Collateral Damage

Warning: The following is not pretty, and contains strong language. Those with weak constitutions or a penchant for judgment might want to go outside and play instead.

As Sidalee’s mama said, I dropped my basket last night. Going on seventeen months of joblessness, like an overstretched rubber band, I snapped. As with most things dropped, it wasn’t pretty. There are shards of my self-respect and pride still scattered about, and I tiptoe around, carefully placing my feet as I look for splinters worth salvaging.

There was yelling. And crying. And lots of tears. And a lamp that might never work right again, since lamps aren’t really meant to be used for batting practice. It was a full-on fit. I’m glad my children were not awake to see mama lose her shit.

The odd thing is, there was really nothing in particular that caused me to break. It just… happened. After the kids were all bathed, jammied and tucked in, I fell into a heap on the bed, and I must have dozed off for a bit. David came in, and not realizing I was asleep, turned on the light and began to go through the mail. That was it. That was my scene of domestic terror. Bad, huh? Yup. The light was on. And evidently that light was a red matador’s cape to my sleep-addled and stressed-out brain.

I started crying and picked up the lamp and threw it at the wall. To turn it off. Go big or go home, isn’t that what the hip kids say?

My poor husband had no idea why his usually somewhat normal wife was suddenly throwing things and crying like a banshee. Honestly, neither did I, but I was suddenly filled, absolutely filled  with anger, rage, sadness and fear. Like a firehose with the nozzle wide open, I couldn’t stop it, and it all just exploded.

My fears and frustrations roared out amid torrents of tears. What if this is the new normal? What if one of us gets sick, and we have no insurance? What if David never finds a job? What if I have to put my children in day-care and get a paying job myself? What will happen with Beanie’s therapy if that happens? What are we going to do now that our savings is completely, utterly gone? What can we sell? I am SO mad at you! How will we pay the mortgage in May? What else can we cut out? I am SO angry! What if I can’t hold all this together anymore? What if this hell never ends? What if I run away? What if we lose our home? What if… what if… what if…

Messy, powerful stuff, those emotions.

David and I spent the rest of the evening sorting through the emotional wreckage. Tears like that leave you spent and exhausted, tender and raw. Eventually I fell into a deep, dreamless sleep.

Today, I am spent. My eyes are swollen and my face is pale and tired. I hugged the kids tightly, kissed their fat pink cheeks and sent them on to their happy school days. David and I, both shell-shocked, are giving each other a lot of latitude and room today. The house is quiet, and except for a night-table lamp that may or may not work again, there is little visible collateral damage.

So, we pick up the pieces and carry on. Another day… and another and another… and someday, one way or another, this will all be over. I just wish I could tell if the light at the end of the tunnel is sunshine or an oncoming train.

Haircuts and Fat Heads

vtech-kidzoom-camera-review1This not having a camera business is really getting old. Courtesy of a sweet friend’s kindness, all the three of my fat-headed kids got new bike helmets this weekend, as well as haircuts. AND I CAN”T EVEN SHOW THEM OFF.

Nor do I have any pictures of Easter morning, with the mayhem and devastation that three children and five pounds of sugar can wreak. Maybe that’s a tender mercy after all…

The boys got their same old haircuts, but Abby got her first big-girl cut. I’ve trimmed her bangs and home before, and when she was little and had this odd little tail thingy, I cut that off- but this was the real deal. And I have no pictures. I may commandeer Beanie’s kid-pix camera. That would be cool, eh? She looks like a little vintage girl, with short bangs and a cute chin-length bob. It makes me want to squeeze her and plant zerbles on her fat pink cheeks. Wish you could see it…

David is on a job interview. Shhhhhhhh.

Random Crap: Sunshine Edition

Seems like lately, my whole life is random crap. There’s not a lot of synergy or completeness coming my way… Much like that sentence.

There’s a reason the international symbol for Autism is a puzzle piece. Daily I have to rethink and regroup how we deal with Bean. Sometimes it’s exhausting. Like yesterday. I met with his “team”- which consists of three teachers, a psychologist, an OT and a PT, as well as a resource specialist and a supervisor from the school district. All of these people, trying to figure out one. small. boy. He’ll be continuing on in the AIM program for kindergarten, as well as the six-week AIM summer program.  They know Spectrum kids can’t survive the free-fall of summer. Safety net in place. Check.

Four straight days of sunshine! I hesitate to state it, but I think spring might actually be here. Now, I want to be held to it if it snows tomorrow, okay? Get ready to be shocked- I’ve actually been doing some yardwork. Three benedryl seems to do the trick, and if I avoid the rose bushes, it helps too. Granted, I pass out from the drugs after about half an hour, but still, it’s progress! And shhhhhh…. but I may, may even like yardwork  just a tiny bit. Now SHHHHHH!

All three of my fat-headed kids outgrew their bike helmets. ALL THREE! Abby can’t even get Bean’s on- She’s like Dora. Football head. So, I have to figure out how to get three new helmets…

I found my favorite water bottle in the back of the burb! I find I drink a whole lot more water if I haul a bottle around with me all day. Whatever…

I’m thinking of planting tomatoes this year. I haven’t since Bean picked every. single. green. tomato. on the vine and planted them all. It took me a while to figure out what was going on there… He thought more tomato plants would grow.

It’s almost garage sale season! I’ve been saving my pennies and have a small stash of cash squirrelled away- I can hardly wait. I get all tingly inside when I think about it.

Got the car smogged and registered today. Credit cards rock. Sigh… Had fun explaining to Jeffrey what the guy was doing while he molested our car, took my money, and gave me a valuable little sticker back. Fun.

