Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Parent's Job Is Never Done

People who aren't parents--and I mean parents of either the two-footed OR four-footed, furry variety--don't always understand how or why we tolerate the things we do.  Parents of human children deal with all kinds of things:  The kid cleaning mud off of himself with the 'only for special occasions' towels, five minutes before the guests arrive.  The daughter who pukes all over the couch that was purchased only last week.  The kid who wets the bed, years after being completely potty trained.  But parents of furry kids face the same things:  The dog who runs across the carpet after romping in the mud, just days after the cleaners left.  The cat who hacks up a hairball on the newly upholstered dining room chair.  The old, rarely incontinent pet that has an accident during the night while sleeping with you.  And we tolerate these things because we love our kids.

As I have mentioned, my cat is about to be 18-years-old.  In those 18 years, she has been quite healthy and we haven't had a lot of problems with her.  She has never had a chewing problem and because we had her declawed, shredding furniture hasn't been a problem, either.  Other than two bouts of a kidney infection, she hasn't needed anything more than her yearly visits to the vet.  While she has never been what you can call a 'people cat,' she never has been mean to guests, either.  The biggest problems I have ever had with her are the fur that covers almost every surface of the house--I now know it was a mistake to want a long-haired cat--the litter she brings to every room of the house--it clings to her long fur and the fur she grows between her toes--and the hairballs she regularly hacks up--again, this is because of her long fur.  That is quite a short list of problems.  Unfortunately, the list of problems might be growing with her getting older--and yesterday I had to face the possibility.

Over the last five years, my cat has had an incontinence problem twice.  One night, she was sleeping on the floor next to me in the computer room.  All of a sudden, I could smell cat pee.  I called to her and it took several times before she finally woke up--I almost thought she was in a coma, she was so deep under.  As it turned out, her badder released while she was in her deep sleep.  That was her first bout of incontinence--and it was substantial.  About two years later, she was sleeping in the kitchen in the 'catloaf' position, and when she moved, there was a wet spot on the carpet.  Once again, she had had an accident. And yesterday, her weakening bladder struck again.

The cat usually sleeps with me for, at least, part of the night.  Yesterday morning, the distinct smell of cat pee woke me up.  At first, I thought I was dreaming--well, having a nightmare, actually.  (And if you have ever smelled cat pee, you know why it would have been a nightmare.)  As my fuzzy brain began to wake fully, I realized that yes indeed, I WAS smelling cat pee--in my bed.  The bedspread, blanket, sheets, mattress pad, all the way to the NEW mattress, smelled of cat pee.  The strangest thing:  There was NO wetness present.  I don't know what to say about that--there should have been a great amount of wetness with the amount of area the smell covered.  But there wasn't.  Anyway, the clean-up had to begin.

My washing machine has a setting called 'sanitize.'  I'm not too sure WHAT it does--other than wash the clothes in hot, hot water--but it takes an hour and a half to complete.  And it is well worth the time.  Not one iota of smell/stink--other than the scent of fabric softener--was left in the bedding that I washed at that setting.  It was amazing.  So, I had the cleaning of the sheets, etc, taken care of, so it was on to getting the smell out of the mattress.  I was devastated, as the mattress is only a few months old--and we paid (probably) WAY too much for it.  I had nothing in the house that would neutralize the smell, so we had to go and find something.  Our first--and as it turned out, ONLY--stop was the local pet store.  When we asked what should be used to get rid of the smell, there was only one recommendation:  X-O Odor Neutralizer.  At $12 a bottle, I bought it, with the vow that I would return it if it didn't work.  I still have the bottle.  The stuff is absolutely AMAZING!!!!  If you EVER have need for getting rid of a bad smell, go and buy this stuff.  I'm sold and will ALWAYS have it in my house.

My first thought when I needed to get a product to rid the mattress of the smell, was that I needed to talk to The Youngest.  Considering she works at a vet's AND has seven animals of her own, I couldn't think of anyone else that could give advice like her.  Unfortunately, she was at work and unreachable when I needed her.  (Why I didn't just call her at work, I'll never know.)   When I finally did talk to her, she did recommend another product--the second one that the pet store recommended.  However, she did say that what I bought was good--they use it in the office to spray on dog's butts after they express their anal glands. (I don't know this from personal experience, but I understand the smell is quite powerful.)  The product is eco-friendly and non-toxic for humans and animals.  So, use this post as a public service announcement:  X-O Odor Neutralizer is some GOOD stuff.  And I REALLY hope I don't need to use it too often.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sleeping Beauty

There are some women who, when they sleep, could be auditioning for the part of Sleeping Beauty--they look completely serene and beautiful.  I am NOT one of those women.

