I’m mad. I spend most of my days being mad. Mad that no one else seems to care. No one else is playing by the rules. Everyone else is acting like this isn’t a thing. That 400,000 people haven’t died. Maybe we don’t know any of them, but that makes us privileged. Privileged by race, socio-economics, our jobs, our health insurance, the list goes on.
I keep getting told that I can’t live my life afraid. Afraid of dying. Afraid of getting sick. Afraid of everything. I am so sick of being patronized with this “advice.” I am not afraid. I am caring. I care about others. I care about myself. I care about my family. I care about being around for my family. I am a fairly healthy adult, but I did get the flu one year that took me out for 2 weeks and led to pneumonia. My husband got tonsillitis last year and ended up in Cleveland Clinic ICU. And he’s way healthier than me. I’m just thinking you never know what strain you are going to be dealt, so I am not taking my chances.
So I stay home. My kids stay home. We haven’t eaten in a restaurant in almost a year. I don’t run races or train with my running group. My husband doesn’t go to the gym. 99% of my kids’ activities are via Zoom. Boy Scouts, viola, guitar, trombone. Robotics was an online tournament this year. I haven’t hugged my parents in a year. They haven’t hugged my kids in a year. We celebrated my nephew’s birthday in their doorway, masked for a quick present open.
Christmas was all Zoom. My family is small so we met in my sister’s freezing garage, masked and socially distanced by family and opened presents. No food, no hugs, just a quick sad celebration and them home. My husband’s families are bigger, so those are all Zoom, which I hate. You know what’s worse than social gatherings for socially anxious introverts? Zoom calls. Where you have to yell to be heard (not happening). Where your face blows up for all to see when you do talk, and when you do, you can only look at how terrible you look in the camera. So I stay largely silent, which makes me look like a super bitch.
My family and I have contracted into ourselves this past year. Some in our circle can’t understand why we don’t just loosen up. Why we are so strict. Why just one hug is a no-go for us.
I am so mad that this became political. Remember 9/11? We all got together and were one for a while. American flag on every porch. Remember WWII? Rationing of everything. Working together? We can’t even agree to put a fucking piece of cloth over our faces.
So, I am mad. Mad at the selfishness. Mad at the ignorance. Mad that I am the freaking COVID Karen when all I want is for someone, anyone to show a lick of common sense and the decency to just stay home.
I just might publish this rough, angry verbal diarrhea. It’s raw. Like I am right now. Maybe writing again will make me feel better.
Some of us are blessed. Their kids are adventurous. They will eat all types of foods. All types of textures. For some lucky parents, this food can even touch other food.
We are not blessed in this way. This is our burden. Our 8 year old son is a total pain in the ass when it comes to food. Unless of course, it’s ice cream, then he’s good, but anything else, there are a set of rules that change almost daily.
Therefore, we give you: THE REASONS OUR SON IS NOT EATING:
1. The pizza has sat out for longer than 5 minutes.
2. The macaroni and cheese is NOT Kraft. Homemade? Big macaroni noodles? No go. Kraft M&C must also not sit on the stove longer than 5 minutes.
3. The noodles are too wide.
4. The noodles are a different color.
5. The noodles are mixed with something. Anything, even broccoli, which he actually likes.
6. The carrots are mixed with peas.
7. The pizza has bubbles on it.
8. The bread has nuts in it.
9. There’s parsley on it.
10. The grilled cheese has a tiny brown “burn” spot. (Not really, just browner at that place than he’d like)
11. The jello has fruit in it.
12. It has gravy on it. Clearly, not my kid.
13. It has any sauce or seasoning on it.
14. It’s breaded with something other than nugget.
15. It touched the ranch. Which he’s using to dip, but it touched before he’s dipped it.
16. Too much cinnamon on the applesauce.
17. The carrots have crinkles.
18. It’s leftovers. Of anything. Pizza included.
19. It’s hot dogs. Of any sort.
20. It’s tacos. Food touching all over the place. And lettuce, don’t forget lettuce. Ick.
21. It’s not the right meatball.
22. The noodles are too wide.
23. The potatoes are mashed.
These are just off the top of my head. And there are rules on top of that. And if you do find something he likes that is remotely healthy, for the love of God, don’t over serve it. No more than once every other week.
Now, on the list of Go foods are a few foolproof items, none of which are healthy.
Dessert, anything natch.
And that’s about it.
