Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Does It Say "Sucker" On My Forehead?

I think it may say sucker on my forehead.  My friend of many years calls me at 9:30 pm to tell me that she may or may not need me to help her watch her 9-year-old son, my godson, for a few hours so she can run her ... on again, off again boyfriend down to Rockford, IL for work.  It's only a 2.5 hour drive one way and I only had to check in on him once and make sure he was still safely tucked in bed anxiously awaiting his mother's arrival.

And he was, he was being a good boy.  He was almost asleep when I got there and I was just going to sneak back out and let him sleep but his bloody cat came in with her stupid collar bell and started meowing like mad at me so of course, he woke up.  He was happy to see me and we chatted for a few minutes before I tucked him back in and locked up the front door again and hopped into my car.

After calling his mother, my friend, and agreeing to meet up so I could give her back her only house key, I went on my way and felt a loneliness for my godson.  He was all by himself, missing his mom, whom he barely sees anyway because she's always working and running her boyfriend (?) around all over gods creation.  Usually, she brings him with so he doesn't have to be alone but tonight was different because he has school in the morning and he can't miss any more of it.

But he is only 9-years-old, maybe it's just me but I think that's a little young for a child to be home alone by himself for about 5 or 6 hours regardless of whether or not he was asleep.

I don't know.  It just bothered me when I got to thinking about how much time he spends away from his mom and then I compare it to how much time I spend with my girls every day and the difference is hugely noticeable.  I spend damn near 24/7 with my girls.  I get a couple hours break here and there because my mother lives with us and they both love Oma time, so I'm grateful for that beyond anything you could imagine.  My godson gets to see his mom for maybe three or four hours a day except weekends when she doesn't work, so he gets to see her all day and night Saturday and Sunday. 

He is finally getting to see more of his father and his father is finally getting his shit together and becoming a good parent.  It's a long time coming but something that was very necessary so my godson could have a father to look up to.

And still, he seems so alone.  He doesn't have many friends outside of a few at school, spends most of his time playing outside alone or inside playing video games.   I guess I feel so terrible about him spending so much time by himself because he used to live with me and we spent so much time together. 

And there isn't a whole lot I can do about it other than what I already do because I have two girls of my own to worry about now.  I feel terrible that I've lost some connection with him but I just don't have the time to spend so much with him anymore and with him not living with me it's hard to get time to see him. 

I'm not saying my friend is a bad mother, because she isn't, she is far from it.  She works her tail off to make sure her son has a roof over his head, clothes on his back and food in his belly.  So I know she's doing the best she can every day for him. 

I don't know.  I just felt bad for him, all alone in an apartment at night waiting for his mom.  I just don't know. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

.Foodstamps = Shame?

Since foodstamps, EBT, SNAP, whatever you want to call it, seems to be such a hot topic lately, I decided to put my own two cents into the mix.  First things first, let me share a little story with you.

I was at the grocery store at midnight, which usually happens at midnight on the day I get my food stamps because by then we're all starving for something other than what the food pantries have to offer (which is the bare minimum) and thankfully we have a 24 hour grocery store very nearby.

I picked out my few items to hold my family over until I could hit the grocery store again later that day when I wasn't starving so badly and wouldn't make terrible food choices and got in line. Ahead of me was a woman, a man (I assumed it was her husband since they were both wearing matching wedding bands) and three small children, ages about 2 years old to 8 years old.  Amongst them, they had filled a cart to the very brim with groceries and unfortunately for me the cashier had already begun to ring them out, so I had no choice but to wait for them to finish.

At the end of the order I heard a shocking total of $746.88.  Wow.  I was even more shocked when she said she would be paying for all of it on EBT/food stamps.  I wasn't shocked because she was using food stamps, oh no, I was shocked because she had that much in food stamps.  It was a fortune compared to the pittance I received monthly.  But I didn't know her circumstances so I wasn't going to judge.  Besides, who was I to judge her?  I was using food stamps, too.

They finished bagging up their order and went on their way as the cashier started to ring up my order of 30 or so items.  Seventy-five dollars later, almost a third of what I get monthly, I walked outside to my car.  As I did so, I noticed the family before me was still putting their groceries into their car.  What I noticed next nearly blew me away. 

I was shocked, taken aback and in awe by what I saw.  What did I see, you ask?  They were piling their $750 worth of EBT groceries into a brand spanking new Dodge Charger.

