Wednesday, September 28, 2011

In My Room

When Mia's dad (or Uncle TyTy as my other kids call him) and I bought this house in October 2004  it was in rough shape. It needed new carpet, new paint, and a whole lot of TLC, but its 2 bedrooms and one bathroom had potential for our little family. Two adults, a baby on the way, a puppy and a kitten and had plenty of room to grow - or at least it would make a great starter house.

Fast forward 7 years: Chris, myself, 3 kids, 1 cat, and one idiot dog all smooshed together in the same 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom house. The carpets need to be replaced again. We're slowly, but surely repainting rooms. We've fixed the fence in the back yard with zip ties multiple times. No, I'm not kidding. 

Sure, we could move, but then I wouldn't be able to say fun things like "Why can't I ever have anything nice?" and "Maybe it'll just catch on fire when nobody's home?" Plus we like the neighborhood, so like any responsible parents, our own comfort takes precedence over the comfort of our three children.

The girls share a bedroom out of necessity, and share a bed because they enjoy it. Take a bedroom the size of a Prius and add in a full size bed. Now add a dresser. Now add a Barbie Dream House. Now imagine that Toys 'R Us exploded and it rained toys all over. Yep, add that too and some dirty clothes and some clean clothes that Mommy hasn't felt like putting away... since maybe...August?

Sounds magical, doesn't it? This is a taste of what it looks like:

I found a few interesting things online today. One was this. Click it. You know you wanna...

The other was this. Take the time to click through each of the photos and read the captions that accompany them. Beautiful, heartbreaking, funny, shocking, innocent, and real. 

Just like two girls I know.

When I'm worried and I can't sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
And I fall asleep, counting my blessings

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Big Ole Bag of Tricks

This is my purse:

I bought it a few weeks ago in the store next door to the office where I work. I charged it, and they agreed to split the final amount between two payments. Not because it was expensive - because I feel less guilty about my $35 purchase when I can con myself into believing it was only $17.50...twice. My logic doesn't work for everyone.

I envy those women who have the self discipline to match their purse to shoes/outfit/season/activity. I used to be one of those women. I miss her sometimes. That chick was highly organized and traveled lightly.

For the most part, I carry a black/brown/beige purse because it matches everything - I'm usually running late, so I don't have time to change it up. Also, why do it beforehand when you could be I don't know...sitting on the couch hoping that nobody needs anything. Back to the purse - it also has to be a big purse. Like Mary Poppins big, because I just may need to pull a coat rack out of the damn thing & if you don't have room for a coat rack well then what's the point?

This is what the inside of my purse looks like:

It comes equipped with 3 outer pockets, 2 inner pockets, and one big zipping divider in the middle portion so that you have no excuse for carrying an unorganized purse. Unless I'm the owner, then it just looks like somebody reached into a bathroom cabinet/diaper bag/desk drawer/mailbox and thought "Well hmm, now where do I put all of this stuff...Ah ha! What? No, she won't throw her back out carrying this 50lb load of bullshit. Don't be ridiculous!"

It's pretty common for someone to pick up my bag of tricks and immediately say "Jesus Christ! What do you have in there?!" Let's investigate:

Contents included:

  • Keyring w/ 4 keys & 9 frequent shopper cards, door unlock thing (that's a technical term), & zebra print heart because I celebrate the animal patterns whenever possible. One key is to the hub's old apartment - the one he moved out of when we got married. I might need it someday.
  • My phone. Ok, I'm lying here - phone is only in my bag while I'm walking from car to building or vice versa. It's in there sometimes though. There's a pocket for it. A pocket I always forget about.
  • Pack of gum. Never the blue kind. That's just nasty.
  • 2 diapers. It doesn't matter if they've already pooped. It can ALWAYS happen again. And again.
  • Cigarettes & a lighter. Don't judge me. It's more acceptable to take a smoke break on the clock than it is to take a vodka break.
  • Sunglasses. The lacquer is peeling off of them, but I know if I get anther pair that I'll break them instantly. These bad boys have been with me for 3 years.
  • Empty bank envelope.
  • Wallet = Equally devoid of cash.
  • Kleenexes so that nobody feels the need to eat her boogies - MARLEE THAT'S DISGUSTING
  • Bag of makeup. The smaller bag of tricks in this blog post...
  • A small notebook & 2 pens so that I'll write things down and not forget to get shit done.
  • A note from the school requesting information on Mia's asthma/asthma attacks/medicines. I've been meaning to fax it to her doctor for 2 weeks. Didn't write that one down in the handy notebook.
  • Shut off notice for the water. Also didn't write that one down. I'll pay it, I swear.
  • 3 types of over the counter painkillers. I've got the bones of an old lady. Eat your hearts out.
  • Coconut scented lotion & lemon scented anti-bacterial. 
  • Deodorant. I carry it in my purse so I don't forget to wear it. You're welcome.
  • A bottle of Hawaiian Ginger body spray. I like it. It smells like a Capri Sun juice pouch. 
  • 3 stuffed animals. Those aren't mine, but if I don't take them out of the car, nobody's going to.
  • A package of peanut butter crackers. I put them in for Miles, but I usually eat them myself.
  • Random wrappers, receipts, flyers, etc.
 Once I started putting things back into the purse, I found I'd missed an entire pocket of necessities, but I'm not going to list them. Except for the tampons, I'll tell you those were in there just in case you're a man reading this blog. Men hate tampon talk. 

