That'll Do, Pig

First off: Thank you all, so so so much, for this. I keep trying to do the math on how many vaccinations we've provided for kids in need around the world, but I ran out of fingers *and* toes and I think my abacus is still packed up in the garage. Which is more than half-way unpacked, I'll have you know, all by my own self.

#Blogust rages on, with a post today by my dear friend and fellow Coloradan Julie Marsh, who wrote an amazingly lovely post about science, bitches. I have the smartest friends on earth. Go leave a comment there. (We're shooting for 10,000 comments by months' end, yo, to get the full $200,000. No small feat, but it totally can be done. We raise $20 per comment on every post.)

Now.

My blog.

I have a gazillion mini post-its all over my house, covered in the scribblings of half-drafts, miniature inspirations, snack-sized ephipanies. And I can't stop sleeping. 

It's hard (but not impossible) to blog in one's sleep, but you know, this sleep thing is so good. I forgot, entirely, what rest felt like. I am hoarding it like it's all the cats on earth and I'm sure the end is extremely nigh. It's not boding well for my blog-life. 

But alas, I am a mommy blogger, or so they tell me, and my children insist of being smart and interesting, so I suppose I should say something about them. Contrary to the below posts, it isn't actually all gloom and doom around here. We have many more good times than uncomfortable ones, and I can't say we've had even a single moment of bad since I got home and we moved into our new home. 

Well, there was that day two weeks ago when I was moving my son's dresser in with him, and I went backwards, and now I think I have permanent nerve damage in the pinky where he rammed it into the doorframe with the edge of the dresser with just a little too much gusto - but other than that, everything's been pretty damn a'ight.

My daughter has a friend at school who is not named Caliber and she talks about him almost obsessively, which you and I know means one thing, but she just knows it means she's happy to like someone, and she wrote him a note the other day. The very last line of it read, "I have a very nice home."

She is currently being charged with second-degree murder of a parent, by a minor in cuteness. 

My middle son has a friend whom he walks home with every day, and a bit of a few love interests at school. He also has a full sized violin, which means he grew, like, .0016th of an inch in the past year, which makes him not the most tiniest person in his class. He is officially King of the World.

My oldest son actually speaks to me - almost every single day, in fact. For 14, that's astonishing. 

Life is oddly humbling. You spend all these years proving you can handle anything, take whatever gets thrown at you, do everything and anything on your own, and then one day you wake up and the universe decides it high time you unlearn all of that bullshit, or die trying. And by you, I mean me.

We're constantly out of money, but even that doesn't feel scary or bad. We have what we need, and we don't need anything else. Going to a single income family is a huge adjustment without factoring in a cross-country move, but I've had help from a few close friends when I absolutely needed it, and that is forcing me to learn how to ask. For help. Because I can't do everything on my own.

We have couches, finally, and hot water, which you really can go a long long LONG time in Arizona in August before you even realize you don't have any. I think I am very close to having a dining room table, which is great because I bought white couches because I hate being either clean or sane. I hate my washer and dryer because it isn't the washer and dryer I had to leave behind in Texas, but it actually works fine. So does everything else. 

So does everything else. 

I wanted to hate it here, but we kind of like it here. My kids love their schools. We all love this little rental house. We're excited for winter to come, for being able to go outside and play any old time we want without a coat or an umbrella or a car. We are snuggled up together in less than half the space we left behind, and it actually feels good. We are learning each other again, in the quiet spaces the tv and the XBox used to fill. (I opted to not get cable, and to seriously limit game-time. I couldn't really explain why, but I didn't have to. This guy went & said it better than I could have, as he is wont to do.)

In a lot of ways, it feels like time has slowed for us. We go to bed early, really early, embarrassingly geritolly early, and we wake up ready. We wake up unafraid. We start our days looking forward, not back, and we end them together, on the white for not much longer couches, under the just-big-enough roof, in the almost but not quite too hot desert. We are rebuilding our lives and each other very quietly, and with careful consideration, and I think that, for now, it is just enough. 

 

Forward Momentum

So we moved to Phoenix and I promptly shoved everything my kids and I own into a 10X15 storage locker, never unpacked my bags, and flew off to Northern California for seven weeks. 

Perspective aside: Every time I get mad that everything I own can fit into a 10X15 storage locker, I try to remember to go look at this post of where I was the last time this shit happened, and then I thank the flying spaghetti monster that I am blessed enough in this life to have 10 feet by 15 feet worth of possessions, even if none of them are a couch. 

