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So…

I decided to go to THIS NEW PLACE

Just for fun.

Life has changed so much and am ready to move on instead of adding on, if that makes sense.

Nothing has changed, Movin’ Down the Road is still going to stay as my archives.

A walk

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When your Kindergartner doesn’t have school because the preschoolers have orientation in the Kindergarten, it kind of throws you off balance. (at least, it did for me).

Blue had Monday off.

Red was pissed because she had to go to school.

I almost let her have the day off too, but a) she was being a little bitchy/entitled about the whole thing and b) she had a big presentation to get ready for on Tuesday (I know, I do recognize that she is only 8, but still, Fablefest was on Tuesday…more on that another time).

So, I took Blue for a walk on the nice day we had on Monday.

And at first she whined.

And I was thinking, “SHIT, the girl gets the day off and she’s whining about taking a walk to the river.”

But then I pulled out the camera (I know, I am brilliant) and handed it to her.

Thankfully the battery was charged and I had emptied the card, so she had 675 photos she could take. (she took about 150).

Here are some, including running into a friend who frequents the piano bar and a dog he was borrowing from a friend to take on his walk.

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sumac_colors

I can hardly move.

My mom bought a cottage and the neighbor “allowed” her to cut down his sumac for her view of the ocean.

Lucky neighbor, huh?

This means, J and I went down to help her and a friend who had a chainsaw, take on the project. When she called me that morning I asked her if we could come help her with some house projects and she said, “Oh, maybe you can help us gather the rest of these shrubs to take to the city compost!

When we got there, it turns out J took a liking to this particular jaws of life type tool that will cut down small trees and he started clearing all the sumac. Which happened to be mixed with ten years worth of berry bushes, that have “thorns of death” all over them.

We spent three hours clearing and by the end, I could hardly move or breathe.

Turns out, I am allergic to sumac.

We were at the piano bar on Saturday night and J kept calling me up to sing. Due to the allergy, my singing voice is hoarse and raspy and I looked at him and shook my head and said, “I can’t sing” (because I normally sing pretty strong, and high) and he goes, “just sing low, then.”

So, I sang low.

Oh. My. God.

Yeah, I didn’t think it was very good. Apparently, it was well received and people kept asking me to sing again. I suppose that out of my comfort zone, I am still okay at it.

One patron likes me singing “Annie’s Song” at the end of the night. And I sounded alot more like John Denver than myself.

But I sounded like a bad smoker who hadn’t slept in a week.

Anyway, yesterday morning, I woke up and could hardly move. I was so sore and was hacking away like crazy.

We rode our bikes down to a breakfast place and then out to the breakwater, which helped loosen up my muscles. It amazes me, with all that I do, that a change in habit for exercise, like cutting down trees, would take it’s toll on me like that, but J was still bouncing around like a normal person. 

Here around our house, with the girls gone, we continue with house projects. J installed some medicine cabinets I got from my mom’s place when she gutted her bathroom.

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And we bought a small piece of furniture that we painted green for the kitchen, to gain some space there for storage.

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We even cleaned out the basement and organized it.

At the end of the day, J said to me, “would you ever think that by my moving in, we’d actually gain more space here?”

It’s true. Partly because we are more creative with our space usage, but also because we were both forced to pair down our stuff.

And that feels really good.

All the junk is gone.

Residency

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J’s an official resident of Massachusetts. His license and plates say so.

His mail is coming to my house and we made a place in the kitchen for me to put his stuff as it comes in. I already know he is one of those guys who opens his mail on a monthly basis. Good thing all his bills are on automatic payment!

He set up his keyboard and all this stuff I am not sure I can identify but it is electronic and relates to his microphone and drum machine and there’s all these equalizer things…the best thing is that last night we spent about an hour with the girls, who sang into the microphone and played the keyboard and could hear themselves on a more “professional” level. It was priceless. Red is actually figuring out how the drum machine works. She is ahead of J, who is still reading the manual. (some of the gigs overseas actually require drum machines so he is working it out, even though I think they are stupid).

He’s spent a larger part of the morning today working up in his “studio” which has ended up working out great. Mine is downstairs and after I ran some errands and hung a painting in a local gallery (YES! I DID! SO EXCITED!) I have spent the morning here in my studio finishing a painting for a big show next week. 

It all feels very normal. He just left to get his bike repaired and have the inspection done on his car by the insurance folks, so I am here working and we’ll meet up again for lunch. 

I’ve been caught up in my studio here so much that while I had my Adele album playing, it took me 30 minutes to realize I had accidently hit the “repeat song” button on itunes and have been listening to the same song for a half hour. 

Doh.

Still, weeks after J’s return, I look over at him often and go, “It’s SO great you are here!”

It’s gotten to a point now that he rolls his eyes at me when I say it. 

Last night was portfolio night at the school. It means that the classrooms are open and we sit with our child and go through these massive notebooks of the year’s worth of work. It’s awesome and now requires their dad and I to split our time between each classroom. He spent half in Red’s class and I spend half in Blue’s, and then we swap half way through. 

Last week, the girls invited J.

So, I called their dad and just gave him a heads up and he goes, “that’s great, the girls already told me.”

So I hoped it was genuine and at least he could put on a good fake face, even if he wasn’t liking it.

