Smee: Life #9

It’s been…a really long time since I’ve blogged and in past blogs, I don’t know that I’ve ever mentioned Smee.  Smee is our cat.  We’ve had her lo these many years.  17 to be exact.  Maybe that’s where I should start…

When Man and I first married we lived in these pretty run down apartments in Dallas, TX.  They were built back in the 60’s and so, for a one bedroom, were pretty spacious.  A mariachi band lived down stairs which made me kind of crazy then but I miss that now…  Anywhoo, while living there a stray cat claimed us.  No, that was not Smee.  That was Sinclaire.  She was a darling, sweet, sterling tabby.  Just a dear!  However, Man and I both worked and traveled and we felt kind of badly for Sinclaire being home alone so much.  (I know.  We were ridiculous.  Cats don’t really need companionship.)

Down the street from where I worked was a Pet Hospital.  They also kept cats/kittens for adoption and I had signed up as a snuggler.  This just meant that I volunteered time to snuggle and pet kittens so they got out of their crates and had human interaction and affection.  It’s a real thing.

One day, I went to snuggle cats after work, and there was a new litter of kittens.  They were all given names from Peter Pan.  One sweet, striped belly kitten was named, Smee.  She was suuuuper tiny!  She was not actually related to the kittens of the Peter Pan litter.  I was told that she came in to the clinic the same weekend that they did.  She had been found wet and alone in the gutter.  She had a kink in her tail and a sort of deformed toe and was extremely small.  It may have been that Mama Cat abandoned her due to all of her abnormalities.  In fact, I think I adored her more for all of her quirks!  She was super snuggly to boot!

Every day after work I went to snuggle Smee.  Then I started going at lunch as well.  By the end of the week I had fallen in love and brought her home.  Somewhere, and I cant find the picture, was a picture of her sitting on our coffee table next to a can of Coke.  She was only a smidgen taller than the can!  Just a teeny tiny little thing!

Sinclaire took to Smee right away.  She would bring grasshoppers and other bugs into the house and use them to teach Smee how to hunt.  It was absolutely adorable!  That was about as affectionate as they got.

Sinclaire and Smee moved with us into our first house and it was there that we brought home our first born, Buddy, to.  Something changed after Buddy’s arrival.  Smee became angry, bitter, and jealous.  She stopped wanting to be petted.  She slept with us less (probably because Buddy did) and she started scratching people.  She nearly took my brother-in-laws eye out!  To this day he has a scar through his eyebrow to prove it.  After that incident we reluctantly had Smee declawed.  She had that deformed toe anyway and the claw was growing under and twisted toward the pad of her paw, plus scratching people’s faces when you have a new born baby…nope.  Well, that was it for Smee.  She never forgave us for the declawing nor for having a baby.  And then we had the gall to have ANOTHER baby!!!

Well, the babies are now 12 and 14 and Smee is still bitter.  For those who follow my Instagram, you are all too familiar with my Bitter Smee pics.  Smeevil, we call her.  She used to sit on top of the fridge or china cabinet and look down on us with disdain.  It started to get too hard for her to jump up there anymore and so she moved her lair to the laundry room in the basement.  There she has claimed a whole laundry basket as her own.  (Sinclaire is no longer with us and is a different story.)  Smee's happy face

When Man is at work, Buddy and Bug are at school, and the dogs are outside, Smee will venture out into the rest of the house and find me.  If I’m sitting, she will climb into my lap, preventing me from doing anything else but pet her.  If I’m blogging, she’ll sit in front of the computer screen and will angrily mew or groan if I try to move her to the side.  When I pet her she likes one pet, two pets, and then she bites the frik out of my hand.  She used to only come out into the house under these conditions.

One night, about a year ago, Smee somehow crept passed all of the sleeping hounds that are on the floor of my bedroom and climbed into bed with Man and I.  It was such a surprise!  It had been YEARS, 13 to be exact, since she slept with us.  (Sinclaire always did but again, different cat.  Different story.)  Smee climbed onto my chest and started to “make biscuits.”  She was kneading away at my bosom and it was none too pleasant.  But how could I tell her no?  She was back for the snuggles and loving!  I would endure the painful poking and prodding so that she would stay.  After several nights of Smee tickling our faces with her tail and 2 a.m. pillow parades, Man began to complain.

“She keeps me up all night!  I get up at 4:30!  I’m closing the door at night,” he ranted!

I talked him down though because it was so special that she was warming up again!  It wasn’t every night but more nights than not, Smee returned to torment us in our sleep.  Smee also seems to be in a phase of her life where she gives Zero $%&#s.  She no longer cares if the dogs are in and around the house.  She does not run from them.  Instead she hisses until my big, strong dogs whine and back away.  Every now and again they’ll run her back into her laundry basket but mostly everyone is just side stepping and do-si-doeing around one another.

In the mornings Smee cries and mews until Man feeds her.  Then she naps on the floor heater, completely covering it with her body.   I should mention that Smee has very short legs and for some reason still looks like a kitten.  She’s still so tiny!  Not as small as a soda can but still a tiny little thing.  Also, as all annoying bitches do, she has the gift of being able to eat and eat and eat and never gain weight.  Every a.m. Man feeds her soft food and then anytime I enter the laundry room (which is a bottomless pit of clothes and linens…) she cries for more.  I feed her small amounts of kibble 2-3 times a day.  When my sister visits she really gets spoiled.  My sister feeds her bigger portions and more frequently.  The evil ones stick together.

