November 11, 2019

please send bonbons, 2nd opinions, and a housekeeper

Well, here I am on the couch - but where are the bonbons?  I fear this is a case of ‘careful what you wish for’.  Remember when I was gearing up for my MRI of my pinkie last week, I thought I might end up resting on the couch recovering from cyst removing surgery with hands bandaged and everyone else doing my normal duties, ie:  everything.

Instead - I messed up my knee.  Doing what?  NOTHING!  Had I not been lucky enough to marry a physical therapist, I would have landed in the ER last night.  People, I COULD NOT straighten my leg.  Weight bearing - no way!  Nightmare.  

Coach informed me that people over 40 (Who, me?) are walking around with torn meniscus tissue, and I tweaked one such tear when I, wait for it, . . . . WALKED ACROSS THE FAMILY ROOM.  

On Thursday, I walked across the family room while talking to my babysitting buddy, Becky, who came over to watch my crew while I ran Reggie to a doctor appointment.  All of a sudden, my knee kind of locked up on me and made me feel like I was going to go down.  It hurt like Hell to straighten my leg, but after a minute I was able to straighten it.  Becky wondered what the heck I did, ‘Did you bump it on that high chair?  Did you twist it?’  I was like, nope.  I did nothing!

Thursday night Coach works late, so we barely saw each other.  As I climbed into bed, I asked Coach to take a look at my knee.  Coach mumbled to me (aka the shoemaker's child):  ‘No.  Tomorrow.’ 

Friday morning, my glorious day off, I stopped at his clinic in hopes that he would tell me that I could still workout in the attached health club.  The knee was stiff, but I was walking fine.  He moved it around a bunch and then told me it was the meniscus thing while simultaneously calling me old.  The great news is that he told me I could indeed workout, but that I should just do things without twisting my knee.  I did 6 miles on the elliptical.  No problem.

Saturday I did not workout because I was going to a National Literary Fest at my Alma mater with Mini.  Amazing day, details later - remind me if I forget.  We drove an hour and a half, hopped out of the car, started to walk into the building, and my knee went out from under me.  I almost fell.  Damn.  

Posed the crutches here because it
 is the only corner of the house that does
 not look like a disaster.  Going to bed,
Coach was like 'if we had crutches' - I
 informed him that we had a pair behind
 the door in the laundry room.  He texted
me this am that I could
use them if it really hurt.
 Did we not establish this?  But he pointed
out that one of the handles is missing. 
Anyway, I am confused because in one breath he
is all 'motion, blah blah' and in the other he is like
'use the crutches and try not to
weight bear if it really hurts.' 
I considered posting a photo that Curly took
 of me when I was crying on the floor because she
 wanted me to know that my hair looked good.
 I think she deleted it though when I scolded
her for taking photos of me
 grimacing, good hair or not.
Sunday I worked out and did a bit more than the elliptical.  My knee hurt afterwards and all day it complained.  I was still walking - more like shopping:  $400 at the grocery, $420 (including my renewal fee) at Costco, boot shopping with Mini at Nordstrom Rack, and finally I drove to pick up Curly from dancing.  

Now that it is winter, I moved heaven and earth and a lot of golf clubs, basketballs , lawn mowers, and bikes to be able to park the minivan in the single car part of the three car garage.  The former airport shuttle is always in the 2 car garage area but the single garage area is usually a disaster.  Anyway, it requires a gymnastic maneuver to exit the parked-in-the-garage minivan.  I (no gymnast) rotated and pushed off of my right foot to be able to squeeze out of the slightly open door and scoot between the car and one of Tank’s mowers.  That was it - the knee was like ‘No, no!  You should not have done that.’  

Curly exited the vehicle while on the driveway because no passenger can escape once in the garage.  My knee locked up and I struggled to get in the house - all alone.  I hopped inside crying.  Coach made me a plate of dinner and then invited me into his makeshift office aka the family room floor.  The kids gathered around and watched me cry as he forced my knee straight and ‘worked’ on me.  I asked them to get my contact case so I could preserve my salt-hating contact lenses.  

Coach shook his head.  ‘I have been practicing for 21 years and people do not cry like this when I treat them (for issues similar to what I have).’  

Tank:  ‘Wait, you only practice.  When are you going to be ready to stop practicing and really fix people.’  Ah, Tank - still cracking jokes while his mommy writhes in pain with a wet-from-tears face on the floor.

