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My Wonder Girl

This morning, my daughter marched proudly out of the house wearing a Wonder Woman shirt, Minnie Mouse Leggings, and….a cape. A Wonder Woman cape, to be exact.  Off to second grade she went, proud as punch of her outfit choice.  As a kid who wears a school uniform each day, the chance to wear a cape for “Fun Friday” dress down was just PERFECT.  I cringed a bit, wondering if the school might give her a hard time, but I reminded myself to live and let live. When it comes to my daughter, I do a lot of that.

rsz_wonder

My son was and still is, as easy of a child as one could ask for.  He was an easy pregnancy, an easy baby, easy toddler, and at 12, he’s still a laid back, easy child to raise. Things come easy to him, for the most part.  He’s smart as a whip, mature far beyond his years, calm natured, and extremely even keel.  A gentle soul, with a soft heart, I do worry a bit about him getting hurt by girls as he gets older, but otherwise, I rarely if ever need to fret about him. I know he has things handled.   He was such an easy child that having our daughter appeared like it would be easy peasy.  After all, he was such an easy child to raise, she would be too, right?

Not so much.

From the get-go, things weren’t easy.  I spotted throughout much of the pregnancy, and we didn’t settle comfortably that she’d make it until I was quite far along.  She came into this world at 6lbs, 7 oz.  She was a bit of a cranky baby, cried far more than my son did.    She also had an eye issue called alternating amblyopia, and strabismus, meaning she suffered from lazy eye, however it would switch from eye to eye. That appeared before she was 9 months old, and a week before her birthday, she had surgery to try to correct this issue.  Watching a baby go through this broke my heart, but it didn’t seem to phase her.  She was a tough cookie.  As a toddler, she was a force to be reckoned with.  People worry their sons will get rough with the little ones, I had to worry she would roughhouse her brother too much.  To my horror she once punched him when she was two, and when I asked why she responded “he too close”.

While I was trying to reign her in, we still battled over certain things.  I can’t explain to you how defeating it is to find yourself in a full blown battle over a piece of clothing, but trust, it’s no fun.  One day we were meeting with family out of town.  I had picked out clothing for my daughter, and it included a big pink tutu skirt.  Now, she loved this skirt. But not that day.  That day, she hated that skirt.  (Welcome to toddlerdom!) and she refused to wear it.  The problem wasn’t the fact she didn’t WANT to wear it, it was the tantrum that occurred because of it.  It was a full blow, kicking, screaming, meltdown of a tantrum that was so over the top I stood in awe. Like I said, I didn’t care about the tutu, except now, I had to stand ground about it.  If I let her bail on the tutu, I would be giving an approval on the tantrum.  I was now forced to stand ground on something I didn’t care about at all, in order to teach a valuable lesson that I did care about….Bad behavior will NOT get you out of doing something.   Neither one of us backed down for about an hour. She wore the tattoo in the end, however family members still joked we walked in like a true war had taken place, with me looking like I had some PTSD.  I still remember that day as a day I won a battle, but it was a hell of a fight.

The day she turned 5 was a turning point.  My fiery little beastie suddenly calmed. It was as if she had nothing more to have to prove.  She had pushed all the buttons, and knew which buttons did what. She grew into herself.  I now had a super helpful, motherly, sweet girl.  She had always been a cuddler, and I was thrilled that despite the sudden grown up attitude, she kept that love of curling up in my lap to cuddle and get hugs. Nothing makes her happier than helping me cook, having a similar outfit to me, or looking after her little cousins.  We now entered the stage of a girl who knows who she is, with a side of chaos.

5-7 has been an interesting stage.  My son and I often comment that she’s a tough cookie. The child who needed tonsils out? Her.  The child who is accident prone? Her.  The child who gets nosebleeds?  Her.  The child who struggles a bit more in school?  Her. Most things just don’t come easy to her in life.  She has to work at things, be more careful. I tell her she’s my warrior girl, and that I know she’ll be ok because she knows how to handle tough times.

