Ugh


This morning, Zeeb descended the stairs and announced, “Mommy, I maked my bed! And I put my buggy and my Pippos under my pillow. Do you wanna come see?” Admittedly, I haven’t been enforcing the bed making rule, so I’m bewildered at his desire to do it at all. I’m pretty sure he’s never done it on his own before.

FYI: running in the freezing rain is definitely not a good idea. Especially when it’s getting dark. Yesterday, it had snowed in the morning, so school was canceled and Derek’s work was on 2 hour delay. (I used to scoff when I heard of places that would cancel school for 1/2 inch of snow, but my attitude has been corrected. In Utah, when it snows, there is usually a layer of white, fluffy snow. The roads quickly become slushy and muddy, and school is only canceled when there is so much snow that the plows can’t keep up, and people can’t shovel their driveways. Here, it will snow, then down will come the freezing rain, laying a lovely sheet of black ice across every surface, and the winds pick up to 40 miles per hour, pushing people and vehicles willy-nilly across the ice. Transportation is impossible, walking is treacherous. Running is stupid.)

I hadn’t run in the morning, because Derek took the kids sledding at the nearby golf course, and got home just in time to eat the scones I made and race to work without even showering. (I think I’ll post the recipe for the scones soon. They were delicious, and easy as pie. Or I guess way easier than pie, because you don’t have to roll anything out, unlike regular scones.) So I decided to got running when he got home in the evening. It was probably almost 6:00, which should have been my first deterrent, since I planned 4 miles, and it would definitely be dark by about half-way through.

I thought I could just stick to the roads, which is what I do anyway, and that way I could take advantage of the slush, instead of braving the deadly sidewalks. The rain was still coming down, but I had my new rain jacket. (Which is also an interesting curiosity. When it rains, you wear a jacket to keep you dry. But if you’re running, the added layer makes you sweat more than usual, thus making you more wet from the inside. When I did get home, I was drenched, but not from the rain.)

I went out, and immediately discovered the roads were still pretty icy. Stupid me, I just kept going just a little slower that I had planned. There was one point when, ascending a steep-ish little hill, I kept slowing down because my feet kept slipping out from under me, and suddenly, near the top, I was sliding backwards, with no way to slow down. I managed to get over to the side and jump onto the lawn. I still kept going.

After another mile or so, I was headed down a road that went through the very rich part of town, which is huge estates with huge houses separated by and nestled in the forest. Yes, I was running on a lonely, icy road that went downhill into the forest in the freezing rain at nightfall. I finally decided to stop there and cut through my loop and just go home.

I turned around, and found a street to turn on. I went up the road a little, to discover it was a cul-de-sac. Of course. And the neighborhood was forresty enough that I couldn’t see a road from the top of the little hill. Still, I thought I could cut through the forest and end up heading in the right direction. There were a couple of giant houses down the hill, one with many lights on, and one that was dark. I scrabbled through the forest, down the hill towards the dark one, hoping it wasn’t just the back that was dark. I finally found the driveway, and noted that the place was, indeed, vacant. As I traveled up the driveway, though, I came to the real house. I turned around, and beheld the garage, larger than my own home. Too late to turn back, I ran up the driveway, between the house and the gate-house, and as I was nearing the street, an SUV pulled in.

Mortification set in, and I slowed down to explain my plight. The lovely woman got out, and was eager to help me on my way. She made sure I knew where I was, offered to drive me home, and when I declined, offered the use of her phone, and when I declined, offered an umbrella. I think she had pity on me because when I was explaining that I had been a little lost, my voice cracked. Nice touch, eh? Not that I did it on purpose, I had just realized by then what a fool I’d been in attempting to run at all.

So I got out to the road, which, of course, was cobbled. Nothing like running in freezing rain on a cobbled road covered with ice in the dark. I managed to find my way home without further incident. I had only shaved 1/5 of a mile from the total distance with my foray in trespassing, but I had probably added 10 or 15 minutes.

So what are y’all doing for Valentine’s day?

Everyone in my family has crappy teeth. We all get too many cavities (it couldn’t possibly be the horrific amounts of candy we all eat. It must be genetic.), and we all have had to have fillings and root canals, plus a few extractions. I never used to be afraid of the dentist, until I started getting abscesses, and the resulting root canals and crowns. I once had a crown crack in two, and the tooth cracked right along with it. I had to get it pulled. For some reason, the Novocaine never works very well on me, so they end up pumping me with 7 or 8 shots, and I can still feel it. Well, getting a tooth pulled sucks, especially if you can feel it going on. I don’t know if it sucks as bad as what happened to my brother, though.

Isaac is a magnet for negative cosmic energy. People pick on him for no reason. The laws of physics conspire against him, and worlds collide to render him uncomfortable. I am not making this up. He gets way more than his share of bad luck, but I’m not going to tell you all the tragic stories today. Just one.

