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Cleanliness

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Am I the only person on this earth who manages to always buy a cleaning product where the spray part has gone defunct?

Am I doing something wrong?

My girls had play dates today, meaning, each of them had a friend come over after school. I am ashamed to say that due to our schedules and need for downtime after school most days, we rarely have play dates. The last one we had was in March when I was helping out a friend. And I resented it because it was one of the few days while J was home and I wanted us to all be together by ourselves. Not with play dates.

Anyway, today, these two girls came over. Beforehand, I drove up the street to pick up Red’s friends’ American Girl doll from her house, because they were going to have a “party”. I stopped in to visit with her mother, who is a friend, but I had never been inside the house.

Am I horrible to say that it was a horrible disaster? It smelled and the rugs, which were on top of gorgeous wood floors, were stained and disgusting. Dishes from breakfast were still on the table (and I arrived at 1:30pm). Am I a snob and do I have OCD if I do the dishes after every meal?  

Later, we dropped off Blue’s friend to her house. I am a horrible person, but when they showed me their pool, which was above ground and seemed to have been built in the sixties, rusted out posts and the fence falling down, I silently declined their offer in my head to come swim this summer. I knew very well, there was no way in hell we’d be doing that. The couch sitting poolside also was a slight turnoff. My girls thought it was cool, a couch out in the yard. But there was no way in hell they were going to be sitting on it.

I love these two friends, but I just can’t hang out in their houses. I just can’t. (or swim in their pools)

I don’t clean my house THAT often. But I keep it picked up. Sometimes it’s weeks before I do a full cleaning and I tend to wash my windows only once a year or so, depending on how well the rain does the job in between. But if the dust bunnies are walking, I sweep. A stain on the rug, I clean it, or get rid of the rug. If there is poop in the toilet, it gets flushed. (seriously). 

I definitely have standards. My kids take a bath every day. I take one, sometimes two showers. I am curious to know how many people out there, really don’t give their kids a bath after they’ve been at school for six hours with 400 other children, go to possible study group and then gymnastics and then their kids don’t take a shower before climbing in to bed. It happens more often than I realized.  

When I was a kid, we always took baths at the end of the day. It wasn’t until college that I started taking a shower in the morning and at night. Mainly because I blew dried my hair before leaving the house for classes and the warm shower when I woke up, felt good. But something that is a MUST for me, is that I have to shower at the end of the day. Often it may be around 6 or 7. Sometimes right before I crawl into bed. But the end of the day, I have to, I must be clean before going in between my sheets and lying there for 6-8 hours (if I am lucky). Otherwise, I’d be lying in my own filth.

I dated someone once, for a short time. It ended shortly after I realized he only took a shower every few days.

I.Just.Could.Not.Stand.It.

Thankfully, J showers as much as I do. He showers in the morning. He rinses off after, um, s-e-x (before we go somewhere, because GOD forbid someone smells it on us!). After gigging at night, we stand over a platter of cheese and crackers in our underwear, drinking fizzy water and catching up. And then we break for a shower. He finally has stopped apologizing for wanting to take a shower before bed, when he realized, I always do the same.

When it comes to us living together, I think we will be just fine. J is incredibly organized at home. And when he is here, he keeps incredibly tidy, organizes things for me, does dishes…at his place up north, it was the same and his apartments down in the islands, remarkably neat for a guy living on his own. 

His car, is another matter. It’s gotten better. But I laugh to think about the first time I ever got in his car. He wasn’t prepared for it, obviously, and neither was I. After apologizing profusely for a long long time, he threw about three feet of water bottles, sheet music, music electronics, cables and sound wires, microphones, donut bags and coffee cups…you name it, it was in there. 

Yeah, we’re all entitled to have a mess, in some place, right?

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Total Randomness

I just feel like being random, I felt like going to sleep at 8 but then, decided to do absolutely nothing but, well, pretty much nothing. In fact, I am not sure what I did the last few hours. And my lids are half drooped and I feel exhausted and other things.

J will be home in a week and a half.