With this resilience comes chaos as well.  My daughter?  She’s a SLOB.  She leaves things everywhere, and I spend my days reminding her to clean up after herself, and walking behind her picking up things.  It’s exhausting.  She’s just always on the the next big thing.  I remind myself that one day she will grow up and move out, and I will be left with a quiet, clean house, and the thought makes me sad.  Her chaos drives me nuts, but at the same time, it is her, who I love, so I am trying to find a balance. I have to send her into the world as a functioning adult who is in a bit less chaos.   Even her clothing choices are choas.  Her aunt and I named her Vegas Judy. She loves all things leopard, colorful, glittery, rhinestoned, and “extra”.  If she chooses her outfits without input, she looks like a walking carnival.  My husband lets her wear whatever she wants.  I try to tame it a bit, but sometimes, like today, I let her just go with her own clothing flow.  When I had a beautiful fancy dress for her to wear on Easter but she came to me with Puss in Boots eyes asking if she would wear a leopard dress?  “Do you love it? Will you be comfortable? Will you be happy in it and wear it all day?”  The answer was yes.  I caved.  She thanked me for allowing it, and I spent the day being looked at as a hero by her. What made me happy was seeing her happy and confident in her choice.  I try very hard to remember that it doesn’t matter what people think, what matters is that she is figuring out who SHE is.

There are times I see her outfit choices and get a bit cringey.  There are times, like when she was adamant she wanted to cut her long hair short, that I waffled and wanted to tell her no.  I then reminded myself that hair grows back, clothing can be changed in a heartbeat.  I have a daughter who knows who she is, and firmly knows what she likes.  I want to celebrate that, because in life she will be surrounded by a world that will try to make her question her choices. She doesn’t need to me to always do it too. Her short hair that she was confident she would love? I loved it too. Her outfits? ok, well, I don’t always love them, but I love her confidence in them.

My chaotic, not always easy child is just as perfect for me as my laid back, easy child. Two sides of the same coin.  Similar in so many ways, yet so totally different.  Each teach me different lessons.  My relationship with each is so different, yet so amazing. Watching them work together, and balancing each other fills me with wonder.  I spend a lot of time thinking about how, in the same house, with the same parents, and same experiences, two people could have such vastly different nuances to their personalities.  My daily challenge is to figure out how to successfully balance parenting two completely different people.

When I started this blog, I referred to my kids as the Tiny Diva and the Laid Back Kid. The definition of Diva:  a self-important person who is temperamental and difficult to please (typically used of a woman).  I no longer consider her my Tiny Diva.  She’s my Wonder Girl.

I wonder where she gets her strong sense of self from, yet I am SO happy she has it.  I wonder how to help her succeed when she falters, yet how to let her find her way on her own as much as possible.  I wonder how she believes some of her outfit choices might even begin to match.  I wonder why she doesn’t put her stuff away without me having to follow up and ask her. I wonder how she does the amazing bendy stuff in gymnastics.  I wonder why her feet smell like dirty fritos and vinegar sometimes when she wears certain shoes.  I wonder how she isn’t aware her feet smell like that.    I wonder how I can make sure she keeps her sense of self throughout her life.  Mostly, I wonder how I can be the best mom to her and her brother, getting them through their strengths and weaknesses when they are so very different.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ovary Aftermath

Well, it’s been a while since my hysterectomy, and so far, it’s a been a great decision.  The only downside I can see so far is that I am so damned TIRED.  Literally I have been struggling to stay awake past 10 PM or so.  I have zero energy during the day.  It’s starting to be concerning this long after surgery.  A look online confirmed my suspicions that fatigue is common after this surgery for some patients, but I think at my next Dr appointment, I will bring it up.  In the meantime, I am upping my vitamin B and D levels in hopes of seeing some improvements.  I also need to start exercising, but therein lies the catch.  I know if I exercise I will likely get more energy eventually but the very prospect feels overwhelming. Time to suck it up and deal, I suppose.

Another interesting result is that I still appear to get PMS.  Before surgery, I noticed my PMS was getting out of control.  I was raging, crampy, suffering from back pain, and general discomfort.  I joked that after the surgery hopefully those symptoms would be gone and we’d all know once and for all if the bitchiness was from PMS or if that’s just who I am now.  (I can confirm, it’s just who I am, although the rage subsided when I stopped allowing certain behaviors around me). During the surgery, they took my uterus but left my ovaries.  This was a best case scenario, as the ovaries provide hormonal benefits and also help protect against things like dementia.  I considered it a win.  One thing I hadn’t considered is that I might still get some hormonal symptoms, such as  the back pain, extra swoosh of bitchy, and a heaping slice of fatigue.  Yesterday I felt horrendous by bedtime. Today I feel so sleepy I could cry.

