Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What Defines Us

While I was there a couple of weekends ago, Jamie and Nathan and I were talking about our large-ish family and how fabulous it is to have. I love that 3/4 of the children who were called forward for VBS prizes were ours. I love that we have this vast network of open arms and ears and hearts, and that in general, we all get along a fairly astounding amount of the time. I love our strong, beautiful women, who laugh and cry and spout off opinions and get ticked off, all in equal measures of passion, enthusiasm and loudness. I especially love that we all have EXACTLY the same laugh. I have never been prouder of anything in my life than I am to count myself among the ranks of our family's amazing women. Unless it's of the time that I dressed as a jailbird at my divorce deposition. That, I'm pretty full of myself over. But I digress, and besides, I did that as an F woman if I did it as anything or anyone.

I love our strong, solid men, who mostly just sit back, shake their heads and leave us women to it, loving us all the while. I love our giant swarm of children, who don't seem to realize or care which child belongs to whom, because we're all one big mishmash of genetic material anyway, and who cares? They're adored by all, they know it, and they really don't look much further than that. Exactly as it should be. I love our gatherings, where no one feels the need to be anything other than themselves. We wear what we want, we say what we want, and we know we're going to be loved and liked every bit as much when the day is over as we were when it began. And I absolutely ADORE that this whole vibrant mix somehow sprung forth from our shy, sweet little MeMe and her ornery charmer of a husband. We have an a-freaking-mazing family. Seriously.

Jamie and Nathan and I were discussing said a-freaking-mazing family, with the rather ambitious motivation of defining it. Jamie called us the giant Midwestern mafia family, which amused both Nathan and I greatly. I liked that image - this big tight-knit, loyal network of people who all had each other's backs, only without the massacres, money laundering and really gaudy jewelry. It worked for me. Then Nathan called it "our big fat Greek wedding." Probably even more on the mark than Jamie's description, and even more amusing. Both images will probably stick with me forever as images of our family.

I told J about this conversation soon after I got home. J has a decorous little family consisting of the prerequisite 2 or 3 aunts, 6 or 7 cousins, a niece and a nephew. The poor man had no idea what he was getting into with his first experience with our family, which involved "Hi, My Name Is" stickers and a ginormous sprawling family tree chart spanning about 2 eight-foot foldout tables. Granted, that was our VERY extended family, most of whom we didn't even know, but still. That HAD to be intimidating.

I couldn't help being curious about how he saw us, which was my main reason for broaching the subject with him. It's all normal to me. Casually bumping into cousins I never knew I had was a not infrequent experience for me in my adolescence and early adulthood, and although it made for good conversation, it didn't seem the least bit strange. It was just the nature of things. Everyone has 5 billion long-lost cousins scattered across the tri-state area. Right? Right??

J thought about it for a moment, then he said something to this effect:

"You guys are the Great American Family."

He spoke of ease, and laughter, and affection, and innocence. Backyard barbecues and birthday parties and Thanksgiving celebrations so huge that none of our homes could hold all of the people we wanted to spend such a special day with.

J sees us. And he gets us. And he's right about all of it.

Did I mention that I can't wait until Labor Day?

Bye Bye Blackbird

It's official - I put in my notice 2 days ago.

You'd think I'd be so excited I'd need to be peeled off the ceiling. And I am. But mostly, I'm impatient. I have exactly 82 1/2 hours left that I must spend in my cubicle. Not that I'm keeping close track at all, or anything like that!

My Fearless Leader is on vacation this week, which cuts down the time I have to be in the same zip code as her by half. Thank goodness for small blessings. Since she didn't tell me she was going to be gone this whole week until Friday evening at 5, I was sorely tempted to just put my resignation on her desk without a word to anyone else, where it would have sat and gathered dust bunnies for an entire week before she clapped eyes on it. That would have been amusing. But a little voice in my head told me it would also be a spectacularly bad idea, and I find that little voices in my head are best followed (yes, I know...but you guys know what I mean!), so I went with it and told her superior. Who probably called her the second I left his office, because they're BFF.

I'm almost looking forward to Monday. Bring it, Fearless Leader.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Funeral for a Bird

J is having a bad morning. Apparently the dogs got hold of a bird, and there's nothing that can be done for it. J doesn't do well with this kind of thing at all. We've dropped more than one turtle off at the vet in the last year or so.

