Sunday, February 24, 2008

bloggery updatery

It's been a very intense couple of weeks. All is well - now - but I haven't kept up with much of anyone! As of 8 February, Younger Boy was coughing but didn't have strep. By Monday (11 Feb), he did have strep. Older Boy was presenting as if he were a couple of days behind Younger Boy, and Younger Girl spiked a 101+ temperature just after lunch. Having obtained prescriptions for all four of them, just in case, I started treatment for all four of them. (I also learned that the insurance that the Other Parent is required by the divorce agreement to provide for them was not going through, so I had to pay for the prescriptions) Everybody stayed home both Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday we had a snow day. Well, a slush day, really. We got about 5" of slush, then it rained, hard, the rest of the day. It took me two hours to get the slush off of the driveway, though I did manage to make the snowblower do the hardest part of the work. Then I got up onto a ladder to scoop slush and leaves out of my gutters. See, if my gutter over the porch overflows (instead of draining down the downspout) then water leaks into my basement. It's quite predictable. And, sure enough, there was a small puddle forming. So... out into the barely-not-freezing rain I went with my trusty stepladder, and scooped slushy slime out of the gutters. It was a real bear. The slushy snow on the roof slid down enough to make a snow-overhang (a la the Wonder Twins!) which I had to knock down before scooping out the gutter. The worst part, honestly, was the moving of the stepladder, as the paint shelf got full of water while I was up on the ladder, and every time I tilted it to move it, the paint shelf peed icy water all over me. Plus it's not easy to plant the ladder steadily into slushy snow on top of unevenly spread compost and leaf mulch. But I survived. I went inside and had a nice HOT shower.

When I got out of the shower, I went down to check the basement. My usual leak was leaking copiously, and I had to use the shop-vac to suck up the water. Then, half an hour or so later, when I went to check again, there was a new and different puddle forming. Seems that the back 2nd story gutter was overflowing as well, and the water was dripping into the basement window well! Once the window well got full, the water started to leak into the basement, right down the wall. Argh! So... I had to bail out the window well, while of course the roof is still peeing icy water onto my (freshly washed but nowhere near dry) head. Got the window well bailed out and found a sheet of plywood to make a lean-to over the window well.

Well, all of this took another hour or so. Meanwhile I have mostly-better children stuck inside, though thankfully they were SO good! and didn't get into any serious mischief. But it did mean that I didn't get any school work read.

Thursday was Valentine's Day, and everybody went to school (with valentines). I went to both of my classes, too, though we did NOT exchange valentines. (this was FINE with me, btw, as my classmates are generally young enough to be my offspring) Things were looking up all over. Then on Friday morning, as I was preparing to go to the gym, and thence to the library, I decided that Younger Girl's hair needed washing before school. I got her ready for her bath, and discovered that she was covered in Chicken Pox. Woo hoo. I whisked her off to the pediatrician to get it confirmed (and recorded in her file), which happened, and the lass at the reception desk told me that she'd figured out what was wrong with the insurance (the number had changed, presumably when the Other Parent was 'laid off'/sacked from his last position). I took that information to the pharmacy and had my payments refunded successfully. *whew* (did you know that chewable amoxicillin is three times as expensive as liquid?) So - we headed into vacation week with a poxy Younger Girl. She didn't have a horrible case - just one inside of her mouth, but it made her food sting and taste off - but she was restless and wanted to sleep with Mommy.

Grandma, bless her!!!, took the three older ones for overnights at her place, one at a time. Several of the children's friends invited the older two over to play, so that they weren't totally trapped here with their quarantined sister. I also was able to go visit the friend from whose children we'd caught the pox, so I got out a bit too. Things could have been EVER so much worse. I didn't have my usual class on Tuesday morning, because the University ran a Monday schedule on Tuesday (it's something to do with the hard sciences' lab scheduling requirements). That was a real bonus. Grandma also babysat on Tuesday night, here, so I could go to rehearsal. (usually the children go to the Other Parent's on Tuesdays, but it was vacation week, so the schedule was different) Rehearsal was fantastic, but I was barely able to squeak hoarsely afterward. When Bach writes a first soprano part, he means it!