Otherwise, I feel pretty aces on the day to day.  Not having periods, for a girl who had HORRENDOUS periods, is pretty much the best thing EVER.  I still find myself expecting one on occasion, or the brief “is it coming soon” panic appear, but I quickly remind myself there is nothing to fear.

So for now, I am left with a day or two of PMS type stuff, and a desire for my pillow, but hopefully the fatigue will sort itself out.

Still a great decision to have it done.

Girl Power

Ok, I am a little bit proud of myself.  You might think I’m completely bonkers, but hey, life is way too short not to enjoy small successes, right?

So, we’ve had some stuff breaking around the house.  And of course, it can’t be one thing, it has to be everything, right? Why? Because that’s how life goes. The dishwasher, the vacuum, the bathroom light blew.  The dishwasher is above my paygrade, and I certainly can’t pull it out and flip it to fix it.  The bathroom and vacuum, however, I could manage.  The bathroom was tricky because someone had painted over the screw I needed to access to get the cover off.  (WHY do people paint over stuff they shouldn’t?)  No worries though, it was a simple fix.

My daughter came in as I was dismantling my vacuum cleaner and sat down to watch me.  She watched me take it apart, and commented how cool it was that I was able to do it.  She watched me replace a belt, clean filters, and clean/adjust the brush.  I explained the parts, what they do, and how I was going to fix it.  She sat carefully paying attention.  She helped me clean the parts.  We laughed together, and both yelled with glee when the test run of the repaired vacuum confirmed it ran better than it had in YEARS.  She beamed at me, so proud of what we had done.  We then moved into the bathroom.  I got on the ladder, and she held parts and passed me what I needed.  Once done, she cheered and high fived me.  She then commented “look mom, the girls fixed it!  We didn’t have to wait for boys to do it!”.

I am very lucky to be the mom of a boy and a girl.  This means that I have to raise two well rounded children who will grow into self sufficient, independent adults with great self esteem.  Easy peasy, right? Not so much.  I’m not a man basher.  I’m not a bra-less ranting feminist.  I’m just a gal who believes in equal rights for all but admittedly is flattered when my husband opens a door for me.  I believe women should make the same as men for doing the same job.  I feel men get skewered way too often.  Has anyone noticed how television makes men seem like dolts? It’s unfortunate. My son already sees this bias on Tv and has commented on it.  My daughter is already seeing the pressure of being “picture perfect” on TV, and also seeing certain gender stereotypes.  I had a reminder today that I need to show her that women can do things that often stereotypically fall under “men’s” jobs.  I try to do the same for my son.  For this blog, I’ll focus on my daughter.

My husband does do a lot of the fixing of things.  That’s mostly because he has the patience to do it.  I often don’t.  Sometimes things need strength, and that’s his forte, rather than mine.  I am seeing more and more though that I need to take the time and gather the patience to do more of these little jobs because I want my daughter to see I can do it.  If I can do it, she’ll know she can too.

I’ve been a working mom for pretty much her whole life.  I balance a full time job, two kids, and I do it working an opposite schedule to my husband.  I am proud of the fact she sees her mom having a career.  I’m proud that she sees her mom contributing to the household, managing the family, and making sure everyone is taken care of.  Ok, so she doesn’t see a perfectly clean house, or a mom who is perfect.  And you know what? Maybe that’s a good thing.  She sees me flawed, she sees I can’t do it all, but that I do my best.  She sees that it’s ok not to have everything together all the time.  That’s an important lesson in and of itself.  I am happy, even if things aren’t always perfect.

