Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Feeling the need to clear my name

I think that just the fact that I am writing the post at all proves my point that I have OCD issues. I did that photo tag, see just below, and most everyone got it. I have organizational issues. But there was one comment, just one, where someone called me a neat freak. And being the never-let-it-go person that I am. I am addressing the issue. To everyone and in particular my brother-in-law Mike that leveled the accusation that I am a neat freak here it is...

I am not a neat freak. I am an organization freak.

There is a distinction, like the difference between dork, geek, and nerd. A very fine line to walk, yes, but I like things in their place. I don't necessarily care if they are clean while they are there. I love baskets, especially if they match, folders, shelves, and systems.

I don't have a problem with the intensely clean it's just that I don't count myself among their numbers. A dirty kitchen floor will not bother me, in fact, I'll just leave the room and go read. A book shelf where one of the books is on the wrong shelf, now we are talking, that will be fixed.

One example for you to truly understand the level of the psychosis:

Looks harmless enough, my CD case. Each nook has a reason and within each nook there is further reason. The sections that hold bands that I have more than one CD of are all grouped together. Then there is the church section. Then the three sections when I explained to my brother-in-law Brian I got a "Are you serious or sick?" look. Bands that I have only one CD of broken into three groups. Punk/Ska, Older than twenty years/classic rock, and rock of the recent twenty years. And did I mention that they are in Alphabetical order? I also have a drawer of CD's in my bedroom that I don't put on display for various reasons, they are burned so in cases that are not pretty therefore un-displayable, kids CD's that I will not admit to owning, and other things that defy my system therefore have been banished.

I could delve deeper to figure out the reason for my freaky ways but I think I do it for a few simple reasons. The obvious trying to have control in an out of control world. I really like pretty shelves and organized and being able to find things easily. I was raised by someone of a more pack-ratty tendency and have swung the other way.

I believe that any organizational freak has their dark secrets just like I do. There are a few people that I have no secrets from and have seen the madness behind the order but here it is, dark secrets no more.

My desk is almost always in some state of shambles. Especially since I got DSL, I used to clean during page loading waiting time but that time disappeared and so did desk tidy time. I am currently on my third system of organization for my office and am still unsatisfied.

The other side of the pantry floor, holding all the things left to do on the never-ending kitchen remodel that I haven't done anything for in about six months. For full disclosure benefit once I took this picture I looked into myself and realized that there was no way I was doing any more work on the kitchen by myself until Dan gets home and promptly moved it all into the garage so as to not have to see it mock me everyday and now it looks rather nice with just the toolbox, ice chests, and shopping bags. And the water jugs to be cleaned for long storage.

I didn't take a picture of the garage my deepest of all messes because that is too much revelation even for me on one day.

A few more example of my excessive organization for everyone to mock:

Our upstairs storage closet. It holds sleeping bags, luggage, and the holiday totes. I bet you can't guess for what holidays though.

Now before anyone thinks I am totally Sleeping With the Enemy crazy, this is out short-term "comfort" food storage on the top shelf of the pantry so it doesn't get touched much so, yes, I felt the need to make it pretty. And my normal food supply doesn't look like this.

And before you think "poor Dan," I don't force any of this on him. Any laundry that I have specific needs on how it is to be folded I never ask him to fold, like the towels and all their categories, I am not going to get into another explanation and sound like Monica. He is excused and encouraged to not participate in the madness.

So I am pretty sure that I have made my point that I have an organization problem not a neat/clean problem. I think we have established that freak is totally justified but just don't ever accuse me of being a clean freak, it obviously gets my back up.

I just did my proofreading before posting, man, I sound like a nutter, oh well.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Picture Tag

This has been going around and I decided to do it at the beginning of the month and then didn't do it. But then Stacey tagged me by name so I figured since I had already taken the pictures, I would just post them. As stated by the rules of the tag, I took the pictures the moment I decided to do it, July 4th around 11 a.m. They have just been sitting on my computer since then.

So the rules are you take pictures of the ten things on the list without any prior clean up or sprucing. Anyone seeing these pics will know that I followed the rules.

1. My closet

I don't think there is much to say here, I think my anal-ness is speaking volumes for itself right here.

2. My Bathroom

As you can tell we had just gotten back from the lake and all the shoes, toys, life jackets, etc still needed to be cleaned and washed. When I say just got back, I mean like three days.

3. What the children are doing right now...

Punx, he didn't even acknowledge my existence.

DD, with the pose and facial expression of her generation.

Bug, no clue what he was doing there under the coffee table.

4. Favorite shoes

My OP's baby, does anyone else remember those teeny-tiny corduroy shorts?

