Cold.

I am trying to type this on Jim’s iPad. Should prove interesting.

So, Friday night, after Vincent fell asleep, Jim and I packed up, bundled our little guy up, and left for the greater Chicago area to see my mom. We thought maybe Vincent would stay asleep and we could drive through the night. We were wrong. Instead, Vincent woke up, cried, and didn’t fall back to sleep until 1:30. AM.

Needless to say, we didn’t do it that way for the way back.

Anyway, we went to visit Mom for her birthday. It was her first one without Dad, and I figured it would be hard on her.  I wasn’t wrong. Several times, she would just start crying. One day, I had to nag her about taking a shower. She rarely leaves the house and admits she’s not getting better.

Anyway, I need to make this quick because I am quickly draining the battery in this thing. I think I convinced Mom to try going to church again. She used to enjoy it, she can get solace there, and maybe, just maybe, meet some people. My parents always kept to themselves, but that was always mostly because of my dad. I don’t think he’d want to see her like this.

I am going to call her Sunday to see if she followed through. Yes, I am going to nag her. Not usually my thing, but what can you do, right?

I am going to log for now. Just wanted to check in. I’m freezing, and all I want to do is huddle under the blankets with my husband. My entire vacation has been cold and full of rain and ghosts. I may almost welcome the routine of work in the morning.

Yeah, probably not! But at least the rain is supposed to stop soon.

The nightmare.

I can’t sleep. My internal clock is off. It’s probably because I ended up taking a nap this afternoon, which was because I couldn’t sleep last night. Neither Jim nor I slept well last night because we had come back from a memorial service that was particularly hard.

It was for a 2 month old baby.

I don’t know what happened to him. Jim originally said it was SIDS, but we later learned the baby passed away at the hospital. And it’s one of those things that you don’t want to ask about. But, really, in the end, whatever you’re asking, it all boils down to why? Why did this happen?

Of all the services I’ve been to, this one was the hardest. That’s including my dad and Josh. At least with Dad and Josh, I can say, “Well, they got to live.” Dad’s quality of life had diminished a LOT in the last few years. Joshua, admittedly, was much harder because he was only 24, but at least he got to live some, eat good food, fall in love–hell, he even had a kid. Josh’s life wasn’t long, but he at least got a chance to enjoy the time he had.

What can you say about a baby? A baby who hadn’t even gotten a chance? What do you say to parents who should NEVER have to go through this?

It’s a parent’s nightmare come true. When I first got home with Vincent, I barely slept for the first 3 days–and it wasn’t because of the him crying. I couldn’t sleep. My heart would start racing and I kept waking up every 20 minutes to check and make sure he didn’t die of SIDS. SIDS was my new-mom fear. Everyone thinks it’s crazy because the chances of it are low, but I think somewhere, deep down, I thought my 24 year old nephew went to sleep and didn’t wake up, who was to say it couldn’t happen to my little boy, someone who was new to life?

My fear of it subsided as he got older, but I still check on him several times a night. Even when he’s playing and everything’s all right, and I’m all like He’s a kid! He needs air! He needs to run! He needs freedom and to explore! , there’s that other part, the CONSTANT part that is quietly saying It just takes one time. One thing.

Just one thing.

One wrong fall.

One wrong person.

One wrong illness.

One long nightmare.

Really, how do we ever sleep? How are we not scared and angry all the time?

Hell on wheels!

Vincent loves rolling down hills in his stroller.

Hell on Wheels!

 

This afternoon, I showed Vincent the joy in riding his stroller down one of the hills in our backyard. Of course, I was running right along with it with my hand hovering over it to make sure it wouldn’t tip over, but honestly, it wasn’t even close to tipping over.

It wasn’t even going that fast…but the kid loved it. I took this picture after I had unbuckled him, thinking we were done with the hill for the afternoon. HA. Yeah, he climbed back in.

Clearly, Mommy is a bad influence. :P

P.S. Sorry for the bad picture quality. All I have is my little, dinky, old flip cell phone. One day, I’ll get a real camera, I swear!

Settling in.

So much has happened.

Before we even moved in, our shed burned down. Behold:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Thankfully, the neighbors caught it before it did anything to the house.

Then, during our move, Piper died.

And the outdoor cat moved in.

haytham

As an outdoor cat, we called him Moonknight. Once indoors–and once he demonstrated some amazing jumping skills at a little “hidey hole” we didn’t even know existed in our basement–Jim renamed him to Haytham, which I guess is an Assassin’s Creed reference.