Another lesson I have been working on teaching her is to not stand for nonsense.  I keep my circle pretty small.  It’s gotten smaller over the past year, and she has even commented about the fact that I don’t keep people around who don’t treat me well or who aren’t nice to me.  Kids are super perceptive.  I explain that I have plenty of people to love, who love me as well, and those are the people I keep in my life.  People who aren’t nice or who treat me badly are quickly shown the door.  I have no time for nonsense or wasting time on people who don’t like me. I want her to see that she doesn’t have to keep mean or nasty people around.  It’s ok to say no, it’s ok to stand up for herself, and that she doesn’t have to hang out with people who are bad to her. I know we have a big push in this country to teach kids to be kind.  I teach my kids that too.  (For anyone interested, look up the children’s book about filling buckets, it’s fabulous). They came with me on my treck to look after cats, to provide Christmas for a family, etc.  We talk regularly about ways to be kind, and how to act if people aren’t.  That being said, I think women are often all too accepting of bad behavior.  We think it must be us, or we can fix the person, or we feel like we deserve less than.  I don’t want that for her.  I want her to feel confident in her choices of the people around her.  I want her to keep people who make her smile, and to move away from those who make her feel even an ounce of bad.

As a woman, we are taught to apologize a lot.  Ever notice that?  Someone will bump into you and women will often reply “I’m sorry”, as if our very presence was something to apologize for.  We sometimes even apologize without even meaning to.  Why? We are taught to be pleasant at all costs.  We are taught, unfortunately, to often make excuses for bad behavior.  I’m trying to teach her the opposite of that.  I am working hard on saying “sorry” when it’s truly warranted, and not just on impulse when nothing is to be sorry for.  I am teaching her that someone treating her unkindly is NOT ok, and she shouldn’t just tolerate it.  We talk about decisions and choices, and how to handle situations.  It’s a learning curve, but I think it’s working well.

I have always believed that almost all bad decisions are caused in some way by low self esteem and insecurity.  It’s hard raising a girl in a world that markets to her by telling her she is too fat, too thin, too short, too tall, not pretty enough, not ok enough.  That’s how companies often market to women.  They play on our insecurities to make us but things to “fix ourselves”.  Look at the beauty industry.  It’s mostly based on fixing our “flaws”.  How do I, as a mom, compete with that?  How do I tell her she is beautiful inside and out, exactly as she is, when the rest of the world is all too prepared to pick her apart?  Growing up, I dated boys who were bad for me.  I was an easy target because I was often insecure.  It took many years, and a big change in attitude before I met the right man for me and settled down.  I had to learn to be ok with myself.  Love myself.  As Rupaul says “if you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love somebody else? Can I get an amen?”  And it is TRUE.   How do I teach a little girl to love herself more than the world can make her believe differently?  It’s a daily struggle.

I often write her notes on her board.  One recently mentioned that she was kind, smart, and strong.  I noticed a few days later that a school project had her creating a character and describing them.  Her character had the same characteristics I had listed in my note about her.  It hit me that she is listening.  She is looking to me and her father to help her realized what’s good about herself.  I will be working every day to make her see how great she is. Trust me, I’ll still tell her when she’s being a slob, but I want her to feel confident.  Some days, she’ll choose her outfit and leave the house looking like a walking carnival, but if she feels confident and happy, I’m ok with it.

Raising kids is hard.  I joke that my job is to make sure I don’t raise little assholes.  The fact is, it’s pretty true. I have to raise kind, respectful, independent, loving people so that they can hopefully find happiness as they grow up.  That’s a lot of pressure!  I have to raise a daughter to know she is smart enough, strong enough, and wise enough to handle what life will throw at her.  Even if it’s a broken vacuum or a difficult light fixture.  If you can handle the little things, it’s sets the tone for the bigger things.

Looks like I better start learning how to fix stuff, eh?

 

Update on getting gutted

About two months ago, I went in for a hysterectomy.  At 43 (at the time) I was on the younger side for this surgery (at least I would like to think so!).  Since that time, women have been asking me often how it went, my opinion of the surgery, how painful it was, and whether it was worth it.  I figured I’d post my update to my last post on the surgery so I could answer some of those questions for those who were curious.  If you’re easily queasy, you may want to pass over this post.

The why.  As a woman with fibroids, VERY heavy bleeding, and pretty bad PMS, my doctor recommended the surgery, especially after a polyp appeared.  Originally, I was surprised when the dr. mentioned the idea.  It seemed so drastic.    Also, I was concerned about being out of commission for what she said could be 6-8 weeks.  How would I cope with 2 kids, a husband with an opposite schedule, and my own job? She said the alternative was to try meds to alleviate the symptoms I was having.  The meds lasted all of one round.  I was so miserable and cramped on them I immediately called the Doctor and said “let’s move forward with surgery”.

