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All posts for the month March, 2017

Alien Evolution

Published March 24, 2017 by sarcasmica

Driving my son to fencing practice last night, he began talking about civilization. At first I thought it was just iPad withdrawal, but turns out he was going somewhere with it.

I have to paraphrase here because honestly, I wasn’t actually listening in the beginning. I tuned in off and on and it went something like this

“…. where we came from…”  “… like from another planet, because there are a lot of planets and we still don’t know everything that’s out there…”  “.. how I got here. I just wish I knew where we came from, you know?”

This was obviously the answer portion of the show.

“You mean like reincarnation?” (a topic of discussion last week)

“Yea.. sorta… but like where people came from. I wish we knew how we got here.”

How can he not know this at 10? Have I been that negligent that these basic concepts were left out?

“Honey .. we know where we came from. There has been lots and lots of science that tells us our history and how we got here.”

silence…. which, if you live with a ten year old boy who plays Minecraft and video games, you know this is not usually a positive reaction.

…. ?? hello?

And it dawned on me that he didn’t really want to seem out of the loop, but since it is a huge loop, more of a sphere, I delved into the very limited information I have on the topic. I was cursing myself for not paying more attention in Ancient Civilization in high school.

We talked about evolution. We talked about early humans. We talked about evolution and early humans. This somehow segwayed into a conversation about language. He wanted to know how language becomes established. Thankfully this I had slightly more information on based on having a near certification for Interpreting.

I explained how language is an ever-evoloving thing. There is no set permanent language because it’s constantly reflecting society.

Language is a result of the culture that establishes and uses it. Think about the word “Cold” or “snow”. Do you think Alaskans have more words used for that or Arizonians? We went on to discuss how the culture determines the usage and rules of a word.

He was still spinning on the fact that words are still being created. “Can I create a word?” “Only if you can find a massive group of people to all use it the same way you do, and then they influence and cause millions more to use it all in a common way.”

“Take ‘Selfie’ for example. This was not a word before smart phones. There were people flipping cameras around to take photos of themselves, yes. I was/am a master at this. It just didn’t have a name until people began using smart phones, apps, taking pictures of themselves en masse. Instead of always saying ‘I’m taking a picture of myself.’ it evolved down to just a single word. A word everyone uses for the same thing.”

We talked about how words get added to the dictionary every year because society and culture is always finding a new way to describe something. We talked about certain things being invented long ago that forever changed society. Fire. The wheel.

It was quite a cerebral conversation for a non-college educated mom and her ten year old son.

And this, my friends, is what can happen when you travel without an iPad. (because your son lost privileges due to behaving like a rabid beast every morning before school)

Don’t get me wrong, this conversation could have played out in a million ways. 999,998 of them being about Minecraft in one way or another. Also, I could have tuned in and out of whatever current story is being written in his brain. This one time it was educational and interesting and I actually found a topic I didn’t have to bullshit my way through entirely! SCORE!

 

Parrot Life

Published March 21, 2017 by sarcasmica

Birds were never in my plan. Animals, yes, birds specifically, notsomuch.

My “life plan” (chuckle chuckle chuckle) was to flounder in community college for a little while before sticking with the sign language interpreter program. Once I mastered that, I would go to Moorpark College in Simi Valley, CA and work as an interpreter while simultaneously studying in their exotic animal training and management program. In order to study in the program, you also have to work at the college zoo. The only block I had was how to get through all the bug stuff. I hate bugs. HATE. I can appreciate their role in an ecosystem and yes I understand how important they are blah blah blah, but handling them?! No.

Blech. I can’t.

Anyway, I got as far as my interpreter program. I didn’t even complete that. See, my step mother was the interpreter coordinator for the campus in addition to a teacher in the department. (That is how she and my dad met and later married) My last semester I had a class that is only offered once/year at only one time. I was at the end of my last semester in the three year program when my dad died. Being as how I was the only offspring of either side to help my stepmother make arrangements, get through the awful tragedy, and deal with the hurricane of tedium you have to deal with when a loved one dies, school suffered a bit. I still made it to my final roughly a week after the funeral… the funeral my teacher for the same class attended along with most of the department and all my past and present instructors.

Guess who failed the class? Yup. Moi. I wasn’t expecting a free pass, I wasn’t expecting an A, but can you really not help someone out in that scenario? Really?! Can you honestly not offer some kind of counseling on the side or advice? Just F, done, buh bye, sorry for your loss.