5. Dream Vacation

Hawaii, do I really need to say more?

6. Fridge

[insert quippy food pun here]

7. Self-Portrait

As I appear to the children on most days and that is me still in my pajamas at almost 11 a.m., good day.

8. Favorite Room

The living room, it is a no-kid zone. This is an adult functioning room. It is where I keep my pretty books and my music. I always keep it clean. The first room in the house that I will clean, I should say. I will sit on the couch with a book or some music on and can really relax here. I do allow the children to enter it from time to time but with strict rules. And there is no TV in this room.

9. Kitchen Sink

Dishes I can be proud of. Not only are they proof that I actually cooked, they are proof that my kids got a hot breakfast!

10. Laundry Room

I don't have a room, I have a closet. I put my sorter in my pantry which is right next to the closet. I had to remove one shelf to get it to fit but I just moved it to the top.

That was fun. I am not tagging anyone, if you want to do it, just do it.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Drumroll please...

I've been dangling the bait for my fall plans on what I will do with myself once all my children go to school full-time. What will I do with all that free time? I will join them.

Meet Cristtin, soon to be 30 year old Sophomore at Austin Peay State University. I start school the day after my birthday. If all goes according to plan and it must, I will be in the class of 2011, only eleven years behind my original class. These next two semesters are beyond crazy, I have to complete all my general work by the summer because that is when my major's program starts. The course work is set in stone for the next two years after that. I must start it next summer or I have to wait another year before I can. I am taking 16 credits this semester and technically 24 credits next semester but breaking some of it up in 8 week courses so it's not all at the same time. It has to go perfect or I might not be able to graduate here, it will be time to move on and the next place might not have my major.

My major - Radiologic Technology, also known as Rad Tech. And no, I did not just choose it for it's awesome abbreviation. When I am done with school, I will be a qualified lab technician for a Radiology department.

A quick note on my school, Austin Peay. It is not pronounced Pay, like almost all outsiders assume. It is pronounced pea, like the veggie. It still makes me giggle every time. And once again no, I did not choose the college based off of it's funny name or chant, Let's Go Peay. I am serious, that is the school chant. It's on everything, T-shirts, bummer stickers, mugs, license plates. They even made us do it at orientation today, over and over again, Let's Go Peay, Let's Go Peay! We even played a game called Peay in the Blood. To find out who amongst the transfer students had the most family members who had gone to AP. I think I am going to like my school.

I am already nervous, though. Some of my classes are going to be tough. Like I had to dive right into Pre-calculus this semester, even though I know I would be much more comfortable doing a lower level refresher course. But I don't have time. That math class is a pre-requisite for the physics class I need next semester. So the logic goes, I don't take it now, I don't get into the program next summer, I don't graduate. Ah, the stress of graduation three years in advance. Once I am in the program, though, the load is a lot lighter.

On a lighter side, the kids finished up Y Camp. I think they might have had as much fun as I did. Every morning taking them, they were all energy talking about what they were going to do that day and taking them home it was all stories about what they had done.

The past two days they have been going to a park with a creek they could hike to and try and catch critters and get all dirty. They have been in kid paradise. I asked them yesterday if they would like to do this again next summer and they all screamed yes and DD said, "Of course we are going to do it next year." Punx asked how many times they could do it next year.

DD told a funny story about something they saw at the creek. They are calling them crawdads? She, and her brothers concur, says that they have pinchers. First of all, what?! What are these things? Something in a stream with pinchers. To me, pinchers belong in the ocean on lobsters and crabs, after that I am out on my knowledge on what comes with pinchers. So back to DD, she told me all about the crawdads and informed me that, "If a crawdad pinches you it will hold on to you for the rest of it's puny life." At least she learned something at camp.

Also yesterday after camp we came home and the kids were bushed. They were dirty, cranky, tired, and hungry. I get dinner done and am waiting for it to cool off before I call up the kids when Bug comes up to tell me he is hungry. I tell him it will be just a minute and then put on my most serious face and say, "Come here," and hold out my arms. He has learned that this means I am going to make him snuggle me. He assumes snuggle position and the negotiation begins. He tries to get in as little time as possible and I try to get as much time. I tell him we will snuggle for three hours, "Mom, I don't think we will survive." I start lowering it by the hour but he still thinks he will die from hunger so I up the ante and say five hours, "I will totally be dead." So, I let him out and fed the boy.

Here they are after camp yesterday all dirty and camp-happy.

By the way, I did get to the movies. Saw the Dark Knight. If you saw Batman Begins and liked it you should like this one. It was really good. It was a lot darker. A lot. Very tense. The Joker stole the show. Makes it kind of creepy to think about, though.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Living the Life

I am going to shamelessly brag for a little bit about the amazing time I am having...

