Friday, December 28, 2007

Girls Make Passes at Men in Glasses

I was a little worried that my libido wouldn't make a return before my husband did. I turned it off six months ago and I was afraid I had lost the power switch.

But Mr. Nathan walked in to the pool area at family swim today and he was wearing glasses.

Be still my heart.

Hey, Tuna Man, dearest, maybe you should rethink that laser eye surgery. 8-)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas for 3 and a Future for 4

"This was, perhaps, the best Christmas ever."

So says my daughter. Yes, she really talks like that. Imagine her saying that with accompanying facial expressions and hand movements.

Everyone kept telling me that I should just postpone Christmas until my husband got home, but that's just not realistic. Imagine telling two little kids that Santa wasn't going to come for two more weeks. That's not how life works. I thought this holiday was a good opportunity to teach them that life goes on and you must roll with the punches. Adaptation is the key to survival.

But Christmas doesn't just happen. A parent has to make it happen. And making it happen on my own wasn't all that fun. I wouldn't say that I felt stressed about it. More like, resigned. And tired.

I stayed up until 2:30 a.m. on Christmas Even wrapping gifts and eating Santa's cookies. Who knew it would take so long when you're all alone?

But both kids proclaimed it the best day ever, and I'm just glad it's all over. Now I have ten days until my husband comes home. Yes, I have an actual date and time for his return now. It's nice to have that nailed down. Yay!

What's not nailed down is what is going to happen with the rest of our lives.

There is a good chance we will finally be moving on from this bayou after nine long years. There has been a good chance all year, but now it looks almost definite. I hesitate to even write that for fear that once again things will change.

But I am torn. I am sort of heartbroken to be leaving this school that we love and the roots I've sunk deep. I have friends here. But I'm happy to be moving on from this place that my husband hates. And after seven years in this house, some new digs would be very welcome.

Mostly I am scared, no terrified, that we won't be able to get the kids into a comparable school. The school I already have my heart set on is highly competitive. With 80 open slots for first grade, my son has a good chance of making it in. But the fourth grade may only have one or two openings, or none at all.

If I have to leave this school that has become part of our family and I can't get the kids into something similar in our new state, I will be heartbroken.

Everything is still up in the air, but it is keeping me up at night.

If nothing else, 2008 looks like it will be a year to shake things up. And that has to be good.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Polar Express

Last night I surprised the kids with a trip on the Polar Express.

We had to drive for two and a half hours through rural Texas to get to the train depot, but it was worth it. I have never seen my son so excited.

They did an excellent job with it. Each car had chefs to serve hot cocoa and Rice Krispy Treats. They read The Polar Express. Santa met us at the North Pole and boarded the train for the trip back. He sat and talked with each child and gave them a bell. Then we sang Christmas carols all the way back.

You've never seen so many excited children in one place. But the parents were even more excited. You'd have thought the paparazzi had boarded the train with all the cameras at work.

It was pretty magical. Of course, this morning when Uncle Patrick asked my son, "What did you do last night?" he replied, "Oh, I forgot. Um...I built a track for my trains."

Kids. You can't live with them, you can't throw them under Santa's sleigh.










Saturday, December 22, 2007

Characters

Last night at about this time I started reading Michael Tolliver Lives. And I stayed up all night to finish it.

I loved finally gaining closure for a set of characters I had come to care for. Michael spends some time in his 55th year contemplating all of the people who have touched his life. It was a sweet book and it made me happy.

Tonight, I stayed up late to finish sending my Christmas cards. As I poured though the list, updating addresses, adding partners and removing the deceased, I couldn't help but see the parallel to the book I had just finished.

Our Christmas card list is filled with such a diverse host of characters. For many of them, we will only share this one yearly exchange of a holiday card.

There is my flaky college roommate with the three daughters who look just like her. There are my two lesbian bridesmaids whose cards always get returned because they move so much.

There are my husband's ROTC friends, many of whom have had their lives touched by the war in Iraq even more than we have. There is the priest who married us. There are relatives who probably can't even remember what I look like, much less realize that I am old enough to have two children.

There are the host of military friends who have surely moved on to another base in the last year. I send less and less cards to them every year.

There are our parents, grandparents, my brother, my husband's step-sisters. There are the local friends who have supported me so much these last few months. And there are friends and family I've come to know through this very blog.

All of these people have touched our lives in different ways. Some in passing, some so deeply that we are different people for knowing them. They all have their own stories and their own lists.

Too many people have come and gone over the years to even count.

But the 55-year-old Michael Tolliver would consider me young. He would know that I have many more connections to make. And many more connections to break.

He would know that what I now consider to be the worst time in my life (which, frankly, is this present moment) could be eclipsed without a moment's notice. And he would know that what I now consider to be the most wonderful time in my life (which, frankly, is also this present moment) could be outshone before my eyes.

I wonder where I'll be in twenty years. Barring catastrophe, I know I will still be loving my husband and caring for my (now adult) children. I could be a grandma by then!

But what I wonder most about my life in twenty years is how many of the people who are so important to my life now could be mere footnotes in my story then.

People come and go so quickly. The trick, I think, is knowing who to hold on to and who to let go.

And I think Michael Tolliver go it quite right.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Happy Birthday, Tuna Boy

Today is my son's 6th birthday.

It's hard to believe that only six years ago today I was screaming, "Get him out! Just get HIM OUT!"

He was being stubborn and had to be dragged into the world with forceps. Figures.

It can't be easy to be a late December baby, but he has never complained. Today at school was all about their Christmas program and class Christmas party. But he doesn't seem to mind. Heck, considering that he was due December 7 and we forced him out on December 20, it seems like he actually likes being a Santa Baby.

He's a great kid with an adventurous spirit and kind heart. He's smart and strong and I love him to pieces. Even when he's pooping on the floor.

Happy 6th birthday, Baby Boy. We love you!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I'm Concussed

The only good thing I can say about yesterday is that it is over.

Well, that and I got to see Mr. Nathan again, but with my libido simmering on low since this summer, Mr, Nathan doesn't even really bring a smile to my face anymore.

I decided to try and finish all of my holiday errands yesterday and spent a good two hours at Target, mostly walking around trying to remember what I had forgotten. But I bought some tacky, animated outdoor holiday decorations on clearance, just to assuage my guilt over not stringing lights and setting up inflatables this year.

In the midst of attaching penguin wings (or are they flippers?), screwing on sea lion tails, and assembling an igloo I smacked my head on a door handle.

I have a huge door handle indentation on my forehead. And I keep bumping it every time I push back my bangs. Which I do a hundred time a day.

I think I may be concussed!

My afternoon ended up being hectic and stressful with swim lessons, homework arguments and phone calls. My son was so into reading his homework to my parents on the phone that he put off going to the bathroom until the last minute and had to make a run for it.

After a few seconds I heard, "I didn't make it!" I sighed and headed after him expecting to clean up wet pants.

What I found was poop. Poop on the floor! He pooped on the floor!

While I was trying to clean that all up, I turned around and stepped in more poop. On the carpet. The dog had pooped on the carpet!

I'm not sure how much more shit I can take. No more fiber for anyone until Daddy comes home.

Monday, December 17, 2007

I Should Be Sleeping

I'm feeling exceptionally sad right now. I feel so alone yet I don't want to talk to anyone. Nobody says anything right.

I know this feeling will pass, probably by morning. I'm too freaking well-adjusted for it to linger too long.

At the barber shop yesterday a man was loudly telling everyone a story about a high school girl who was missing an arm yet was still one of the best athletes in the state.

"Ain't no one in here who can complain about nothing," he proclaimed. "You know what I'm saying?"

I do. I know what he's saying. There is always someone worse off than you. When you're at your lowest there is always someone your friends can point to and say, "At least you're not in that place." And they're right. At least you have friends, right?

But is it really so wrong to really feel your feelings? What is so wrong about saying, "I'm sad. I'm mad. This sucks!"

I think we all need to give ourselves a fucking break and stop comparing our woes. Strong feelings don't always need to be medicated away. Or talked away. Or written away.

Maybe they need to be truly felt, so we can truly deal with them.

I'm sad. I'm mad. I'm tired.

This sucks.

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Very Special Freakin' Christmas

Have you seen that Christmas episode of Family Guy where Lois totally loses her shit and has to be shot off the town Christmas tree with a tranquilizer dart?

Yeah. I feel you, Lois. I feel you, sister.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Do the Math

My husband called from Iraq this morning. I haven't heard from him in a while and it was great to hear his voice. It would have been greater if it wasn't five o'clock in the morning.

"Mello? I mumbled.

"Hey, Hon. It's me. What time is it there?"

He's been deployed for six months with his boots on the ground in Iraq for the last five and he still hasn't figured out the time difference!

We talked for a little bit, but I'm not really at my best in the morning. And that's the biggest understatement you'll hear all year. At one point I sort of remember saying, "You say stuff now."

He laughed at me and offered to call back after I had dropped the kids off at school. "I'll talk to you between 8 and 9," he said in farewell.

