Tuesday, August 29, 2006
I'm going in for stupidfuckingsurgery tomorrow, and don't know when I'll be up to blogging again. A few days? A week? Not sure at all.
Please keep me in your thoughts and check back in a few days for the latest from Karla May.
I still need to tell you the story (and post a photo) of The Geej's black eye, don't I? I promise, I'll get to it as soon as I can.
Take care, Internets.
Not only is it not pajamas, it's alive. And it's purring.
Monday, August 28, 2006
First off, let me say that the town that Mr. Wonderful lives in is not just small--it's microscopic. His town is surrounded by corn fields, millet fields, wheat fields, sugar beet fields, more corn fields, cow pastures, more cow pastures, and feed lots. It's mostly flat, but there are a few strategically placed hills that give way to some lovely vistas. The whole town takes up 1 square mile and has, literally, one stop light. It's one of those places where nobody locks their doors, people sleep with their windows open, and kids still ride their bikes everywhere with no worries whatsoever. (In case you're wondering, Mr. Wonderful lives there because of his job, which is rather specialized. He is, however, pretty done with the place, and looking to move. To Texas. To Central Texas.)
During my short trip I saw: lots of hawks, bison, antelope, a coyote and a llama. Oh, and lots and lots of cattle.
The weather there was pretty amazing, especially since I was coming from the fiery cauldron that is Texas in late August. The days were in the low 70s and breezy. At night, it got down into the mid-50s. Freakin' heaven, people. I even saw this wet stuff that falls from the sky!! I forget what it's called, but it was really awesome. And after the wet stuff fell, I saw this:
Friday night, we went to the neighboring town (35 miles away, mind you) to go to...
THE DRIVE IN!! That's right, Internets. It was awesome. We drank bad wine out of styrofoam Sonic cups and watched "Talledega Nights" from the comfort of the front seat of his Toyota. The windows were cracked just enough to let the cool night air in. I enjoyed every second of it.
Saturday night, we went to the only bar in town, down in the basement of the VFW hall:
Yes, it was just as kick-ass as you might imagine. The people-watching was priceless. LOTS of disturbing dirty dancing done by hardcore farm folk to really bad music. Truly, a sight to behold. We were lucky because we were there on a special night. How do I know it was special? Well, there was a sign on the inside of the stall in the totally skanked out ladies room that read,
"Come on down to Millies Aug 26th and party!!!! Dance to Sound Connection from 9 to 1:30!! Gather up your friends and go!!! Must be 21!!! Picture I.D. required!!!"
With that many exclamation points, I've got to assume it was a big fucking deal, right? By the way "Sound Connection" was a man in his late 50s with a really loud sound system, some wacky disco lights, and a whole lot of really terrible music to play. Gretchen Wilson's "All Jacked Up," anyone?
It sucked to leave yesterday. Each time I hang out with Mr. Wonderful, it becomes harder and harder to leave him. I was a real baby about it. Not only did I not want to leave him, I didn't want to come back to the billion degree tinderbox of August. I missed the Geej like hell though. I was so happy to see her when I got home yesterday evening. Even if she did have a black eye.
I'll save that story for my next post...
Thursday, August 24, 2006
The rankings go like this:
2. Minneapolis/St. Paul
3. Columbus, OH (What!?)
I have to believe that me and my blogging buds are partly responsible for this significant honor, so WAY TO GO you lushes and wobblers! We did it!!
Next year we're kicking Milwaukee's drunk ASS!
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
This week has been so wildly busy, I don't even know what to think. Trips to the doctor. The Geej's new school. My first official full week as Team Leader. Meeting after meeting after meeting. Trying to work between meetings. Not accomplishing nearly as much as I need to.
Today I had no fewer than four people at work tell me I looked really tired. That's always comforting to hear...
And now, outta nowhere--Some Funny Photos!