One might read this and think, “Hell, if that were my kid, I’d make him eat what I give him.” You, my dear, DO NOT have this kid, because I can guarantee you no parent of a fellow picky eater follows this rule. We get firm and we choose these food battles fairly often, and sometimes, we do the worst, meanest, most horrible thing a parent can do: we withhold dessert. For the most part, we desperately try to put something on the table they might just eat a few bites of, but our hopes are dangerously low on the best of days. We scour the internet, church and family cookbooks, and foolishly click on all the articles about “picky eaters,” but we are always disappointed, because I don’t know anyone whose picky eater will eat “Baked Polenta Fries,” cause mine sure as hell won’t.
But we keep on the fighting the good fight. We pin the hell out of Pinterest. But, most days, it’s PB&J or nuggets, with the hope that one day, one day soon, they’ll look up and say, “How about Mexican/Italian/Indian food?”
8 years ago today, in a hospital in Washington DC, I birthed my baby boy. Well, they surgically removed him, but hey, I was there, and it wasn’t a walk in the park that way either.
We started excited to get up and go that morning to head over to the hospital that was an hour away from our apartment. We were told to call first to ensure no emergencies had happened that would push the surgery back. We called and were told that my 11:30 had been cancelled as I had already had the baby via emergency C-section.
Wait…what? I looked down. I was pretty sure I was still pregnant. Nope, he hadn’t fallen out feet first since that’s the way he was positioned.
Turns out when you have a very generic name, thanks Irish husband, other Jennifers also give birth on that very same day. Apparently, with the very same birthday as well. Except for the year. SHE was older. But hey, once you verify same name, month and day, the year is just an oversight. Didn’t matter, this kid was COMING OUT TODAY. I was done being pregnant. I hadn’t eaten all day and wanted to meet my son.
So they squeezed us in and by 3 p.m. Bear was born. It was not fun. Unknown to me at the time, I had placenta accreta, which meant that my placenta had attached itself to my uterine wall. Bleck. So, if my stubborn son hadn’t been feet first and unwilling to move, I would have been in serious trouble after delivery. So kid, I owe you one. You saved me that day.
The birth was just the beginning. I had spent an immense amount of time reading about MY pregnancy, MY body, MY delivery, and so on, that I kind of overlooked the whole taking care of a brand new person task that was now staring me in the face. They pulled him out, he gave the best wail I’d ever heard, and my husband looked at me the same way I looked at him. With wide eyed terror. What had we just done?! There was no going back now. This little person needed us to keep him alive. What the hell did we JUST DO?
I panicked, like all good mothers. Realized that the idea of being a mother comes instinctively is total and utter BS. I had no idea what I was doing. No instincts kicked in. I was totally and utterly knocked off my feet. I guess literally too because the anesthesiologist must have gotten to go home that day, because the idiots left my epidural in for 24 straight hours, which at the time I did not realize was not normal because hey, I was new to this whole motherhood, giving birth thing.
So there I was, numb from the boobs down, trying to take care of my son and be mother of the year just a few hours in. Mark and my mom were there, but there was no place to sleep, so each night they left me and Bear to drive the hour back to the apartment. Go ahead, I can handle it I assured them. I am SUPERMOM! I can’t feel my feet, but I can take care of this baby by myself! That was the first time I tried to handle motherhood all by myself and failed miserably.
By the second night, I hadn’t slept a wink because I was convinced he would stop breathing at any given moment, and tearfully called a nurse at 11:30. Will you…sniff hiccup sob…take him to the nursery…sob…for just a bit??? Sob hiccup…I’m not a bad mom…hiccup…I swear….hiccup…will you love him if he cries??? She assured me he wouldn’t be ignored in a corner, to get some sleep, and they would bring him to me when it was time to eat. Sure enough, they did. I slept a few hours. He hasn’t gone to therapy yet for the separation, so I think it was ok.
On the third day, they kicked us to the curb and I was happy to go. I had hubby and mom to support me 24 hours a day and the security and comfort of home waiting for me.
After some bumps in the road, he was breastfeeding well. Until I got a raging UTI from the catheter being in so long and had to go on some heavy antibiotics for 10 days. Pump and dump they say. Sure, no big deal, I’m three days in, I’m a pro. So, every two hours, I pumped two boobs empty, and dumped that precious tainted gold down the drain. 10 days later, all clear of painful peeing, I went back to nursing my 7 pound bundle of joy. Who, by the way DID NOT drink the 12+ ounces of boob milk I had been pumping and dumping every 2 hours for 10 days. I was in so much pain I think I would have fed anyone who asked just for some relief. I could have seriously supplied much of a third world nation with the supply I was generating. Needless to say, we got some backup supply while my body and I figured out what he actually needed.