On Wednesday at noon, the Other Parent came to take the children for his half of vacation week. The house was very quiet... for an hour or so. My best friend asked me to watch her two while she went to the dentist, and I gladly did so. While they were here, another good friend (from high school and college) came through town and stopped by for a visit. We discussed Latin (I'll make a separate post about my grad school conundrum) and knitting and children and stuff. It was a real treat to get to see her! Once everyone had left, I went out for a Girl Errand (involving hot wax, but I'll spare you the details) then came back to get BUSY on my school assignments.

With Anne's virtual company via IM over the weekend, I had done most of the assignment for my Thursday AM class - a translation of 29 lines of Chaucer's Romaunt of the Rose from Middle English to comprehensible Modern English, with dictionary look-ups for 10 words and cross-references of two of those (and translations of the cross-references - other instances of the same word in other fourteenth century literature). I reviewed that assignment until I was satisfied it was as good as I could make it, then finished reading The Knight's Tale. It is LONG. It's also a fantastic allegory - very symmetrical, very stylistically shapely. That finished, I limped through ten chapters of Piers Plowman (in translation, but still, VERY dense) [I hadn't completed the previous week's reading; she's not that cruel!]. Then I slogged through an essay regarding the poem as a supplemental reading. I made notes from the assigned six chapters, as well as notes from the supplemental reading, because I was scheduled to team-lead the discussion for Thursday night's class. As it turned out, I was finished to my satisfaction after the AM class, around 3 PM, so I took a nap before the PM class. My partner went first, and addressed the material differently than I did. It worked really well. My turn also seemed to go well, though we ran out of time to discuss the supplemental reading and we'll get to that this coming Thursday.

When I got home, I was too wired to sleep. Unfortunately, I allowed myself to stay up until about 3 AM, just reading. (at least I'd had that nap, though) Got up mid-morning on Friday to snow - lots of snow - and stayed inside all day. Stayed up again reading way too late. Didn't venture out with the snowblower until late Saturday morning! It turned out fine, though - as soon as I blew the snow off (7" we got) it was bright enough that the driveway melted clean. *whew* I also went to the gym and did a full hour on the elliptical trainer. I was in bed by just after midnight on Saturday night, and got up for church today. There was a ladies' breakfast at 8 which I didn't know about/had forgotten about. I honestly don't know if I'd have gone even if I'd remembered. I was pretty tired.

The Old Dog was totally nutty this morning - having a serious anxiety attack. Wouldn't even eat her breakfast! I gave her the prescription the vet had sent home with us for that - it's Xanax, just like for people - but had to leave for church and was not able to observe her afterward. I did choose to come home right after church (instead of going to the gym again, which I'd wanted to do) and she had settled down enough to eat her kibbles. I don't know what set her off. Poor old girl. I spent the afternoon cleaning house, reading more Chaucer (the Miller's Tale this time, quite rude) and more Piers Plowman. I've finished Tuesday AM's assignment but still have Thursday AM's to finish (that'll be the Reeve's Tale) and the last three chapters of Piers Plowman for Thursday PM.

One delightful tidbit: I had bought a bookcase for my then-fiance to use when he moved his stuff here. Obviously he and his stuff are NOT here and are not COMING here, so I had this quite nice bookcase that I didn't need. I had put it up for sale on Craig's List, and it sold on Friday! I actually ended up about $15 ahead - woo hoo! The folks who came to pick it up were very brave in the snow.

So now it's Sunday night. I brought the children home at just before 7, and my Mom and brother came over for cake so we could celebrate Older Girl's 8th birthday, which had been on Thursday. Mom gave her an amethyst necklace (since it's her birthstone) and I have her a bunch of necklace-making beads, some stretchy necklace making cord, and a storage case for the beads. I think she liked her presents! The cake was good, too. Unfortunately Older Girl is also a bit warm tonight - just over 99 - but she and I both hope she'll be able to go to school tomorrow. She has a field trip, and I have a court date to try to finalize my petition to have the children's surnames hyphenated. Therein lies a story, and I don't feel like telling it. *sigh* But the Other Parent is fighting tooth and nail, and it remains to be seen whether he managed to stay on this side of the truth in his sworn testimony or not.