Surgery was scheduled for January 10th.  I was battling on getting my insurance situated until about 2 days before.  It was a tad stressful.  At the last minute, everything fell into place.  I arrived at the hospital anxious and kept getting teary.  My first worry was my kids.  I think once you’re a parent, any type of surgery makes you a bit anxious because now you have other people to be responsible for. I was also anxious about sharing a room.  I HATE sharing hospital rooms.  I did it once and it was such a bad experience that I ended up getting moved to a private room.  Luckily the dr soothed my fears by letting me know I would be on the women’s floor (aka childbirth and ladybit floor) and would have my own room. The women’s floor is probably the best floor to stay on.  The nurses are SPECTACULAR.  The dr warned me to take it easy after surgery, and not to put anything “up there” for at least 6 weeks.  She then proceeded to tell me that if I ignored that advice, I could have vaginal or INTESTINAL PROLAPSE.  In other words, my intestines could fall out of my snootch.  Talk about instilling fear into a girl.  I swear I had nightmares about that conversation for DAYS.

After surgery, I was a bit sore, but nothing too bad.  I was up and walking around the ward the next afternoon.  Mostly I got tired super quick.  I was released the day after surgery and came home to be a potato for a week.  I lived the potato life for a week and watched all the Downton Abbey.  Yep, every episode of every season. I walked around the house every hour or so, but otherwise took it super easy.  (It’s a rare day when I get to do absolutely nothing.)  After week two, I went back to work.  Everyone, including me, was a bit surprised, but a girl has to make that money, and frankly, the short term disability I could get wasn’t going to cover all the bills.  I am super fortunate that I can work from home and that my company is so supportive.  I started back on a full time work from home basis until I was about 4 weeks post op.  Then I went back to the office.

Since the surgery, I feel GREAT.  No longer am I taken down for 3-4 days each month.  No longer do I worry about bleeding through my clothes.  I no longer feel so stressed each month.  My PMS has subsided quite a bit.  I still have my ovaries, so luckily I am not going through menopause. I no longer get that awful bloating.   I feel like myself only way better. The surgery for me has been life changing in so many small ways.  I feel….awesome.

They say some women go through periods of depression after the surgery.  I didn’t, but I can see why some would.  I briefly went through a stage where I would see babies and think “I can’t have another now” and got sad for a moment.  Never mind the fact I am not prepared financially or even emotionally for another child, nor the fact that when I had my daughter almost 8 years ago I was considered high risk for “advanced maternal age”.  I know I wasn’t going to ever have another baby by choice, but perhaps knowing that I simply now could not physically do so even if I wanted to was a small shock to the senses.  For those women who wanted children and had no choice but to have the hysterectomy, I can see depression as being completely normal and somewhat devastating. I also know that there were days I felt a bit crappy and sore after surgery but realized I looked totally fine on the outside.  I had a laparoscopic hysterectomy.  This means that I had a few small incisions on my stomach, but otherwise looked totally fine.  My insides looked a bit like a dumpster fire, I’m sure.  Cut and stitched and repositioned.  There were sore days, but nothing I found unmanageable.  One odd feeling was that I sometimes got what felt like ligament pain from when I was pregnant.  It was the same sensation.  Lastly, my skin stuck together from one of the steri-strips and almost got infected at the incision.  Because I couldn’t see that well, I almost missed the issue. At first I thought it was the incision itself that looked like that, but instead it was my skin.  It was gross, y’all.

For those women considering the surgery….I can tell you it’s one of the best decisions I have made.  I feel great, aside from some lingering fatigue.  Yes, you will get tired easily.  There will be some soreness.  You might get a bit sad about the loss of the parts.  But at the end of the day, I feel good.  There is a lot of cancer in my family, and while I had the genetic testing and came back fine, it’s one less organ to worry about, if that makes sense.  The pros outweigh the cons for me.  2 months in and I feel so much better.  It’s not for everyone, but for those worrying, I can say my experience was a good one!

