Balancing Act

Posted by ZenMom Monday, December 21, 2009 20 comments

I've never been what one would call coordinated.

My eye/hand coordination is almost non-existent, as is my ability to pitch a ball without throwing like a girl.

This was apparent at an early age. I still remember those wonderful home movies my mom would whip out -- you know the kind. The ones that make you sink into your seat with embarrassment as everyone around you has a good belly laugh at your expense.

There I was with my best friend, trying to do a flower dance. We started curled up on the ground as buds and, at least in theory, were supposed to open up into beautiful flowers as we danced gracefully around the room.

Theory would be the operative word here. In reality, the two of us made the most graceless, bumbling flowers the world has ever known.

Of all my coordination issues, balance was by far the worst. No tight rope walking for me.  Unless you really want a good laugh.  Then of course I'll oblige.

Unfortunately my issues with this much needed skill seep into all aspects of my life -- including my new found hobby of blogging.

And now, here comes the confession you've all been waiting for --- without further ado --

I'm a tad obsessive.

Phew. There I said it.

I'm am totally and completely addicted to blogging.  Not just writing, mind you.  But to reading.  Leaving witty and wonderful comments (Hey, I try).  I even spent the good part of my Friday night trying to work on the design (considering my computer literacy problems, that was fun).

When I'm not on my computer, I'm preoccupied about being on the computer.  What will I write?  Who will I visit?   Where can I find that widget?

And this, my dear friends, is getting somewhat problematic.  You see, once again, I've lost my balance.

Like any addiction, is starts small.  And then before you know it consumes your very being.

"I just need to check my email for comments."

"I've got to finish the one post."

"I have to catch up on my friends' new stuff."

In the meantime, things like dishes, dinner and laundry have been a smidge neglected.  Unfortunately so have the kids and the hubby.

And this is creating a bit more chaos than I can take.  Have you ever seen a house with four kids running around unsupervised?  I haven't either, because I'm somewhat glued to this stupid laptop.

While it can make for some pretty funny material (see, told you I'm addicted), it doesn't bode well for the whole family bonding thing.

So, in an effort to get myself back up on that tightrope -- without breaking my neck -- I'm going to have to pull back.  The kids are home on break and we have cookies to bake.  Presents to wrap.  Plus a little togetherness time to catch up on.

For the time being, as I get back to my role as wife and mom, I'm gonna be a bad bloggy friend.  But believe me, I haven't forgotten. I can't. I have an addiction, remember?  Besides, all of you are too awesome to miss for too long. So I promise.

I'll be back.

The Sweetest Gift of All

Posted by ZenMom Friday, December 18, 2009 12 comments

Our sweet Little Stinker's been sick the last few days.

Actually sweet is probably not  best choice of adjectives here.  Cranky's more like it.

Hmm, even that can't accurately reflect his mood.  I'd say grumpy.  Uber grumpy.  Yeah, that's it.

But I can't really blame him.

It all started Wednesday night, when his preschool put on THE cutest Christmas program.  OK, I'm a bit biased, I know.  Anyway, he was up there, singing his little heart out for the first half.

Then all of a sudden, he just stopped.  And stared.  Not exactly staring, he put his hands up to his eyes like he had binoculars and was searching the crowd.  Did I mention he was smack dab in the middle for all to see?

And for his encore, he would sneer at anyone who would look his way and smile.  Guess some of my Scrooge-like behavior has rubbed off on the little guy.  Uh oh.

By the time we got home, he had that tell-tale glazed look in his eyes and was running a pretty good fever.

If it were any other week, we would have camped out at home and let him convalesce.  But this is not just any week.  It is THE week for holiday festivities, especially for those of the school aged variety.

So the poor kid was dragged from store to store, party to party.  And I had a grumpy kid?  Go figure.

So by the end of today -- the Mother of all Holiday Party days -- the little guy was pooped.  Still running a fever, I delivered him up to his bed, but he was too miserable to sleep.  I tried to make my exit downstairs, he stuck to me like glue.  When I asked him if he wanted to come downstairs he just shook his head.

And then he said what all women dream of hearing one day.

"Please stay."  Big pause.  Then, wide eyed, he added, "You're Mom  And I need you."

