31 October 2007

Dorky Pillow Talk

This will give you an idea of of where my hubby and I sit on the Dork spectrum (hint: really high!)

It's bedtime and we're supposed to be trying to go to sleep. Poor Dug, he has learned after ten years of marriage that this is how I unwind. Unfortunately, as G.I. Joe knows too well, knowing is only half the battle, and it doesn't change the fact that he's always trying to fall asleep to "Taka taka taka blab blab blab. What do you think, honey?" I can tell if he is really tired when he begins the non-committal "Mmmm hmmm." But when it's getting right close to snore-time the responses slack to a back-of-the-throat "Mmm."

Actually in this story he is actively engaged in the conversation. This is one of my favorite times with the Big Lug. We are discussing our daughter, Princess Cutie Pops, dressing up as Tinkerbell for Halloween.

Dug: Princess Cutie Pops will look just like her with that red hair.
Tricia: Tinkerbell doesn't have red hair.
Dug: Really? What color is it?
Tricia: Blonde.
Dug: Well, Princess Cutie Pops will be so cute with her red hair and a blue dress.
Tricia: Tinkerbell's dress is green.
Dug: Green. Blue. What's the difference? *pause for effect* Yellow!
*laughter from both*

See what I mean? Not only did that joke come up, but it was freaking hilarious! We kept snickering during the silent laying-in-bed-not-talking-falling-asleep time. So, there you go, a little window into the true depths of our goofidom.

30 October 2007

Sad Revelation

It happened. One of those moments when you realize something and you can never go back to the happy oblivion you lived in before.

Sometimes it's not sad. Sometimes it's empowering. Like the time I had to decide if I was going to be the person who says, "I'm just not one of those people who can do sales." or the person who says, "I don't like doing sales, but I can do it if I need to." Now, granted it's not my calling and I didn't end up sticking with it. (Who really sells Mary Kay longer than a year anyway?) But I did experience the revelation that I can do whatever the crap I put my mind to. It sounds terribly cliched but there it is. I can never go back to being the little wimpy girl again. Empowerment. Boo yah!

Unfortunately, that's not the "reveal" of today. Today is a bitter knowledge. A knowledge that I can never unlearn. It is knowing that although I can recognize beautiful decorating, I am impotent to create it. I know what you are going to say. "Just find a picture of what you like and copy it." That, my friend, would show how much you do not know me. I am one who can not copy. It must be original. It is the one area of my life where I am the most obsessive-compulsive.

So, what must be done? I'm not sure. I think I have two choices. I either have to settle for my own mediocrity or accept someone else's help. (Mej, that's you!) Can your house really be your own if someone else helps you decorate? My guess is that it comes down to my own confidence and loves. I'm a firm believer in the philosophy "Your house should only have things you love." So if a friend helps you put the things you love in a way that is pleasing to the eye, it is still you. Right? Although to be honest, her input is putting a little bit of her into it. But to be even more honest, is that such a bad thing? If my house has a little bit of Mej in it, it would be even more me because she's a big part of my life. And wouldn't it be fitting that even my decor is touched by her? Yes it would.

Hooray! I think I've figured it out. At least for now. I feel much better, despite the fact that I will never be the same. The intimate knowledge I have gained about myself...you know I'm listening to this cool website called Pandora where you can create radio stations. Mine started out as japanese traditional music but has morphed into an Enya-esque sound. It has me all introspective and dreamy. Thank God I recognized it in time. I could go on about inner journeys buoyed by the music, but I won't. Need to pull back into my reality, not floating on some fairy cloud. So we'll wrap her up instead of continuing the introspection. Nonetheless, I have to admit that this entire post was really just an exercise in self-discovery.

Thank you for your patience.

29 October 2007

The Pee Chronicles

Having four children five years apart has more than its fair share of drama. Mine seems to be centered around pee lately.

My firstborn, Dodge, was a classic toilet-training example. Very average. Nothing too sinister, nothing exceptional. His nearest-to-criminal act was determining that peeing into the dirty clothes basket was preferable to peeing his pants. Considering that his room and the bathroom are on different floors, I can’t argue with his logic. My problem is that he didn’t tell me. I only figured it out when I emptied the hamper into the washing machine and was almost asphyxiated by the ammonia fumes. (It had been a few days since the incident. Time for the smell to just fester and build.) To his credit, he confessed during my not-as-calm-as-I-should-be interrogation.

Second child, Scoochy, was the dream toilet trainee. We used the book, Toilet Training in Less Than a Day with great success. From that one day, she has been perfectly trained and has probably had accidents less times than I can count on one foot, including night time. Unfortunately, you don’t truly understand peace until it’s ripped violently away from you. This brings me to my third child.