I sleep on my stomach--always have, even when I was pregnant.  This means that my face is mashed into a pillow all night long.  And I don't mean in a good way--the pillow scrunches my face into ways that defy all logic.  One side of my face is squashed downward, while the other side goes up.  I don't know how, but this is the way it is.  I also have been told that I snore--all night--loudly.  Again, I don't know how one snores without sleeping on one's back, but I guess I have the talent.  And for TMI, I drool.  Which is even worse whenever I wear my retainers.  Sexy!  Really, I don't know how K manages to not run out of the house whenever he looks at me sleeping--but then again, maybe he DOESN'T look at me.  While I don't remember my dreams, I do know that I wake myself up at times, whimpering in my sleep because of what I'm dreaming.  All in all, I'm not going to win any Sleeping Beauty contest.

All of this is the reason I have to be up and out of bed at least 2 hours before I leave the house.  It takes that long for my face to fall back into place and for all of the puffiness to disappear.  When I sleep I get major 'bedhead' and my hair has to be completely wet-down to rid it of the look.  The lines that I get on my face while sleeping rival an 85-year-old woman's wrinkles--thankfully they disappear within two hours.  I wish I was one of those women who could roll out of bed and leave the house in less than a half hour, but it ain't gonna happen.  I want to blame age on this, but I haven't been a 'beautiful sleeper' since I turned one, so that isn't the problem.  Sleeping Beauty was lucky.  {sigh}

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Little of This, A Little of That

It's time for some updates and some useless info.

--The Youngest posted this on her Facebook status a bit back--HILARIOUS!
 "I figured out why I'm fat!  The shampoo that I use in the shower that runs down my body says "for extra volume and body."  I'm going to start using 'Dawn' dish soap.  It says "dissolves fat that is otherwise difficult to remove.""

--K has been working overtime shifts for the past two (?) weeks.  When he does overtime like this, the days run together and I don't know what is going on. The way this works:  K will work his regular 12 hour shifts and on his days off he works 12 hour shifts--NO days off.  Of course, you can't push your body like that, so he had to take two days off at the beginning of the week because he caught a 'bug.'  And I'm not sure when the overtime will dry up, so he MAY work straight through his week off.

--I'm really wondering if a new person took over the call-center for our police department--the 'police logs' haven't been any fun for far too long.  I KNOW it isn't because we no longer have people rocking the 'crazy' anymore.

--I do believe we may be getting around to having spring show up around here.  I'm seeing bare ground, but only in the places where K moved all of the snow out of our yard.  We really didn't have a bad winter here--almost all of the storms tracked south of us, so we were lucky.

--The Oldest is NOT pregnant.  :D

--Then again, The Youngest isn't pregnant, either.  :(

--Another year has passed and our cat is going to turn 18 in a couple of weeks.  Unbelievable!

--I mentioned ^ that K came down with a bug earlier this week.  Well, he decided I needed to get it, too.  I've been 'under the weather' for the past two days.  Not horribly SICK, just a bad stomach and very, very tired.  Even if he wasn't working the overtime, I don't think I'd be able to do our monthly road trip.

--I have been trying to do a number of projects and have been doing quite well.  Unfortunately, I keep ADDING new projects to do, so I'm not very much better off than I was to begin with.  I have now made 7 hats for The Oldest and her girls, but I still have 3 or 4 more to go.  (I wanted to give them a variety of colors to choose from.)  I still have a couple of things to make for my niece's baby shower, some things to make for another niece's bridal shower, and gifts for The Mother's birthday and Mother's Day.  ACK!!!  It's a good thing I don't mind doing this stuff.

