Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Silver Lining

Last week my daughter did something she'd never done before.

Totally out of the blue she started crying that she didn't want to go to school.

In the past, she cried if she had to miss school, even if she was sick.

"What's going on, kiddo?" I asked her. "You've never felt this way about school before."

"That's because I loved my old school. The kids don't behave here. I'm so sick of it!"

She's breaking my freaking heart. I couldn't get any more information out of her, but I ended up calming her down by telling her that there is barely a month of school left and then she'll never have to go back there again.

I was actually starting to feel guilty about making the kids move schools. They'll have to start all over again and we might not even be living here much longer. Plus, their current headmaster keeps sending me letters expressing her distress at our leaving. Even though every time I see her in person she has no idea who I am.

So, the girl may be breaking my heart but at least she's helped me feel better about our decision.

There is exactly one month left of school. I've never been so excited for summer.

Monday, April 27, 2009

You don't know how glam I am.

We are spiraling out of control in our quest to be the most white trash glam family on our block (or in the cul-de-sac). We just bought an above-ground pool. So fancy!

When we moved here we were pretty intent on buying a house with a pool. When that fell apart, we bought a house with a yard big enough for a pool. And then we found out that we'd have to spend about 45 grand to put in the pool we wanted.

So now we have an above-ground pool. And we're six grand poorer. But we're stimulating the economy. Go Tuna Family!

Friday, April 24, 2009

You Just Never Know

Man, there's nothing like hearing the words, "I have good news and bad news..."

Every military spouse I know can identify with those phone calls. I can't tell you how many times my husband has called just to give me a "heads up" on some possibly life changing news.

This time I was hanging out at home waiting for our new television to be delivered. Just as the guy was pulling into the driveway my husband dropped the bomb.

"Is my T.V. there yet?" he asked me.

"The guy just pulled in," I replied.

"Oh, okay. I'll call you back then. I have news."

Why does he say that when he doesn't have time to give me details?

"Good or bad?" I asked. "Tell me quick."

So, the news isn't really a big deal. It's just a possible career opportunity that would require us to move again relatively soon. He was really calling to ask me if I thought he should pursue it.

I don't know why he bothers to ask me anymore. I always tell him to pursue everything.

It's a good reminder. Just as I start to get comfortable and forget that I'm even a military wife, I'm reminded of the tentative nature of this life.

You just never know.

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Slippery Slope

I have a love/hate relationship with Drew Barrymore.

Well, it's not so much a relationship, really. It's more that I think it is great that someone so interesting looking can be considered beautiful by so many. But I think the way she talks needs to be outlawed.

Why is she so weird?

We were watching her on Lettermen the other night when I voiced my "weird" opinion of her. To which my husband quickly replied, "She's hot."

Really? Really?

Okay, if you like people who talk out of the sides of their mouths, I guess she's okay. But she has seriously sparked my interest in Grey Gardens.

Grey Gardens is one of the many popular gay culture things that I had no clue about. I heard it mentioned a thousand times, but never asked what it was about, assuming that I should already know.

Now, I'm fascinated by the story. And that of the Collyer brothers in Harlem.

Recently my parents demolished the life long home of my father's two deceased spinster aunts (one of whom always spoke with a British accent for no apparent reason) because it was too dangerous to even try to clean it out.

Since I was little I had heard stories about how the sisters had money stashed away in every nook and cranny because they didn't trusts the banks. They used to babysit me when I was very little and I remember their house seeming like a magical collection of player pianos and antique toys.

In the end, after the last sister died last year, my brother braved the decades of trash and decay to case the place for dead bodies and easily accessible cash. When he found nothing, they razed the house and sold the land to a developer.

How do you let things go so far?

You see, I'm asking, because I can understand it all too well.

I'm a little afraid to watch Grey Gardens because I'm afraid I'll see myself too clearly in the Beale women. I'd like to watch the documentary before the HBO movie, but I'm reticent.

