Cheers and Boos

February 3, 2011

A random assortment of observations and reflections, most of them incredibly profound, about my new surroundings.

Yay! for Austin:

  • Targets. Lots and lots of Targets, just waiting for me to stop and shop and drag my tyrannical herd through the aisles.
  • Central time zone allows me to watch prime time television and late news broadcasts and still get to bed before 11.
  • HEB has a really nice selection of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • I rather enjoy walking A to and from school, except on exceptionally cold days like today. And the exercise is probably good for me.
  • I get SO MANY channels on cable. It’s crazy. I’ll never watch them all, or even want to watch a lot of them, but the excessive options are there, just in case.
  • A’s new school really impresses me. Her teacher’s great, and I feel like she’s in a great situation academically. Plus she’s making friends!
  • S has a friend across the street who’s his age, and they get along very well.

No, thank you:

  • The water tastes funny. I liked the (non) taste of the water and was good about drinking a lot and staying hydrated until we moved here. Now it tastes icky. So I’ve been making lemonade and tea and such, to mask the flavor, because I need to drink a lot to avoid any more kidney stones.
  • Cedar fever sucks. Both boys, Hubs, and I have all dealt with it. A, not so much. My sinuses haven’t given me this much trouble in several years, since I had sinus surgery.
  • There are some really bad drivers on the roads here. Back in Georgia, I encountered a lot of dumb drivers, but they were largely harmless. I didn’t understand why they did certain things, and sometimes they annoyed me, but I didn’t feel endangered in the way I sometimes do here. I’ve seen too many dangerous dumb drivers already – particularly those texting and/or talking on the phone and still driving, without looking in front of their car. The ones in Georgia doing this would usually wait for a red light, and then maybe sit there too long after it changed to green. Here, they pull out without looking, and when I honk because they almost hit the side of my car, they give me the bird as though I had done something wrong.
  • So much of the stuff I want/need is still packed in boxes in my garage because I’m waiting on someone to do certain things around the house before I can proceed. And the waiting is making me very, very testy.
  • I really miss my family back in Georgia.  😦

Make it stop.

December 13, 2010

You know that handbasket?  The one that goes to hell?  Yeah.  My life’s been in that basket for far too long now, and I want off this ride.

Things have been generally stressful since Hubs went west in mid-September, leaving me as the Responsible Party with all three kids, three dogs, and a house to pack and move.  Then he had a wreck on November 1. Much chaos and difficulty ensued with getting his car evaluated, getting answers from insurance, etc.  After three weeks, they finally decided to total his car and he had to find a new one, fast.  Mind you, he went ahead and bought that car over three weeks ago, because he needed a car for work and insurance declined to pay for a rental car any longer, and yet the check from insurance for his old car didn’t show up until yesterday.

I was already developing serious concerns about our insurance company before I had a wreck, on November 16.  Again, it took a ridiculously long time for them to decide whether to repair or total my minivan. My sweet minivan (don’t laugh!), the only new car I have ever owned, which Hubs got for me for Christmas six years ago. Yeah, it was a mom car, but it handled so well, and had nice leather seats and a DVD player and room for all of the kids and assorted junk.  By December 3, they finally decided to total the car.  Did I mention that they kept telling me that they were waiting on a report from the guy who inspected my car?  And they fed me this line for a week and a half? And the report was there, in their system, the whole time, only with a slightly different title than what they apparently expected? Gah.

So, my rental car subsidy ran out on Friday, but I cannot locate the title for my late lamented van (I’m wondering if the bank ever sent it when I paid off the loan – I can’t remember receiving it), and so I am in a similarly awkward position of having no money and no vehicle.  Well, actually, I still have the rental car, because I don’t have a choice. I have to apply for a replacement title, and then send in that title to the salvage yard so that they can officially total my van and pay me.  I fear this may take a while.  Did I mention that we’re moving to Texas? In a week?

In other fun news, I went to the emergency room one night over the Thanksgiving holiday – always a good time. I wished fervently for hand sanitizer – nay, a personal protection bubble – while I sat in the waiting area with A (the patient), baby D (the bottle-refusing baby), and a huge crowd of coughing, hacking, sniffling sick people. A fell and whacked her cheek and the side of her body pretty well, but the doctor said she didn’t have a concussion and sent us home after more than three hours.