Speaking of the Other Parent being himself, I had a good talking-to from a friend on Wednesday (the one involved with the use of hot wax). She's not a Christian - if anything, I think she's a Buddhist? - but/and she's very wise and quite spiritual. [I'm a pretty conservative Christian, by the way, and I subscribe to the teaching of Jesus that instructs us to "love one another as I have loved you". To my mind that leaves no room for rejecting other people based on them having different beliefs than I have {not to mention that I consider it unacceptable to reject others for other reasons either - we're all God's children, and He loves us all}. I believe what I believe; I hold only myself to my standards {and nobody else}; I seek to 'love others' as I've been told to do, and to respect them as well, to the best of my ability - which is sometimes quite good and other times not so much] I was telling her that I have been angry with the Other Parent for various infractions, and she asked me why I was angry. "He is what he is, and that's his deal, not yours. Why be angry that he is who he is? Why not just say instead, 'Oh, poor him, there he goes lying again. Poor thing!' rather than judging or condemning or being angry?" And drat it all, but she's got a really good point. I know I'm called to forgive. I have actually been struggling with that for a while of late; I kept thinking my anger was/is justified... and it could well be... but is it serving me to be angry? Am I serving the Lord being angry? I'm sure I'm not serving my children well by being angry with their [multiple expletives deleted] father. *sigh* Dang it's hard to be a decent human being sometimes, and to act like an adult. Pooh.

So - aside from my 'where do I go now with my graduate studies' question, I think that's everything I've been meaning to blog on. If you read this far, again I thank you! Please share some thoughts with me in return. It gets so lonely blogging into the ether with no concept of whether anyone actually reads it!


TammyC said...

Hey girl! It's good to so completely catch up on what's been happening in your world. Thanks for the heads up!

I'm glad you have a friend who was able to look you in the eye and tell you to stop being angry at the OP. She's right, you know. Not only does it not bring God any glory, it also doesn't hurt him at all while it hurts you a lot.

Bless his heart...he can only be what he is, kwim?

You rock, girl!

Tammy C

Annie said...

Hey Michelle! It's Annie from the playhouse! Sorry it took me so long to bring you some comment love. Also, check mine out!

-I am so impressed at your ability to juggle so many things in your life. School, hobbies, kiddos, choir... You are truly amazing!
-Your friend is exactly right about the OP. While your anger toward him is absolutely justified, the only people we can control are ourselves. Tammyc makes a good point in her comment, that it doesn't bring God any glory to feed the negativity. But in addition to that, continuing to feel anger towards him is a sign, especially to him, that he still has an impact on your life. By letting that anger go, you will also be extinguishing any remnants of control he may still hold over you. That's all he has left, and it's high time you take it away once and for all. From what I know of you, Michelle, and from what I read in your blog, you will be able to (if you haven't already by now) let the negativity go with ease, and probably relief, and replace it with a new perspective that he is also one of God's children and deserving of your compassion. After all, his apparent inability to be honorable and truthful is a sad, sad thing, and will only make his own life harder. He is the one who will ultimately suffer for his shortcomings.
-Sorry for the long-windedness! My best friend has been going through her own divorce for a while, and we talk about this very subject alot. Just the nature of the beast, I suppose, and the natural human process of coming out of a divorce on the other side and back into the light. You are living proof for my friend that it can be done, and perhaps she can benefit from your new perspective.

Katherine C. Teel said...

I'll jump on the wisdom wagon here and say that your friend is right about the anger. You know the saying, I'm sure, that resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to drop dead? To be fair to you, you are dealing with the two hardest, that he's truly a jerk and your anger is totally jsutified, and two, that his actions hurt the people you love most in the world. I mean, really, it's much easier to deal with being hurt ourselves than to deal with our children being hurt. I still haven't quite figured out how the forgiveness thing works when you yourself weren't the one being hurt. My biggest forgiveness challenge of my life was about someone who had hurt someone else, and not me.

One thing I love about your posts, Michelle, is that your delight in your life comes through. I know it's crazy, but it's the craziness that comes from being engaged in many things that bring you satisfaction. I will try to read regularly! Blessings on you and those wee ones.