into your art right now and enjoy painting, drawing and anything artistic. I love watching you as you explore color and shape and work so hard on creating SOMETHING. Right now your art is very abstract with the exception of shapes but you love telling me the story of your abstract item when you create it.

As I get closer to bringing your baby brother into this world you are increasingly excited about him as well. Today when I dropped you off at the babysitters you gave me a kiss and then told me you needed to give a kiss to the baby. And then kissed my belly. You do not seem to have any apprehension about him coming into our world and have already offered to share your bed with him as well as your bathtime and have offered to change diapers and hold him. You talk to him in my belly and constantly choose one of your many animals or dolls to play the roll of baby brother so you can put him in the bassinet in my room and rock him. You are aware that you wont be able to feed him anytime soon but seem to accept that in stride as one of the few things Mommy will have to do and instead offer to share your cups and books with him as well.

Happy Birthday my sweet princess. Thank you for reminding me what the magic of children is really all about over and over again and thank you for being my sweetie.


Conversation with Kylie

*This scene occurs during her birthday party when she came in to check on something in my room

Me: I really like that one boy
Her: Which one?
Me: Bailey I think? The one who shook my hand. Brought you a present. That was wrapped...
Her: Yeah that's Bailey.
Me: Tell me you have a crush on him. Please.
Her: *rolling eyes* No mom, I'm pretty sure he's gay.
Me: *as Kylie walks out of the room* He's not GAY! He's POLITE!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Not that kind of season.....

Conversation this week between myself and a co-worker:

Co-Worker: I love this season
Me: The fall leaves changing, the air growing crisp?
CW: No. Tax season!
Me: OH ME TOO! I love tax season. I love the forms, the numbers, finding hidden money, researching the tax code.
CW: *blank stare*
Me: The anxious wait for the W2, the anticipation of submitting the final form, filling out additional forms and then doing a second copy just to see which is better, itemizing or standard deduction. God, I love tax season!
CW: I meant the refund. I like the refund.
Me: Oh, those are nice too.
CW: *shaking head* You're not healthy Lacy. That's not healthy at all.
Me: It is in my family!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Colony

Last night Micah and I sat down to watch a DVR'd show or two titled "The Colony".

It's a Discovery Channel show and according to the Wikipedia page: "Ten volunteers enter an experimental post-catastrophe world to see if they can survive and rebuild after a global disaster. Cordoned off in a downtown Los Angeles warehouse with no electricity from the grid, no running water, and no communication with the outside world, they must secure shelter, filter water, and defend their new home from thieves. "

We watched three episodes and I suspect we'll watch at least 1 or 2 tonight more. There are only 10 episodes I think so it's a short series.

Of course it's 10 people with a camera crew following them around but Micah and I had a lot of discussion watching this show and our thoughts on a post-apocalyptic world and how we would survive and here is what we came up with.

I sure hope Rex is coming with us. Rex is Micah's stepfather and has been for 18+ years. That man can do anything with his hands and if The Colony is any indication we sure hope he's around. Otherwise, Micah and I are going to die.

Of course my Uncle John would be an excellent choice too since he is very much like Rex and can pretty much do anything. But John lives in Minnesota so we are going with our Colorado family on this one.

Also, Micah's mother can plant and grown just about anything. And Rex grew vegetables this summer in their back yard. His tomatoes looked lovely last time I saw them. So basically, we need Micah's mom and dad to survive and want to be with us. Because HR and IT aren't really serviceable skills if we get trapped and most of the world dies out.

Then I remembered that Micah worked on tanks and stuff in the Army.He has mechanical experience. He also knows guns and how to shoot stuff incredibly accurately. So he brings some stuff to the table. So really it's just me that's fluff.

To my defense, I do know how to kiss boo boos and give very good kisshugs every night. I also apparently gestate well all things considered. But yeah, for the immediate needs of our Colony, I'm fluff.

That's sad. I need a really cool skill like building a generator to re-energize car batteries or building a gasonator or something like that. My priorities would be something more like food and shelter and less worry about getting power. Watching the things those people were making last night just floored me and made me realize how utterly useless I am in the grand scheme of reality TV.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The House

My house. Is a very, very, very fine house.

Not my dream home or anything. But it's a fine, serviceable house.

The problem with my house is that it was built in 1974 and was apparently poorly maintained.