--It really is quite depressing to write this list and find that there isn't anything more interesting going on in my life.  ;D

Friday, March 25, 2011

Hello Blogger!!!! (updated)

I'm having problems with Blogger and I don't know what to do about correcting them.  First, I'm not able to put every link that I want in my posts.  I'm doing everything the way I always have done them--and never had problems before.  These last few days/weeks I find that only SOME of the links actually make it into my posts.  Very frustrating!  And the other thing that has been going on is that 'anonymous' comments don't show up in my comment section.  Okay, so most 'anonymous' comments ARE unwelcome, but I have had a few that are legitimate.  The only way I even KNOW that there are comments is that I get a copy sent to my email.  And yes, I do allow 'anonymous' comments and have the settings set properly. ;)

****Okay, now the link I couldn't get to work in my last post seems to BE working.  This is getting beyond ridiculous!  I HATE computer/interweb problems!!!


To begin with, I am not trying to pretend to be the best-dressed, most sophisticated person in the world.  Heck, I'm probably not even the best-dressed person in my extended family!  (I tend to wear yoga pants and Red Wing t-shirts the vast majority of the time.)  So, I'm really trying not to be mean with this post.

The other day I had to go shopping.  There was a snow-storm predicted--which we didn't get once again--and my pantry resembled Mother Hubbard's cupboard, only with less food in it, so I HAD to shop.  Usually when I go shopping, I begin my evening at a general merchandise store, such as Walmart--and this is where this story takes place.

I'm sure most, if not all, of us have visited the site People of Walmart.  I find much of what I see there frightening and disturbing--but I think it affects me so much because I'm very, very afraid I'll see my own picture there some day.  {shudder}  Anyway, when I was in the store the other night, I found a perfect candidate for the site.  I DIDN'T get a picture because I'm sure the woman would have beat me severely for doing so and would have taken much, much pleasure in my pain.  BUT, I think I can paint a pretty good picture with words, so here goes:

First, the woman was anywhere from the age of 35 to 85.  And however old she is, her face would STILL not look good for her age.  Her hair was straw-colored bleach blond and the 'straw' reference didn't end there--it looked as if she had never heard of conditioner.  She looked like she had visited every bar in three counties in the last two months AND smoked a carton of cigarettes in each.  She was wearing low-cut jeans.  On top, she was wearing a vest that hit her mid-thigh.  The vest was leather and, other than possibly a bra, she was not wearing anything else.  The vest only had a closure at breast-level and it was completely open the rest of the way.  Her stomach was exposed so that I got a very good look at her bread-doughy, bumpy belly/muffin top.  While she wasn't more than 10-15 pounds overweight, she was nowhere near an age that could pull off this clothing.  About the only place a woman in this age group could possible fit in would be at the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally--but nowhere else.  And the best part of all of this?  She was a Walmart employee!  No, she wasn't wearing her Walmart tunic, but she DID have her name tag on and she was organizing shelves when I saw her.  And all I can say is:  REALLY??????

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

MIA, Giddy, and Surly (No, NOT The Name of a Law Firm)

I am noticing that my moods are changing.  I am finding myself gearing up to become manic/depressive in a big, big way.  While I have shown some signs of manic/depression, it won't get to full swing for another 3 weeks.  Yes, once again, the Stanley Cup playoffs are right around the corner.  I will be MIA.  I will be giddy with happiness.  I will be surly and uncommunicative.  I will be my normal, playoff-mode self.  And, in my heart of hearts, as long as the Red Wings are playing, I will have such happiness that no one can imagine.

I would assume that any fan of any sport is quite the same way as I am.  However, I don't know if any other sport does the playoffs like hockey does.  Not only do we get to see almost a month's worth of pre-season games and another 82-game full-season, but then we get the playoffs, which last for two months.  Yes, we can get almost 10 months of hockey in a year's time--and that is a long haul, for sure.  And for someone as fanatically in love with the game as I am, it isn't nearly enough.  :)

No one even had to tell me that the playoffs were close--I could see some of the Wings were switching to 'playoff mode' already.  Baby Boy is getting feisty these days--something that he isn't known for during the regular season.  The other night he gave a player a face-wash and last night he jumped right into the middle of a scrum.  For someone who is one of the most passive hockey players out there, it is a change.  Of course, I'm loving every minute of it--he IS my Baby Boy, after all.  :D

For those of you who REALLY couldn't care less about the game of hockey, I promise not to bore you too much with any news about the sport.  While I have my hockey blog, I don't post there often--okay, I have let it languish completely--so I MAY say something here and there.  It IS my life, after all.  But I won't bore you too much.  Just know that hockey is the reason I may be MIA, giddy, or surly--and thank the NHL.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

This Would Make ANYONE Go Postal!