He called at 12:30.

"Do you have any idea what time it is here?" I asked him.

"Nope, I haven't a clue," he replied.

"Well, let's see. It's 12:30 here so...one, two, three..."

But he interrupted me. "Honey! Don't even bother. If I haven't figured it out by now, I'm not going to."

It's a good thing he sent flowers today.

Yes, he really did send me flowers. Orchids, in fact. Just because he loves me. I can't tell you how happy his simple words and sweet gesture made me feel. His timing was perfect. I needed a lift.

We talked and gossiped and it was great. He also said what may be my all time favorite Tuna Man quote. "Just remember," he said. "I love you more than he loves his wife." I love it!

What can I say? He gets me. He just can't count backwards.

I do have some constructive criticism for the flower delivery person, though. If you're going to leave flowers without ringing the bell (In fairness, he may have rung the bell but I didn't hear it because I was sleeping. What? I was up at 5 a.m.!) don't prop the box up on the screen door.

I was trapped inside my house! At least until I remembered that I had a back door.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Better Them Than Me

The kids each had a holiday violin concert this afternoon. The brand new beginners played before my son and I learned something interesting.

Starting this year, each beginning student must have a parent learn to play along with them. So each kid had a violin-playing parent on stage with them.

If that policy was in effect when my kids started, they wouldn't be playing the violin. There's no way they'd get my perfectionist ass up on that stage!

Ah, life without the stresses of violin. That could have been sweet.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Show and Tell

In the newsletter that my son's Kindergarten teacher sends home every Friday, she has asked for parents to come to the class and share some of their families' holiday traditions.

Is it sad or just pathetic that I can't think of a single thing to share?

Oh sure, we celebrate the holidays just like everyone else. We celebrate Christmas by exchanging presents, decorating a tree and hanging stockings. The problem is that we celebrate Christmas just like everyone else. I can't think of one unique thing that we do.

Hmmm, maybe I could take the kids on a little field trip to the post office. I spend 75% of my Christmas preparation time there anyway. Or maybe I could bring in my laptop and show the kids how the bank has made it extra easy for me to obsess about our seasonal finances online. That's how I spend the other 25% of my time.

Maybe I could bring in a fire extinguisher and talk about fire safety. Between burning candles under a shelf, using the oven for the first time in months, and letting the Christmas Tree dry out until it is a pile of brittle pine needles, almost burning down the house has become a sort of family tradition.

Oooh, maybe I could put on a little skit for the kids entitled Stupid Fights We Have around the Holidays. Or maybe I could call it How Mommy and Daddy Test Their Marriage Every Year. What? It has a happy ending, I swear!

Oh! I could bring in a scale and let the kids chart how much weight I'll gain in December. That would be a good math lesson.

In an attempt to avoid inflicting all of the things that will send my kids into therapy twenty years from now on everyone else's children, I think I'll ask my kids what holiday tradition they would like to share.

Seeing what they come up with could be the most entertaining thing I've done all year.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

And We Hit a Wall

That's it. My daughter is done. Absolutely and completely done. She actually stood in our house today with her face straining to the roof and bellowed, "I just can't take it anymore!"

I sort of saw it coming. Sort of. You just never know with my daughter. A couple of days ago she told me that she only wanted one thing for Christmas. "All I want is for Daddy to come home."

There isn't much you can say to your child when all she wants is her Daddy back and there is no way he'll be out of Iraq and home in time for Christmas. I find that the straight answer works best. Not even Santa can bring Daddy home for Christmas. Daddy has to stay in Iraq.

Tonight's desperate episode all began when I sent her back to her room to redo her homework.

She stood on the stairs and took dramatic I-can't-believe-my-mom-is-so-mean breaths until I raised my voice. "Enough with the drama. Go!"

She was only gone a few minutes when I heard her desperate wail. Apparently, she just can't take it anymore. At first I didn't even realize what she was talking about. In bewilderment, I asked, "What can't you take anymore?"

"I can't take Daddy being away for one more day!" Then she burst into tears.

It's funny how she misses Daddy the most when Mommy is being mean. But she ran into my arms and sobbed and cried. What could I possibly say?

"I know, honey. I miss Daddy too, but he won't be back for a few more weeks and we have to just keep living our lives day to day."

"I know," she sobbed. "But you don't know what it was like at school today! I missed him so much so I put his picture on my desk. I didn't get in trouble but it didn't help!"

I let her cry it out for a while but my son struggles with that. He hurts to see her hurt and he tries in his own five-year-old way to help.

"Maybe Daddy will be back next week," he says. But I can't let that false hope fester.

"No, he won't, but maybe you could e-mail him."

"No, no," my son insisted. "I saw a big sign that said that a big group was coming home January 2. Maybe Daddy will be home then."

Never mind that he can't read yet.

None of the normal things we military moms do to help our kids with separations are working with her. She doesn't want to write him or send him anything. I'm not sure why. She has been so amazingly mature these last few months that I sometimes have to remind myself that she is only eight-years-old. She wants her Daddy. Nothing else will do.

I did the only thing I could think to do. I sent her to finish her homework.

My son summed up his own feelings then. "I miss Daddy too, but I don't get sad about it."

"Why is that, Buddy," I asked him.

"Because I have so many other people who love me too." He and I are a lot alike.

My daughter has struggled to fall asleep tonight. Her brain and her heart are in overdrive. And that's how she and I are alike.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Hey Look! Green Grass!

I've been worried lately.

Isn't that what good mothers do? No matter how wonderful our kids are, we worry that we're screwing them up enough to land them in therapy or get them married to the local mullet-headed shrew.

I've been worried that my kids are getting spoiled. Like, really spoiled.

Okay, well...not so much my kids, but my son.

His expectations and demands have been grating on me. And since I am the only parent here, any negative change in his behavior has to be directly traced to my parenting.

I suck.

But there are people who suck more. I know it. I try to remind myself of that fact. Sometimes, those people even manage to remind me.

My daughter is friends with a set of sisters in her class. These girls are the offspring of the most wealthy people I know in real life. The dad is kind of famous and the family's charitable foundation is absolutely renowned.

One of the girls is kind of sweet. The other one is a terror. Let's call her Maddy.

One day last week I picked my daughter up from school and she immediately told me, "Maddy asked me to get her a Nintendo DS for her birthday."

I sort of laughed that off. I'm not about to buy my own child a Nintendo DS, birthday or not. I'm certainly not going to indulge someone else's kid. But my daughter had more to report.

"She told me I had to go to Target and buy it tonight before they're all sold out and drop it off at her house."

"She did, huh?" I responded. "How very demanding of her. What did you tell her?"

"I told her sure, as long as my mom said it was okay."

Well, her mom certainly did not say it was okay. I gave my daughter a little speech about being taken advantage of and about reasonable expectations. Not only is this girl's birthday quite a while away, I know that her parents almost always request that guests do not bring gifts to their parties.

But when we got home, my daughter dug something out of her backpack to show me. It was a letter of instruction from Maddy.

Not only did she write out every detail of her "request" she also added that my daughter had better hurry up and get it to her. "You have to drop it off tonight," she wrote.

I was a more than a little put out. You guys know how I am. My daughter is an exceedingly empathetic, sweet and polite child. There will always be people who will want to take advantage of her.

When I threw the paper away, my daughter started crying. "But Maddy will be upset! I feel like this is all my fault."

"Honey, you can't be responsible for other kids being rude and spoiled." And we moved on with our afternoon.

Later, when we came home from running errands, there was a message on our machine.

It was from Maddy.

"Did you get my Nintendo DS yet? You better hurry up."

Okay, that was enough. I probably should have picked up the phone, but I decided to compose my thoughts in an e-mail instead. I'm a better writer than a speaker.

I played it all off like it was funny. I told her mom, "I know what Maddy wants for Christmas." And I told her that I hesitated to write at all but I knew that if it was my daughter, I'd want to know.

Lie. I didn't hesitate a second to write. And my daughter would never dare do such a thing.

At 9 p.m. Maddy's mother called me. She wanted to know if my daughter was awake because Maddy wanted to apologize to her. Ha! My kid had been asleep for two hours.

So her mother told me how Maddy was embarrassed and how she was at that moment crying in her father's lap. She explained that when her "mean" mom said no to the DS, she just turned to the sweetest person she knew. She said that now she felt horrible because she didn't want to hurt my daughter's feelings.

Oh, and she explained that Maddy had written down our home number and used her grandmother's phone to call us, because she knew that her parents wouldn't let her make that call.

Yeah, sure. She was embarrassed, all right. Embarrassed to be caught.

I think there is a lesson to be learned here. Either I need to adopt Maddy's mother's kids-will-be-kids attitude, or I need to put the smack down on my son's spoiled ways right now.

Ah huh. The smack down is on.

You know, money doesn't make good people, charitable contributions aside. Someone remind me of that when I'm rich and famous. Okay?

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Down Side

I just discovered the down side of being a girl who drives a pick-up truck.

I just spent $82 to fill the tank with regular. And that was on base!