Which made my first husband fall in love with it. He likes a project and this house SCREAMED that. It actually screamed many other things to me but to him it screamed "I AM A PROJECT. FIX ME!"

So he bought it. Without me there. Because he could see the charm in it. He could look around and envision the wood paneling gone, the ugly bathroom redone and the kitchen painted and shined.

When he gets made at me I generally assume it's because 1 of 2 things. He is bitter about the house or his girlfriend is giving him shit about his ex-wife.

You see, I got negotiated for the house in the divorce. When my mother passed away I used the life insurance to pay down the house and when we got divorced that was the most heated debate we got into. Honestly, the way Colorado law is written it could have gone either way for me. They could have deemed the house community property since I while I paid it down with my mother's money it was in our names OR they could have said my money was used to pay it down and he was entitled to nothing. Neither one of us wanted to pay a lawyer to figure it out. So we negotiated. He pays less in child support than Colorado law would normally require, I asked for no spousal support, and I gave up an entitlement I might have to his military pension, should be choose to retire from the military.

I did the numbers for him since he couldn't and showed him what a deal he was getting by me giving up the pension in exchange for the deprecated house. He agreed. But I think he's still really bitter about it. Not about the money but about the house itself. It was his project. He had plans. Ideas. He had spent hours fantasizing about what he wanted to do to it.

So I kept the house. And the lower mortgage payment. It was the only way I could keep my kids in their home. I don't make much and could not have managed even a 2 bedroom apartment on my salary alone so I really needed to keep the house. Even though I'm not a project girl. I look at the walls and just see...walls. I don't see paint colors or texture or tile flooring. I don't see anything really. Except occasionally I see beige because that's a good neutral for when I'm ready to sell that house.

This week the house finally expressed it's displeasure at my lack of love.

Last week I had an adjuster out to look at my roof. Turns out my entire roof needs to be replaced. House and my gazebo. We had a pretty fierce hail storm this summer and my apparently old roof is giving it up.

Yesterday the weather officially turned to fall. Overnight. We had some snow (that didn't stick) and lots of rain. The weather outside never got above 50 degrees F. And our heater wouldn't work. When I got home it was 66 degrees in the house which I realize doesn't sound awful but it's chilly to us. Especially when you have a husband with the flu and a child with pneumonia.

I spent more time than I should have trying to find someone to come look at our furnace last night and by the third call I lucked out. We had a very nice man come look at our furnace at about 7:30pm last night and it turns out my nearly new but cheap furnace had a board short out. But he couldn't get one for us last night. So we had to sleep with lots of blankets and in sweaters last night.

This morning the house was 63 degrees. It felt colder. I sure hope that new board comes in soon. Like before I get home soon.

I know I should love my house more but it's hard when you're teenager is sleeping under 5 blankets and your fluish husband's fever isn't even keeping him warm.....

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Febrile Seizure

UPDATE: Lulu went to school today. She has taken to carrying around her "mometer" and knows how to take her own temperature when asked. She has run a slight fever a couple of evenings but Motrin seems to be knocking it out. She's been on the antibotics since Friday and so the Peditrician told us she was good to know and not contagious. Honestly, if I didn't tell people she had it they wouldn't know about it honestly. She's been in good spirits despite missing the camping trip over the weekend her Dad had planned for her birthday.

I'd heard of those before but had never experienced one and thought they were things other people's children. People who didn't watch their children's fever's close enough. Or who were prone to such things. Not MY children. My children don't have seizures.

Until Thursday night.

Thursday day Lulu's babysitter texted and told me she was running a slight fever. 99.6 I think. Not too high but the school was on red alert being that 10% of the student population had been out sick that week with fevers. Plus 8 teachers and staff. So they wouldn't take her. Luckily babysitter's kid was sick too so they would just hang out all day. Yay me, I didn't have to leave work.

About lunch time I called to check and her fever had gone down with Tylenol and come back and had gotten up to 101.2. More Tylenol. She was fine. I continued working.

I picked her up after work and she felt warm. Babysitters child looked ill. Lulu just looked tired. So I took her home where she ate no dinner but we ran some errands. She didn't feel THAT warm to me.

We got home and took her temperature and it was 102. I called my mother in law who suggested cold cloths and Tylenol.

