Hats and Labels

Published August 21, 2016 by sarcasmica

I’m almost 40. I’m not excited about this but hey, as they say: “It’s better than the alternative.”

I feel like i’m entering a new era – just because i like to be cliche – with my daughter now beginning full time school. Both kids at school all day?! YES! Better than day drinking!

Anyway, so i’ve been exploring some alternate universes with the whole volunteering thing which has led me to the whole photography thing. I’ve really enjoyed taking pictures and lugging the big awkward camera bag around in the unlikely event I’ll use my 50mm wide angle lens. I’d really like to better understand what i’m doing with it so i’ve looked into photography class at the “local” community college. Unfortunately I only have “butt crack of dawn” early, or “conflicts with any extra curriculars” late. This has not deterred me.

This summer was a record for my husband and I with following through with an activity. Last summer we camped twice, this summer we actually were consistent and went ahead and camped again. Once. We went two months after the car accident and the cot/air mattress trade off was murder on my back. It was horrible. I slept more and better with a newborn just home from the hospital. We also concluded that tent camping experience with breaking it all down in the rain wasn’t our favorite thing to do. We did have a great time prior to the deluge.

This discussion led us to considering an RV. This was one time “we aren’t getting any younger or thinner” worked to our advantage. Our expensive advantage. We started checking out RV dealers on our way home from that very trip. Like, my daughter and I were literally still in our pajamas. I had scary, frightening 3rd day of camping hair and we all had the day after beach sunburn. We were a sight. We looked like we were looking for upgrading our cardboard box rather than a luxury camping option. (see above: breaking down camp in the rain)

For the last month we’ve been tossing the idea around, researching, arguing amongst the voices in our own heads whether it is a good idea or not. Was summer really a good time to buy an RV? Should we wait until winter? Will there be enough space, will we feel comfortable driving it? And most importantly, is my husband willing to fully take on the “shitty” job of manning the waste line 100% of the time? Because that ship has sailed for me. I had 4D shit show experience aplenty between the two kids. At least this crap is contained within a hose, right? I refuse.

Also, it’s just seems like an obscene luxury. How can we justify buying an RV when we can barely (and by “barely” I mean not at all) maintain our actual house?! How can we commit to this rig when my husband can’t even bring himself to take the trash out? And me, how am I going to maintain any level of cleanliness in the tiny space when my hardwood floors are beginning to look more like forest floors? Are we really going to park an RV on the driveway that borders a yard that is beginning to resemble “naturalscape”?

Well it appears the answer to all of this is YES. Yes we are. Because we can. Because it’s our choice to be inconsistent home maintainers. There’s a reason we chose a neighborhood with no HOA. “Free the weeds!” we say. I have a turquoise front DOOR for crapsakes.

So if everything goes as planned, this week we will own a new RV. We are going to be campers. I’m going to be a roving photographer.

New adventures. They are intimidating and scary and nerve-wracking and you never really know if you’re supposed to be doing it, but I have found it’s been harder to allow myself the permission to do what we want. It’s going to ultimately bring the family closer – literally – so how is that going to end badly? (she said at the end of summer with 50% more grey hair and 40% less hair on her head from pulling it out)

Why is it so hard to let yourself have a little freedom and self-exploration as you age? I am grateful for the opportunities I have to find these things out about myself and our family. Adventure Chapter 40 soon to come!!

The Purge

Published August 11, 2016 by sarcasmica

As a parent, I’ve lost my right to have “stuff”. Scratch that. As a mother I’ve lost my right to collect and keep “stuff”. My husband has made a side job out of it. Ever since we lived in our first house together, the garage was 98% his crap stuff. Game stuff, paperwork from decades ago, game cords, connectors, controllers, wires that converted old games to new games, bad consoles to mediocre consoles, game cartridges, game disks, game boxes, game guides, collectors editions, boxes to hold things that no longer exist, the list goes on and on and on. This has just morphed into all of that PLUS kids bikes, lawn mowers, buckets and containers to hold the crap that go with the bikes and tires and lawn mowers. Crap to keep the lawn looking good …. only it collects dust because my husband and I don’t fancy losing weekend time to lawn maintenance.

