There Is No "We" In "Impressionable"!

"Balloon animals, unicycles, chimpanzees, and blood will figure prominently in your future after you run afoul of an assassin who specializes in making his kills look like especially hilarious accidents." 


As a baker's-dozen-worth of complete strangers filed politely into the room, there were two immediate collective observations: No place to sit and a giant frame of butcher paper presented awkwardly at our feet. Hardly a moment later, what we can only assume was our instructor saunters in behind us and seals us in with one swift kick of the door. "Good morning! Let's get started, shall we? Go ahead and sit anywhere that feels right and start painting."  Only then did we take notice of the finger paints delicately placed about the room. Immediately, the boldest of the strangers shoot their hands into the air. "*sigh* No, this won't do at all!" she dramatically proclaims, despite not having taken any of the questions clearly waiting to be presented. "I didn't say I'd be taking questions, I only gave the green light to paint!"..... *more hands*..... 
"So I'm to believe that out of all you plucky and otherwise intelligent people gathered before me, not one of you has enough courage to just DO?" This was beginning to feel a bit like uninvited therapy. We were certainly paying handsomely enough for it. Nope. "Creativity in Education". An oxymoron to hear her tell it. Each one of us succeeded in disappointing her gravely as we were so trained to take direction, we simply couldn't function properly without it. To further illustrate her point, she wheeled in a rickety television and VCR setup to broadcast footage of the very classroom in which we stood, filled with children. With deja vu caliber instructions, the children excitedly scrambled to find the perfect place to plop down and proceeded to paint their eager little hearts out. Dinosaurs, unicorns, something resembling a map of Russia... Color me impressed! 
I have stumbled across the theory before. Some of the most brilliant minds of all time were uneducated in a formal sense. To be educated, the woman argued, was to introduce the sort of structure we were never meant to endure if we were to thrive. Structure was for technology and architecture, not the living! 


As I was a highly impressionable Simp who was additionally always on the lookout for something justifying my remarkable laziness, that university course was pure gold. I was easily swayed with the instructor's words. It became a bit of a pretentious game opening the doors to art-house theater, beatnik-packed coffee shops and writing foreign poetry in the dark. Had there been an offering for it, I would have eagerly signed on to any given cult offering Kool-Aid and cookies! 
Don't get me wrong - there was surely some truth in her words and even sparks of good in her intention. What was horribly askew was my presence there. This was the first essential piece in the building blocks that would construct that slide leading away from earning a degree. To this day, I'm likely to spit venom when discussing the inequities of education vs. experience.... book smarts vs. practicality and street smarts... The utterly unteachable quality of common sense. And yet, I ultimately let myself down. "But, it's not too late!" is a phrase I hear often. No. Probably not. The truth is, I'm too afraid. I'll summon any excuse not to go back. Frankly, I long since gave up believing in myself. T'is a damn shame, to be sure. So instead, I obediently report for duty each day to be mistreated, disrespected, overworked, insulted and drained of the spark which once was.


When I left work yesterday evening, my spirit was finally extinguished. I curled up into my Shell-Of-Defeat, sobbed, waved my fists wildly at nothing in particular, then concluded the day-from-hell with two hours worth of feisty and rage-fueled exercise. I wouldn't believe I so much as POSSESSED abdominal muscles except for the fact that I can't inhale or sit upright without involuntarily weeping. 
Where am I going with all of this? Well first off, I'm totally blaming that teacher from 14 years ago for sending me into a spiral of self pity because "why not?", right? Ha! Second, today I'm resolving to stop living in the past. I know, I know, this is at least the 49th such post to date with similarly disappointing results - But! If at first (or 49th) you don't succeed, try and try again, yes? Failing that, there's always Plan B of actively seeking aforementioned cult so I no longer am forced to take any responsibility for my actions. I've outgrown my compulsion for Kool-Aid, so looks like it's time to grow up! Onward and upward, Pets! And a Happy No-Longer-Monday to you all!

L'il Miss Sunshine

"The stars aren't sure if you've lost weight or done something to your hair or what, but whatever it is, you're looking good. Also, do you happen to have 50 bucks they could borrow until Friday?" 


So after my last post, I received an email from a dear friend demanding I stop feeling sorry for myself and write something more positive. Ask and you shall receive! (Though I'm respectfully reserving the right to still feel sorry for myself....only more quietly...passive-aggressively, even. *grin*)


It actually didn't take much effort to recall a happier moment in recent memory - which is quite surprising giving my exceedingly faulty memory. That said, this could be totally made up. I'm not tellin'. Mostly because I'm not entirely sure. But I digress......


Upon hearing the cheerful chatter of birds outside my window, I cautiously opened my eyes, reaching instinctively for the alarm clock. "Off". OH HELL! I FORGOT TO SET THE ALARM!!! HOLY F*CKI....Wait.... Saturday *exaggerated exhale*! YAY!!!! Although I was still in that small window of absolutely pleasurable comfort lounging around, my heart seemed to skip a beat and I was ready to begin the day. I fussed about in that deliciously hazy lighting where the sun is just beginning to rise, but has yet to assault the senses.... my slippers! Woot! In those initial moments of routine, it occurred to me there had been no 2am fights to break up between my boys, no 3:55am demands for juice or "dinner" (I'm still unsure why the nomenclature of 3 simple meals proves so difficult for those two), no wallop to the head of an empty sippy cup at 4:10am, no tugging at the blankets with obnoxiously loud whispers of "MAMA! CAN I GO ON THE BOUNCY HOUSE!?" (That's what the little one has decided the trampoline must be called) at 4:16am... nothing. Not a peep, whisper, BAM, demand or otherwise. 6:22am. Bliss.