It's time to buy a book about my van and try to replace the thermostat myself. Or I can take my husband up on his offer to just go out and by myself a new car.

It's so, so tempting.

But you know what I want more than a new car? Money in the bank.

I'm funny that way.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Girls Who Drive Pick-Up Trucks

I was talking with some guys recently who were joking about girls who drive pick-up trucks. Actually, they were saying that back in the day, those were the best girls to date.

Hmmm. That's funny. When I first started dating my husband I only had a learner's permit. But once I got my license, I drove my dad's old green Ford F-150 truck.

In fact, I'm driving a new green Ford F-150 truck right now!

Okay, so I lose some of my pick-up girl cred because it is my husband's and it has a DVD player, but still.

Not only am I driving it, but I fixed it myself. I worked under its hood! I got grease on my hands!

My husband's poor, overly expensive truck had sat in front of our house undriven and unloved for so long that the battery needed to be replaced. I kept procrastinating about it but when my mom came to visit, I realized that we needed two cars.

I hate to admit it, but I did the stereotypical thing that most women do when they are faced with a car problem. I turned to men. My husband had advice. My father had instructions. Even Patrick helped.

Before I got started on my little mechanical project I turned to my mom and said, "Well, it took three men to get us to this point. And the only one who was really helpful was the gay guy!"

Yes, of all the men I turned to, it was the gay one who was smart enough to suggest I get a book and follow the instructions.

The hardest part of the job was finding all of the tools. Somebody needs to invent a system that forces (straight) men to return their tools to the proper tool box when they are finished using them.

A few years ago I got fed up with always having to solve the case of the missing tools before I could complete any job, so I bought my own set and wrote my name all over the box. Who wants to place bets on how many of the tools were missing when I opened the box to fix the truck?

Anyway, when I told my husband that I had replaced his battery and got his truck running he asked me, "Aren't you proud of yourself?"

"No," I answered. "It wasn't a big deal. Although I did feel kind of like a magician."

But the truth is that I do feel pretty darn proud of myself. And I've been driving his truck for a couple of weeks now to ensure that is stays working.

Now if I could only learn to fit it through the Starbucks drive-though without hitting a curb or taking off a fender I'd feel really proud.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

My mom read my blog!

I got an e-mail from my mother.

"I have read some of your articles today and I am so proud of you. They are very interesting and loving. I love you, Mom"

When she was here before Thanksgiving break and helping out with our school's Grandparents' Luncheon, my friends all told her that she really needed to read my "other blog". My "other blog" is rated PG and is highly sanitized, so I didn't think it would be a problem.

But yesterday I got a phone call.

"You smart alec, you!" was my mom's greeting.

Yes, she actually says things like "smart alec" instead of "smart ass". Clearly I was switched at birth.

"Um, what are you talking about?" I asked.

"I just spent a few hours reading back on your newspaper web thing." Then her speech started to rush together. "You know, when you hung that quilt in the dining room I thought it was because you really liked it. I didn't think it should be hung up. I didn't even make it, you know. A customer did. The only quilt that means anything to me is the one in the hallway."

She said all of this in one continuous breath. And she had more to say.

"You son of a gun! I had to laugh when I read about how you hate the quilts and you know you don't have to have them out for me. The only one that means anything to me is the one in the hallway. You son of a gun."

"Mom!" I had to yell to interrupt her. "You need to take it all with a grain of salt."

She had read a story on my "other blog" about how my kids had managed to tear a quilt hanger down off the wall and if I just left them to it, I could eventually and finally be free of my quilt decor.

Of course what I was thinking was that now I could take down all the quilts in my house (except the one in the hallway) without having to confront my mother about it.

It was a little awkward because my mother went on and on about how wonderful, funny and touching my writing is and how proud she is of me. It's pretty rare for us to have those kind of exchanges. I wasn't really sure what to say except for my muttered, "Thanks."

Now I can't help but think of every little thing I've written there and how my overly sensitive mother (my daughter had to get it from somewhere) would perceive it.

All I can say is that I'm glad she's not mucking around here. Oh sure, in the last few months I've been tame and boring, but there are some doozies in the archives.

Maybe it's time I started writing some non-mom-appropriate stuff here again.

Oh, and my mother's one other comment about the "other blog"?

"You use a lot of big words, you know. I'm gonna have to look some of them up."

Yup, me and my mom. We're two peas in a pod.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Apart at the Seams

I feel like I've been holding myself together pretty well, all things considered. I think after all these years I've learned how to keep my outer shell very well preserved.

I am a strong woman. I can get through anything, mostly because I have a tremendous amount of love in my life.

Or at least that's what I tell myself.

But lately I've felt like my tough outer shell is starting to crack. Today I felt like all this rain has seeped into those cracks. And for a moment today, I felt like the cold had turned that rain to ice and my tough outer shell had shattered completely, falling away from me piece by piece.

Nothing big set it off. That's not usually the way it happens.

Today I bit my lip.

That one moment of pain made my eyes tear up. But once I had let go of that tiny bit of control, all of the pain I've been burying came pouring out.

I had myself collected and patched up again within five minutes, but it was a little scary to realize just how tenuous my control really is.

My husband has been in Iraq for over five months now. His return date has been pushed back to mid January again. I've been noticing how much the little things are slipping away from me. I've forgotten to pay certain bills. I can't remember appointments. My son has been more than a handful lately. I get mad at the drop of a hat.

And just when I'm really starting to enjoy my little pity party, I'm brought back to reality.

This is hard to explain, but first of all, I feel a lot of guilt over my husband's service. I can't help but think about the families whose loved ones are deployed for fifteen months, or more, at a time. I can't help but think of all the service people who never come home. I can't help but think about the danger that so many military folks are in every day.

And my husband only has to go for seven months. And he was lucky enough to get pulled off of a convoy unit and into a leadership position. And yes, he's been deployed four times, but never for more than seven months.

I feel a tremendous amount of guilt that my life is so easy! It could be so much harder.

It might not be rational. But it is the way I fee.

It will take more than a little ice in the cracks to permanently destroy my outer shell. It's too important to too many people that I stay strong.

Seven months apart really isn't a long time when you're in your thirties and you know you have many happy years ahead of you. I certainly haven't lost anything. My husband and I share a bond stronger than ever.

Its' a bond strong enough to hold my outer shell together. No matter what the weather. No matter who tests its strength.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Race to Deliver

On Sunday morning, the kids ran a race in Central Park to benefit God's Love We Deliver.

Between the two of them they raised $2,395!

I'm so proud of them, but I am also completely overwhelmed by the generosity of our friends and family. Their response was amazing.

Thank you to everyone who supported them and helped raise money for a very worthy organization. You all rock.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Price of Things

Remember that really bad thing I did?

I spent $600 on two Hannah Montana tickets for my mother and my daughter.

As soon as I hit the "submit" button I felt like I was going to vomit. But I was feeling so bad that my daughter wouldn't get to see The Little Mermaid on Broadway because of the stage hand strike. I made an impulsive, bad decision.

I was wracked with guilt all week long. Even though my husband told me, "It's only money, honey."

When I told her about the tickets, she sort of said, "Oh."

So I told her, "I paid a lot of money for these tickets. And there are a lot of girls who would love them. If you don't really want to go, I can sell them."

"No, I want to go. A lot of my friends will be there. They love Hannah Montana."

"But, do you love Hannah Montana?" I asked her.

"I don't love her, but I don't hate her," she replied.

Great.

But last Thursday, after her homework and violin practice were done, my mom took her to the concert.

She loved it. I felt slightly better.

Last night I was talking to my husband. He's actually in another Middle Eastern country this week for a conference but he's heading back to Iraq today. Unfortunately, he had some bad news.

He won't be home before the new year. He won't be home until mid to late January. His replacement has been delayed.

"It's okay though," he told me. "We can use the extra month of tax-free income. I have to stay to pay for those Hannah Montana tickets."

Yeah. He's a laugh riot.

I have a feeling I'm going to be hearing about those Hannah Montana tickets for a while.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

On Our Way

Once a week, my son's class publishes a little book. Each child contributes his own page.

This week, my son expressed his enthusiasm for our Thanksgiving vacation plans. He couldn't be more excited about going to his house for a "Thanksgiving feast" if he tried!

Monday, November 12, 2007

And Another Mistake!

I've been very mistake-prone lately. Let's chalk it up to the unavoidable pitfalls of being a waiting spouse, shall we? I'd hate to have to admit that I'm just a complete flake by nature.

My children are running the Race to Deliver in New York City next Sunday. They are extremely excited about running in Central Park and helping to raise money. And our friends and family have been extremely generous with their sponsorship donations. (Thank you, everyone!)

But what is it with old people? Why are they so freaking scared of the Internet?

My mother-in-law was especially generous. But she didn't want to make a donation online so she sent me two checks for five hundred dollars each made out to my children. My plan was to deposit them in my account and then use my credit card to make the donation online.

But I threw them away.

Yes, I threw one thousand dollars in the garbage!