No sweeter words were ever spoken.  So there I stayed, while the other kids were downstairs running with scissors, setting fires or engaging in some other wholesome activity.  Because I'm mom and I said so.

The Deed Is Done

Posted by ZenMom Wednesday, December 16, 2009 10 comments

Today was the day.  The deed is done.  After much anticipation, I had my very first root canal.

And I have to tell you, it wasn't so bad.  Now my opinion may change once the Novocaine wears off, but judging by what transpired, I'm not sure that will be anytime soon.

Unfortunately, I'm not a very good patient.  I've had many a dentist frustrated with me because no matter how much Novocaine they pump into me, I still flinch at EVERYTHING.  I could still hear them, trying to stay calm as they spit the words from between their gritted teeth.  "You still feel that."

Luckily this guy was a pro.  He tried once, no luck.  Twice, the same.  But there was no knashing of teeth, no frustration to be heard.  By the third try he wised up and brought out the big guns.  As a result I felt nothing.

And I mean nothing.

That's a good thing right?  Well...there were a couple of minor side affects.  Like the fact that I am currently numb from my eyeball (yes, my left eye was literally hard to blink) down to my chin.  I kind of look like someone went a little wild with the Botox -- on just one side of my face.

I couldn't smile if I tried.  Or blink.  Or talk.  But, hey, I can still type so all is good.

Now the fun will really begin once the kids get home, which is any minute now.  There will of course be the requisite pointing.  Plus the laughs.  And one must not forget the we're laughing with you jokes that will follow.

I'm getting tired just thinking about it.  And as I type I feel the slightest throb starting to creep into my frozen jaw.  Hmm, maybe its time for those pain killers the dear doc prescribed.  What a nice guy.

 And after that?  There is no after.  Just lots of snoring...and probably some good drooling added in for good measure.

Ain't Misbehavin'

Posted by ZenMom Tuesday, December 15, 2009 3 comments

I am happy to report that our deer have regained their composure and are once again adorning our front light display with a "G", Approved for All Audiences rating.  And, no I didn't get a picture. Maybe next time.

But have you ever noticed how things get a worse before they get better?

Last night, I went to take my daughter out shopping.  Once again, the wind knocked over the happy couple.  Now remember these two are animated.  Yep, we spare no expense around here.  The cheesier the better.

Anyway, their compromising position did not escape the keen eye of my oldest.  How they fell on top of each other.  How they kept moving, even though they were down.

I've got to say, I could really have done without the visual of our forest creatures bumping and grinding.  I'll never look at Bambi the same again.

But, being a bit animated herself (OK, downright dramatic is truly more accurate) she kept going on and on.  And on.  And...that got on Mom's nerves.  So as I reached my limit I heard myself say what no mother should tell her young daughter.

"OK, OK, I know their doing the nasty out there.  I fix it when I get home!"

There you have it folks.  Bad parenting moment number 991.

Get a good chuckle.  Good. Its my Christmas present to you.

A Change of Heart

Posted by ZenMom Monday, December 14, 2009 11 comments

You gotta love those hormonal rages.  The way they take over your very soul can be a tad unnerving.

But what really messes with my head even more is the way I can be a raving loon one second, and Miss Congeniality the next.

After yesterday's holiday bashing fest, I had a change of heart.  Or hormone levels.  Not quite sure which just yet.

But anyway...

I forgot how it goes with the Holiday Spirit.  You just can't force it.  For me at least, it comes upon you when you least expect it.

And that was yesterday.

After officially declaring my good cheer dead, I came downstairs to my family putting lights on the tree.  Cheesy Christmas music was blaring from our crummy stereo.  And everyone was smiling.

Yes, folks you got that right.  We had a miracle in the making, because I can't tell you the last time we had all six members of my family happy at the exact same moment.

Spirits were lifted and I found myself joining in on the fun.  Dancing, laughing...all while we put the finishing touches on our poor, Charlie Brown like tree.

And when we were done?  It was beautiful.  It gave our house a whole new look.  And attitude.

So I'm happy to report that today, Christmas is alive and well.

And Now For Something Completely Different....

We've been having some issues with our outside light displays -- especially the deer.  Yesterday we had some high winds and we noticed that some of our decorations had fallen over, including our sweet, animated doe.