Jen left a comment on yesterday's post and it reminded me of my favorite chipmunk story--and when I searched this blog, I didn't find it.  I'm amazed that I never wrote this down, so here goes:

I have talked a lot about the critters we have in our yard--AND house--and what has caused some of the most frustration for me is the chipmunks.  When we first moved to this house, we thought it was cute to feed the buggers.  And they became so tame that they would climb into your lap to be hand fed.  The Oldest was just a toddler at the time, so I figured THAT wasn't a good thing and we stopped the feedings.  Of course--as I said in the last post--they just helped themselves from the bird feeders, so they reproduced like crazy.  You know those nature shows that have prairie dogs in them? Where you see their little heads popping out of the holes? That's pretty much what our backyard is like, only with chipmunks.  And, of course, they get in the house and eat our gardens.  They drive us crazy and have done so for far too many years.

One day when The Youngest was still at home, she had had enough of the chipmunks.  All summer long the feeders had to be filled daily, the birds weren't coming to the feeders hardly at all, and the chipmunks were LAUGHING at us whenever we 'shooed' them.  After a day of yelling, banging on the window, and doing whatever else she could think of to scare the critters, The Youngest decided to start throwing things at the little rodent.  The chipmunk DUCKED when she threw things at it and went right back to filling its pouches with sunflower seed.  The more the chipmunk defied her, the more incensed The Youngest became.  Finally, with her face as red as Santa's suit, she screamed, "I AM going to get that thing!" and went running out the door with the spray bottle full of water.  She got within two feet of the chipmunk and, like a gunslinger from the Old West, pulled out the bottle, aimed, and fired directly in the chipmunk's face/body.  (They are small, so the spray went everywhere.)  I watched from the breakfast nook window, so I can swear this is the truth:  Instead of running away from the water, the chipmunk sat up and raised it's arm and started cleaning its pits.  Yes, she gave him a much-needed shower instead of scaring him off.  To say The Youngest was thisclose to going postal, is putting it mildly.  I thought the poor thing was going to have a stroke, she was so mad.  And I laughed until I peed myself.  :D

That would be my favorite chipmunk story.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

This One's For The Birds

I love watching birds.  I'm not what would be thought of as a 'bird-watcher,' as I don't leave my house to watch them.  My watching is done from my breakfast nook window and that's about all.  I put up bird feeders and we attract quite a few species that way, so I am a happy little bird-watcher.

For many years, I left the feeders up year-round.  It was the only way for me to get up-close-and-personal with summer birds like orioles and indigo buntings, which I see far too seldom.  Unfortunately, we have chipmunks and that caused K to take the feeders down halfway through the summer a couple of years ago.  If you don't know chipmunks, here are a few facts:  They will empty a feeder of 2 pounds of seed in less than a couple of hours.  They don't EAT what they take, they just hide the stuff for the winter--and they never remember where they put the food.  That is why we have sunflowers growing all over our yard during the summer--and the only reason we don't have a field of sunflowers is the fact that we have the lawn cut regularly.  Chipmunks rival rabbits in the fertility department--every year it seems as if there are another dozen that we have to deal with--they are no fun to have in the house and they dig holes/tunnels all through our backyard.  And of all of the species we have roaming our yard--and that includes deer, rabbits, raccoons, skunks--the chipmunks do the most damage to our gardens.  K didn't even do any planting last year because everything the year before was ruined by those little rodents.  He is getting very frustrated and we don't know what to do about it.  You can't discharge a firearm in the city limits--and that includes BB guns--so we can't kill them that way.  Poison is not an option, because there are far too many pets that (illegally) roam, so we don't want to hurt them.  And trapping just won't work--there are too many chipmunks.  Our biggest problem is our neighbors:  They feed the damn things year-round, so, of course, they are well-fed and have NO desire to leave the neighborhood.

