Bad Good Days

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I went to my parents house today for a little family get together and early Fathers Day celebration.

After eating the requisite grilled meat and other cookout fare, we started a game of corn hole. It started out slow, with me showing off my excellent skills of throwing past the board. My 8 year old was my partner, and together we managed to end the game at 11 – 0. We did not win.

My parents then joined, my mom partnered with my brother in law, and my dad with my sister.

Since the parents were standing at the same board, they didn’t realize they were on different teams until about halfway through their game. Thanks to skills of their partners, that game lasted much longer than my 10 minute warm up session.

At one point I decided to go inside and start cleaning up so we could bring out the cake.

I watched my family from the kitchen window as I worked.  I saw my parents laughing, really laughing. It was the kind of laughing we took for granted before Joe died. That completely happy in the moment laughing that is so hard to chase down since he left us.

Of course, when I feel happiness, I feel Joe’s loss right along with it. I saw my family, and I especially noticed that I DIDN’T see my brother. He wasn’t laughing with us as we teased Dad about how he used to mix all the old cereal together when we were growing up. He wasn’t making fun of the parents with us as they learned how to navigate the game of corn hole. He wasn’t there. But his loss was there with us, always with us.

I probably imagined what Joe would say or do about something at least 10 times today. Him being there, and being healthy with us would have been so wonderful. And it hurts to laugh without him.

As I left them, my mom walked me to the door. As we said our goodbyes, she put my thoughts into words. She had felt his loss today, like every day. And because of that, every day is a bad day automatically. Today was a bad day and a good day, and we have to get used to this.

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Cardboard Joe

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My brother has been gone for 6 months.

I still try to pretend it’s not true, but sometimes reality just smacks you in the face.

Like at Easter.

Joe made the punch for holidays at moms house. It was his thing, none of us knew how he did it, but somehow he mixed an awesome pink concoction with floating islands of sherbet just perfect for toasting over croissants and cheesy potatoes.

So, we made the punch because we feel maybe that not having punch would make us feel worse and miss Joe more. Having it gives us a chance to remember the good times with him, although the punch this year was definitely not on par with what he could have made for us.

And it makes us miss him anyway.

I used to say I wanted to get a life sized cardboard cutout of my brother. Just to have around. I really miss his smile, his personality, just him in general.

I think maybe sometimes it would be cool to have “him” in our holiday photos, posing with a cup of punch…. it would feel like he was still there a bit.

It wouldn’t replace him though. It wouldn’t talk or laugh back…. and I think the worst thing would be that it wouldn’t age as the rest of us aged. And I could never throw it away, it would feel like I was throwing my brother away.

So maybe no cardboard cutout.

Facing the harsh reality

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We just got back from a week long vacation in Mexico.

Like last year, we spent a week sunning, swimming, stuffing our faces, napping, and waking up to start the cycle all over again.

As is the case with all good things, it was over too fast.

Even though I had gotten to the point of just eating fruit for breakfast because I simply could not stuff myself three times a day for a whole week…. I still enjoyed it.

Coming home for me meant remembering how to cook, ugh. And before that, going to the grocery store and buying food to do something with at home.

The kids and I walked through Trader Joe’s in a daze, them asking why can’t we just live in Mexico, me trying to find that secret aisle that will have everything I need to make fast, easy, delicious, healthy dinners for the next week without having to THINK about it.

The 4 year old probably got hit the hardest since we’ve been back home.

It didn’t take her more than a couple days on vacation to recognize what “all inclusive” means in terms of eating options…. and before long she stopped going up to the buffet with me all together. Instead, she chose to relax at the table, and airily directed me to bring her back an assortment of things to try.

Today, on our first morning back, she is requesting sushi, chocolate pastry, and maybe a waffle if it’s not too much trouble.

The stark reality of cold cereal and orange juice left her looking a little shell shocked…..

 

 

 

Identity theft

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I’m sitting on the floor as Jenna paces around me, trying to get the boys to come up from the basement.

She yells for them to come up, they ignore her.

Then she has a great idea.

She whispers to me, “I’m pretending I’m you….”

Yells again:

“I’m momma!!, Come upstairs!”

Big smile on her face, this is definitely going to work.

Looks at me, leans over and whispers again:

“Don’t worry….you’re still you….”

Whew!

Am I sick, or do I just hate everyone?

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Yesterday was supposed to be a great day. The husband didn’t have much going on at work, so we had “talked about” going to a mall across town with the little ones.

We’d stroll around, basking in our love of each other. Hold hands over pretzel nuggets in the food court. Find all the pants we could ever need for Sammy, the kind for skinny boys who need an adjustable waist but also very long legs. Find the perfect jean skirt for Jenna so she can wear her blue and white striped tights with red hearts on the knees.

Goals, I had goals yesterday.