Yesterday I did nothing, I mean like totally nothing. I dropped the kids off and then when out to breakfast with a good friend, Charlotte, who happened to be driving through town that morning. Awesome, I haven't seen her since she left ND a couple months before we did in 2006.

Then I went home and totally piddled, all day. I read a little, did a little laundry, played around on the computer, talked on the phone, whatever. Then left a little early to work out before time to pick them up.

Today a little more ambitious plans. Today I am going to run errands, I am stoked to run errands, who knew? Post office, oil change, all that crap it's going to be so great. I also discovered that I can hear the stereo in the shower with the bathroom door open and the volume up to five. I sang and danced in the shower enjoying the whole not being interrupted thing. No - Mom, can I have another bowl of cereal? Mom, the boys are being really mean to me. Best shower ever. And, yes, afterward there might have even been some Risky Business style dancing going on around the house. Who's going to stop me?

Tomorrow, I think pool time with hot tub is in order. Thursday I see a movie in my future and Friday I am super excited for. Look for Friday's night or Saturday's post to explain all. All my fall plans will be explained finally once I get everything in order on Friday. Originally I was thinking this would be a great week to tackle some sort of project around the house, but then I sat down and the feeling passed. I am going to have some fun instead.

Alright back to my super awesome week and some of you probably need to get back to your kids. Ha Ha Ha, was that going to far? I think am getting kid-free punch drunk.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Y Camp

Y Camp tomorrow. YMCA Day Camp for all three kids all day long tomorrow. Y Camp all day long for five days starts tomorrow. Y Camp tomorrow. Y Camp tomorrow.

Y Camp tomorrow!!!

You know that day before you go to Disneyland when you are a kid and you can barely sleep and you wake up at like 5 a.m. with the excitement with I am going to Disneyland today. I think that might happen.

Y Camp tomorrow!!

I am really excited.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

My Little Bug

It's just one of those things that you wait for and you wait for and when it comes you are just as sad as you are excited that it finally came. My baby turned five on Monday.

I have done a party for all the kids when they turned five and although I really didn't feel up to the challenge this year, I knew I had to do something. So I invited two families to Chuck E. Cheese for lunch, baked some cupcakes and called it a party. I forgot candles, matches, and my camera for the party. The morning of the party, I realized that I didn't have frosting, or powdered sugar to make frosting, a cupcake pan (I have been using the same 6 holder muffin pan for like ten years), or wrapping paper. I think that the impromptu party is not for me. I need planning and lists and lots of time to accomplish it. Oh well, it is what it is. The kids had a blast. We were there so long I was a little late to drop of the car to the shop for it's repair job.

As we were leaving to go to the Chuck with a box lid filled with hot cupcakes that I would frost there, even though I forgot the knives, the kids were jumping up and down with excitement. They were also going on and on about the, what do you call it, tag line? Where a kid can be a kid? But apparently they have some commercial about coming on your birthday that then it's "Where a kid can be a star!" He was so excited to be a star. We get there and they see all the trapping of birthday and ask who's birthday it is, Bug answers and he is told if he tells them at the counter he can get a free ice cream. He turns to me and says, "I really am a star." I am so glad at least he is still easily pleased.

I left his two larger presents at home so as to not have to lug them around and this was one of them. He has been asking for a guitar for a while now. He started asking for a violin and then the next day informed me he changed his mind and wanted a guitar instead because it was cooler. At least he went back to asking for a guitar because the presents he asked for at Christmastime were a little problematic. The first a real-live frog, and we know how that has since turned out and the second was a guitar with wheels that he could ride. That one stumped us, so he got the ill-fated frog.

Lastly, some of my favorite bug items:

The things he says...I could fill this blog with the random, funny, embarrassing things he says. Even the stuff he says everyday makes me smile things like tippy-bottom, baby-ified (he said that is what would happen to Punx when he caught him reading a baby book well below his level), and he still has that little kid high-pitched voice that he really cute. He is also the one that came up with throwing toys down the stairs to the basement and saying, "Fire in the hole." I have no idea where he got that one from.

He still doesn't mind snuggling. Sometimes I fight him but most of the time he is a really good snuggler.

He is the only one in the house to give spontaneous hugs to me.

He shares every new achievement with me, running to me in his excitement to share.

He loves school and is bursting to go to Punx and DD's school. I am rather bursting myself, with that twinge of sadness.

He still sleeps with that blanket he is pictured in as a little baby, he calls it his Qwe-Qwek. That is how we spell it, it is just one of his made up words that he called all his blankies as a toddler but still hangs on to that one.