Me:  ‘It hurts!  Are you sure it is OK to be moving it like that?  It REALLY hurts!’  I regularly recommend Coach to other hurt people, but my confidence in him flounders when I am a victim the patient.

Coach iced it and told me ‘motion is lotion.’  That means I am supposed to keep moving it and keep trying to straighten it.  He kept assuring me that it would get better on its own, like a cut finger.  Um, I have experience with that - foreshadowing, people.  Stay tuned.  No MRI necessary.  

But I have made friends at the MRI place.  They loved my ‘Hey, I might need to hit the bars tonight’ joke last week when I was finally able to remove my wedding rings.  I don’t want to wait for it to just get better while I hobble around, I want to be fixed.  

I am trying to decide if I should cancel my babysitting peeps on Tuesday.  I normally babysit for one guy on Mondays, but sadly his grandpa is not doing well and the family flew to New York over the weekend - so today I ended up with the day off, which made the skipping of my favorite workout class a real bummer.  The Tuesday crowd includes a fat baby (no joke here, they feed her sugar cereal and veggies from a can) that I might not be able to haul up the stairs for her nap.  Curly has generously offered to stay home from school tomorrow to help me. 

A mountain of laundry awaits me.  Teenagers version of cleaning their rooms:  dump it on the laundry room floor and make it my problem.  Coach texted me this morning and told me I could come and see him at his work today, but I know THERE WILL BE TEARS, do I want to cry at his work?  Plus it snowed, and I don’t want to drive.  Reg and Curly have no school, Reg is going to a friend’s house, Curly has dancing tonight and Coach works late, so I will have to drive at some point.  

All this, and still no bonbons!

November 8, 2019

top 11 things I love, again with the 11

THINGS I LOVE: (aside from my family, health, and all of the goes without saying stuff)

No blood this time, Kari.  If  you look close
enough you will see the flap of skin that
 was once part of my thumb that is
 standing up waiting to get gross and fall off.
1.       Sharp knives - if I can just 
learn to use them without injuring myself!

2.    Fridays off

3.    The occasional warm fall day to trick me into thinking summer is still lingering (so I wrote this weeks ago - still those days make me happy)

4.    Nothing bundt cakes gluten-free cakes.  Thank you sweet Jesus for this

So good, I cannot even wait to
get a photo before I dive in.
     5.     Security questions - I had to look something up for my accountant recently.  A dividend 1099 thing that we never got in the mail.  The site asked me to select several different security questions.  I guess just in case someone wanted to try to steal my $27 annual dividend.  Anyway, there were SO MANY choices, and I contemplated how I would respond to each one of them.  Yes, you can classify this under:  the little things.

     6.    A really good foot massage.  I enjoy these more than ever because I am a) old and b) I run or walk about 5 miles a day and my feet are not always happy about that.

7.     Getting comments on my blog.  Yep, this just makes my day, so take a minute and leave a comment

8.    A good night sleep - rare but love it when it happens

9.    When my kids play Irish music together.  I have been trying to get Reg to take his concertina playing a bit more serious.  Mini knows lots about the notes and she has more experience playing Irish tunes for longer than he has.  I have been urging her to share some of her expertise with Reg.  Curly has been jumping in with her fiddle.  She tries to play a tune here and there.  Mini gets mad at her though because Reg goofs off and Curly laughs and Mini pulls her hair out trying to get them to be serious.  I should not laugh, but it is just non-screen-time related fun.  Mini is on my case to ban Curly from the music sessions.  I told them last night that first Mini offers Reg instruction and then for 10 minutes they invite Curly in so she can try to play a tune or two with them.  Tank has yet to grab his wooden flute and play along.  He seems to be taking his studies somewhat seriously at the moment.  We think maybe someone stole his identity or his ‘I don’t care’ attitude.  Not a bad thing.

10.   Saying ‘obvie’ to my high school kids when something is obvious.  It makes them crazy, like I think I am so hip.  In reality, they do brainless stuff sometimes and I like to call them out on it and ‘obvie’ is just a great short cut.  In my world of teenagers who like to tune me out, it is GLORIOUS to catch their attention - without even swearing.  