You see, we were actually supposed to move to Northern California, seeings how* my job is there and stuff, you know? Except I don't think Soon To Be Ex (as he shall henceforth be named on ye ol' blog) was every really totally into the idea of moving here - though he agreed to it before I ever even took this job that is, oh, you know, BASED IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA.

The plan was, we drive to Phoenix, stay the night with family, and then leave for The Bay the next morning without him, just until he felt grounded enough to come up there, because I have absolutely no interest in splitting our children and him up again. We went to a therapists for the first time ever in the 17 years we've been together, to get advice on how to tell the kids we're getting divorced, and that's when he told me he wasn't coming to the Bay with us, ever. 

One step forward, two steps back. 

Sorry, or You're welcome, aside: This Paula Earworm was brought to you by my eternal love for Zombyboy. (Who just moved his blog. Subscribe, if you like awesome, albeit wrong not exactly what I agree with totally, things.)

But the lease was already ended and the truck was being rented and the kids had already said their goodbyes so we still had to leave Houston (and man, did we ever have to leave Houston) so I had a decision to make. I try to explain to my kids every single day of their lives that the right thing is usually never going to be the easy thing. This has all turned out to be living proof of that. Moving forward for everyone else, in this instance, meant moving backwards a little bit for me; it means putting my career ambitions on hold a little while longer and going back to Arizona, where everything started the first time I came here in an attempt to leave him

Arizona seems to be both my third realm of rebirth and my ninth level of hell. It's certainly warm enough for it. 

So we got to Arizona and had a few days to hunker down with our family (who is, in reality, his family, but we're going to have to come up with some sort of shared custody, because mineminemineminemine) before I left for California. We have, oh, five weeks *twitch* before we throw a massive conference for like 4,500 people and I really just can't keep doing this through Google Hangouts (which? are the bomb), nor do I want to.

So I'm not. I'm living in the basement of my kids' godfather and failing in every way to take the Caltrain into work every day. 

You see, I happen to have a pre-existing train condition, partly because I don't even like the forward momentum of a swing on the playground, but mostly because my aunt used one to, um, well, there's no nice way to say it. She used one to chop her head off. There.

I also have this fun thing about myself that allows me to channel all of my chaos into objects, making me a Totally Functional Lunatic. When my life goes awry, I will lose/break cell phone after cell phone, until the phone company won't give me more replacements (see: five blackberries in three months. Not kidding). Or I'll leave my purse(s) on the hood of my car, like every day, for a few months, even the one and only Gucci purse I've ever owned. Don't get me started on the hamsters

So I'm getting divorced, moving somewhere I really don't want to, living in someone else's house temporarily in both California AND San Francisco, and five weeks out from Bloggerpalooza. That's pretty awry, yo.

And then I have to ride trains. Ask me how well that's been going for me. I DARE YOU. 

Day 1 on the train: I got on the wrong train, the reaaaally wrong train, and after a detour to a part of California I've never heard of, a frantic phone call to my bestie for directions, some crying, and a three mile walk, I got to work on my first full day an impressive hour and a half late. 

Day 2 on the train: I got on the train, bought the wrong kind of ticket, got asked to show my ticket, and got a citation for stealing public transit and now have to go to court in San Francisco to Face Charges That May Go On My Permanent Record Or Something.

Day 3 on the train: Overslept on the morning of an 8am meeting because I was up all night, um, what is the opposite of sexting? I was doing that, with Soon To Be Ex. I overslept by 15 minutes which meant I missed the one train that came that hour and so I had to take a cab into work.

In San Francisco.

In morning rush-hour. 

You can get seven professional sexual services for less than that cab ride cost. 

But I still feel like I am making some progress on the Treadmill of Crazy. I'm here, in the office with the most amazing team of people I've ever worked with, doing what I need to do even though Soon To Be Ex doesn't really like it, and I miss my kids so much it burns, and I'm a uber private person who doesn't actually share space well with others. I'm starting to come to the point in my life where I am doing that which *I* need, and balancing that with the needs of the people around me, rather than the other way around. 

A year ago, I never would have left for seven weeks. A year ago, I never would have checked myself into the hotel I'm typing this from because I needed one night of absolute solitude. A year ago, I never would have done a lot of things I am doing know, because I was always convinced that if I didn't get everyone's oxygen mask on, they'd all crash and burn. 

Because I am a control freak. Because it's easier to put on everyone else's mask than my own. I am trying really hard to knock that shit off, and just deal with mine. 

And if you're skimming this and looking for a picture to sum of the point of the post, here it is:

Everything can be used, except what is wasteful. (Audre Lorde)
(Or, if life hands you a treadmill of crazy in 105 degree heat, let your kids walk your dog on it.)