No worries, we picked everything up and all was good.  Until I pulled into the driveway last night and noticed her lights were out from the neck up.  The result?  We have a beautiful buck gazing fondly at his headless mate.

The winds continue today.  And once again, as I pulled into my drive, there were the deer.  This time they were one on top of the other, getting frisky on our front lawn for all to see.  It wouldn't be so bad if they were not placed so close to the beautiful Nativity scene.

Whoops.  I'm hoping that's not an accurate depiction of the first Christmas.  So off I go to break up the loving couple and restore order to our home once again.

Holidays Schmolidays

Posted by ZenMom Sunday, December 13, 2009 11 comments

BIG FAT WARNING:  My mood is pretty darn sour today.  Hormones, they are a ragin'.  Why they're so bad, I actually know I'm crazy and I'm OK with it.

When I was younger -- not even a little kid, but a young adult -- I loved Christmas.  I loved going through the stores, humming along with the Christmas musak piping down from the ceilings.  I took great effort picking out just the right gifts for all my loved ones and friends.

I loved the hustle and bustle, the crowds didn't phase me, nor did Uncle Joe's hour-long, drunken rant over Christmas dinner about how Rush Limbaugh should rule the world.

I have distinct memories of my parents during this time.  They had what one might call an attitude problem.

I'd ask them what they wanted.  With a heavy sigh, shoulders slightly slouched, they'd tell me not to bother.  How they really weren't into the whole gift-giving thing.

Not get them anything?  Didn't they know how important it was to ME?  Get with the program, people.

So today, imagine how I feel when I realize I've turned into one of those grumpy, Grinch-like beings.

Its not that I haven't tried.  I always try.  I write myself lists, make deadlines and have all sorts of wonderful creative ideas.  But just like every year, about a week before the big day, I realize I am totally behind with no chance in hell of every catching up.

This year I thought it would be different.  We had most of our decorations up early, I my lists were done.  We were off to a great start.
But life has a funny way of getting in the way of my best-laid plans.  First, my kids are getting older.  All those traditions they loved just a year ago meet with a chorus of Moooommmmms now.  So gone are the hot cocoa parties by the fire, family picture taking and other family love fest activities.

I guess I could beat them into submission, but I'm just too tired to fight.

That leaves me to sit here, shoulders slouched, head hanging low.  The tree is not trimmed, the cookies not baked, and don't get me started on those handmade teacher gifts we were going to do.  And when the kids ask me what I want this year, I have a new appreciation for my world-worn parents.

First, I know whatever they get me, I'll end up paying for.  Second, I'll have to take them to Target or Walmart or some other crazy-making block of concrete.  And that leads me to utter the following statement.

"Don't worry kids.  I'm not really into the whole gift giving thing."

Crap.  Its official.  I've turned into my mother.  Or the Grinch.  Either way, I'm screwed.

Pain, Pain Go Away

Posted by ZenMom Thursday, December 10, 2009 9 comments

Today I overslept.  It was really cold and my covers were so snuggly warm.  When I finally dragged my carcass out of bed, I was greeted by the thermometer in our kitchen.  I had to check it twice.  It couldn't be right.  No way in hell.  Most definitely, it couldn't really be -13.

It was at that very moment that I threw any notions of a good day right out the window.  The foreshadowing was clearly on the wall. 

My first thought was to run and hide.  But I forced myself to continue. To my suprise, I didn't mind the cold once I was in it.  It did wonders for those pesky hot flashes I've been getting lately.  There I was in my car -- window rolled down, head sticking out to the side, all while I peeled away layer upon layer of clothing.

Damn it felt good.

About halfway through the day, I realized things were still running smoothly. Everyone made it to school OK, I was able to put the finishing touches on the new paint in the living room (Very big NOTE TO SELF:  Never, never again take on a painting project two weeks before Christmas!).   I even got a little quality TV time so I could finally catch up on my Heroes episodes.

Could it be?  An actual, bonified good day?  I began losing faith in my own prediction abilities. Why it was downright peaceful.

And. Then. I saw it.

On the refrigerator, written ever so neatly on the calendar was an appointment.  Not just any appointment.  The one that I happen to dread most.