11.  I thought of another one!  I hate driving all over the place especially Route 83 - which is currently under major construction making it impossible to get to dancing on time.  The bright spot:  Curly is my secretary.  I constantly invite her to take a dictation and have her text people for me, which is very handy. 

November 6, 2019

11 things I hate, no idea why it's 11


Things I hate:  (how’s that for a positive start to the day?)

1.       Ass holes (see previous post)

2.     Disastrous rooms left behind by college kids

This is only one angle - it was much
 worse than it looks here.

Still not perfect, but this is how I spent
one entire afternoon.  I have texted
 the boys to alert them that they WILL NOT
return to school next time and
leave their rooms in such a state.

  3.  Seasonal allergies

  4.    Weight gained by inserting crunchy food in excess of my calorie requirement in order to scratch the roof of my mouth that is begging for a long scrub with one of those wire bristle brushes

  5.    Strep throat - Mini came down with this hours before Coach’s siblings were supposed to show up the Sunday of Labor Day weekend.  Food already bought.  Some food already prepared.  Excitement at actually hosting two in-law families who we really enjoy on a night when no one had to work the next morning (and pulling off the invite minus his folks so it was going to be SOCIAL and not a lecture on our faith and all right wing activities we should be involved in).  Fridge drawers reorganized to accommodate adult and kid beverages, which will now just get in my way as we do not need fridge drawers stocked with alcoholic beverages.  (yes, this weekend sucked - between cancelling party and losing my biggest babysitting client - it sucked)

6.    Inability to reschedule above party because, well, everything

7.     The closing of the pool/end of summer

8.    Disappointments -(different from people who cancelled job on me) long story to be addressed later

Ireland trip suitcase and the several
 weeks delay that took place until I
went in her room and dumped it out.
9.    Reality check- so maybe this babysitting gig sucks, and I can just carve out more time (with less kids to sit for) to get this book published.  Reality check, because REALLY?  How is that ever going to happen.  Writers are a dime a dozen.  Everyone and their sister wants to publish a book.  Feeling washed up, career-less.  Is laundry and baking really my main calling?  I know, I know, six kids is nothing to shake an unpublished manuscript at, but I am longing to accomplish something that develops because of my creativity - not my diaper changing skills and my mom skills. 

10.   The misunderstanding that exists when I utter words ‘clean up your room and unpack from your Ireland trip that occurred WEEKS AGO!’  Note that I did not say that I hate this particular daughter, just her inability to comprehend what it means to empty a FREAKING suitcase. 

11.  ASS HOLES - ending on this note, because  want to - BECAUSE really people who are monstrously inconsiderate and rude are utterly the worst!  That babysitting family that canceled me at the last minute has really, REALLY ticked me off.  Who behaves this way?

November 4, 2019

relax mode to frustrated mode, losing when I don't even gamble

Ask me how fun it is to have this
baby gear litter my family room.
Backing up the bus a bit - once I agreed to babysit for Linda and her brother, I focused on scouring Facebook, Letgo, and Nextdoor for used baby goods to add to my collection.  Additional items would help me care for two infants at once. If mothers of twins could do this on the regular, so couple I, right?  

I added a bouncy seat, 2 exersaucers (I had one that could fold up but since that function failed of late my struggle to set it up was nothing short of frustrating and defeating. We literally kicked it to the curb), a bassinet, two baby monitors, bassinet sheets, and finally the day before her crazy message arrived canceling our agreement: an electric baby swing.  

I now own two of these.  Grrr.
Meanwhile a few people reached out to me to see if I had openings.  One lady asked me if I had openings the Friday before Labor Day. Timing!!! I apologized but I no longer had space for other kids. After an entire spring and summer spent applying, interviewing, and chatting with interested parents (many of them TOTALLY WEIRD) I was finally able to relax.  My in-home daycare was finally filled and I could chill out.  Or so I thought.
This is all rotated wrong, but on the upside
Mikey is a really good baby and so darn easy.
  His folks are delightful and very easy going/grateful
 that I am caring for him.  I just need
to clone them a few times.

After I hung up the phone with Jackie, I sat on my pool chair and wept. I called Coach who lives in fear of the sun. He had already gone home. He COULD NOT believe that these people would cancel on me the day before they were supposed to start.