 

 

Home and Away

In my last post, I mentioned that I was about to go for my US citizenship oath.  Well, it’s officially official, and I am now a full fledged US citizen!  Exciting, eh?  I actually have dual citizenship between where I was born and the US.  The best part of that is that I now belong officially to the two countries where all the people I love live.  I’ve always felt a tiny bit torn in life.  Part of my family was here in the US, and the other part overseas.  Whenever I would travel between the two countries, I find myself always saying I was going “home” regardless to which place I was headed. Why? because to me, both places were, and still are, home.   Home isn’t a structure.  It isn’t just the day to day of the daily grind.  Home is where the the people you love are.  Home is where you feel safe, and loved, and where happy memories are.  Home is comfort.

While I was waiting for the oath ceremony, I looked around the courtroom where it was taking place.  It was quite full, but only 30 or so of us were taking the oath.  There were people from all over the world: Portugal, Jamaica, Iran, Mexico, the UK, Germany, Poland, the Ukraine, just to name a few.  We all looked happy to be there, and many had a look of relief on their faces.  The immigration process is a bit of a beast, especially for some people who come from countries we don’t always agree with, or those who don’t speak English well.  In my case, you’d never guess I wasn’t an American by speaking to me.  I have a northeast accent which occasionally lapses into a bit of a southern drawl when I am tired or with my friends from the south.  People were always surprised I was a foreigner.  As someone who has had to update docs and maneuver the immigration system throughout my life, I can say it’s not always an easy process.  I speak fluent English and still struggled at times.  It’s an expensive process.  Not only that, but I think some people are probably taken advantage of in their search to navigate the system properly.  Some people in this country have been led to believe that becoming a citizen is an easy, simple process.  While my case was pretty simple, many people’s cases are long, drawn out, and difficult.  At the end of the day, I am glad the process is over and I am officially official as an American!  I have already applied for my passport, and the next step is to figure out how to register to vote.  I haven’t come this far to sit silent and not cast my vote when the time comes!  Silence gets unwanted results.

Another big change is that I purchased a “new to me” car.  That’s another process that can be shady, convoluted, and unsettling! I found a car over the state line by looking online.  The car was gorgeous, had tons of features I wanted, low miles, and was AWD.  I drove to Long Island to see it (this was after 2+ other hours of driving that day) to see the car.  It was beautiful.  I test drove it and enjoyed it.  Then we sat down to talk numbers.  Well, somehow in the middle of this conversation the price of the car started going up.  There was the sales tax, which was unavoidable.  Then DMV fees, which seemed really high.  Then the dealer started tacking on doc fees and dealer fees, and a certification fee……and before I knew it, I was almost $4,000 above the original price.  Isn’t the price supposed to be negotiated downwards? Not upwards?  I started working with them to get the price down, and got an out the door figure I felt comfortable with based on my research of that car with those specific features.  I said “I want to know the total price, out the door, with every single fee and charge included”.  Well, I didn’t buy it that night.  I wanted to go home and mull it over.  After all, a car is a big purchase.  It’s not something to take likely.  The dealer sent me the paperwork within a couple of days.  The numbers were over $1000 above our agreed upon “all inclusive out the door price”.  I balked, and explained what was agreed upon, only to be told the fees didn’t include the DMV fee.  Even the numbers they gave me didn’t match up.  At the end of the day, I called a childhood friend of mine who has a son who is a finance manager at a dealer and asked her to run the numbers by him.  He responded the fees were bogus, and that the dealer couldn’t charge me a fee to certify the car…it was against the maker’s policy.

Still, I wanted that car.  The price was in line, even with their bs fees, but we had a problem.  A BIG problem.

I didn’t trust them.

Trust is important to me. If someone lies to me, I’m not interested in dealing with them, at all. I’ve cut ties with people I’ve been close to because they’ve lied to me.  Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me, fool me three times, GTFOH. The fact is, if this dealership was going to keep throwing me lines of BS, I would never feel comfortable with the deal, even though it looked ok on the surface.  So now began the inward battle….do I still buy the car? Or, do I listen to that nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach that told me to cut ties and run?

Well, the answer is I did more research.  I kept looking for cars, and I found the same car, same features, same packages, with 1000 less miles, closer to home.  The base price was about 1000 more than the initial price I had seen on the other car before I got their list of bogus fees.  So I hopped in the car and drove an hour to see it.  The car was in even better shape than the other one.  Before I even test drove it, I looked the salesman in the eye and said “let’s talk numbers.  let’s talk fees.  Even the hidden ones”.