I walked into The Geej's room the other night as we were preparing to get her butt in the bathtub, and this is what awaited me:
It's her favorite babydoll, Sally, stripped down and sitting on a little potty, right in the middle of the room. I think The Geej may be trying to tell me something...
And then tonight, while doing our pre-night night wind-down routine of watching about 10 minutes of the damn Teletubbies, this happened:
When I asked her what she was doing, she said--no shit--"Chillin." (She's heard me use that as in, "Let's just chill." But I wasn't prepared to hear it thrown back at me yet.)
Tomorrow I head to Colorado for a much-needed weekend with Mr. Wonderful. This time, we're hanging in his tiny town in the NE corner of the state. I'd tell you where it is, but you wouldn't be able to find it on a map. It's literally one square mile. The whole place, that is. I'm looking forward to seeing with my own eyes this Mayberry-esque place he's describe to me and sent photos of. Plus I'll get to hang with his boys again and get to know them better, which I'm excited about. I'm praying for cooler weather up there than what we've been having. And since the past couple of weeks have felt vaguely like the surface of the Sun here in Austin, I'm willing to bet it will be nicer up there, even if they're just as drought-ridden.
With my travels manana, I doubt you'll hear from me again until I return on Sunday evening. Be good, weiner schnitzels.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Trying like hell to keep my yard on life support during this ridiculous heat and way-too-long dry spell.
A Texas spiny lizard on the tree at The Geej's old school. See it? There were three of these suckers that hung out on that tree, much to the delight of the toddlers. They're REALLY cool looking. Much better than the fleshy looking geckos that hang out on my front porch.
The view from the pool deck at the hotel I stayed at in Dallas this weekend.
A fountain park near my hotel in downtown Dallas. Quite pretty. Nice city. Have fun when I visit. But I'm always happy to hit IH-35 south, and head outta there.
Me and The Geej reading to the toddlers at her old school on her last day.
Monday, August 21, 2006
She was excited about going there this morning. The whole way there, we talked about it, and it ended with she and I chanting "New School! New School! New School!" like a couple of freaks. Her class is mainly boys, although there is one set of twin girls--Abby and Audrey--and a seemingly much older girl named Erin. She was in "observational" mode when we got there, just scoping everything out, but staying damn close to mommy. She explored a lot of the toys and puzzles, and even went up and gave one of the boys who was upset because his mom had left a "gentle touch" and told him it was okay. "Circle time" was sort of a disaster, as it was everyone's first day. But when the teachers asked if they wanted to go outside, they were all over it--including The Geej. I'd lingered longer than any other parent, so I took the opportunity of them moving outdoors to "transition her" and say my good-byes. It was rough. She was sad, and there were big tears. But I wasn't as upset as I'd expected to be because I'd seen how lovingly the teachers (there are 3 of them in her class--and one of them is a guy) had handled all of the previous meltdowns that each child had when his/her parent(s) left.
And get this: Before I even had a chance to call them to check on her, they called ME to tell me she was doing okay. Then I got 2 e-mail updates on how she was doing throughout the day. I TOLD you this place rocked.
When I went to pick her up, she was in incredibly good spirits--sitting outside in the shady grass, petting the very mellow school cat. Her good mood continued through the rest of the afternoon/evening, and she went to bed with no problem.
God, I hope this isn't a fluke. I hope this transition is going to continue to go smoothly. I'm keeping my fingers crossed and praying to the God of Toddlers for help.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
1. I love Tex-Mex food. And I had the pleasure of inhaling THIS at some little joint called Avila's in Dallas this weekend. I was a tad hungover, so it was extra EXTRA yummy. I couldn't help but take a photo of it in all its glory.
2. Remember a while back when I wrote about My Hell? Well I figured out another profession to add to my list of jobs in hell: Hostess at the Cracker Barrel on IH-35 in Waco, Texas on a Sunday. Oh my GOD. Between all of the fat white Christians hovering around waiting for tables while practically drooling on themselves and all of the potpourri smelling shit they have for sale in that "shop" of theirs and the 10 metric tons of crapola that's available to buy in there and all of the old people walking around going, "Oooh! How cute! A purse that looks like a poodle wearing earrings and high-heeled shoes!!", I would most definitely go postal.