So, back to what I was writing about.  This past fall I decided--after a year without--I wanted my bird feeders in place for the winter.  I waited until it was obvious that the chipmunks were underground for the season and placed four feeders on the posts/shepherd hooks, along with my two window feeders.  All winter long I had a steady stream of chickadees and finches, with blue jays and a few other species showing up at times.  But, I only needed to fill the feeders (I have very large ones, by the way) once for the entire winter, as there weren't all that many birds eating.  And suddenly, about two weeks ago, the dam burst, so to speak.  Since the day before our last heavy snowfall, we have had the following in the backyard:  starlings, juncos, goldfinches, house finches, purple finches, blue jays, mourning doves, chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers, and cardinals.  And there have been days when most, if not all, of these species have visited during the same day.  I don't know where they all came from, but it certainly has been fun to have so much activity again.  I will enjoy this while I can, because it is going to be pretty short-lived:  the chipmunks have come out of hiding and will begin gathering their food supply for next winter, any day now.  And K will put my feeders away for another six months.

Monday, March 14, 2011


For someone that doesn't work outside the home, Monday shouldn't be a dreaded day.  But, in my case, that isn't true.  I hate Mondays.

Back when the girls were home, Mondays were always 'that day'--you know, the day when you had to 'get back to business.'  I have always been a night owl, so having to get up with the girls on Monday morning was pure hell.  I never was so happy as when the girls finally were old enough to navigate by themselves in the morning.  Don't get me wrong, I still got up with them, I just didn't have to actually DO anything to get them out the door--a major blessing for me.  K has never been a 'Monday-Friday, 9-5' worker, so he is just as apt to be home on Monday as he is at work.  He never was part of my 'I hate Monday' problems.

These days, the major reason to hate Monday is it is GARBAGE DAY.  Any other day of the week would be better for me to have to do garbage, but we are scheduled for Monday.  Gathering the garbage isn't a particular favorite of mine, but to have to do it on Monday just makes it that much more of a chore.  And I have no explanation for why it bothers me so much.

Because of Monday being garbage day, that also makes it 'do a bit more cleaning' day.  If I have to clean windows or clean out the refrigerator, it has to be done on Monday, so that all of the extra trash/garbage can be thrown out.  Anything that will make more garbage gets done on Monday, so that it can be put to the curb that night.

For whatever reason, there almost always seems to be phone calls that need to be made on Monday.  Saturday's mail inevitably brings a bill or other letter that needs 'taking care of' on Monday.  When was the last time you made a call to any type of business on a Monday?  If you don't HAVE to do it, I say don't.  I've even had my doctor's office tell me NOT to call on Monday--and they don't want me showing up in the office unless I have an appointment.  People can be downright nasty on Mondays.

I hate being part of a cliche, but there we are:  I hate Mondays.  And I have no REAL reason to feel like this.  So, does anyone LIKE Mondays?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Not For Me

I am always amazed at companies that charge extremely high prices for their products and then want customers to PAY for their catalogs, as well.  Kind of reeks of arrogance, I would say.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

All The President's Men

The other night I was channel surfing and came across the movie 'All The President's Men' on one of the movie channels.  It is the story of how the Washington Post--namely, Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward--broke the story of the Watergate scandal.  I remember when I saw it the first time--I was wowed by the performances of Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford.  Actually, to be perfectly honest, I was wowed by Redford--how gorgeous he was in this movie.  Those were the years when he was his most-beautiful.  ;)  Anyway, I love to watch old movies and compare my feelings about them NOW as to how I felt THEN.  And this movie definitely has me looking at things in a different way from what I did at the time.

First off, let me say that Richard Nixon was not then, nor is now, my favorite President.  (Actually, I can't find one to accept as 'favorite,' as my assessment of the Presidents seems to change as the years go by.)  As hard as this is to say, I could never accept him as trustworthy because of his looks--he always seemed to have a bit of a weasly look to him and never looked honest.  At the time of his 'take down,' I was front and center cheering and applauding.  I thought there had never been a more crooked person to hold the office of POTUS and thought the man got much less than he deserved for what he did.  Today, I don't have quite as harsh feelings about him.

Without turning this into a Republican vs Democrat--or liberal vs conservative--thing, I do believe Nixon wouldn't have been pursued so doggedly by the Washington Post if he had not been Republican.  (This is the same as conservative reporters 'going after' Barack these days.)  The Post--and Ben Bradlee--were VERY liberal and I believe they delighted in doing what they could to smear Nixon in any possible way.  That he actually WAS dirty, made it so much better.  Also, if he wouldn't have LOOKED so damn guilty...  But, I don't believe Nixon was much different from any other POTUS that has been, is, or will be--he just happened to be the one that got caught.