Princess Cutie-Pops, is my second daughter. She has beautiful red hair and the fair Irish complexion to match. Adorable freckles dot her nose and the tops of her cheeks. Long, red eyelashes frame her dark, brown beautiful eyes. She’s definitely my most affectionate for when she smiles at me and says, “I love you, Mom!” (which she does often), it completely melts me. As she bobs away to go play again, it’s as if she has warmed the air with her presence. My eyes start to water and I suddenly realize that the temperature has raised because the furnace has kicked on. And my eyes are watering because the ammonia vapor rising from the heating vent is burning them. Cutie-pops has struck again. When questioned, she will eventually come clean, and the reason is always the same. “Mommy, I had to go to the bafroom lily, lily bad!”

She has peed, I’m sure, in her pants more than the toilet. And this is two years out of diapers! She locked herself into our minivan and peed at the door, she has peed right in front of the toilet innumerable times. Other crime scenes: her bed, my bed, her brother’s bed, in front of her dresser, in her dirty clothes bin (took a cue from big brother on that one!), in every room of the house: including hallways, stairwells and all rooms of our three-bedroom basement apartment. I thought she was a hard one to deal with when it came to Destination: Toilet, until her younger brother “came of age.”

Tank is our fourth child, second son. He is the toughest little guy I’ve ever met. It takes a pretty hard fall or drastic injury to make him cry, i.e. stepping on a nail or cuts that need stitches. With that much grit and gumption, it’s no wonder that he has been a bit difficult to potty-train. He’s been out of diapers for about five months or so, but he has already surpassed all three of my other children in terms of creativity during urination. He has sat next to me on the arm of the computer chair and peed, all the while missing the chair completely and saturating the floor below. He has been sitting at the dining room table and, without looking, peed under the table onto his brother sitting across from him. One time he was sitting on the toilet, my eldest squatting in front of him, keeping him company. Tank relieved himself but unfortunately wasn’t “aimed” correctly. At least he wasn’t aimed at the toilet correctly. He was perfectly lined up so that his brother was rudely interrupted mid-sentence! Yech!

One morning, way too early, I awoke to “Tank peed, Mommy!” Not my favorite alarm-system, I can assure you. I grabbed a towel to drop on the crime scene so I could return to bed for a little while before truly dealing with the situation. I couldn’t find a wet spot. I searched everywhere. Nope. Nothing. Nada. Maybe he actually used the potty chair, but because he took off his clothes and was running around naked, his siblings assumed he had peed his pants. In my "the-car’s-moving-but-there’s-no-driver" mental state, I naively believed this must be the case. I found my way back to bed.

Fast forward several hours. The night before I had done the dinner dishes but lazily hadn’t washed the cookie sheet. (Read: It doesn’t fit in the dishwasher.) I had just cleaned up lunch dishes and the kitchen was all clean but for that one item, which I had overlooked at breakfast as well. Okay, I thought, I’ll do it now. I picked it up and turned without really looking at it and the centrifugal force of me whipping around caused a bunch of liquid (that wasn’t there the night before) to come sploshing out, all over the counter, floor and fruit basket. Surprised, I saw that there was a good amount of “apple juice” still in the sheet. A thought dawned on me. I froze. My mind leapt through the possibilities. No, it couldn’t be. I leaned over wishing, hoping, praying that the soft smell of apples would waft up to my nose. Please, please, please…no! My olfactory senses were greeted with that pungent tang of six-hour-old pee. My son had very carefully peed right into the cookie sheet. Not a drop was missed. The only mess was from me and dang, it was a doozie.

Maybe somehow all these little trials are preparation for something bigger or are little parables for “greater” truths that will make me a better person. That's what I'm hoping for. All I know for sure, though, is that it could always be worse and I had better be thankful for what I’ve got. Even if it is a 30-pound urine machine with the creativity of da Vinci.

28 October 2007

Bikes, Bruises, and Egos

This actually happened a few months ago, but as I was reading through my journal I thought it would make a perfect post. So without further ado...

I was riding my bike yesterday. I’ve wanted to do more than just “get into shape.” I want exercise to be something that just happens with me. I don’t want to schedule it; I want my life to be full of it. I want to ride my bike instead of drive. I want to only take the stairs. When I’m tired I want to do a rejuvenating yoga pose instead of nap. I want to go on hiking adventures and biking tours and walk the Irish burren. But I digress…

So, I was riding my bike yesterday. I was alone, everyone was still in bed (Don’t get the wrong idea though. It was 8 am, not exactly the break of dawn.) and a very unfortunate thing happened: I crashed. My kids crash all the time, skinning a knee or scuffing up their hands a bit. No big deal. But I fell and had ten separate points of injury! Ten! One, zero! And to make matters worse, I was practically at a stand still. How can you fall and hurt ten places on your body at zero mph?! Leave it to me. I have a special knack of finding the most complete ways for things to go wrong. Back to the story:

I was checking out a bike path that I had never been on. I haven’t ridden my bike in a while (read: out of shape) so I decided I wouldn’t go all the way to the end which was still a few more miles. The path follows a river and is really quite beautiful. I had spotted a water treatment facility ahead and decided that I would turn when I reached it. As I approached my turning point, I slowed way down and prepared to make the u-turn to the left.