The only things that have accumulated on my behalf are kid-related. I think one, maybe two boxes, in that three car garage that could be associated with me have my old year books, high school paraphernalia, old college notebooks. Everything else is kid clothes, baby keepsakes, holiday decorations. Hardly my hoarder collection of ancient tomes.

Every year before school starts I get a hankerin to overhaul. Get it all out. Today I went through my kids drawers and closets and purged anything and everything that is “too itchy, feels weird, too small, too stained, too ripped, too too too.” It was a lot easier to pull my daughter’s clothes for some reason this time. My son hadn’t purged his closet in over a year, so there was a lot more to see.

For the life of me, I cannot at all understand the hormonal necessity to assign emotion to clothing on behalf of my kid. We were going through shirts that were 2 sizes too small and I could tell you where/who/when they were bought and from whom. I had to just shut my eyes and shout, “Go! Go! Toss!” to the amazement of my kid. In the beginning he kept trying to give me reasons he wouldn’t wear brand new pants or shorts that were bought last summer, but I just wanted to get it done. Didn’t need an excuse or answer or reason. “Don’t like it? Chuck it. Fine. Done. Out.”

In the end between both rooms we had 4.5 garbage bags of clothes that were donated.

I have plenty of unused and unneeded emotions floating around in my head. Why do they have to get assigned to something like a shirt or dress?! Seriously? And my daughter has inherited this association, unfortunately. I had to put the bags in the car out of eyesight of her or she would have rummaged through all the bags protesting each choice.

And it’s a sickness. How do I know this? Because it’s spread to the toys. In all sincerity, it began with the toys and spread to the clothes… i think.. it’s sort of like the chicken or the egg. It really began when they were infants. My son’s clothes were all keepsakes. With the first, every single onesie, sock, pacifier holds some sort of magical power that immediately transports you back to that time it was used…. that one time. God knows you have so. much. stuff. with babies. Especially the first one. The magic is in the immediate time travel. The survival is in remembering what the reality was surrounding the inanimate object. Yes that 0-3m PJ is too precious to give away because ohmygod this giant child fit in that once, remember the sweet baby smell? The sleeping baby on your chest??? Remember???

No. Because it never happened that way!!! USE THE FORCE! Do not get sucked into the Hallmark memory!! That baby was only sleeping on you because it’s 2pm and you have to pee and get a load of laundry done. He didn’t sleep more than an hour at a time the night before and you can’t even be bothered to remember your last name or his birth date when you have to make an appointment at the pediatrician.

Look at that little dress she used to fit into! How did she fit into that dress? She was so tiny and precious and dependent on you for every single need and thing to the point of wiping her diarrhea diaper rash bottom and screaming in your face while you did it …..

While purging closets, you have to be strong and remember the actuality, not the perceived reality. The toys are slowly conspiring to take over the house and kill us all in our sleep to control this command station. I think they are planning to overtake the neighbor’s house next.

They breed in the toy bins. How does this happen?! And the longer between clearing them out, the worse it gets! My kids are next door playing. I took the opportunity to go through toy bins in the front room … because, you know, the whole smuggling toys like a Mexican drug Lord thing is very much reality in this house. My daughter is a dictator with her toys. Epic. Tantrum.

So i’m going through and pulling out the big guns on top who are often played with to get to the bottom dwellers. As I’m pulling them out and hardcore considering who had to go I began naming them in my head as they were being pulled out.

It’s like pigs to the slaughter. Once they have a name, it’s game over! The crappy little action figures are the only things that ever get tossed because they are branded. No one took the time to name them and give them a personality or job. Plus, those li’l f-ers have all the damn accessories that end up anywhere BUT the toy bin beside the corresponding toy.