So that was my first 2 weeks of being a first time mother. How did yours go? After all that, I wouldn’t trade a day of it. My son is one of the smartest, funniest, most handsome boys I know. I am blown away each day at his wit, brains, and thought processes. He is crafting his own brand of sarcasm that will one day rival my own. He asks questions that would stump Stephen Hawking, let alone get an answer from me.
We had a rough start at the beginning, but it was well worth the blood, sweat and tears. He’s my hero. And one day, we’ll live in his guest house in Malibu, because he loves his parents and wants to share his millions. Right Bear??
PS – Trying not to freak out, but I went back to insert pics tonight and couldn’t find anything before 2008. MARK!!!! The computer’s broken!!!
OK – quick like a bunny. I know, I’ve been gone forever, but I have to read a book for book club (see my Goodreads widget below) by Friday and I just started it. And, like the idiot I am, this introvert volunteered to coach 1st grade boys baseball for the next 8 or so weeks. In the words of my sister, “You have an entire blog devoted to how much you don’t like people, yet you volunteer to coach a team of 1st graders?” Yeah, I don’t get it either, but at least it should provide some entertaining stories to submit unto you all.
But before I get back to my book, here are a few pieces of “art” my beloved children have come up with in the past few days.
1. “The butthole” 2014 Artist: G and Niece E. Media: Draw on Me Kitty Cat. Because everyone poops.
2. “Self Portrait” 2014 Artist: Bear Media: Posterboard and despair*.
*Side Note: Yes, this scared the hell out of me, but we did talk about it and no, this is not how he sees himself. He is just an engineer to the core, finds art a waste of time, just wanted to get it done, all while making himself look bad ass.
So, Disney. We took our first trip at the beginning of December and there is so much to tell you, I have been sitting on it for a month. I have quite a few Disney junkie friends and don’t want to offend, but I also want to give an honest take from a self-diagnosed introvert with anxiety issues, a deep discomfort with large crowds and spending $7 on a Coke.
Before I get started, I will bookend our trip with some of my favorite pics. First:
This was pretty much the look on their faces for 7 days. They were thrilled to be there. They were troopers.
We didn’t get a stroller to avoid this…
…so they hoofed it around 4 parks for 5 days. They didn’t become crazy gotta-have-it kids either. They had some money and got what they wanted and sometimes had to be patient to get it. But get it they did…
Do you have any idea how hard it is to pack a Mickey Mouse Fantasia light saber to return home? We carried that thing from Orlando to Detroit. Totally normal in Orlando. In Detroit, kinda weird.
As a side note, Disney is marketing genius. From the time you step foot in Orlando, you are transported into this magical bubble where it’s all things Disney. You begin to feel weird for not having a pair of mouse ears on your head. You feel out of place if you are wearing a shirt without a character on it. I can’t believe I packed normal clothes. You totally look out of place when you do. And when you come back to normal land, you are a little weirded out that no one is wearing mouse ears or carrying a Mickey tote bag/lunch box/purse/backpack/body bag.
The crowds were heavier than what we were anticipating, but not as bad as I think it could have been. For me however, there were TOO MANY FREAKIN PEOPLE. People watching was A-may-zing, but that’s exactly what I want to do, watch…not interact.
We of course had lunch at the Royal Table in Cinderella’s Castle, where, for the only time during the trip, we became these parents: “You will get pictures with these damn princesses and eat your $30 chicken nuggets and LIKE IT!! We didn’t spend $250 for you to sit and stare at them!!!” And photos we got. Nevermind the fact we were caught off guard and didn’t have time to run a comb through our poor girl’s hair.
For the record, Bear would not be photographed with the Princesses. He’s not so into the ladies. Doesn’t G look thrilled? Then we got a pic with Cindy herself.
…but she was on a ciggy break, so we took a pic with her crotchless pantied knight instead.
OK – here she is.
PSYCH! ha ha. OK, we really did meet her and I do have a pic EXACTLY like the ones above of her and Cinderella, but it’s an actual PHOTO and ain’t nobody got time to scan that!
We introduced them to all forms of mass transit. First up, the plane ride, for which they were seriously geeked.
Until we started our descent and Will got airsick and passed out. Cold. Don’t worry, on the way home, he just threw up and got almost all of it in the vomit bag.
Always in the back. Always. Not a good sign. Back of the bus kids are trouble I tell ya. Damn youths.
And of course, Dad.
We did shows. Some were great, some were like meh. Like the Tiki Lounge, which I am told is nostalgic, but really more of an air conditioned place to sit down for a few minutes while some animatronic birds do schtick above you.
We were in a show, only because they had the $25 light up ears they were hawking, and a certain Disney junkie traveling companion for the day DID NOT tell us if you sit in the front rows during Fantasmic, you get REALLY REALLY wet and spend the whole show wiping mist out of your eyes.