Well, yesterday I picked up my car from the second dealership.  I got the car for about the same price but this time I got it with a full bumper to bumper warranty, free oil changes, and some other perks.  I also got it with the satisfaction of listening to my gut and not going with a company that “mansplained” buying a car to me, and tried to saddle me with hidden costs and fees.

So that’s two good things in a week!

Later taters!  Stay positive, stay happy!

 

The Day to Day

During football season last year, I used to think to myself “it’ll be nice once football ends and things calm down a bit”.  Then the holidays rolled around, and I thought “imagine all the things I can accomplish once the holidays are over with and thinks calm down!”.  The fact is, things never really calm down for me for very long.  Even the mundane, day to day stuff keeps me pretty busy.  Currently I have the little on in gymnastics one night a week, tutoring one day a week, but aside from that, I still find myself wondering when “quiet time” will be available.  Life is just always so BUSY FEELING.   I can’t say it’s a bad thing, but some nights I must say I wish for a little bit of piece and quiet.  In the past few weeks alone, I have had major car issues, unwanted drama, have been on a hunt for another car, have been in the process to change my citizenship, and oh yes, did I mention balance all that with being a wife, mother and working full time?  So here’s how my life on the daily has been going.

For starters, our brakes on our family car started making a grinding noise.  At first it would grind for a minute or two, then stop and not reoccur.  Then one day, my husband drove the car and reported the brakes were grinding full time.  Our usual mechanic was out of town, so I drove it to another shop who works on our cars.  $600 bucks later, we had new brakes, new rotors, replaced bulbs, had had the car smoke tested, and a  cracked part replaced that the mechanic believed was causing the check engine light to come on.  Our car is due for emissions/registration, so I needed the check engine light issue resolved.  3 days later, the light was back on.  A scan of the codes indicated the right catalytic converter and 02 sensor were bad.  $1100 later, the car was fine.  Until the light came back on, this time indicating the OTHER catalytic converter was bad.  I have never seen pity in a mechanic’s face before.  He cleared the codes and told me to wait until the monitors set.  The next day, the monitors had set…no light.  He came and picked up my car and took it for emissions.  It passed!  A week later, husband drives it and the damned light comes back on.  I drive it, the light goes off.  I am chalking it up to the car doesn’t like the husband.

After all the car issues, we decided since the car is almost paid off that it might be time to look for another car.  Y’all…car shopping SUCKS.  Dealers sack you with hidden fees, and if you’re a woman, you can often also get the pleasure of being talked to like you are mentally impaired.  Did you hear the sarcasm there?  Yes?  Good.  Trying to find a car with something that every member of the family wanted was important.  We finally found a car, but dealing with the dealer has been a nightmare.  I had to turn into a difficult asshole and demand everything in writing.  I’m still unsure if the deal will go through, but I will find out in a few days.  Luckily we aren’t in a rush, so if it doesn’t go through, we have time to wait and keep hunting for what we want. Also, apparently if you speak to any dealer about a car, they will call you, daily, forever.

In the midst of all this, I had to travel an hour away for my immigration appointment.  I have been in the US legally as a permanent resident for most of my life.  I got my permanent residency as a child and never switched over due to a few factors. My dad got his US citizenship a few years ago and recommended I get mine.  Frankly, I didn’t have the money to do it.  He offered to pay for it for my birthday, so I decided to move forward with the process early last year.  Needless to say, my time here in the US, the fact I married an American 12 years ago and have 2 children make me a pretty easy case.  People think that becoming a citizen is a quick and easy process.  I can tell you, it’s not cheap, and for most people, it’s not easy nor quick.  Some people wait years.  I am lucky, as mine processed earlier than the government’s website even projected, and my case is really one of the easier ones.  I waited all of last year to get my interview appointment, and as luck would have it, it was scheduled for January 11th….the day after my hysterectomy.  I had to reschedule, which is typically a big no-no, but I couldn’t reschedule my surgery.  I called to reschedule, was told it was sorted, only to get a letter a couple of weeks later saying I couldn’t reschedule over the phone.  I frantically wrote a letter and mailed it off the same day with the form.  Then I berated myself for being a dummy and not sending it certified. I finally got a new date and time, and off I went.  If I’m REALLY honest, part of the reason I waited so long to apply is because I was afraid I would fail the civics test portion of the process.  They have 100 questions and ask you 10.  You have to get 6 right to pass.  I got the first 6 right, so the interviewer wasn’t going to ask me any more.  I said “can you ask me the other 4? I need to prove to my husband I studied and am not a dummy!”.  We had a good laugh.  I got all 10 right! This week I go for my oath ceremony, and then I am officially a US citizen.  It’s exciting. Apparently I can apply for a passport right at the oath ceremony, and I believe I can also register to vote as well.  I never had much desire to vote throughout my life, but now I can’t wait!

