Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Mild Suggestion

I went back to the doctor on Tuesday for my cough.

(It's been going on for so long that no fewer than four people in my office stopped by to suggest their own remedies. Zinc and echinacea, fresh juice, tea with honey, vitamin C supplements...)

My doctor said, "There comes a time when we've tried everything else, and we just give up and throw antibiotics at it."

"Good," I said, "because that's what I want."

"Let's see... I can give you Zithromax, which is fairly benign and gentle and usually gets the job done, or Biaxin, pretty much kills everything but the host. I'm thinking we go with door number two."

"Yes. By all means, let's take no chances," I agreed.

"Okay." He started tapping at his Macbook Air, sending a (wireless, electronic) prescription directly to my pharmacy.

"Can we refill the cough syrup, too? Just to keep things even until the antibiotics kick in?"

"Yes, absolutely." He tapped some more. "Now, the Biaxin, you should take with food."

"Will do."

"I'm not kidding. Don't eat dinner and then take it an hour later. Take it with the food."

"Got it."

"No fooling around. And not just a little food. A whole meal. Take the pill, and then dump the food on top of it."

"Take the pill before I eat?"

"Yes. Just before you eat." He tapped at his computer some more, recording notes. "Did I mention you should take it with food?"

"Yes, I got it."

"Really. With food."


He let me go, and I went down the hall, stopping at the desk to turn in my charts. I opened the door out onto the waiting room and the exit, and my doctor came around the corner. "Take it with food!" he yelled. I think he startled some of the waiting patients.

I'm beginning to think he had a message to impart, there. If only I could figure out what it was...

(I took the fourth pill this morning. [With food, yes.] I'm still coughing, but it's already smoothing out and becoming less urgent.)

By the way, no post tomorrow -- I'm taking the day off to drive up to Charlottesville for a friend's wedding and -- not incidentally -- hang out with my other friends who will be attending the wedding. I hope to have pictures and stories on my return, Monday!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Up and Up and Down

Friday was great. I met Elizabeth to go see ParaNorman -- it was really cute and fun, though probably too scary for my kids, so I'm glad I saw it without them -- and then we went to Ichiban for sushi. Mmm, sushi.

As I was leaving -- literally, as I was opening the car door to head home -- my phone rang, and it was Braz, wanting to know what I was doing and if I wanted to hang out and see what he's doing with his place. So I did, and got to meet his new girlfriend in the bargain.

Saturday morning, I put up a border in the dining room for my soon-to-be Mexican theme:

(The lovely thing about a Mexico theme is that, not only do all your colors not have to match, it's actually better if they don't.) I was going to start hanging the art pieces as well, but my stupid cough was getting in the way, and all the dust I was stirring up wasn't making things any easier, so I decided that was enough for one day.

As previously mentioned, I had a date Saturday evening. He turned out to be neither a serial killer nor a creep, and he agreed that contrary to what certain older co-workers of his had feared, I didn't seem to be a psychotic black widow murderess. either. Though, of course, I could just be biding my time. We had a nice dinner, then sat at the Barnes and Noble cafe and talked until the store closed, and then we walked over to Sweet Frog and got yogurt and sat outside and talked some more until it started raining very hard, so we waited for a lull and then called it a night.

Sunday should have been a marvelously lazy day, but instead I woke up in a bit of a funk that I couldn't seem to shake off. I decided to distract myself with a movie, but like an idiot, I put in my waiting Netflix, which was a romantic comedy, exactly the wrong thing for my mood. It's a good thing I have a strict rule against drinking when I'm alone, or the maudlin Twitter posts I made would've been oh dear lord so much worse, or even more horrific, turned into drunken maudlin emails I would have regretted immediately upon hitting Send.

I did manage to mostly pull myself together enough to go out to meet up with the GM of a local RPG I might join. He explained some of the rules of the system to me; it sounds pretty similar to most of the other games I've played, so I don't anticipate a lot of problems getting the hang of it. So I'm going to come up with a few character concepts and shoot them his way, and he's going to juggle schedules to try to get most of the players together for a character creation session sometime in the next few weeks. It sounds like getting the schedules lined up is going to be a real trick, though, so I'm not really holding my breath on this.

