Thursday, November 29, 2012

Fish Sticks and Wine...

I feel like Old Mother Hubbard.  My cupboard is SO bare.  And payday is still two more days away.  I tried to make eggs.  I tried to make noodles.   Grilled cheese?  No cheese.  I think you get the pattern here. 

How can I have come from a weekend a pure gluttony and now have nothing to eat?  Poor Autumn took sliced turkey wrapped in a tortilla for her "sandwich" today.  (She thought it was no point in telling her I just didn't have any bread.)


Unfortunately, the cost of buying groceries for my family for 4 is about $250-$300 every two weeks.  Right now in my bank I have $50.  So it looks like groceries will just have to wait.

Last night, in desperation, I opened a box of fish sticks.  Not even Van DeKamps fish sticks.  No gourmet fish sticks for us.  I bought a generic knock off version.  It had been living in my freezer for about a month just waiting for a moment of desperation like this.

Fish sticks = entree.  Check.

Macaroni & Cheese = side dish.  Check

Cauliflower = vegetable.  Check.  (I did have a head of fresh cauliflower that I I could safely say we had some sort of nutrition in this meal.) 

So there you go....gourmet eating at my house. 

And a bottle of wine.....just because Momma was going a little nuts last night.

Fish sticks and wine....yep, that's just how I roll...well that's how I rolled last night at least.

I feel this overwhelming sense of guilt when I make a meal like this.  I picture Betty Crocker or Donna Reed setting down frozen, pre packaged fish in front of their family.  Would they do it?  No they would not!  They are probably wearing cutesy little aprons and high heels with perfect make up and no fat anywhere.  Bitches.

Last night I served dinner in sweat pants, hair in a clip on the back of my head and faced scrubbed clean of make up.

Sexy, right? wasn't.  But why should it matter?  I work hard.  I take care of my family.  My kids are in clean clothes that fit.  They never go hungry.  So what if once in awhile we have fish sticks for dinner or Mac & Cheese?  So what I have sit down in grungy PJ's?  Why do I need to feel bad about that?  Why do I left myself feel like I am less of a mother and wife on nights like these?

But I do.

The guilt over the fantasy of "what it should be" versus the reality of "what it really is like" always war against each other.   And logically I know it's stupid.  I'm a good mom.  I'm a good wife (minus a few days out of the month when I'm a total bitch).  I'm a good daughter.  I'm a good employee.  I am enough. 

I am enough!

My wish flower:  I wish I could remember those words on the days when I need to hear them the most.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Ugh turkey!

So it's over.  Thanksgiving is done.  If I never see turkey again it will be too soon.  Turkey for thanksgiving....turkey the day after Thanksgiving....turkey casserole on Saturday....and turkey sandwiches on Sunday.

I am done with turkey.

I am done with pie.

I am done with five full days with my children.

We spent this holiday with my parents, AKA....trapped in country hell.  I love my parents.  And I love that I grew up in a little rural town, population 4500.  It was a nice place to grow up.  We spent time on my grandparents farm.  We went camping.  You never felt the need to lock your cars or your front door.  I admit it had it's perks. 

But now?  Now I want to be able to shop at more than one grocery store.   I want to go to the store in my pajamas and not run into someone I know.  I want to go to a movie in the middle of the day. 

I want civilization!!! 

It was a looonnggg weekend.......

Our original intention was to leave Saturday, but due to some home repair projects of my mom's we stayed an additional day to help with that.  And then it was back to work today.  I am tired.  I am grumpy.  I am not sure that my husband will still be alive by morning....he is not on my favorite person list today.  I was so glad to kiss my kids goodbye and send them off to school.   I did not want to come to work today.


But it's okay.  I'm still glad I got see my family.  I'm glad I got to stuff myself with lemon meringue pie.  I AM glad I got to spend so much time with my kids and that they got to spend so much time with their grandparents. 

I cannot be glad about the weight I gained.  Or the fact that the thought of turkey makes me ill.  Or that my husband is now on my hit list. 

But no one cried, well except Petal....she cries over everything so that doesn't count. 

And, speaking of Petal, after 3 hours trapped in a car.... 3 long hours in which she bounced off the walls (figuratively), cried indiscriminately (literally) and generally annoyed us all despite my begging and pleading with her to close her eyes and sleep....within 5 minutes of being home she climbed on the recliner with the quilt my great grandmother made and crashed.