Speaking of Jeff, he read over 300 minutes last month and got a free pizza at Pizza Hut. It was such a rare treat around here that he ate it in the car so he wouldn’t have to share. Meh, he earned it, and Abby would have pestered him to pieces.

Abby has seventeen days till the diapers are done. I solemnly swear, the diapers in this this house are the last pack she gets. Her third birthday (I KNOW!) is on the 25th, and that’s P-Day. I have a feeling I’m going to be cleaning up a lot of pee…

Life is so much happier now that Bean can swing. I can see him out the window as I type, pumping his little legs as hard as they’ll go, peacefully swinging towards the sky and back again. The other night I laid in bed trying to figure out how to make an indoor swing. I think I can do it…

David just got home from the post office- and walked in with another bird. You read that right. That makes three. My husband is insane. At least it’s not a puppy, right? Right? Right…

Back to School Happy Dance

BACK TO SCHOOL!!!! Hooray! As a general rule, I abstain from superfluous exclamation points, but in this case, they are warranted. Oh, holy cow, am I ever happy this morning!!

The house is so quiet. Abby is peacefully playing by herself, the floors are swept, laundry is churning away importantly to itself down the hall, the birds are tweeting, the sun in shining (really, it is) and the sky is Robin’s egg blue. Delight-some…

For the first time in a week, I can breathe.

You know what this means, right? 10 weeks until summer.  I have to find a summer program for Beanie. For ALL of our sakes. He was a wreck being at home for two weeks and having to deal with his siblings. His mama was a wreck trying to deal with him and his siblings and an out-of-work husband. Beanie needs, needsthe structure of the AIM school. I don’t know if they have a summer thing, but I intend to find out. I can’t be the only PDD mom who needs some rescuing.

( I can head David upstairs, now changing Abby’s diaper. To the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It” he is loudly singing “You got poop on your butt, on your butt! You got poop on your butt on your butt…)

So. Peace decends upon my house. Despite the chaos of the last week, we did have a nice weekend at home in our jammies. I love General Conference weekend. The talks this time seems especially… pertinent? Apropos? Pointed? I don’t know, but it was wonderful.

Spring Break: Day Five

It was a great day! I got up early, fixed a nice breakfast for everyone, got the day going, and ignored the snow flying out my window. Then, I got myself cleaned up, kissed everyone bye-bye and went out to lunch with a couple of girlfriends I hadn’t seen in a while. Wrapped up that pleasant afternoon with a solo stroll through my local fabric emporium and moseyed home.

The kids were playing downstairs and didn’t even realize I was home for almost an hour. That let me get dinner started and in the oven before they attacked. It was awesome.

I suppose there are some advantages to having your husband home all the time. Very very few- but lunching with the ladies and mano-a-mano with the fabric store are two of them…

Spring Break: Day Three

It’s not even over, and I can write the epilogue for this day. It’s freaking snowing. Not enough to play in, no, just enough to be cold and miserable out there.

We all piled in the car to head to a friends house out in the country. We left David at home to fret and stress about the bills- it is the first of the month, after all, and nothing is more fun than the first when you have no money! Whoo hoo!

Anyway…

So we drive and drive and drive, and find the friends house, waaaaaay out in the country. Lots and lots of kids are spilling out of the house, in the yard, all over the place. Cool. Many moms have gathered here to let the kids play- there are chips and pop and hot dogs, a Wii, a swingset, chickens, a huge farm-like yard and several dogs. Kid heaven. The mom who runs this family us uber cool. I zip my kiddos into their coats and let ’em rip.

(Incidentally, this Mama has been receiving links to my blog from friends of hers for years, reading, never realizing she knew me! When she put two and two together, she was suitably unimpressed, thinking, like most do “But it’s just Tracy…” Goes to show, I make a better impression in writing than I do in real life!)

Several hours, many cups of Kool-Ade and a few hot dogs later, I can see the signs of Bean being All-Funned-Out. He is outside with a few other boys, near the chicken coop, when someone turned on the hose. It’s near freezing. Just as I walk out, Bean get’s doused with the hose. Time stands still, his little arms out stiff in his blue coat, a look of shock and horror on his frozen face. Oh no….

I run to him and scoop him up, just as the air horn begins to wail. Nothing is more upsetting to this kid than having his clothes/socks/pants/shoes messed up. Tossing him in the back of the car, I strip his soaking coat, hand him my warm coat, and buckle him in his seat. He is flailing and fighting me- he is cold, wet, and angry. And he has Aspergers- not a good combination.

Abby is picking her way towards the chicken coop, opportunity presenting herself, and I swoop her up too and buckle her in the car. Time to go! Cheery fake mom smile! Oh Jeffrey, get your coat, please! Singsongy me!

Jeffrey hops in the car with no complaint, thank heavens. Bean is absolutely WAILING and keening. He does this when over-stressed. Or when something is out of place. Or not right in his world. It can be a small as a drop of ketchup on his shirt. Perfection is important to him, and muddy boots, wet coat, and being cold do not fit that profile. I give my thanks to the mama of the house, turn the heater to Saharan Vortex, and make for home.

It’s just under an hour home, and at the 28 minute mark, I had to pull over on the Interstate, hazards-a-flashin’, to calm Beanie down. He finally fell asleep. Screaming like a banshee will do that to a boy…

We got home, and I was greeted with a poopy diaper, and three little mouths saying, in unison, “I’m HUNGRY!” Awesome. Fantastic. Let me just haul all this wet, muddy crap from the garage, start the laundry and then I’ll start cooking. Can I set my keys down first?

Here comes Abby, whining and moaning about Beanie. He, no doubt, was touching her. And so goes the day…