Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Awoken From The Dream By My Own Name

Surgery Day Part 2. Really and truly I feel like everything was said in December. The past 3 months have been surreal getting used to a new body, learning how to handle questions and comments, returning to working and daily life after a weeks long recuperation.

Before surgery 1 I asked if I thought I would have any regrets, given knowing that the recovery would be painful and hard. I theorized that it would be worth it.

Yes, a thousand times yes to a new outlook on life. Not just because of the physical changes but I truly feel the best I have in my adult life.

Sunday I planned a family day at one of our favorite parks. Complete with a picnic lunch, rides on the train and carousel, and lots and lots of time on the playground.


An example of why waking up later today continue steps towards living a fulfilled, happy life with a physical body now completely on the other side of the looking glass.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Like a 1 Armed Wallpaper Hanger

Insanely, crazy busy day ahead as I am determined to NOT darken the doors of work over the weekend. Minor meltdown yesterday when I found out my sub had been reassigned.

All good now, but it took old school panic (and then tears) to get everything back. What does Tina Fey says about crying in the workplace? Save it for when you need a trump card.

By end of day I will have 2 weeks of sub plans ready to roll, mid term grades posted and no plans to be back a day before April 9th.

Nothing crazy on tap this weekend other than mulching for Michua $ again and plans to do a trip to Pullen Park with the family on Sunday. Thinking porch fern invasion is also on tap. That and that I have tickets to see Ira Glass. Super excited to see him again, esp in light of the retraction of the high profile Apple Story.

I promised not to rush the stage and humiliate myself or anyone with me by end of night. Ripping open my shirt to reveal, "IRA 4eva" painted on my chest is still not out of the question.

I gotta give these ridiculously large boobs a send off, right?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Your 3 Minutes

Yesterday Her Bad Mother threw out the 3 minute list. All things if you had 3 whole minutes to yourself not schlepping children, fixing something, dealing with the everyday.. you get the picture.

I gotta steal her #5 Sniff the kids hair and just revel for a few minutes, in the delicious smell of them

Thinking on what I have done in 3 minute segments this week that brought joy into my life

-Watched and re watched this Mad Men Trailer for the Season 5 premiere Sunday. Gotta get my Don Draper fix and girl crush on Joan on after 17 long months wihtout.

-Checked out a new tapas joint online for dinner this weekend. Do they have a cheese plate? Decision made.

-Tried on those 4 cute dresses metioned earlier this week. Loving shopping. LOVE IT.

-Bought a pair of gladiator sandals to go with the maxi dress to be bought in the near future.

-Checked out cute skirts from Boden. I love anything listed with "fun" in the garment title. Doesn't everyone need a fun skirt?

-Made appointments for a massage, waxing, mani/pedi on Monday. Taking the whole day pre-surgery to volunteer at Ben's school, have lunch with him, and then some pre surgery pampering.

-Added books to my library queue and Netflix streaming. Plans to watch season one of Boardwalk Empire, try Dexter (again), season 2 of Weeds, as well as Gray's Anatomy while horizontal bound.

-Planned what plants I want to put on my porch. Blooming azaleas match the porch cushions I just purchased. May make a run for fern invasion this weekend.

-Extra books read at night with the kids and savored laying in bed talking a few extra minutes with Ben. Even got to rock Ian for about 3 mins before he squirmed.

-Drew chalk pictures on the driveway with Ian.

-Sat on my front porch and watched a storm come over the horizon.

-Made homemade blueberry muffins for the boys.

What about you? What would make your 3 minute list?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Fire Marshal Ben

Overheard as we went through Ben's Friday Bag:

"tell me about this picture, what are you doing?"

"I am yelling to get out of our burning house"

"is that Ian? are you helping him get out?" (thinking Ian looks like a doll or a midget version of Ben)

"yes, I'm helping him because he was crying"

"also mom I helped Vegas put on a dog mask to breath

"That is wonderful you are helping Ian when he was scared. Did you know that dad bought a special ladder that we could escape through a window from his office if we couldn't go down the stairs?

Do you think you could help us draw a plan for our family that has 2 routes out?"

"So Ben I do have one question, where are mom and dad in this picture?"