There are many examples of Smee’s meanness.  There’s the time she peed in my brother-in-laws suitcase.  The time she peed on top of the bookshelf.

Smee peed

I posted this on Facebook and the comments were the best!  “Smee shaming.  That’s low.”  “Do cats, Smee specifically, feel shame?”

 

 

The time she pooped on Bugs homework.  There was the time when she practically lived on top of the shelf and she would beam her empty food cans at passers by.

“She’ll never die,” Man would grouse.

Sometimes, she sits on the stairs but presses herself up to it in way so that when you are coming down the stairs you can’t really see her and then she grabs you, scaring the crap out of you, and coming damn near close to causing you to fall the rest of the way down.  One could break their neck!

“Smee tried to kill me,” I’d text my sister.

There is of course the 3 a.m. pillow parade and the biting after 3 pets.  The hissing at the children as they pass and the constant demand to be fed.

When I turn out the lights at night in the laundry room I whisper, “if you see a light….go to it, Smee.  Go to the light.”  I mean, she’s REEEEEALY old and seems to be very unhappy with all of us.  The kids, specifically.

One day I went down to the basement and Smee was laying in a sunny spot by the sliding glass doors.  She was so still and peaceful, dare I say…happy looking?  I had the thought that she must be dead.  I carefully approached.  She did not budge.  I bent down to examine and see if she was breathing.  She picked up her head and looked over her shoulder to me.  Scared the bejeezus out of me!

Today though was different.  I went down to the laundry room (to do laundry, of course!) and there was Smee in her basket.  Nothing unusual about that but…her food dish was full of soft food.  I checked and she was breathing so I text Man:  Smee didn’t eat.

Man:  I noticed.  I just thought I’d leave it in case she changed her mind.

I pet her and she picked her head up and purred.  I pet her once, twice, three times, four…

Me to Man: she’s letting me pet her and she’s purring.

Man:  she’s like 1000 years old, babe.  She’s probably at the end.

I raised Smee’s food dish to her.

Maybe she just wants breakfast in bed.  That sounds like her. 

She smelled the food but did not eat it.  I offered her water….in bed.  She smelled it and laid back down.  I dipped my finger into the water and touched it to her lips.  Smee licked her lips and laid back down.  I pet her once, twice, three times, four, five…and she let me and she purred.

Me to Man: She’s being really sweet.  I think she’s dying.

I had an appointment at the senior living center.  I had to go and so I pet her some more and told her to hang in there until I got home.

ill Smee

When I got home she had not moved from her basket and I could barely see her breathing.  I offered food and water again.  She refused it.  I pet her once, twice, three, four, and just kept petting her and she did not protest.  I went to pick her up and put her in my lap and she cried and curled up so I left her in her basket and continued to pet her.  At one point I stopped petting but my hand was near and she pressed her forehead into my hand.  I put my face down to hers and cooed and asked if she was going to make it.  She pressed her forehead to mine and we sat there for about a minute or two but then I had to leave to get the kids.

There was carpool and orthodontic appointments and grocery shopping and when we got home, Smee was still in her basket with her faint breathing and loss of appetite.  I scheduled an appointment for her to see the vet in the morning.  I offered her kibble by hand.  She lapped one into her mouth but then spit it out.  Just got the taste of it.

When Man got home we all talked as a family that this could be her end.  Man and I kind of thought she would hang on until Buddy left for college (in 3 more years) just to spite him.

“I’ve never liked cats, that one in particular, but she will still be hard to say goodbye to,” Man said as we quietly ate our dinner.

After dinner I did the dishes and fed the dogs.  I decided to go down and check on Smee again.  She was curled up sleeping in her basket.  I pet her bunches and she picked up her head and purred.  I just sat there near her basket and food and water.  She stretched while I pet her and then she stepped out of the basket and sat at her food bowl and ate a few kibbles.

What the heck…?

Then she walked over toward her litter box.

I ran up stairs and told Man, “She’s a faker!  She’s eating and walking around!”

After I relayed what happened Man defended her, “a few pieces of kibble all day does not mean she’s faking.  Something’s not right and you need to take her to the vet tomorrow.”

I was about to head down to the basement again but….

Smee lives

 

and then….

Smee lives2

 

“She is faking it, I tell you!  She just wanted to hear us all say how sad it would be if she died and how we’d miss her,” I told Man, “and she wanted to be fed in bed.”

Man went down to see for himself.  Smee headed down the stairs as he did and lead him to the laundry room as she does in the mornings.

“What is it?” I hear Man say in a sweet voice to that little devil.  “Oh…you want soft food again?”

Next thing I know, Man is running up the stairs to get Smee her soft food.  Sure enough, she eats it.  All of it.

As I finish this blog she is sitting in the kitchen.  Upstairs.  She will never die.

 

Smee haunt

I waitses and then I strikes.