He keeps saying he knows it's not the dogs' fault, it's what they were bred to. They're both hunters. But I think that means, in some way, he's having to remind himself NOT to blame them.

I pointed out that if our Keystone Cop dogs were able to get hold of the bird in the first place, it probably already wasn't going to be ok. I've never seen them even able to get within 10 feet of a bird, so there had to be something wrong with this one already, and odds are it wouldn't have made it with or without those two. It didn't really help.

So this afternoon (or likely later this morning), I get to bury a bird. It will have to be around the back side of the fence, where the dogs can't get to it.

For awhile after I started dating him, I wondered why J never tried to become a vet. Now, I'm quite certain I know one of the big reasons, and it's the same reason why I'll never specialize in a field having to do with children.

Big marshmallows. Both of us. And it's a lot of why I love him.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Today I bought my first set of scrubs. Most likely, they're the first of many.

They aren't anything fancy. Basic unisex top, v-neck with two patch pockets at the hips. Elastic waist pants (I wanted drawstring, but all the pairs I tried on would have needed hemming, stubby as I am). All in royal blue. J says I look like a Smurf in them, and I'm really not in a position to argue with him. But my school says royal blue, so royal blue it shall be. I got some white sneakers, too, because they were on sale and I don't have any.

I put them on to show J after work, hence the Smurf remark, and let me tell you...I have never owned anything so comfortable in my life that it was ok to wear in public (get your mind out of the gutter, I'm thinking of my pink fleece footie pajamas with the monkeys all over them, not anything like THAT!). In fact, we're going to a movie in a little bit, and I'm just going to leave these puppies on. It isn't a movie that I particularly want to see, but J does and I love him, and that's that. For the time being, though, I'm sitting here in my leather chair, dog at my feet, computer in my lap, scrubs on my bod.

I feel like a queen.

I'm Bored

...and I have a headache.

My illustrious co-worker (you know, the one whom my supervisor believes is the Source of All That is Good and Holy?) e-mailed me this morning to TELL me that she was "working from home" all morning long. Not to ask me if that was all right. To TELL me. Last I checked, we were supposed to work it out with each other, not demand it, and it was supposed to be at least 24 hours in advance. Someone is getting a tad big for her britches. However, a) nothing whatsoever would be done about it if I complained, and b) it really doesn't matter at this point. Let her be the pwecious wittle darling. I don't care anymore.

Last time she "worked from home," she did maybe one ticket out of about five that were hers. So far this morning, I haven't seen her do a single one. Whatever...I'm certainly not touching them.

I'm tempted to take an early lunch. I need to go pick up a few things, and stores are less crowded when it's early. But my supervisor isn't at her desk, and neither is my coworker. Why waste the peace and quiet? So I'll wait until they get here.

Wow, I'm even snarkier than usual this morning. Don't worry, posts are bound to get more entertaining once I'm a bit happier! ;)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Sing it with me, everyone!

I'm suddenly in the position of having my evenings free. ALL of them. I just took a look at my calendar for tomorrow, and there is NOTHING ON IT. What do I do with that?!

Tonight, my two lab partners and I are going out to dinner. The final is tonight, but none of us have to take it because we've all gotten an A. I'm excited, but so sad that we won't be able to take any classes together anymore. Both of them are taking Anatomy next semester, but at different times. I can't because Anatomy is offered as an honors class sometimes, but not this semester, and I really need to wait until it is so that I can use it to fulfill my Honors Society requirements. I have to take 24 credit hours of honors classes, which roughly equates to about 8 actual classes. I've taken all of...drumroll, honors class. Technically I shouldn't even have qualified for entry into the society, because you're supposed to have taken at least 2 classes, but they let me in on the strength of my "outstanding achievements" (that would have been placing in the short story contest this spring, and probably my scrapbooking awards didn't hurt any either).