Speaking of which, we have an Assassin’s Creed flag flying high at our new place. True story. Jim’s doing, of course.

Oh, yeah. He finally joined Facebook. Never thought I’d see that happen.

My birthday happened, which wasn’t great. but only in the sense that I grew depressed. My dad’s birthday is–was–the day before mine, and every year, I’d call him to wish him a happy birthday, and then we’d both laugh because we knew the next day, he’d be turning right back around to call me and wish me a happy birthday.

This was the first year of our birthdays happening without Dad. I miss him. Mom tried to take up the mantle by calling me and singing “Happy Birthday” to me, which I appreciated…but it’s hard on her, too, I know.

Before this gets too depressing, though, I will say this: I ended up with three different birthday cakes. Can’t say I don’t feel the love around here. Jim’s family is great.

Hm, what else? Since we moved here, Vincent sleeps through the night. Bad thing, though: It also means he’s up for the day much earlier. As in we’re lucky if he sleeps in until 6 AM. I was that way when I was little, too, though, so I guess this is just karma being a bitch again.

Vincent was also weaned off the pacifier. It was hard on him, but we started to worry about his teeth. We had to wait until we were settled in a little bit, though, before taking that away. Poor kid was an addict: Jim has caught Vincent several times pulling sippy cup lids out of the drawers and sucking on them like pacifiers.

The new place, by the way, is sooooo great. We all love it. In the morning, I hear the roosters next door, and sometimes, we get to see the horses from our windows!

The flip side, though, is that since I’ve been here, all I want to do is sleep, and we still have plenty of unpacking to do. I have no idea why I’m suddenly so sleepy. My theory? This place is so relaxing, it makes me sleepy.

Other stuff: Jim and I finished binge-watching Orange is the New Black, a show that I originally had no interest in and became highly addicted to.

We also actually had Vincent spend the night at his Granny Lori’s house last night so that we could go out on a date. We needed it. We saw Guardians of the Galaxy, which was highly recommended by a friend/co-worker of mine, the same one who got me and Jim into Vikings and Breaking Bad. I thought the movie was decent, but Jim definitely liked it more than I did. I mostly just liked being out with Jim and not wanting to face-punch him for a change.

Yeah, the being-tired-all-the-time thing since we’ve had Vincent has not really done good things for my mood. Speaking of, I’m about to crash. This may be choppy and not at all interesting, but it’s all I’ve got.

RIP Piper: March 8, 2006 – August 1, 2014.

Several weeks ago, Piper started acting ill. She was refusing to eat or drink, so we had to force feed it to her. I told Jim that I’d never seen a cat survive that and that I didn’t think she’d survive our upcoming move. But we took her to the vet, got her on meds, and hospitalized her. She came out looking not 100% but perkier. I thought I was wrong.

Fast forward to now. Still in the middle of the move, and Piper passed away during it. I really hate when I’m right about these things. Poor Gremlin sniffed her like crazy, then ran and hid. I feel so bad for him. All the other times I’ve lost a cat, there were two cats remaining, so they could rely on each other during the mourning period. Poor Gremlin is alone. There is an outside cat that we’ve claimed and are planning on bringing in eventually, but that still doesn’t help Gremlin.

I know he’ll miss her terribly.

Piper as a kitten.

Piper as a kitten.

Piper and Emmy a few years ago.

Piper and Emmy a few years ago.

RIP, Piper. It seems you were way too young. We hope that we gave you a good life, and we’ll miss you.

Another Sunday saga.

Once again, it’s quiet. Jim is at the house, working. Vincent is in bed, quiet. I’m thinking of all the packing I need to do but taking Jim’s advice to stay off my foot.

My foot has been hurting for the past two weeks, although I’ve no clue why. I had agreed with Jim that I needed to go in to see someone about it. Saturday morning, I told him. Instead of going to work for overtime, I will go to the walk-in clinic.

But Friday night, Jim texted me while I was on my way to his dad’s and step-mom’s. I checked it at a stop sign. Call me when you get to Dad’s, it said. What on earth? Turns out Jim had Big Life Event News of a very good friend, the not-so-good kind of news. Jim took the friend out to dinner, then they went to another friend’s, and then the Bad News friend brought Jim home (because I had the car and the van is in the shop) and accidentally snapped the key to his car in the lock of his trunk. Long story short, Jim ended up taking him home, didn’t get home until 2:30 am, then was back up at 5:30 am to drive back to town, pick up the friend, and take him to work.