"You already are outside, I was in the bathroom when the fire started and was pooping"

"Ben, you know that if we had a fire we would make sure you and Ian got out, along with Vegas, even if you were in the bathroom"

Great parenting moment realizing your kid thinks you would leave him behind in a burning house, esp because he stopped to poop.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How to spend over $600 in Old Navy in under 15 minutes

The plan was after dinner Saturday night to hit the stock up sale for kids clothes and *maybe* check out the clearance for some new wardrobe items.

So just how in around 20 mins did I clear over 600 bucks?

1. Have filled two carts with items thrown in at lighting speed
2. Be buying two sizes in hopes post surgery the smaller fits
3. Really want some cute dresses and skirts for spring/summer
4. Have a melting down toddler
5. Strong armed the 5 year old from putting all the balls and lunchboxes in the cart when I wasn't looking
6. Need to buy shorts, shirts, and swimsuits for Ben and fill in the holes for Ian
7. Get stopped in the checkout line by an old student on college spring break leaving me no time for a presort of the carts.

Plans for a massive post surgery try-on session and a even bigger return but in the meantime look what I scored. So hopes one of these dresses fit in about a month.

Extra points if the halter makes the cut.

Extra, Extra points that only 1 black shirt was among the lot.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Wagon Train Kind of Gal

Everything went well yesterday at pre op. Most of all the instructions are the same for after-care and minus having four drains over two post surgery.

At the beginning of the discussion he was hesitant to perform these two procedures together, a breast reduction and a thigh lift, due to the time under anesthesia. Both are around 4 hours and as all surgery is performed in the surgical suite in office on a same day basis, 6 hours is the maximum that he normally is comfortable performing.

We talked over breaking into two specific procedures and doing two recoveries over one. I was adamate that I really want to be finished and would rather have a longer, harder recovery than two more to contend with planning for kids, my recoup, Bill's time off from work.

After a long discussion and going over each procedure he believed that I could do them both together, given the understanding that I am going to have to be out for at least 2 weeks with the strong possibility of 3. Being at home with limited activity was mandatory. No putting up Christmas decorations in the attic this time (Bill ratted me out for pushing it in December.)

At one point he said, "you are a wagon train kinda of gal, and knowing how you came through the first surgery I know if anyone can pull off this recovery you can."

Seriously, a wagon train kind of gal? I've been referred to as many things, but this was a first. I'll take it as a compliment on some level that as surgeries go that my main goal going into this final step of weight loss is being achieved in part to tenacity or maybe my stubbornness.

Not that I am going for some type of award, rather I just want to be done. We did before pictures and looked at the scar healing. All is looking good and yes I did take a quick look at the before comparison and couldn't believe it was the same body.

In the end I just need to keep my panic that something is going to go wrong at bay, trusting that I am in good hands and in the end doing all of this was my call.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Just How Many Bags of Turkey Meatballs Can Stave Off Panic?

I'm buried under in a massive pre-surgery to-do list this week/next. Is it possible to feel some sense of nesting if you aren't prego?

Actually with less than 2 weeks to go I'm starting to feel the same old school panic as before surgery one. I have this need to get the house organized, plan easy to fix meals for the kids (hence the stockpile of turkey meatballs), get my classes/lesson plans/copies made for a potential extra week absence, and finish off a mountain of important paperwork. Added bonus for the cold I've been nursing all week.

Massive primal scream about now.

Last night was paperwork central finishing up some work on our wills, looking for the remaining tax documents I forgot when I met with the accountant on Monday, the ADHD paperwork for parents, packaging the school version with confidential envelopes to deliver today. Then there was probate paperwork. Somewhere I commented to Bill that I now know where the phrase, "I will spit on your grave" comes from: an estate in probate court.

Actually I've had it easy as Brian has done 99% of the work and handled the outstanding medical bills. In actuality whatever is left that would come to me is going into a trust for Ben and Ian's education. On some level it makes me sad that with the close of the case, it is officially the end of her "life." I know that she would be happy that providing for her grandsons was the end result of a long, arduous process. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I miss her. Even with all the issues, I would do anything to have more time, especially to have the boys have had more time. I fear that later in life they will barely remember her.

Later today is pre-op. I told Bill last night I am really scared about the recovery this time. Not that the other surgery was a walk in the park, but my surgeron tried to talk me out of stacking these procedures given the 8 hours under anesthesia. He later recanted with the mother of all comments.