It rained all day today and I painted all day and drank a pot of coffee. (which may be why I am so tired but not going to bed). My open studio on Sunday went sloooowly, but the people who did come, bought work and I have some commissioned work now too. I also networked with some artist friends as well as a new client who gave me names of interior designers she thinks may be interested in my work. 

Anything helps.  

It didn’t help that during my Open Studio, people didn’t eat much of the refreshments, so I pretty much ate an entire batch of lemon squares.

Remember book fairs at school when you were a kid? I got giddy over them and I am still giddy over them. My girls have their Scholastic Book Fair this week at school. They had their preview days and Friday I will go in and purchase with them. I am letting them pick out 5 books each. YAY summer reading. Plus, how can you reject a book fair?

I found out my exhusband is buying a house without selling his current two family house in a very wealthy part of the city.

The new house is on a lake, with alot of land, with ten rooms and lots of bathrooms. I looked it up, It’s around a million dollars. Glad business is going well for him and the child support will keep on coming.

My mom just bought a cottage overlooking a cove, that is to die for. It is one bedroom. But perfect. She bought it for a fraction of the price that exhusband bought his mansion.

I live in a 1200 square foot condo and am most happy here, more happy than I have been anywhere else.

Blue can read. She can read like nobody’s business, for a kindergartner. I am so proud.

Red struggled with math in first grade and last summer we had five tutoring sessions. She no longer struggles with math. It’s a relief!

I had to talk to my divorce attorney about some stuff. Please hold in your prayers (and I don’t pray, but I will now) that things will be okay. That’s all I will say right now.

I think I found miracle face wash and cream. I haven’t had a blemish in two weeks.

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Other uses for Skype

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J and I have been talking at 6am my time, when he has searched out a cafe on land in Europe and was having his coffee and brownie after lunch…it was during his three hour bit of time docked on land.

(due to the other day’s internet complications, he is spending the last few days of the boat gig, calling me from land)

The day after tomorrow he travels to a new and his last gig!

After talking this morning for a half hour or so, the girls woke up and came downstairs and saw me sitting there having coffee with J over Skype. 

Blue was dressed and then Red was having some issues, one of them being a nose bleed (um, from picking her nose, for some reason). I said to J, “I will be right back, keep talking to Blue.”

I came back five minutes later and she was sitting cross legged in front of the laptop on the floor, reading a book to J.

She’s six, in Kindergarten, and just this week is at a point in her reading where she stalls only occasionally. I am so proud and coming back into the room and seeing him watching her intently, as she read to him, contributed to the steady reminders of how much I love him and how much I love him with my kids and how much I love my kids with him.

Before we said goodbye, he said to Blue “what’s 4 plus 4?” And she shouted out the answer.

“What’s 8 plus 8?” And she shouted out the answer.

“What’s 16 plus 16?” And she shouted out the answer. 

And he goes, “How did you know that one?” (because it was such a big number)

And she smiled and goes, “Because you told me that once.”

He was able to get in the conference room tonight and call too. So we sat while he yawned at 2am his time, after a night’s work, while I ate a pot of risotto I just made, 8pm my time.

Gotta love Skype. (how many times have I said this in the last 5 months?)

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The return

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I got my girls back today FINALLY after a week without them.

As much as I got done and as much as I didn’t sleep (seriously folks, a whole week and I never slept past 6am, AM I CRAZY?) and as much free time as I had, it kind of sucked as much as it was great.

Does that make sense?

It’s kind of my own version of “bittersweet”.

I did spend part of Saturday sitting on the beach in my bikini getting some color on my ass-white-ass. (okay, not literally, but got some color on my body and face, so I don’t look so, so, so….wintry….)

I painted a bunch. I hung a cork board in my studio that has been LEANING for the last three years, against the wall.

I grocery shopped. I shopped online for the girls’ spring/summer clothes…flip flops and bathing suits, included. 

My car’s air conditioning broke.

Today.