In a frenzy of cleaning I threw the envelope containing the checks into my kitchen trash. I didn't realize what I had done until the next night when I was checking the kids' donation amounts online.

Of course, in my cleaning frenzy, I had also bagged up that trash and taken it to our outside bins.

I had to go out in the dark and root around in the trash bins with the lizards, and the bugs, and who-knows-what-else! I found the right bag and brought it inside. I sorted through all the garbage on my kitchen floor. And there, at the very bottom of the bag, creased but stain-free were the checks.

I deposited those babies as fast as I could before--I don't know--the dog chewed them, or they got knocked into the shredder, or I decided to use them as scratch pads!

I think this only goes to show you. It doesn't ever pay to clean in a frenzy. And writing checks is so 1990.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Damage Control

I did something bad. Impulsive and expensive and something I swore I would never do and bad.

I blame it on her.

But I'm kind of afraid to tell my husband what I did. He's gonna kick my butt. (Actually he'll shake his head, furrow his brow, and make a mad face...but still.)

So...um...I'm going to try and get on his good side.

Hi, Honey! I love you. You're so handsome. The picture you sent me made me swoon. I can't wait until you get home. You know all that stuff we've talked about that has been rated M for Mature? Um, yeah. I can't wait to do all of that stuff. All of it. *Ahem*

And, um, you know how I always harp on you about spending too much money on your truck and your hobbies? I'm never going to do that again. And you know that airplane you want to buy? Well, you just tell me where to sign. And you know that boat you want that I really don't want because I hate boats? Yeah, you can have that too.

I might even be persuaded to rub your back now and then. And visit you parents.

If all of that isn't enough, well...um...could you maybe try to remember that I'm the mother of your children? Aren't they beautiful? You couldn't have made those beautiful, smart, sweet, bright, wonderful kids with anyone else but me.

Right?

Friday, November 09, 2007

Remind me to read this next Sping!

God, guys. I'm just so...stressed.

I'd like to say that this isn't like me. That I don't overreact to things. But I don't know. Maybe I do.

Maybe I'm just a big, ole' drama queen. (No comments from the peanut gallery!)

This year I took a volunteer chair job at the school that was supposed to be easy. My co-chair and I were just supposed to plan an annual luncheon for anywhere from 700 to 1000 people.

It's just a one day gig! Two hours long! These last two years I planned two eight-day long, fundraising food booths requiring over 200 volunteers and tens of thousands of dollars in supplies.

That was a piece of cake compared to this!

It's what I have come to call the bayou attitude that is driving me crazy. Everyone moves so slow. Everyone gossips about everything. Everyone complains about everything. Nobody takes any initiative or pride in what they do. And is it me or are people just extra stupid? Oh! And why is it that rich people are so fucking cheap?

When I found out my husband would be deployed I should have resigned my position. But I just don't play things that way. I can't (not won't or don't...but can't) back out of commitments or admit that I can't handle something. I'm incapable.

But I've been letting people roll right over me at an unprecedented rate. God, it's making me hate myself. Right along with everyone else.

Success or clusterfuck, it will all be over next Friday. On Saturday, we'll be winging our way to a Thanksgiving break in New York City.

I can't wait.

For the record, I'm never chairing anything again.

You might have to remind me of that this Spring when they ask me to volunteer trick me into volunteering again.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Luck (Alternately Titled: Sap)

Hey, guys. I actually have some deep thoughts brewing, but not much coherent thought is making its way out of my mouth or onto the page lately.

I've been damn lucky so far this deployment, but my luck finally ran out. I'm sick.

Being sick while my husband is deployed really sucks. I'm not ready to throw a pity party quite yet. It's not like I need to go to the hospital. I'm still faking it through my daily life.

But I do feel rather sorry for myself just because I have no one to complain to. (Hence the blog, or course.) I mean, I went out to lunch with my friends today. I could have garnered sympathy, but I don't want sympathy from them. I want camaraderie.

Then, about fifteen minutes ago, my husband called.

Our little talk between his rounds of watch reminded me so much of the many reasons why we are together.

No matter how many friends I have or how much love is in my life, nobody gets me like my husband. To fall in love with and exchange vows with a man who really gets you has got to be the luckiest thing in life.

I may still feel stuffy and feverish, but now I feel so much better. Just from talking to my man.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Opportunity

While Trick-or-Treating last week, my kids politely approached a grandmother-type with a young baby sitting on the front steps of a house handing out bags filled with candy.

When she handed my son his little bag of loot, he squealed, "Wow! That's a lot of candy! Thank you, Ma'am."

But my daughter and I both thought the same thing. She quietly said to me, "There's no way she's going to have enough bags for all the kids."

"Maybe they're new on base," I replied. "It would cost a lot of money to give that much to 500 Trick-or-Treaters."

But I had a feeling about those bags. So when we got home, I opened them up. Along with chocolate and lollipops, they had these.




Click to enlarge!

Interesting.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Ring! Ring! Libido Calling

My libido has been MIA for a loooong time, but all of a sudden, it's back. With a vengeance. What's up with that? I have at least 58 days until I can do anything useful with it.

First I happened across this hot picture of Adam Levine dressed as Brad Pitt a la Fight Club on about a boy and his briefs.



Then I though, Hmmm. Yummm. Adam Levine. Maroon 5. Yahoo Music. That might be good.

And then I spent an hour watching every Maroon 5 video on Yahoo Music.

Have you seen the new one for Wake Up Call?

Dayum, but Adam Levine is hot.

You know, I don't even think that he's really all that great looking. There's just something about the way he moves, and talks, and sings, and is that just drips sex.

*sigh*

Sex. Ah, yes. I remember it fondly.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Brag Alert! (Apparently)

So, apparently, my children are gifted.

It's funny. It's funny how we see ourselves so differently from how other people see us. And it's funny how we see our children so differently from how other people see them.

Or maybe that's just me.

My daughter got the equivalent of all A's and B's on her report card. I hate to admit it, because it shows how very much I am like my father, but I was disappointed. She's smarter than that. She's let her deplorable handwriting hinder her grades in both math and language.

My son's report card was excellent, except that he can't tie his shoes and has trouble with fine motor skills. And he has trouble relaxing. He's so intense. Usually intensely happy, but still intense.

Today I went to school for their Parent/Teacher Conferences.

While I've been caught up in my daughter's struggle to be neat and organized, her teacher is over the moon about how creative she is. All I can see is how my daughter doesn't apply herself enough and here's her teacher telling me that she is gifted.

My daughter is a gifted writer.

Who knew?

And my son, well I always knew that he was especially good at math, but apparently he really is gifted. But not just at math. No, he apparently excels at reading too. He's the "most expressive" reader in the class. There are certain concepts that he has been the only child in the class to grasp.

While I've been caught up in his bed wetting, shaky handwriting, and untied shoes he was busy being all gifted at school.

How could I not have realized all this? What does that say about me as a mother? Is this normal?

Above all else, both of their teachers couldn't say enough good things about their character. My daughter is apparently the sweetest, most polite, most consciences, most empathetic child her veteran teacher has ever had the pleasure to teach. My son is apparently the sweetest, most polite, most consciences, most empathetic child his veteran teacher has ever seen. And he's popular to boot. In fact they are both "very well liked" and "very happy".

I know I have good kids, but we have struggles. My son has been just awful at home lately. To hear that none of this has carried over in to school is a huge relief.

But my daughter's teacher told me something that almost made me weep with joy. Apparently the girl who cries everyday hasn't been crying at school. In fact, her teacher doesn't think she's overly sensitive at all. She said, "She hasn't cried once this year."

Are you kidding me? Whose child do you have mine confused with? She hasn't had one single break down? Really?

Could it be that she has finally grown up? Could it be that she has finally caught up with her peers? Could it be that the fairies came and switched the real human child to whom I gave birth back with their own changeling?

Now if she could just manage to pick up the ring of debris that her teacher says is constantly around her desk, I'll consider myself a not-horrible parent.

I wish their dad could have been here to hear all of that today. He would have wept in relief too.

My kids are at a friends house until after noon today. I'm going to take the next couple of hours and bask in this rare feeling of parental confidence.

Bragging complete.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Day of Buffy

Halloween, schmalloween.

Today is the Day of Buffy! Buffy the Wonder Puppy turns three-years-old today.

Buffy knows that this day is all about her. She poos on your efforts to beg neighbors and strangers for candy. She looks cute and gets treats every day. She smirks at your pitiful attempts to dress in costumes. She knows that the proper attire for a fall evening is long, white fur accented with orange bows.

Her children sing Happy Birthday to her first thing in the morning on October 31st. They know what's important in life. They bring her extra treats and brand new toys. They even custom designed a new bowl to hold her fine cuisine and imported bottled water.

And when her mommy finds her "presents" on the playroom carpet on October 31st she spends an extra long time paying attention to her. Her words sound something like, "Just because it is your birthday doesn't mean you can poop wherever you like!" But Buffy doesn't care.