As I am a model wife and citizen (Note to Peanut Gallery: Please exercise some level of restraint), I thought I should allow my I.D.S.T. to continue his snore-filled slumber, so I quietly tip-toe to the bedroom door (to be honest, my head was now filled with every possible traumatic scenario offering explanation as to why I had been allowed to sleep in.....) *JINGLEJINGLEJINGLEJINGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!* Damn dog! She normally loves to snuggle at the foot of the bed, but lately has taken to passing out just beyond the door so she can loudly shake her clanking tags the moment I exit the room each morning. I hung my head in defeat imagining there was no possible way the munchkins could have slept through all the clamor. Nothing. Not a peep. *exhibiting a mixture between cautious optimism and relieved shock*. Knowing damn well I was liable to wake up the boys if I so much as turn that doorknob, I had to know they were OK.... Hell, PRESENT. *CREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK* Lovely. Nothing. Two little "angels" with their harmonious little muppet snores. *Utter disbelief*

I maneuvered past the die-cast obstacles lining the stairs down to the kitchen and began a pot of shamelessly strong coffee. The aroma put on a Cirque Du Soleil caliber performance in my nostrils and I couldn't help but relax enough for a smile to creep upon my lips. Half blind, and smiling like the village idiot, I slowly made my way out to the garage and opened the door. *gasp* WOW.

It had apparently rained through the night judging by the dew-soaked tree and misty fog rolling across the driveway. Those rain storms top my list of favorites. The unexpected ones, towards the end of Winter. When, by all normal accounts, especially given the date on the calendar, it should have been too cold a night to simply rain.... The smell, the ever-so-slight-but-enjoyable-chill on my flesh, the stained bark of the trees with those miniature glassy baubles of water lining each branch like prismatic and crystalline leaves... Overwhelmed and pleased as punch, I melted into the chair and just breathed it all in. Perfection.

The rest of the day isn't remotely important as for that uninterrupted hour or so, Calgon had finally taken me away. It was pure magic, which is perhaps why I'm not likely soon to forget it. *beaming*

Spanx for the Soul

"Mercury is in retrograde this week, which may explain why it's falling back into all its old bad habits like drinking too much and talking crap about you to all your mutual planetary friends."


On occasion, there are downfalls to being an introvert. What!? I know. I'm sorry to drop that on you like that. If you are, perhaps, suspecting this is the appetizer to yet another pity tea party, you are quite correct and I won't fault you for slowly (or quickly, depending on your mood) backing out of the room. If you choose to be more dramatically creative by excusing yourself to the restroom, I still won't hold it against you. Please remember to wash your hands.
It's possible I secretly enjoy attempting to help others with their problems. Being a shoulder to cry on. Offering advice... Solicited or otherwise. What I haven't stumbled across, much to my chagrin, is my doppelganger. Sometimes.... Times such as these right here, right now, I could use support. Even a support system. Or oxygen tank. Perhaps a hookah. Valium? I don't know. Generally writing and sobbing it out makes things less overwhelming, but lately I'm not measuring up when it comes to being a rock for myself. (And I wonder why I get all those emails about "not measuring up"!) Be it work, personal, physical or mental, I haven't exactly nurtured the sort of relationships where it's occasionally acceptable to melt into a driveling mess of humanity and receive a hug in exchange. Or even to declare "I'M SIMPLY NOT QUALIFIED TO DO THIS!" and take a step back as someone far more experienced replies "There, there, I'll take over from here". It possibly doesn't help matters that I have an obnoxious level of pride where admitting failure is concerned. Plus snot bubbles are hardly flattering. Stupid mucus.
To be fair, things are actually settling down a bit from where they were this time last week. But I'm a drama queen so there's the residual damage to consider. Even when disaster has been successfully averted, I spend the next 4 or so days pondering "Yes, but WHAT IF?". Not a stellar use of my time, I'm aware. There additionally tend to be aftershocks involved if I made the bold error in judgement of laying my problems on another...say...a relative. Those 4 or so aforementioned days will be filled with non-stop phone calls informing me I have caused stress and unspecified emotional damages by voicing my stresses aloud and within earshot of another. If it didn't seem so damn creepy, I'd just procure a life-size teddy bear or mannequin or something and dress it up as a therapist to be housed in my crawlspace until tragedy strikes yet again. *daydreaming* That really is a lovely thought.... but again, pretty goddamned creepy.
 And so, in conclusion, I'm back where I began. Writing and sobbing it out to no avail. Although I can't pinpoint the precise moment in time where it because a complete faux-pas to drink on the job, I'd like to officially express my disappointment and distaste for such. While I'm at it, I'll also toss a penny or two in that geyser/make-shift-wishing-well out front and dream about a day free of worry and stress. Now that I'm feeling especially ambitious, I shall also pen a "Thank You" note to the gentlemen who struck the fire hydrant resulting in said make-shift-wishing-well. Well look at that. I feel better already!


 

Round Two *DING*!

Wednesday "is not going to be the least bit funny to you, but it will be hilarious to the chair-lift operator, the septic tank man, the EMTs, and everyone who reads about it in the New York Post" 


"Ok, Annie, we need a status on all the quotes and the subcontracts written and ready to be in place by Monday, and this contract was massively underbid so work your magic to negotiate pricing down 25-50%. I'll expect an update by morning"


Yeah. Let's go ahead and back up that trolley to the station. If someone blindfolded you, tossed you into an unfamiliar conference room and barked the above statement to you, how would you tackle it? Because, by all normal logic, you'd be as clued in to what in the hell is going on as I am. Seriously. Although I'm not the type to respond (out loud, anyway): "Umm.... that's not my job" - that could not be more true. Not just because it's literally not my job but more importantly because I am not even remotely qualified to DO that job in the first place. As all this white noise was bumbling about in my skull a few questions immediately came to mind:


1. What in the hell contract are you speaking of?
2. What's a subcontract? (Ok, so I do have SOME experience there.....)
3. How, exactly, am I to negotiate when I don't have the first clue what the hell is going on here and who you people are?
4. "25-50%" of WHAT? What in the flying fuck was priced in the proposal?
5. I wonder if I could pull off a faux heart attack?
6. Where is the nearest exit?
7. Surely, they're referring to the OTHER Annie?
8. How many pills did I take today?
9. I wonder if it's supposed to snow tonight?
10. Sweet jesus, it's garbage day!!!!!! SHIT!!!!!