I stood there for a moment, in front of my hoopdie of a vehicle that is missing door handles and window handles and the full use of the rear driver's side door, speechless, my brain had literally halted.  How in the hell did they manage to afford a brand new fucking car when they're on friggin state aid!?   

As I struggled and fumbled to get into my POS of a car, I drive a 95 Geo Prism that has seen better days, I began to wonder, again, how they could afford that car and still get over seven hundred dollars in food stamps.

No matter how I looked at it, I could only come up with one conclusion, that family was screwing the system, just like so many others.

But just so I wouldn't judge without knowing the real facts, I went over to the man and woman with a gentle smile on my face and introduced myself by striking up conversation with the gentleman about the beauty of his car.  He, of course, opened up like a book, as most men would when asked about their precious babies, otherwise known as, a car.

I managed to find out that he got a great deal on a loan at some dealership I've never heard of on the north side of Milwaukee, not the greatest neighborhood and what they were doing this far south for groceries, I didn't ask.  He paid for the down payment with another student loan that he got so he could go back to college and get his engineering degree (commendable) and then he explained that this would be his third degree, he has one in business and one in psychology, as well.  

In fact, there are so many people/families taking too much advantage of the free programs and benefits that state aid has to offer that they're talking about actually spending money out of the same budget to investigate the people/families that are suspected of doing so.  And those are the people who make the rest of society think that all of us on food stamps is out to screw the system.  But as I know for certain since I'm one of those who is not out to screw the system I can tell you that I would not be able to afford enough groceries for me and my family with what little income we get and still maintain a roof over our heads, lights in the dark and applicable amenities if it weren't for state aid and food stamps.
I've had a few people give me nothing but dirty glances and mumble under their breathe about how lazy I am when they see me using my EBT card.  They do the same thing when I have to go to the store with my WIC checks.

You would not believe the hate and discrimination I go through just from one simple card.  I had one woman tell me to get off my "fat ass" and exercise more often so I could actually hold down a job.  Like she has any idea why I'm on EBT in the first place.

And I'm not a really healthy eater but I had more fresh veggies and fruits and meats in my cart than she could have ever dreamed of.  Her cart consisted of nothing but those little frozen one person meals.

Do you know how much salt is in one of those?  Check sometime, it's terrifying.

I do not appreciate being told that I'm a fat lazy ass just because I pull out my EBT card.  Being on EBT has nothing to do with the size of my ass, thank you very much.  I'm on EBT because I'm on a fixed income from disability and I'm on disability because I screwed up my spine royally in a car accident 7 years ago.  So, yea, I'm on EBT for the foreseeable future and no, I don't know if I'll ever not need it but it is what it is and I can't do much about it at the moment. 

To sum things up, it all comes down to that old saying, "You can't judge a book by it's cover" and you really can't.  You never know the circumstances surrounding the reason why that person ahead of you in the check out lane is pulling out a food stamp card but don't judge them right away just because they're using it.   Be kind to your fellow human being, we all have feelings and are dealt a different hand in life than the person next to us. 

Thanks for listening to my rant folks, it's appreciated. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Through My Many Hours of Labor I Learned One Thing...

I have had two children, they are 11 months apart, ages 15 months and 4 months and they and my husband are the lights of my life.  I've grown so much in the past 2 years, learned so many things, gained so much patience (and gray hairs) and I've lost so much of my old self, as well.  Some days I miss the old me and other days I remember that I'm a mom now.  A mom!!  So at the end of the day, it's not so bad to lose a little bit of my old self to gain this new self.

With my first daughter I went through 36 hours of labor, 24 of those hours were spent at home, 10 of those hours were spent in hospital attached to many wires and monitors and tubes and hooked up to a wonderful IV called an epidural, and those last two hours were spent in the same hospital bed, pushing my beautiful baby girl out of my body and into this wondrous world.  

My second daughter had to be induced.  It wasn't planned at all but it needed to happen because her heart rate was being very wonky at the last checkup I had, which was actually only a few hours before I went in to be induced. I was in labor with her, even with induction, for 29 hours and only spent 3 minutes pushing yet another beautiful baby girl out my body and into this slightly less wondrous world (sense the sarcasm?).  

Through both of those experiences and all those hours I learned one thing...during labor and delivery you are completely and totally alone in that experience.