So, all in all, I want to say it was a pretty good weekend, but it's hard to do when it ended on a down note. For no apparent reason. Stupid brain.

Friday, September 21, 2012


Whee, weather changes are fun! In addition to the cough I can't shake, I've now got a post-nasal drop sore throat from the changing weather.

I wonder if that would convince the doctor to just give me some dang antibiotics...

Probably not without a positive strep test, which doesn't seem likely. I'll give it through the weekend, and then call the doctor Monday if I'm still under the weather.

I actually gave up and went home at lunchtime yesterday, took an extra dose of cough syrup, and went to bed for a three-hour nap. I don't know if I actually felt better when I woke up, but at least that was three hours I wasn't coughing.

I foresee a lot of naps this weekend. Yay, naps!

(I'm rambling, aren't I? Sorry about that. I blame the cough syrup.)

Thursday, September 20, 2012


I am, as they say, keeping busy.

I have an appointment with my therapist today. Those are sometimes painful, occasionally actually fun, and almost always draining.

Tomorrow, I'm meeting Elizabeth for a movie and sushi. There was a Groupon a little while back for a local Japanese restaurant -- $20 for $40 worth of food. Which is a great deal for a restaurant I love eating at... but there's no way I can eat $40 worth of food on my own (especially within the limits of these sorts of coupons, which generally stipulate you have to use them in one visit, and alcohol is not included). So I said something on Twitter about being willing to split it with someone, and Elizabeth took me up on it. So yay, girldate! If we can both get out of work early, we're going to see ParaNorman; if not, we're going to catch Bourne Legacy.

Saturday's project is to start redecorating the dining room. I decided a few weeks back that I was going to gather all my Cancun stuff in there and give the room a Mexico theme. I found a border sticker that's not blatantly Mexican, but has that same sort of bright color going on for it, so that's my step one -- putting that up. Then I'll work on rearranging the artwork.

Saturday night, I have a date. I'm hoping it goes well. Or at least, better than the lunch date I had on Tuesday, with a gentleman who was very nice and ridiculously smart but not a terribly good conversationalist, so there were a lot of awkward silences. (Yes, for my concerned friends, appropriate levels of caution are being taken such as meeting in public places and not giving out more personal information than necessary. And at the other end of the caution scale, yes, I've got condoms. And no, I am not going to blog about their use, or lack thereof.)

Sunday's excitement, beyond the usual chores (whoo! chores!) is a meetup to see about possibly joining a local gaming group for an Ars Magica campaign. It sounds like schedule might be an issue, though, so I'm not holding my breath.

Now, if I can just bludgeon this stupid damn cough out of existence, I'll be ready to take on the world. (Yay, Happy Fun Cough Syrup...)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Queer And Folk

I did some stuff!

I had the kids for the weekend, and on Saturday I took Penny and Alex out shopping. If you didn't see my post about how fantastic Penny was this weekend, check it out, 'cause she is one amazing kid.

Matt picked the kids up on Sunday, and I loaded up my car and headed up to Jenn and Brian's, where I picked up Jenn and we headed off into the sunset, looking for rainbows.

Well, sort of. We drove off into the mountains to attend the Roanoke GLBT Pride festival. (Actually, Jenn drove the whole way, because I spent the whole weekend doped up on Good Cough Syrup. It's kind of a miracle that I made it to her place and then back home on my own.)

We got to the festival around 3:00, and hit the food vendors pretty quickly, because we'd skipped lunch in favor of snacks on the road. I took my hamburger to the condiments table and said something like, "Ooh, I can have onions -- it's not like I'll be kissing anyone today!"

"Don't be too sure of that," said a voice behind me. I looked up, and the guy running the stand grinned at me, leaned across the counter, and puckered up.

Well, what else was I going to do? I kissed him. Laughing, Jenn asked for one, too, and got it.

We wandered around looking at stuff for a bit, but unfortunately, there were about half the vendors I remember from last year, and not nearly as much fun stuff. Jenn bought some hand-spun alpaca wool yarn, and I bought a couple of chainmail bracelets for the kids (really, that was the best I could find for them; it was sad). I looked for Jesse, but didn't spot him.