I fled the pool and got home and texted this Jackie robot. I told her that I turned people away because my spots were full. I also informed her that I expected her to pay me two weeks pay and the cost of the additional baby gear that I bought. No response.
A great addition to any dining room.

I do not have her address. Or her last name, but I know what town she lives in. I know that she works downtown as a commercial architect and her husband works locally as an architect. I typically sit for teachers, but her mom is a teacher and she was going to care for the kids in the summer and over holidays. Moving forward I plan to collect a one month deposit for anyone who hires me.

My next move was to contact I hoped that they would cancel her membership. Ban her from using the site. Guess what is almost as hard as finding normal people to babysit for? Getting a live person to speak to me on The workers are outsources apparently, and I struggled to understand the thick accent of the woman who answered.

Long story short: she agreed to look into Jackie's membership. In the meantime, she decided that I needed a different kind of membership since I watch kids in MY home. She gave me 5 days and then erased my membership. I can open a new membership under 'family services'. Guess what? That kind of membership is not free. There would be a charge. Mini was like, 'Oh, that did not work out the way you hoped?' Lesson here: only work for teachers who are referred to you.

I recently downloaded Venmo. Jackie's contact showed up on there. Guess who sent her a request for the amount I expect her to pay me? This is not over.

Racking up financial losses lately seems to be my specialty.  I lost 10 grand last year (when Narcey melted down and quit my daycare) and when these people flaked out I lost over 11 grand.  I am back to having openings that I will most likely not fill.  Feeling underemployed, and incredibly frustrated.  

Trust me when I say that I do not gamble.  So why the sudden losses? Simple. People are ass holes. 

November 1, 2019

Gumby and Pokey, a dream crusher, plus retro pics

This year I admitted to Curly that I could not wait for Halloween because it meant no basketball or Irish dancing practices.  No games.  No school conferences.  Nothing but a pesky doorbell.

Back when the kids were younger, I enjoyed the challenge of creating awesome Halloween costumes.  As a result, half of our storage room in the basement resembles Jim Henson's studio.  

I made a knight riding on a horse for 5 yr old Laddie.  It got lots of funny looks because his legs were hidden under the horses long covering and we had fake legs attached to the sides. 

There were the Star Wars years.  Chewey.  Jawa.  Yoda.  Princess Leah.  Our Christmas card one year had a picture of the kids in Halloween Star Wars attire with the words:  May the Force Be With You this Christmas!

Probably my biggest accomplishment was the Sesame Street characters.  Big Bird.  Cookie Monster.  Oscar.  Elmo.  I did not make them all the same year.  It was gradual.
For a few years our friends had an awesome Halloween party - adults only.  One year a month before the party, I told Coach I really wanted to turn him into Gumby.  He is tall and thin.  I could make myself Pokey.  He resisted, but never get in the way of a creative wife and her pinking sheers.  

That year our friends decided NOT to host the party.  The costumes were already done.  I was so bummed.  Coach wore Gumby to work and treated patients while wearing it.  It got lots of laughs.

The same friends hosted a party this year.  It centered around their kid's birthday.  Adults and kids alike attended.  Not exactly the same vibe as the adults only raves we were accustomed to, but we dusted off Gumby and his pony pal Pokey too, because 'if you've got a heart, than Gumby's a part of you.'  

I am usually careful about not revealing our true identity - but I am throwing caution to the wind (or more honestly, ditching my fear that Mary Ann might stumble across this blog and see how her behavior over the years has impacted her neighbors).  I wanted you to see Gumby in motion.  Reg and Tank make cameos.  
Coach:  'I am hot.  I need to go to the bathroom.  I can barely bend my arms to reach my beer.'  Me:  'I worked hard on this costume, damn it, Gumby!'
I spoke to the mom of a friend of Curly's for a big part of the night.  Folks, I am struggling in the 'what am I going to do now that I have decided I would like a career' thought process.  This woman went on about this great job offer she just got.  While she was supposed to be deciding about it, she was lucky enough to get a 2nd interview to her dream job.  Translation:  she might end up with 2 job offers!  She started looking for a job because she wanted to get back into marketing from her current position.  

In my head, I was like, 'Shit, I can't get out from under my changing diapers position even though I have a marketing degree.'  HEAVY SIGH.  Then I confided in her that I am hopeful to get my book published, even if I have to self publish it, etc.  