 

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Precious In His Sight

This morning a friend mentioned how her child would describe other students in his class.  He described them by their qualities as a person, not based on their physical appearance.  She was so proud of him, as she should be!  Really, the kudos goes to her.

Her son doesn’t see a person for their skin color because she doesn’t.  This is a learned behavior.  Most people would say that they are not racist or bigots.  They don’t support discrimination of people on the big levels (slavery, segregation, etc) but when it comes down to it they are socially segregating people.

A few years back a friend was telling me about her Ladies Trip to Vegas.

“We were all dancing and then this black guy came up and started dancing with us…” the story went on but I honestly don’t remember it.  I just kept waiting for the part in her story that made his blackness relevant.

It’s become a hobby of sorts for me.  When anyone mentions the race, sexuality, body of a person, I wait to see if mentioning “a fat lady” or “this gay guy” was relevant.  It very often isn’t.  That sort of thinking, the categorizing, is a problem.  Our children pick up on it and it creates division.  It may seem a small thing but it makes a huge impact on how they relate to others in society, separating themselves based on their appearances.

When In Kindergaten, Buddy brought home a worksheet on the letter G.  He was supposed to draw pictures of things that started with the letter G.  He drew grapes, a thing that he later explained was a goat, and a black man.  I couldn’t think of any black men we knew who’s name started with the letter G and so I asked, “son, who is this black man?”

“Well, first of all he’s not black. He’s brown,”  Duh.  I know my colors.  “And he’s not a man.  He’s God.”

“Oh!  I love that!  What makes you think that God is bla..er…brown?”

“I don’t really remember Him that well before he put me in your belly.  I just laid there a lot with my eyes closed…” and Buddy laid on the ground, arms wide spread, eyes closed and a dopey grin.  “But I know He was brown.”

I really hope He is!  I love imagining certain people arriving in heaven to be brought to the throne room and…

“So, I died.  I go to heaven and this black guy…”

 

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Take The Compliment

Recently, someone complimented me on what a good mother I am and I replied, “Thank you.  My sons make parenting easy.”  Another friend pointed out that in answering that way I’m doing myself and others a disservice.  My children are not good because of some innate goodness in them.  My sons are fantastic because I’m a FANTASTIC parent.

I don’t have the sort of career where my salary denotes my skills or where bonuses or reviews reflect the level of my job performance.  The many compliments I receive from strangers, friends and family are my job review and I should receive them as such and not give the credit to “luck.”

Some of my friends may remember my sons as babies and toddlers.  Buddy was a difficult baby.  He was difficult to feed from breast or bottle.  He cried if he wasn’t being held and when he was being held he wriggled and climbed and tugged and pulled on every body part in his reach.  When tired of being a human jungle gym, I’d put him down and the wailing would begin.  I don’t remember too much trouble from him as a toddler.  I know there was correction and discipline but, smart boy that he is, he only needed a consequence to happen once (maybe twice) to set the boundaries and expectations of our household.

Bug was…something else.  I’m sure my friend Amy recalls his stubbornness.  She was a former teacher who ran an in-home daycare in our neighborhood.  She taught me so much about how to redirect him and how to implement consequences.  He didn’t take to it quick like Buddy.  I had to repeat, repeat, repeat words and actions until he got it.  It wasn’t that he wasn’t intelligent.  It was a battle of wills.  There were fits, screams, hitting and biting.  Real full on battles with that boy especially around age three.  I called it Throw Me Under The Car Threes.  Amy encouraged me to stick with it and I firmly believe that it is why my current parenting years are a cake walk.

I used to babysit a little girl (age 5) when we lived in Missouri.  She was a nice young lady but she had zero manners.  She would make announcements to me of her wants and desires.  “I’m hungry!”

“May I have a snack please?” I would reply, demonstrating the more respectful way to ask for what she wanted.  After giving her the snack, “Now what do you say?”

“I don’t know…” she answered honestly.

“Don’t you say please and thank you at your house?”  I asked.

“Um…no.  I don’t know?”

And so we began a lesson in when to say please, thank you, and you’re welcome.  She was genuinely thrilled to learn it!  I was so surprised because her mother was one of the sweetest most lady-like women I knew.  How was it that her 3 daughters didn’t know BASIC manners?

Using baby signs, I had taught my sons their manners before they could even speak.  Buddy showed his gratitude through sign language to my sister for a gift she gave him and he didn’t know how to say more than “mama” and “dada.”  Bug on the other hand…didn’t pick up on signs.  He once dropped the sign for “more” and started to snap (yes SNAP!) at me when he wanted more food.  I could have allowed that for a supplement sign but I refused to jump and serve when snapped at.  (Interestingly, he lost the ability to snap and had to be re-taught when in grade school.)

Once I was cleaning house in preparation for company.  Buddy decided it would be fun/funny to take every toy, every Lego, every train track, every book, (you get the picture) and dump it out onto the floor.  I wanted to scream!  I wanted to give him a scolding he would never forget!   I had just read a book about natural consequences and allowing kids to reap the results of THEIR choices.  I told Buddy that he would have to pick the whole mess up himself.

“What?!  But I’m too little!” he argued. “Will you help me?”  He was 4 by the way.