Today I only had the strength of will to chuck the clothes and a few broken non-emotional toys. I still feel triumphant. Tomorrow I will conquer the remaining toy clutter future hoarder bomb that has gone off in my daughter’s room. If I have to blindfold her and tape her to the kitchen table so this can happen, so be it. When she starts her meltdown, i’ll just tell her a family of spiders built a house and neighborhood beneath her stash. That should do it.

This parenting story brought to you by: LIES! Behold the key to freedom!

Back At It

Published August 9, 2016 by sarcasmica

Last year I had a grand plan to make and sell wreaths using feathers from the sanctuary I volunteer at twice a week. In my head I turned myself into a lone sweat shop slaving away at wrapping wreaths. I was arthritic from all the yarn and felt and blistered from the crappy glue gun I insist on continuing to use.

It couldn’t have worked out further from that expectation. I can barely give these things away. You know that family member that fancies themselves a Rembrandt but when you see the abomination they actually spent money and time to create it just inspires nausea on your part? I’m feeling a bit like this is me. I am the (failed) fantasy Wreath Rembrandt.

I’d like to say that I would love feedback from people so that I can adjust my limited and very elementary business plan, but I doubt I’ll take it well. I guess throwing me constructive criticism safely from a distance – say, behind a screen – would be the best way to receive it. I wont see your green distorted face and you wont see my red flaming one. .. and then I can (or possibly wont) adjust accordingly.

But honestly I look at these and think, “Wow, that’s so cool!” Maybe it’s the phobia people have of birds? It’s not as if i’ve created an ashtray from pigeon feathers. These are beautifully colored parrot feathers.

I don’t know. Rejection has never been my thing, but now after this fantastic lead in I wanted to announce that i’m back at it! I’m trying again. Maybe people will be blinded by the summer sun and brain damaged from the heat and restlessly searching for something to buy that does not at all relate to Back To School. If this sounds like a description of yourself, check out my Etsy shop!

 

FeatheredFavors

Bad Writer

Published August 8, 2016 by sarcasmica

I figure it’s better to have fewer posts than many posts that are babbling on and on about nothing in particular.

So, summer. We are in the trenches of summer here. I’ve managed to keep sanity until about two hours ago. I am so in need of school to begin now. Like, now. Some people are early Christmas preppers, I am an early school prepper. We have all the lists checked, backpacks bought, lunch boxes ready and I am counting down!

Swim lessons in the am every day are really preventing me from digging a trench in my room to stick my head in. We get up and get out and then spend the rest of the day smelling of chlorine.

Don’t even act like you all bathe your children on the daily when they are just getting back in that chlorinated cesspool in the morning. It’s not like we live in Rio. :0O !

We are down to frozen dinners and hot dog lunches in varying forms; corn dogs, beans and weenies, cold.. Am I Mother of the Year? Nope. But my kids are both covered in bacteria prevention (chlorine) and they can reach all the shelves themselves. They know how to operate a remote control and a game controller.

No bodies have been stored in refrigerators, no siblings choked out by controllers (hellooooo wireless!) and we are all relatively functioning. Isn’t that the point of summer? To push SAHParents to the brink? This way we don’t mind sitting and figuring out math homework every night. We look forward to the fun notes we put in lunchboxes. We appreciate the laundry because it means everyone is going to SCHOOOOOL!

We have no more vacations or trips planned for the remaining 29 days of summer. We have TV, movies, video games and maybe an outing or two. I did go and plan their first ever sleepover. What crack pipe exploded in my face to do that?! I volunteered to have four children in the house over night instead of the regular two. Total crazy town.

Forgive my lack of witty imagination and commentary. It appears my brain cells are fried and the evidence is in the form of frozen dinners in my freezer.

Just 29 more days until sanity …

Summer Thoughts Vol I

Published July 30, 2016 by sarcasmica

1. Husband: “Babe! I hear The Sandman coming! He’s real!” 

Me: “Hides dry summer sandal feet in socks.”