Isaac had recently gotten a new crown for one of those awful root canals. The dentist affixed the crown with temporary glue, instead of permanent, so that Isaac could wear it for a while and decide first if he liked the crown before it went in there permanently.

About a week after he got it, of course it loosened itself and fell out. Not wanting to waste a $400 crown, Isaac planned to keep it and return to the dentist. Having nowhere better, he decided to leave it in his mouth. After all, who wants to keep a tooth in their pocket, with all that lint, and who knows what else?

Just after finishing the last bite of his burger at lunch, Isaac suddenly realized that his crown was no longer in his mouth. OK, this part might have involved a tiny bit of lack of common sense, but read on.

Angered at himself, but nevertheless determined not to waste $400, Isaac descended upon a plan wherewith to retrieve his crown. You may be able to guess what his plan involved. Initial attempts at vomiting the crown out were unsuccessful, “probably,” he says, “because I ate it and it went right down to the bottom of my stomach, under the burger.” So he waited until the opportune moment and, armed with a quart sized Ziploc bag, he “sh– (rhymes with scat) in the bag.” He described to me the benefits of the bag. Apparently it is much easier to squish around if you first let all the air out of the bag.

The first attempt resulted in nothing, but never losing hope, Isaac persevered through a second. And Eureka! He found the crown. He fished it out of the bag of his own poo, and was rinsing it off in the bathroom sink, when Mom came downstairs and inquired about his activities. He tried to tell her several times that this was a clear case of “You don’t want to know,” but she pressed him until he explained.

Thoroughly grossed out, Mom left, only to hear a solid stream of profanity emanating from the bathroom shortly thereafter. Isaac had, of course, dropped the crown, and it had, of course, gone right down the drain. My compassionate mom went in to help him retrieve it again. They dismantled the sink and drain, and were able to rescue the treasure.

Isaac thoroughly cleaned the crown, and then took it to the dentist, who glued it right back into Isaac’s mouth. I can honestly and quite literally say that I am glad my teeth are not as crappy as Isaac’s.

As a rule, I’m not too big on New Year’s resolutions. For me, they’re much less effective than weekly or monthly goals. If I write down a few goals for one week, it’s not very likely that I won’t accomplish them, because the time commitment is one my brain can process without my circuits catching fire. If I ever do a long term goal, I have to break it down into many smaller, short term goals, or I will fizzle out in the first few days.

This year, though, I have come up with a few goals that seem appropriate for me for this year. Some of them are in the form of a contest, whether with other people, or just myself. I am of a competitive spirit, so this will be my motivation when doing something just for the sake of being a better person makes me want to sleep in.

1. I will run a marathon in 2008. I think the Air Force does one in September. I’m pretty sure there’s one in Columbus in October, and there are millions of other marathons to chose from. I’ve got one person who has agreed to train with me, and possibly another. I’m going to see Spirit of the Marathon to kick off my training. My goal is to finish it in 4 hours or less, but I won’t be sad if it takes me longer. It will be my first marathon.

2. I will see how many consecutive days I can go without purchasing or consuming any candy or processed sweets. This leaves the option of starting again and bettering my previous PR. I made the resolution to not eat any sweets in 2005, and I made it 5 whole days. With my new goal, I can do better than 5 days, and even if I break down and eat a box of Mike & Ikes, I can always start again the next day and do better. If I manage even to make my sugar consumption just a little more rare, I will count myself a success.

3. I will make my bed every day, even if it’s the last thing I do before getting in it at night. I dream of the day when I will be able to pay someone else to clean my house, but that day is not today.

4. I will not acquire any new hobbies or languages in 2008. I will not buy any new yarn, language books, or, dare I say it, cookbooks. But I will work on the hobbies I already have. I will practice the organ, finish my Greek, use the cookbooks I have to plan great weekly menus and actually cook as much as I can, finish the baby blankets for my cousins and the chenille washcloths that were supposed to get mailed with the soap, get my compost started, plant my garden, sew up the shirts I started, and the curtains, and the lambie suit for Kiki, and the list goes on.

Now I feel a little lightheaded. I need to go back and rework that last one so it’s in weekly, bite-sized pieces.

So does nobody remember that skit from Sesame Street where the mother sends her son to the market and makes him memorize the list? A loaf of bread, a quart of milk, and a stick of butter. He repeats it all the way there, mixing up all the items, over and over again. I don’t know why I remember that.

I woke up this morning a little cold, but ready to try to get something done today. I don’t clean very often, and it shows, so I had decided to make today the day. I would get the living room tidied, get the mountains of (clean) clothes out of all the bedrooms, scrub the bathroom sink (for the first time since we’ve lived here, I know, ew), and do some laundry.