In other news, I have an uninvited guest in the form of a high-strung and miserably poorly behaved Yorkie in my home. Seems a certain individual from a previous post struck again and after calling every hospital within a 50 mile radius to even locate her, molehills have, in fact, turned into mountains. As this individual's home is up for sale right now (with two showings scheduled for today), I had to rescue the fuzzy beast, quickly scrub down the carpets from 3 days of doggie neglect, and make the house presentable. I got the beast home and he promptly let his bowels free upon the carpets at home.  I'm additionally coming off severe sleep deprivation and my hands are cracked and bleeding due to a mixture of cold weather and doing 4 loads of laundry through the night after being projectile vomited on by the poor Dr. Snicks.


So, in summary, I have smiled at everyone I've encountered today, opened doors for people, volunteered myself as every co-worker's personal bitch, donated to charity, gave a stranger my last cigarette and called everyone in my family to tell them I love them. I figure karma has my number right now, so I'm trying to invent my way out of this mess. 

No Soliciting. It's a Sign.

"But I'm not a solicitor... I'm simply peddling my wares."

Is it that I am only prone to picking up on the most obscure & unintentional of signals as opposed to the ones flashing blatantly through the windshield? For a gal who spends far too much time going over the details of the day with a fine-toothed comb, one might think I'd be a bit more.... well... sensitive. Receptive to the deliberately odd goings on throughout my life and recognize that, perhaps, THOSE are the moments which are meant to stand out or remain branded in my mind as opposed to the moments made up to keep things symbolically and hypothetically interesting?

It was only after dedicating a certain level of meticulous consideration to precise moments in time where I clearly NEEDED saving....help.... faith.....SOMETHING....that the 'ol electrically faulty light bulb buzzed to life in some small sense of enlightenment.

The quote at the top of this post: uttered by a mere child of no more than perhaps 14 or so as he stood at our front doorway, holding a mysterious cobalt blue tote on what would normally be little more than an awkwardly early Sunday morning.

In all the chaos and confusion of the moment... calling 911.... the emergency vehicles descending one after another upon our street... the clamor of uniformed strangers entering one by one into the door through the garage, only to exhibit looks of bewilderment at the listless and blue child nestled rigidly upon my shoulder before walking back out again. "I don't have a mask that small! Hey Roy - do you have a small enough mask for the oxygen? Shit. I just don't have one that small"....The voices would echo in and out of my consciousness as I swayed in shock at the false sense of security housed between finally feeling that tiny heart beat murmur back to life again with his little chest pressed to mine - and realizing he wasn't looking.... he couldn't see... he wasn't responding....he couldn't hear... couldn't speak... cry.... Where was the wee creature giggling that deep and marvelous belly laugh what felt like only a handful of moments before?

My Dr. Snicks.

I had re-lived that morning over and over in my head again..... as I had done each time before and each time after. My wee one is growing out of these fits - stronger and more vivacious by the day. He is OK.... But how did I miss it? How could I have forgotten that strange child at the door? Uttering such a hilariously gutsy and obtuse comeback to our stern reminder of the prominently displayed "No Solicitors" sign? In fact, it was out of character to have answered the door in the first place.....

As more and more thought is placed upon the most horrifying or even wondrous events in my life to date, the flood of once-forgotten memories comes smoldering from the woodwork. The signs. They were in the form of peculiar and seemingly remarkable visits from strangers, however brief. Sometimes omens, oftentimes reminders. Clearly this is only the beginning of an epiphany of sorts. Clear as mud as there is still much to uncover... Neigh.


Edenland's Fresh Horses Brigade

“I taught you to fight and to fly. What more could there be?”

"You're proud that you've matured with your sense of childlike wonder intact, but others are tired of hearing you yell "Fire truck! Fire truck!" whenever one goes by."


Things seemed terribly dreary this past Saturday. All the stresses bubbling furiously within came to a raging boil and I felt lost if not hopeless. On the exterior, I smiled, but they all knew it was a hollow expression, particularly my eldest son. He's so very sensitive to my omni-changing moods. When his Mama slips off into periods of despair, his developing coping skills send him into action - taking his little brother by the hand and drifting delectably off into an imaginary world ripe with various Matchbox cars or Legos as props. Through my own selfishness, I was barely aware enough of the two sweet and inexplicably well behaved boys on the floor near my feet. My 'Ol Man, certainly not one to take on the dragon that is my emotional tides, retreated to his garage to build, rearrange and fancy up new functionality for his various assortment of tools. 


I don't even quite remember doing so, but I must have wandered to the bookshelf to locate the book my brother had highly recommended to me, and made my way back to the kitchen table with it. For the first time in what seems like years, I opened the cover to my new book and escaped into its pages. Only glancing up every half hour or so in response to a shriek or a *THUD!*, I was afforded enough time to read this delicious book in one sitting. Roughly 4 or so hours later, I reached the end with tears streaming effortlessly down my cheeks. A portion of that was a credit to the author, for it was a phenomenal read. The other, larger portion, was saying goodbye to my little tangible escape and returning back to the real world. Every time. Every last damn time my brother recommends something to me, I'm sucked in and spit mercilessly out again. Every time, the books are as absolutely amazing as promised. And every time, I emerge feeling abandoned knowing it had to end. 