It broke on the day I had to drive an hour down the highway in 90 degree heat towards Boston (my car said it was 90 when I got to their dad’s house). I quickly was taken back to my childhood where either my parents didn’t believe in air conditioning in the car or our car just plain didn’t have one and we drove everywhere with the windows down. (yah, this was Southern California with the VW stick shift van).  

The girls weren’t used to it either, “it’s SO LOUD” they complained, the windows down all the way home. We tried rolling them up but in two seconds we were perspiring. 

I could even feel the drag on the car, having the windows down. But boy, when we got back up to the coast and the temperature was only 72, WAS I GRATEFUL TO LIVE AT THE BEACH!

As much as I would like to save the money, I am taking the car in tomorrow morning, first thing, to have it fixed.

We had a great afternoon here at home once we got here, windblown. RIGHT as I was singing to them at bedtime, a problem between two sisters erupted.

What it was, was minor. Their reactions were major. I had some mega parenting to do suddenly, after a week of eating guacamole, toast and fruit from the farmer’s market.  And watching movies in bed in my underwear while browsing the internet.

As I watched the clock tick closer to 8, knowing they somehow had to get through the week of school after going through Orlando, Florida bootcamp of dolphin swimming, theme parks and Bippity Bobbity Boutique (or whatever it’s called) I started to panic, knowing that past 8 was going to mean pure hell the next day.

In the end, I heard “I WANT DADDY” and “YOU NEVER LISTEN TO ME” and “YOU NEVER CUDDLE WITH ME” and “YOU LIKE HER MORE THAN ME” and then “You’re always on your computer!” 

Tomorrow is going to be an absolute bitch. (they did fall asleep by 9)

Anyway, WELCOME HOME!

With those exclamations, I felt shot through the heart.

It’s true. Sometimes I get work coming in, in the afternoons and sometimes even weekends. I mostly save it until nighttime or when the girls are in school but on occasion, I have to respond right away. And then sometimes, it isn’t work at all, sometimes I am just plain uninspired by iCarly or Polly Pockets or whatever fight the girls are having in the hallway. And in that un-inspiration, I may place an order on Drugstore.com. Or I read blogs. Or I write a blog post. Or I return some emails.

So, sheepishly, with my tail between my legs, I have promised to cut back on computer time when the girls are home. There are exceptions though, like when they are watching television on the weekends, as long as I am sitting with them with my laptop actually on my lap, I am allowed. While they are eating or fighting or screaming at me to help them with their pajamas after their bath or even, say, when a piece of furniture has fallen atop them (just kidding, this has never happened), my computer needs to be shut off. 

I wrote this new rule, except for the exception of sitting with them when they are watching television…that was their gift back to me.

When we finally said goodnight, Red whispered, “I’m SO glad we are home now!”

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Parent rant

photoI am wiped out. 

See my face?

I am going to hell.

It has been very very very hard having my dad here.  

I dont want to sound like an ungrateful bitch about the man who was half of the effort in bringing me into this world, but it has been brutal.

24 hours a day for a week is brutal. (okay, minus the four hours of sleep I have been getting on the couch)

There is NO privacy. 

 He’s high maintenance. He is ancy and impatient.

I can’t hear him when he speaks. He mumbles.

He tries to discipline my kids.

He tries to discipline me.

And he gets annoyed with the girls when they do a typical “Do I have to eat ALL my eggs before I have chocolate cake?” whine. (yes, we had eggs for dinner and chocolate cake for dessert).

He looks at me and flickers his eyes as if he can’t believe I would let them whine about their food. 

What kid doesn’t?

And then he starts, “You know, if I WERE YOU….”

OH MY GOD. Is he serious?

Yesterday was Easter.

My kids got up on the very very bad side of early (um, 4:30) looking for the damn Easter Bunny. I sent them back to bed and they were back by 6am, opening their baskets on the living room floor, just a few steps away from my temporary bed on the couch this week. (yes, I give my dad my bedroom). 

First, the previous 60 degree day did not last. It was about 35 and high winds. The Easter Egg hunt was very quick and very cold.