We gave her the rag. Not the medicine. Because I'm a horrible mother I'm going to admit that I'm not a huge fan of fever reducers. I generally believe that the body NEEDS to run a fever for a reason, like it's killing an infection and a low grade fever, such as what she had, didn't need it really. I did Internet research on this that night so it's not like I didn't care. I thought she'd be okay.

Micah and I went to bed and just as I was dozing off he checked on her one last time. It was about 10:30pm. All of the sudden I heard, "Lacy come in here now."

I jumped up (which is tough at 8 months pregnant) and went into her room where I experienced my child's seizure up close and personal.

Her eyes were open but not looking at anything, her little hands were clenched and she was shaking all over. The scariest part was her gasping for air. I spoke to her, sat her up, tried to get her to drink water and she was barely responsive. I grabbed her and we ran to the car. Micah did almost 80 getting us to the nearest emergency room that I could think of and Brian and his girlfriend Sommer met us there.

I don't know what her temp was when we arrived. But they gave her Tylenol. They brought us back to a room and 30 minutes later tested her temperature again. 102.8. They gave her Motrin. From there Brian and I spent the next 3 hours talking to Dr's and nurses. Lu had a chest X-ray and they took a urine sample. They told Brian the chest xray looked "okay" when they took it.

At about 1:45am I sent Brian home. Micah was sleeping in the car and it just seemed like a waste since they had told him she looked okay.

At 2:30am I told a nurse we were going to leave. Lulu seemed MUCH better, she was up and talking and playing. Within 1o minutes both Dr's and our nurse were in the room telling me I couldn't leave yet. Turns out, she had Pneumonia. Has. Chest X-ray was not all clear.

In the end we ended up leaving at about 3am, after getting there at 11pm. She has pneumonia. So we have antibiotics. We have to watch her fever carefully but that's about it. She actually seems spunky right now which is good.

But that seizure was scary. Possibly the scariest thing I've ever seen.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I often find myself assuming that my youngest daughter is still just a tiny baby and don't recognize that she is growing up and is spreading her wings.

For at least 3 years now I have volunteered for the PTO to sit at our table during Skate City nights and check in the kids who come through the door. It's not tough. But I've always had to take Lulu. My ex felt like if I was choosing to spend an evening away from home then I should be taking the child too so he could relax. So for years she's always just come and hung out playing in the arcade area or running around and annoying the other kids.

This year is different though. This year she's 4, almost 5. She's in Kindergarten. This school is her school. This year, she wanted to skate.

Now at first I ignored her. I told her to play in the arcade. I can't get out on the floor at 8 months pregnant and carry her or help her around the rink. My wise friend Cammie though, who brought her 4 year old, secretly snuck away from the PTO table when I was distracted and put skates on both children. I turned around and suddenly my baby is ready to get out on the floor and skate.

I warned her I couldn't help her. If she went out there she was all alone. She shrugged her shoulders and said, "That's okay".

I told her she would probably fall down. On her butt and knees. She shrugged again and said, "I can just get back up, right?". I told her yes she should do that. With that, she was gone.

These pictures were taken with an iphone. I didn't bring my camera because honestly, she was supposed to be having supper with her Dad last night. I didn't even expect her to be there.

Ready to skate.

With friends Evan and Tori.

Holding on to the wall like I told her too.

Skating in the middle. Decidedly NOT what I was expecting her to do at all.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A little bit about Micah

Update: Per the questions asked - Micah, as I said, has three tattoos. One is of Taz (from Looney Toons fame) in Army camo with a gun. It's on his right shoulder. On his left shoulder is a scary looking lizard and on his left chest are some Japanese symbols that are supposed to mean Kamikaze. (I think fierce wind?) Anyways, yes, he did get them while in the Army. Can you tell?

I'm sure he has family in Spain but doesn't actually know any of them.

He says he will share his guacamole making expertise, as it were, but that he's a little nervous about how many avocado's he'll need for a family our size.

Yesterday I received a comment from Elisa asking about Micah and I realized that while several of my family members read this site they haven't necessarily met my husband. In fact, the only family members to have met him DON'T read this site, I believe.

I also know Micah's family reads this site. This is stuff you probably already know about him.

Micah is the oldest child in his family and is 34. He has 1 "full" brother, 1 step brother, and 3 step sisters. Except he doesn't categorize like that and just refers to them all as brothers or sisters. His brother Andy lives in GA with his wife Sara but the rest all live in Colorado with their families.

