Please Just Don't Pee on my Pants

The trials, tribulations and successes of a teacher on her own journey towads independence.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Day 5ish - Everyone Just Settle Down Ranch

Day 5 – Everybody Just Settle Down Ranch
Wednesday, September 8, 2010. The kids woke up early, way early. They were so excited! From 6:30 until 8:10 all I heard was “Mom is it time to go?” I should be happy they wanted to go to their new school with such enthusiasm but they were actually driving me NUTS.
When I returned to the house I actually had to find a way to get through the gate to the house without Bucky escaping. Eventually when he was on the other side of the house I got brave and made a run for it. Safely in the yard without an escaping dog… YES!
My first day completely alone on the “Ranch”… I decided to be homey and make zucchini bread, found a recipe had most of the ingredients… didn’t know that until I was well into the mess. Somehow we had no vanilla so I substituted almond flavoring. It seems to have worked; but maybe that is just because I haven’t had zucchini bread since I was a teenager living in Wisconsin and at that time – anything with vegetables and a sever lack of grease didn’t count as food.
I must say Greg has been very attentive today. He has made me feel much loved. He does on most days; but today for some reason is more special – not sure why – just is.
So I get to smell the baking of bread and type… that is when I really decided to make this a bit of a series… my journey into a new world… into the soul of what really matters in earth. So now off I go, with just slightly less than a quarter tank of gas and 20 cents to my name – off to collect the kids from school. What next? Time will tell.
Well time told of course… this evening I had a huge, huge break down. My children that I love with all my heart I couldn’t take care of. This is the first time since they were born that I felt that way. Eliza and Lorenzo both needed allergy medicine. I had lost what we had, knew where it was when we moved so it must have vanished into thin air (hey, parents can use that as excuse too you know). So in my room I laid down and cried. I cried and cried and cried because I didn’t have $1.10 to go across the stupid street and get them each an allergy pill. I felt so useless and so helpless; such a horrible mother who can’t even take care of her own kids.
Eliza and Lorenzo eventually raided their piggy bank and came up with enough money to purchase the medicine. So with a crying face, jamies and socked feet I went to the quick store across the street. Put all their money on the counter and asked for Benadryl. Then I walked out sobbing without waiting for the change. I was distraught, I was in pain, I wanted someone to hold me and tell me I was doing the right thing. I wanted to take care of my kids rather than have them take care of me.
I couldn’t even talk to Terri or Greg… that night I CRIED!

Day 4ish - Everyone Settle Down Ranch

Day 4 – Everybody Just Settle Down RanchDay 4, Tuesday, September 7, 2010… my mom’s birthday – how she is on my mind today and how much I miss the laughter we used to share together. The kids and I begin the exciting search for their new school. We eventually find it after I call and admit that the nice lady gave wonderful directions; it was just that I wasn’t being a very good listener. Those of you who know me know I can only really focus on one thing at a time if anything is to be done correctly. I can multitask but it is always at the expense of something. We get to the school, get them all registered – Eliza needs to get two shots which she is not happy about… ugh. School doesn’t start until 8:45 – I’m thinking hmmmm this should be an interesting twist to our world. What in the heck are we going to do in the morning to keep everyone safe and alive for that extra hour and a half before school.The kid’s allergies have been very bad since we got here. I did go across the street and spend three of our ten dollars on some visine, so at least they wouldn’t rub their eyes until they were puffy and closed. I did bring along the allergy medicine, but somehow I have misplaced it. Now we need both allergy medicine and gas… on seven dollars. I manage to scrape enough change together for three doses of Benadryl and fill the tank up to a quarter of a tank of gas… plus I have 20 cents left over in pennies in my wallet. Life is never dull around me; one never quite knows what will happen… heck most of the time I don’t even know.The dogs have decided to call a truce and become friends. The cat is still pissed off at the world and hiding under the bed… her choice I suppose. Of course we unpack most of the day. Franz does some weed whacking then decides it is time to teach his seven year old brother how to do it so that when Franz isn’t around his mom will still have help. Again I almost cry – my baby is growing up. With the support of my boyfriend, Greg, Franz is becoming a bit of a man and less of a boy. He is learning how to take care of his mom a little bit.The kids are a totally ton tired of our moving meals of cup a noodle soup, sandwiches, or you are on your own for whatever you want menu. So I start the morning off with the goal of the day being to have the kitchen clean enough and organized enough to actually cook a homemade meal. Took some effort and concentration on my part so I didn’t wander around doing 10 things and finishing none – but I got there. We (the kids) decided on fried fish for dinner with veggies and rice. My experience with frying fish left something to be desired so I decided to make up a new, one of a kind, my very own recipe and it turned out fabulous! I could hardly believe it. I also made tartar sauce for the very first time in my life – and that was actually good too. We all sat around the table in the living room on the floor to eat, since we don’t have enough kitchen chairs to sit at the kitchen table (someday we will). But I actually enjoyed our little meal in the living room. Lorenzo had decided to direct the conversation over dinner to the topic of “how does one make friends?” The kids had interesting outlooks on the topic and I’m not too sure we helped Lorenzo, but we laughed a lot and it felt good to be sitting together and having family time… no TV, no music… just us and conversation. I knew I had to get outside and “water” after I did the dishes and by the time I got out there… Franz announced that it was already done… taking care of mom again… I almost cried AGAIN. Kids showered to get ready for school in the morning. We sat together and watched Hope Floats one of my favorite movies… although I must admit our family Tigger also known as Lorenzo was bouncing around as usual – so most of us watched the move… well Eliza followed Lorenzo so I guess to be honest I have to say that Franz and I watched the movie. The other two just kind of took small tastes. Excited for school the next day – everyone wandered off to bed. Bucky even got to sleep in the house which made me nervous… but he joined me in bed sometime around midnight. Not my sweet boyfriend, but it worked for me at least for that night.