Anyway, I was bitter after this happened, naturally. I also was connected through my step mother with my first signing job in Irvine at a high school. I moved to Irvine and could not manage the 2 hour rush hour commute for the one hour class back in Torrance, either. I just let it go.

Anyway, that job and that city led me to Arizona and another job and then got married and had a kid and life and yada yada yada. Long story short, I never made it to Moorpark College.

In my early 20’s while still in school, a friend of mine was a manager at Petco. She offered me a job as a Bird Specialist and I’d be in charge of the department – ordering, feeding the babies, caring for the cages and animals, stocking, etc etc. I took it knowing any knowledge needed I’d have to research myself since they do not have any sort of extensive training for this. I loved it. It was sad – seeing the state they were delivered in from breeders – but it was also gratifying – being able to educate people on a pet. I was absolutely astounded at how many grown people have a fear of birds. Kids would readily go into the bird room while their parents stood outside shaking their heads and twitching at the thought of wings coming at their face. (a common fear, apparently)

Anyway, I suppose that’s where the seed was planted. Ironically twenty years later I’m working the other side of the pet industry. It’s exactly opposite, actually, right down to me volunteering and not getting paid to care for the birds that people could not for a million and eighteen reasons commit a lifetime to. It’s so rewarding that there’s about 65 volunteers that the sanctuary heavily relies on for feeding/cleaning/food prep/grooming. I’m always impressed with the volunteers that balance this work with a paying full time gig. There are students, retirees, unemployed (moi) but we all, I think, look forward to our time there helping out.

Everyone has their niche. Some people like the cage work; cleaning and feeding. Some people like the massive open flight area. Some like the rooms and some don’t even interact with the birds. They handle food only. My happy place is the room. I have one room where I’ve learned about 70% of the birds names and know them fairly well. I don’t handle many because, quite frankly, I’ve seen enough bites to not be excited by that happening. I’ve had only one bad bite that’s left a scar, but like most stories of bites it was my own fault. I took a bird out and she didn’t want to return to the room when I needed her to. Instead of getting a perch, I kept insisting she step up on my arm and after repeatedly pushing back with her beak, she finally gave me a good clear chomp. … then I got the perch. Duh.

Funny enough two of my favorite birds reside in rooms completely different than my favorite. I don’t hold it against them, though 🙂

Anyway, I don’t know if I’ll ever get to fulfill my wish of actually working and interacting with wild exotic animals for a job, but truthfully my kids and these crazy parrots seem to be filling my heart. So while I figure it out, I’ll just keep taking pictures and hope people enjoy them.

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Merlot

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Coco

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Sugar

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Zephyr

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Junior (i think)

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Willy

 

TherapMe

Published March 20, 2017 by sarcasmica

My therapist was proud of me today and that feels good! 

I am a firm believer in therapy. I feel like absolutely everyone can gain from a little guidance and cheerleading. People don’t often talk about it, but I don’t much care for what people think of me. Take me or leave me, I show you what you’re workin with. 

Therapy has helped my marriage. My husband is a crazy strong man who happens to understand when help is beneficial. I have always admired his strength and someone who can acknowledge when his own limits are met and get help to reign some sanity back in is very sexy. My husband has taught me a lot of things, and the freedom of therapy is one of them.

I’ve worked with our therapist on and off for about 4 years. 

On & off means sometimes weekly, sometimes twice a year, sometimes twice a week. 

I’ve done couples and individual counseling. She’s helped me navigate the lonely, confusing waters of motherhood. She’s helped me understand and manage feelings of second wifehood and stepmotherdom. She’s guided me through the overwhelming valley of ‘oh shit, being MOM isn’t the answer to my all-being?!’. 

It’s helped me understand myself and why I make certain decisions. It’s also helped me not abuse my friendships (too much) by bitching and complaining (too much) about my personal life. Truthfully I think my friends breathe a little sigh of relief when they hear I have an appointment! 😜

It felt good today to hear how far i’ve come and get some positive feedback and encouragement from someone, one of the few people actually, who knows just about every single dysfunction I have carried with me. So i’m taking a moment to enjoy that. 

Letting it all go and just enjoying the view

Grown Ups Live Here

Published March 16, 2017 by sarcasmica

We are in the thick of home selling/purchasing. We have been slightly burned – more like singed – recently on a home and are very hesitant to assume all will be what it appears. I’d like to get emotionally attached to the house we just bought considering all the hooplah selling ours has created, but it is what it is.