“No, Buddy.  I won’t help and you are not too little.  You are big enough to make the mess yourself and you are big enough to clean it up.”

He burst into tears and continued to ask for my help.

“I’ve got the whole house to clean before our company arrives tomorrow.  I’m sorry that you chose to make such a big mess.  Now get it cleaned up quick so you can do fun things!”

It took him the rest of the day and part of the next but when he was done he was so PROUD of himself and he even thanked me!

It was a lot to ask of a four year old and it was hard for me to not intervene but what a lesson he learned!  That day and half consequence stuck!

Experiencing a consequence is important and it’s also important to let our kids struggle.  It may not be easy for them to clean up a spill or to tie their shoe or take walk instead of ride.  One thing you can guarantee though is that at sometime in their life they will be in a struggle.  Let them struggle over the little things, with you along side them so when life is hard they know that they can get through it.

Mealtime.  If the kids didn’t want to eat the food I offered, I didn’t get mad or raise my voice or act hurt.  I just said OK and let them skip the meal.  They could not make something different to eat and I sure as hell wasn’t going to make a separate meal for them.  When they cried and argued about that, I would calmly remind them that they CHOSE to not eat the food I prepared.  I’m saying this because a lot of parents believe that it’s important for their kids to have choices and I entirely agree.  However, they don’t get to make ALL of the choices.  I choose what to make for dinner and they choose to eat it or not.  Whatever they choose is fine with me.

“My child is so stubborn though that I worry they’ll never eat.”

They will.

I promise.

Besides Amy, another big influence on my parenting was my friend Janice.  She had 13 kids.  (I say “had” because she has even more than that now.)  Watching Janice with her children I learned that even though your child may not have the ability yet to speak much, they understand what you are saying.  One time her one year old dropped a wrapper on the kitchen floor.

“Pick it up and throw it in the trash, please,” Janice directed.

I was amazed as the one year old bent down to pick up the wrapper, toddle over to the trash, lift the lid and toss in the wrapper.  I filed the lesson away as her diaper swish, swished while she toddled off to play.

Janice also had one hour a day where all of the children went to their rooms.  They could read, nap, or play quietly but for one hour she did not see, hear, or attend to a child.  I can guarantee you that not all of her children were “easy.” She established rules and consequences for breaking rules early on.

Did I say she had 13 kids?  Because that’s something to remember too.  I’m often told that my kids are good because I only have 2.  THIRTEEN!  Just saying.  I know plenty of only children or 2 sibling families where the kids are little terrors.

If you are a parent of infants or toddlers I encourage you to implement the rules of your home while they are little.  The hard years of parenting for me were when the boys were under the age of 5.  After that it’s mostly been about table manners, spirituality, relationships, etc.  I rarely have to correct my sons anymore.  At least not in a large way.  There have been times that privileges are revoked but there isn’t a blow out over it because they know that when you make a bad choice there is a consequence.  They know that because as Littles that is what happened.

I have friends who tell me that they can’t do that or their child will get really angry.

“You don’t understand.  She’ll have a fit and make living with her difficult for everyone.”

Right.  Because my kids never did that.  I was “lucky” and gave birth to little angels.

I get that it’s MUCH harder to start consequences when you didn’t do it at a younger age but it’s never too late to start!  It’ll be harder for you and your child but it’s not too late!

Also, so what if your child gets mad.  That’s life.  It’s not our job as parents to raise happy children.  It’s our job to raise healthy, happy, functioning ADULTS.  Children who learn in the safety of their home and parents arms how to cope with disappointment and that their behaviors have a cause and effect will be good adults.

The book that saved the lives of my children was called How To Get Your Kid To Mind Without Losing Yours.  I bought it because I was so exhausted (and depressed really) and just at my wits end for how to get my children to behave.  I didn’t want to be a mom who yelled all of the time.  I didn’t want to be an angry mother.  That book really gave me an understanding of the importance of our children having consequences for their actions and for teaching them that their behaviors are THEIR choices and not the fault of someone else.

So thank you, salesman at William Sonoma for complimenting me on what well behaved and well mannered sons I have.  I’m sure you cringed when you first saw them walk in unattended.  Thank you, waiter at the fancy restaurant for complimenting the boys and I on their lovely manners (still working on using those same table manners at home…)  Thank you to my aunt who said she’s never met such a respectful teenager as my Buddy.

It didn’t “just happen.”  I didn’t get lucky with magical babies.  I worked very, very hard.  It was physically, mentally, and emotionally draining but I busted my ass to create the sort of children I have today.  Their father too.  I could always call him at work for him to have a “talk” with his sons if need be.  I know we are not done.  I know I still have time to royally screw them up, but so far so good.

 

 

 

 

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But He’s Mine

The last few months I’ve been volunteering at an assisted living center.  This is something I’ve talked about having a desire to do for years but never did…for some reason.  I absolutely love it!

Yesterday, we took a few of the residents out for lunch.  There are only two married couples in the whole facility and one of those couples came on the lunch outing.  I can’t use their names but She has Alzheimer’s or dementia…I don’t really know which.  So we make sure that She sits near us.  Sometimes during the meal She would tell me about her husband.

“He’s WONDERFUL!” She told me with a smile.  “He does everything!”