Friday, August 18, 2006
Monday: Pre-visit at the New School
Tuesday: Oncologist visit* and job interview. Champagne consumption. Great dinner with Dah. Wednesday: First day in new "Team Leader" position. Find out dear friend has beaten cancer. Riding on total fumes. Pure exhuastion overcomes me.
Thursday: Geej's last day at Old School. Meltdown.
Friday: Road trip to Dallas with Geej and Dah to attend a friend's wedding.
*More on that now.
So 'member when I told ya'll about the "area of concern" in my abodomen that they found back in May? Well I had my follow up CT a couple of weeks ago, and then the follow up with the Ocologist on Tuesday. She told me that, basically, this thing isn't getting any smaller (in fact, it's gotten a bit larger--expanded by about 1 cm. each direction), and because the kind of cancer I had is so fucking aggressive in its recurrence rate, she wants to go in and find out what the Hell it is. Like, week after next. Oy. She's going to try to do her investimigating laproscropically, but she said, "Because of where it's located, I may have to cut you open. Vertically."
If that happens, it's going to look like I have a big freakin' crucifix on my flabby white abodomen. Sexy. It'll also mean the difference between a 3 -4 day recuperation versus a 3 to 4 week recuperation. I just ain't got that kind of time, folks.
But I'll be able to find out whether or not I have a tumor, so I guess I should shut up.
But enough about me. Let's experience The Geej's last day at Old School, shall we?
On the way to school, everything was hunky dory. Eating raisins and kicking it in the car seat. All the way there, we talked about the fact that we were going to Old School for the last time, and that she was going to have to hug her friends and teachers a whole lot today since we'd be saying goodbye. I don't think she was really listening to me. She was too busy rocking out to "Crazy" and Howe Gelb's "But I Did Not" (which, if you think about it, should be the anthem for every 2 year old).
And shortly thereafter, here she is, pleased as punch to be at school. I mean, think what you think about daycare: this is a happy, loved child. And the prospect of having to remove her from this place that she loves and is confident and understood in is waaaaaaaay harder on me than it is on her. I mean, she's going to a great place, but still... She's been here since she was nine months old. And her leaving marks a pretty significant milestone in her young life.
I have other photos, of course. But Blogger's decided that I've posted enough for the night. So the rest of the story will have to wait until later.
I'll write more when I get back from Big D.
By the way: Thanks to all of you who posted "Congrats" comments re: my promotion. Means a lot.
Someday, I will let you buy me champagne. Lucky freaks...
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
I finally had the occasion. Or rather several occasions to break open the bubbly:
I got the promotion. It comes with a nice raise.
Jaye got the news today that she's officially cancer free and (most likely) only has one more round of chemo.
And the Geej finally FINALLY ran through the sprinklers during waterplay at school today (after an entire HOT summer of trying to convince her that she shouldn't be afraid of the wah-doh).
It was a good day. I'm so fucking exhausted, I can't see straight. I am fantasizing about getting in my bed and passing the Hell out. My goal is night-night by 9:30.
More when I'm not feeling quite so catatonic.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
It's one of those things that you just spend too much time on, and then you can't stop thinking about it. I mean, I've worked my ass off on this thing, but I just KNOW there's going to be someone (or maybe more than one) on that panel who are going to roll their eyes and think I've missed something major or that I was too long-winded or not specific enough or something else crummy. I want to go in there and hit it out of the park, but I'm nervous as hell. Not because I don't think I deserve this. I do. It's just because standing before a group of your peers and company leadership and taking command of the room in a very intimidating prospect. My head is splitting in two, and my stomach is in knots. I just want the whole thing to be behind me so I can get on with it, you know?