It went beautifully. The two men shook hands and we did our stuff, and even if it was horrible inside for either one of them, the girls saw something good. J stepped back and neither man tried to prove anything. It was all about the kids.

I so empathize with him though, the feeling of the girls coming home with J and me at the end of the night, while he drives back towards Boston without them.  

Granted, today, they go back to him for the weekend.

When they are gone, we sometimes take an evening walk.

See how gorgeous it is here?

I’ve learned two things about J this week that I didn’t know before now.

1) He doesn’t/won’t eat fruit with anything else other than itself.  And I will note that he arrived with a box of books of dietary food things, one that explains the digestive information upon mixing certain foods in the same meal. 

2) After only two shots of Jack Saturday night, he drove us home (because I had had three glasses of wine). He started weaving around the road and I thought “SHIT, he’s drunk off of two shots of Jack in the last four hours!”  It was so odd. When I said something, like, “Um, are you sure you are okay to drive?” he goes, “I’m dodging the fucking potholes!”  

(our town is notorious for potholes, there is even a group on Facebook “the potholes of our town name inserted here)

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I’m not really sure how things are going with the kids other than that they seem to be adjusting pretty well. Red’s hand washing has gotten alot better. She still pulls some quirky things, like not wanting to touch a library book after her bath, or open the car door. She has stopped washing her hands every ten minutes and has not woken me up in the middle of the night either (to wash her hands).

I know that deep inside, Red  must have some sort of deep 8 year old conflict between loyalty towards her dad and loyalty for J. She adores them both and I only hope she never feels guilt for enjoying the man who now lives with us.  I suspect that some of the extreme behavior lately has stemmed from J’s return and the slight changes. Even if they are good, I know it causes some anxiety, just because it is “change”.

Fortunately, we talk alot. There is alot of nurturing going on between all of us and J is so great to not make a major slam into the household. He’s spent some of the last two weeks up north cleaning out his apartment and getting affairs in order after being gone for six months. So it has given the girls some time with him here, but also still, with me, alone…with him gone.

I am grateful that he kept his Monday night gig that is two hours north. He is happy to be visiting with his mom and sister and her family, make extra money, as well as give us some balance back here with the girls. It’s a way to ease into things here.

In terms of changes, they are small-ish, other than the big one, where the man is home. He has clothes here and music equiptment and brought his new dvd player to replace our crappy one. But other than the keyboard in my bedroom and the duct tape chair, no changes have been made in the house.

Except that J is here most of the week. Which apparently, she loves. I see no weirdness when they are together. It is AWESOME.

And as for Blue, she just goes with the flow. 

I’ve been cranking through projects with J being gone right now up North. I finished my last commission that came in since my last show. It’s up at the top of the post here.  I am nearly done with the thirteen (random number) paintings that go up in a large group show in three weeks. I’m finally getting homeowner’s insurance on Thursday. I’ve got lists and lists of things to do for and with J, here around the house.

But here I sit browsing Hulu.com.

And I am in awe at all that is on there.

Who knew that you can watch Silver Spoons on the internet? And The Partridge Family?

Anyway, I am jumping around here, and am going right into conversations we had in our household this past week:

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Red: (to me) Mommy, when I grow up will I have medium sized boobies like you?

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Blue: (upon learning that I was getting my hair cut) You should make it long so you can braid it like Laura Ingalls Wilder. That way you can never grow up, like her.

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Red: (screaming) I NEED TO WASH MY HANDS! Apparently, the 2nd grade teacher made an announcement in class about Swine Flu.  Unfortunately, someone also told her that a baby died. Over the course of the last few weeks, she has become completely compulsive about washing her hands and being clean. So badly that I am considering taking her to the doctor who can explain to her about antibodies and how Swine Flu is not gonna be touching her if she waits more than ten minutes to wash her hands.  It got so bad last week, she woke me up at 4am to wash her hands. She wont touch things like her clothes or doors or even her stuffed animals unless she washes her hands after. This is a big problem and I learned she isnt doing it at school and I decided it will likely go away by the time school is out and we we are at the beach every day rolling around in seaweed and sand and catching sealife in the nets. Until then, I am ignoring it and not responding or giving it attention because it seems to bring the anxiety level up in her. It is so so sad to see. I realize my anxiety over her behavior is making her more stressed out. So I have to cool it. (update, this appears to be resolved!)

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Me: I’m a rockin’ girlfriend, aren’t I?

J: Yes, you are. 

Me: I’m a rockin’ girlfriend because I bought you some lube to take with you on your trip this winter.

J: (laughing) Yes, you did.

…that my man has no problem sleeping in a very girlie bed.

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…that my kids are the ones who pointed it out.

…that eventually my girls will just go to bed when I tell them to. Not three callbacks later and two visits down the stairs.

…that I am ready for the kids to be out of school so we have more quality time together and not rushed after school activities, homework and dinner.

…that I will be ready for school to start again in the Fall.

I realize that when I want a grilled cheese sandwich, I should just have one.

Same goes for chocolate. Speaking of…I bought J some malt balls at the market today and before he got home, I ate them.

Tomorrow J will be an official resident of Massachusetts. He’s finalizing his car insurance, registering his car and getting new plates and changing his driver’s license.

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