She knows that today is all about her.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Just in Time for Halloween

I'm not the kind of person who believes in the supernatural, superstitions or astrology. Except that I kind of do.

I've lived in two houses that were supposedly haunted. The people who lived in one house before us actually moved out just because of the ghosts they spotted. But I never saw a thing.

A couple of summers ago in our family house on Cape Cod, I kept seeing weird shadows out of the corner of my eye around the foot of the stairs. I never mentioned a thing but since then at least four different people have mentioned seeing weird shadows and human forms in the exact same place. It's creepy, but I'm insistent that if I don't believe in ghosts, I'll never see a ghost.

That's the way it works. Right?

And as for superstitions, well, I know that the Red Sox won the World Series for the first time in 86 years because my son wore his little Red Sox shirt on every game day. He broke Babe Ruth's curse single-handedly. Or so I like to think.

This time around I'm wearing my Red Sox hat every game day. Except I forgot it today. If my Red Sox lose tonight it will be proof positive that what my family wears affects baseball games played a thousand miles away. Right?

And yes, I read my horoscope every day. The logical part of my brain can't imagine how the alignment of the stars when you were born can affect your personality and course of your life. But I can't help but notice that I fit every description of a Taurus I have ever read. And my daughter is a classic Cancer. And my son a perfect Sagittarius. (My husband is an enigma.)

Just today I was reminded of how eerily true horoscopes can be.

Last week I was reaching in my purse when my hand seemed to cease up. Both hands have felt sort of numb and painful for a while, but I figured if I ignored it, it would go away. That's how it works. Right?

The pain has gotten worse and worse and I know I need to see a doctor, but I've been avoiding and postponing it. Today my horoscope said, "Your latest health concern should be addressed, either with a change in your routine or visit to a professional. Take care of yourself!"

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Since when did the writers at Astrology.com start sounding like my mother? (And by "mother" I mean Patrick.)

But a couple of days ago my horoscope said, "You have a great deal of sex appeal." As far as I'm concerned, that is undeniable proof right there that it is all bunk.

So I'll keep ignoring that ghost by the stairs and I'll keep postponing that trip to the doctor. But I will go find my Red Sox hat.

Some things are too important to be left to chance.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Complete and Utter

I've had some rough times here and there in the past. But all in all my life is freaking awesome.

But last night, when my alarm went off at 3 a.m. so I could check on my son, and I stumbled to his door and just stood there smelling the pee and dreading waking him up to clean up, I just couldn't take it.

I felt utter and complete despair.

I just couldn't even imagine how I could keep this all up.

Then I woke him up, helped him clean up and change his sheets, crawled back to my own bed and overslept this morning.

And life goes on. And despair passes. And I have no choice but to keep this all up.

And my life is still freaking awesome.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Occupying My Mind

"So, how do you occupy your days?"

I had to sign some insurance papers today and the agent asked me that question.

"Oh...welll...you know...I don't know."

He totally stumped me! I had no idea how to answer that question.

I know he was just making small talk, but it made me laugh. There was a time in my life when answering that question the right way was extremely important to me. Now, it doesn't matter even one tiny bit.

It's funny because I had just been thinking about how I would be spending my days if our lives had taken a different path and we hadn't become parents.

Patrick called me from Brooklyn this weekend and said, "I wish you were here."

We say that to each other a lot. He loves New York and I love my husband so we'll probably never live in the same city, but it would be fun to be neighbors. As usual, I answered him, "Awww. Me too."

But then he stumped me.

"If you didn't have the kids, would you have come to New York while your husband is deployed?"

I think he was expecting an, "Oh, yes, of course. That would have been fun!" kind of answer. But he unknowingly set off a think bomb in my brain.

What would I be doing if I didn't have kids?

I probably wouldn't have been able to take off for New York because I either would have joined the military myself (I had thought about it), or I'd have some other job with limited vacation time. Or maybe I would have been a writer who could work from anywhere. Or maybe even, as Patrick suggested, I would be doing the military wife/charity volunteer thing that I'm doing now anyway.

It boggles the mind.

But I can't think about it for too long, because I have to go occupy my day. I think the next time someone asks me that question I need to have a better answer than, "Blogging and surfing porn."

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Leggo My Ego

In a recent online exchange I jokingly told my husband to be careful of inflating my ego. To which he replied, "Too late."

I was a little hurt by that. Considering how much I hate myself, I'd hardly say that my ego is inflated. So I asked him, "Do you really think I have a big ego?"

And I got back a one word answer. "Yes."

Fucker.

Now I was more than a little hurt, to be honest. But it's hard to argue effectively online with your spouse while he's under mortar attack (exaggerating, but still...) so I turned elsewhere for moral support. I texted Patrick.

"My husband just accused me of having a big ego! I don't have a big ego. Do I?"

Yes, I use full sentences, spelling,and punctuation when I text. But, anyway...

Not long after, I got Patrick's halting reply.

"Rock. Hard place. Me."

What the fuck? Now, that deserved a return phone call.

When I got Patrick on the line he was actually a little speechless. Those of you who know him can pick your jaws up off the floor now. I've never heard him stutter or grope for words like that before.

Here I was, slogging through life thinking most people saw me as self effacing, a little timid, and hugely humble, yet the people who know me best think I have a huge ego. I was flabbergasted.

I guess maybe there is a fine line between cocky and confident. Apparently I've tripped head first over that line and landed on my face.

Both of the men in my life fell all over themselves trying to explain that they thought it was good that I was confident in myself in some ways. I'm not sure I believe them.

Like most people, I'm not good at receiving compliments. Inside I know that I am a fraud. For whatever thing I'm being complimented on, I have a host of faults that obliterate it. But I've learned that it is most polite to say, "Thank you," and move on.

Maybe my compliment-accepting technique needs some work.

Or maybe I really do need to embrace this egotistical side. Maybe carrying around a big ego is better than carrying around a suitcase full of self doubt and a duffel full of self hatred.

It's got to be easier on the back.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Nine

Nine years.

As of this week, we have been stationed here on the bayou for nine long years.

We've lived in this house for seven of them.

Both of my kids were born here.

Yes, my kids were born on the bayou. And if recent events are any indication, they could be completely raised here too.

For years we've been saying that we will most likely move before my daughter starts fourth grade and my son starts first. We expected my husband to be selected to attend a certain school and move on.

He wasn't selected. It sucks.

My whole outlook on our future changed in a matter of moments.

Since college, my husband and I have been working toward something. We were working toward his success in a career which he loves. Whenever a decision had to be made, the first question we asked was, "How will this affect his career."

Oh, sure, we considered how a decision would affect the family too, but when your breadwinner's career is so entwined with your family's lifestyle, what's best for his career is usually what is best for the family.

Besides, we wanted to experience the world.

Now suddenly, his job just may be a way for him to earn income.

For the first time ever, we're considering throwing our hands in the air and accepting this place as home. As much as I hate this place (and I do) there are things I love about it.

We love our kids' school. We're on the school board. We've given more money than we can afford to the school. Would it be so bad to let them stay there?

I've grown roots these last few years. Roots I've never had before. I have friends and associations I never even expected. I'm a big fish in a little pond.

I'm comfortable.

It's a huge decision. Do we fight for what my husband deserves? Or do we accept this life as ours?

I'm torn. I'm a little helpless. I'm not so angry anymore. I can see more clearly now.

I'm just still a little bit shocked that I can see us making a permanent life here.

At least until the kids hit high school.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Let's Be Frank

Okay, guys. Let's get down to the nitty gritty. It isn't going to be pretty and it isn't going to be fun, but it is going to be all me.

I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore.

In the last couple of weeks I have barely slept at all. The sleep deprivation hasn't helped my mood or personality any. In fact, I've become quite nasty.

But these last few days have been the worst.

My husband got some very disappointing career-related news. He was not selected to do something that he really wanted to do. I am disappointed, hurt, frustrated and mostly angry on his behalf.

I'm angry at the world right now.

I'm angry at the women who keep telling me that they understand what it is like to have my husband be deployed because their husbands work past dinner time most nights. And I'm sick of well-meaning people telling me that my husband is "almost home" or he'll be "home before I know it" or that he'll be home in "no time now".

My husband will not be home for at least two and a half months. Most of the people who are saying these things to me would dissolve in a puddle of despair if their husbands were leaving for two and a half months. Never mind the four months my husband has already been gone.

I'm mad that the world seems incompetent. I'm mad that people lie to me. I'm mad that you can't get good service anymore. I'm mad that after living here for nine years, I still can't understand half of what people say. I'm mad that I've lived her for nine years!

I'm just fucking mad.

So, I've decided that I need a nemesis. I need one horrible person on whom I can concentrate all of my anger.

And I've found her.

She's someone I have to deal with a lot and she is a self-serving bitch.

And if she puts me at the bottom of her fucking meeting agenda one more time, even though I'm not on her committee and I'm just wasting hours of my time sitting through her stupid meetings, I'm going to slap her.

I'm going to punch her in the neck.