Day 3 - Everyone Just Settle Down Ranch

Day 3 – Everybody Just Settle Down Ranch
Now we find ourselves on day 3, September 6, 2010 out on our little piece of dirt. Labor Day – the internet and TV people (yuck on the TV part – but with kids – I’ve decided with limited use it is something I can live with) are suppose to come today… eventually I found out they couldn’t find the house… a price to pay for living in nowhere. Now they have directions and promise they will find me next week – then I will be able to post this little adventure.
The day is spent with Eliza and Franz both working on unpacking along with myself – but we work at a much slower pace… because really what is the hurry the boxes are not going to go anywhere in the next year. We sort boxes, we unpack… the kids take breaks with their Play Station and working outside. The day is fun and enjoyable – no arguing, no bickering, no fighting. Just maybe we will all settle down out here after all. That is part of my plan – learning to live together like a family not like separate people living different lives in the same home. The world has changed so much since the times when I grew up.
We meet Lorenzo, my ex and Bucky, my Doberman who has been residing with my ex until I found a place that would allow his large, uncoordinated body to celebrate itself. On the way home… Imagine one person in the front seat, two in the back with a 100 pound dog. I’m surprised we actually made it home all safe and sound but we did.
Lorenzo was sooooo excited to spend his first night in his very own room; but then decided he needed his mom in order to be able to do it. So we snuggled up close together and he made it through his first night as a big boy in his very own room – which he is very particular about.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Everyone Just Settle Down Ranch - Day One