As if the poor kid hadn’t endured enough (the fall, plus night terrors and sleepwalking that seems tied to her father’s absence), she got sick last week. Both of her brothers got the flu shot earlier in the fall, but she was in school when I took them. And something came up when I planned to take her for a flu shot, and with all of the business, neither she nor I ever got the shot. So naturally, my sweet baby girl got the flu.

She missed four days of school last week, and now she’ll miss tomorrow, too – she’s healthy enough to return, mind you, but school was canceled due to the threat of inclement weather. There’s a dusting of snow on the ground, and that’s enough to call off school in these parts. I’m sure others who live to the north would laugh at the way Georgians react to snow. Quick! Everyone run to the grocery store and buy all of the milk and bread! And yes, the kids and I were out there with the rest of them at Kroger yesterday. In addition to the requisite bread and milk, we also bought Oreos, hotdogs, and some ham from the deli to round out the gourmet offerings on our menu.

So, I’m dealing with an inadequate rental car (A has to ride in front – the back seat is too small for three car seats/boosters), a sick girl, a wild boy who’s stir-crazy from staying inside so much, a baby who wants to be held at all times, a dog that needs to be rehomed before we move (which makes me so worried and sad and knotted up inside), and the house. Packing the house. Which is going well, in terms of boxing and packing items, but which is also making me sick.  The dust stirred up with all of the moving and such has ignited a disgusting sinus thing that makes me cough, snort, and generally act in a decidedly unladylike fashion. The cough has kept me up at night, and I woke yesterday to find that I also had laryngitis. Still have it today. And that makes it so much easier to talk on the phone and get things done in preparation for the move.

Argh. This needs to stop now. I really need a few things to go well. I could use a streak of good luck. Smooth sailing, or what you will.


Dear Lord, I need a break.

November 27, 2010

This holiday weekend is rapidly driving me insane. A and S are constantly picking at each other, sniping, whining, wailing, and coming to me to complain about each other. I knew things were off to a bad start when I spent most of Tuesday night in the emergency room.

Tuesday morning, I called A to the table to eat breakfast. She stumbled out of bed, barely awake, and came to the table, where she sat in some sort of contorted, unstable position on her chair. I told her to sit up straight, but she didn’t move. She was wearing an oversized t-shirt and had her arms inside it because she was cold. She maintained this position even after I placed a plate of food in front of her and told her to take her arms out and eat. And then, as I worked in the kitchen, she toppled from her chair and landed on her side, on the tile floor, with a horrifyingly loud sound.

Immediately she wailed. I picked her up and held her, while her busted lip and bitten inner cheek bled out on her shirt and mine. I could see the beginnings of a horrid bruise forming on the side of her face, from her forehead down her cheek. Once she stopped crying, I gave her an ice pack and put her back to bed to rest. She missed the bus, and I thought she might need to stay home for the day, maybe go to the doctor. But she insisted that she felt better, so I took her to school, an hour late.

Apparently she had a headache much of the day at school. She didn’t mention this to anyone (even though her teacher knew what had happened that morning) until she got home. She seemed tired, so I gave her some Tylenol and told her to take a nap that afternoon, but she kept waking up and complaining about her head hurting. I called her pediatrician’s office, and they said to see if the headache went away within an hour of taking the medicine. If not, I should take her to the emergency room. After an hour, she woke up screaming and wailing about her head and neck hurting, so I loaded up the kids and went to the ER. My mom met us there and took S home with her, leaving A, baby D, and me at the packed ER, waiting to be seen.

After three hours, a doctor finally examined her. By then, A announced that her headache was mostly gone, and that she felt a lot better. The doctor said she didn’t need a cat scan, since that would mean a lot of radiation exposure and since A never lost consciousness or threw up. So we were sent on our way, with instructions to watch A for anything troubling.