Let's get this straight.  I'm no wimp.  I can handle my fair share of pain.  Why, I've given birth to four children, for God's sake. So how is it that seven letters on the refrigerator could have me breaking out in a cold sweat?


When those seven letters spell D-E-N-T-I-S-T.

There. I admit it.  I hate the dentist.

Maybe I watched Little Shop of Horrors one too many times growing up, but even a routine cleaning can make me cry like a little baby.

Too bad today was no ordinary cleaning.  It involved two cavities.  Oh, and a drill.  And that can never be good.

First, there's the sheer humiliation of being put in that chair.  They lay you back, use some kind of crank to open your mouth wider than you ever thought possible, then stick all sorts of contraptions inside.

If that's not bad enough, they keep talking.  Like that's supposed to make you forget what they're up to.  Nice try.

Why, they just won't shut up.  Laughing. Telling witty jokes. Asking you tons of questions.

Hello?  Do you really expect me to answer that?

Whoops.  Digression rules, yet again.  Back to the story...

The first filling went fine.  Once again, visions of peacefulness danced through my head.

Not so fast, missy.

Time for the second one.  I was sufficiently pumped full of Novocaine.  So I thought.  Too bad I felt every zip of the drill.  So in came more Novocaine.  Then more pain.  A little more Novocaine.  A lot more pain.

Finally the words I hoped to never hear were spoken.  Root canal.

I've never had one.  I was fine with that.  I could have lived a long and useful life without ever have this lovely experience.  But someone up there had other plans for me.

So tomorrow morning I get to call the specialist to make yet another scary appointment.  I'm really thinking of blowing it off.  Maybe if I just ignore it, it will go away on its own.

Ya think?  Me neither. Guess I'll be writing a check for an early Christmas present.  I think I'd rather get coal.  Darn, I feel another Bah Humbug coming on.

Pump Up the Volume

Posted by ZenMom Monday, December 7, 2009 8 comments

In my younger days I was way into music. The more obscure the better, causing me to have more than my fair share of useless 80s and 90s music trivia swimming around in my head.

I also went to way too many concerts -- mostly in smoky, loud dive bars, which in turn caused irreparable harm to my poor, then-innocent eardrums. But it just didn't matter.  I was in my element. 

That was then.

Now, I like my peace.  With a large order of quiet on the side, thank you very much.

Yes, I'm officially an old fart.  Too much noise makes me grumpy. I don't listen to my iPod too loudly, rarely blast my car stereo (the other moms in the carpool lane tend to frown on this  -- believe me, I learned the hard way) and I  have a healthy dislike of booming movie theaters.  Ever since my neurotic, worry wort mom gene kicked in, I also take seriously all the warnings about the adverse affects of noise pollution.

So the other night, as I sat at the kitchen table trying to enjoy a moment of calm, I had yet another scary revelation. 

My precious offspring, whose sweet little ears I've tried so hard to protect, were running around the house like a pack of wild coyotes.  Hooting and howling, the noise level in my humble abode was about to reach something resembling a sonic boom.

Then the light bulb went off.

In my house lies a not-so-silent killer.  One so dangerous, no one speaks its name. One the Press dares not cover.   That research amazingly overlooks.  Why its a conspiracy in the making.  How could I have been so blind?

 I realized that when my kids speak, the dial reads at least a 6.  Its like they're projecting for a performance at Carnegie Hall.  When they're excited, it gets even worse -- usually with the added bonus of the high-pitched, crystal-breaking whine thrown in.  And when they're yelling (Yell?  Us?  I know its hard to believe, but just go with me here).  When they yell, to coin a phrase from our friends at Spinal Tap --  they're at eleven all the way!

And that's when it hit.  No wonder why old people are deaf.  Its not just because their old.  Not because they went to too many concerts or listened to too much Lawrence Welk.  Its because they had kids.  It turns out those little bundles of joy not only make us gray, but they'll also have us all sporting hearing aids before all is said and done

So the next time you run into some week old lady shouting, "Heh?" repeated, have some compassion.  After all, this could be you some day.  And if you get the chance, go to a concert.  If you're gonna go deaf, might as well have some fun doing it.