She's so cute when she sleeps...which is good because when she's awake she's harder to love.  :)

And while she slept Steven, Autumn and I breathed a big sigh of relief and fell asleep too.

My wish flower?  That Petal would sleep longer, harder and with more frequency.   One more holiday to go!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Surviving Turkey Day...and being thankful

I am now halfway through my 4-party holiday nightmare.  Halloween? Check.  Petal's birthday? Check.  Thanksgiving and Christmas still to go. 

So we have Thanksgiving tomorrow.  I actually love Thanksgiving.  It's the least stressful of all the holidays to me.  I don't mind the cooking or the cleaning...and I definitely don't mind the eating...especially my mom's stuffing.  Yum. 

But I do hate all the family drama that seems to happen when we all get together.  Don't get me wrong...I love, love, love my family.  But we are all very different with very different views on life, politics and religion.  And while I enjoy a good debate as much as the next person I would love to suspend it for at least one day and sit around my sister's dining room table and just embrace the family I have surrounding me.  Instead, I will be listening to my brother hate Obama and my sister stress that everything is not perfect and my mother mad that we are drinking wine (she's a major teetotaller) and me worry that my kids are getting into everything that they shouldn't be in to.....all while trying to keep smiling and enjoying the holidays. 

It's okay...I know everyone's house is the same.  Who sits down to Thanksgiving dinner with everything perfect?  If you do....I salute you.  And I also wonder what type of drugs you are on and can I have some?

But the irony is that the stress is worth it....I love my family.  I love that we can cram all of us into one house for a prolonged dinner and still, despite the arguments and worry, we leave loving each other.  That's pretty lucky, isn't it?  It's lucky to know that I can disagree with my brother about politics and he will still answer his phone at 3:00 a.m. and give me a kidney if I asked.  And I truly think he would.  It's lucky that my mom can not agree with me drinking a glass of wine, but when I call to vent to her on the phone she always answers and always listens.   It's lucky that I can think my sister is slightly neurotic and she knows I think so, but when I start dropping corny movie quotes at dinner she always gets them and she always laughs.  And it's also lucky that through it all my dad sits back and watches us all like we're crazy...but then sends us silly texts messages for the next few weeks telling us how much he loves us and how much fun he had at Thanksgiving.

You are born with the family you get...but loving them?  That's what takes the work.  And liking them?  Sometimes that's even harder.  But I've learned that I don't have to like everything about my siblings or my parents....and they don't have to like everything about me.  It's okay and not wrong.  But I love them....and in loving them, I like them all a whole lot.  :)

Happy Thanksgiving!

My wish flower?  I wish everyone could feel happy, loved, grateful and lucky this Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


It was Braces Day for Autumn.  We've been building up to this day since June....we've expanded, we've spaced...and now we are braced. 

Unfortunately, I don't think Autumn was quite as braced as I would have hoped for her reflection in the mirror.  The braces are really....ummm...what's a good word?  Prominent?  Noticeable?  Regardless....they are not the cute braces all in a straight line that she was expecting.  Due to the fact that her teeth are SO are the braces.  There is a jagged line of wire crisscrossing her teeth.

I tried to comfort her with the "this won't last forever" and "your teeth will be beautiful when this is done" speeches.  I even tried the whole "everyone is getting braces right now". 


Not buying it.  She hates the braces.  And I felt bad. 

I know she needs the braces.  I know her teeth are awful and that one day she will grow up and resent her crooked teeth if we don't do it. I know I'm doing the right thing.  But it's hard watching her cry.  And being embarrassed.  And having a sore mouth.

But I have to believe it will get better.  And frankly, I'm proud of myself for getting braces on her.  I never had braces.  I needed them.  Money for braces was just not something we had growing up...and due to dental coverage on adult orthodontics (virtually nil) I don't have the money for them for myself now.  But I can get them for her and I did. 

She will look great. 

She will be happy. 

This too shall pass....

I think she looks adorable...despite what she thinks.  :)

And on the plus side...I told her that if her mouth is too sore for most foods for the next few days, we will have plenty of mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving to eat.  She was not amused. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Giving "The Sak" the sack until...