2. I wonder how long i’ll be married before I come to bed to find my husband has changed the sheets and made the bed. 

Probably as long as it takes to hire a nurse to care for us both…and change the sheets.

3. How many days til school?!?

4. Am I really ready for pumpkins already? (Yea..i kind of am) 

5. Why dont we have a pool or a/c?! Oh yea…Washington.

Desert Dolphins

Published July 30, 2016 by sarcasmica

I recently went on a trip to Las Vegas with my husband. As I am a terrible gambler, I had to find things to do that didn’t cost much money, and if I could practice taking pictures, even better! When I was in Vegas “a little while ago” after turning 21, my friend and I did a sort of animal tour of the strip so I thought I could revisit some of those spots this time.

First up, MGM Grand for the Lion exhibit. It was indoors from what I remembered, which was a bonus in the 106 heat of summer. I uber’d over just to find that the exhibit was closed in 2012. I felt a little annoyed at my useless trip to the casino, but was then relieved on behalf of the lions. Perhaps they ended up in a place more suited for their species? Maybe they were sent to a grand enclosure where shade, food, and entertainment were plentiful..?

I also did the Shark Encounter at Mandalay Bay. These guys were housed in a nationally recognized aquarium inside an air conditioned building. Not too shabby.

We concluded our animal tours with Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden at The Mirage. I was sort of remembering the dolphins being outside, and was desperately hoping the tigers were inside. Did I mention it was 106? Do you know what 106 in the desert feels like? Open your oven while you’re waiting for your pizza to go in. That’s what it felt like. Parched, dry, sort of like you’re a piece of meat walking around a spit being slowly cooked. If you found shade, it was crowded with other sweaty meat bodies and never lasted very long.

So my husband and I walk out to the courtyard of dolphin pools. The first reaction when someone sees a dolphin is always “aawwwww”. How could you not? Those permasmiles, that inviting playfulness, those happy fins.

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But quickly I began to wonder, “Where’s their shade?” This is the desert, for crapsakes. It was 106 that day, but the following weekend the temps were expected to hit 113!

The crowd was certainly making sure they were covered. The amphitheater seating was  covered and there were a few umbrellas set up around the pools to shade you if you wanted to get closer to the animals. I was among a throng of onlookers that was crowded under the umbrella. Any skin that snuck outside the shade was instantly singed.

There were three pools total, I believe. Only one had something resembling a false coral reef, the others were bare pools. Totally empty! Not to mention zero shade. Zero. I’m no marine biologist, but I know a little something about the ocean. There are different layers, and marine mammals are equipped with genetic diving gear. If they want to avoid UV rays and intense sunshine, they can dive to get away from it. In these pools, there was nothing.

In one area there’s a huge diameter pool with more than a handful of dolphins. I’m sad to say I did not get a picture of this pool myself. Frankly, there was nowhere to stop in the shade to take a picture! A quick search online provided this one:

https://i1.wp.com/media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/74/43/43/744343c8359e4d719b0835d02db5cfeb.jpg

What’s interesting to me is that they call this a “habitat”. According to dictionary.com the definition of a habitat is this:
the natural environment of an organism; place that is natural for the life and growth
of an organism

I don’t know about you but I can’t remember the last time I saw a dolphin swimming in a natural habitat that consisted of a shallow pool with zero ecosystem surrounding it. Not to mention living in the shallows 100% of the time all day, all year, all life long. I heard one of the trainers explaining to the crowd that they don’t give them commands, per say. They simply toot their whistle which gives the dolphins “freedom to choose” a behavior. They do whatever behavior they want, and then get their reward.