Even more unfortunately, the sheer number of smokers made the air unbreathable; Jenn's asthma roared into life, so we had to leave after only about an hour, and I did not get any really fabulous pictures of drag queens or outrageous outfits.

From there, we headed further west, to Blacksburg, where we were going to stay with Jenn's Aunt Jeanne and Uncle Dave for the night.

I'm always a little uncertain about meeting people's relatives, especially older ones. The moreso because we were descending on their house. But it turned out to be fine. Better than fine. Fantastic. Aunt Jeanne was gracious and charming and oh my lord funny. She didn't censor herself at all; immediately upon our arrival, she pulled out a bottle of wine and said, "I want to get sloshed and sit up late talking!" And we did (though I only had one glass of wine; I didn't want to have a bad reaction by mixing alcohol with the Good Cough Syrup).

Uncle Dave was quieter, but just as cool. After we'd had dinner, they brought out a Cards Against Humanity deck, and we sat up until eleven or so playing, and they were just as Wrong as anyone else I know, and a good time was had by all. Aunt Jeanne decided that I should be her second-favorite niece, and there was banter about meeting her sons.

We drove home yesterday, and I spent the evening doing the chores I'd neglected over the weekend -- the grocery shopping and the laundry and paying the bills -- and catching up on YouTube.

So all in all, it was a really great couple of days.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Loving Heart

I don't know what, specifically, has gone so right in Penny's upbringing, but there are times when she exhibits a pure, generous nature that's so beautiful it brings tears to my eyes.

Two examples:

Last night, I took Alex upstairs to get ready for bed, and ducked into my room to drop something off and discovered that Penny had made the bed, laid out my pyjamas on the covers, and left three notes, two at the bottom corners of the bed, and one on my pillow. The ones at the bottom of the bed were "coupons" for her to do the dishes and make dinner; the one on my pillow said, "I love you very much, Liz." (Using my name instead of "Mom" because last night she was pretending to be a fairy who had never heard of this "Penny" person I kept referring to.")

And if that wasn't sweet enough, when I went into Alex's room to help him change into his pyjamas, I saw she'd done the same thing for him, though his notes were lined up on his pillow. One read, "I love you very much, Alex," and the other was a coupon for "caring for you more".

How incredibly sweet is that?

And for the second example, I took her to Charming Charlie this morning to use the gift card she'd gotten for her birthday. And to give her some space to look around, I took Alex across the street to Bath and Body Works. We wandered around a while, and I didn't rush things, because Penny often has trouble making up her mind.

When we got back to Charming Charlie, we found Penny at the register, fretting over her purchases. She had, quite naturally, way overspent. She had some of her own money with her, but not enough. The saleslady told me she was up to $90, and she only had a $50 gift card.

"Sorry," I told her. "You're going to have to put some things back." I looked at the array of accessories. "...Why are you buying three watches?"

"I wanted to get one for me and one for you and one for Alex."

Oh. Well. Never mind that I don't wear watches and Alex can't even tell time. She was going to spend some of her own birthday money on presents for me and her brother. I wanted to kiss her right there in the store. I think the saleslady got a little misty.

(As it turned out, once we put the watches she'd picked for Alex and me back, she was less than $5 over her limit, well within her cash budget.)

These are the moments that offer me glimpses into the future, that make me already proud of the lovely, kind-hearted, generous woman she's going to become.

Friday, September 14, 2012


So endeth the lesson. I mean, week.

I wound up making a comment on Facebook yesterday that led to me having dinner at Plaza Azteca last night with Vicki, which was great. We swapped stories about this and that and the other, and gossiped about some friends, and did our best to live up to the picture she'd linked on Facebook that led to the whole thing (over there on the right), and generally had a great time. Yay, being social!

This weekend, let's see. I have the kids; I'll pick them up after work. The planned menu for tonight is quesadillas, by Alex's request ("with nothing in them but cheese!").

Tomorrow's plan is to take Penny to use her Charming Charlie gift card, and while she's doing that, I'll take Alex across the street to Bath and Body Works, which he's been clamoring to go to. (...I don't know. I'm just the driver.)