Look at how cold the girls were.

p1010017My mother cooked, I made a chocolate dessert and since she is on a diet and my dad won’t eat wheat, the kids and I ate them.

And since my mother is a vegetarian and dad doesn’t eat wheat, well, that was cause for an interesting meal. A very interesting meal. I won’t ruin your appetite by mentioning what my mother came up with.

Oh yes, my parents have been divorced since 1991 and fortunately it was amicable and they get along and hang out and stuff. It gets kind of annoying too, because they gang up on me. Double bad.

Yet, when I told my mom today that next time Dad comes to visit, I will be putting him up in the inn down the street because I can’t handle a week of him in my little house, she agreed with me that was the right thing to do. But of course, if I happen to be in a house the next time he comes, maybe there would be more room for him to stay with us.

My reply was, “yeah, if I win the lottery, buy a mansion and can give him an entire WING.”

I have this overwhelming feeling of needing to clean the house and put on J’s boxers and socks and sweatshirt and even his work boots, for some comfort.

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Piano lessons

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Last night I drove my girls to their dad’s for their weekend. He was flying back from a business trip and ended up delayed, not only in the air, but on the ground because some bonehead was late for their flight at Logan and ran through security. So they shut everything down. I was sitting in front of exhusband’s house when he called to say he was trapped at Logan.

Red has been home sick this entire week, she had what I had and the poor little thing has been pretty miserable about 90 percent of the time. The rest of the time, she was fairly comfortable and unfortunately it was never at night. So, we didn’t get much sleep this week. So, I am sitting there in the pouring rain outside his house, with a sick kid and Blue complaining in the back about how hungry she was, despite the fact that she just ate half a can of Pringles. And I had plans back at home with some other artist friends to have dinner at 7. There was no way I was going to make it.

Exhusband called again and said he called his parents and I could bring the kids there, he had ordered them dinner and he would be along within the hour. I was relieved because a) Red would be more comfortable b) Blue would no longer be whining in the back seat and c) I would make my dinner function.

We got to my ex-inlaw’s house, I have seen them often enough over the years and things are fairly comfortable, as comfortable as they can be between people who used to be close and then all of us disappointed each other in the end. There’s a grand piano in the entryway and the girls went right to it and started playing. Red can play by ear and Blue remembers all the exercises that J taught them before he left in November. 

My ex-mother-in-law looked at me and goes, “have they been taking lessons?”

I stammered and stuttered a little bit because how do you get into a comfortable conversation with your ex’s  parents about your boyfriend being a piano player and teaching them to play?

Well, I just did.

“The man I am seeing is a professional piano player and he’s been giving them lessons.”

And my mother-in-law’s eyes got wide and she goes (impressed) “oooooh, wow, like, a CONCERT pianist?”  

And I laughed and said, “oh, no. like NIGHTCLUBS and stuff.”

Granted, he plays classical and specializes in 40’s and 50’s music believe it or not. The old people love him. And his last yacht gig was merely hours of classical music, French and Italian classics interspersed. 

But then, I go for the shock value with the ex and his family. They think I have sinned. They think I am rotten and cheap. They think I am below them.

A few days ago, exhusband called and asked, “Is he moving in with you? The girls told me that he was going to be ‘home’ soon, for good. Does that mean he’s moving in with you? Are you sleeping in the same bed with the girls in the house?”

I confirmed his questions and he was silent. 

Now, I know that a father’s worst nightmare is likely another man coming into their kids’ life, living with them, stepping in. But J is the least likely man to go ahead and “replace” their dad. But ultimately, due to the amount of time J will be here compared to the amount of time the girls are with their dad, he will be filling a place in time for them that had their dad and I stayed married, he would have filled.

I said to him, “well, I know it probably makes you uncomfortable, you’ve only met him a few times in passing, but when he comes home for good, perhaps you can get to know him a little, see him with the kids. We can meet at a playground or say hello at their dance recital coming up.”