Day 2 – Everyone Just Settle Down Ranch
Ah, Sunday, September 5, 2010. I was hearing a calling from God to be sure to get to church on this day. I tried of course to explain the situation – I had no appropriate clothing, couldn’t find the shampoo and conditioner and let’s not even mention my tooth brush and tooth paste plus my bible. I had many reasons not to go that day including the 30 minute drive it would take to get to the church I was interested in going to… and I couldn’t talk my 13 year old son into going with me all though I tried many times. The service was at 9:00 didn’t make that one… the next one was at 11:00. It is interesting how the Lord works because by 9:30 I had appropriate clothing, along with shampoo and conditioner. So with $10 and a half of a tank of gas I headed off to church – oh yes and my 7 year old son’s bible – because I couldn’t find mine.
I prayed and prayed that I get there on time and actually was only 2 minutes late and the music was just beginning. The people who greeted me were warm and friendly. I felt like I was in a safe place that would nurture not only my soul but also my walk with Jesus as I continued that journey. I was amazed, absolutely amazed by the music coming forth from the stage. I can’t really find the words to describe it except that it was absolutely moving and pulling me into the group. I felt as if I had found a home; a safe haven in the crazy world in which so many of us have to reside.
As Pastor Pat shared the bible with us I found that I felt like he was speaking directly to me. He had a lot of people in that chapel but he and I took a study through passages in the Bible and I finally understood those passages at my level. He didn’t speak down to me like so many Pastors in my past tended to do; and he wasn’t 95 years old. How would I describe him… he was nicely dressed (not in a stiff suit – thank goodness) casual but appropriate for where we were. He taught the passages of the Bible a bit like my vision of an educated Hippy would share. He used real words like cool, awesome… he challenged us to walk up to someone this week and just say, “Hey, Jesus loves me and you know what he loves you too”. Now how cool is that. There were agape boxes around the building where people could leave offerings rather than being put on the spot as the plate was passed – which always embarrassed me… as I seldom have money. I felt it was okay this time to keep my $10 because God knew I needed it.
It was also announced that the Bible Study with Beth Moore was coming up (which I knew from visiting the information center earlier in the week). I desperately wanted to grow with this study and for those of you who are not familiar with Beth Moore I would love to introduce you to her work. I went the information center and explained that I could pay for the study on the 15th but at the moment I could not. The angel behind the desk just told me to fill out an envelope and show up for the class when it started. I don’t know if she paid for me to go or if the chapel figures into the budget that some people just can’t do what they need and want to do because of finances – on the 15th I will be happy to pay not only for myself; but for someone else who wouldn’t be able to go because of finances and not having the belief in the Lord that He will provide if we only ask. I left loved and blessed and with a desire to go back over the passages we had talked about and write how I felt about each passage or what that particular passage made me think about.
I returned to the ranch to find that my boy, remember he is 13, didn’t just sit and chill while I was gone… he had started unpacking and setting up his room, he had figured out the weed whacker (way beyond what I am capable of doing) and chopped tons of grass. He had worked without me telling him to do so, or begging him to do so, or my demanding and yelling for him to do so. He did it because he wanted to do it. As I walked in the first thing he asked was “How was the music?” I almost cried. Again I was so blessed by our Lord. Now he is excited to go with me his next weekend with me.
The two of us worked together for several hours to unpack and unpack and unpack. Then my dad came over with two new shower heads that have the cord thingy and taught Franz how to change that out. It was fun to listen to as Grandpa gave his Grandson directions instead of just doing it himself. It was nice that my son wanted to learn and Grandpa wanted to show him. I love the way that looks and sounds in my own little world.
After Grandpa had said he needed to give us instructions on how to water the plants… he was very specific about the ritual he had developed. We sat outside, the three generations of us watering, waiting and watering again. Then Richard showed up my Eliza and it was so good to see her even though she had her 11 year old, queen of the world attitude with her. She and I spent our first night sharing a room together. This is bound to be an interesting adventure.
Toward evening this day becomes “Nervous/Anxiety break down day”… my boyfriend is a bit upset with me because he doesn’t get the hundred texts he is used to getting… reception in my new area on my cell phone – well, let me just say it is a challenge. I also decide that at 43 for some reason moving becomes more challenging then it was at 23. I think about all the moves I’ve had… Libya – the company came and packed up all our belongings and off we went. Coming home from Libya Dad had to leave all our belongings in the middle of the street so there wasn’t much work on that one either – I consider that our first trip around the world. We moved 3 times in Wisconsin but I was a teenager wrapped up in my own little world so I didn’t do anything to help with that either. I do remember the winter we turned one of the bathrooms into a kitchen so we could remodel the kitchen. I also know I wasn’t very pleasant that winter… take away a teenage girl’s bathroom and then sit back and just watch what happens. Eventually Mom and Dad moved to Yap… I stayed in Wisconsin until after the first summer… when Mom and I; ok I’ll admit it… when Mom sold everything we had, we loaded up the car with a bicycle on the back and the racing canoe on the front and headed to California where we had family. That trip and moving was actually a lot of fun. Even in her 40’s Mom was willing to go down the Colorado River white water rafting for a day. Isn’t interesting the things we remember. I moved around a lot in Los Angeles while I was there… from Mission Hills to North Hollywood. When I finally decided to grow up and finish college… Mom told me to sell my car and buy an airline ticket to Guam. Hmmm that move wasn’t so hard either – heck all I had were my clothes and a ticket. My point is that really in actuality most of moves were fairly easy – this time I was moving myself, my three kids and everything we owned into a fully furnished house and kitchen… so that night I did cry, several times. Thank goodness my loving boyfriend, Greg was kind and caring enough to let me go on and on and on. Sleep came and with it a better attitude in the morning.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Building Forts

I'm wandering through a new book today. The directions said to pick a number between 1 and 47 as there are that many chapters. I picked chapter 16 which takes an adult (or at least someone over 10) through a trip of fort building. It made me think of all the forts I built when I was young. Some with my big brother that we would share and play board games in, color in, listen to music in and just talk. He was always fun to play with and has always been a hero of mine. Except for when he wasn't then the fort would be plastered with a sign that said "Boys Go Away and Stay Out!)