Years ago there was a 'gentlemen's agreement' about what would and would not be printed about the POTUS.  Roosevelt was never photographed--or the photos were never published--sitting in his wheelchair.  The wheelchair could have given the suggestion of weakness and that wasn't a good way for the POTUS to be seen.  Even though JFK was a womanizer and his numerous affairs were some of the worst kept secrets in Washington, the papers never mentioned the fact--because there was respect shown to the office.  This is no longer the case and hasn't been for some time.  Some people think the internet and 24-hour news networks are the reason for this, but it has been a much longer time coming than that.  A good reason for this is the fact that, as a society, there has been a breakdown in common decency and respect.  Plain and simple.

It is human nature to want our leaders to be 'perfect,' or, at the very least, better than we are.  Before TV, the internet, etc, it was much easier for us to believe that those in the public eye were (or could have been) a step above us in every aspect.  Of course, we know better today.  There are very few people that show any sign of being even a little bit better than 'only human.'  And too often, we won't give our leaders the courtesy of being 'only human.'  Every one of us has something in our past that we wouldn't want examined in the cold light of day, but most of us are lucky enough to not see our mistakes talked about on the 6 O'clock News.  Unfortunately, because of the nit-picking ways of the 'opposition,' far too many highly qualified people won't even try to become elected officials.  And that is a crying shame.  Isn't it time that we allow our leaders to be human and make mistakes?  Can't we forgive youthful indiscretions?  Couldn't we look at how good of a leader a person could be and ignore a mistake from the past?  Or should we expect more from them?  I don't really know the answer, but I'm afraid that our best potential leaders will never step forward because of the unattainable standards we set for others, and can't come close to in our own lives.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Passive Aggressivity At Its Best

In the (almost) 18 years that we have had our cat, we've been very lucky.  Some people with animals are constantly trying to stop bad behaviors or make multiple trips to the vet's because of illness.  Our cat has only been sick twice and, for the most part, her behavior is quite acceptable.  Of course, she is the 'typical' feline:  She believes this house is HERS and she allows US to live here.  But, other than that, she has always been more of just a presence in the house than anything.  Cats' independent nature is why I prefer them as pets above other animals.  And our cat has been a pretty perfect example of that.  However, she has learned new tricks as she has gotten older.

When we got our new furniture and I did the pre-Christmas cleaning in December, I moved furniture around in some rooms.  Our upstairs bedroom is where the cat has found sanctuary for many, many years--a place she has preferred to be, as she doesn't really like people.  Because I moved the bed up there, her favorite place to sleep was no longer--she liked to sleep under the bed with her back pressed up to the heat run.  Her NEXT favorite place to sleep was under/behind the couch, with her back pressed up against the heat run.  (I can't understand why she needs to be near direct heat, as half of her 15 pounds is fur.)  I not only moved the couch so I could fit the Christmas tree in the living room, but the new one didn't have enough clearance for her to get under.  Again, she needed to find a new favorite place.  She finally has decided that under our bed is an acceptable sleeping area.  Of course, this isn't her PREFERRED place--if she had her druthers, she would be sleeping ON our bed 24/7.  And this is NOT going to happen.

With the new bed, I need to use a foot stool to climb up into it.  The cat has learned that it is MUCH easier to get into bed by using the stool, too.  She doesn't even try to jump up anymore--frankly, I think she is getting too old to jump that high comfortably.  I have no problem with her coming into bed and sleeping with me, but I will not have her on my bed all day long.  And I always move the foot stool when I get out of bed, so she doesn't have access to it until I go to bed the next time.  And this doesn't make her happy.

I don't store things under my bed like a lot of people do.  There is only ONE thing I keep there and that is the box my winter boots are in.  It just is easier for me to get to the boots the few times I need them during the winter if they are under the bed.  Under the bed has become the favorite place for the cat to sleep when she can't get on top of the bed.  There is plenty of room there for any cat, even one that is big as ours, but she isn't satisfied.  She lets me know, every day, that she would be much happier on top of the bed.  Before settling down for one of her numerous daily naps, the cat pushes the box from under the bed, right into the center of the room, where I will be sure to see it--or trip over it, if I'm not careful.  And she does this more than once a day.  She has learned to take passive aggressive behavior to a completely new level.