Maybe because Pam is not able to be here to help with the kids and Bill is under a deadline at work, I just feel like the recovery has the potential for problems. Maybe with the added stress of Ben's behavior and wrapping up probate I'm stressing myself out even more. How about just being slap worn out at the end of the day from this traveling teaching schedule that everything just feels harder this time.

We will see, in the meantime I am setting a moratorium on turkey meatball purchase.

Friday, March 9, 2012

here all week folks

Thanks folks for your supportive comments here as well as privately.

It has been a long week. Understatement. In addition to the ongoing behavior issues we are trying to close my mom's probate estate case. I wish I could escape where no one can find me for a couple of days.

To wrap up this ick week how about some funny?

A recent Dollar Tree trip revealed the following finds.

I had just commented, "how crappy of an author are you if your work sells for a $1. Just who would buy these jems of literary genius?"

Guilty. Me

Or how about this? The look on the cashier's face was classic as he uttered, "are you going to use this?" Me: "Never underestimate the power of Snoop Dogg."

Both will be put back for a White Elephant gift exchange which I LOVE to host.

Then I discovered these:

Remember Designer Impostors Body Spay? Want to admit you owned some in the 6th grade?

Sadly the motherload was the discovery that Dollar Tree carries Turkey Creek BBQ porkrinds.

Holy mother I am in hog heaven. Literally.

My friend that was with me walked away with less than 5 dollar purchase. Me: over $30including freeze ahead pans and Easter basket fillers.

Were you thinking I spent $30 on pork rinds?

Here all week folks, next show surely not to disappoint. While I know I shouldn't quit my day job, you know I gotta find some funny where I can find it.

Our weekend plans include a Kite festival, more mulching for trip money, helping tag and bag for a church wide yard sale and help with a food truck rodeo Kenya Fundraiser.

Not familiar with the Food Truck Rodeo? Think state fair food trailers but with more than fried Twinkies.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Called Our Bluff

My day started with crying, first by Ben and then as I drove to work. Ben is missing his spring field trip today due to a rotten day yesterday in all 5 areas on his behavior contract. We are splitting the day to be home with him while he is being punished.

We had explained that to go on the trip he had to show he could make a 4 or 5 check day until the trip as well as a good report from after school. He held it together for 3 school days until yesterday. It's almost like he saved up days worth of bad choices and then fired them off. The hystics have been on a new level in the last 24 hours.

I can't even begin to tell you how taking away this trip feels like the straw that is going to break the camels back. Bill and I had already been talking to Ben's teacher about the possibility of doing some testing at the school level. Last week I talked to her even more and agreed that we would start the process.

I talked to some teacher friends at work about the legalities of the process, the timetable, and what a potential diagnosis could mean for services or potentially the writing of an IEP (the legal document of what the school must provide.)

Just starting the process to test, even if in the end we are old "he's a 5 year old boy" is daunting. I quickly shoved the Handbook of Parenteral rights aside, feeling like it is a massive badge of parental failure just to be in ownership of this book. I cannot look at a bunch of legalize until we can feel it's warrented.

The reality is Bill and I want to do something now, not wait out another year or even just the rest of spring. The process if indeed Ben does wind up with a diagnosis of ADD or ADHD is likely going to take the rest of his Kindergarten year to get into place for 1st grade.

I totally admit that in Misery Poker, Childhood Issues Edition that a hyperactivity diagnosis is not even in the same league as SO many other afflictions. But it's still something to deal with on an ongoing basis, it makes life harder, it make the goals and dreams you have that your kid is going to be well adjusted and happy harder. It makes me wonder what school is going to look like for him. It makes you question past parenting mistakes as part of the cause.

I think my bottom line is while I want to know if my gut is right and this is all more than 5 year old antics. I need some good thoughts on this friends.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I Got So Much More Than 6 Feet Under

How about 20ft?

Last night our team saw pictures of the community effort in progress starting the clean water project in Michura, Kenya.

Before the construction teams arrive this summer a giant 20 foot deep rainwater collection pit has to be dug as well as the trench lines leading to a water purification station.

Hello grassroots effort on a crazy large scale.