We rode rides…
I just noticed, look at the lady behind us. How can you be so blasé on the Dumbo ride?! She looks like, “I am SO OVER this.”
I wish I had pics of us on the bigger roller coasters, but I was too busy holding onto my kid for dear life, you know, cause they could totally fall out.
But, by far, the most exciting ride…the FastPass machines!!
These are apparently a thing of the past. We almost never got to experience the magic of booking it to these machines only to find out they were done for the day or not available until 9 p.m. that night. If you did get one, which we did a few of them (you tend to get less if you are one of the few crazy people who SLEEP IN while on vacation at Disney), they were awesome. Remember that scene in Wayne’s World where they had the backstage passes and kept flashing them at everyone? Well, if not, go see it. Good movie. Classic for a 90s teenager. Anywho, that’s how I felt when we got to bypass all the schmucks in the hour long line. SUCKAS! I guess now they all have wristbands that you can go online at the hotel and essentially schedule your time to ride the rides (AHEM Cedar Point!!). We didn’t have one of these because we were GASP! offsite hotel vacationers and didn’t get one, so I don’t know much about them other then that sometimes it felt like we were traveling in steerage and not allowed in the fancy parts of Disney.
Another sad moment. We lost a dear friend. His name was Balloony. He was a $10 balloon that wasn’t tied tightly enough to his string. It was a sad moment in the Magic Kingdom. And no, we didn’t replace him. It was $10 freakin dollars. Every time we saw a balloon vendor walk by, we quickly diverted her attention. Ah, strategery.
We stayed one night for the parade. It was cool. We had some fun waiting for it.
Then I said forget this, I have full lives in Candy Crush!
Then it came on and was pretty dang cool.
We paid a gazillion dollars for character lunches.
Donald was outside sweating his balls off for a very special photo op. That guy always gets the short end of the stick.
We had good food.
The best restaurant had a baby with a leaf on his junk, which is apparently HILarious.
I attempted to take a Christmas card photo.
which clearly failed.
We almost got an eye poked out on Phineas’s nose.
Basically, we had a good time. It was exhausting. Really, you should train for 5 days at Disney. We were not physically prepared for the strenuousness of it. Overall though, we had a pretty freakin good time.
Day 3 of Snowmaggedon in Snoledo. We haven’t been out of the house in three days. The youngins are secretly planning mutiny. Their father and I are hiding from them at the moment.
Games have been played. Play Doh has been ground into the carpet. Video games are becoming boring. Movies have been watched. All Christmas toys have been opened. All projects have been assembled. Legos are together. Barbies are all fully dressed. I am not sure how much longer I can keep them occupied. They are beginning to get the crazy eyes. The eyes that make you wonder what they are planning. if they are secretly planning something scary. Like nail polish wars or indoor paintball.
Hubby has been here for five days. That’s a long time. I have shaved my legs every single day. It’s -10 right now. Thank God somebody got the snip a few years back. No sense in joining the October baby boom. I don’t think I am the only tired one this time around.
The house is clean, the garage sale pile is getting bigger, and the house is getting organized after 7 years here.
We are running out of things to do. Family time is slowly going to kill us. If you are reading this, I am not sure how much longer we can hold on. We are on our last two hot chocolates for the Keurig and the marshmallows are long gone. There is no ice cream in the house. I fear for our well being. Wish us luck, we may not survive this togetherness.
Being an introvert has its challenges. Being that any sort of unknown scares the hell out of me and the fact that I avoid large gatherings like the plague, finding and making friends is not a skill I possess naturally. It also doesn’t help that I also have a slightly introverted husband who, as a means of introduction, tells new people we meet that we are “socially awkward and don’t have a lot of friends.” aawwwkkward.
But, the perk of being an introvert is, the friends I have made, are long-time, loyal ride and die beotches. The people I have opened up to have, over time, come to love me in all my weirdness. Most of my friends, I’ve had for 15+ year, and I will have them forever. (Mainly because they remember me when I was thin. Never forget!!!!! The skinny girl is trapped in there somewhere!)
The best part of these friends is that even though most of them are scattered across the country, we can pick up where we left off and after a lengthy catch up session, we are back cracking the same jokes and acting like we live next door to each other.