After running my fingers along the spine of the book as though saying goodbye to a dear friend, things did look up. I was able to pull myself out of my funk just in time to move the cars out of the driveway and gather up all the outdoor toys I could possibly manage. We spent the afternoon blowing bubbles, digging up bugs in the dirt, playing "Halloween Spooks" (some oddly creepy game the boys dreamt up a few months back) and drawing crude renditions of actual things with sidewalk chalk. There was lots of giggling and my 'Ol Man even provided a backdrop of music for our combined listening pleasure (not to mention the perceived pleasure of the entire neighborhood, though they may have taken exception to some of the death metal tunes in the mix). The following day was even more enchanting, ickily necessary chores aside. Yet I couldn't help but think back to my book. Back to that and all the books either loaned to me or suggested for purchase by my favorite brother. 


In those moments lost in thought, it dawned on me why I was so drawn to these stories - and even more so, why my brother was. 


Let's back that up for a moment. Most, if not all, of the literary suggestions passed along from brother to sister come, amusingly enough, from the "young adult" section of any given book retailer or library. Before one jumps to immediate judgement, I can and DO read "real adult" books from time to time.... Though, in all fairness, not anytime in recent history given my complete lack of my OWN time.... I'm spiraling, here. Anyway, I found it odd that I had not arrived at this conclusion sooner. My brother is Peter Pan. (Sans the green tights and Disney features of course)


My brother is an extraordinary genius (notwithstanding the 6 or so college degrees he holds) and always has been. His sense of humor and adventure is quite literally not of this earth with a quick wit and charismatic charm all his own. He never related to the other inhabitants of this planet..... nor did I for that matter. Even in the midst of fist-fights or temper tantrums, he was always the closest thing I had to a best friend from the time I was a small child. He was always able to help me escape into a realm where anything is possible and the most mundane is thrilling. As he was 4 years to the day older than me, he went off into the world first. Always sure to relay back the fantastical parts of his journeys. Whether from another state, or another continent, he followed his curiosity without a second care or hesitation. I always marveled at his bravery. His utter lack of fear when it came to wanting to learn about something.... someplace new. 


I envy that. Him. That youthful reckless abandon. Impulsive and uninhibited. And yet, the REAL him is sad. Miserable, even. Miserable when forced to live in a small corner of the world that doesn't look kindly upon these differences, upon  uniqueness or sense of adventure. I take a step back and wonder whether many of the authors of these books look at the "real world" with the same distaste or dissatisfaction? Perhaps they lacked that fear of creating the sorts of worlds they would wish to reside in rather than waiting for another to paint the picture for them?... Rather than hoping the real world would heal itself and the people upon it would care enough to not only salvage what is, but to inspire what could be?


Do you ever start a post wondering where in the hell you were supposed to go with it? Yeah. But god damn, that was a good book. *daydreaming* Happy Monday, indeed.

Don't Toy With Me, Boy(s)!

"You'd much rather have people fear you than love you, which may be a problem since you are an adorable 3-week-old tiger-striped kitten."


This Mama has got problems, as the past 122 or so posts may blatantly illustrate, but one topping the list at the moment is a lack of healthy control over and respect FROM a certain crew that shall remain as vague as "My Family" might indicate. I had just dropped The Good Doctor off this morning and was on my way to delivering The King to his school on the way to work. We were about halfway up the hill when The King shouts: "MAMA!!!! WHERE'S SNICKS!?!?!?!" I'll be damned if I didn't go into a full-on panic reaching for the answer to that when.... Yup... back that up a few sentences to " I had just dropped The Good Doctor off this morning". I glared in the rear view mirror at that 5-year-old smartass only to find him guffawing mercilessly at my gullibility. No respect, I tells ya! None. 


I don't know about you, but I see a host of red flags popping up when a FIVE YEAR OLD has not only figured me out, but is also running the show with more authority than this broad! Let's not even get into the 2 year old - though he already fancies calling me Margaret instead of Mama. Did I mention that's not even in the same neighborhood as my real name? Yeah. 


So taking a step back further, it occurs to me that exhibiting frequent displays of snark and sarcasm around those two (I'll leave my 'Ol Man out of this round since I'm counting on him to gas up the car later....) little sponges may not have been the wisest parenting move. Who knew? Well most people, but that's not the point. Sure it is, you say. Yes, but I'm determined to win the argument with myself at the moment, so back off.


I used to be of the opinion that there were two types of mothers in this world. Those with the "it" factor... you know the ones... natural nurturers, saintly patience, always not only having AN answer, but THE answer. The Super Moms who succeed in putting Martha Stewart to shame. The other 99%.... well, they struggle, but you never doubt they're doing their best and giving it their all. They're amazing in their own right because they are clearly learning from their mistakes, continuously improving and damn if they don't still totally make the Super Mom cut. Yes, well, may I present you with the third type? Tah-Dah! 


Man, I don't know what in the hell I'm doing, I NEVER learn from my mistakes (mostly as I don't recall MAKING ANY), there's no rhyme or reason to my actions let alone reactions, I provide little to no structure - and not even in that organic "I'm letting my little free spirits blossom and thrive" cool mom sort of way - rather, most days I can't even remember how I got home or IF I'm actually in the CORRECT home and now I can't seem to decipher whether or not I'm even AWAKE. Awesomeness all around. There really ought to be some sort of award for achieving a sense of complete and utter CHAOS, no? Yeah. No. Probably not. Those poor kids. Wait, no.... they can't win THAT easily! Except that's precisely how shit goes down most days. *sigh*


More often than not, I stumble across Mommy or Daddy bloggers who are just so damn cool. They have their shit together and even delightful anecdotes aside (but not really, because those are even further proof of unattainable genius in parenting), you can tell who is ultimately in charge. It probably doesn't help that, even feeling like I'm approaching my 95th or so birthday, I have one of those baby faces where some strangers ask the boys why their dopey older sister is following them around. Greeeeeeeeeeeeeat.


So fess up, people. What's the bloody secret? Those two are stuck with me now, so I had better get on with figuring shit out post-haste!!!