Sunday, Matt will take the kids home with him after he comes over to mow the lawn, because then I'm heading up to Jenn's, and then together we're heading up to Roanoke for the Roanoke Pride festival. I went as a vendor last year, but organization of that fell through this year, so we're just going to go and have fun. (Seriously, I need to get myself a "fruit fly" or "fag hag" t-shirt to wear to these things.) I'm kind of hoping (but not really expecting) to run into the kid I met last year, the one who inspired one of the main characters in Assumption of Desire. And I'll take some bookmarks and business cards with me to hand out.

Sunday night, we're staying with Jenn's aunt, who lives up in Blacksburg, which is another hour further away than Roanoke, but it saves us the cost of a hotel room, and obviously Jenn will be along to help keep the drive home on Monday from being insanely boring, so I'm on board.

So, obviously, I won't be around on Monday, because I'll be spending half the day (or more, if we make random stops) driving home, and then recovering from the trip.

But I'm hoping that on Tuesday, I'll have some fun pictures to share from the festival!

Thursday, September 13, 2012


In the last handful of years, I've watched single friends struggling with dating, and while I was grateful not to be in that water, I've had plenty of advice (even if I mostly kept it to myself, because handing out unasked-for advice is a good way to get people to stop wanting to hang out with you).

But apparently my safe vantage point was slipperier than I thought, and now I'm treading water, myself.

Now it's time to see if I can put my money where my mouth (or at least my brain) was.

I have to take the risks. I have to be willing to take the first step and risk finding there's no solid ground. I have to be able to shake off the rejections in order to be available for the acceptances. (It's scary. It's so incredibly scary. I feel like I'm in eighth grade again. "I like you. Do you like me? Check one: [ ] Y [ ] N" How's that self esteem today? Completely squashed and lifeless? Excellent.)

I have to be willing to say no. I have to be willing to say yes. I have to use my words and communicate. I have to be clear about what I want and how I'm feeling. I have to trust that the person I'm with will do the same. (Yeah, trust is going to be a problem, because of reasons.)

The number of girl friends who've reassured me that of course I'm beautiful, that of course I'm desirable, that of course I'm going to find someone: more than I can count.  For which I'm grateful. But...
The number of guy friends who've said the same thing? Well, I don't need any fingers at all to count those.

It's terrifying. I expect to be hip-deep in self-loathing by the end of the year. But I'm going forward with it. Because not even trying is the worst kind of failure. It's the mark of a coward. And I'm done with that.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

This Is Why

I've had a cough for coming up on a week now. No other symptoms, mind. Just a dry cough. Nothing coming up with it. No fever. No headache. No congestion or sinus pressure. Nothing. Just a cough.
I did this a couple of years ago and figured it would just go away on its own. Two months later, I finally caved and went to the doctor and the verdict was: bronchitis! A run of antibiotics and I was fine inside of a week.

So yesterday, sitting on the realization that the cough had not improved over the weekend, despite smothering it with allergy meds and cough syrup, I should maybe just swallow my irritations and go to the damn doctor. (I don't avoid the doctor because I'm afraid of it. I avoid the doctor because unless I need antibiotics, it never does me any good, and I'm left feeling irritable that I've wasted several hours of my life for nothing.)

But! Dry cough, not going away. I went to the doctor.

The doctor peered and poked and prodded and listened and said: Probably viral. Give it a few more days and if it doesn't improve, call me back.

She did prescribe for me a cough pill. It is apparently an expectorant, not a suppressant, because today it feels like there's gunk in the back of my throat that I can't clear, but I can't stop trying.

ARGH. This. This is why I avoid going to the damn doctor.

Monday, September 10, 2012


My weekend: let me tell you it.

Friday, I left work at noon (god, I love working part-time -- even when it's just one day every two weeks, or a couple of half-days, it's nice to have that flexibility!). I went home and ate lunch and changed clothes, and then I stopped at the storage unit to empty out the last couple of things, and then I went down to my parents' house.

I sat and talked with my folks for a little while, and then Dad and I went up into the attic. The mess he'd recruited me to clean up was way smaller than I'd expected -- really, it took less than half an hour to clean all the spilled insulation up off the floor and put it back in the attic, and half that time was spent climbing up and down the ladder. (Er, I'm using "attic" a couple of different ways, there, aren't I? There's an unfinished room over the garage that gets used for storage; and then over that, there's the space between the ceiling and the roof that's nothing but lumber and insulation. You can probably figure out from context which one I'm referring to at any particular moment, because "room-over-the-garage" is a little too unwieldy.)