This was a stretch for me, a challenge to offer this, because exhusband is such a jackass and I can hardly stand him. J actually suggested it, being sensitive to exhusband’s feelings and wanting to somehow help him feel like he can know a little bit about J, who was spending time with his children.

Exhusband’s response? 

“I have NO respect for the guy. Moving in and sleeping in the same bed with you with the girls under the same roof without being married? I can’t believe you would let them SEE THAT!”

I was appalled. “Gosh, it’s not like we’re having sex in front of them!”

Our discussion went downhill from there. He said that I was surrounding myself with people here in my town (which he thinks is filled with the low-class) who set bad examples for the kids. “You surround yourself with all these sorts of people who live together without being married.”

To which I replied, “Well, they seem to be more functional and stable than most of the married people I know. You know, what works for people, works for them and you have to see it as that. Look at your children and see if they are happy. Are they happy? Be glad for that. ”

Exhusband spat into the phone, “You know what? I HAVE NO RESPECT FOR YOU.”

Then I calmly hung up.

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Snaps and minutes

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The bummer was that J didn’t leave the islands until 9pm. Which got him to the United States after midnight. Which means he was stuck in Miami until morning when he could get a flight out at 7:30 am. 

I can’t say I wasn’t upset about it all, because I was. I was thinking about him crawling into bed with me in the middle of the night and hanging out all day. 

Due to mechanical difficulties with the plane, our plans changed. 

A) I am grateful he didn’t get on a crippled plane

B) I am grateful they sent a NEW plane (and not fixed the crippled plane, you know…the risk and all…)

So, anyway, I live an hour north of the airport, and with him arriving in Boston at 10:30 am and needing to be back at the airport around dinnertime, it seemed pointless to pay a shuttle or even drive back and forth twice in one day. (that’s four hours of driving).

So, somehow he got a mega deal on this amazing hotel at the airport for the day.

My man can work miracles.

You know. Luxury at a discounted rate. One of THOSE miracles. 

Unfortunately, the night before, Red got incredibly sick. Neither of us slept. She was feverish, throwing up and miserable, all night. I brought her into bed with me and didn’t sleep a wink. The next morning she was better but I couldn’t send her to school. My mom was a saint and came over and stayed with her while I went to pick up dry cleaning and supplies for J. We met in Boston at the hotel after he landed, at 11am and boy, was it nice to see him. Granted, it was only for about 6 hours, a few of them, we both slept, but set the alarm because we wanted to be somewhat conscious in our short time together. The hotel had a jacuzzi and I was smart enough to bring along my suit. Nap. Repack his bag from casual island wear to formal cooler weather wear, jacuzzi, lunch, and love and then I was headed back north again towards home and he was on a plane to Europe.

The lesson in this for me though, is that despite this happening, it isn’t the end of the world. My existance with J doesn’t rely merely on this bit of time we thought we would have. It relies on our strength to get through a time of being apart all this time. Not one day of being together.

He called me when I was on the road heading home and said “I miss you already.”  A slew of stuff came out of my mouth, one being my gratitude that we have been able to maintain a close and closer relationship, even with him gone. It says alot about both of us and how we feel, that we’ve been able to sustain it, it says alot about our commitment and love.

His response to that? “Well, in six and a half weeks, our lives will be changing as we know it, because we’ll finally be together.”

He called from Europe this morning when I got home from taking Blue to school (Red is still home having another recuperation day), he landed as we were waking up this morning and got to a hotel where he is staying for the night before reporting to work tomorrow morning.

He’s six hours ahead of us and it will be interesting to see how we figure out talking. When he is getting off work around 1am, I’ll be putting my girls to bed. And when I will be getting home from taking the girls to school, he’ll be lying down for his pre-work afternoon nap.

We’re already counting on our fingers the hours, getting our head around the time difference.

I laugh that yesterday, he told me to snap a ridiculously high number of times with my fingers and then he’ll be home again. And then we spent our last ten minutes together actually calculating in our heads the amount of minutes between when he would take off on the airplane and then be home again in May.

It was alot of minutes. It was alot of snaps.

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