As in, quick. For me. We shall see...

I've jumped back into the grind at work.  The Z-pack has really kicked the pneumonia/sinusitis/pharyngitis/bronchitis' ass, and I'm feeling pretty good. Except for having to run to the bathroom every so often to hack up a lung, that is.

And three things have happened in the last two days at work that have me feeling pretty good about myself:

  1. A sweet old man, after telling me that he was doing "so-so," told me that if he was a "cute young chick" like me, he'd be doing fantastic. Did someone say "cute"?
  2. A much younger man, maybe five years older than Rob (so early 40s), told me today that I had a very nice smile.
  3. A much younger man, maybe my age, maybe younger, and sexy as hell, winked at me from three or four registers away. Take that as you will, but Rob's interpretation was, "Hey, you're a cute girl!"

So apparently, losing 140 pounds done wonders not only for my outward appearance but inner self-esteem. I'm liking things right now. I'm liking them very much.

When work is slow, and it often is, we are supposed to stand at the end of the check-out lane and wait for customers, to invite them in. Sometimes, 20 minutes will go by in the early mornings, with no takers. So I have lots of time to daydream. Thinking about my weight loss, and having talked to one of my managers about my surgery, I imagined a conversation wherein she asked me how I'd gotten so fat in the first place. And I'd give her the several reasons/excuses/explanations, not the least of which is that I really ate my way through my depression for the years following Robby's death. And that started me thinking about the depression and the suicide attempts. There were many. At least six, I think. And the kids remember the last one, although they do not know that that is what was going on. They bring it up from time to time, and it pains me. So then I was thinking about how, despite being broke as a joke, happy I am in my "new" body, how good I'm feeling (thanks in no small part to my bipolar diagnosis and nightly meds cocktail) mentally, and how awful, just how awful, it would have been if I had been successful.

How much I love those kids. How much they need me. How much I need them. How I would have completely devastated them, their lives, their futures...

So I'm grateful, very, very grateful, to have failed at that singular aim. I wanted so badly to take Robby's place. I was trying to die for the one I lost instead of living for the three I still had. I'm so thankful to have stepped out of that cloud and come back, if you will. I'm a lucky girl, in so many ways.

So much for this being a quick one.

So Rob is working nights now - did I mention that? He started last night - and it completely sucks. I was not cut out to be a single parent; I have said that before. I like sharing the duties, having someone to complain to and commiserate with about the hard parenting stuff, and you know, sharing the good, fun times, too. But mostly I miss having someone to split up the chauffering duties with!

Today, as soon as the kids got home from school, I had Chloë change out of her school clothes and into her dance leotard and pants. We headed back to HT (my work) to:

  1. Show my pre-surgery picture to my manager, C, whose jaw completely dropped,
  2. Buy the Pink Ribbon 99¢ cookies (which had been discounted 75% and which were apparently pretty nasty) for the kids' after-school snack,
  3. Buy Tic-Tacs and get a dollar back, for Tooth Fairy duties tonight (yes, she struck again), and
  4. Talk to same manager, C, about changing my availability, now that Rob is working nights.

That was a quick in-and-out, during which each of the kids acquired a free helium balloon. Two of them, the younger pair, let theirs go as soon as we walked out of the store. Scoundrels!

We headed straight over to dance class then. Chloë went in to dance, and Jack came up front with me to do his homework. From his homework folder, I pulled out his School PIctures and had the horrified-yet-amused reaction to this awful pose:

School Pictures

Uh.Muh.Guh. Is that awful, or what? I showed it to Jack, and he burst out laughing! I was amused at his reaction, but geez.... it's terrible! (And look how yellow his teeth look! They really are not that yellow IRL). Since I never took his 6-year pictures at Sears, I was just going to let his end-of-kinder pix and beg-of-1st pix suffice, but, holy cow. I think I will keep some of these just because Jack thinks they're so hysterical, though!

Chloë's is much nicer:

School Pictures1

I like it, although Rob absolutely detests that dress, and her face looks much rounder here than IRL. I can see Robby in her when I look at this picture.

So. Homework progressed, and he did pretty well. He farted majorly stinky farts the whole time and kept cracking up at himself. Ugh. Such a boy!! He couldn't decide what he was prouder of, smelling like shit or that awful photograph!

He still does NOT know how to write the numbers from about 11+, so I am constantly making him write them and then tell me what they are. It's just not sinking in and is becoming very frustrating for both of us. I'll have to come up with a much funner way to do it.