I did most of the work, but Dad helped around the edges. Which is fine, because a) like I said, it wasn't that big of a job anyway; and b) I wasn't going to let my nearly 70-year-old father climb a ladder carrying a bucket to dump spilled insulation back into the attic; and c) doing this job was the price Dad had claimed for my storing stuff in their space.

And it turned out that when he'd said "rearrange things to make room", he hadn't meant we were going to actually clean the attic/storage area. He'd just meant that the enormous ex-pingpong table they have up there had been moved away from the window so the workmen could get to the attic, and we had to put it back. Which was also not that big a job; it's just that the table is like ten feet long and it's not so much a table as it is a couple of boards loosely attached to some legs, so it can't just be pushed or it will all come crashing down (along with all the Christmas wrapping and decorations stacked on top of it). So we had to get on either end and pick the whole mess up and scoot it back over to the wall. And then re-align the legs, because they hadn't really wanted to move. Took less than five minutes, but it was not a job a single person could have done, and my mom definitely couldn't have lifted one end of the table with the arthritis in her shoulder.

So I'm glad to have helped, and as a bonus, my Christmas tree and yard reindeer have a dry, relatively spider-free place to live for the ten and a half months of the year they're not decorating my house.

Then I changed back into shorts and a t-shirt and sat talking to my parents until dinnertime, and then they invited me to stick around for pizza, and how was I going to turn that down? So I had pizza with my folks, and headed home not long after that.


Saturday: I paid some bills and ran some errands. The only one worth mentioning was when I went into the storage unit office to close it down: the lady behind the counter looked up the unit number, then said, "What's the name?" and I told her Matt's name, because he's the one who set it up. She looked at me and said, "Are you his mother?"

Oh, yes she did.

(To be fair... this is a college town, and school just started back up, and I am, in fact, old enough to have a kid in college who would keep his stuff in a storage unit over the summer. But still!)

We got it worked out, and she said that technically I couldn't close the account because Matt hadn't put my name on it, but the act of cleaning it out and removing the lock was sufficient to do the job anyway, so she'd make a note of it on her evening rounds and it would get closed. Which is all I wanted, really.


Saturday afternoon, I had a ticket to go see Jesus Christ Superstar at the community theater that's right by our house. (Really. Less than half a mile. I walked there, even in a skirt.) When I got there, I discovered my friend Caren sitting right next to me! But then we realized she'd read her tickets wrong and was in row G instead of row C. Alas. But the woman who took her place was really nice and friendly anyway, and we chatted a little before the show started. (Lookit me, bein' all social!)

The show was... well, as Caren said when we were talking afterward -- not as bad as we'd feared, not as good as we'd hoped. The guy playing Judas was really good, but their choice for Jesus was... Okay, look. Jesus should be in his 30s, and for this particular show at least, he should be world-weary and tortured. The actor they had playing him was maybe in his 20s. Maybe. And they put sparkly pink lipstick on him. Add to that his short, slightly poofy hairstyle, and he looked more like Justin Bieber than Jesus. He was a pretty decent singer (though he didn't quite bring the pathos to the music) but a mediocre actor, and... honestly, if I'd been directing, I'd have switched the actors for Jesus and Peter.

But all in all, I'm glad I went, and I'll be checking out some other plays as the season runs along. (I do need to remember that the stage is MUCH closer to the seats than the diagram on the website suggests, and to pick something a little further back next time.)


Saturday evening, I did something completely and astonishingly out of character for me.

I went to a meetup of board gamers. I voluntarily walked into room full of people that I had never met before. And talked to them. And played games. And joked around, and...

As if it wasn't crazy enough for me to walk into a room of strangers and swallow my fears and be social, I brought my Cards Against Humanity deck. Including the brand-new, still-in-the-cellophane second expansion. And suggested we play a hand or three. With seven strangers. At that point, we'd played a couple of other quick-spin games, but I figured... what better way to break the ice? I mean, either they'd be utterly horrified and I'd know this wasn't the group for me, or they'd love it and I'd feel more comfortable actually being, you know, me. (Or a mix. You know. Everyone's different.)