My Meet the Chippie diet is still going strong. Granted, I have already met said chippie, who is not an actual chippie in the least. I never went into detail about brain was too full at the time. But she really is great. She's about my age, probably a few years older. She seems to be very sensitive to the boundaries that have to exist in a step relationship, and she's being very careful and respectful of them as far as S is concerned. She truly seems to have his best interests at heart. She wants us to get along with each other as much as I do, and sees the importance of it, because her ex husband is remarried and there is tension between her and that wife (who has pulled some serious crap in the way of crossing boundaries), and she really, really didn't want it to be that way on both ends, so she really was genuinely happy that I wanted to get together and get acquainted. And she's sweet. Not the fakey kind of sweet, but the real, genuine kind that you don't see very often. The best example of it that I can think of in anyone you guys know is Mary S, or my old music teacher. THAT kind of sweet. What she's doing with my ex will forever remain one of life's great mysteries, but she's quite welcome to him, and who knows? Maybe he's learned something along the way and will be able to treat her as well as she deserves. Ok, probably not THAT well - he does have his limitations, after all, and she really is far more fabulous than he (and frankly most other men) deserves - but hopefully he'll be able to muster up an acceptable amount of respect and attentiveness.

Anyway. I'm still sticking to my diet, and today I was able to put on a shirt that I haven't been able to wear in months. I'm walking just a leeeeetle bit taller today!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

End of an Era

Or at least, the end of my Biology class. In which I currently have a 99 point 3 something. Which means I pretty much could have sprung a monkey from the zoo and sent it in to do my exam last night, and I would still get an A. Go, me...I heart being a science savant!

Other things a-brewing, too! You guys who I know read this have heard all about them, so I won't go into it in case people who aren't necessarily supposed to be reading see this entry. Sorry to go all 007 on you, but suffice to say that it's all very well underway. I'm excited, and J is excited for me! Probably for himself, too. Here's hoping I have fewer frustrations to take out on the poor man. So many good things are about to come.

I keep thinking of Merrilee, the hospice nurse that Papa had. She was a teacher before she switched careers and became a hospice nurse, and was actually kind of my catalyst for going back to school. I saw how wonderful she was at her job, and how happy she was in it, and I wanted to be that. It's really interesting how much a person you meet so briefly and casually can have such an impact. Something to think about, isn't it?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Why Am I Still Here?

So I met the girlfriend.

I like her very, very much. And if my ex doesn't marry her NOW, right this minute, it will just be one more reason I'll have to kill him. I feel like calling him about 3 times a day going, "please be smart enough to hang onto this one, lest you wind up with someone way worse!"

Like my supervisor. Which, yeah. We'll just leave it at that. The woman so blatantly plays favorites toward my suckup coworker that it's actually ticking off the people in the surrounding cubicles now, who have absolutely nothing to do with the situation. I would dearly love to find someplace else to work, but how many offices are going to give me the flexibility to take a class during the day, or go to one of S's school programs? Or work from home when he's sick? To hear J talk, jobs like that grow on trees.

I would really like to write something funny and entertaining right now, but I just don't have it in me. Guess I'll get on VFK and shoot off some fireworks to blow the steam off. And yes, Mom, I'm in first place just about every game now. :) I'll show you the secret this weekend!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

News Flash

I seem to be meeting the new girlfriend for lunch tomorrow.

Stay tuned.

Here Comes the Sun

More figuratively than literally. It's raining. Again.

But S is home, and I have him for several hours. I had to work really, really hard not to cry when I got him back. I don't think he noticed.

I completely bombed my exam yesterday. Which may have something to do with the fact that our instructor gave us completely wrong material to study, which happens with every exam, but this was bad even by her standards. Or, you know, maybe it had something to do with her leaving out an entire page on the exam question sheet, leaving to make copies (yes, she left the room during an exam), coming back in, fiddling with the overhead for awhile, then deciding that reading the missed questions out loud to us was a good idea, even though only half of us had that particular version of the test. It was really disruptive...she might as well have just had Mardi Gras right there in the lecture hall. Actually, that would have been better. At least there would have been king cake. Automatic A for whoever finds the creepy little nekkid plastic baby in the cake!

Oh well. We get to drop one exam grade. I guess this one will be it, but now I'll have to worry excessively about the last two.

I can't wait to see you guys this weekend!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Day Three...

...of my diet. And I'm peeing every two seconds.