One thing that has gotten my juices flowing getting excited about the house is the prospect of buying some grown up furniture. Not one piece or a lamp, but a cohesive array of things that will give the illusion that grown ups live in the house… not a mish mosh of what’s been brought from previous homes/lives/garage sales/craigslist shopping. The only problem is I do not know where to start. The good news is we made a little change on our transaction, so we may actually be able to hire a professional swatch wrangler to help us stay focused on what we’re doing.

I walked into a Pier 1 today, sat down, and never wanted to leave. I have always loved that store. It’s fun and eclectic but you don’t have to build anything yourself, and it seems to hold up pretty well.(…??) They also have actual patterns and color! We are a bold bit of family and like our crap to reflect that. I can deal with neutral walls if my furniture was anything like the purple couches at the bottom of this post!

A purple haven. I love purple but cannot handle a room of purple walls. I did that in my 20’s, and that’s where it should stay. We will have very limited outdoor space, so we need the inside of the house to feel open and well lit. Dark cave walls do not give the appearance of tranquility and airiness.

For the last five years or so we’ve used a circular dining room table that has mostly been crammed into a room too small for it. Or too small for the bellies that roll up to it while still fitting within the same four walls as the chairs and table together, rather.

I began searching for dining room sets and realized I have no flippin’ idea what I like. I have no style. I can appreciate a certain type of decor – hello Joanna Gaines – but as far as picking something myself and building an entire room around it, I’m clueless. I have tentatively begun a conversation with a designer who may or may not be able to help me. The fact that we are starting with a burnt orange kitchen and living room wall to change should mean we can only design up, right? How much worse can you go from burnt orange walls with tan carpet?

I have failed to fill my husband in on some of the design choices i’m sharing with the designer. In my mind the paint color will be chosen and the furniture picked out and it will all be wrapped up in a big surprise form of “look what we did, honey!” and then i’ll be on Real Housewives of Seattle. … just as long as it doesn’t land me on Real Homeless Wives of Seattle.

Along with the formal dining room/tandem kids play room to design, i’d like to figure out space puzzles with the kitchen-into-the-living room scenario without using the eat in dining area space. There are counter stools and a counter along with a built in desk. The small floating table blocking the french doors seems like seating area overload to me. .. but I don’t know what else to do with that spot – if anything. And then there are the colors to marry. The family we are buying from really liked color blocking. As I said before, we don’t mind colors, but dayumn! Choose something that can almost be a neutral when painting a vaulted entry way.

I sound like a giant douche bag talking about these spaces in our new house. I really do. I hear it now while proof reading and I’m so sorry. (Proof read, kids. It works) I did not grow up in big fancy houses. In fact, I lived in the same tiny house for 17.5 years. We never moved. Once that started I haven’t stopped. Our house was a modest old 3 bedroom rental and we never underestimated the value of a garage sale. This has carried over, I’m afraid, and as and adult we have only ever had a mish mosh of decor. Aside from our bedroom set which has moved with us to four states, and now 7 houses in the 13 years we’ve had it.

It’s late, I began this as a quick little post six hours ago and now i’m tired. Selling/buying is stressful! Shit goes sideways, follow up has to be done, communication needs to be communicated. One would think it forces a person to be and adult! I, however, laugh in the face of adulting.

But seriously, I NEED that skeleton chair and at least one of those purple couches… right?!

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Sold!

Published March 13, 2017 by sarcasmica

Hallelujah, we have sold. After random last minute showing after showing and a whole weekend of open houses, we have sold our house.

We are feeling very thankful and blessed the process is in our favor at the moment. Next up, the reality of documents and inspections and packing and sifting and I’m certain I will be managing lots of tears.

I am now able to feel positive about investing some emotion and excitement in the area we are moving to. It’s just under 10 miles away, but we are moving less than two miles from a huge recreation park. I’m looking very forward to getting the kids signed up for camps for the summer and hoping they meet and make some local friends. It would be nice to start at the new schools knowing some familiar faces.

It would be very nice to celebrate with my husband, but he is sadly in another state at the moment, just until tonight. I guess we will have a delayed celebration. I now need to go handle the pain in my belly that’s been festering since we began this whole ordeal. (and to think we aren’t even through it yet, but just in the middle has me a bit panicky)

Nothing a little vodka wont fix, i’m sure.

Done Deal

Published March 9, 2017 by sarcasmica

Ok, so we decided to sell our house.

This has been an endeavor, to say the least. It’s been a massive process and we haven’t even sold yet! I’ve had many reactions thrown at me that I have to process in addition to the stress of just buying a home and selling ours.