Because Jim had so little sleep, I not only did not do overtime, but I did not go in to the walk-in clinic. I kept an eye on Vincent and left Jim to sleep past noon. It was the least I could do; Jim can drive me crazy sometimes, but I’m always in awe of how good he is to his friends when they need him most. In light of the Big Life Event News of the friend, my foot didn’t seem to matter anymore.

***

The weekend, instead, was full of Vincent, which is exactly how I like it. I hate when I work Saturday mornings because mornings are when Vincent is at his best. He smiles, babbles in a sing-song voice, spins around and dances to the openings of the kid shows on TV. And, if I’m really lucky–and I’m luckier more and more these days, it seems–he will crawl up in my lap, snuggle with me, and eat Cheerios.

It’s a ritual I only get twice a week if I’m lucky. I cannot lie: I’m so jealous that Jim gets this everyday. As I trudge upstairs to my office, I often think how much I would give to trade with Jim. Don’t get me wrong: watching Vincent is work. A lot. On the weekends when I take over, he wears me out and frustrates me. But I would trade everything in the world for that to be my full-time job. He’s growing up fast. Too fast. Both Jim’s mom and step-mom commented this weekend that it looked like Vincent had grown, and they just saw him a week ago. I agree. I had been thinking that he seemed taller as well. He seemed to be reaching for things this weekend that I don’t remember him being able to reach even a week ago.

He’s growing up so fast, and I’m missing it for a job.

Speaking of, a bunch of positions are opening up at work. A couple that I’m interested in are not eligible for work-from-home. A couple that I’m not nearly as interested in but would probably have an okay chance of getting are.

So I’m debating. Once upon a time, I would have thought I would have gone for whatever made the most money once I had kids. Admittedly, that is still the biggest factor, but I’m coming to discover that it’s really important that I don’t hate my job because, unlike some people, I cannot leave my job at the office. Literally,I can’t, since I work from home. That means in the middle of my work day, on my breaks, if I’m having a bad day, Jim and Vincent know because my breaks are often in our kitchen rather than a break room. In the new place, there will be even less separation, as I won’t have an office and will have to work out of our bedroom.

If you had told me a year ago that I would even be considering a different position, I wouldn’t have believed it. My actual job–written CA–is great. Even though they changed stuff to make the numbers we need harder to get, I still see it as a challenge. Frustrating at times, but I wouldn’t leave for that. However, because all of the insurance changes have made our call volumes go up, I’m on the phones half of the time, and then I get frustrated. What was point of working so hard and getting my numbers up and interviewing to get out of being a phone CA if I was just going to get shuffled back to the phones anyway?

Truthfully, the time we’re getting put on the phones is going down. Rumor has it, though, that it’s not going to go away. They don’t know when or even if we’re ever going back to just working inventory. Some of these new job postings they’re putting out, I would probably definitely be on the phones, but if I’m going to be on the phones anyway, why not get paid more for it?

But would I hate it? Would be it like the days when I’m stuck on the phone all day and Jim feels like he can’t go out because I’m so drained that keeping up with Vincent seems too much? I don’t mind calls here and there, but call center work–call after call after call–wears me out. The days I’m on the hotline all day, I feel like the quality of my family life suffers.

So you see where there’s more than money to consider.

***

I hate this time of night. I hate this time of week. Sunday evenings are always the worst, even worse than Mondays because at least on Monday evening, you know you’ve gotten Monday over with. Sunday, the week of drudgery spreads out before you, and you already wish it was Friday night again. What a waste, to live life wishing for the future. The future comes too fast as it is.

But I do have one thing to look forward to. My vacation was approved. Next week, I will have a week off. I’m so looking forward to it, although it’s looking more and more like it will be mostly a working vacation to move in and get settled into the new place. But it will be a week of Not Work, of All Vincent and Jim, a week of moving into our new home and starting a new chapter of our lives. OUR home. That’s so crazy.

Crazy awesome.

Spaces.

I can’t believe summer is half over.

Jim is at the new place, scrubbing carpet glue off the floors. I took the afternoon off spur-of-the-moment (thank goodness my work allows same day PTO, so it doesn’t count as sick time!), so I helped run errands. I’ve put a nice check in the bank that will pay off several bills, went with Jim to drop the van off at the mechanic, and verified that Mediacom services our new place and have scheduled a transfer date during my vacation in a couple of weeks.