I hate having a messy house, but it seems so futile to pick something up, only to turn your back for 5 seconds and have something else appear where it was. Or even to have the same item reposition itself from whence you took it. I hate explaining to my kids how to hang up their towel, or their coat, or the dishcloth, and having them forget before I’m finished speaking. I hate cooking and not having anywhere to put the dirty dishes, or not having anywhere to chop, because of the dirty dishes. I hate following the tornado trying to repair the damage in it’s wake, only to look behind me and see another tornado following me.

My poor kids have suffered my wrath this morning. I think I might be more stressed on the days that I try to clean than on the days I just let the piles pile. There comes a point where my blood starts to boil. It’s usually around the time when I’m making lunch and instructing the kids to get dressed, because they never get dressed after all the millions of times I ask them to all morning. Inevitably, there are no socks in the drawer. Because someone has worn four pairs of socks per day, and discarded them in various corners of the house, and someone else just can’t be bothered to look in the drawer where we pretend the clean socks live. And a third someone’s socks are just the right size to plug up those pesky holes in the heating vent grates.

Because I’m too lazy to clean up after breakfast, that youngest someone is adept at finding whatever vessel is teetering on the edge of the dining table, ready to empty it’s inevitably liquid contents onto the floor and/or very small someone’s person. Inevitably soymilk.

Because we don’t have any shelves, but we do have too much stuff, the piano is covered with junk again. Piano music, a digital camera, library books, movies, several knitting projects, a big box with a few tiny homemade Christmas tree ornaments, lotion, magazines, a tiny violin, some framed photos wrapped in bubble-wrap, and a hunting horn.

I think I’ve grown up with an inflated notion of the importance of my own talents, and finding ways to use them. House cleaning is not one of my talents, so it feels like such a colossal waste of time, when I should be getting a PhD in music, translating at the UN, finding a vaccination for AIDS, painting masterpieces, writing novels, hosting my own show on the Food Network, working as a forensic anthropologist at the Jeffersonian, designing low-income housing with no environmental footprint, and knitting washcloths.

In the meantime, does anyone know of a support group for people who love their kids, but HATE being a stay-at-home mom?

Liz and I are making soap. We searched 10 different stores for lye today, so we didn’t get started until this evening, but we’ve finally got it going. We were duly careful, with our gloves and goggles, and we measured everything by weight, not volume. We chose a crock-pot recipe so the curing time is much shorter: one day instead of 4-6 weeks. We’ll use lavender, peppermint, and honey-almond oils. We’re taking documentary photos, but I’ll post them another day.

I also have to report on my spontaneous surgery this afternoon. Since we moved into our house, I’ve had strange things going on with my feet, particularly the skin on the bottom of my feet. I have all these tiny holes. I thought it was just dry skin that was peeling, but today I got a painful little blister thingie right on the ball of my left foot. It wasn’t a blister, though. It was too deep. I know it wasn’t a plantar wart, because I had those as a child. My dad, an EMT, looked at it, and performed the operation. He lanced the thing (I know this is what you were dying to know about me when you woke up this morning), and said that since the pus was white and not yellow, it was not too bad.

He soaked it in sanitizing hand-gel, since there was no alcohol to be found in my aunt’s house. He kept asking if it hurt, and only left to go to the movie when he was satisfied that I was in pain. From the stinging. From the 64% alcohol gel, which would theoretically kill whatever organism was the source of the pus. Anyway, he left me with a bigger hole, and no answers as to what might be causing the weird holes. It’s not the ‘A’ word. That would never happen to me. It’s not friction blisters, as my dad scathingly said that I couldn’t get those from only running for 10 minutes a day.

I guess I’ll be taking my own advice, though, and get myself some new running shoes. Because nearly any of the available causes of my holes can be linked to the shoes. If it’s the ‘A’ word, or fungal, then my shoes have it. If it’s friction, ditto. If it’s excess moisture, then I need more shoes so I can alternate pairs of them, because, yes, I wear running shoes every day for most of the day. I don’t even think they’re that ugly, except in the respect that I wear a size 10, and who needs feet that big? Especially someone like me, who is not at all what anyone would call tall? Or maybe it is the heels that I bought and started wearing on Sundays, even though I swore never to wear them again.

That’s the sort of thing that would happen to me.

I have no important thoughts right now. I keep trying to think of something to write about, but the muse has left the building. No, not one of those muses, the other one. The one who provokes thought and discussion on important topics. I don’t even have the assistance of the thesaurus muse right now. I can’t even think of a more descriptive word that ‘important.’ I think I’m shutting down. Maybe I’m going into hibernation for the winter. I must be, because I just spelled hibernation wrong and didn’t notice.

But here I am, doing it for no better reason than that I said I would. Which must be reason enough, eh?