Before we go any farther, I don’t mean to shortchange my close range friends on this post. Know I love you all, old and new, and am so thankful you are HERE with me in this God forsaken frozen tundra we call northwest Ohio. NEVER LEAVE ME!!! We have lost too many already!!!! Two of my best friends are right here and know I couldn’t live without you. One gets to see me in all my crazy glory EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Give this woman an award because let’s face it, I can get seriously annoying when exposed to in large doses. The other gets to see my lovely face mostly on Sundays and Mondays, when I put on my most angelic face and pretend I am not cray cray. But, she sees through the facade and loves me anyways. These girls make me laugh daily and I pray they never abandon me for greener pastures, or say, popular parks ruled by a big mouse. And I can’t leave out my blood related friends, my sister, but she already got a post, so quit yer bitchin. And my sisters by marriage, who have put up with me almost as long as my actual sister, I love you three more than you’ll ever know. (But, seriously SK, when are the Girl Scout cookies coming???)
This post is for my long distance friends, two of which I had the wonderful pleasure of escaping this freakin freezing weather for a few days and hiding out in Florida with.
I met these girls in college (remember THIN) and 5 minutes after meeting them, I knew we were soul mates. Ever meet someone and it just clicks? Well, that was us. That was 1997 and even though we are all grown up, we are still closer than ever.
We couldn’t be more different. One is a super positive save-the-world social worker, who is seriously the world’s biggest extrovert. This girl attracts friends like flies. PEOPLE LOVE HER. She is one of the most genuine real people you’ll ever meet. The other is an extremely successful PR genius who is beautiful inside and out. The one who’s always put together, even when she’s hot and sweaty after a workout. The one who, after 16 years, still let’s us tease her mercilessly for taking over an hour to get ready every single day. And me, the neurotic, introverted, long married, mother of two who makes jokes CONSTANTLY. Especially during the inappropriate moments – that’s when I really shine.
We have been through it all. College, hangovers, graduation, job hunts, crazy boyfriends, big moves, promotions, career changes, falling in love, marriage, infertility, sickness, death, postpartum depression, babies. We are basically married because we hit all the vow highlights. Love/cherish, sickness/health, good/bad, you get the gist – we are in this until the end that’s for sure.
I have watched these women grow more beautiful, stronger and smarter with each year. They make me laugh, help me cry, build me up and support me no matter how far apart we are or how long the time passes between conversations. We are very different, but share the same love and respect for each other, which makes the bond strong no matter our differences. Even if one of us did vote for Romney.
I love you girls and hope this post does you justice.
OK – Funny kid stories. I know some of you are walking away already, but come on, my kids are freakin adorable. But, I may be a bit biased. Anyways, here are our latest cute stories.
Mark and Grace were tooling around Costco today just talking. And unloading the kind of cash you can only unload at Costco, buying totally needed things…. like head lamps. But honey, they were only $10!!! Anyways, Mark says, “OOOO Gracie, I want a big TV!” as they were passing the tempting TV aisles. Grace says, “OK…. and a big chicken too?” Mark says, “Whaaat??” “A big chicken that shoots umbrellas at you?”
Of course. Who doesn’t? How did she know?
And then….Will made Mark and me a Christmas present (or holiday, or Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, depending on the lesson that week) and he made us this.
Awww!!! It’s adorable. It’s Will outside, playing in swastikas! OK, not really, don’t send out the troops, they are supposedly snowflakes. OHHH.
AND finally….We have a lot of trouble with potty words at our house. This may be because Mark and I cannot contain our glee when some rips a big fart when all else is peaceful. I guess we’ve dug our own graves. We are working on it teachers, we promise. Unless you fart unexpectedly, because THAT is funny. So anyways, we were discussing when we could use potty words and when not, specifically the word “penis.” Will tells us you cannot say the word penis outside. We say…sure that sounds about right. Then Gracie very matter-of-factly looks up from her coloring book and replies, “Well, unless you see one. Then you can say it.” Yep. Girl, I pray you NEVER see a penis outside. EVER. Hell, you can’t see one inside until you’re at least 25, no make it 30. And circumcised please. No hoodies.
So – there’s my cute stories for the day. Good night!
PS – My new favorite song. Take Note: I found this BEFORE it got annoying. LOVE IT. NSFW. Watch me imbed this bad boy!!!
So, my cousin thought she’d give me a book to eviserate after my mention of one of our church ladies being obedient to her husband and being thankful for it. So no one goes after her, she gave it to me as a joke, not because she believed a word of it.
I am 6 chapters in, and have run the gamut of emotions with this book. A lot of it was laughing out loud and yelling, “Mark! Read this part!” Some of it is utter disbelief that in 2012, almost 2013, there are people still out there who believe this pile of crap coated with crazy.
Oh, it’s on Ms. Pearl. It’s so on. If I am taking a break from my awesome smut collection to be “taught” by you, please know that a most awesome book review will be coming your way shortly.
I hope the rest of you enjoy. If God is actually like the God within her pages, He will not be pleased.