Assuming that it gets approved, of course.

It will most likely be a working vacation of moving and getting stuff into the new place, but Jim and I are both hoping for a few days at least to possibly go up to Chicago and NOT go to a funeral.

(Oh, did I mention that? We were up in Chicago around the 4th of July because Jim’s step-mom’s mom died.)

Anyway, right now, I’m enjoying the solitude of Jim being gone and Vincent taking a nap. Our front yard butts right into the high school parking lot, which has is pros and cons, but right now, I’m enjoying whatever the maintenance guy out there is doing. Earlier, he painted the concrete divider thing in the parking lot; now he’s doing something with what looks like a blow torch, and it’s making the most wonderful, peaceful white noise. Couple that with the beautiful afternoon sun slanting through the leaves in our windows, and it almost makes me want to curl up and take a nap.

I know. Weird, right? The one thing I miss about all the alone time I used to have before I became a mother–hell, before I met Jim–is that I could just enough enjoy staring out windows, taking in the scenery, and spacing out. Even with Jim, I can’t really do that because he starts in with, What’s wrong? What are you thinking about? Are you mad? Oh, great, you’re mad.

Extroverts do not understand introverts need for other people to just shut the hell up so they can just enjoy the quiet.

So I’ll occasionally schedule for my “mental health” days. The plan is always to seek out a few hours alone. It never happens though. As soon as I see my PTO requests get approved, I think about things I need to get done or the time I could spend with Vincent or how I could surprise Jim by letting off Vincent-watching duty so he can go play Warhammer.

I do enjoy my guys, though.

Speaking of, Vincent’s up from his nap. Sorry this isn’t much of an update. It was just a way to keep me awake.

I hate money.

It happens: You try to remain cheerful about things going on, and you may even convince yourself, but then it catches up to you.

We just bought a house, so money is tight as it is. There are some things that most people probably wouldn’t have to pay for that we may–I won’t get into the details of that–but we’re looking at something like a grand. And then it occurs to us that the van might not even make the trip to the new place; it needs to be taken in. Who knows how much that will be? Oh, and did I mention that Piper became very sick, had to be hospitalized, and after all was said and done, that cost about $800?

Any money that we wanted to put into making the house nicer–to make it ours–is quickly dwindling away.

And as we all know, if there’s one thing I’m always worried about, it’s money. We’re a family of three living off my very modest income. It’s strange. I make so much more than I ever have in my entire life, but it seems like I have less money to show for it. Honestly, it’s because I have so many more bills than I used to. There’s just not much left after bills are paid. It’s difficult to have all this stewing in your head and feeling like you have to keep a lid on it.

Obviously, I don’t completely. On here, I pretty much never hold back, but in real life, I’ve been trying to curb how much I complain about money. I’m not doing a very good job, but in my defense, it’s pretty much all I think about. And for me, when I discuss it with other people, it’s just venting. In my family, money and bills are the things we complain about. It’s almost like a bonding thing. But I don’t think that’s how it is for other people.

I still remember the Monday after I found out I was pregnant with Vincent, we had been told overtime was being taken away. Keep in mind that up to that point, I was doing a ton of overtime because I needed to pay stuff (I know Jim broke the fridge in our apartment and I had to buy his college books, amongst other things), and I was working a ton to try to pay for everything, then I found out I was pregnant and unable to do overtime. I freaked out. How on earth was I going to afford a baby? Or move out of our one-bedroom apartment? I couldn’t even afford maternity clothes.

I fretted; my co-workers sympathized. I didn’t think much of my complaining. Isn’t that what friends do? Complain to each other, listen, sympathize? Then, one day, they gathered around me to give me a gift card of $100 so I could buy maternity clothes because they knew I was in a difficult spot. I was speechless. It was so generous of them. At the same time, I worried that maybe they felt compelled to do so because I was so open about my anxiety regarding our financial situation, especially given that I was also pregnant. I was just venting, though; I certainly didn’t intend for anyone to give me anything.

Something similar happened a few months ago, before my dad passed away. I made the mistake of openly worrying about money to Jim’s mom. Suddenly,she gave us a check out of the blue. I made Jim tear it up. I didn’t want her to feel like she needed to give us money; I was just sharing what’s on my mind (ALWAYS FREAKIN’ MONEY, ARGH)–I wasn’t trying to get anything from her.