Kitty

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

There Is No "We" In "Impressionable"!

"Balloon animals, unicycles, chimpanzees, and blood will figure prominently in your future after you run afoul of an assassin who specializes in making his kills look like especially hilarious accidents." 


As a baker's-dozen-worth of complete strangers filed politely into the room, there were two immediate collective observations: No place to sit and a giant frame of butcher paper presented awkwardly at our feet. Hardly a moment later, what we can only assume was our instructor saunters in behind us and seals us in with one swift kick of the door. "Good morning! Let's get started, shall we? Go ahead and sit anywhere that feels right and start painting."  Only then did we take notice of the finger paints delicately placed about the room. Immediately, the boldest of the strangers shoot their hands into the air. "*sigh* No, this won't do at all!" she dramatically proclaims, despite not having taken any of the questions clearly waiting to be presented. "I didn't say I'd be taking questions, I only gave the green light to paint!"..... *more hands*..... 
"So I'm to believe that out of all you plucky and otherwise intelligent people gathered before me, not one of you has enough courage to just DO?" This was beginning to feel a bit like uninvited therapy. We were certainly paying handsomely enough for it. Nope. "Creativity in Education". An oxymoron to hear her tell it. Each one of us succeeded in disappointing her gravely as we were so trained to take direction, we simply couldn't function properly without it. To further illustrate her point, she wheeled in a rickety television and VCR setup to broadcast footage of the very classroom in which we stood, filled with children. With deja vu caliber instructions, the children excitedly scrambled to find the perfect place to plop down and proceeded to paint their eager little hearts out. Dinosaurs, unicorns, something resembling a map of Russia... Color me impressed! 
I have stumbled across the theory before. Some of the most brilliant minds of all time were uneducated in a formal sense. To be educated, the woman argued, was to introduce the sort of structure we were never meant to endure if we were to thrive. Structure was for technology and architecture, not the living! 


As I was a highly impressionable Simp who was additionally always on the lookout for something justifying my remarkable laziness, that university course was pure gold. I was easily swayed with the instructor's words. It became a bit of a pretentious game opening the doors to art-house theater, beatnik-packed coffee shops and writing foreign poetry in the dark. Had there been an offering for it, I would have eagerly signed on to any given cult offering Kool-Aid and cookies! 
Don't get me wrong - there was surely some truth in her words and even sparks of good in her intention. What was horribly askew was my presence there. This was the first essential piece in the building blocks that would construct that slide leading away from earning a degree. To this day, I'm likely to spit venom when discussing the inequities of education vs. experience.... book smarts vs. practicality and street smarts... The utterly unteachable quality of common sense. And yet, I ultimately let myself down. "But, it's not too late!" is a phrase I hear often. No. Probably not. The truth is, I'm too afraid. I'll summon any excuse not to go back. Frankly, I long since gave up believing in myself. T'is a damn shame, to be sure. So instead, I obediently report for duty each day to be mistreated, disrespected, overworked, insulted and drained of the spark which once was.


When I left work yesterday evening, my spirit was finally extinguished. I curled up into my Shell-Of-Defeat, sobbed, waved my fists wildly at nothing in particular, then concluded the day-from-hell with two hours worth of feisty and rage-fueled exercise. I wouldn't believe I so much as POSSESSED abdominal muscles except for the fact that I can't inhale or sit upright without involuntarily weeping. 
Where am I going with all of this? Well first off, I'm totally blaming that teacher from 14 years ago for sending me into a spiral of self pity because "why not?", right? Ha! Second, today I'm resolving to stop living in the past. I know, I know, this is at least the 49th such post to date with similarly disappointing results - But! If at first (or 49th) you don't succeed, try and try again, yes? Failing that, there's always Plan B of actively seeking aforementioned cult so I no longer am forced to take any responsibility for my actions. I've outgrown my compulsion for Kool-Aid, so looks like it's time to grow up! Onward and upward, Pets! And a Happy No-Longer-Monday to you all!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

L'il Miss Sunshine

"The stars aren't sure if you've lost weight or done something to your hair or what, but whatever it is, you're looking good. Also, do you happen to have 50 bucks they could borrow until Friday?" 


So after my last post, I received an email from a dear friend demanding I stop feeling sorry for myself and write something more positive. Ask and you shall receive! (Though I'm respectfully reserving the right to still feel sorry for myself....only more quietly...passive-aggressively, even. *grin*)


It actually didn't take much effort to recall a happier moment in recent memory - which is quite surprising giving my exceedingly faulty memory. That said, this could be totally made up. I'm not tellin'. Mostly because I'm not entirely sure. But I digress......


Upon hearing the cheerful chatter of birds outside my window, I cautiously opened my eyes, reaching instinctively for the alarm clock. "Off". OH HELL! I FORGOT TO SET THE ALARM!!! HOLY F*CKI....Wait.... Saturday *exaggerated exhale*! YAY!!!! Although I was still in that small window of absolutely pleasurable comfort lounging around, my heart seemed to skip a beat and I was ready to begin the day. I fussed about in that deliciously hazy lighting where the sun is just beginning to rise, but has yet to assault the senses.... my slippers! Woot! In those initial moments of routine, it occurred to me there had been no 2am fights to break up between my boys, no 3:55am demands for juice or "dinner" (I'm still unsure why the nomenclature of 3 simple meals proves so difficult for those two), no wallop to the head of an empty sippy cup at 4:10am, no tugging at the blankets with obnoxiously loud whispers of "MAMA! CAN I GO ON THE BOUNCY HOUSE!?" (That's what the little one has decided the trampoline must be called) at 4:16am... nothing. Not a peep, whisper, BAM, demand or otherwise. 6:22am. Bliss.