Problem #1: I had chosen a spot that was bordered on one side by a chain-link fence and the other by a cement out-building. Why I didn’t pedal past that point and execute my about-face with grass shoulders I’ll never know, and forever rue. Anyway, I had come almost to a stand still and began the turn. Now as anyone knows, the slower you go on a bike, the less stable it is. That coupled with the tight space that I had chosen was a disastrous combination. As my stability neared zero, I attempted to put my left foot down as a stabilizer.

Problem #2: My new bike has toe straps on the pedals. A feature I had been a little uncomfortable about already, but hadn’t taken the time to remove yet. As I automatically moved my foot down, I immediately recognized the foreign toe straps prohibiting this action. I only had a one-second window to react. Now, if I was in the Unit or partners with Jack Bauer I would have two choices. Calmly raise my left foot a smidge, pull it back out of the straps thereby allowing free movement of said foot OR quickly and adeptly take my knife from my pocket (because, of course, I would be carrying one), and with one swift motion open the knife while swinging my arm down to cut the straps from my pedal, closing the knife and returning it to my pocket, while simultaneously releasing my foot from its imprisonment and allowing it to stabilize me and my bike while we negotiate the perilous turn.

Unfortunately I am not a highly trained Special Forces member, nor am I the sole salvation of the United States of America on six separate 24-hour occasions. I had available to me only one option: keep struggling. Even though I knew that the only way to succeed was if my leg muscles were strong enough to break the straps (which they aren’t), I strained for that eternal second, ultimately pulling the bike, and myself with it, ever faster toward asphalt doom. As we fell (the bike and I) the only injury I specifically remember experiencing was when my left shoulder hit the ground, it threw my head to the left and the asphalt jumped up and bashed my left temple. (I had been lazy and hadn’t run back in the house to get my helmet before I left. Tsk! Tsk!)

I stayed on the ground for a moment or two then pulled myself up. Of course the most important thing to do now was assess the damages. Did anyone see me? I looked up and down the trail. Whew! No one. My body was bruised, but my ego was intact. Now, check the body. My hands began to scream. I looked but there were only four tiny little scrapes. How can the tiniest little hurts cause such searing pain? My elbow was scraped up pretty bad and beginning to bleed in two areas bigger than Band-Aids could cover. My left hip felt bruised and my right knee had two perfect circles imprinted on the inside. I’m thinking that they hit that toothy-thing the chain goes around. It has circles cut out of it that match my injuries perfectly. I didn’t know it yet, but my left ankle got scraped up too. (I found that one in the shower, yeeeowww!)

Of course I was at my farthest point from home, but how else was I going to get back? So I got back on the horse and began to ride, even sticking my feet in those now-sinister toe loops. The ride home was fortunately uneventful, save the difficulty in holding the handlebars with two painful palms.

I put my bike in the garage and limped into the house. I was greeted by two of my four offspring. Immediately they recognized my need and summoned Daddy. And even though it was painful, it is nice to be the patient sometimes and not always the nurse.

So today, I feel a little sore all over, but I think I’m already on the mend. Don’t worry, though, the lesson is learned. Never go for a bike ride to distant parts without formal training in military tactics and a helmet. If you still insist, at least cut the dang toe straps off first!

In the Beginning...

I created this blog. And the site was without title and form and nothingness was on the face of my page. And I moved upon blogger.com and clicked "Start New Blog." And there were options. And I saw the options, that they were good. And I divided the great options from the not so great options, calling the great options "The endless pursuit of Life" and leaving the lesser options to their fate. I saw that these initial options were good. And the minutes it took were the first hour.

And I clicked, saying, "I've got to make this baby my own," so I went through the settings tabs and the template tabs changing and tweaking and manipulating until it looked as good I thought it could, given the circumstances that I don't know much about blogging. And I saw that these changes would be adequate until I got a firmer handle on how blogs worked and what I wanted my blog to become. And I saw that these secondary changes were good. And the minutes it took were the second hour.

And I clicked the "View Blog" button and realized that a blog isn't a blog until you post something. So I began to think. A first post is an important accomplishment. It sets the tone of your whole blog. It begins the journey. It is an auspicious event that will determine the future of your entire web presence!! And I saw that I couldn't work under these circumstances. And I developed writer's block. And I saw that writer's block sucked big time. And the minutes that were seized in paralyzing fear of screwing up were the third, fourth and fifth hours.

And I finally realized "You've got to start somewhere." And I understood that one blog post, no matter how bad, will not cause the entirety of blogger.com to implode. And I began to write. And the minutes spent writing and revising a measely 500-word post were the sixth hour.

Thus the creating of The endless pursuit of Life and composing the first post were finished. And I rested for the seventh hour. (Because who knew the amount of stress one could pile on oneself in the publishing of a very silly, very commonplace blog of which is currently attached no special importance?) Amen.