There are feelings flying all over the place! Landmines. Rocket launchers. Grenades. Who knew real estate was such a war zone?!

The first whammy in the market we’re in here is finding a place that will consider selling to you. People are clamoring for houses. Bid wars, inspection reports, open houses, school districts, contingencies, repairs, oh my!

We did the lightning round of bidding and getting accepted, now we had to prepare our chaotic disorganized heap of a house for listing pictures and showings. It was boot camp for days. My husband is able to help out more since he can get around without the knee scooter now, but he can’t carry anything up or down the stairs or reach and bend much.

So we pack our lives and our kids’ lives into boxes in the garage, and then the realtors bring in all the staging furniture.

It’s like living in a museum indefinitely. You have the items ready, but you may not use them. The white rugs in the bathroom? HA! Don’t even think about it. The pristine hand towels? Use your pants. The perfectly pouffed pillows on the sofa? Do not touch, lean or toss. The throws elegantly draped on the couch? Get a sweater.

It has been an emotional roller coaster. The staging was a total mind fuck. We aren’t leaving this house because it sucks. We genuinely love our house! The layout is not great. The house is old. Repairs are needed. Updating is necessary. The land is a lot of work we aren’t too keen on- to say the least. We have an opportunity to hopefully pocket some money after the sale and still have a larger, more updated house with space to live. That’s the plan. It’s hard to remember that when you see your home staged like a dream house. The kids changed their minds about moving the first night of staging.

There were tears and arguments. Wailing and hugs and kisses. I had to remind them this house as it is now is not how we live in it. It’s not real. I had to go through room by room and remind them what we’re trading this for. The house we are buying is not near us or on the way to anything. We never “just drive by” to remind ourselves why we’re doing this. It is a planned trip out to see it and the family is still there as well, so we can’t just pop in and check on it.

Now we’ve begun the showing process. I fight every hard earned urge to shut lights off as I leave rooms. I have to leave blinds open, ALL lights on, doors open, access access access. Dog beds hidden, dirty undies hidden, couch pillows fluffed, throws thrown, lysol sprayed. And then collect animals and disappear for 30 – 45 minutes and never know what anyone thought/saw/felt/figured about our house.

It’s all very alien. Our open house is this weekend, so I am desperately hoping we get an amazing offer (or three!) and we can just begin the next step. .. PACKING! Because who doesn’t absolutely love packing?!

Fingers crossed, wish us luck, and be kind to us during this process. Yes we chose to do it, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t exceedingly difficult on all of us.

Decisions Decisions

Published March 5, 2017 by sarcasmica

Being a grown up is hard. Throwing kids into the mix is even harder.  You cant just make a decision, you have to beat every possible outcome into the ground.

We have been looking at the possibility of moving. Currently we have a wonderful traditional house. There’s a massive blacktop driveway, there’s a huge grassy backyard. Summers are chalk race track creations and variations and neighborhood kids running from yard to yard or riding bikes back and forth. It’s awesome! The not so awesome part is that it’s almost 40 years old and has had minimal updating. There is a long monotonous laundry list of things that need to be fixed or done to it. 

We found a house and it happens to be in a subdivision. It’s a much newer house than ours but sadly, typical of most, there is no yard. There’s a patio and a patch of grass. Essentially we are trading our amazing outdoor life for a comfy indoor life. Being Washington, the weather makes the inside of the house more of a requirement than the outside.

I came here at 5am because I woke up freaking out about the cons. Aaaall the cons. I message bombed my friends with my panic and realized that wasnt cool, so i need to make a list of the why’s. Not to answer to or justify, but to remind myself why we are doing this. 

1. Upgraded house

2. Proximity to huge city park

3. Saving money

4. Much better layout

5. More community

6. Friends for the kids

7. Way less maintenance

8. New places to explore

At this moment, amid packing boxes and nearing the end of winter (i hope!!) it’s easy to panic about the cons. The changes. The unknowns. The thought of a decision you dont have to make, but are choosing to make negatively impacting your kids is hard. Maybe if I were a parent who believed in blindly leading for the sake of control and authority I’d have less stress. I’d have miserable kids, perhaps, but who cares? Do as I say and ask no questions!

That’s not how we roll. 

If I can keep our reasons in the fore front and remember all the whys I can maintain forward momentum. Silly things like sleep and quiet darkness creep in and make me question what we are doing. 

One down side to moving as often as we have is that it becomes easy to continue doing it. I need to learn with the next house not to say “never again.”.

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