Micah's birthday is October 20th. He's a Libra, just like my 2 daughters. I'm surrounded, if you believe in that sort of thing.

Micah has a BA in IT (I think that's the name of the degree). Before that he served in the US Army and worked on tanks. Manly tanks. In Bosnia and Germany. (I think)

Micah monitors oil well data for a well known company that deals with that sort of thing. He's worked there for 6 years and enjoys the job.

For hobbies Micah enjoys rearranging all the cabling in my house. And your house. And everyone's house. First time he came over to my house he remarked about the cables. Then offered to rewire my entire entertainment system. What a sweet talker.

Micah makes killer enchilada's. And chicken parmesan. I'm a big fan of his guacamole which he made for me last night.

He is very close to his paternal grandmother and visits her 5-6 times a week while she's in the rehab facility. He called and visited at least once a week prior to that.

Micah has 3 tattoos, one on each arm and one of his chest. He has no plans to get anymore.

His ethnicity is Hispanic (like from Spain), Scottish and probably some Irish in there. There are probably some dribs and drabs in there from some heritage we don't know but that's the bulk of it.

His full name is Micah Jeremiah. When we first were discussing baby names Jeremiah was our number one pick. We changed it to William later. Raul is his paternal grandfather's name and so that is the middle name for our baby.

Micah does not watch sports or enjoy hunting or fishing. I know the majority of my family just shook their heads but think of me and you'll know why this is perfectly acceptable.

During Easter we traveled to my Aunt Linda's house 6 hours away from where we live. He traveled with me (who was pregnant at the time but didn't know it), a cranky teenager and a preschooler in a small car and still wanted to married me. Oh and kicked butt during Phase 10.

Our first date with my kids he let them pick the restaurant to meet at. Lulu wouldn't talk to him for almost 20 minutes. Then she wouldn't shut up. She calls him both Micah and Dad interchangeably.

She called his Mom Grandma the first time she met her, even though I had "prepped" her to call her Leslie. She's never looked back.

I can't really think of anything else. If you have specific questions I haven't answered please be sure to ask in the comments and I can edit this post.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Faces of Unemployment - the PTO version

For some reason the current unemployment crisis fascinates me. I don't like hiring or recruiting people (I'm not a good salesperson) so that isn't it. I think I like to watch a train wreck occasionally and as a whole the unemployment situation in America is like a giant train wreck.

Deeper down of course I actually happen to know quite a number of unemployed or underemployed folks and my heart aches for them. I want to wave a wand and fix it. As someone who deals with layoffs all day long it's draining to listen to story after story of people who have worked hard and just want a job. Any job.

Which is why I get so emotional about the ARRA. I cried when I read about how that would affect COBRA for severanced people. And I wasn't even pregnant. Yet. When we talk about National Health care or Health care reform I have a number of ideas. And I'm passionate about it. Because I see first hand every day what happens to people who are under-insured or lack insurance entirely. I talk to people who need an affordable option. I don't pretend to have all the answers. I just know that stuff needs to change.

But this blog isn't actually political. It's just about the unemployment that I see on a daily basis.

Not too long ago at an official PTO function (okay, a BBQ in my back yard) the PTO ladies and I started talking about work stuff. Not PTO work but our own jobs. It struck me that each and every one of us is staring deep into the face of unemployment in one way or another.

D is a Cosmetologist by trade. She owns her own business and was doing pretty well, keeping busy almost 7 days a week at her shop. Until last fall. Now she's struggling. She lives with her mother and young daughter. Her mother was laid off 8 months ago and hasn't been able to find anything else. She doesn't receive child support for her daughter and her business has dropped to almost a quarter of what it was. They are desperately trying to refinance their home but the bank has been dragging it's feet and every month her income stretches shorter and shorter. If the bank doesn't refinance and she doesn't get another job she is in danger of losing their home in just a matter of months.

H is a IT person for lab machinery at a large hospital here in Colorado. The health care crisis is scary because she's afraid if national health care comes to pass that reimbursement rates will be like those with Medicare. Medicare doesn't reimburse nearly the cost of the tests that some patients need to have run. If that happens then income will fall drastically. No new equipment will be bought due to lack of funds and therefore there wont be a need for as many techs. Her husband is also a mechanic and he has seen his hours cut as less people come to the shop for regular maintenance in a bid to save a few dollars. Less customers = less people needed = layoffs. While he hasn't been there yet, they are afraid for what the next few months will mean.

