Date Archives June 2011

Playin’ catchup

Whew. It feels good to breathe.

Hey there, little blogmuffins. This is the first time in months I’ve had to sit down and write to you. Keep in mind, I’ve been writing to you all in my head that entire time but I’ve noticed that you’re all too lazy to get into my brain and read that stuff. So I guess it’s time to dump it all here so you can see it. (I hate to enable your sloth in this manner, but what can I say? I’m codependent.) Consider this entry a little catch-up from the last few months, I guess. I’m feeling pretty rusty writing-wise at the moment so let’s just be sure to manage expectations here, shall we? This entry is going to be more like ground beef than filet mignon …

So what’s been goin’ on? Lots. Obviously, from my last crazed entry you might’ve figured out that my kids have been sick a lot. Like, a whole lot. Turns out, my little guy has probably had strep throat continuously for months and the antibiotics he was on weren’t working. I won’t bore you all with the details but I’ll just say that part of the solution was that both of my kids had to go on the antibiotic that they use for Anthrax to finally knock it out. This med is blood red and Benjamin hated it and refused to take it. So every morning it sort of looked like I’d been giving blood transfusions in my kitchen by the time I finally got it down his gullet. Also, it turned all of their bodily fluids pink for three days, which Megan found endlessly entertaining.

On top of all that, my dog got sick in an End of Days sorta way. I was already sorta drowning in copays and whatnot with the kids and then the dog came and blew all of those costs right the hell out of the water in the matter of a couple days. (Random thought: I wonder if I can add him to my health insurance? He has a person-name rather than a dog-name so I might need to think about that…) Anyway, it was extremely upsetting and hard and there were many difficult discussions between myself, my ex and the vets, but we opted for surgery and it turns out that he’s … fine. Whew.

So sick kids = a momma who is home a LOT. Since I have a “when they’re sick, they’re mine” rule, I was starting to feel like a shut-in. But … I did manage to get out from time to time and do some cool stuff.

First, I’m so, so, so crazy-happy to report that Food for Thought – Philadelphia (which is the official name of what used to be the food drive) has been launched. We had our first board meeting (don’t we sound official?!!) on Friday night and we have some awesome stuff in the works. We are going to spend the summer getting up and running — creating our web site, taking care of all of the paperwork to make us an “official” entity — and then we’re going to hit it hard in the fall. I ran two creative writing groups at the school in the last few months and it was simply magic. I worked with four girls — all of whom showed a real talent for writing. It was a challenge to draw them out at first but then they all took to it like ducks to water. I gave them notebooks to take home and told them that they could write in between sessions if they wanted to, but that they didn’t have to. When I went back the next time, every single one of them excitedly told me about all the things they had written — and two were upset that they forgot to bring the notebooks back because they wanted to share their work. I wanted to cry. It was such an amazing moment. I’m hoping I can work with a few of them again in the fall. My Hallmark Movie of the Week-style dream is that writing will change their lives now that that  door has been opened for them. But I’ve worked with enough troubled kids to know that it’s not always so cut-and-dried.

In a similar vein, did you all know that the Philly area is building up quite a storytelling/literary scene? It’s pretty cool. In the last few months I’ve been to several First Person Story Slams (see here: https://www.firstpersonarts.org/programs2/storyslams) and also a Literary Death Match (https://www.literarydeathmatch.com/), which is just as kooky as it sounds. Anyway, my point is this: I LOVE that people will get dressed up, go out, pay a cover charge and make an evening out of someone telling them stories. For a writing goober like me, that rocks.

Also, right here, I have to give props to Sarah Rose Etter. She’s an uber-talented writer who competed at the Literary Death Match and she has an actual, real book coming out later this week called Tongue Party. At the LDM she read from a new collection she’s working on about Benjamin Franklin’s lovers and it was giving me total wordgasms. For example, she has a great section that talks about how when Benjamin Franklin is washing his dick off in your sink, you should really just focus on how fucking brilliant he is instead of remembering how his fat sounded when it slapped against your belly. (I’m so not doing her justice here … but I’m in love with that.)

What else? (How do I follow up that Ben Franklin shit? Won’t even try…) Went to the shore. Got a million bug bites. Rescued a turtle. Befriended some stray cats. Tried (unsuccessfully) to catch some frogs. But had a lovely, lovely time with my wee little munchkins who were finally all better.