I guess that can't be a bad thing, as long as I make it to the bathroom on time (and yes, so far I have. Would I tell you about it if I didn't? Probably not. Are you glad I wouldn't? Bet so). And if the weight I lose in the first few weeks is just water weight, so be it. Fat, water all looks the same in a skirt, right?

I'm skipping lab tonight. It's 10 points, but it looks like it's going to take forever, and the studying I'll be able to do for the exam is worth more, I think.

Hope the gamble pays off!

A Plethora of Craziness

S learned the word "plethora" last week. I've always liked it, personally. supervisor has returned, in full force. A particular Elton John song title comes to mind. There is a silver lining, though, after a fashion. I actually had people I don't normally even talk to very much come to me yesterday after listening to the way she interacts with me, going, "what on earth is HER problem?!"

Oh, how I wish I knew. But at least it isn't just me. It's amazing how much it helps just to know that.

I have an exam tomorrow! Hooray!! It's a really strange one, though. Apparently part of it is open book, due to be handed in tomorrow before the exam. I don't know. If our instructor is worried about the crappy grades people are getting, maybe that's not the best way to go about remedying it? Maybe, for instance, not letting us out once the class time is half up would be another, more constructive solution? Or you know...not cancelling 3 out of last week's 4 class periods might have worked well. I'm just saying.

Just a couple more weeks...just a couple more weeks...just a couple more weeks...and I'm more or less secure in my A. I'll be all right, even if everyone else won't. J calls it a weeding out process. Apparently, everyone isn't SUPPOSED to do well once you get into the classes for majors. Ok, that's fine (especially since I'm clearly not one of the weeds!), but I'd feel better about it if any of us were actually learning something.

S comes home from Disney World tomorrow! I'll feel so much better when he's at least back in the same state as me. And then I'll get to see him on Friday.

Urgh. My job is already getting its daily dose of stupid. I just explained about something that happened to my supervisor, whose response was "check and see why this happened."

Umm. I just DID. Are we both speaking English?

Monday, July 7, 2008

Is the weekend over already?!

Ugh. The next long weekend I get isn't until Labor Day. Which, by the way, we will be spending with you guys. As things stand, I don't have S that weekend because I had him for Memorial Day weekend (over the course of which he projectile vomited across 3 rooms...a good time was had by all!), but I'm going to see what I can work out.

J is leaving for his franchise convention this morning. I'm kind of sad I'm not going, especially since the theme they're using this year was my idea (next year's is too, though, so maybe I'll get to that one), but I like my A in Biology and I'm not all that gung-ho about giving it up. So taking a week off from it probably wouldn't be the most brilliant plan.

I'm also sad because S is STILL on vacation with Daddy and The Chippie. I miss my baby, and I won't see him until Friday. Which, incidentally, is also when J comes home. So I probably won't see him for a solid week.

Crap. That means I'll either need to get someone to take care of the dogs, or I'll need to wait until Saturday to drive up, Mom.

Also? My boss is back. My boss whom I ADORE. Or not so much. She was on vacation last week, and while she was gone, I noticed something: I don't really hate my job. It was pretty bearable while she was gone. It's basically just her I don't like.

What was I thinking, starting the Meet the Chippie diet this weekend? If I ever needed chocolate, it's right about now.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Meanderings and Goings On

Happy 4th of July weekend, guys!!

It sounds like a good time was had by all yesterday - the kind of 4th that J and I were in the mood for. I'm jealous. We didn't end up doing a lot. We went to see the new Indiana Jones, and were both pretty disappointed with it. The consensus was that it was just really, really lazy and we can't believe Harrison Ford agreed to do it. Completely two-dimensional character development, which is too bad because the plot (if they'd had one) could have been really good.

Then we rode around the neighborhood on J's new scooter. Yes, he got his the other day! It's silver and pretty, in a manly sort of way. It's definitely a man-scoot. Whereas mine is...not. Mine is on back order, but we put a deposit down on it and I should have it sometime next month.

In the evening, we grilled steaks, which were just preposterously good, and we watched 50 First Dates while I had a last hurrah with a pint of Haagen-Dazs (why it's the last hurrah, I'll come to in a minute). Then we moved out to the back patio where we let other people spend money on the fireworks they were shooting off while we watched them for free. And I ate more Haagen-Dazs. Good times.