By this time, it was nearly 10 pm. A hadn’t eaten dinner (nor had I), and she requested Steak ‘n’ Shake, so I went to the drive thru. As I got the food, she complained that her neck hurt. I looked at her, and then, as we pulled away from the window, she barfed. On my coat, sort-of fortunately. Have I mentioned that I had a wreck a couple of weeks ago, so we have a rental car? I got her out of the car to barf more on the lovely grassy area beside the drive thru lane. She finally said she felt better, and mentioned that the kid who sat next to her at school today had barfed. Lovely.

Not knowing whether to attribute the barf to germs or head injury, I took A and her baby brother home. S spent the night with my parents (prompting some jealousy from A, who insisted that she felt much, much better after throwing up). I put her to bed and stuck her untouched food in the fridge (said food would later become fodder for one of many fights between A and S). I checked on her regularly through the night, and she seems fine now.

The next morning, my dad came to get A and take her to join S. The two of them spent the day and night with my parents, while baby D rolled on the floor and I worked like a dog (not my dogs, mind you – they’re all lazy bums). The woman who cleans my mom’s house occasionally came by and helped me with packing and cleaning. We made so much progress, and she is such a lifesaver. I can’t do this packing alone – I’ve been trying for weeks with almost nothing to show for it. She’ll be back next week on two days.

That night was amazing. I was exhausted, went to bed early, and slept in the next morning. I think it still counts if one gets up around 5:30 to feed a baby and then goes back to sleep for a few more hours. The key thing, for me, was a respite from the wake-up committee (climbing onto the bed, getting in my face with their hot morning breath, saying “wake up, mama” over and over and over).

I tried watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade that morning – I haven’t watched it since I was a kid (Hubs can’t stand the parade coverage, largely due to the chipper commentary), and I used to love the floats and the balloons – but I gave up fairly quickly. Dance numbers and interviews with actors pimping the network’s shows are not a parade. That disappoints me.

Thanksgiving Day at my grandmother’s house was delightful. The only thing missing was Hubs – his absence felt like an ache all day long, but I enjoyed the time with aunts, uncles, and my cousin. A and S had a fantastic time with my cousin, and baby D loved being the center of attention. He’s a great sport at family gatherings, smiling and laughing and doing adorable baby things. All three kids crashed on the way home, and the older two slept from late afternoon straight through until morning.

Early morning, that is. S woke me up at 4 am to tell me he was hungry. He wanted macaroni and cheese, and I wanted to go back to sleep. We compromised, and I heated up the aforementioned Steak ‘n’ Shake kids meal. I parked him in front of the tv, watching kid shows on Disney, and he scarfed down the food. I headed back to bed.

5:30 am  “MAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHMMM! S is eating my chicken fingers!” Much drama ensued. I was up for good. The day, in summary:

Needy baby D wants to be held at all times. A screams at S. S screams at A. He did it! She did it! Make him stop! Make her stop! MAAAAAAAAHHHHMMMM! Whining. Wailing. Sneaky, naughty behavior. Contraband food discovered in A’s room after explicit warnings, less than one hour before, not to go there. A scolded and sent to room. Am I gonna have to stay here forEVer? More whining. Wailing. Full-blown tantrum: kicking feet on walls, screaming, lots of it’s not fairs.  A busted trying to sneak out of room/time out to get toys. Toys confiscated. More tantrum. Plans to go to grocery store, to get some food for the mostly-bare kitchen, scrapped. Pizza ordered. Pizza arrives. A and S pick off cheese, toppings, leaving crust and sauce, and have nerve to ask for dessert. Denied. Requests for indoor camp-out. Denied. Children to bed. Baby D resists. Late night.

And then, this morning, another disgustingly early wake-up call. A wants pancakes. No can do – don’t have all necessary ingredients. I make muffins (Cinnabon style, from a mix). Food snobs strike again: What are these? I don’t like these. These look funny. I don’t want to touch these. I’m so full, I can’t eat any more (after a single bite). And now? I’m taking these ingrates to the country. I hope the fresh air, sunshine, and exercise will exhaust them, so maybe I can get a nap this afternoon.

At least tuning them out to write this post has been a break, of sorts. At least getting it out of my system helped a little. But I could use one of those nice, quiet afternoons where I can get a bit of uninterrupted sleep.