B was working part time at Wal-mart after her husband lost of job and couldn't find another one. Her hours were constantly changing and it seemed that she worked just enough hours not to be able to get insurance for the children but enough to be exhausted at the end of the week. Her husband looked for a job for almost a year before finally finding one (as a police officer) in a city 2 hours from here. Now she has to try and sell their home in a zip code that has the highest foreclosure rate in Colorado. Not much is moving around here lately.

C works for the local school district. She has seen wage freezes and hiring freezes that double her workload without any additional compensation. She is afraid that soon the district will eliminate her position entirely due to lack of funds. Her husband works with conference set up, cables, lighting etc. There has been a steady drop of local need for that line of work so he has seen his need to travel increase dramatically to stay employed, something that keeps him from his wife and children for weeks at a time.

E is the Executive Assistance for a large technology firm. Technology just isn't' moving like it used to and her fear is that they will start laying off people like support staff and her department. She's already had to assist with layoffs this year of her friends and co-workers and is already looking at tweaking her resume.

Me. I actually don't think my job is in danger right now. But I work for a large telecommunications company. And they have already started outsourcing part of a close departments job for the 2010 year. Those people are terrified right now. And they probably should be. What job will they do if we've outsourced it? I also handle severance and layoffs every single day and I know that there is nothing to suggest you are secure where you are at.

The faces of unemployment. In my backyard. Telling the story of America. Kinda of scary.

Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11

Today is a day that a good portion of our nation mourns. We tend to remember the events of 8 years ago and talk about where we were when the Towers Fell, when the plane hit or when that flight crashed in the field. I cry. Every 9/11 I cry. I remember all of that vividly as if it were yesterday.

But I think we do the men, women, children, husbands, fathers, wives, mothers, sisters, brothers, heros, victims, innocents and sinners a real disservice to only remember the hate. The only remember the horror. Don't get me wrong. I'm still saying silent prayers for all those might have beens, should have dones and never weres.

Instead though, to honor them, I'm going to talk about something good. Something positive. I'm not going to lie, this is tough. It would be easier to talk about sadness and grief.

But here it goes.

Wednesday night when I pulled into the driveway Lulu saw the neighbor boy outside. She shrieked, "ABRAHAM" and possibly was jumping out of her carseat before I had put the car in park. He saw her and shouted, "LIZZIE". Apparently, unbeknownst to either of them, they are neighbors and are also in the same class at school.

She and he, along with his 4 siblings(?) (1 brother, 3 sisters) played together. We got Popsicles for everyone (that they didn't eat), they swung on our porch swing, looked at the Chihuahua puppies in their garage and jumped on the trampoline in their backyard. They laughed and played and wore at least my little girl plain out.

Here was/is the cool thing. Abraham and his dad are the only ones who speak English in their house. And it's their second language. But Lulu had no problem playing for almost 2 hours with everyone, even those that didn't speak English (and didn't understand her gibberish that she thinks is Spanish). She offered everyone a Popsicle, even though she didn't know them, and at the end of the night talked incessantly about all of her friends. Not just Abraham, but his brother and sisters and what a good time they all had and how much fun they all had.

She told me that his little sister thinks her (Lulu's) name is Nina. "Isn't that funny Mommy?" she asked. I asked what the sister's name was. She told me Girl. The irony didn't miss me.

I love that she has these friends. That she (and they) don't care that they don't speak the same language. Because even though their words aren't the same, children all speak the same language.

It's the language of Popsicles on a September night, the thrill of the porch swing, the laughter from the trampoline and the warm, wet kisses of the smallest puppies you've ever seen.

Who needs common words when the spirit and language is all the same?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Nana's visit

Recently we had Nana come to visit. Honestly, it was great. It went spectacularly. It went so well it made me offer to give her my blog address which in turn makes me wanna take back the stuff I said about us not liking each other. But that would be lying because at the time I wrote that I really believed that about us. And honestly, sometimes that dynamic may always be there.

But Lulu got to spend 2 nights at Nana's hotel room. She got to eat breakfast and play and have Nana's attention (and help with homework). Kylie got to spend time also talking about her friends, school and all of her teenaged angst. In person. Nana took the girls to a Rockie's baseball game, to a couple of IMAX movies and took Kylie and a friend to Buffalo Bill's grave. They shopped, they played and they had a good time.