Then it made me think of present day reality and the huge complicated forts my children make in one of the bed rooms upstairs. It just about drives me totally nuts because of the total chaos that they leave up for a week at a time in the summer. I hear them playing and laughing. Mostly I just let them be... simply because I can't find the intricate way they have created to get into their fun world of escape from reality.

I am sitting here and thinking - geee you know what... maybe I should turn the couches around for a day, get some sheets and blankets and make a fort for all of us. We could watch movies, color, eat junk food and just be plain old silly. For me do nothing that needs doing for the day except sitting in a fort and playing with my kids. What a wonderful escape that would be from the world. I think I'm going to give that a go this weekend. I'll let you know how it goes... but I'm looking forward to the surprise on their face and the fun in the fort.


Monday, August 16, 2010

The End of Day One

The End of Day One

Yes, we really are only at the end of day one. We were in a fairly crummy hotel probably not in the safest part of town; but we were able to afford a suite. The idea, or at least the adult thinking, was that the kids could crash in the “living room” part of the suite while Terri and Gretchen got to sleep in the “bedroom” part of the suite. Of course, this proved to be interesting.
After 7 showers, wet swim suits, wet towels, wet floor and wet clothes that all had to be hung up on the rail outside the hotel; it was time for dinner. You got it PBJ. For that is what we planned to live on for the four days we were on the road. We fixed the sandwiches, this time without the added sand – more or less anyway. For some reason when one goes to the beach in a van the whole van becomes engulfed in some kind of sand storm.
Everyone fed and clean it was time for a movie and to settle down. All the kids were stretched out on the floor with tons of pillows and blankets; the movie was started along with mass amounts of construction. For those of you who have never traveled with 7 children be warned; fort building becomes a huge construction project and can take hours. Then the arguing starts over who gets to sleep in what fort. Obviously they didn’t need the movie or the tv, the kids had plenty to do on their own.
We checked on them several times knowing that trying to put an end to the fort building would cause us more grief then it was worth; so the kids finally settled down way after 10:00. I don’t really know what time the drifting began, but slowly the “bedroom” space was invaded. First it was Jacob – he couldn’t sleep, so now there were three of us in the bed. Then was Lorenzo – he had a bad dream and could only be put to sleep by my singing “Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer” which I kept falling asleep in the middle of singing and he kept waking me up. Of course, the words I sang were in the wrong order. Eventually he gave up and went to sleep. Now there were four of us attempting to sleep in the bed; Jacob and Lorenzo very comfortably I might add. The third to join was Eliza. She is just a mama’s girl and couldn’t stand to be that far away from her mom and still be expected to sleep; never mind it was less than 10 feet and on the other side of the wall. So she joined the bed sleeping across the foot of the bed. I do believe Terri slept through the night. I on the other hand went and joined the rest of the kids in one of the forts. Day one and night one were done and we had all survived somehow.


Car Insurance Incident

Car Insurance Incident

On the way to San Diego at some point water had spilled onto Gretchen’s cell phone. Being newly divorced she knew her John, her ex (now referred to as JBJ or JMFBJ) depending on the level of assholeness he is currently showing to the world. Upon arriving at the hotel after leaving Death Cove Beach Gretchen knew she needed to provide access to her children for JBJ so off she went in search of a cell phone.

She did find a cell phone shop, probably one she already had a contract with since she doesn’t remember signing any new paper work. But this is when she discovered the van borrowed from FF had no insurance. You see as she was pulling into a parking spot the gentleman in the next car swung his car door wide open so Gretchen hit it with the van. Of course there was no damage to the van – his door still closed though. Looking through the glove box it was discovered that no insurance card existed, or at least it wasn’t in the glove box. I did find an outdated registration. At that point I decided I would be better off with the honey technique then the pissed off mom technique. So I got out of the van full of apologies. Gave the man my driver’s license number and the outdated registration so he could get the address off of that (never mind no one lived there any longer) assured him that the vehicle was registered but I couldn’t find proof of that at the moment. He thank goodness decided that was enough, pulled out more than slightly pissed off as I ran into the phone store to solve my own unique problems.

Upon returning to the hotel I explained to Terri that FF had no insurance on the van. Great! The kids just wanted to go swimming even though they had just survived a brush with death and Death Cove Beach… so off to the swimming pool the nine of us went.