Oh yeah. And then there’s that whole dating thing, isn’t there? Yeah, there sure is. Oh, you silly little bitches. I have stories. So many stories. Yes, I owe you. I know you’re waiting. While I still pledge to stick to my rule about not writing about any dates that I’ve been on, I have plenty o’ stories with which to entertain you about the dates that I didn’t go on. So that’s coming next, peeps. Promise. (It’s going to be so much fun …)

I have missed you, my little readerkins. I’m so excited to be back and I’m hoping that next entry isn’t going to be too far behind this one … see you then!

Dear God: You have one sick sense of humor, my friend

Remember that scene in Forest Gump where Captain Dan climbs the mast of the shrimp boat during the hurricane? As he’s getting pummeled by the wind and the rain, he shakes his fist at the sky and screams at God: It’s just YOU and ME!!!!!

That was my morning. I was marching down the stairs to my laundry room, arms full of pukey and poopey sheets, going, “DEAR GOD, PLEASE MAKE MY CHILDREN WELL AND KEEP THEM WELL!!!! PLEASE GIVE ME PATIENCE!!! PLEASE LET THIS BE THE END OF SICKNESS IN THE HOUSE FOR A WHILE!!!” That’s what I was saying out loud, my face pointed up at the popcorn ceiling (which acts as a stand-in for the Almighty in the single momma townhouse). But what I was thinking was this: “WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK, GOD??? AGAIN? REALLY? If there’s some sort of divine lesson I’m supposed to learn from dealing with all the pestilence that has befallen my home over the last few months, lay it on me, dude. I’m open. I wanna hear it  and apparently I’m too stupid to figure it out on my own! Just make alla this STOP. Please!!!!”

It’s to the point — no lie — where I’m embarrassed to go to the pharmacy because I’m there so much. I actually was elated — to the point of doing a little happy dance — a few weeks ago when I walked in and remembered that the pharmacist was on vacation (because, you know, I now know his schedule). I just imagine him thinking, “This is one of those crazy hypochondriac moms who’s always dragging her kids to the doctor … what is she feeding them anyway? Drain-O?” He’s certainly about ready to call the authorities on me.

I actually texted a photo of Benjamin holding his antibiotic bottle to my boss the other week. I have missed so much work that at this point if I were my boss, I’d think I was the biggest liar on the planet.

I find myself thinking back to when I was pregnant with my first kid. There was a guy in my office who was a father of three. I remember this great little nugget of parenting wisdom that he gave me. He said: “Parenting is the great equalizer. I had lots of opinions on how people parented until I had my own kids. My daughter was pushing four and she still wasn’t potty trained. I never thought I’d be that parent whose kid would still be in diapers at that age. We went to the doctor and the doctor said, ‘Bribe her.’ We did it. So now, I have nothing to say about how anyone parents.”

I have thought of that so many times over the last seven and a half years. And lately, I feel karma kicking my ass for all the times I rolled my eyes when listening to someone’s story of their child’s latest illness and thinking, “Good Christ. Those kids are sick all the time. She must be one of those hypochodriac moms. What the hell are they feeding those children?”

And now, I will watch happily and somewhat warily as Benjamin scarfs down his third bowl of sugar-laden Cookie Crisp (all the while praying that these do not become the next cookies to be tossed) while thinking, “YES! I BOUGHT MY SICK CHILD COOKIE CRISP ON FUCKING PURPOSE! BECAUSE HE HASN’T EATEN IN THREE DAYS AND AT THIS POINT I DON’T CARE WHAT HE EATS AS LONG AS IT’S FOOD!!!”

I will try to focus on the little pockets of time that don’t totally suck in all of this — sitting on the couch with a kid on each side and doing nothing. Watching as Megan navigates to the Pandora app on my iPhone and listening as she belts out a Miley Cyrus tune that only she can hear (I heart headphones). Little B — who is getting so much bigger — curling up on me like a little pillbug and putting his head on my shoulder. And in between I’ll put straws in people’s faces so they’ll drink, clean up bodily fluids, break up fights, put on DVDs, readjust beds on the couch, start three more blog entries that will likely remain unfinished (oh, the blogs that have died on the vine in the last few months …) and try, try, try to turn this sickly little boat around. If there is a way to cure illness by sheer force of will, I’m gonna find it, blogmuffins.

Oy.

Update: Just took both kids to the doc. DOUBLE STREP. They both have it. At this point, the doc thinks that B doesn’t KEEP getting it, he just never fully gets rid of it. Now they’re both on super antibiotics and if this doesn’t do the trick, we have to have a talk about tonsils. [Insert foreboding music here …]