But it turned out really well! We only played three rounds, because it's a slowish game and there were a million others to try. But no one seemed actively disgusted (well, many people were actively disgusted by individual cards, but in the best kind of "oh, that's so foul it has to be the winner!" way) and everyone had fun with it.

There was a ton of food there -- stew and fruit and cookie and ice cream -- and so I ate (the stew was amazing, once I'd come down from the meeting-new-people nausea) and played... I don't remember, at least five or six different games, over about five hours. We had to vacate the clubhouse at 10, but the sponsoring guy was all about moving the party to his place and continuing. I couldn't quite bring myself to walk into a near-stranger's house at 10 at night, so I went on home at that point, but the whole thing was just amazing.

If you're not an introvert, it's probably not weird for you to just introduce yourself to people. You probably don't dump hours of energy into trying to figure out what to talk about that won't sound self-centered or potentially offensive or horribly inane. You probably don't feel like throwing up as you wonder whether people are only talking to you to be polite while wishing you'd just go away. But that's pretty much my entire social experience. If I haven't known someone for a long time -- I mean, years -- then I am pretty much always wondering if they're just tolerating me. That niggling doubt doesn't disappear until that person actively seeks out my company... and if they don't initiate contact for a while, the doubt comes back.

But my situation now is completely flopped. If I'm going to have a social life, I'm going to have to swallow the social anxiety and the nausea and get out there and meet people.

A bad first experience would have turned me off to the whole idea. So I'm relieved -- intensely relieved -- that this meetup was so good, that these people were so friendly and actively inclusive. That I wasn't an unusual person -- I wasn't the only girl, nor the oldest, nor the youngest, nor even the fattest. I fell into the middle of the group in nearly every possible classification, and that was comforting in and of itself. It not only made for a fun evening, but it will (hopefully) make it easier for me to do something like it again. Or at least, not harder.


As for Sunday... Sunday I mostly stayed home. Being social and meeting people was good and awesome and fun, but I am still an introvert, and being social is something I need to recover from, even if it's good. So I stayed in. I tried a recipe I'd been meaning to try, I read a ridiculous number of comics, I organized my closet a little, I planned some decor changes for the dining room, I  played doofy computer games, I watched Leverage. I rested and I processed.

And that was good, too.

Friday, September 7, 2012


Yesterday I had an appointment with my therapist. We talked, mostly, about dating, and entering the dating scene as a 40-year-old.

It was a more thoughtful conversation than you might assume.

See, I've been building lists, in my head, of things I'm looking for in a guy. Apparently, my priorities have changed some, in the last ten years or so. But then I realized there's actually two lists: There's the list for Mr. Right, which is pretty hazy and vague, and there's the list for Mr. Right Now, which is fairly specific and keeps interrupting my thoughts about Mr. Right.

I eventually came to the conclusion that, just now, I do not want a Mr. Right. I want to actively avoid commitment. I want a social life, and I want a sex life. I want to date a few guys, to go out and have fun. I want to try new stuff (both in and out of the bedroom) without it having to be a Thing. Just at this moment, at least, I don't want a life partner. I want a good time.

But I worry that I'm being irresponsible and shallow. Or that it's too soon. So I took that concern to my therapist. Who said, in essence: as long as you are clear and honest with yourself about what you want, and as long as you're clear and honest with whoever you're seeing about what you want, then there's nothing inherently wrong with just wanting some personal validation, with wanting someone to answer the question of whether I'm desirable?

(And it is a question. Aside from a pretty fantastic set of hooters, I don't have all that much going for me in the looks department. I'm fat and saggy and starting to get wrinkly. Girlfriends to whom I've expressed this concern have offered up reassurances, but I can't help but notice that they're all either young and skinny and smokin' hot, or my age and happily married, so I'm not sure their opinions count for much.)