Then my dad died. We didn’t have the money to go up north. We ended up having to borrow money from her anyway. It was not an easy thing on my pride, but what was I going to do? Miss saying goodbye to my dad just because I didn’t want to borrow money?

We paid it back within the month–my gain sharing came in not long afterward–but still. It stung.

***

Okay, so I need to quit fretting about money. In good news, our new house is coming along decently. We decided that while we will do renovations over time (when we have money, if ever), the 70’s smelly shag carpet HAD to go. I can handle a house with outdated stuff in it or stuff that just isn’t my style–hell, I’ve been renting so long, it’s pretty much all I know–but the smell of the carpet in the hallway and bedrooms made me want to gag. (The living room carpet is actually nice, so we’re keeping it for now.) So Jim and I have been ripping it out and praying for decent floor underneath.

Score! Beautiful wood floors. Oak, by the looks of it. And I bet if we refinish it, it will look amazing. One small problem: carpet glue.

I think with a lot of backbreaking sweat, elbow grease, and a good block of time, Jim and I could probably clear out the junk stuck to the floors in our bedroom. But Vincent’s room…that stuff is like tar. It just won’t come up. Goo Gone and Murphy Oil Soap, neither seem to be working very well. We’re scratching our heads and debating whether or not using a sander will actually work on it or just gum the sander up. We’re wondering if we’re ever going to get it completely taken off.

So we’ve come up with plan B: If we can’t get it off, then we’ll buy the wood flooring. You know, from Home Depot or something.

I’ll probably have to borrow money from my retirement for that.

It always comes back to money, doesn’t it?

 

 

Fuck.

I don’t even know how it started.

I was on Facebook. I could hear Vincent from time to time, making his settling-into-sleep noises in the next room. My sister Diana posted on Facebook: Mom’s late. I commented, Dad would be shaking his head right now, lol.

I was walking down the hallway, a million things on my mind. Work. New house. Kid who is a wonderful little boy but such a light sleeper. Stress, stress, stress.

What would Dad say about all this?

It’s a thought that creeps into my head frequently, but I push it out. I know what Dad would say. You bought a house! He’s not sleeping! Ooooh…I love you…well, I’m not good at talking on the phone, let me get your mother.

And then it hits me. Sunday is Father’s Day. I don’t have a father.

Fuck.

Literally, one minute I was happy and bouncing down the hall, and then next, I was bawling over the sink in the bathroom.

Fuck, fuck, fuck.

I don’t know where it came from. Maybe someone would say it’s been coming for months. I think about my dad a lot, but most of the time, I still feel numb about it. I don’t cry much. I think that if there’s anything after this, then he’s probably with Josh, and that makes me happy for Dad. Dad was never the same after Josh died.

If there’s anything after this, I imagine it’s peaceful. And I should be happy for them both.

But I’m selfish. I wish I could tell Dad about my new house. He knew how much I wanted my own place. I wish I could make plans with Josh to spend a week with me during the summer like he used to. I wish they could see Vincent, how he has Jim’s smile, but when he’s serious, he reminds me so much of a younger version of my dad. He’s even a light sleeper like my dad was.

I know what Dad would say to all these things. I know how he would say it. I can hear his voice in my head. He said the same things a million times in the same way, but I would give anything to hear it again.

I love you! I’m no good at this, let me get your mother…

Is this always going to be my memory of him? Me holding the phone, wondering why he couldn’t have held on a little longer?

Officially homeowners!

Today, after several false starts, Jim and I officially became homeowners! I cannot lie: The process was a headache. I bought one house before this, and I don’t remember it being this much of a pain. I’ve been told that the laws have changed since then, which is part of why it was so painful.

No pictures yet–and to be honest, we’ll probably be doing some work on the house before we move in, anyway–but Jim’s mom took some pictures of VIncent running up and down the hill that went from the driveway down to the backyard:

vincent_in_new_drives_060514-4 vincent_jim_new_yard_060514-2In all the pictures she took, Vincent looks so serious. It’s funny because, in actuality, the first thing he did when we plopped him down in his new backyard was lift his arms up, run a little ways, laugh, and then started babbling happily. After that, he discovered the hill going up from the backyard to the driveway and had fun running up and down it.

When we took him inside, he also ran back and forth happily, none of the usual cautiously looking around that he does when he first comes to a place.

“Oh, he knows,” Jim’s mom said. “He knows this is his house!”

Who knows? Maybe he does! Either way, I like to think of his reaction as a good sign. :)

 

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