This could be fun, because you know in real life I do nothing but smile at this women. Oh sure, I manipulate the situation so that I come out looking good and she comes out looking like the bitch she is, but I smile at her all while I'm doing it.

Hopefully, thwarting my nemesis will relieve my anger enough that I'll be able to write again. And maybe it will yield some good stories.

Because there ain't nobody meaner than a military wife who's gone without sex for months and months. Bitch better watch her back. I've learned from the queens.

*three snaps in a circle*

Monday, October 15, 2007

Confessions of a Soccer Mom

I never, ever intended to be a soccer mom.

I swear.

I think my first mistake was buying the mini van. Oh sure, I had all kinds of rationalizations. But the truth is I was starting out on a long and slippery slope.

The next thing I knew, my daughter was four-years-old. She needed exercise. We needed something to do to get out of the house. Soccer was just sort of...there.

I think soccer is one of the few teams sports that very little kids can manage.

In that first season the very dear coaches had to hold her hand on the field. She spent more time crying because she was hot and watching the ball go by than anything else. But she loved it. She loved dressing up in her cute little uniform and being with the other kids.

The next year, Daddy decided to take a turn coaching. Oh, was that a mistake. We have learned now, when you coach a team, it is always your kid who is the hardest to coach. There were more tears. But she wouldn't hear of quitting.

But the next year, she was finally old enough to play on an all-girls team. Her coach was great and he really started to teach them about the game.

By second grade, she was on a team with all of her friends from school. And that's when I shed my sweet, little sideline mom veil and because the monster that I am today.

I guess it's because her friends' parents are my friends. Because they know me, I don't feel so shy. And so I end up standing on the sidelines screaming, "RUN!!!" like my child is about to be engulfed by flames or eaten by a monster.

I suppose I've gotten worse and worse because my daughter actually seems to respond to my hysterics. If Daddy cheers at all, it makes her weepy and upset. But when I yell my head off, she actually gets aggressive. She really does run.

That kid who held her coach's hand that whole first season has turned into a decent little soccer player. And I've turned into a nut.

Yet, my daughter begged me to coach a softball team next season. We'll see if we can get through a season without any tears. (Would you like to place bets? The odds are way stacked!)

Hopefully I won't have any nutso parent's in the bleachers yelling their heads off. Don't you just hate people like that?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Reality Check

Today I had just a little taste of what it must be like to really be a war wife.

Most mornings, I get up about five minutes before the kids to read my e-mail. My husband almost always sends me one during the night. This morning I had no e-mail, but that isn't so out of the ordinary. Still, when I got home from dropping the kids off at school, I checked my e-mail again.

There was still no news from my husband, but I couldn't help but notice a news headline on the sign in page.

"Two dead in attack on Baghdad base."

Normally, when my husband is deployed I avoid any media coverage of anything. Even the most realistic and stoic of us can let our imaginations run amok when our loved one is far away and in danger. But I couldn't help but click on that link today.

And yes, there was a mortar or rocket attack on my husband's base.

Two people were killed and forty were injured. While I know that there are thousands of people on that base and the chances of him being hurt or killed are next to nothing, I still couldn't help imagining...what if?

The thought of him not coming back to us is unimaginable. Strangely, the thought of him being wounded is even harder to imagine.

I hate to admit it, but I spent the rest of my morning sitting in front of the computer refreshing my e-mail over and over again, waiting for word.

When he finally called me around noon, I didn't feel relief. I felt stupid. I felt silly. I felt embarrassed.

"We are at war, you know," he told me.

I know, but when you're a military wife you spend years telling yourself that your husband is safe because he flies a safe aircraft and he's good at his job. You tell yourself he's safe because he's not really near any action. You tell yourself he's safe because he has to be. No other option is acceptable.

And when you realize that he's not as safe as you like to imagine, it hits hard.

But I only overreacted for a few hours on a beautiful October morning. There are too many wives, mothers, husbands, fathers, children, families, and friends who have had to deal with the reality.

I can pretend all I want that my husband is just as safe over there as he would be here at home. But it's not really true.

Believe it or not, I think it helps me to have that reality check.

Monday, October 08, 2007

The City Boy Does Bayou Fabulous

It has been ages and ages since I've fallen back on an old blogging staple and told you all about my weekend.

That's because I have no life.

But I actually have something to tell about this past weekend!

Last week sucked major donkey ass. By Thursday afternoon I was ready to lose it. I have seriously never felt so alone or so much of a failure.

But I had something to look forward to. We were exactly half way through this deployment and my best friend was coming for a visit.

I can laugh about it now, (or actually, I can tease him mercilessly about it now) but Patrick's trip from New York City to the bayou started out on the wrong foot. In a move worthy of only sitcom characters and tourists, he went to the wrong airport.

It's a good thing he's a skinny, little, running bitch because he had to sprint between gates in the Atlanta airport to make it to the last flight out. But the kids were thrilled to get to stay up late and pick Uncle Patrick up at the airport.

On Friday morning, I took the kids to school and Patrick and I had the whole day to ourselves. We did the authentic suburban housewife thing and had pancakes at IHOP and shopped at Target. But we also explored a gallery/design store that I've driven by a million times and never ventured in.

It was so nice to have Patrick here. I don't think I even realized how alone I've felt until I had someone here to just be myself with.

After school, Patrick babysat my son so I could take my daughter to her violin lesson without her little brother in tow. The last time he babysat here, my son left a softball-sized surprise in his diaper. Luckily he's past that now. The boys decided to go for a walk instead.

That evening, Patrick did a very brave thing. I hired a sitter and Patrick and I headed down to the art festival to man a food booth fund raiser for the kids' school. Not only did he fry up corn dogs, dish out pizza, and serve up Icees but he had to socialize with a couple of Southern moms and their husbands.

Of course he charmed them down to their very last y'alls.

It was definitely a World's Collide moment for me. I always get a little nervous when two separate parts of my world come together like that, but I don't really know why. I think I'm always a little nervous that people are thinking that my husband is being duped. I truly don't care what people think of me, but I don't want anyone to ever think anything less of my husband than he deserves. And here I am showing up all around town with a handsome guy in tow.

Which is why I outed Patrick the first chance I got.

Okay, that's not true. I outed him because the conversation naturally flowed that way. But still.

Patrick got to meet a few of my closer friends, which was very nice. He also got a chance to see me in a way that I'm not sure he ever has before. He got to see me in my element, doing my thing, with my friends. Of course I'm a giant dork so I'm not saying that it was a treat for him or anything.

On Saturday we returned to the festival with the kids. Their violin school performed on stage. They both played great but there was a poking incident at one point. While it was nice for me to have my kids close together on stage, I think my daughter would have preferred for her brother to be way across on the other side.

After they played we ate fair food. Patrick even went all out bayou style and had gumbo and dirty rice. Then we perused the artists' booths for a while enroute to the children's activity area.

I was so incredibly grateful to have Uncle Patrick with me just then. Trying to keep two kids happy with all the available activities by myself would have sent me over the edge. We were all hot and tired and the kids had been on stage for an hour. Having another adult, especially one who loves my kids, to help shepherd them through each station was just what this tired mom needed.

I think we earned a night out. I hired the babysitter one last time and Patrick and I set out for a fun evening.

We ended up spending the evening doing local things I've never done before. We started off at a restaurant I've always wanted to try. We killed some time in a bookstore looking for gay authors on the shelves. (They were few and far between.) Then we headed to the gay bar.

Yes, I said the gay bar. We only have one here. It's location in an old railroad station made it seem a little creepy from the outside. But I had done my research and knew that it was supposed to be a fairly decent place.

That whole experience was quite surreal for me. First of all, when we walked in every patron at the bar was glued to the college football game on the televisions. Even the tranny bartender was yelling at the screen. I've been to a lot of gay bars (for a straight girl) , but I've never seen one like this.

And our drinks only cost 9 bucks. Nine bucks! And I got Grey Goose.

Once the game was over, we explored the massive place to find three different dance floors and a performance space. I was surprised but pleased to find a very diverse crowd. I guess I'm used to big city bars where there are so many gays and lesbians that they can segregate into their own cliques and their own establishments. But the crowd here was a mixture of every kind of LGBT person under the sun. And they all seemed to know each other. It was a friendly place, though no one but the bartenders talked to us.

But the drag show was an abomination.

After the bar, we headed to a casino. Although I've been to a couple of events at the local casinos I've never actually ventured onto a gaming floor. Patrick and I mostly ended up gawking at the freak show of humanity. And we ordered breakfast and coffee before heading back home.

On Sunday we went to brunch and the boardwalk. But Patrick's visit came to an end all too soon.

I spent most of Sunday afternoon explaining to my son that he couldn't go home with Uncle Patrick. Both kids cried when we left him at the airport. And the dog still hasn't forgiven me for sending her one true love away yet again.

Traitor.

It was so wonderful to have my friend visit. I know that this damned bayou isn't exactly at the top of the list of places he'd like to visit. But Patrick took time away from his life and his work to give me some much needed companionship and fun. We were all exhausted by the end of the weekend, but it was worth it.