My cat, in her favorite position:  Lying down.  :D

Monday, March 07, 2011

What A Difference A Day Makes

The other day I suddenly realized something:  I'm not depressed!  This wasn't the first time this had occurred to me, but I think this WAS the first time I actually embraced the thought.  I. AM. NOT. DEPRESSED!  What a wonderful feeling--even though it didn't REALLY happen overnight.  ;)

I haven't been shy about sharing my emotional problems--I have had several bouts of depression in the past and have dealt with it in different ways.  I have been on medications for depression and have been in therapy--both of which helped to some extent.  However, I believe the biggest factor in my 'recovery' came from the 'work' I did on my own.

As far as depression goes, I have had two bouts of post-partum depression and have suffered because of problems we had with our girls.  (While the 'problems' we had are not as severe as other people might have experienced, 'problems' are whatever someone can handle.  'Problems' are a very subjective matter.)  I think a good part of my last, severe depression came after the collapse--once again--of any support from The Family.  It was hard enough dealing with incorrigible kids, but when you have no family support system to fall back on, it is easy to just fall apart.  And fall apart I did.  One day, about ten years ago, found me lying in the middle of the kitchen floor, in a fetal position, sobbing and moaning like a wounded animal.  I honestly believe I had a small breakdown that day.  How I got up from the floor and into bed after however many hours, I'll never know, but after some sleep, I believe I resolved to take charge of my life once and for all.  And that is when my recovery began.

I don't know how my thought process worked in terms of getting me 'better.'  I DO know that things changed drastically for me when I decided to get rid of 'toxic people' from my life.  The day I decided to break ties with my parents and brother and his family, was the day I started to get emotionally healthy again.  I consciously made up my mind to ignore The Family's blaming me for everything that 'went wrong' with my kids.  Today, any guilt I might feel about whatever happened, is guilt I have placed on myself, by myself.  I have never denied any culpability in the problems our family had, but I also will never take all of the blame--it was a two-way street, for sure.  And in the middle of it all, was The Family doing a great job of acting like cops at the scene of an accident--they did a lot of 'traffic control' and were a big part of everything that transpired.  For that, I HAD to get them out of my life--and the fact that they NEVER accepted any responsibility for their part in 'the troubles,' is reason enough for me to stay away from them.  And stay away I have.

The last time I actually spoke words to The Brother was in January 2004.  I saw him during the month of May 2008 for the last time.  I saw The Father and Mother last year in May--and I last talked to The Mother a few months ago, which happened to be the first time since May.  And in all honesty, I don't miss them.  The Brother and The Mother aren't 'happy' in their lives unless they have big-time drama going on, and that is something I don't now, or ever, need in my life.  The Mother is extremely manipulative and controlling--but she is so subtle that only people who know her as well as I do can see it--and The Brother has some serious mental-stability problems that I never think he will address.  I'm happy to be rid of them.

So, do I ever miss The Family?  Of course I do.  The Mother was my best friend--I talked to her almost every day and we were 'on the same page' most of the time.  Getting together with The Family could be the most fun I had in weeks--we had some great laughs while telling the family stories, etc.  There ARE some good memories that I have to suppress, but they do come to the surface at times.  Holidays and special occasions are sad for me sometimes--until I REALLY remember how they used to be. 

Getting together with The Family was never as easy as it seemed.  With The Brother's lack of control, you never knew if something said would make him have a 'temper tantrum,' start to scream and holler, and slam his way out of The Parent's house. (This he did on more than one occasion--usually because someone didn't agree with his views on a subject.  And he is EXTREMELY frightening when he gets like this.)  The Mother would work her subtle digs at me far too often--as in, "Gee, Jane has lost SO much weight!  She looks WONDERFUL."  as a way of telling me that I needed to lose weight.  Also, her favoritism when it came to certain grandchildren was extremely apparent far too often--and The Youngest always came out wanting for the approval and attention that the others got.  I don't need to put myself through this--as well as everything else I faced through the years.

To sum it all up, I'm feeling MUCH better now!  If it wasn't for The Husband and some closer-than-sister friends who were then--and still are--in my corner, I don't know what would have happened to me.  I am more grateful for them than words can ever say.  The doctors and therapists that I saw--even the lousy ones--were part of my recovery,  as well.  Also, I never could have gotten through all that I have without my faith and God's help.  This is something that I have always relied on and always could depend on.  However, what works for one person doesn't necessarily work for another.  If anyone would find themselves in the situation I was, my recommendation is this:  See a doctor first, get on meds if you can, and find support of some sort.  And trust your instincts--you might not like what your heart is telling you to do, but it might be for the best.  (As long as it isn't destructive, of course.)