Her current job is at some kind of a book distributor.  I think children's books.  Not sure, but she is not exactly in the business of editing and publishing novels.  STILL she decided to cut into my orange foam body and yank out my little defenseless Pokey heart with this gem:  'Oh, yeah.  Those don't really end up selling.'  

Not the kind of thing you say at a damn party when someone shares their hopes and dreams.  Right?!?!  Even if she is correct.  

I found Gumby and we took our one dimensional selves on home after that.  (really we are old, and we were ready to go anyway).  Party foul to steer clear of though:  I have a great job.  I have a great job offer.  I have a possible even better offer.  Oh, and you might want to rethink your dream.'  

retro!  Circa 2005

Last week:  Curly trying on Oscar in the basement.  He needed a few adjustments and I need to snap a photo of her wearing him once he got all spruced up.  
The four youngest:  circa 2013 or 2014
This did not require any sewing, but I felt it was simply genius after Tank got expelled an hour before the last day of school for fighting.  Missed graduation.  Then I suggested his 8th grade sister wear this cap and gown the next year with the boxing gloves and his name on her back, um to school.  The same school that kicked him out.  I gotta be me, and thankfully Mini embraces my sense of in-your-face-ness that I have going on.  
The knight riding on the horse.  I think this is Eddie.  Legendary.

Last week:  I told Reg a few times to try on Elmo before the school dance.  He did not.  I guess I made this when Tank was in 6th grade and Reg is in 8th.  Big difference.  Reg: 'Ugh - it is giving me a massive wedgie.'  If you look closely, you can see the feet that are attached are just dangling from that crease about 6 inches above his ankles.  

October 30, 2019

puffy pinkie, bones with bling, & finger crossing for bonbons

I will get back to the babysitting nightmare story shortly.  It's a doozie.  Consider this your commercial break, except I am not selling anything.

How happy are you that I am done talking about Vancouver?  I feel I stretched the topic out incredibly far, too far?  I am the type that cannot rest if I have a story that goes untold or unfinished.  I have emailed people after a party to say:  'Hey, I just realized I got off on another tangent and I never finished telling you about  . . . '  I am that person.  

Let me know if you live in fear of our upcoming Yellowstone vacation in June?  Blogging minds want to know.

My two pinkie fingers have ached for about two years.  I have wondered if I did something to break my knuckles.  I just try not to use them much, but recently they have gotten worse.  Worse than broken, you ask.  Well, yes.  I guess.  

I threw the stroller in the trunk the other day.  I was racing the tots I sit for home from the park on a day that was not as weather permitting outside as I had originally thought.  I glanced down as I drove home because my damn pinkie was killing me.  It is typically the better of the two.  Yowza.  This is what I saw:

Relax, I am not flipping you
 off.  It is a pinkie, people!
Maybe this photo
shows by boo boo better.
I suppose it does not look THAT bad in the picture.  Trust me here.  My damn knuckle looked all gnarly and deformed.  I know Halloween is coming, but I don't intend to dive in that seriously.  

I saw an orthopedic hand specialist yesterday.  Do not ask me about the two hours of time spent at the doctor's office, because I think this post is full of enough bad news.  Just know that it made me grumpy to wait.  I brought Mini home from high school to watch the two babies I was sitting for, and I was SUPER grateful that she was willing to miss Latin (she has a strong A in the class, in case playing hookie makes anyone concerned), lunch, and gym class.  Had the day involved two hours with two babies in the doc office, I would have punched a wall and broken one of the good fingers.

Anyway, I have a cyst.  I need an MRI to see if the thing is best to be drained or surgically removed.  To be honest, I hear surgery and I picture me laying on the couch NOT babysitting and someone else sitting there feeding me bonbons because my hands are all bandaged (just one cyst but in my vision I have both hands bandaged and lots of other people are doing things I normally do.  It is my vision, damn it - so it can be messed up).  And to be honest, I am OK with that scenario.  

The doc said to drain it would mean that it might grow back.  I would like to bypass that option, because I do not want to see this thing again.  It freaking hurts.  

If you have never considered how much you use your pinkies, then I invite you to pay attention to that little guy.  Whether you intend to involve them in any functioning tasks at hand (get it, rocking the humor while in pain typing over here, right?), they sometimes just get called to duty faster than you can say, 'no pinkie, not you!'  Reading books, opening jars, making meatballs.  (I made meatballs last night and two minutes in I was like 'wait - whose idea was this?')  Don't get me started on diapers and strollers.    