I can easily see letting myself get to that point someday. When my husband is gone, and my children are gone...

There is such a small degree of separation between eccentricity and tragedy.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Ham

And I keep my streak alive of always being sick on major holidays.

What's up with that?

Actually, the kids have been really sick since last Tuesday or Wednesday. We spent Thursday and Friday night doing the fever dance...you know...that dance of trying to keep a kids' fever low enough so you don't have to take him to the ER, but being ready to head to the ER if you need to.

I've never taken either of the kids to the ER and I don't want to start now.

The problem with my son is that he's so good natured, even when he's sick, that it is hard to tell when he's really feeling bad.

I, on the other hand, let everyone know when I am sick.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to parent when your voice is shot and your throat is on fire?

I did manage to put together an Easter dinner, mostly by just heating up store-bought sides. We had a Honeybaked ham that I picked up last week. It ended up being really good.

But I have to admit, I am so annoyed that after nine years we still can't get through a meal (at least a meal that isn't chicken nuggets, plain hamburger, buttered pasta, pancakes or eggs) without my daughter crying.

As much as I say that it's just too bad if she won't try the perfectly normal (and often bland) food I've provided for her, I still end up avoiding making meals I know she'll cry over. I've made her peanut butter sandwiches too many times before.

This is my major parental failure.

All in all, it was a nice Easter, despite the fevers, hacking and snot. I'll never understand why, but Easter is my daughter's favorite holiday.

Maybe next year she'll try a bite of ham. Before I decide to trade her in.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Only Us

Only I would get a really bad sunburn while wearing jeans and a hooded sweatshirt.

My face looks like tomato. It feels really stupid having a sunburn when it is 60 degrees in April.

Only my daughter would yell out, "Mommy! Look at this giant cock!" in the middle of a waiting room.

She had taken a picture of a really big rooster on her field trip.

I'm so glad the women in my family have such a flair for the dramatic.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Caught Between Two Worlds

Remember what I said about being happy with my son's baseball coach. Yup. I take that back.

The guy's an ass.

No adult should ever tell a group of kids to shut up.

I know my disdain for his behavior is mainly a cultural thing. And I mean that in both an ethnic and a...well...honestly, a socio-economic thing.

I grew up in a working class town with working class people. I grew up around parents who swore and yelled at their kids in public. I grew up where everyone smoked at Little League games and belched in front of ladies. I grew up around racism and homophobia.

So I should feel comfortable in that element. But I don't. I chose to go to a private school and I chose to get out of that town. Even my husband struggled though college and became and officer in the military to get away from all that.

We're trying to give our kids a better life. And yet, here I am, throwing my kid right back in the fray, just because I think he should play baseball.

It's funny, because here I am calling the private school people here snooty. But then I'm turning right around and calling the neighborhood people low class.

But I've got to be honest. I'll choose snooty people who spoil their kids over low class people who demean their kids. Mostly because they're demeaning my kid too, and he doesn't deserve that. I can keep my kids from being spoiled, but I can't keep them from being humiliated.

Now, I should point out something here though. Something I find quite interesting.

That coach today yelled at and embarrassed every single kid on that team. Except my son.

Why? Not because he's a great player (believe me). I think it's because my husband is in his uniform, with his rank all right there on his shoulders, when he takes my son to baseball practice. And the coach repeatedly calls him "sir" even though my husband has asked him not to.

I'm not sure what to think of that.

I have to be honest. I really want my son to quit baseball. And I have never ever ever quit anything in my life. So that's saying a lot.

By the way, I'm venting here because anything I say to my husband (who wasn't at the game today as he had to take my daughter to soccer) he is going to chalk up to me being an overprotective mom. And a former coach who doesn't think anyone can do as good a job as me.

But I'm going to start Googling youth lacrosse and researching our new school's developmental sports program. I can't take this for another season.

Oh, and also. I've already thanked my husband for providing us with this lifestyle I was starting to take for granted.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Dark Places

Okay, my friends, I've got to admit something here.