And sometimes…She forgot who He was.

At the end of our meal she leaned over to me and asked, “What do you think of that tall one over there?” She pointed across the table to Him.

“He’s your husband, darling.”  I told her.

“He is?!” she asked.

I confirmed that He, in fact, was her spouse.  Her eyes widened and she smiled broadly, thrilled to learn that the handsome tall gentleman was HERS!

Several years ago, My Man’s grandmother was also struck with Alzheimer’s.  One year for Thanksgiving we were all together and Grandpa was sort of testing her, proving to the family how much the disease had progressed.

“Who’s that?” he asked and pointed to a grandchild.

“I don’t know,” she’d answer.

“Who’s that?” he asked, pointing to one of her sons.

“I don’t know,” was the answer again.

Finally, someone pointed to Grandpa and asked her, “Well, who’s he?”

Grandma looked at him and said, “I don’t know…” then she wrapped his arms around her and said, “but I know he’s mine!”

Hard and leathered Grandpa cried.  We all did.  It was one of the most beautiful things I’d ever witnessed.

This blog has no moral or lesson, I guess.  Though,  you may sometime find that your mind looks at your spouse and thinks, “who is that?” and you look at where life has brought you and you’ll think, “where am I?”  It’s good to know that our hearts stay tethered and the heart will say, “he’s mine.”

 

 

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Caffeine Addicts Annonymous…or something

I woke up to the sound of my husband’s phone ringing.

“What time is it?”  I mumbled into my pillow.

“7:30,” Man answered as he rolled back to spoon me, wrapping his arm around my waist.

“Crap.  I’m supposed to meet Robby and Kathy for breakfast at 8.”

“Who are you?” he asked into my hair as he tightened his snuggle.  “Who is this woman in my bed?”

“Ugh.  I know.  What was I thinking?  I haven’t seen Kathy in weeks though and I’m trying hard not to neglect friends and family while doing a show.”

I wriggled a bit from his grip and reached for my glasses on the nightstand.  I sort of found them but they fell off the stand.  I heard them hit the frame of our sleigh bed.  Grumbling, I fumbled some more until I fished out my glasses.

Raising them to my face I…

“What the hell?  Unbelievable,” I say as I hold up only half of my glasses.  They broke right on the bridge of the nose piece.

“How did you do that?”  Man asked.

“I don’t know.  I just…I woke up and then…things…questions…broken glasses.  I need coffee.”

1443372700427

I half rolled, half fell out of bed and felt my way out of the bedroom, and took a little trip over the dog.  I’m legally blind without the aid of glasses or contacts and I was still asleep.  Somehow, I made it to the bathroom and found my contact case.  I keep it in the same spot every night just in case something like this happens.

I texted my friends.  “Just woke up.  I’ll be a little late.”  I threw on my clothes from last night, which were still on the floor, stumbled into my flip flops and headed out.

When I arrived at the restaurant, Robby and her man, Steve, were sitting at a table out front.

“Hey, Just Woke Up,” Robby greeted.  My hair was still holding the curl from last nights performance but the back…apparently I weaved a few dreadlocks into it while I slept.  “Get in there and get yourself a mimosa.”

“Coffee,” I growled.

I entered the tiny little mountain café and approached their tiny little mountain café bar.

“I’m with the couple outside.  We’re waiting for the rest of our party.  Could I get some coffee?”

I thought that I had presented my self well but the server answered, “Sure!  You ok?”

“Yeah…just…I had to drive and stuff.  Before coffee.”

“We understand!” she said as she placed a mug of coffee in my hand.  I pocketed a creamer, sugar and spoon and joined Robby and Steve on the front patio.  I had only just doctored my coffee the way I like it when Kathy and Bob arrived.  The server quickly seated us at the one large top table in the café.

I sort of fell into my seat at the table and as I did, spilled my coffee.  Robby aided me in mopping up my loss with the few napkins already on the table.

We ate.  I had my mug o’ drugs, managed what I think was civil conversation and then we headed out.  This is a seemingly simple task but I mis-stepped off the curb onto my ankle.  Steve grabbed me, preventing me from going down to my knee.

“The caffeine.  It’s not taken effect yet,” I grimaced.  My ankle seemed to be fine but the outside of my calf muscle was achy.

I made it to my car.  As I began the drive home I notice the inside of my thigh was aching as well and, as I type this, my shoulder.

“It’s your own fault,” My Man said when I got home.  “You know better.  What were you thinking trying to function at these hours?”

He’s so right.  Let me explain to you Morning People what it’s like to be Not A Morning Person.

Every morning it’s like I’m re-born.  Not in a Praise Jesus I Have A New Heart And Soul kind of way but more like a screaming baby Why Did You Take Me From The Warmth and Darkness Of My Mother’s Womb kind of way.  The light is blinding, the noise is deafening and it’s cold.  So cold.

The first time I was born, I was given a grace period of like 2-3 years to really figure out the whole walking and talking thing.  With these daily re-births I’m expected to have those things MASTERED in 2-3 seconds!  As soon as the children know I’m awake there are questions being asked, the dogs think I can manage to walk through the house to let them out AND maneuver around them…it’s insanity!