Then, yesterday actually happened. I did my usual Sunday stuff. Cleaned, washed floors. Took Jenna shopping for groceries. Came back. Built a model of the Eiffel tower in toothpicks. Cured cancer…… all while the husband was……somewhere…….doing whatever he was doing in the house. On the phone with his family, on his computer, drinking his coffee…..

At 2pm I asked him, as he stood in his wife-beater and shorts, if he was planning on getting dressed today? He thought he might eventually. He always seems so surprised to find out the actual time after he’s putzed around for hours.

 

 

We didn’t get to the mall he wanted to visit, but instead he insisted on rushing to the mall close to our home to see if we could at least find pants for Sammy. Dreams of pretzel nuggets were dashed.

It didn’t go well. I was annoyed, as I often am when faced with someone who has different time management strategies than me. I DID find the jean skirt for Jenna that would have been perfect with her adorable striped tights, and a pair of pants for my tall, skinny boy.

Unfortunately, my black mood would not allow me to be courteous to the rude lady manning the cash register, and I chose to leave all the clothes behind in a fit of pique that only hurt myself as I walked away. The husband was wandering around in other departments at this time, and so without knowing it, was saddled with the burden of somehow being responsible for me not being able to buy the clothes I wanted as he wasn’t by my side to smooth things over with the mean monster lady in the kids department.

The drive home…silent. We had a dinner to get ready for and I was thinking of what I needed to do for me and the kids to make it on time. Also thinking about that jean skirt. And pretty much disliking everyone and everything in general. Ever feel like that?

It wasn’t until we pulled into the parking lot of the restaurant later….  I realized that my crap feelings weren’t just psychological. I also FELT like crap. My nose was stuffy and getting stuffier, and starting to leak like a faucet. I had a weird feeling in my throat, like a pre-tickle…. just a little taste of something to come. My eyes were glassy…

I was getting sick!!  No wonder I felt like kicking someone. It all made sense, and actually made my mood better-as I realized I probably did still love my husband after all.

Whew.

 

 

Caskets of gems….

Moenich World Coin Grab Bag - 50 Coin Assortment

So last night, it was a stay up late night for me and the husband with the two little ones. Sammy had been playing his kindle, and I let him….. and then I checked my email before heading to bed around midnight.

I find 29. TWENTY-NINE amazon digital receipts… for things like “pile of gems”, “bag of gems”, “casket of gems”, and coins, all sorts of coins and containers of coins. “Unlimited energy”….. how much were these things? I opened the first email. $20.00!!!!!!   second email. Another $20.00!!!!!  Oh, wait!!  $53.99!!!   Gems are expensive!!!  Lots and lots of expensive gems, and coins, to the tune of over SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS. REAL dollars…. charged to my Amazon account.

Needless to say, bad words were said. Hands went flying…. Daddy intervened, saving a life I’m sure. My hands shook as I called Amazon digital customer service, who thank GOD are open 24 hours a day it seems. And miraculously, the guy on the phone, Luke, fixed it for me.

First he laughed. And laughed pretty much throughout the call. I told him I didn’t realize the kid could purchase anything because I had parental controls set, no purchases without a password!

Apparently, since I gave him access to the games he was allowed to play, he can STILL purchase apps within the game. And extra lives, coins, gems, all that good stuff. In one hour, he spent a total of $691 and change. Why? Because he wants to be better than his friends at this game.

The game by the way, which doesn’t exist in our home anymore. Kindle is on lockdown forever. FOREVER.

I would like to say that he learned his lesson…

I KNOW that I learned mine.

 

 

We like nuts

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The 3 year old is going to be 4 in a matter of days. It’s pretty exciting, especially since each of the ninja turtles has called her personally-so she says-and they are in fierce competition with each other to get her the best gift. I can’t wait!

She’s growing up, uses the word “actually” a lot.

Like last week…. I picked the two youngest up from school and she is dying of starvation in the back seat. Begging to eat right now. NOW! So I decide to take them to a local place and eat with them, then bring dinner home for their dad.

As we get our food, I say to her “….and you were crying about being so hungry….”. she tell me, “actually, I wasn’t crying. I was whining.”

Touché.

She makes me laugh, and I’m enjoying it and also sad because this age is so awesome and goes so fast…… and she’s the last one, the last one!!!

Today though… takes the cake.

She’s reading, at the point where she can read simple sentences and is learning rules about letter sounds. She got how “SH” together make the sssshhhhh sound, and “TH” have their special sound. Today was a very special lesson about the importance of the silent “E” at the end of some words.

Her teacher sends some books home for her to read each week, I laughed at the title of one of them “We like nuts”. Of course, that’s just my mind in the gutter…..

She’s reading to me today, as I cook dinner. Sounding out her words like a champ. She gets to the nuts book….. opens and starts to read.

I hear “I lick nuts….”

!!???!!

We talked about the silent “E”.  How it makes the “I” have the long sound…. because we LIKE nuts….we just like them. that’s all.