I'm kind of a wreck.

It turns out that our friend who died this past weekend apparently killed himself.

After we had seen on Facebook that he had died, I tried to find out some information about what happened. When so many people you know are pilots, and you hear that someone has died, you always assume that there was an incident.

But we knew that our friend just had his "fini flight" (a celebration of someone's last flight in his/her military aircraft). So my husband was thinking he may have been in Iraq or something.

But no. It turns out that he had just started flying civilian jets. He was doing his dream job.

I couldn't find an obituary or news story anywhere. But we have friends who had been in contact with his wife and were flying down for the funeral. We had funeral home information. Still, no one seemed to know what had happened to him.

"Maybe you should check out his Facebook page," I suggested to my husband. "Of course, if something happened to you, I certainly wouldn't be jumping on your Facebook account first thing, but you never know."

And his wife had posted on his Facebook profile.

She said he had died at home..."self induced"...and posted her home number so people could call and "help" her daughter "who doesn't know yet".

I don't know. It seemed weird to me. What the hell does "self induced" really mean? Yes, it sounds like he had killed himself, but that was just so out of sync with the guy we knew that I had to think I was mistaken.

On Tuesday, his Facebook wall was flooded with, well, mostly words of support for his wife and daughter and words of respect and remembrance for our friend. He was a very well-liked guy. Always was. His daughter is the same age as ours. I don't know his wife at all.

But it certainly didn't seem like a prudent time to start asking questions.

Then early Wednesday morning his wife posted an explanation. She said he had killed himself with rope and used his body to block the door from her. She said he had sent time-delayed text messages. And that his letter to her was lost. There was something about a bird and a shark and her having rescued someone from the train tracks earlier that week.

There has been zero activity there since.

Yes, if my husband were dead, no matter how he had died, I doubt I'd be my most coherent. But I really don't think I'd be on Facebook posting our home number and giving out details. But, we all grieve differently so I won't judge.


It all seems wrong and strange to me.

And I can't get it out of my mind.

Sometimes I am a little obsessive. If something bothers me, I can't let it go. It's not like we were going to miss this person on a daily basis. It was the circumstances that had me rattled.

I knew he had been posting on Facebook regularly in the last few weeks. And it was all just totally normal life stuff. I went scrolling back over the last year on his wall, just looking for...something.

How can a guy who had just been happily speaking at his daughter's career day turn around and inflict that kind of horror on his family the next? I guess he could have been sick or clinically depressed, but it would have been hard for him to fly for the military for all those years and hide it that well.

I guess PTSD is a possibility. But from what we knew of his career, he had never seen combat.

I just don't know.

Even in my very darkest hours when I know without a doubt that my family would have been better off with someone else as their wife and mother, I love them too much to abandon them and fuck up their lives forever. I know he loved his daughter.

No matter what, it puts things in perspective for sure. Tragedy tends to do that.

I mean, seriously. The worst problems I have are that my house is a mess and I need to lose weight. I can't imagine anything being so bad that there wasn't someone I could talk to about it. I can't imagine anything so bad that I would risk having my daughter discover my hanging body.

It makes me want to call all of my friends and say, "Hey! If you ever want to kill yourself, don't. Call me first and tell me that you've reached that place. Okay?"

Tonight, my daughter is playing a bunch of solos in a violin recital celebrating her graduation to the next violin level. Normally, I'd be stressing out about it. But today I just feel thankful that I have these happy children and a solid marriage to a good man.

I feel like celebrating life. I have to stop thinking about suicide and death before it eats away at me.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Positively Hoops-i-fied Fabulosity

What do you do when you're up late contemplating life, death, suicide, hopelessness and happiness? Why, you escape it all and make your own Hoops & Yoyo video.

This is the most brilliant thing I have ever created.

Hoops & Yoyo always make me feel better.

In the morning I can go back to being...introspective and weary.