My Man bought me a Keurig for my nightstand and for several months, I’ve been waking up at 6:45 a.m. to the sound and smell of percolating coffee!  It’s been LOVELY!  Without leaving the comfort and safety of my bed, I have been having my coffee.  When the mug is empty, I slowly begin my ascent into the day.  After that one mug of coffee, I can just about Adult and shiz.  It’s been glorious until…this month.

Caffeine is no friend to arthritic joints.  For a month my hands and feet have been perpetually aching.  Last week, I switched to half-caf and I could tell a difference after one day.  This week, I did decaf.  It’s harder to start the day but the pain in my joints was just a whisper.  However,  this morning shows how with out caffeine I break my glasses, spill coffee fall and scare the locals.  I’m torn between my addiction and the pain it brings to my body and being a functional adult human again.

Is there a program for caffeine addicts?  Is there a way for Morning People to understand the real struggle of the Not A Morning Person?

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Back To School Supply Shopping Tips For The Lazy And/Or Exhausted

Buddy had a WEB (Where Everybody Belongs) Leader training meeting this afternoon.  Basically, he will help usher the sixth graders into Middle School, give them the lay of the land and a face they’ll know sort of thing.

Packing him a snack and preparing for what was essentially, a half day of school reminded me that the first day of school was eminent and we would need to go to **BACK TO SCHOOL SUPPLY SHOPPING** (That was said in the Monster Truck Announcer Voice.)

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So, while Buddy was at the school, Bug and I headed to my least favorite place in all the lands…Walmart.  It really is cheaper there.  Really.

Last year, I parked my cart in an As Out Of The Way Place as I could possibly find.  Those Back To School Stations that Target and Walmart set up are mad houses!  I was not about to set foot into that lagoon of writhing piranhas.  Instead, I stay with the cart and send the boys in to get the items on the list.  It worked so well and really kept anxiety at a minimum.  Your gratefulness that you are not doing the actual hunting and gathering has to out weigh how incredibly slow it takes for children (who can’t find a gallon of milk that’s at eye level) to find things like pens and pencils in order for this to work.

Since Buddy was not with us, it was all up to Bug this year!  The cart and I hugged the paper towel aisle and I sent Bug into the piranhas with the mission to find #2 pencils.

“A package of 24 for each trimester,” I read to him.  “Oh, and your brother needs some too!”

“How many?”

“Um…it just says #2 pencils so…I guess it doesn’t matter.  You know what?  Don’t get him any.  He still has 3 or 4 from last year.  That should be adequate.”

On down the list we went.

“2 glue sticks.”

There were packages of one jumbo sized glue stick or three glue sticks or 6 glue sticks but not of just 2 glue sticks.

“Expo dry erase markers,” I’d read.  Five minutes later Bug would return with markers that were neither Expo nor dry erase.  “These are chalk markers, Dude.”

“Oooooh!”

Mean time, I plucked up enough courage to venture in and get 4 pocket folders (blue/science, green/lang arts. red/S.S., and purple/math.)  A woman with three Turd Tornadoes whirling around her, was gathering pocket folders as well.  One of the Turds must’ve confused me for Mom and was dancing around me, sliding their hands of questionable cleanliness across my thighs.

“Ooopsie!” I said to the Turd.  Embarrassed, he whirled away back to the Mother from whence it came.

I ducked, dodged and scurried back to my cart that was safely nestled by the paper towels.  Bug was there with dry erase markers.  Not Expo.

“You know what?  I don’t give a flip,” I said more to myself than Bug.  “Good job, Bug!  I deem these acceptable!”

“Yea!  What’s next?”

“A plastic ruler.  Go!  GO!” I released my little minion back in to find the ruler.

Speaking of Minions…  If I never again see another one of those Despicable Me Minions I will die a very happy woman.  Those overall clad, little, yellow bastards are on everything!  Lunch boxes, t-shirts, back packs.  Every salty, sweet and/or otherwise processed food mutation you can find, has those minions on the packaging.  Diapers, Kleenex, toilet paper and memes, be they inspirational or for comedy, has a minion as their spokesperson.  I’m sick of it!  For the love of all things holy and sacred, I don’t want to see it ever, ever again.  The only minions I want to see are the flying monkey or hunched back sort, mmkay?

This time, I stood my post.  I was thinking about how easy it would be to rearrange the packages of paper towels into a little arm chair for me when another mom and son duo parked near me.

“Now, we are only getting what’s on the list,” she told him.

“Sort of like a scavenger hunt?” he asked.

“Exactly…”

Bug finally returned but with a wooden ruler.

“There are no plastic rulers left,” he sighed.  You know what?  He very well could be wrong but at that point I could care less.  A wooden ruler can measure just as well as a plastic one.

“That’ll do, Pig.” I said, patting his head.

“HEY!” he said offended.

“No, Bug…it’s a movie reference.  Have you never seen Babe?”

“Babe Ruth?”

“No, it’s a movie about a pig and this farmer…my word, what kind of up bringing have you had?  Forget it.  Go find a pencil bag.”

He found a beautiful blue and green cylindrical cotton pencil bag.

“Was that the cheapest one?” I asked.  I mean, there’s no way this biodegradable bag was cheap.