Let me explain, yes, your family and loved ones are there and yes, you have nurse upon nurse upon doctor upon specialist looking after you and coming in and out constantly but for those hours that you are in labor experiencing, at some points even through the epidural, some of the most excruciating pain you'll ever have to deal with in your life you are completely and utterly alone no matter how many people are in that room.  Because no one can experience that pain with you, no one can share it with you or take some of it from you, no one can feel all that anxiety you're going through, all that stress you're being put through, the stress your body is being put through, no one can feel that for you.  No one else in the entire world can know exactly how you're feeling because every woman is different, every pregnancy is different and every birth is different. 

Lying there covered in medical equipment and listening to your baby's heartbeat for hours on end makes you reflect on so many things, most likely the past nine months are what is going through your mind, and then all you can do after you've done that reflecting is picture the future and worry about all the new things you have to do and are expected to accomplish. 

Either way, it's a painfully lonely experience.  Don't get me wrong.  I greatly appreciated having all of my friends and family there for the births of both my girls but there wasn't much more they could do besides stroke my head and talk me through the contractions and just be there for me.

It's not a sad kind of loneliness, it's just a loneliness, a knowing that no one here with you can help you feel this, can help you go through this, can take any of it away for you.  No one can and few would, some are so afraid of the experience they need medication to calm down.

My point to all of this is that no matter how many children you've birthed and no matter how many births you've been to or seen or encountered, whatever, they're all different and each one of those women went through that experience in a different way.  You can compare notes and find a few similarities but in the end, they are different and I think that's how it's supposed to be.

I think nature made it that way so you can develop a better bond with your child.  And let me tell you this, you will never come across a more glorious experience than finally being able to hold that little baby who has been in your belly for nine long months.

 I don't think anything will ever compare to those two precious moments for me and I'm more than okay with that.  Thinking back to them causes so much love and pride to wash over me that I doubt the feelings will ever lessen over time.  I think, if anything, they'll increase as I watch my girls grow and learn and change into beautiful young ladies but they'll always be those precious little babies to me.  

Enough mushy gushy stuff for one post.  It's just something I needed to share with everyone. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

An "Average" Cold

I am currently suffering from what my doctor described as "just your average cold".  I laughed and said I didn't think so.  I have ear, nose and chest congestion, a hacking cough, a runny, snotty nose and my throat is sore.  I'm also beyond exhausted, have no motivation to even move and am still dealing with a seriously painful tooth. 

Yea, about that tooth. I went to get emergency services done at Marquette School of Dentistry, they take my state insurance, and I was informed that because my case says I still have private dental insurance that I haven't had for over four years now, they couldn't help me unless I gave them $88 that day, instead of only needing to pay a dollar or two with my state insurance.  So yea, effin pissed me off right there and my state insurance worker wouldn't answer the phone for me and has yet to return my phone call.  I just can't catch a break. 

Anyway, there is nothing average about this cold.  The "average" cold lasts between 3-7 days.  I have had this terrible cold for almost two weeks now and so have my daughters and my husband.  Average my ass. 

It's a tough cookie to swallow, having two sick kids and a sick husband while you yourself are ill beyond belief, as well.  I have been handling it as well as possible, though.  Got us some medicine, found the humidifier and have been turning it on, using the bulb syringe and the boogie wipes and the saline solution and tissues galore, washing hands and faces, using Lysol on sinks and knobs and doorhandles. 

I'm trying to keep this thing at bay so no one gets reinfected but I'm not sure how well I'm doing.  Yes, I'm doubting myself, it happens all the time.  As a mother, I think we doubt ourselves often.  Questioning your decisions, wondering if you made the right one or not. 

I'll continue to question myself as I sit here and sip my nice warm tea and hope to the gods that tonight I may just get some sleep and that tomorrow is a better day. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Trouble In Paradise

Do you and your SO ever argue?  If you don't, I'm not sure if you should be congratulated or shown the error of your deluded ways.  LOL

Either way, it's no fun to argue with the person you have such strong, passionate feelings for.  A love like the one I feel for my new husband is hard to control sometimes but somehow I manage, unfortunately, I don't always manage to do so well. 