One of Geej's favorite teachers is going to babysit for her tomorrow night so my mother and I can go out for a celebratory dinner somewhere really nice. I'll be lucky if I don't fall face down in my plate of food from the sheer exhaustion of it all.
Speaking of The Geej, we had our pre-visit at her new school this afternoon, and it went great. She seems to be getting the concept of saying good-bye to her old school and that she's going to be going to a new school with new teachers and friends, etc. At least in theory, she's getting it. I'm sure it'll be meltdown city next week when all of this becomes a reality. Oh, and I got to write a check for $1,170 today to the new school. My God, we're poor right now.
Work. The baby. Money.
I'm really beginning to sound like a broken freakin' record.
Know what I want to do? Sit by a pool, all day, with a good book, my iPod, some hardcore sunscreen, and someone bringing me frosty beverages all day long. Then, at the end of the day, I want to have one of those hot stone massages, and be poured into a comfy hotel bed in a quiet room with light eliminating curtains. Then I want to sleep for at least 12 hours and eventually wake up to a gourmet meal from room service. And when I check out of this hotel/resort, I want the manager to say, "That's okay, Karla May. There'll be no charge for your stay. We just appreciate your business, and you looked like you could really use the rest. Please come back and see us again soon."
Sunday, August 13, 2006
This was a nice weekend. Despite the absolutely sweltering heat. Ugh. I could bitch for like DAYS about that, but I won't. And we didn't allow it to get us down. We had a damn fine time.
I arrived home and received a love letter. In the mail. From someone I actually love. Wow. It was something, I tell ya. I've read it about 15 times since I opened it.
We gathered up our things and went over to the lovely Bookhart's house to commune with Malcontent Mama and another one of our baby-totin' friends (who doesn't blog...but should, because she's funny as shit). It was nice. 3 little girls and one scrumptious baby boy--all of them 3 and younger. We said we were gonna order Thai, but we managed to make dinner out of beer and wine and crackers with cheese, because that's how we roll, bitches!! (The kids were well fed, by the way. And Bookhart was the queen of providing me and The Geej with all of the stuff we managed to forget...swim diapers, swim suit, insect repellent, etc.). Can I tell you how much I love hanging out with my girls? I can't wait until a few years from now when we can just let the kids go nuts (without as much supervision as they currently require...you know, because they're wee) and REALLY get to visit with each other. But it's still pretty great.
I had the supreme delight of telling a just-woken-up Geej, "Guess what we're going to do after breakfast...we're going to go see the Biscuit Brothers...WITH DAH!" I thought she was going to explode. She knew EXACTLY what I was saying, and was simply beside herself. She's obsessed with the Biscuit Brothers show on our local PBS station. And I gotta say, for someone who really HATES most kid-related stuff, I love them too. They're great. Not sappy or cutesy. Very clever. Not nauseating. The first time we went to see them, it was at the Austin Children's Museum, and it was SUPER crowded but great, but she'd only seen their show once, so really didn't "get it." Not so this time. She talked about "Bisit Bruss" all the way to the show, while we were getting our tickets, while we were seated waiting for the show to start. Then when they actually took the stage? She looks at me, wide-eyed, and says, "NO!" She was freaked. But she got over it and was singing and clapping along in no time. It was great because there were a lot of my friends (and Geej's buddies) there as well. And the best part? After the show, we went and chowed down at Luby's. I've said it before: It's a Texas thing...
Saturday afternoon Dah watched The Geej while I ran errands in the blazing heat. Got gas. Old Navy. Petsmart. Ross Dress for Less. OfficeMax. Target. Yep, I hit 'em all.
The Geej woke up expecting that we'd be going to be seeing the Bisit Bruss again. Instead, we went to a local park to meet up with some of the other parents/kiddos who are starting at The Geej's new school on the 21st. It was awesome--totally orchestrated by one of the moms, and totally relaxed. It was great to see our kids play together and to talk about how happy we all are to have found this place for our progeny. They were cool, but not hipper-than-thou. And not glad asses. I hate glad asses. One of them has already started to orchestrate a "post-first-day-drop-off-go-get-coffee" session. This is going to be good people.