I spent most of Saturday helping spread multiple dumptrucks of mulch in the nasty, cold rain as part of a group fundraiser. Minus one taco truck stop it might have been some of the hardest manual work I've ever done. I most likely will be revisiting that statement by end of summer.

A couple of weeks ago I got approval to get my fundraising letter out. I actually hate soliciting monetary support, especially in a icky economy when just filling your gas tank fills like mission work. As the former philanthropy chair for my college sorority as well as lots of fundraising as National Honor Society advisor, I can do it and hopefully convincingly.

I'm putting out my letter today, disguised as a pop quiz from your local social studies teacher. I also created a Facebook Event page and am using the hashtag #can-heather-dig-it?

I don't plan to beg friends for support. Support me if you want, join my event if you want, follow me if interest. I won't lie I have a LONG way to go to get to my $3500 cost of the trip and any donation is appreciated. The letter contains an online link for donation as well as tax reciept.

More importantly I hope you will support this effort by just being interested. All hopes to share stories and pictures of just what support whether monetary or just your good thoughts are doing thousands of miles away.

I'm not a super churchy God person and the last thing I want in asking for support equates pushing religion on you. Yes, this is a religous backed trip and will involve visiting the village churches. More importantly this trip is about bring the most simple but vital resource, clean water, to families just like mine and yours.

I'm also linking the the non-profit 410 Bridge's effort in Kenya. I am crazy inspired by what they are doing and hope you will be too.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Special Delivery

Look what made the trip from 105 Clay Street, Easley SC

Look what was inside the piano bench: Tons of my old practice books including Henry the Cat, my first every recital piece. Check out that 5 year old signature (and inside Hello Kitty Stickers.) The fact that most of the music was marked up with my mom's handwriting brought a smile to my face.

See who banged all over the keys with a smile on his face.

See how much it means to have one of the best memories of my mom now in my home.

My mom taught piano starting when she was pregnant with me in the fall of 1974 and continued until only a few years before her death. For my entire time growing up I heard scores of students learning to play.

From 3-8 pm Monday through Thursday, our house was filled with kids hanging out drinking Green Kool-aid playing Pitfall with us while waiting on their siblings to finish.

I took from kindergarten until I was a Junior in high school. Sharing a love of music with my mom is one of my best memories of her. While rusty, sitting and playing for Ben and Ian and then later for myself made me realize that the band (or the piano) plays on even in her absence.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Want to See it, Read it, Do it, Taste,It, Wear it- March Edition

And once again we had another night of fun at Casa Vinson. First up: firetrucks at after school pickup. Sadly the first thought was I hope Ben didn't set the school on fire. Actually no, but he did kick someone in the crotch. How this was not a write up when pushing a backpack across a table defies reason.

Double Secret probation for the entire weekend and we are are keeping him home next Friday for a field trip if he can't pull it together. Yes there was lots, and lots, and lots of crying last night. I even made a student cry yesterday. I felt like a total winner by end of day.

So on to March. Once again I feel like getting stuff done by March 27 surgery is my target.

Here's the short list of some things on my radar:

See it: Hunger Games. I need no other words to describe how much I want to see this cornucopia of awesomeness. Maybe even up for a midnight showing on opening night. Take that Bill Vinson, king of midnight showings (even bad movies).

Taste it: Want to discover a new tapas restaurant since my fav Red Room has closed :(

Need to have a child-free meal in peace before surgery is on my short list. Also under taste it is replenishing my freezer stock over the month since Pam is not able to fly uppost surgery. Last weekend freezer session produced 4 new things to try.

Wear it: Super short mall trip in which I might have had .912 sec on the way to replace even more damn pants for Ben to look for myself. He's back to only wanting to wear "swishy" athletic pants. NO jeans so a pair lasts only a few weeks. Thank GOD for Sears Kid Advantage program that replaces them in the same size for free. These people are losing money on the Vinson family. Totally stealing a few hours for some post surgery shopping.

Read it: Sadly after restarting book club book twice I am giving up. It's even history related on something I care about and I just can't get past 75 pages. Back to the library it is going. On the amazing you should read it list: the super compact and visually delicious We the Animals by Justin Torres. At 125 pgs I read in a couple of hours and loved it so much I reread it again. Also on the short list is Michael Ian Black's new book You're Not Doing It Right. Just check out this online review.