“Um…yeah.  It’s $2.99.”

I took the $300 pencil bag from the cart and quickly found the plastic/nylon .99 bags.

Bug and I both survived the fiery hell of Back To School Shopping sans a few things, one of which was felt tip pens, black; NO SHARPIES.  I kid you not, that is what it says on the list.  I mean, the first thing you think of when asked for a black felt tip pen is a Sharpie.  They also don’t specify what sized tip they want.  Any size apparently will do but for the love of Peter, Paul and Mary, please not a Sharpie!  We found no such cryptid and so we went to the Office Supply section of the store.

I had COMPLETELY forgotten how genius this shopping tactic is!!!  Last year we did the same thing for another supply and it’s like an oasis!  While everyone else is treasure hunting in shark infested waters we shopped in the serene Eden of the Office Supplies.

“Hey, look mom…packages of sticky notes!” Bug held up the neon cube that was so elusive over in the School Supply Section.  We found other supplies, like the plastic ruler and (if you can believe) a package of TWO glue sticks.  IN THE SAME STORE!  We still did not find the non-Sharpie black felt tip pens.

“We could check at Target,” Bug suggested.

Aw hell no.

“Nope.  We’re done.  The school is getting these fine working SHARPIE pens,” I decided.  “What are they gonna do?  Kick you out of school?”

I know my friends in Texas are already half way through the school year and some of my other friends start next week and so are probably already through the excruciating process that is Back To School Supply Shopping but let us all refer to this post in the future and remember to shop early, cheap, and head straight for the Office Supply Sections of the store.  Oh, and utilize those children!  That’s why we had them, right?!  They are small and can burrow into those dark and filthy tunnels of arms and legs while we sip Starbucks and kick back in the paper towel arm chairs.

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Thanks For Your Support

About 3 months ago I finally admitted to myself that I absolutely MUST buy new bras.  I work em hard and, truth be told, they were probably needing to retire 2-3 months prior to that even.  Bra shopping ranks way past jeans shopping and is somewhere akin to getting a mammogram, (in fact, I think I’d rather opt for the mammogram) and so I put off the bra safari.  After spending the better part of the summer reaching down into my bra to pick up my ill supported tatas and readjusting the straps only for the little plastic thing to just slide back down, I went out today to do the deed.

My sons, God bless em, wanted to go to the mall.  They had money saved and wanted to spend some of it at the Lego store.  I gave a fair warning and told them what I would be shopping for.

“That’s ok.  We’ll just sit out on the benches like the other men do,” Buddy said.

I headed straight for Victoria’s Secret, as that was the bra I already owned.  About a year or two ago they started supplying DDD in store.  This was a huge deal as I always had to order by catalog before.  I went straight for the same style bra that I already had and grabbed my size, 36DDD, and then asked to be let into a dressing room.

The VS dressing room has changed since I last shopped a year or two ago…  Now the doors are black with hot pink trim and each door has a name plait on it: Bombshell, Supermodel, Startlet, etc.  I was ushered into the Bombshell changing room.

*eye roll*

As quickly as I could and avoiding looking at myself in the mirror, I changed into the new bra.  Strangely, it did not fit.  My back spilled out of the top and squished out of the bottom.  In the front I had some major pitty titty puffing out and my breasts were rising out of the top of the cup as well.  I tried re-adjusting the straps and the back clasps but it was not working.  Angry, I tore off the offensive thing, slid back into my soggy strapped bra and t-shirt (again avoiding the mirror) and exited the Bombshell changing room.

I then grabbed a 38DDD.  Back in the changing area I waited for a room to come available to me.  I kind of wanted to claw the labels on the doors off.

Screw you and your unattainable goals Victoria’s Secret!

This time I was put in the Supermodel room.

*screaming inside!!!*

Once in the bra I glowered at my “Supermodel” body.  5’00”, size 10-ish, 150lb-20 lbs-is-probably-the-boobs body.  The only thing the new size did was further confirm my hatred for VS and their pink crap.  I resigned to hit the department store.

I hate department store bras.  They’re so industrial.  I don’t feel pretty in an ugly blah bra. Plus they only ever seem to have white, nude and black as the color choices.

As I headed down the corridor toward Nordstrom, I saw Soma.  A friend had recommended them to me before because they have larger cups.

The boys, very graciously, took a seat outside once again.

Another woman and her husband/boyfriend walked in with me.  Sales clerks quickly approached and welcomed us.

“What size bra do you need?”

“36DDD,” we both answered.

I stole a look at the other patron.  Her knockers were HUGE and sat high on her chest, taught and bought.  I was worried that the straps of her cami were going to pop.

“And what are you looking for in a bra?” we were asked.

“Um.  Support,” I said.  I mean, isn’t that what they’re for?

“I need something that doesn’t show when I wear something low cut but also that keeps in the side boob,” they other said.  “You know, something that will look good when I’m wearing work clothes.”

Maybe not buying DDD breasts that cradle your chin would give you the professional look you are shooting for…

“Have you been fitted with us before?”

“No, but I have at other places and I’m a 36DDD,” I assured my sales clerk.