We also talked, at least briefly, about: rules for dating around the kids (they shouldn't be exposed unless something is getting serious); personal safety #1 (first few dates in public places, etc.); personal safety #2 (condoms are a must); and meeting people (don't go to bars unless you want to date the kinds of guys who hang out in bars). I mean, I already knew those, but it was good to talk them over with someone objective. Also, she gave me some alternative ideas for how to meet people (not just guys) that didn't involve going to bars and having to compete with younger, hotter women for guys I probably wouldn't want to date anyway.

It was a good session, even if it didn't push me too hard. It bolstered my confidence, a bit. Gave me some directions for movement.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


So the kids are back to school -- I took Alex to daycare this morning, then drove back home and walked Penny to the bus stop this morning and waved at her as it drove away. And tomorrow, I expect, will be much the same. (Next year will be so much easier, because it will not involve a drive up to daycare and back. We can sleep until 7, then get up and get dressed and eat breakfast and even play a while before we all walk down to the bus stop. It'll be a lot easier on my gas bill, too.)

But that's next year. This year... runaroundrunaround. At least it's only half time, right?

And what's in store for the upcoming weekend?

Well, I spent some time last weekend emptying out the storage unit. Matt had collected all his stuff already, so the only things left in there now are the Christmas tree and my reindeer lawn decoration, neither of which will fit comfortably into my closet. I'd thought about keeping them in the storage shed under the deck, but when I went down there to check out the space, I found that not only was it fairly well spider-infested (which I'd expected), but it was also pretty damp. The last thing I need, given everyone's allergies, is to put up a mildewed Christmas tree. My attic is also out, because it's a tiny little access panel that I'm pretty sure neither the tree nor the reindeer will fit through.

So I asked my parents if they'd be willing to store them for me. They have a huge storage area over their garage -- one big open area that was originally intended as a rec-room, and two walk-in "attics". My dad said they'd be willing to store my stuff if I came over and helped him clean up the mess the workmen made when they were sealing a hole that a squirrel had gotten in through (there's insulation everywhere) and then helped him re-organize the space to make room for my things.

Sold. So after work tomorrow, I'll put on a long-sleeved shirt (whee, itchy insulation!) and find some gloves and pick up my stuff from the storage unit and head down there. Dad thinks it'll take a couple of hours; I'm guessing closer to three or four, but that's okay. Small price to pay for a dry, low-spider-count storage space. And then I'll be able to close out the account on the storage unit.

Saturday afternoon, I have a ticket to see Jesus Christ Superstar at the local playhouse. And by "local", I mean "within walking distance of my house". I hope it's good; I'd like to jump onboard for a lot more theater in the future.

No plans for Sunday yet, aside from the usual errand-running. Maybe I'll get some writing done. I have a story I'd like to write, but I can't quite get the plot to gel.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Long Weekend, Good Weekend

Yay for long weekends! Boo for being back at work! But yay for a short work week with nothing much pressing going on!

I guess that's a net win, right?

So, long weekend. The daycare was closed Friday, so I worked the morning and then picked the kids up from Matt around noon. (But between Friday noon and this morning when I logged in, I'd received only two emails, neither of which required any action on my part, so I feel entirely okay with having missed half a day of work. If I hadn't had a delivery to complete, I probably could've taken the whole day off.)

Friday evening, we met my family at the family favorite restaurant (a hibachi place more or less midpoint between my parents' and brother's houses) to celebrate my mom's and brother's birthdays.

Saturday morning, my dad came over with his pickup truck to help me take the kids shopping for back-to-school clothes and also to get a dresser for Penny's room. She's been using a large-ish nightstand as a dresser since she was four. When she was four, her non-hangable clothes all fit easily in the nightstand. For about the last year, though, it's become a bit of a problem to squeeze everything in. I'd found a dresser I liked the look of, but didn't think I could fit it into my car (and also, it's too heavy for me to lift by myself) -- thus, Dad and the truck. The clothes shopping alone would've been a minor headache without another adult along, but doable.

Dad stuck around to help me assemble the dresser -- which is good, because he figured out one doohickey I was using incorrectly, and also because there were a couple of points of construction that needed a minimum of three hands to get everything lined up correctly. It took us a good two hours to assemble; I shudder to think how long I would've been at it without his help.