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Baggage Fees Kill Me

Five years ago, we were making plans to be in Niagara Falls for our Youngest's wedding at the end of the month.  While everyone else that went to the wedding flew, K and I drove.  Yes, the rest of the people did have to come from further west than us, but we got there in less than 10 hours, so they could have done it easily in a few more hours of driving.  We did discuss the possibility of flying ourselves, but one thing stood in our way:  I am the world's worst packer.

I hate to pack whenever we go on a trip--and I don't care if we're going for overnight or for 10 days!  I think part of my problem is the fact that K doesn't help at all, which I wouldn't necessarily mind if he would only tell me WHAT he wanted me to pack.  I always have to decide what I need for myself AND what he might need--and that isn't always an easy task.  I would much rather pack during the winter months, as I ALWAYS know I need to take warm clothes.  However, packing for the spring, summer, and fall months finds me taking three times as much clothing as I can ever hope to wear.  With no promise of what weather I might face--don't forget, we can experience 50* temperature changes in 24 hours around here--I have to pack for hot AND cold whenever we travel.  And that is why it is so much easier for us to drive:  We have enough room to take all of our luggage.

It is getting too expensive to bring luggage when you travel by air.  Period.  As of right now, most airlines are NOT charging for carry-on bags, but with more and more people actually trying to get away with having to pay baggage fees, we'll see that change in no time.  The last time we traveled by air, there was so much stuff in the overhead bins that I worried the doors wouldn't be able to close.  And I saw so many people staggering into the plane under all of their carry-on junk, that I couldn't tell if they were men, women, or grizzly bears boarding.  The airlines are not going to let this go on much longer.  Considering the baggage fees for checked bags is now $20-25 dollars per the first two bags--and the fees jump drastically for the next bags--the cost for carry-ons will have to be in the $15-25 range when the fees are imposed.  And that will add another $100--at the very least--to our travel expenses.  Even with the cost of gas, it might be cheaper for us to continue traveling on land and not by air.  But then, we could just save all of that money and stay home.  Ugh.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

NOOKcolor Wallpaper

Here is the wallpaper that I have on my NOOKcolor right now:

It makes me giggle.  :)

Penis Envy

(Now that title should get this blog some hits!  :D)

This isn't about penis envy in the way that Freud meant it.  This post is all about how convenient 'penii'* are when it comes to peeing.  How many women really never envied men for being able to pee standing up?  I think the entire process is so much more simple and easy for men than it is for women, so in that aspect, I have penis envy.  And, it seems as if a lot of women are like me.

GoGirl is a product that has been designed to allow women to pee while standing up.  Wow.   It is supposed to be for women who camp--not me--women who travel to third world countries--not me--women who spend a great deal of time outdoors--not me.  I would think of using this product when in some of the public bathrooms I have used, but I am very choosy about where I go, so it isn't that much of an issue for me.  I just can imagine how other restroom patrons would react to a pair of feet standing TOWARDS the toilet in the stall and not away from it, as is the usual practice.  (Let's face it, we do spend WAY too much time glancing under the stall doors when we go into a restroom.)  I wonder if security would be called because someone thought a transvestite was in the women's?  I could see using this in an airplane bathroom--or what I think an airplane bathroom is like.  All of the times I have flown--not THAT much, actually--I have never used a bathroom on a plane.  I just can't make myself do it.

The number one (no pun intended) time I would want to use this device is when I have to give a sample in the doctor's office.  After all of these years--and two pregnancies--I have not mastered the technique of how to pee in a bottle without showering my hand, wrist, and lower arm with pee.  I just can't do it.  The biggest problem, though, is the sample has to be sterile and I don't think the GoGirl can be sterilized.  Bummer.

While this isn't a TERRIBLE idea, I don't know how much usage I would get out of it.  I AM a klutsy person, so I would probably wind up having to change my clothes after using this thing way too often.  For the time being, I think I will pass.  What about you?

*I know that isn't the proper plural of 'penis,' I just like the word better than 'penises.'  :D