As I'm sure you all know by now, I am bipolar, a medicated bipolar but bipolar nevertheless.  And yes, the drugs help with the symptoms of my chemical imbalance but they don't completely mask them.  I guess you could say that I suffer from the symptoms.  Suffer is such a strong word, though.  I'm not really suffering, it's just who I am as a person.  There's nothing I can do about who I am, it's just the way my mind and body work.  

Well, with all that, my husband is bipolar, as well.  Combined together the two of us have such passion for not only each other but for life in general that we often are colliding heads and an explosion of anger and rage bursts through and we go off at each other like rockets. 

Lately, we had been arguing constantly, sometimes all day long and it was becoming tiresome both emotionally and mentally.  It's hard to fight with someone you love so very much, so much in fact that you would gladly give up your own life to save theirs, you would give them all of the blood in your body if that would make them happy.  

It's difficult, terrifying sometimes even, when you feel all that rage building up inside and you know you're ready to explode and you know, deep down, you know that the words that are going to come out of your mouth are not only going to be mean and hurtful but they are going to cause emotional pain to your loved one and with me being bipolar, there is nothing I can do to stop it. 

Now I'm not saying all bipolar people have difficulties when it comes to controlling their emotional outbursts but I know that I have those troubles.  I have very little filter between my mouth and my mind and when I feel all that hate and anger built up to beyond my tolerance line I know for a fact that I will lose all filter capabilities and I'm going to say something hurtful that I don't mean. 

So to avoid these situations my husband and I decided to start making a conscious effort to not argue.   And boy, is it easier said than done.  However, I think it's working. 

We got into a little heated argument today, little by comparison to our normal arguments which are epic, and only an hour after having it we both apologized to each other for arguing about something so ridiculous and actually sat down and talked things out. 

I can only hope that he will continue to do this just as I will and that we'll be able to get over this arguing rut we seem to have gotten ourselves into. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Hurry Up And Wait

Unless you live a perfect existence where everyone and everything is always on time regardless of you being so or not, you've had one of these types of days.  You know what I'm talking about, you rush and rush trying to get from point A to point B, from one doctor's appointment to another, run this errand, run that errand, get to this place on time and that place before it closes. 

And you do all this hurrying for what?  You get to the doctor's office and they're running 30 minutes behind so you have to wait.  The store you HAVE to visit to return some stupid shoes has a line a mile long so you have to wait again.  And the icing on the cake...there was an accident on the freeway that has totally screwed up your entire day's travel plans because you are stuck in traffic waiting!  

I call days like those, hurry up and wait days.  

I absolutely hate hurry up and wait days.  They infuriate my beyond your wildest dreams.  Rushing around in traffic, waiting in lines, stuck behind people who aren't quite sure what it is exactly they want, kids hot and sweaty in the back seat, husband sitting beside you whining about how hot it is and how many stops you have to make, all of it, drives me insane.

I hate errand running doctor day, which is Wednesday for us, because it's my worst hurry up and wait day.  You see, our youngest, Newbie, has torticollis.  It's a long and complicated explanation so I'll just set up a little linky poo for you guys so you can get a general idea of what it is.

Torticollis per wikipedia:

Moving on, Newbie has to see a chiropractor and a physical therapist and an occupational therapist and an ophthalmologist and later on in life she is going to need a speech therapist.  Yeppers, my baby girl is going to get the absolute best care the government has to offer.  Which isn't half bad actually.  And because of our current living situation and income limitations she'll be on state insurance at least until she's 18 years old.

There is a point to all of this background information.  To get Newbie to the chiropractor I have to drive to a city that is about 20 minutes away from my home once a week for the foreseeable future.  I also have a lot of friends who live in that city so I make sure to visit them all on the same day.  It's a difficult day to plan and I'm often frustrated and exhausted by the time I get home at 8 or 9 pm, especially since Newbie's appointment is usually around 3 pm so with traffic we have to leave our home around 2:30 pm.  Basically we're gone for up to 6.5 hours. 

Yea, in the car, with two kids, on a hot day, with no AC for 6.5 hours.  Not my fun days.

And since I'm already out and about I go and do some small errands I'm supposed to have gotten done and whatnot so yea, those days are hectic and trying. 

It doesn't help that all anyone in the hot car can do is whine and complain at me, mom, for taking so long all day.  Like all of this is my fault.  Ugh.  Just another one of those little things. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Not Always But Not Never

I'm not always right, I'm not.  I know I'm not.  I'll say this however, I am right about 80% of the time.  Now I'm not trying to be egotistical with that statement.  I'm simply stating a fact, something based on evidence I've gathered over the past few weeks.   I will freely admit that I'm never right 100% of the time.  I have made my mistakes and I will openly admit when I have made them. 