Woe Is Me

Posted by ZenMom Saturday, December 5, 2009 9 comments

OK, I'm really starting to have some unkind thoughts.  No, not about anyone in my family.  Not this time at least.

I'm getting a little peeved with this whole holiday thing.

Yeah, I know, just call me Mr. Scrooge for short.  But all this bonding with the kids, family togetherness and merry making is really cramping my style.

Do you realize in the last two weeks, I've written only three posts?  Not to mention the fact that I'm seriously missing out on a ton of great stuff on all my blogging buddies sites.

Its gotten so bad, I'm actually having withdrawals.  Sure I do my normal stuff -- bringing the kids to school, doing laundry, making dinner -- but all the while I'm obsessed with what I'll write next.  And when I'll be able to steal away for a few minutes of writing time.  And if I can't, that's when the shaking begins.  Then come the cold sweats.  OK, maybe not the cold sweats -- that's the whole menopause thing, I keep forgetting.

But anyway....

Bear with me, my friends.  I promise I'll be back in solid form as soon as these pesky holidays are behind us. In the meantime, if you see some middle-aged lady muttering Bah Humbug to herself in the grocery line, have no fear.  Its just me.

Chances are good I won't hurt anybody.  Just give me my space and a laptop and I'll be fine.

What a Long, Strange Trip Indeed

Posted by ZenMom Wednesday, December 2, 2009 12 comments

Long time, no post.  I know.  Its been a strange few days.

Monday was so serene.  The kids were back at school (Halleluiah!) and I was able to gain my bearings.  I organized closets, did some shopping and even made a great turkey tortilla soup dinner.  I was on a roll.

Then Tuesday came.  I was so excited because my long-awaited new laptop was scheduled to arrive.  Yes, my old one officially bit the big one, so I broke down during all those online Black Friday deals and bought me a brand spanking new one.
The anticipation was almost more than I could handle.  I kept running to the door every time I heard a truck go by.  When the FedEx guy finally did show up, I nearly knocked him down trying to get my hands on my new toy.

Well, its not actually a toy.  More like a necessity if you ask me.   My life as a blogger was being seriously hampered by a series of annoyances.  Holidays, kids and pesky chores like dinner and laundry were constantly getting in the way.  And anytime I did sit down to type a few lines, I had three not-so-subtle kids breathing down my neck.

“Are you done yet? “
“When can I go on?”
“Mom, I have to do my homework!”

Come on kids.  What’s more important?  Your essay on the Constitution or my blogging fix?  This was officially cramping my style.

So as soon as I had the box in my grubby little paws, pieces of cardboard could be seen flying everywhere.  That new laptop was unwrapped and ready to go in record time.  Why I’d be up in a matter of no time.

Yeah, like that happened. You’ve all known me long enough to know better, right?

I knew there was going to be some setup time required.  What I didn’t sign up for was exactly how much time we were talking about.

I read the instructions.  I followed the directions.  It was supposed to be easy.
So they said.

They lied. I ended up with about half my files and none of my programs loading properly.  As for my email?  It was gone.  Out on some joyride, generously taking all my contacts, addresses and phone numbers along for fun.

So if you’ve been wondering where I’ve been, I’ve spent the better part of the last two days trying to figure out how to get all my info from one computer to the next.  And this sent me on a seemingly never ending trip in circles.

First I started by contacting Microsoft.  It was there software after all.  But no.  Since the operating system came loaded on the computer, I was not-so-quickly instructed to talk to Dell.  Not to be outdone, their policy clearly pointed me to a link right back to the software vendor.

Never mind that groceries needed to be bought and bills paid.  I was plastered to my chair (in between breaks cursing this elaborate conspiracy to take my money and run), because I was bound and determined to figure it out.

Round and round I went until finally – I’m still not sure what exactly I did – software and data alike magically appear.  What the $@*#!

All I know is, right now I am pleased to report that all is safe and sound.  Backups are scheduled.  And I am right where I belong – on my bed cranking out yet another mindless, but sanity inducing post.

So at the moment, the planets are aligned.  And all is once again right in the world.  Until tomorrow.

One never knows what kind of trip I’ll end up on then.

Zen and the Art of Motherhood

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