He answers to Bug now.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Memory Game

Here are the directions:

1. As a comment on my blog, leave one memory that you and I had together. It doesn't matter if you knew me a little or a lot, anything you remember! You do not have to have met me in person as I have barely met any of you.

2. Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. It's actually pretty cool (and funny) to see the responses. If you leave a memory about me, I'll assume you're playing the game and I'll come to your blog and leave one about you. :) If you don't want to play on your blog, or if you don't have a blog, I'll leave my memory of you in my comments.

So simple enough. I read about this on Missy's blog, one of my never-met blogger friends and coming up with memories about something funny she wrote or said on my blog was very easy. This is one of my favorite things of blogging, the awesome people I have "met" and feel like I know so well. Now, I am going to add one more rule, some of my readers know me from my High School years, so if you choose a memory from then remember this is a PG-rated blog, at least I try to keep it that way, so please be nice.

My countdown helper

Most spouses going through a deployment know about the Donut of Misery, AKA the Donut of Hope. I prefer misery, maybe I'll go with hope when I am over 50%, we'll see. It is a wonderful little excel sheet turned into a circle graph that charts your progress on the deployment. Just insert departure date and date of redeployment and it does it's magic.

For a numbers person like me, it is bitter-sweet. I love being able to know how much we have accomplished, down to months, weeks, days. It goes all the way to seconds. And on the flip side says how much is left. That would be the bitter part, sometimes. I am shocked that we are nearing the halfway mark but at the same time we are only nearing the halfway mark?

I have to force myself to not check it everyday, just maybe a couple times a week. it takes 4.5 days just for the thing to move 1% so I really don't need to be checking it, other than for a convenient torture device.

There is one thing that I do like and that is the message that is associated with percentage we are on. It changes every 10%, I look to see what will that next message be? Like some upcoming scene from next week's episode on my favorite show. They are mostly humorous and have given me some smiles but I am unhappy to say the least with what it told me when it hit 40%. "Not quite there!" Oh really? I didn't need a computer program to rub it in like that. Totally necessary. Bad form, entirely.

I decided to forgive it though, it will change sometime in the next 45 days or so.

Also, I will add a new sidebar item of the list of all the things the Donut tells me. You will know I have hit the new level when I add to the list.

Here's what we've accomplished so far and it's corresponding percentages...

1% Fresh off the Jet
2%-9% A Long, Long way to go
10%-19% Still a Long, Long way to go
20%-29% So...How many steps does it take to get to the Latrine/Showers?
30%-39% Are we there yet?
40%-49% Not quite there!

So that's it, almost 200 days it and all it can give me is a not quite there, stingy spreadsheet.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

If I were a camel...

I am trying this new thing of not complaining so much. This post, however, does not apply. To get to the part where I explain this new resolve of not complaining, I am going to do a lot of it.

It started and ended all last Friday. There is some build-up to it all but the boil over fun happened on Friday. It began all normally, going to the Y to work-out and then the plan was to go home and pack for a quick lake trip. The weather decided to not comply with some threat of Thunderstorms. I didn't like the idea of driving an hour to the lake to become a big chicken McNugget in the lake after being fried by lightning. So, kids, lake is off but lets watch and see how it goes and we can go the splash park on post instead. A couple of hours later and it is still all hot and sunny, we get ready for a trip to post. It is now the time that I realize that I better bring the stuff we need so I can take the kids to Friday Night Out after since it starts at six.

While we are leaving the house the kids are doing the bickering that is beginning to drive me to distraction. Knock it off, or we won't go. If only I had had the resolve to go through with my threat. We walk down the basement stairs to the garage into the car, they are bickering again. I walk out of the car and down the driveway to keep myself from really losing it. When I walk back to the car, they are in there having a rip-roaring good time. Which actually made me more mad. Shouldn't they be scared that mom is losing it, might possibly lose it all over them? I get in the car and tell them in my super-calm scary voice that I am trying to decide whether or not to take them to the splash park or just come up with some other punishment because the fighting has got to stop.

That seemed to have worked. The total silence reigned in the car for about 10 minutes. I am now starting to get smug with the power. I have cowered them into the proper amount of fear, respect, and awe. It is a heady feeling that I am very much enjoying, I would laugh out loud maniacally if I thought it wouldn't break the spell.

The kids broke the spell just fine on their own. Of course, DD is the first one brave enough to talk. She engages Punx in a word game and, I kid you not, less than two miles later they are bickering. That's it, just don't talk. I can feel the hostile attitude emanating from Punx from behind my back. I can feel his angry shuffling just as much as hear it. I turn around to look at him just to see him delivering a hard elbow into DD's side. For censorship's sake, let's just say I snapped. Sna-ap-ped!