Now some of you may say that me just keeping track of how many times I was wrong versus how many times I was right during the arguments my husband and I have had over the past few weeks makes me egotistical but I did it for good reason.  I wanted to shut him up. 

Here's why he needed to be shut up; he is constantly under the impression that he is never wrong.  Even when I know without a doubt in my mind that he is wrong because, let's say for example he is incorrectly quoting something from the news we watched earlier that day and I'm trying to correct him just so he has his facts straight, he will insist that he is not wrong, that he is never wrong and that I'm simply wrong all the time. 

You can imagine my frustration.  So I began an experiment.  Every time we had an argument about facts being correct or not, I would go find out the correct answer from Google when I finally had time to go and sit down and do so.  If I was correct, I would tally a mark in my column.  If I was incorrect I would put the tally mark in my husband's column and I would let him know, which only increased the size of his already massive ego. 

After three weeks of this, my column was getting pretty full and I wondered if I needed to go the entire month that I had originally planned on or if I could make my hypothesis with the data I already had gathered.  Well, three weeks was all I needed because upon asking my husband that very question, he said the same thing.  Three weeks was more than enough information collecting time.  Obviously, he was eager to find out the results of my little fact finding mission, as well. 

Needless to say, he wasn't very happy with the results and accused me of cheating.  Cheating!  Of all things!  Cheating!!!    I was none too happy about that.  I explained to him that he needed to sit and rethink all the times I had come home to go straight to my computer to fact find and put a tally in the correct corner.  Or all the times I stopped what I was doing while we were out to surf Google and make sure I got the information ASAP for a tally mark. 

He quickly admitted defeat, not happily either.  He is still bound and determined to figure out how I cheated or what I did wrong with my experiment.  What he doesn't realize is that him doing so only shows how much of a problem his egotistical attitude really is.  He can't seem to wrap his head around the fact that he may be wrong some of the time and that I may actually be right some of the time.  It pains him, you can see the physical torture, when he has to admit that he is wrong.  Even then, he doesn't admit it as often as he could or should. 

I just don't like to see him in pain so I told him to run his own experiment and do exactly what I did and go from there to find out his own results. 

Well, we're in process and so far, he has come to the conclusion that the experiment is flawed and he needs to tweak it.  I don't quite know what that means but I'm waiting patiently. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Bathtime and How It's Changed

Bathtime, we all know it.  We've all done it at some point.  Some of our children love water right away, others have to be warmed up to the idea and still others are so terrified of bathtime that they literally scream as though you're trying to kill them as soon as you turn the tub on. 

It's hilarious really after you think about it for a while, they were swimming for 9 friggin months inside your womb and then not a mere 24 hours after they're born they are introduced to water that is so similar to the inside of your womb it's almost ridiculous how much they scream sometimes.

I'm writing this as I listen to my daughter cry her eyes out in the bathtub with daddy because he's washing her hair.  The simplest of joys for me is mere torture for her.  And I don't understand why, she does this every other day!

Scream at me if you want, all you perfect mothers who are so organized it's insane, because yes I bathe my daughters every other day.  Not every day, as most of you would want me to.  And there's a reason for that, you see my daughters have my skin, my skin is dry as all get out.  I mean really, sometimes my skin makes the Sahara look wet.  It's so gross.  I won't go on.  But anyway, they have that skin type already in life so I know that I have to lotion them up at least twice a day and I know that I can't bathe them every single day or their skin will dry out just like mine will. 

Anyway, back to bathtime.  My oldest daughter will play in the pool and splash water all over herself with not a tear shed all day long but the moment you go to wash her hair in the tub she turns into a screaming meamie.

What the difference is between the two, I'm not entirely sure, but whatever it may be it is obviously a huge difference for my little girl.  Her sister, my youngest, despises water just as much as my oldest, so screaming when encountering water isn't a new thing for me.  

I just find it curious how they change, since not more than 2 months ago I couldn't even run the tub water without my oldest running into the bathroom wanting a bath.  Now she's screaming whenever you wash her hair.  I don't know.  It's just another one of those little things that I have to look forward to.