After the park, we went and shopped at "ma wuhk" (mommy's work), then came home and lunched (us, and all the babies) and napped like freaks.
The late afternoon was spent outside, watering plants, swinging, and eating ice cream sammiches.
In the middle of all of this, I downloaded an assload of songs from iTunes. It had been a while, and I had a list built up in my head. Suffice it to say that my collection is no longer missing Bauhaus, Missing Persons, The Motels, and other 80s relics.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Schools and daycares live and die by word of mouth. I've got a big mouth, and I've already told anyone who will listen about my crummy experience at St. Something's. I've even gotten the Geej's current school to remove it from their "recommended" list.
I've got lots more to write about, but I'm fighting a sore throat, and I'm so tired I can't see straight. So I'll leave you with this: One of the best things about the Geej turning two, is that she now knows how to say, "I love you, Mommy," and she tells me that randomly several times a day. It is just thrilling beyond belief. I can never get enough of it.
Okay, off to get ready for bed. Nighty night.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
To make a VERY long story as short as possible, yesterday morning I took Geej to the new school to begin transitioning her. I was going to do that every day this week--take her to the new school to play and get acquainted with it and her new teachers prior to dropping her off at her current school--so that when she started at St. Something's next Tuesday the 15th*, it wouldn't be a total shock to her system. (*The 15th also happens to be the day of my job interview and my follow-up appointment with the oncologist, by the way. Fuckin' A!)
We got to St. Something's, and within 10 minutes, I knew in my guts that there was no way I was going to send her to school there. To say that the "caregivers" were inattentive is being kind. They were lazy, disengaged, and downright surly. Hell, I wouldn't have left my dog at that fucking place, much less my daughter. It was all I could do to get us back in the car before I burst into tears. We got to her current school, walked in, and the teacher asked, "So how'd it go?" and I lost it again. It was horrible. And I didn't have a Plan B. So here it was August 7, and she needed a place to start by Sept. 1st. Holy. Fucking. Shit.
I got to work (still in tears) quickly sent out an e-mail to all my homegirls saying "HELP!!" I needed recommendations, names, phone numbers, and connections. They came through in a major way (like they always do), and I spent yesterday afternoon calling a long list of schools and telling them my sad story.
Full. But we'll put you on the list. Your 4th.
Full until NEXT July.
You get the idea.
Finally, one of the schools I called had a recommendation for me: A new Montessori school that's opening up this month that has a pre-Montessori program for 2 yr. olds. Bingo. I called and they have 2 slots left for enrollment. I'm going to tour there tomorrow morning. I am VERY encouraged by the conversation I had with the director on the phone--it was the total opposite from the cold, "who gives a shit" treatment we received at St. Something's. Plus, I was going to eventually move the Geej into Montessori anyway, so if this works out, it could provide continuity until she goes to first grade.
Oh Internets, please say a collective prayer for me. Hopefully this whole St. Something's debacle will prove to be a blessing in disguise.
Sunday, August 06, 2006
When he finished, he came downstairs and sat on the loveseat next to the couch I was lying on.
"I'm thinking about leaving," he said.
He was lying. He wasn't "thinking" about anything. He was leaving me, and he was looking me in the eye and telling me it was over. And I thought we were going to the movie...
We'd been together for nearly 5 years. Living together for most of it, engaged for a year and a half of it. Married for 9 months of it. And now, his mind was made up: He didn't want to be married anymore.
I can still remember how it all felt. How lost and stunned and utterly freaked out I was. How I felt hot and faint and like I was going to throw up or shit my pants. How it seemed like all of the air had been sucked out of the room and that an army of boots were kicking me in the guts.