By the way, if you talk to Patrick ask him to demonstrate the new accent he picked up. Y'all will done think he done lost his mind.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Delicate Flower


nataliedee.com

Funny. I tell my husband this all the time. There is no one more dainty and delicate than me.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

A Smile as Wide as All Get Out

A couple of weeks ago, I was lazily flipping through our soon-to-be-defunct base paper when an image startled me so much it made me jump.

It was me!

It was a picture of me surrounded by copy about me directing people to my "other blog". I only mention it because it surprised me so. And it made me feel a little dirty. Like I'm a whore, paid to write drivel and then promoted without my knowledge, consent, or support.

But, hey. The fact that they used my little blog head shot makes Patrick a published photographer.

So I felt a little gun shy while I was perusing the last issue of the paper. I turned every page sort of half-hoping not to see my ugly mug, yet half-hoping that my employer at least finds my drivel worth advertising for another week. (Gotta keep those Carrie Bradshaw-esq checks rolling in.)

I thought I was prepared to see myself again upon turning each page, but no. This time I gasped when my face came into view.

This ad was larger. Or at least it was wider. My face certainly was so.

Someone doesn't know about maintaining photo proportions. My photo was stretched by width, but not by height.

And I appeared in the historic last issue of our base paper with its seventy-five year history looking like Jabba the Hut.

How befitting.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Well, they are a funny people.

Patrick and I were talking on the phone this weekend. We were laughing and he was teasing me about sex toys and I had to stop him and say, "I have to call you back. I have the girl with me."

Which made my daughter accuse, "You're hiding something from me, Mom. I know it!"

"Oh, it's nothing," I told her. "Uncle Patrick just thinks he's funny. You know he's a jokester."

To which she replied, "Well, of course he is, Mom. He's a Canadian."

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Oh! Did I not mention?

Finally, some good news.

I got to talk to my husband twice in the last two days. It was great.

He asked me, "Do you want to know my return date?" You see, dates change so much that he wondered if I even wanted to get my hopes up.

But I'm a big girl who can handle disappointment and who likes to know everything about everything.

He should be home on December 30.

Yay!

I mean, I'll believe it when I see him, but still...

Yay!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Dramatic Whispers and Me as Judas

I absolutely hate it when people whisper the word gay, like it is a swear or a secret.

A couple of years ago when I was shocked into stunned silence when a "friend" (and I use the quotes sarcastically) said that she walked out of Rent because of the "gay agenda" (more sarcastic quotes), that I would better prepare myself with comebacks in the future.

But I have since failed at least three times.

Last night it was at my son's soccer practice. My son is the only kid on the team from a different school and the parents are trying really hard to reach out to us and be friendly. But one mom who I've sort of known for a few years well telling a story about how she had to have the *dramatic whisper* gay talk with her third grader because of something they saw on television.

I wasn't really part of the conversation and the other parents just sort of said, "Oh," and asked, "Did he understand?" So I guess I really had nothing to take offense to.

Except for that dramatic whisper! I hate that! Because we all know what she's really saying.

I wanted to tell her about my kids. I wanted to tell her about how I had the *dramatic whisper* gay talk with my daughter when she was five. And how I stupidly stressed about it. But to my daughter it was no big deal at all. She had questions and I gave her answers. She had questions for Uncle Patrick, and he gave her answers.

By the way, she mostly wants to know why he's single. I think she wants to play matchmaker.

And I wanted to tell about how my son doesn't even need the talk because he's grown up with gay family. I've overheard my kids talking to each other about girls and boys and my son lectured my daughter about how men could love men too. To him, gay and straight are just facts of life.

I wanted to tell her that I actually am more bothered by people who think they are tolerant, yet really are completely prejudiced against *dramatic whisper* gay people. It is the permeating homophobia disguised as hip, modern day understanding that really does the most damage because it still allows everyday, average people to think in terms of normal versus abnormal.

Yet, I didn't say a word.

I am so frustrated with myself. How hard would it have been to say, "Oh, my best friend is gay so my kids have understood for a long time." Or something like that? Anything at all?

I have an eight-year-old daughter who has decided that she doesn't want to support any company that doesn't support gay people, yet I can't say the word gay in front of a group of soccer moms?

I resolve again to handle these situations better in the future. It's easy to be supportive surrounded by the love and comfort of gay friends in a gay-friendly community. It is another thing entirely to stand up for what I believe in this world of Southern Crosses and rebel flags.

I will do better.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Wall

I have to admit that I've been seeing it coming for a while now. It's been out there, just beyond my sight, taunting me.

And today I hit it. I hit the wall.

I hit it nose first with a full-on, resounding smack.

It's funny because just this weekend I mentioned to my friends that the longer my husband has been deployed, the more easily annoyed I have become. I was ready to crack heads because the soccer team that had the field before us wouldn't move off of it for their post-game meeting.

Hello? There are other people in the world besides you!

But it is fairly normal for me to be annoyed by discourteous people. The wall I hit today was not normal.

I am over it. I am done. I am sick of being a single parent. I am done with my husband working a dangerous job. I am finished with being alone. I need a break.

Today, I went up to the kids' school to help with a room mother's project in the morning. It was supposed to take us an hour to tear enough fabric strips to make 20 pioneer rag dolls. But only two other moms showed up and I spent the entire day at school. By the time I got the kids home, I was done with this day.

Instead of jumping right into violin practice with my son, I cuddled up next to him on my bed to watch cartoons. And I was out like a light. I was gone to the world until the kids woke me up at 6 to help them make the pizza I had stupidly told them we'd bake for dinner. If ever there was a night for PB&J, it was tonight.

I'm just so tired. Tired of being alone, tired of making a thousand little decisions every day, tired of people asking me when my husband is coming home, tired of being depended upon, tired of missing my husband, tired of answering questions and tired of getting up so early every morning.

While I was sleeping this afternoon, I had a dream that my husband came home for a one day visit. And I was too busy writing a story about the local high school football team to spend any time with him.

This is the real face of deployment for a spouse, I think. It's keeping it together for months, losing it for an afternoon, and picking up all the pieces again by dinner time.

Tonight I'm sending the kids off to bed and turning in early. Hopefully I'll have extricated myself from this wall before I wake up to face another day.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Too Early for Slap Stick

I don't do mornings. To say that I am not a morning person is like saying that Angelina Jolie is not fat. It's an understatement.

But I have been struggling to find a time to fit exercise into the kids' day. I finally had to give in and admit that mornings are the right time for fitness.

So as part of our new challenge to be healthy, the kids and I awoke at the ungodly hour of 6 a.m. for a trek around our neighborhood.

Did you know that the sun isn't even up yet at six in the morning? I didn't.

Armed with flashlights and light clothing, we set out.

I'd say that we went for a walk but that wouldn't be accurate. What we went for was a walk, run, skip, stop, bounce off mom, jog, fall, walk again around the path near our house. Between my son's screeching sound effects and my daughter's constant worrying that we weren't allowed to be walking in the dark, they drove me crazy. It was like walking with a slap-stick comedy duo.

By the time I helped them cross the street back on to the sidewalk that leads to our house, I was ready to scream. I always knew that my kids were talkers, but this was ridiculous. I told them to run all the way home and took a breather.

By the time I got to my front steps, they were sitting there looking all cute and happy. I was overcome with the notion that I wouldn't spend the day in guilt and stress trying to find a time for them to exercise.

While drinking his water my son exclaimed, "That was fun, Mom. We should do that every morning!" Suddenly it was all worth it. Even if I did have to get up at before seven.

If we can keep this up, I'll be the proudest parent of a slap-stick comedy duo ever.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Like Lady Godiva, Sort Of

The other day I wore a shirt that I've had for a while but never worn before.

It was a pretty color of blue and had a flattering sort-of mock wrap neckline. I tore off the tags, threw it over my head and checked my reflection in the mirror.

Good enough. And off I went to drop the kids off at school and start my day.

What I didn't realize until it was too late was that while my shirt looked perfectly nice while standing, when I sat, the sort-of mock wrap neckline unwrapped to reveal my right boob.

Great. I was flashing my kid's teacher, my fellow committee moms, and my husband's friends who came over to jump start his truck.

Suddenly, I really appreciated my long hair.

I draped the big ole mess of my hair over my cleavage and pretended like nothing was wrong.

Now, you'd think that I'd have learned my lesson about immodest tops, but you'd be wrong.

On Tuesday, I had about 45 minutes to kill before picking my kids up from school and bee-lining it to their afternoon of group violin lessons at the local college. I was tempted to treat myself to some fast food or Krispy Kreme but I decided that a large Diet Coke from Sonic would be treat enough.

As the roller skating car hop handed me my diet coke the cup slipped. I clenched my left hand to keep it from ending up in my lap. But apparently I don't know my own strength because I crushed the cup completely.

And ended up with 64 ounces of Diet Coke and ice down my front and pooled in my crotch.