Being a long-standing fan of MIB, i knew this book wouldn't disappoint. Got the kindle version this morning and have been doing a power-read. Insightful, funny and smart humor that has many well-stitched emotions and stories. If you're willing to access those dark pockets of your mind thinking about your kids, spousal insanity and taking a good hard look at yourself this book is for you. I'm just about done and really am enjoying it. On a side note, I'm glad i am not the only one who had the same reaction to a lame-ass Creed song. *What a relief * Get the book...If you're one of those Oprah book club types, you might want to stick with something else. Allow me to pretend to be an English teacher for 2 seconds and rate this book a solid "A".

Dilemma: Get it now or save it for post surgery, drug filled days laying on the couch? Thinking high on Oxycontin would make what I'm sure if going to rival "Taco Party" on a whole new level the best part of another non-showering recovery.

Do it: Lots to do to get classes pulled together for another couple of week absence. I got my favorite bad ass sub known lovingly as Big D that teachers love and kids hate for her sarcastic and take no prisoners attitude. Perfect for my drama filled children while I'm gone.

Really and truly on the do it list is raising money for Kenya. Almost every day after school this week I've been pulling weeds in anticipation for weekend 1 of MULCHURA. Hello spreading mulch in nearby neighborhoods to raise money like a fool weekends all month. I'm even personally doing some other teachers' yards down near school after work for donations.

Happy March and even happier to get to final surgery on the 27th.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Because this week needed this

Yep. That would be a handwritten note from Ben detailing his behavior in the after school program. The same program that we are one write up away from being dismissed.

At the walk of shame/pick up yesterday I knew it was not going to be the stellar report hoped for when told, "wait here while I get the director."

Upon entering the library yesterday Ben did a running slide on the carpet into a bookshelf eventually tumbling into a group of already sitting (and quiet) girls.

While not the official FINAL write-up dismissing us, the librarian was upset enough to require Ben to write the note and sit out half of his outside time.

Goodbye to a special scavenger hunt and Leap Day prizes. I packed up the scavenger hunt cards as soon as we hit home all to a chorus of giant tears and hysterical sobbing and also lying that he didn't do the things he detailed in the note.

Further compounded by Ben trying to get me to call Bill who was working late to get him to reinstate the scavenger hunt.

Nope. Goodbye TV for the rest of the week as well as an early bedtime with dinner in his room.

Here's the deal beyond how this is the ongoing issue with Ben ad nauseum. Earlier this year Ben along with the rest of the boys in his class were invited to a drop off playdate. We couldn't go due to a conflict but I remarked to Bill that Ben has enough exposure already at school to this child and I don't think he needed the additional time to be influenced, esp with one parent and the potential for 10+ boys in a private home.

Bill agreed but then later came back and said that we should reconsider and maybe try to contact the parent about playing at a nearby park with parents present. We hear from Ben and have both observed when we have volunteered in the classroom that this child does not have many friends. Ben himself calls him a "bad kid".

Ben and I have talked about being a friend to him in positive ways and how maybe our good choices could be an example to help our friend also make good choices. I brought this up to Bill and we agree that to some family (and likely more than one) the kid named BEN VINSON is used in context of don't play with him because he's a bad influence.

Here lies my ultimate issue. I truly believe that the 5 year old Ben is setting the parameters and character for the future versions of his character. Because I see and work with "bad kids" on the high school level, the ones that are absent more than in class, have 6% averages despite parental intervention. I think I am highly sensitive of what I don't want to see him as in 10 years. I want to think I am doing everything I can to be setting him up to see himself positively and also ACT appropriately.

Last night a bedtime we as we always do review the best thing and worst thing about our day. Best: Getting 4 checks and going to the treat box.

Worst: getting in trouble in after school and then as my heart is breaking as he says: Making me so sad that I hate you. Thanks Ben, it's been a long week and that made it so much better.

I have to think that if Bill and I continue to stand firm, are on the same page with discipline and not giving in to whining and lying, continue to work with his teachers that he will develop into somewhat of what we hope. He has made progress in maturity as well as listening according to his teacher from the Day 1 Come to Jesus meeting with his teacher.

I hope so. I pray so. I need others to step up with a "me too" 'cause I feel like I have the worst kid on the playground despite effort, time, attention, and consistency and did I mention the oodles of patience?