We talked for hours. I bawled. He didn't shed a single tear. He was so measured and cold. So purposeful. It was like he'd rehearsed this conversation in his head a million times, and he was just reading a script. When I think back on it now, it still chills me to the bone. I suggested--no, begged--for us to go to counseling. I figured he owed me that. I reminded him that we were MARRIED and not just going together in junior high. That we'd stood up in front of our friends and families just 9 months prior and looked into each others' eyes and said vows to each other that we'd written. But he was already gone. His heart was closed. He was done.
The rest of that month is a blur. Me telling my parents. And my friends. Humiliated. Furious. Devastated. My last living grandparent dying. Trying to work, but not being able to focus. Crying every day on my way to work, on my way home from work, as I lay in bed. Looking for a new place to live. Having to see my soon-to-be-ex husband every day when I got home from work. Sleeping in separate rooms. Total insomnia. Feeling like I wasn't worth fighting for. Like I wasn't worth a pile of shit. Like I'd been lied to and betrayed.
He moved out on September 1st. My movers came a week later on Saturday, September 8th. My mom came down and helped me move into a townhome on a cul-de-sac I quickly dubbed "Divorce Court" because of all the single parents who lived there (the kids would show up on the weekends). She stayed with me and shopped with me. She helped me hang pictures and try and make my crummy new space feel like home.
I took that Monday and Tuesday off of work so I could finish getting settled in and meet the cable guy, the furniture delivery guys, etc. Mom was going to head back to the Pine Curtain that Tuesday, and I would be on my own for the first time in my new place. We woke up and began to get ready for the day. The cable guy was running late--he was supposed to be there first thing that morning. He finally got there and did his thing. We turned on the television to test out the new signal and saw the two World Trade Center buildings in flames. We sat there stunned, hearing the news of the plane hitting the Pentagon and the other one crashing in Pennsylvania. It was literally too much to bear. As I watched the buildings in New York fall and imagined all of the lives that were being destroyed in those moments, I collapsed on the floor in a fit of uncontrollable sobbing. I couldn't stop. I couldn't breathe. I ended up crying so hard, I vomited. My mom was so worried she nearly called 911. I felt like I was broken in two. My poor mother had to watch me writhe in this overwhelming pain, and there was nothing she could do to help me. And the worst part for her? She had to leave and go back home and leave me alone. Now that I am a mother, I can't imagine how horrible that must've been for her. That night--September 11th--was my first night alone in my new place. I hated it. I hated myself. The world was so fucked up. On a night when all I wanted to do was be close to someone I loved, I was so fucking alone. I wanted to die.
My mom was so strong during all of my turmoil. I remember vividly the night I called and told her he was leaving me (through hysterical crying), and she said very seriously, "Karla May, listen to me: You are going to be okay. I promise you. It will take a while, but you are going. to. be. fine." I didn't believe her, or course. But like she is so often, she was right.
There is no way I would've believed you if you'd told me on August 3, 2001 that five years later I would still be working for the same company and about to go for a big promotion (A week from Tuesday, ya'll. YIKES!), deal with my mother's cancer, my dad's cancer and death, my stepfather's illness and death and my own hysterectomy/cancer/menopause and lived to tell about it, become a mother by adopting the most beautiful, amazing, wonderful child in the world from a country on the other side of the globe all by myself, purchase a home, also all by myself, and (this is the one I REALLY wouldn't have believed) be deeply in love with an incredible man who loves me completely.
Time is an amazing thing.
Friday, August 04, 2006
Blogger allowed me to post a photo from the backyard soiree I had for The Geej last Sunday. Here she is filling up our luxurious pool. Sort of. I mean, she's got the hose, and it's on, but...
And here she is in full on Diva mode--kickin' it in her swing, and watching her loyal subjects run about. She really didn't want to swing per se, she just wanted to hang out in the swing so no one else could enjoy it. "MINE!" is one of her current favorite words. In celebration of her turning two, I thought I'd give you a short list of some of this child's MANY nicknames. Okay, here we go:
Peach Pants (I call her booty her "peaches.")
DQ (for Drama Queen)