Now I had a few options from running home and being late to pick up the kids to skipping violin completely, all of which would have made my daughter bawl like a baby. So I decided to suck up my meager pride and run into a store for a new outfit.

Unfortunately, the closest and most convenient store was one where I had embarrassed myself a couple of months ago. I had something happen to me in their fitting room that I still have nightmares about. But time was of the essence and I knew I could quickly grab something there that fit.

I grabbed a pair of pants that were a size bigger than I normally wear. I figured the last thing I wanted was to end up having to endure an afternoon with the violin moms in pants that were embarrassingly tight. I also grabbed a v-neck T-shirt that looked about right. And some underwear.

I ended up standing my wet ass in line to pay for twenty minutes. I could have shopped more and tried things on in that amount of time. When the cashier finally rang in my purchase, she asked if I wanted a bag. Obviously she had spotted my predicament. She removed all of the tags for me and let me into a fitting room to change calling out, "I want to see your outfit!" as she walked away.

Great. The last thing in the world I wanted was attention.

I changed quicker than I ever have in my entire life. But I was appalled to find that while the pants fit they were way more low-cut and form fitting than I had realized. And the shirt? Hello cleavage!

I spent five minutes in the fitting room doing deep knee bends and lunges trying to get my clothes to stretch out. Then I practically sprinted out of that place with the clerk's calls of, "You look cute!" following me to the parking lot.

The kids claimed that I looked "beautiful" (suck ups) but as I ushered them around to their violin classes I was again grateful for my long hair.

Now if only I had grown it out past my butt. I could walk around in nothing but my panties and a sports bra if I had longer hair.

Monday, September 17, 2007

What Happens When You're Sick

Your husband takes over your blog. And this...

Someone's in trouble. I'll give you two guesses who it is.

Mama's back now!

Friday, September 14, 2007

*****WARNING*****

OK I should have posted this before I started but I was way excited to get going.

WARNING:
This blog is not being written by Tuna Girl for a little while it is being written by Tuna Man. The blog will NOT contain the usual “Sex in the city” humor you are use to. If you have noticed it contains just sexually explicit topics. Stop back after 15 days or/and after 105 days from today, WHY, 15 days is how long it will take before TG revokes my bloging privileges and 105 days I will be home and have ben…well I am not going to finish that comment, lets just say Sex will not be the first thing on my mind any more.

So why am I thinking about sex so much, it is easy they tell me I can not think about, look at or do anything sexually related. It is like if I told you, you can not think about ice cream. What are you going to do think about ice cream especially if you can not have it.

Thank you for all your comments, here is my next loaded question;

How do you know what your sexual preference is and when did you realize it?

I have to say I am a very straight man, with that being said I have ask the question am I gay? Nope I like girls way to much to be gay. Men just don’t interest me like a female does. Girls are just intoxicating and smell good and are soft and well just COOL (see I can not even put a sentence together when I am thinking about Girls). A girl can walk by me and her smell WOW can bring me to my knees, guys just don’t do it for me. All that being said I can pinpoint the time I realized I REALLY liked girls.

Do you see all the wavy lines of a flashback, good here we go.

It was my first dance, a 6th grade dance it was a Halloween dance and me and my best friend at the time Tom decided to go as the Blues Brothers. It should be a good time, hanging out with friends and then I got there and the lights were all low and the girls were all in their costumes. I meet up with Tom and I really don’t know what we did for the first little bit of time but then the first slow song came on and Dawn, the she jackal, tried dragging me out on to the dance floor. I puller the arm away just in time and she could not get a good hold of me.

Tom and I escaped, wow that was close, could you imagine having to dance with a GIRL. Then the next slow song came on and we timed it perfectly we were at the refreshment stand, sweet the night is almost over and we are in the clear it is almost 9pm and time to go home. Then it happened the last slow song of the night and this tall very developed girl stops Tom and asks him to dance, and he said YES, what is he crazy, don’t do it, it is a trap and she leads him onto the dance floor. What was he thinking you NEVER leave you wingman NEVER, how could he break this trust. He had to have seen Top Gun, Tom should know you NEVER leave your wingman NEVER, only bad things will happen when you leave your wingman. Wait what year is it, Dame Top Gun has not come out yet, DAME you Maverick.

So there I was a wide eyed, brown eyed boy that has been separated from the heard and helpless. "Be calm, escape, just RUN", and then it happen the Jackal pounced on her pray. Dawn grabbed my wrist and started pulling and dragging me to the dance floor. I did everything I could; there are still claw marks on the floor from me trying to get away. I started gnawing at my arm to try and get away but she kept pulling me to the deepest darkest place on the dance floor. Everyone I passed I pleated HELP. Then we arrived at where the carnage would take place. Dawn turned to me, I closed my eyes I could not look at what was going to happen, and Dawn put her hands on my shoulders and all I could say in a helpless small voice “be genital”

At this point I very vividly remember my brain dividing into two distinct voices in my head, my Big Brain (BB) and my Small Brain (SB) and they were determined to get me home safe. Here is how the conversation went in my head:

SB we stopped walking I will grab her around the waist and throw her to the ground and we can run away

BB no we don’t want to get in trouble or hurt her I will think of away out.

SB Let me know what you need me to do, I will put my hand right here and wait for the plan. Wow my hands are very sweaty I really need to wipe them off so I can be ready to go when BB give me the word. I will wipe them right here, that was her ass, quick move them off her ass. BB prepare to be hit.

BB bracing for impact

SB nothing! Hey that was cool I just touched a girls ass and you known it felt nice. I kind of like this, she smells good too.

BB OK this is what we are going to do, PASS OUT! We will make our knees all wiggly and fall to the floor then she cant dance with us any more. Ready GO! fall to the floor, what nothing happened, fall to the floor it is our only chance, DAME need to go to plan B

SB let me take a look and see if she looks mad at me or if she is just getting ready to bite my neck with her fangs and suck out all my blood and leave me here for dead. Look slowly don’t make her mad. She is cute nice sweet lips and no fangs. Wow I can t get over how good she smells ok now that I know she does not have blood sucking fangs, look away before I anger the beast. That was kind of nice, and you know she feels really smooth and squishy. Let me see if this works I will pull her closer to me and feel that ass again that was fun.

BB don’t do it she will kill us I will have plan B ready in a second

SB here I go…that’s nice she feels really good what is that rubbing against my chest OH! hee hee, moving my hands down going for it…WOW she did not pull away or slapping me or anything. This is really really nice I could get use to this. Oh wait a teacher I don’t want to get in trouble and give us my ass holding time quick move my hand up and put a little room between me and the Goddess Dawn.

BB Teacher HELP save ME…. wait where are you going Stop this…hey what song is this? It has a good beat…oh this is Stairway to Heaven good tune… wait back on track how to escape we have been dancing for EVER I will just tough it out. What song was this again; Dame the 12 min version of Stairway to Heaven. I am doomed, doomed.

SB good teacher is gone back to work.

BB I can deal with this! The music has a good beat, distract myself... ok now move your hips, good stay with the beat, watch her feet don’t step on them, don’t anger her.

SB this is NICE, soft and cuddly…..NICE

So the song ended and the lights came on and I thanked Dawn for the dance and I went to look for Tom to see how his luck went with the older 7th grader.

Ever since that day, girls GOOD!!

I wonder what would have happen to me if “Jack” grabbed me and took me onto the dance floor that night, my whole life might have changed. I had it easy I was a conformist. I conformed to what society expected out of me which makes it easier at a young age. So for all you boys out there who think I am smoking hot, I am sorry I like girls and specifically Tuna Girl.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I am a Whore

I talked to TG last night. She is doing well, and she has a bit of a cold that she is trying to get over. I think the kids brought it home from school. So we are talking, having a very nice pleasant conversations and TG calls me a whore. Me a whore? NO way.

TG called me a comments whore, and you know she is right. (Like always) I really do get off getting and reading your comments about my posts. Here is why, I have a job where most of the people think very similarly and have very similar beliefs. It is nice to hear what the rest of the world thinks and it is cool to me to be able to converse with you (the readers) that most of the time have a VERY different view on topics than the people I work with on a day to day basis.

So here I go getting out on my street corner looking all fine. Let me see if I can pick up a few tricks.

During our conversations last night we got on the topic of a male members size and the old questions, “Does size matter?” So here I am winking at all the commenters going by trying to make myself look sexy. I will ask what you all think. Does size matter?

Tuna Man's answer: HELL NO!

This answer is from the guy whose wife called it “tiny” in comparison to ALL the other men she has been with. So my answer is not just NO but HELL NO. I have good form! I have to have something to stand on since I don’t have a third “LEG” to prop me up. So now that I feel a little bit better and have convinced myself that my tiny size does not matter, I want to know what you think.

I have a few other questions on the same topic if you want to share. (Curiosity just kills me.)

What was your biggest?
What was your smallest?
Does you preference fall between those categories or have you not found it yet?

Note: I think I owe an explanation about my curiosity. Well I have lived a VERY VERY sheltered life. Do I really need to say any more.