The reason the Haagen-Dazs is the last hurrah is because I started a new diet today. I'm doing South Beach because I know it works for me when I actually DO it, and I really do lose quite a bit of weight over the course of a few weeks.

S is at Disney World. With his father.

And his father's new girlfriend.

Yeah, I could go on a whole tirade about that. It's not the girlfriend herself that I'm having a conniption over. It's the fact that I had to ASK The Ex who was going with them, or he wouldn't even have told me. And call me crazy (people often do, so I'm used to it), but I think it's sort of my business if Daddy's new girlfriend is going halfway across the continent with my son. I do NOT appreciate being left out of the loop.

So the presumption is that if she's at Disney World with her new beau, it's likely somewhat serious, and at any rate, S is being exposed to her whether it's serious or not. Therefore, the time has come.

I've said to Mom for a long time that if The Ex ever gets serious with someone, I WILL be sitting down to have coffee with her. Not to warn her off of The Ex. That would be tacky, for one thing, and the women of our family are nothing if not classy (thanks for raising your kids right, Grammy!) For another, she'd never in a million years listen to me, nor should she. So there's no point.

It won't be to establish my territory as Mom. That's better done through a nice little discussion with The Ex about the stepparenting boundaries J and I have, and the fact that I fully and completely expect the same from him. She doesn't get a vote there, so that's not it either.

The point will be to establish a rapport with her. If she doesn't see me as the enemy, she'll be far more likely to treat my child well. Period. That's my ulterior motive. Sinister, isn't it?

The thing is, though, as much as I understand that it's not about competition, and as much as you couldn't PAY me to ever try to take her new boyfriend away from her...*shudder*...I don't want to be this pudgy when that meeting happens. It's a girl thing. Cellulite is in direct inverse proportion to confidence. In other words, the smaller my butt, the more confident I'll feel. Not that I of all people have any issues with confidence, but every little bit helps, right?

So here we are on Day 1 of the Meet the Chippie Diet. Wish me luck and better thighs (which are really the same thing in so many situations, anyway).

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Under Pressure

J bought a pressure washer. Heaven help us all. I think a pressure washer in the hands of a personality such as his may be dangerous.

This weekend, he decided that the fence needed cleaning. Yes, the FENCE. I really don't know how one goes about deciding that the fence needs cleaning, because I can honestly say that I've never heard of anyone undertaking this particular project, but hey.

In the usual vein of HIS projects becoming OUR projects, I found myself spending a lovely Saturday evening ridding our fence of the oxidized gunk that turns the wood from brown to grey. I have named this gunk fence cheese. Charming, no? Since I'm reasonably sure I'm the only person who has ever pressure washed a wooden privacy fence, I feel pretty comfortable about being the one to pioneer the terminology that goes along with it, so fence cheese it is and evermore shall be. The thing is, I don't really mind the fence cheese, and I kind of like the mossy parts. But apparently J has decided that it ruins the integrity of the wood, which I'm not sure I buy. Other people's fences do just fine with it. I most DEFINITELY don't care about it enough for that to be the way I'd choose to spend any single Saturday of my God-given life. And yet, here I am with newly pressurized sections of fence, gleaming a newish-looking tan color once again.

Last night - one of the very few school-free evenings I have lately - was basically the same thing. It turns out that we have a lot of fence. I have never, ever been so well aware of how much fence we have. So the (no longer) free time of my foreseeable future will most likely be spent ridding the world of fence cheese, one slat at a time. Because obviously it will need to be done to the outside of the fence, too, right? We must share the joy of our newly revitalized fence with all of the neighborhood! I'm kind of afraid to ask how often J thinks this needs to be done.

As it turns out, I haven't ended up with my father or my mother, or any of that Freudian poo.

J was outside long past dark last night, after I had already come in, pressure-washing the patio, and I had a very strong flashback of Uncle Ray. THAT'S who I've wound up with. He very pleased afterward about how great the patio looked, and what a huge difference it had made. I do like to see him happy, but...egads, can you guys imagine if Uncle Ray had owned a pressure washer?!

I love this man. But boy, when he gets an idea in his head...