I got to spend a little time with Nana and got to essentially tell her things about my divorce that I hadn't really shared before. Things about what my former in-laws had said. Reasons for the divorce. Nana is truly one of the only people in my life that knows my ex as long as I have. She remembers him coming to our house when I was about 13. She's known him and all of the good and bad that he and I went through in our marriage.

She referred to him as my Starter Husband. She referred to Micah as my Trophy Husband. I couldn't be prouder.

I asked Nana when she would come to visit again. She said maybe for Easter. She wants to meet the new baby. But he's coming at a crummy time. You know, where there is snow on the ground. She already lives in Alaska. If she wanted snow she'd stay there. That's valid.

I wish I had pictures of Nana and kids but I just didn't pull that together. So much for The Book.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

How I struggle.....

I really want you all to believe that I am a good person. That's I'm perfect and infallible and everything that my husband says I am. But I would be a liar. Sometimes I'm just not frankly and I REALLY struggle with doing the right thing. Sometimes.

The right thing in this case normally involving my ex-husband.

You see when we first separated and then divorced we actually got along REALLY well. Our divorce was one of the smoothest in history I believe because of our friendship and willingness to go the extra step for the other person. That has somehow morphed or changed and he now really really doesn't like me. I'm not entirely certain why but it seems to have happened, or I noticed it, while he was deployed. I believe it had to do with the ways I was handling the Teenager.

He may be right, that I handled that whole situation wrong and continue to do it wrong. I am doing what I feel in my heart is right for her. But I think he is really, really angry about what I do and don't allow.

I kinda look at it like a person who has never had children before and makes a comment "When I have kids they will never.......". That almost guarantees that not only what you just said will never happen happen to you but it will be 10 times worse when it happens. It's easy for someone to say "I would never allow my daughter to leave the house with her makeup looking like that." But until you've been dealing with a screaming hysterical child destroying your house and rocking back and forth yelling things that require you to send your younger child out of the house so she isn't exposed to it you don't really understand how little caked on mascara will mean in your overall sense of "what do I want to deal with right now".

Mascara will come and go. 3 hour screaming fits over face washing will last a lifetime, at least in your memory. At least that's how I see it.

Anyways, so we don't get along right now. My ex and I. He wont speak to me except in very short bursts about the children. He wont discuss a custody arrangement and wont come to their respective birthday parties at my house or anything I've arranged. Even though the children have asked him too. Even though I feel like Micah and I have made a good effort to extend the Olive Branch for the children's sake.

Brian, my ex, has been deployed in some form or another since January. He volunteered to go. He hasn't had any type of overnight custody of them since then. So he has no real idea of what's gone on this year. I do. I photograph everything.

The last year we were together I started putting together The Book. It's a book of what the children have done over the year so that our families from out of the state have a scrapbook of our comings and goings. Except I do it electronically and it's hardbound. So everything thing we do I do with an eye towards The Book. I did it in 2007 and then in 2008 when we separated. Below is a link to our 2008 book in case you haven't seen it.

Click here to view this photo book larger

Micah has urged me to download the pictures to a flash drive or burn them to a CD for Brian. As a sign of goodwill. So he will know what his kids did this year. Probably because I didn't send very many pictures to him while he was deployed. That sounds really nice and selfless right? Like something someone who was a good person would do, even though he says horrible things to me and has called me Worthless and used profanity at me. (Yes, I sound like a martyr. I know.)

So I'm sitting at my computer, trying to will myself to do this. Trying to give up my selfish urge to tell him to kiss my ass. I know he will make a book for his family this year and I wont be a part of it. And that's okay. His family, I'm sure, doesn't want to see pictures of my wedding or our apparently pre-honeymoon trip to Cancun. They want to see him and his new life and kids without my interference. I'm okay with that. But for some reason the only child in me does NOT want to share.

I want to sit in the corner and cross my arms and pout "But he doesn't DESERVE the pictures. He was mean to me. He's not my friend anymore. He wont play with me so I'm not sharing. "(I know, I sound REALLY mature for a 30 year old, right?) So I know I'm not a good person for dragging my feet. I know I'm naughty for not sharing.