In the midst of all the happenings, I also had 2 birthdays in our house and drama as well.  Thankfully the drama has gone away, and it’s peaceful.  I had originally said I would move my blog, and I still might, but I’d prefer not to.  I see no reason to stop what I enjoy (writing) because of someone being a dildo.

My birthday was rough this year.  Two kids with the flu, everyone feeling a bit down, expensive car repairs, etc.  I ended up having to make some really tough decisions that day.  My husband sent me off for a pedicure and some down time, which was much appreciated and extremely needed.  Even though the day was rough, I entered 44 feeling pretty grown up, hopeful, and happy that so far I hadn’t caught the flu. I consider it a win.  Within two days of my birthday I woke up feeling light and happy.  It was like a weight had been lifted.  It was fabulous.

My Husband got us tickets to see the Dropkick Murphys, a favorite band.  He ended up staying home with the poor kiddos who were still sick, but sent me and a friend.  We had general admission, and spent the show 2nd row center, partying our asses off.  We dodged moshers and crowd servers, and even got up on stage for the last song.  I can’t explain just how awesome it is being on stage in a huge arena with a fantastic band, but it’s exhilarating!  It was exactly what I needed, and I got home feeling incredibly happy.

My son’s birthday was a couple of days ago.  I can’t believe he is 12.  He was born during the best and worst time of my life.  In the span of a few months, I married my soulmate and love of my life, had my son, lost my mother to cancer, found out my dad had cancer, moved house, went back to work, and had a bunch of other life changes.  My son was a primary factor in me getting through the tough times.  I can’t say I would have managed nearly as well had he not been born.  He gave me focus, a reason to get up each day and he taught me how to woman up and handle myself better than I ever had before.  Now he’s almost as tall as me, smarter than me, and an all round awesome kid, if I do say so myself.  I’m so lucky to be his mom.  For his birthday, he wanted some quiet time to play video games, then wanted lunch, to play mini golf (outside in the cold no less) and then to play laser tag.  Luckily our local sport place has both mini gold and laser tag, so off we went.  I had such a great time I am looking forward to going back again.  I left laser tag sweaty, red faced, and a little winded, but happy as could be.  My son was thrilled his parents jumped in and played, and a good time was had by all.  We got home and his neighbor friend came over to play video games with him.  A good time was had by all.  The next day the extended family took him out for dinner and cake.  He was thrilled.

It’s been a busy year so far. I started it by getting a major body part removed, and have been trucking along since.  People ask me all the time about the hysterectomy.  It’s honestly the best thing I have done in a while.  While I had a few tiny issues, the end result is that I feel fantastic. I went back to work 2 weeks later (working from home) full time, and haven’t looked back.

While I was in the citizenship appointment, the interviewer asked me a series of questions about whether I had been a part of a terror organization, or a drug cartel, among other crazy scenarios.  I burst out laughing and said “I’m a football/gymnastic mom of two, married to a man with an opposite schedule than mine, and I work full time. I wouldn’t even have time nor energy for that stuff!”. My life on the daily is not super exciting.  It’s not really all that interesting.  Last night I spent 3 hours trying to unclog a toilet, for instance.  Not exactly exciting stuff.  Still, my little life keeps me super busy, and happy.  Sometimes it’s about perspective.  When times get bad, there are always silver linings.  When people are jerks, there are always amazing people to be there for you.  When life gets too busy, a snowstorm will slow you down.  When luck isn’t on your side, know that better times are around the bend.  I’m looking forward to new experiences and changes!

 

decisions

After years of having this blog, I am now faced with possibly having to move it due to an unfortunate circumstance with an online stalking situation.  I’m still mulling it over.  If you’re a follower and are interested in getting the info on the new name, please let me know.  Otherwise, stay tuned….