I bought a "The Sak" purse at the mall a month or so ago.  I needed a cute crossbody purse that was still trendy enough to wear to work, but not so fancy schmancy that I was always afraid of getting it dirty.  This purse worked perfectly.  Leather...crossbody...large enough to fit all my crap.  Yay!  Happy Jen!!

But a few days ago I started noticing this:

And this:

I was so disappointed.  This was a great purse...and not a cheap one.  I admit I didn't spend $500 on it, but it was a good chunk of change, at least for me and my budget.  Plus, I had only had it less than three months.

Not happy.  So I sat down at my computer and wrote a strongly worded letter of complaint to the company.  To my surprise they responded within an hour apologizing.  They are now sending me a replacement purse.  Wow!   To say I'm stunned is an understatement.  Frankly I didn't think I'd hear back from them at all..but to get this response overwhelmed me. 

Right now with the holidays coming I simply can't afford another purse.  It's just not in the budget.  

So.... thanks and thanks Patti who helped me get my new purse.

(However to be totally honest, the sceptic in me is still reserving all judgement until my purse actually arrives.  I'm not that giddy over a new purse.)

My wish flower for today:  I wish all companies would have such great customer service...and that I didn't feel like a criminal when I complain about their products.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Clucking like a chicken...

Autumn had her expander taken out today.  We are six months into the two year process of getting her teeth straightened.   We have slowly been expanding her mouth.  For 30 days I took this teeny tiny apparatus and turned a crank inside her mouth each morning.   Then the orthodontist glued the expander in place and we've been waiting until the next stage begins. 

So this morning at 8:15, after a frantic "flight of the bumblebee" type morning, we got the expander out.  Autumn is so pleased.  We got the usual lecture: rinse 4x a day, brush your teeth, floss, blah blah....I had stopped listening.   Don't judge me...I paid thousands of dollars to not listen to the rules. 

On the drive to school I could hear a clucking noise from the seat next to me.  Autumn was making clucking noises on the roof of her mouth.  She looked over at me and smiled..."I have not been able to do that forever!"  She then proceeded to say all the words that she had been having trouble enunciating...cinnamon, chicken, thistle....the list goes on. 

She does still have the blue spacers in her teeth and then we get the partial braces next week on top and bottom.  After that in a year or so she gets a retainer. 

Like I's a long process.  But honestly, she will love her teeth when it's done.  And I have to believe that she will thank me one day for depriving her of popcorn, caramel and gum for the next few years.

Speaking of being deprived...since discovering I am lactose intolerant I have missed cream cheese. I mean, really missed cream cheese.  I want it on toast, bagels, a spoon going straight to my mouth. It's borderline obsessive. Today at the grocery store I found this:

When I opened it, it looked like this:

I admit, I was nervous to try it. was really good!   I had the Chive & Garlic spread on a wheat bagel for breakfast.  I might even have it again tomorrow and the next day.  I've missed you creamy spreads on bagels.  Come to Mama!  Thank you

My wish flower today:  That Autumn will be still be able to "cluck" when she gets her  braces in...and that no one here at work steals my cream cheese. (I think I'm pretty safe on that one.)

Monday, November 12, 2012


Right now the house is quiet. The kids are sleeping and the cat is curled up next to me purring. Steven is out doing his Monday night side job. He's a trooper.

I love quiet.  I love the sound of my girls breathing deeply and peacefully. I love the hum of the dishwasher and the whirring of my furnace.  I love the smell of the clean sheets I just put on my bed.

Nights of quiet are pretty rare here.  There always seems to be one more thing to do. One more chore to finish. One more piece of homework to check.

And to be honest I'm sure there is something somewhere I need to be doing. But for now, in this moment, I'm going to embrace the peace. I'm going to listen to the breathing, purring, and humming that surrounds me and feel content.

I'm going to lie in my soft flannel sheets, wearing a ratty t-shirt and panties and breathe.  I'm not going to worry about all that needs to be done tomorrow. Or worry about Autumn's orthodontist appointment. Or getting the groceries bought for Thanksgiving. I'm not even going to worry about the fact that the panties I'm wearing are feeling a little bit more "snug" than the last time I wore them.

Today is almost done. Tomorrow is soon enough to get to the worries and chores.



And....garage door. Peaceful time over. Steven is back.

Wish flower?   I wish I would have had just 15 more minutes.