I just don't know how to let go I guess and be the bigger person in this instance. *sigh* But I'm trying.

30 weeks down....

So Thursday marked the beginning of my 30th week of this pregnancy. Here is a belly picture for you.

I don't like having belly pictures taken of me. I'm already a big girl and while I know people can TELL that I'm pregnant I still feel very self conscious. Especially now that I seem to keep bumping my belly into things like doors, walls and people.

I still feel generally very good. I occurred to me though that we have a little over 2 months left to get ready for this baby. And uh, yeah, I got nothing. Well, that's not true. I have a silly amount of clothing for this baby. Few sleepers but a lot of very cute outfits. But I don't have a car seat, diapers or even a wipe in this house.

I'd like to tell you that I'm always this relaxed and cool when it comes to getting ready for a baby but, well, I'm not. I'm just busy. Hazard of being the third child I guess. I have a teenager I have to worry about, I have an almost 5 year old who is starting to feel a little left out and a new husband to navigate marriage with. I have an full time job outside the home and what should be a full time job INSIDE my home (But certainly isn't getting the attention it deserves). I have PTO, friends and family to play with and that severely limits the amount of time I spend preparing for this baby. Poor little guy.

I have been informed that I will be having a baby shower. I certainly hope those people have the good sense to know what I need because honestly, at this point? This baby may have to come home with a t-shirt tied around his waist in a loaner car seat from the hospital but in a very cute Gymboree outfit.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Box Tops Mole

For those who don't know, I'm the Box Tops Coordinator for our local elementary school. What that means is that I send out flyer's and put the boxes in the classrooms and collect and count the box tops after a certain time frame. I run contests, about 3 a year and the class with the most box tops wins a treat party. Usually ice cream sandwiches.

Box tops look like this:

And can be found on products from General Mills and can be found on anything from cereal to Kleenex. They are worth 10 cents a piece and believe me, that adds up when you have 400 kids competing for an ice cream party.

In my old life I used to collect these for the school in a plastic baggie (okay I still do that) in a drawer in my kitchen. Whenever Brian was looking for something he would look in the drawer and complain about them taking up so much space and be loud. He hated them. I'm not sure why.

The other day I caught Micah cutting box tops off of our Ziploc baggie boxes. I asked him what he was doing and he told me he was looking for box tops so I wouldn't forget them. He had about 4 in a pile on the counter.

He then proceeded to tell me that he had gone all around his office that day and looked at every one's Kleenex boxes for the box top label at the bottom and he had one for me. His office is huge.

I gotta say, I'm pretty impressed with a man that will check his co-workers snot rags for box top labels. If that doesn't say family, well, I don't know what does.

*as a note, I sent in a bag 2 weeks ago with 30 box tops in it. Next Monday I'll have a bag of another 30 at least (Depending on if Micah searches the rehabilitation center his Grandmother is in for the short term today) . We don't really buy anything special but you would be amazed at where you can find some of these things.

**another side note. I'm predicting a Kindergarten win for the box tops contest this fall. Just sayin'. With a Stepdad like Micah on the case, how could she lose?

Thursday, September 3, 2009


One of our favorite blog posts (Our being Micah and I) from someone else is Elisa's post about Sophia being SOOO BIGGGG. I think every parent on the planet has seen/done that with their kids at one time or another but I tend to forget that this is Micah's first ride on the roller coaster.

For those who don't know what I'm talking about, my Cousin Eric's sweet wife Elisa has a blog and last month she posted a video of their newest daughter at about 6-7 months old giggling and doing the SOOOO BIGGG arms in the air movements while Elisa says SOOOO BIGGG.
It's incredibly cute and if I wasn't already pregnant, well, I might have gotten that way on purpose just based on that video.

So Micah and I watched it and it was cute and we loved it.

Last night I was sitting in the dining room chair. Micah was picking up the kitchen and I was reading a recipe guide for my favorite appliance of all time, my pink kitchen aid mixer. That I haven't used yet.

Micah walks up behind me and lovingly hugs me while rubbing his hands on the side of my belly. My pregnant belly.

And says,

SOOOOO BIGGGG in the high pitched voice.

I cracked up. And kissed him.

Never had a man as excited about a baby as this. Or as eager to give belly rubs.

*I promise to post a 30 week belly picture soon. I just can't access them from my computer right now.