My right hand.  Shit, do I look 80?
This is the pinkie with
 a swollen knuckle and to compound
 things a bent ring - from the front
you cannot tell about the bent ring.  
Not sure you can see how straight
 the back is now.  Even if I
 unbend the ring, I would never be able
 to get it past my beefed up knuckle.
Slow-to-show-up-in-a-room-where-I-grew-old doctor also took an x-ray of my hands.  The x-rays look like a skeleton with bling, because I cannot remove my rings.  Those damn rings were all over the pictures and I only have rings on 3 dispersed across my 10 digits.  One of the rings will need to be cut off.  I know this, but I have yet to address it.  It is my college ring.  The kids slid the car door shut on it over 10 years ago.  It bent across the back and I was unhurt, but now there is no removing it without a saw.  That ring is on my usually-more-painful pinkie, but currently cyst-free pinkie.  Follow?

The x-ray lady was moaning about my wedding ring diamond getting in the way and I told her this was the first time I felt really thrilled not to have a 3 carrot diamond.  She enjoyed that even though my rings made her redo my x-rays several times.    

The x-rays showed something kinda bad.  I have blackness in all of my joints - not just pinkies.  All of the joints in my hands.  The name of what I have is:  Periarticular osteopenia.   This is a weakening in my joints.  Coach looked it up and it is caused by the fact that I did not absorb my calcium or my vitamin D back when I was shoving cake in my pie hole unaware that gluten was destroying my insides.  I had celiac disease for most of my adult life and didn't get diagnosed until about 4.5 years ago.  I think what this x-ray showed is that I am going to end up with rheumatoid arthritis, but I am not sure.  

Rheumatoid arthritis and still no gluten (like sheet cake) to comfort-food my way through the pain?  That's just rotten.  

I told Coach he needs to come with me for my next appointment which will be with the rheumatologist  because I have no idea what these people are talking about.  

Still angling for couch time and bonbon eating and someone else slaving away at meals and laundry and housework.  Fingers crossed, well - carefully crossed anyway. 

October 28, 2019

gut feeling, red flag, totally screwed me

This couple leaned towards the odd side.  The woman, Jackie (her real name, because if you know her then I want you to tell her what a lowlife she is), appeared to have difficulty executing conversation.

And here is her real photo from - recognize her?  
Our first phone call took place when she called me while I was at a department store.  The lengthy pauses left me wondering if we had been disconnected. I kept pulling my phone away from my ear to look at the phone, checking to see if the call was still in progress.  

When Jackie did speak, I cringed at her monotone, dreary voice.  Perhaps I should not make fun, because maybe she took a bad fall on her head as a child and cannot infuse inflection or feeling into her tone.  My grandmother would have called her a 'drip'.

She and her husband came to meet me at my house, and I was shocked at his strange communication style. He spoke entirely too fast for someone to process the words. His quick adrenaline-infused speech came out in quick bursts and then abrupt ends.

I showed them the play area in my basement where the water had come in on Curly's stage. The stage had yet to be put back together, and I explained about the window well water seepage. Words bolted out of his mouth about what we should do to fix it. It took me a few minutes to figure out what the Hell he was referring to. Now, who's the drip? Seriously though, how do these two communicate?

On Labor Day this woman, and I use the term loosely, whose children were scheduled to arrive at my house the next day sent me a cryptic text message.  Her text arrived almost 36 hours after I sent a text to her inquiring about a few details. Did the toddler still nap in a pack and play?  Had she managed to grab a second car seat for my car? Did she still plan to arrive around 8 or 8:30 in the morning?

The fact that she was about to leave her kids with me, but was not more responsive to my questions raised a red flag. READ TEXT MESSAGE SCREENSHOT HERE:

What?  So if they weren't starting tomorrow, then why did she not mention when they would be starting?  I texted her and asked for what date she hoped to start.  She did not answer my text messages or my first three phone calls.

I was at the pool. Enjoying the last day, until she finally called me back. In her drippy, monotone voice . . .

she said: 'Well, we met someone today who can watch the kids the week that you can't. And she can watch them for the rest of the school year.'


Perhaps it isn’t just her speech that is void of feeling, but her entire person.