Sometimes I meditate on the subject of what I would write on my postcard if I sent one to postsecret. Angela has tagged me for this 8 facts meme, and I’m ready. I’m going to try to remember all those “secrets” that I’ve been storing up for a rainy day. And I’m not saying I’m proud of all these. Most of them make me feel like a freak.

1. Every time I use a paper towel, I think about how I’m probably going to Hell. I hate being wasteful, but the convenience of grabbing a paper towel and then not having to wash it is too seductive. But I do save every single plastic bag I ever come in contact with. If I get one at the market, because I was dumb enough to leave the house without my canvas shopping bags or Mexican bolsas, and I have to get one of those crappy bags, I save it and use it as many times as I can. I reuse ziploc bags. I make Derek wash them. I save the bags from the bulk section and use them the next time I go shopping, and I don’t put veggies in any bag at all. Four zucchini? No bag. Dripping wet parsley? No bag. Twelve oranges? That’s what that canvas bag is for.

2. I wear my clothes until they’re visibly dirty. Don’t say ew. Americans have such a neurosis about being clean. Clothes last much longer if you don’t wash them every single time you wear them. So you use less water, put less soap into the water supply, use less energy for the dryer, spend less money on clothes, and have that nice, comfy feeling of not having to get into tight jeans every single time you dress.

3. I have to do everything myself. And then brag about it. I made a pie today from pumpkins that I baked. Next year, I’ll have pumpkins in the garden, so I’ll just run outside to get a pumpkin to make that pie. I made three and a half meals out of one tiny roasted chicken, including a great soup from the broth I made with the carcass. I made my kids their Halloween costumes. I’m knitting myself a scarf. I make our bread whenever I can. I’m planning on making all the Christmas presents this year.

4. I’m always deeply ashamed when I give people store-bought presents. Unless they’re from DI. Then they’re recycled, so it’s OK. I never send thank you cards, because I never get it together and actually make them.

5. I’m afraid of everyone. Even people I’ve known since I was 5. Even my own family. Even Derek. I’m always afraid they really know what a sham I am, or they’re just being nice.

6. Prepare yourself for this one. It will sound horrible, but read on. I think I’m smarter and more talented than almost everyone. Which is not to say that I necessarily know more, but that I have this inner demon that says, “I may not know that, but it’s only because I haven’t tried to learn it yet. It’s not like I can’t, I just haven’t had the time.” Don’t misunderstand me. I know this is a snobbery, and that it’s untrue, but my brain doesn’t want to change it’s mind. I was told at a very young age that I was very smart, by many people. Those things don’t just go away.

7. The people that I know are smarter than me make me the most terrified. Like they know I’m really just an idiot. I have to compensate for my feelings of inferiority by doing everything myself. Like somehow sewing puppy costumes makes up for my inability to even read the math Derek works on. Or speaking 9 languages makes up for my dismal lack of knowledge in pop culture. (It’s a total lie, I don’t really speak 9 languages. But for the record, I speak English as my native tongue. I lived in Mexico when I was 5, and learned fluent Spanish, which I lost in the years following, but regained in part when I went back to Mexico when I was 19.

I studied German for 5 years in High School, but I didn’t have my heart in it. I learned the vocab, but I never cared about the cases. Hmmm, how can you speak German without the cases?

I took Italian for 4 or 5 semesters in college, because when I was choosing my classes my first semester, all the Spanish classes were full. I went to Vienna, Austria for a semester abroad, and improved my German, then took 3 more semesters of it.

I went on a religious mission to the Philippines when I was 22, and learned Tagalog fluently. One of my native companions said that when she wasn’t looking at me while I was talking, she would forget that I was not a Filipina. I also studied Ilokano, a regional dialect, while I was there. I was never fluent in Ilokano, but I could talk about church and God pretty smoothly.

I stayed in Holland for a few weeks with a Dutch friend, and learned a bit of Dutch, after which I got some books in Dutch and studied it on my own. My friend once told me that it was funny hearing me speak Dutch, because instead of an American accent, I had a German accent.

I took a semester of French following my trip to Holland. Only one, but with the background in Spanish and Italian, all I had to do was learn the spelling and pronunciation idiosyncrasies.

After I met Derek, I took a semester of Russian. The teacher only let me in because I had the same last name as he did, but I turned out to be a crack shot at it, so he liked me all the more. Even when I skipped about two weeks… after getting engaged. Yes, I was one of those. Don’t make fun.

But since I’m afraid of everyone, I never speak any of the languages, so they pretty much don’t count anyway. Oh, I started learning Greek this summer. Yay for me.

8. I want to know everything. I honestly cannot think of a subject that I don’t want to know more about.

Are you sad you wasted your time on that?

I’m tagging Elizasmom, Kalli, my fantastic aunt Barbara, Sketchy, Honeyvine, Yardbird and that’s gonna have to be all! Because who else can I tag that hasn’t done this one or hasn’t decided to renounce all future tags?

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