My takeaway from that is that the dolphin is still expected to do something to spark a “Oooh!” and/or “Wow!” to get fed. They are smart animals. That is why they are contained and imprisoned, actually, so they can prove their intelligence over and over and over for our enjoyment at the expense of their entire natural lives. If only they could be allowed to thrive in a natural environment, imagine the quality of entertainment – if that’s the goal – or research or study. Whatever label the check-signers need to put on it, just make it a humane and understandable life. Give the equivalent to yourself or your own family. Would you be happy to live in a square cube devoid of any stimulation except what is given at the time you are expected to perform a trick for someone else?

Looking back on the pictures a thought occurred to me; what if we could tear our eyes away from the charming “smiling” mouths that constantly reassure us they are, in fact, smiling and focus on their eyes. We like to think because their face happens to be formed in a natural smile that whatever situation they are in must mean they are happy, right?! Do you know anyone who is depressed? Do they walk around with a cloud over their head popping pills so everyone knows the state of their mind? Likely not. These animals have a face that lends itself to always looking playful and happy. It does not mean they are. I showed a few pics to my 5 year old just now. I said nothing about it, but asked her “Do they look happy to you?” Her response: “Kinda … ” I asked her why, “because their eyes are kinda like *this*.” She made a pitiful look that affected her whole face to manipulate her eyes to look sad… because that’s how human faces work.

So now look at these dolphins and try and take into account what their very intelligent eyes are showing. I wonder what you will feel?

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With all the hooplah surrounding Sea World and Blackfish (which I saw and also wrote a post about) I am really surprised to find that there seems to be one Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/LasVegasDolphins
and one change.org petition which actually has some sad and interesting information
https://www.change.org/p/no-more-dolphins-swimming-in-las-vegas

I am not proud that I gave money seemingly supporting The Mirage and their exhibit, but on the other hand, I’m glad to know this exists and needs to be understood so it can be changed. The change.org site makes some glaringly obvious points that I wont parrot here, but really, do dolphins belong in the desert? At that, do they belong in a desert at the heart of a filthy, bustling, city surrounded by highways, pollution, and skin-searing heat?  

Midnight Musings

Published July 25, 2016 by sarcasmica

This is what I should just call my blog since it’s the only time I have the ability (i.e. Peace and quiet and completion of one whole thought) to write.

Throughout the day I have lots of inspiration for entries. Something will happen or pop in my head but then life happens and it gets pushed aside. Right now, for instance, I have about 879 different random thoughts I want to put down, but no common thread to string them together for a “worthy post”. So Im sort of just warming up my writing muscles right now i guess.

Summer is actually going by very quickly. I still have 6 weeks and 1 day, so of course it feels quick! Im sure in about 4 weeks i’ll be wondering if there was a statewide time reversal causing everything to move at a snail’s pace. For now, it’s hunky dory.

I found some relief- painful relief- at the chiropractor/massage therapist today. I wasnt able to get it 100% back in place, but it was enough to give relief. I can lay in bed and turn without crying out in pain and only on ibuprofen, no muscle relaxers. Woo hoo! 

I did find out my first “pull” was actually a rib popping out and back into place. So i’m not crazy. That’s always a nice thing to hear 😊. 

Right now in this moment, i think i just felt the need to document the happy. Nothing major has happened. We havent won anything. We arent in the middle of an idyllic family escape. I havent miraculously lost 100lbs. But im still right now in this moment “happy”. 

My husband is home. We laughed together despite him working late and missing family dinner. My kids are safely in bed sleeping. No one is sick. 

Hell, i even feel a headache starting, but im happy. The bills are paid, my body is slowly getting fixed, school is on the horizon, I am loved and (mostly) appreciated.  Neither kid was happy about the dinner I made, but there was food for everyone. I did not put away any laundry today or wash a toilet and I still feel great. 

Im not going to hope the same for tomorrow because that will have to take care of itself. I’m sure I will feel many ways about the day when it comes, but right now im going to enjoy laying in this bed nearly pain-free, typing on a new-ish iPhone, listening to the blissful sound of a quietly content house. 

Goodnight interwebs, and sweet dreams.

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