Anyway, dance ended, and we went directly to IH*P for dinner, for a shop. That went pretty well, although they seat all parties with kids in the same section, and some of the rowdier kids in the bunch got mine going, which annoyed me. My kids KNOW how to behave in a restaurant, but when they are hyped up, it all goes to pot. Guess I know why they seat them all together in the back!

There was a very nice family seated right behind ours, and there was a lot of cross-chat between our two families. So it was with no hesitation half-way through our meal that I got up, tapped the other mother on the shoulder and whispered, "Can you please keep an eye on my kids? I have to go throw up!" yeah, I'm still doing a lot of that. She was more than willing to help, so I went off to do that, and when I came back, after questioning me about my okay-ness, she informed me that they basically shared their whole lives in five minutes. Mostly about school, phew! At least no one blew our cover.

Back at home, I suddenly remembered the massive day I have tomorrow. I'll tell you about it now, just because I'm doubtful I'll have time to blog much about it after the fact:

  1. To my PCP for my PAP, the first one since my hysterectomy, to make sure the bad guys haven't returned. (I think I will absolutely scream if anything comes back abnormal again. Cross your fingers! Or your labia!)
  2. To Newport News for my 9-month post-surgery check-up, which will take an hour or so each way to drive, 15-30 minutes in the waiting room, and 5 minutes, max, with the doctor
  3. To the bank to finally deposit the remaining Brownie troop dues
  4. To the post office to mail three tutus I just made tonight after Etsy orders came in and re-mail Jack's 2T wardrobe (which was returned because I used an alcohol box the first time, wasting $12. Bah!)
  5. Home to bake something, anything, for
  6. Collect the kids and take them to Troop Leader's house for Juliet Gordon Lowe's birthday party (and bring my entire XXXXXXXXXXL wardrobe to M to try on later)
  7. Leave early to go to Chloë's soccer practice (which we missed on Tuesday b/c I felt like utter doodyballs)
  8. Leave early to go to Sophie's soccer practice
  9. Leave early to go to Jack's den meeting (or is it a pack meeting? I forget now, it's almost 2 AM), where they are NOT to wear class-A uniforms but instead must come in costume and bring their pumpkins from the pumpkin patch visit a couple weekends ago.

So. After we got home from dinner, Chloë started her homework while Jack, Sophia and I carved their pumpkins. I made them rip out the innards - which they hated and bellyached about to no end - before I would carve them. They did a half-ass job, though, so I found myself arm-deep in gourd guts anyway. I am a crappy jack-o'-lantern maker. Observe:


It didn't matter, though, because they were both thrilled with the results and said they were exactly what they wanted. Great! Who could ask for anything more? (Sophia went to the Farmer's Market with her preschool class last week, and they all got a pumpkin there. Chloë doesn't have one yet.)

After the pumpkins, they had a quick dessert, and the littles went to bed. Chloë and I finished her homework and worked on getting the soccer gear ready for tomorrow's tour-de-Virgina Beach, and had a conversation that left me in tears. She was telling me about a classroom assignment today, wherein they had to choose a word to describe themselves, starting with each letter in their first names. She chose caring for the "C" and loving for the "L" and I forget what for the "E," not able to think of anything for the "H" or "O."

I said, "What about 'happy'?" To which she broke my heart by replying, "But I'm not happy. I'm mad. All the time."

Oh, my God. I knew she was stressed out, but I did not think she was NOT happy. I don't care if my kids are cute. I don't care if they're smart. I don't care about any of that, as long as they are happy. Above all, I want my kids to be happy kids. My heart broke when she said that, it really did.

She came over to me, and we had a very long conversation about it, a heart-to-heart. There were lots of details, but basically it seems that the crux of the matter is that she doesn't like Sophia, wants to be an only child, and wants her own room back. When she said she didn't like Sophia, I bawled. Why does that hurt so much? I know it's normal. I know it is. But I'm pretty darn fond of the kid, and I want her older sister to be, too. Pain.

I told her I'd talk to Daddy about putting her back in her own room, and we'd go from there. I hope that solves things. She really is stressed out. Mommy yelling, Daddy yelling, problems with friends, problems with school/schoolwork/tests/the gifted class, etc., don't seem to be the matter. I worry about Jack and Sophia sharing a room, but I care much more about Chloë's mental health than I do about more destruction of physical property.

Phew. Heavy stuff.

On a lighter note, no sooner did Chloë go up to bed than she came running back down to tell me, "Jack climbed up on the dresser and then peed a fountain out into the room!"

Good golly, where is my husband when I need him??!!!?!

S'late. I'm out.