“OK, well why don’t we try this bra here then…”

She picked out an industrial, department store looking bra (There was some pretty lace.  Some.) and then escorted the bra and I to the dressing room.

“My name is Linda if you need anything,” she said as she turned the bra over to me.  “I’ll be right outside the door,” she promised.

Second verse same as the first, I got in and out of the bras as quickly as possible.

“How’s it going in there?” Linda cheerfully asked.

It was going…badly.  Again with the spilling out of the cup, the sides and the back.  Linda asked to see how “things” were fitting.

“Oh yeah…I really think you would benefit from a fitting.  Our line may fit you different.”

And so she measured under my boobs and across the boobs.

“Mmhm…looks like you are actually a 36G…”she assessed.

I don’t think I said anything.  I can’t remember.  I think I was stunned.  I mean, I know I’ve gained some weight but then wouldn’t that mean the number would get bigger and not the cup?

I hate boobs.

Linda left me in the dressing room oozing out of the too small bra and staring bitterly at my old bra.  She looked awful hanging there by her straps, the elastic exhausted from over use, a small wine stain on one of the cups. (Whatever.  Don’t judge me.)

Why couldn’t you last?  You were so comfy…  Why can’t you last more than 1 year?  Or was it 2…?

Linda returned with one 36G.  I tried it on and it did fit better but I did not care for the style.  The straps were the size of maxi pads and just as thickly padded.  The back strap was wide enough for a six lane highway.  Not only that but there was nothing very feminine about it.  Nothing pretty.  No lace.  One little satin ribbon between the cleavage that I’m sure to get a salsa or wine stain on.  (Oh please!  I know it’s happened to you too!)

“Ill be right back with another that you may like!” and she zipped away.

It was taking awhile for her to return.  I was getting uncomfortable standing there topless for so long, so I put my old bra and t shirt on and went out to look for the style of bra I’d like myself.  Another sales clerk was by my side faster than, I don’t know what.

“Is everything working out for you?  I believe Linda was taking care of you?”

“Yes, she is but I just thought I’d come and look for myself instead of trying on one bra at a time.  My sons are sitting outside waiting for me…”

“Oh, sure!  I understand.  What size are you looking for?” she asked (rather loudly, if you ask me.  I mean, the Man of Professional Tata Lady turned around for my answer.)

“36G,” I said in what I hoped was loud enough for HER to hear but not….that guy.  Why doesn’t he go sit on the bench out there with the other guys?

“OH…Those are in the back,” she whispered.

Evidently, they don’t put bras that size out on the rack.  Apparently, the Hideous Ginormous are kept in the recessed parts of the store.  Like all disgusting creatures, they are hidden from public view.

Linda immerged from the dungeon with ONE other bra in 36G for me to try.

“Are there other styles?  I mean, could you just bring them all to me so I don’t have to do one at a time?” I asked.

“Oh sure!  I think there’s one or two more…  I’ll go check!” she said excitedly as she dove back into the bowels of the store.

In the end I had 3 choices of bra styles in my size.  I resigned on a mono-toned, lightly padded lace bra.  The straps were only the width of suspenders.

“What colors does it come in?” I dared to ask.

“White, nude, black and navy.”

I was pretty stoked that there was another color option besides the standard white, nude or black.

“I’ll take a nude, navy and black one.”

While Linda went back down into the lair of Hideous Ginormous, I peeked out into the mall corridor to reassure the boys that I was almost finished.

“FINALLY!” they exclaimed in exasperation.

Back at the register Linda came out with a grim expression.

“I’m so sorry but we don’t have any more in black.  I can order you one though and it will be shipped to your home for free!”

“How long will that take?” I asked.

“About a week,” she said.

“Fine.”

Linda set to work on ordering my black bra.  I looked at the register next to me where another lady was buying a bra in a beautiful Tiffany blue with black polka dots and a black lace sling around each little D cup.  How pretty the delicate black straps with their black lace accents will be on her slender shoulders.  They will prettily show when she wears her cami’s.

Lucky.

“I’m so sorry…” Linda interrupted me from my Titty Envy, “…they seem to be all out of the black in that size and style.”

“Of course.”

“You can call back in a few weeks and see if they get anymore in stock,” she suggested.

“Yeah.  I’ll do that.”

I purchased the other two (at least I got a navy blue one!) and fought tears as I left the store, marching right past my sons.

“Mom!  Wait!  What’s wrong?”  they asked.

“I’m so sorry!  I was frustrated.”

“What took so long?”

So now I wait for Soma as they try to gather enough black spandex and lace to make me a Hideous Ginormous.

“I saw a news report that said there’s a spandex shortage,” Caren said.

“Are you serious?”

“Yeah, apparently so many stay at home moms walk around in work out gear all the time that they’re running out.”

“Shit.  Those women are wearing my black bra.”

“My pants could make you a couple.”

“Hey…yeah…  If your spandex shorts go missing…  Oo!  Those biker ones of yours even have padding!”

“I don’t think you want any extra padding…”

“For the maxi pad straps and to hide nipples.  Colorado is cold.”

“Point taken.”

I text Man when I got home:

“Finally went bra shopping.  36G.  These are the last bras I will ever buy in this size.  Breast Reduction is nigh.”

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