*Seeings how may be the most excellent #grammarfail known to man, and I ain't nevah givin' it up.

Karmic Retribution Often Comes With a Cherry On Top

You know what happens when you decide to be that asshole American who's all, "If you people elect Bush again, I'm so totally moving to Canada", and then you DO IT? Karma sees fit to deport your ass straight to his backyard, that's what.

But if you've been really good at some point in your life, even if you can't exact think of one single thing that would qualify you for karmic goodness, but it has to be there because karma decides to dish you out some goodness, you can at least get deported straight back to the backyard of the president you never had very kind words for which also happens to be occupied by all of the bloggers.

Or at least the comments on the last post tell me so. So for all of you who left nice words; thank you. For all of you in HOUSTON who left nice words; thank you, and I'm sorry I didn't respond to every one of you like I meant to, but I just plain suck right now.

Also, I'm taking your asses up on it.

December 4th, downtown Houston, you, me and happy hour. Details are here. Be there or be somewhere else entirely.

But really, please just be there.

***Completely unrelated***

When I was 11 or 12, I sat in my bathroom sink one night with a roll of scotch tape and a bottle of Elmer's glue and I tried, so hard, to find a way to make that tape sticky enough to put on my nose and yank out all of that crap clogging my little bitty pores.

I could be a kagabazillionaire right now, but then I'd be knee deep in the business of other people's snow-capped miniature paper-mache forests, and not wasting everyone's time changing the world as a blogger.

So I became a blogger. And met a guy named Jim. And we talked about opening a kids martial arts/UFC style studio, because he likes it and my kids like it and my husband likes it, but then we remember that someone had done that, too, and it didn't end so well for the asian guy.

And then we had the epic idea to start a line of kids cooking utensils, because yeah, someone really should do that, except someone already did do that, but our kids did start a kids review blog and no kid has ever done that before and the people who made the kids cooking stuff gave them some to test and the resulting carnage is right here.

Pyridoxine Hydrochloride Means Never Having To Say You're Sorry

"Where are we going, momma?" she asked me two night ago from the backseat of the car. "Home, baby", I answered. "Are we going to our new Texas house?" she squeaked softly from her carseat, and I told her we were. "Momma, dats not my home."


*gulp*


"Where is your home, babycakes?" "My bwue house is my home, wif my green woom. It's empty."


Empty House


Yes, yes it is, love.


She misses her home. She can 't remember the house in Denver that we lived in until she was 6 months old, she can't remember the little two bedroom apartment her brothers and I called home for a little over a year while her dad and I sorted our shit out, separately; all she knows in life is Moorside Place; the stairs, the yellow living room walls, her Granny Smith green bedroom walls, her white bed that we left behind for a new little baby who will need a crib when he's born. This is just some place full of boxes that we've crashed in for a while.


Home is where her gerbil is, and her gerbil isn't in America.


We're trying to do everything we can to make this as easy on them as possible. We spent every day of our 2+ weeks in the hotel at the pool, even the really cold, rainy ones, I haven't enrolled the boys in school yet, I got them cell phones, 3of3 has spent every single night in my bed, and I bought them every nasty, evil, food-coloring-soaked, marshmallow-laden, not really food at all breakfast cereal on the market. Because if their life is going to be torn asunder, I think they should at least get to eat some Count Chocula while it happens.


It's worked, so far.


We've spent these 3 weeks since we moved together, just the 5 of us, burrowed into each other making cardboard houses, watching so many movies, slowly unpacking, and laughing like we're hopped up on sugar dipped food coloring. It's been nice, but real life has to resume at some point.


Eventually, this house has to become home. And 3of3 doesn't even have a bed yet.


So yesterday, after my kid informed me that this isn't her home, I got on the horn with the eight thousand doctors and schools to get all the vaccination records and school records I'll need to get the boys back in school. I took them to Petsmart and let them buy a new gerbil, whom we've named Theodore. (Shut up, Molly & Marge, gerbils are heartier. It shall live. DAMMIT.) I opened a few of 3of3's boxes and dug out some clothes and toys. I went to the grocery store and bought more than beer and Apple Jacks. And last night, I took 3of3 with me to the Kirtsy Takes a Bow book signing where she made a new friend whom she wrestled with, got into a fight with, resolved that fight with and decided that he could be her new best friend fowrevowr.


And through sleepy eyes and tired words on our way back, she asked, "Momma, where we go now?" and I said that we were going back to our house. She said, "Are we going to my red home, momma?" and I smiled. Yes, little girl, we are going to your red home.


This Texas House


And now, to buy some fucking GRANOLA...