(Also, I think it was good for Dad. He and Mom have been sort of flailing since Matt and I separated; I get the impression that they feel like they should be helping, but don't want to intrude on my privacy or insult my independence, and this let Dad feel like he could do something to help me and the kids out without stepping on any toes.)

Saturday afternoon, as a sort of treat for being so good at the store and (mostly) patient while Dad and I put the dresser together, I took the kids out for ice cream. (Also, I had a coupon. Save money by buying things!) And then, it being Saturday and therefore eat-out night, we went to La Tolteca for dinner.

We didn't go anywhere on Sunday, aside from the grocery store, but Jenn came down so I could help her assemble a scrapbook (part of her homework for the adoption process; since they're looking to adopt an older child, they're supposed to make an album to give the prospective adoptee to introduce them to the family and the friends they'll encounter most). I had a lot of fun helping her with the project, and it may have rekindled my desire to start up scrapbooking again, myself. We'll see if it sticks, though. I last left off in the middle of 2010, so there's a long way to go to get caught up.

After dinner on Sunday, Kris brought Emma and Sarah over to have a sleepover with Penny. All three girls were incredibly excited and happy to see each other, and immediately launched into some game that seemed to combine Harry Potter and spies and I don't even know what else. Around 9:30, they rolled out their sleeping bags on the living room floor and picked out a movie (Lady and the Tramp, as a good choice for a not-too-long, not-scary bedtime movie), and I went upstairs to read. When the movie ended (it's not even 80 minutes long) I turned the table lamp down to low and told them they could talk quietly, but that if I could hear them from up in my room, I'd put an end to it. But I never heard a thing (Sarah had already been half-asleep when I turned off the TV). Unfortunately, Penny had a persistent low blood sugar that kept me up until nearly 1am with rechecks and dragging her awake to eat something, so I still didn't get much sleep, but the girls themselves were incredibly well-behaved. They even cleaned up Monday morning when I told them to, with only minimal token whining that I simply ignored.

Alex was really fantastic all weekend -- he played by himself with his toys, or watched Batman videos on YouTube with Penny, or played Sesame Street games by himself. He was good when we went to the stores, and helped me sort through his clothes so I could pack up the ones that don't fit any more (he even put a couple of toys in the box that he doesn't want anymore -- though I waited until he wasn't looking and rescued Hippo for my "baby box"). Through it all, he was generally sunny and easy-going, mostly falling apart only when I cruelly insisted on him cleaning up his messes.

Sunday night, since we were out of his pullups, I asked him if he wanted to go with the transition pullups we'd bought a few months back (but which had turned out to be a bit too big) or if he wanted to try just underwear, since he's woken up dry every morning for the last three weeks. He tried to talk me into nothing at all under his PJ bottoms, but I don't think he's quite ready for that, so he went with underwear, and did great! I think we've finally turned that corner! (Leaving me with two boxes of pullups -- one of which hasn't even been opened -- but I can live with that!)

He did, however, NOT NAP. All four days, I put him down for his nap as usual a little while after lunch. All four days, he popped up within forty-five minutes and told me he wasn't tired. All four days, I made him go back to bed for at least another half-hour, but he never did succumb and go to sleep. Better yet, despite my misgivings, he maintained mostly excellent temper into the evening right up to bedtime. Looks like whatever mental growth spurt made him finally ready to turn the corner on night-time bladder control also made him ready to give up his nap. Unfortunately, the daycare continues to have daily naptime for preschoolers, so I can't just let him give it up entirely without screwing up his sense of routine. I may, however, turn it into "quiet time" instead, and if a nap would make my plans awkward, then it looks like I can skip it with impunity.

After Matt picked the kids up Monday afternoon, I had an hour or two to clean up the lingering clutter and mess, and then Elizabeth and Vicki came over and we all went down to Newport News for a dinner of sushi and then a second-run showing of The Avengers. (I've lost track; was that my fourth viewing, or my fifth?) Doesn't matter; I continued to love it. Can't wait to get my Blu-Ray version later this month and check out all the deleted scenes and special features! (Yup, I'm a dork.)

The kids start back to school today (well, Penny starts back to school; Alex just graduates officially to the pre-K class where he spent about half his time this summer). Matt and I are still working out the delicate details for that, but I expect we'll get it straight eventually.