As I am a model wife and citizen (Note to Peanut Gallery: Please exercise some level of restraint), I thought I should allow my I.D.S.T. to continue his snore-filled slumber, so I quietly tip-toe to the bedroom door (to be honest, my head was now filled with every possible traumatic scenario offering explanation as to why I had been allowed to sleep in.....) *JINGLEJINGLEJINGLEJINGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!* Damn dog! She normally loves to snuggle at the foot of the bed, but lately has taken to passing out just beyond the door so she can loudly shake her clanking tags the moment I exit the room each morning. I hung my head in defeat imagining there was no possible way the munchkins could have slept through all the clamor. Nothing. Not a peep. *exhibiting a mixture between cautious optimism and relieved shock*. Knowing damn well I was liable to wake up the boys if I so much as turn that doorknob, I had to know they were OK.... Hell, PRESENT. *CREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK* Lovely. Nothing. Two little "angels" with their harmonious little muppet snores. *Utter disbelief*

I maneuvered past the die-cast obstacles lining the stairs down to the kitchen and began a pot of shamelessly strong coffee. The aroma put on a Cirque Du Soleil caliber performance in my nostrils and I couldn't help but relax enough for a smile to creep upon my lips. Half blind, and smiling like the village idiot, I slowly made my way out to the garage and opened the door. *gasp* WOW.

It had apparently rained through the night judging by the dew-soaked tree and misty fog rolling across the driveway. Those rain storms top my list of favorites. The unexpected ones, towards the end of Winter. When, by all normal accounts, especially given the date on the calendar, it should have been too cold a night to simply rain.... The smell, the ever-so-slight-but-enjoyable-chill on my flesh, the stained bark of the trees with those miniature glassy baubles of water lining each branch like prismatic and crystalline leaves... Overwhelmed and pleased as punch, I melted into the chair and just breathed it all in. Perfection.

The rest of the day isn't remotely important as for that uninterrupted hour or so, Calgon had finally taken me away. It was pure magic, which is perhaps why I'm not likely soon to forget it. *beaming*

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spanx for the Soul

"Mercury is in retrograde this week, which may explain why it's falling back into all its old bad habits like drinking too much and talking crap about you to all your mutual planetary friends."


On occasion, there are downfalls to being an introvert. What!? I know. I'm sorry to drop that on you like that. If you are, perhaps, suspecting this is the appetizer to yet another pity tea party, you are quite correct and I won't fault you for slowly (or quickly, depending on your mood) backing out of the room. If you choose to be more dramatically creative by excusing yourself to the restroom, I still won't hold it against you. Please remember to wash your hands.
It's possible I secretly enjoy attempting to help others with their problems. Being a shoulder to cry on. Offering advice... Solicited or otherwise. What I haven't stumbled across, much to my chagrin, is my doppelganger. Sometimes.... Times such as these right here, right now, I could use support. Even a support system. Or oxygen tank. Perhaps a hookah. Valium? I don't know. Generally writing and sobbing it out makes things less overwhelming, but lately I'm not measuring up when it comes to being a rock for myself. (And I wonder why I get all those emails about "not measuring up"!) Be it work, personal, physical or mental, I haven't exactly nurtured the sort of relationships where it's occasionally acceptable to melt into a driveling mess of humanity and receive a hug in exchange. Or even to declare "I'M SIMPLY NOT QUALIFIED TO DO THIS!" and take a step back as someone far more experienced replies "There, there, I'll take over from here". It possibly doesn't help matters that I have an obnoxious level of pride where admitting failure is concerned. Plus snot bubbles are hardly flattering. Stupid mucus.
To be fair, things are actually settling down a bit from where they were this time last week. But I'm a drama queen so there's the residual damage to consider. Even when disaster has been successfully averted, I spend the next 4 or so days pondering "Yes, but WHAT IF?". Not a stellar use of my time, I'm aware. There additionally tend to be aftershocks involved if I made the bold error in judgement of laying my problems on another...say...a relative. Those 4 or so aforementioned days will be filled with non-stop phone calls informing me I have caused stress and unspecified emotional damages by voicing my stresses aloud and within earshot of another. If it didn't seem so damn creepy, I'd just procure a life-size teddy bear or mannequin or something and dress it up as a therapist to be housed in my crawlspace until tragedy strikes yet again. *daydreaming* That really is a lovely thought.... but again, pretty goddamned creepy.
 And so, in conclusion, I'm back where I began. Writing and sobbing it out to no avail. Although I can't pinpoint the precise moment in time where it because a complete faux-pas to drink on the job, I'd like to officially express my disappointment and distaste for such. While I'm at it, I'll also toss a penny or two in that geyser/make-shift-wishing-well out front and dream about a day free of worry and stress. Now that I'm feeling especially ambitious, I shall also pen a "Thank You" note to the gentlemen who struck the fire hydrant resulting in said make-shift-wishing-well. Well look at that. I feel better already!


 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Round Two *DING*!

Wednesday "is not going to be the least bit funny to you, but it will be hilarious to the chair-lift operator, the septic tank man, the EMTs, and everyone who reads about it in the New York Post" 


"Ok, Annie, we need a status on all the quotes and the subcontracts written and ready to be in place by Monday, and this contract was massively underbid so work your magic to negotiate pricing down 25-50%. I'll expect an update by morning"


Yeah. Let's go ahead and back up that trolley to the station. If someone blindfolded you, tossed you into an unfamiliar conference room and barked the above statement to you, how would you tackle it? Because, by all normal logic, you'd be as clued in to what in the hell is going on as I am. Seriously. Although I'm not the type to respond (out loud, anyway): "Umm.... that's not my job" - that could not be more true. Not just because it's literally not my job but more importantly because I am not even remotely qualified to DO that job in the first place. As all this white noise was bumbling about in my skull a few questions immediately came to mind:


1. What in the hell contract are you speaking of?
2. What's a subcontract? (Ok, so I do have SOME experience there.....)
3. How, exactly, am I to negotiate when I don't have the first clue what the hell is going on here and who you people are?
4. "25-50%" of WHAT? What in the flying fuck was priced in the proposal?
5. I wonder if I could pull off a faux heart attack?
6. Where is the nearest exit?
7. Surely, they're referring to the OTHER Annie?
8. How many pills did I take today?
9. I wonder if it's supposed to snow tonight?
10. Sweet jesus, it's garbage day!!!!!! SHIT!!!!!