We get to the splash park and I let DD and Bug go and hold Punx back for a lecture and talk session. You will tell me what is going on and what is up with all the anger. We eventually get to it. All he can get to is basically summer boredom. What!? Now I am pissed. Well, guess what? We still have over a month to go so you better find a way to get along with everyone or it's going to be a really long summer.

After the park, I need to go to the PX. A friend and her kids are now with us. She is doing FNO also and we are going to do a Girl's Night. Her with her oldest girl and DD and I. We have a "date" tradition that they can go out with the adults solo on their birthday month and their half-birthday month. June is DD's month. After the PX we stop and get shaved ice for all the kids and let them eat their treat. They are done just in time to head out for FNO. We even split the kids along their various locations for speed. Pre-school kids have one day-care and elementary kids have another. I take her son that goes to the same place as Punx and she takes Bug who goes with two of her kids.

I back out of my parking space, put the car in drive. Just as I am about to go, I see it. A black two-door car backing out right into me. I froze. I stared, surely he will see me and stop. He kept coming, finally I find my muscles and honk. I honked about 1 second before the crunch of him backing into my driver's side passenger door. Not cool. I get out to see. It was a very light hit and there seems to be only a light scratch and the molding has snapped off. I start digging in my car for the info we are to exchange but he isn't moving. Let's leave it at this. He offered me money instead of insurance info. Here we are a few days later and I have already gotten the estimate on the car and he didn't even offer me 10% of the estimate. I stood firm and told him we would do it through the proper legal channels, would you please give me your insurance information. He was unhappy, I feel for him, but I was unhappy about being hit, oh well.

Drop the kids off, go out with the girls, dinner, cosmic bowling, even onto Wal-mart so DD could choose out a movie from the cheap bin. Time to go pick up the boys. On the way home, Punx is pouting. He starts to complain about a stretch of boredom he endured that night for over an hour and a half. The youth center has a huge room with toys, a computer lab, crafts center, gym with basketball and tether ball, and they just got a Wii that they have set up to a projection screen. Boredom at the Youth center is entirely optional. And I let him know. Next thing I know DD starts to complain that she really didn't get that much dinner. This coming from the girl who only ate half her dinner because she wasn't hungry.

That's when it happened. This load-bearing camel could go no further. All I could think of was what I had been putting myself through in the month of June to keep the kids entertained, happy, and spared from summer boredom. The vacation, the activities, the pool, the movies. What do we have to show for it? Two exceptionally whiny, ungrateful, spoiled kids. Bug, I do not put in this so much, he really isn't whiny, just really active. He isn't advanced enough to join in the complaining, yet.

It was the last straw. Ohhh, things are going to change around here kids. Prepare yourself. Me, running myself ragged to keep you happy, thinking that all the activities and fun would actually help with the fighting, obviously I was wrong. No more. This far, no farther. I am done spending money on kids who think they deserve it and don't even think to thank me. They are polite children, to other people that is.

Here are the new rules. We will still go to the Y, like always, so enjoy it all you can because that is about all the fun you guys are going to be having anymore. When we get home be prepared for chores everyday. They have chores but they do them on the as needed basis. Not anymore. Just since Friday they have cleaned their rooms, the family room, the play room, the upstairs bathroom, and the kitchen floor. We haven't even started today's chores since right now they are doing their "school work." All those workbook I have that I make them do maybe once a week during the summer. Well, kids, welcome to summer school, Monday through Friday. As for the activities, one free fun activity a week. Yesterday we went to the lake, so check. Although I will make two exceptions this week. One for the Fourth, we go to the free show on post. And for Manners Tuesday, not free, but it is our deployment countdown and I am not taking that away. After school time or chores is extended reading time, I've made it longer.

The thing that bothers me the most is knowing where the blame truly lies. Somewhere along the line, I had to have seen this coming but I did nothing to circumvent it. All the complaining, whining, they must have a model for this behavior and I am the only consistent model they have right now.

My name is Cristtin and I am a whiner.

Since I made this mess, I will clean it up. I will fix it. It's not like there is much of a choice, these are my kids. I have always at some level accepted the fact that any kids of mine would be messed up. But I thought it would be that I would cripple them with my sarcasm, dark humor, enjoyment of other people's pain, you know emotional stuff. I never thought that I would be guilty of spoiling my kids and actually raising "middle-class socialist brat from a suburban family where he never really had to work." Props to anyone who knows what that is from.

No more. This broken camel has a back brace and is not taking anymore straw.