I almost bought myself another new purse yesterday, but I put it back because I thought I'd give my husband a chance to buy me a gift this year instead of pulling my typical "Look what I bought today! We'll say it's my birthday gift!" act.

Oh yeah, my birthday is tomorrow. I'm turning 28 - not 30, as my darling daughter announced to Walmart today. She's an angel. Post to follow.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Difference In a Decade

I'm reflecting today, as a lot of Americans are doing.

Sitting here in my darkened living room, I'm watching the 9/11 Memorial coverage while the rest of my house sleeps and finds comfort in their dreams. I've cried. I've smiled. I've reflected. Has it really been 10 years already? And so much has changed.

On September 11, 2001 I was 17 years old. I was a high school Senior sitting in my Advanced Computers class creating web pages for our school's website. I remember our small class laughing and having a hard time concentrating on the task at hand - it was the first class of the day, Senior year had just begun a few weeks prior, my friends and I were making plans for my upcoming 18th birthday the following weekend.

In the midst of every day life, our teacher Ms. Price announced that an airplane had hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

I don't think any of us fully grasped the impact of what that meant, and would come to mean for the rest of our lives. As we worked, Ms. Price turned on a live news feed because she realized as an adult that this was a turning point in life as we know it. While the news played, I remember thinking that it was scary - not knowing if the plane had been full of people, not taking into account that the building was filled with people. It was an accident in my mind, a sad accident and not done on purpose.

Shortly after that, we watched as the second plane crashed into the South Tower and the buildings came down. Our class work came to a screeching halt as we all watched in horror. Our teacher's voice began to crack as she spoke to us, explaining that this was a planned attack and not an accident. The land of the free, and the home of the brave would be changed forever.

When class ended, I signed out of my classes for the rest of the morning - terrified. I called my parents on my way home from school, watching the skies on the short drive praying that I wouldn't see an airplane flying overhead. I made it home in record time, and watched the news and pacing the living room until lunchtime when I went to work.

In 2001 I worked with my mother at the county's sheltered workshop. I was the file clerk and I answered the telephones for the receptionist when she needed a break. It wasn't my career choice, but it gave me gas money and I had a lot of fun working there. In my 17 year old mind, I would work there until the end of the next summer, before going to college to study journalism and becoming a contributor for Rolling Stone magazine. I had no aspirations for a spouse or children, only to be successful and get out of my small hometown. A decade ago, I was alive with the anticipation of change and the promise of my future.

A few weeks after the 9/11 attacks, I was in a car wreck that resulted in a lengthy hospital stay followed by being home bound for the majority of my Senior year. Initially, it was unknown whether I would walk again. It wasn't believed that I would be able to have children if I wanted to. My own mortality was apparent for the first time in my short life. It was eye opening to my 17 year old self, the things in life that I wanted to experience, and the people who I'd taken for granted that gave me their love and friendship. Sometimes it takes a terrible event to bring people together as the victims of the 9/11 attacks were forced to show our nation.

Ten years later, in 2011 I am a mother of 3. I've been married twice and divorced once. I never finished college, dropping out because I missed my life at home. My house sits 2 blocks down and one street over from the house I grew up in, and my oldest daughter attends first grade at the same school I graduated from. I've made a career out of working for the county's sheltered workshop, and though things have changed and continue to change, I can't see myself leaving because it's what I love and who I am.

I still dream about the future a lot as an adult: a larger home for my children to grow in, a date with my wonderful husband, promotions and raises at work... It's the unexpected realities of the present that keep me grounded though: mortgages, sick kids, budget cuts.

Once, I lived for change and planned for my future, and now that I'm an adult I realize that you can't prepare for a twist of fate. I cherish a little something about each day as I'm living it, and know that while I may not have fortune or fame I have enough memories to last a lifetime.

Never Forget.