In other news, I have an uninvited guest in the form of a high-strung and miserably poorly behaved Yorkie in my home. Seems a certain individual from a previous post struck again and after calling every hospital within a 50 mile radius to even locate her, molehills have, in fact, turned into mountains. As this individual's home is up for sale right now (with two showings scheduled for today), I had to rescue the fuzzy beast, quickly scrub down the carpets from 3 days of doggie neglect, and make the house presentable. I got the beast home and he promptly let his bowels free upon the carpets at home.  I'm additionally coming off severe sleep deprivation and my hands are cracked and bleeding due to a mixture of cold weather and doing 4 loads of laundry through the night after being projectile vomited on by the poor Dr. Snicks.


So, in summary, I have smiled at everyone I've encountered today, opened doors for people, volunteered myself as every co-worker's personal bitch, donated to charity, gave a stranger my last cigarette and called everyone in my family to tell them I love them. I figure karma has my number right now, so I'm trying to invent my way out of this mess. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

No Soliciting. It's a Sign.

"But I'm not a solicitor... I'm simply peddling my wares."

Is it that I am only prone to picking up on the most obscure & unintentional of signals as opposed to the ones flashing blatantly through the windshield? For a gal who spends far too much time going over the details of the day with a fine-toothed comb, one might think I'd be a bit more.... well... sensitive. Receptive to the deliberately odd goings on throughout my life and recognize that, perhaps, THOSE are the moments which are meant to stand out or remain branded in my mind as opposed to the moments made up to keep things symbolically and hypothetically interesting?

It was only after dedicating a certain level of meticulous consideration to precise moments in time where I clearly NEEDED saving....help.... faith.....SOMETHING....that the 'ol electrically faulty light bulb buzzed to life in some small sense of enlightenment.

The quote at the top of this post: uttered by a mere child of no more than perhaps 14 or so as he stood at our front doorway, holding a mysterious cobalt blue tote on what would normally be little more than an awkwardly early Sunday morning.

In all the chaos and confusion of the moment... calling 911.... the emergency vehicles descending one after another upon our street... the clamor of uniformed strangers entering one by one into the door through the garage, only to exhibit looks of bewilderment at the listless and blue child nestled rigidly upon my shoulder before walking back out again. "I don't have a mask that small! Hey Roy - do you have a small enough mask for the oxygen? Shit. I just don't have one that small"....The voices would echo in and out of my consciousness as I swayed in shock at the false sense of security housed between finally feeling that tiny heart beat murmur back to life again with his little chest pressed to mine - and realizing he wasn't looking.... he couldn't see... he wasn't responding....he couldn't hear... couldn't speak... cry.... Where was the wee creature giggling that deep and marvelous belly laugh what felt like only a handful of moments before?

My Dr. Snicks.

I had re-lived that morning over and over in my head again..... as I had done each time before and each time after. My wee one is growing out of these fits - stronger and more vivacious by the day. He is OK.... But how did I miss it? How could I have forgotten that strange child at the door? Uttering such a hilariously gutsy and obtuse comeback to our stern reminder of the prominently displayed "No Solicitors" sign? In fact, it was out of character to have answered the door in the first place.....

As more and more thought is placed upon the most horrifying or even wondrous events in my life to date, the flood of once-forgotten memories comes smoldering from the woodwork. The signs. They were in the form of peculiar and seemingly remarkable visits from strangers, however brief. Sometimes omens, oftentimes reminders. Clearly this is only the beginning of an epiphany of sorts. Clear as mud as there is still much to uncover... Neigh.


Edenland's Fresh Horses Brigade

“I taught you to fight and to fly. What more could there be?”

"You're proud that you've matured with your sense of childlike wonder intact, but others are tired of hearing you yell "Fire truck! Fire truck!" whenever one goes by."


Things seemed terribly dreary this past Saturday. All the stresses bubbling furiously within came to a raging boil and I felt lost if not hopeless. On the exterior, I smiled, but they all knew it was a hollow expression, particularly my eldest son. He's so very sensitive to my omni-changing moods. When his Mama slips off into periods of despair, his developing coping skills send him into action - taking his little brother by the hand and drifting delectably off into an imaginary world ripe with various Matchbox cars or Legos as props. Through my own selfishness, I was barely aware enough of the two sweet and inexplicably well behaved boys on the floor near my feet. My 'Ol Man, certainly not one to take on the dragon that is my emotional tides, retreated to his garage to build, rearrange and fancy up new functionality for his various assortment of tools. 


I don't even quite remember doing so, but I must have wandered to the bookshelf to locate the book my brother had highly recommended to me, and made my way back to the kitchen table with it. For the first time in what seems like years, I opened the cover to my new book and escaped into its pages. Only glancing up every half hour or so in response to a shriek or a *THUD!*, I was afforded enough time to read this delicious book in one sitting. Roughly 4 or so hours later, I reached the end with tears streaming effortlessly down my cheeks. A portion of that was a credit to the author, for it was a phenomenal read. The other, larger portion, was saying goodbye to my little tangible escape and returning back to the real world. Every time. Every last damn time my brother recommends something to me, I'm sucked in and spit mercilessly out again. Every time, the books are as absolutely amazing as promised. And every time, I emerge feeling abandoned knowing it had to end. 


After running my fingers along the spine of the book as though saying goodbye to a dear friend, things did look up. I was able to pull myself out of my funk just in time to move the cars out of the driveway and gather up all the outdoor toys I could possibly manage. We spent the afternoon blowing bubbles, digging up bugs in the dirt, playing "Halloween Spooks" (some oddly creepy game the boys dreamt up a few months back) and drawing crude renditions of actual things with sidewalk chalk. There was lots of giggling and my 'Ol Man even provided a backdrop of music for our combined listening pleasure (not to mention the perceived pleasure of the entire neighborhood, though they may have taken exception to some of the death metal tunes in the mix). The following day was even more enchanting, ickily necessary chores aside. Yet I couldn't help but think back to my book. Back to that and all the books either loaned to me or suggested for purchase by my favorite brother. 


In those moments lost in thought, it dawned on me why I was so drawn to these stories - and even more so, why my brother was. 


Let's back that up for a moment. Most, if not all, of the literary suggestions passed along from brother to sister come, amusingly enough, from the "young adult" section of any given book retailer or library. Before one jumps to immediate judgement, I can and DO read "real adult" books from time to time.... Though, in all fairness, not anytime in recent history given my complete lack of my OWN time.... I'm spiraling, here. Anyway, I found it odd that I had not arrived at this conclusion sooner. My brother is Peter Pan. (Sans the green tights and Disney features of course)


My brother is an extraordinary genius (notwithstanding the 6 or so college degrees he holds) and always has been. His sense of humor and adventure is quite literally not of this earth with a quick wit and charismatic charm all his own. He never related to the other inhabitants of this planet..... nor did I for that matter. Even in the midst of fist-fights or temper tantrums, he was always the closest thing I had to a best friend from the time I was a small child. He was always able to help me escape into a realm where anything is possible and the most mundane is thrilling. As he was 4 years to the day older than me, he went off into the world first. Always sure to relay back the fantastical parts of his journeys. Whether from another state, or another continent, he followed his curiosity without a second care or hesitation. I always marveled at his bravery. His utter lack of fear when it came to wanting to learn about something.... someplace new. 


I envy that. Him. That youthful reckless abandon. Impulsive and uninhibited. And yet, the REAL him is sad. Miserable, even. Miserable when forced to live in a small corner of the world that doesn't look kindly upon these differences, upon  uniqueness or sense of adventure. I take a step back and wonder whether many of the authors of these books look at the "real world" with the same distaste or dissatisfaction? Perhaps they lacked that fear of creating the sorts of worlds they would wish to reside in rather than waiting for another to paint the picture for them?... Rather than hoping the real world would heal itself and the people upon it would care enough to not only salvage what is, but to inspire what could be?


Do you ever start a post wondering where in the hell you were supposed to go with it? Yeah. But god damn, that was a good book. *daydreaming* Happy Monday, indeed.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Don't Toy With Me, Boy(s)!

"You'd much rather have people fear you than love you, which may be a problem since you are an adorable 3-week-old tiger-striped kitten."


This Mama has got problems, as the past 122 or so posts may blatantly illustrate, but one topping the list at the moment is a lack of healthy control over and respect FROM a certain crew that shall remain as vague as "My Family" might indicate. I had just dropped The Good Doctor off this morning and was on my way to delivering The King to his school on the way to work. We were about halfway up the hill when The King shouts: "MAMA!!!! WHERE'S SNICKS!?!?!?!" I'll be damned if I didn't go into a full-on panic reaching for the answer to that when.... Yup... back that up a few sentences to " I had just dropped The Good Doctor off this morning". I glared in the rear view mirror at that 5-year-old smartass only to find him guffawing mercilessly at my gullibility. No respect, I tells ya! None. 


I don't know about you, but I see a host of red flags popping up when a FIVE YEAR OLD has not only figured me out, but is also running the show with more authority than this broad! Let's not even get into the 2 year old - though he already fancies calling me Margaret instead of Mama. Did I mention that's not even in the same neighborhood as my real name? Yeah. 


So taking a step back further, it occurs to me that exhibiting frequent displays of snark and sarcasm around those two (I'll leave my 'Ol Man out of this round since I'm counting on him to gas up the car later....) little sponges may not have been the wisest parenting move. Who knew? Well most people, but that's not the point. Sure it is, you say. Yes, but I'm determined to win the argument with myself at the moment, so back off.


I used to be of the opinion that there were two types of mothers in this world. Those with the "it" factor... you know the ones... natural nurturers, saintly patience, always not only having AN answer, but THE answer. The Super Moms who succeed in putting Martha Stewart to shame. The other 99%.... well, they struggle, but you never doubt they're doing their best and giving it their all. They're amazing in their own right because they are clearly learning from their mistakes, continuously improving and damn if they don't still totally make the Super Mom cut. Yes, well, may I present you with the third type? Tah-Dah! 


Man, I don't know what in the hell I'm doing, I NEVER learn from my mistakes (mostly as I don't recall MAKING ANY), there's no rhyme or reason to my actions let alone reactions, I provide little to no structure - and not even in that organic "I'm letting my little free spirits blossom and thrive" cool mom sort of way - rather, most days I can't even remember how I got home or IF I'm actually in the CORRECT home and now I can't seem to decipher whether or not I'm even AWAKE. Awesomeness all around. There really ought to be some sort of award for achieving a sense of complete and utter CHAOS, no? Yeah. No. Probably not. Those poor kids. Wait, no.... they can't win THAT easily! Except that's precisely how shit goes down most days. *sigh*


More often than not, I stumble across Mommy or Daddy bloggers who are just so damn cool. They have their shit together and even delightful anecdotes aside (but not really, because those are even further proof of unattainable genius in parenting), you can tell who is ultimately in charge. It probably doesn't help that, even feeling like I'm approaching my 95th or so birthday, I have one of those baby faces where some strangers ask the boys why their dopey older sister is following them around. Greeeeeeeeeeeeeat.


So fess up, people. What's the bloody secret? Those two are stuck with me now, so I had better get on with figuring shit out post-haste!!!