Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Haiku break...


Funky summer day
Wacky dog licking my feet
Spray from hose comes down

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Discouraged

I wish they would tell you exactly what it was that made them decide, "no, you're not the one for us."  Each freakin time it is the same exact BS.  I'm guessing there is a Web site with templates for rejection letters.
"Dear Schmooby, While we think you really are the cat's meow, we've decided to go with another candidate  for a reason which we will not disclose to you.  Best of luck in your future endeavors."

I thought I really connected on this last round of interviews and it didn't help that I *really* wanted this job.  It was perfect.  My feelings are starting to get hurt and I don't know quite what is wrong with my qualifications.  Maybe it's my handshake.  Maybe I shouldn't have curled my hair this morning, or perhaps they don't like the fact that I telecommuted for the past 10 years.  I don't know how to get around that but it seems like a black mark on my resume.

I am feeling like this coming summer will prove to be one of the worst in Crouse Haus history.


Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Fragile

Today I am again reminded of the fragility of life. I have had way too many reminders in the past year. It seems like almost every other month life sends me a memo. These memos are painful and I feel like screaming, "I GET IT! ENOUGH ALREADY!"
But today's reminder was especially painful.
I have not lost anyone especially close to me. Some who have moved on were acquaintances in my younger years, others were friends of friends, one was a woman who was dear to me when I was a child. Today a dear lady I have known for many years lost her child. Her boy was just 20 years old and a hard-working young man who loved his mama. He took a lunch break to grab a hamburger -- just a 5 minute drive from his job. On the way home last Friday he was in a car accident. He was not wearing a seatbelt. He never woke up to talk with his family and say goodbye. He was in a coma for 5 days and was removed from life-support today.
I have no idea how my friend will go on. I feel pain for her and I when I try to reach the level of pain she must be feeling I cannot even come close to imagining it. I look at my two healthy, adventurous children and I really cannot even imagine. Words of comfort for her are hard to form.
This is a woman for whom life has been misery. But that is my definition and I would never say that to her. To her, life, until today, was okay. But to hear her story you would suck in your breath and find it hard to exhale. This is a devout woman and to her god I say, WHY? What more do you want from her? She began her life poor, the oldest of 8 children in Mexico. She took care of her younger siblings from a young age, and I'm sure she did this well. She is a loving person. If her youth wasn't stolen from her by having to parent young siblings, it certainly was when she was kidnapped at the age of about 13 by someone known to the family. She was basically enslaved and sexually abused and held for a couple of years. She was finally returned to her family and even though they knew who had done this to their daughter, nothing was done to the man. She made her way to the USA and worked hard and became an American Citizen (she voted for Bush, but I still love her). She worked and waited until later in life to have her three children. Unfortunately her choice in a partner was not a good one. The man who is the father of her children is a louse. She finally steeled herself and kicked him out. But many years later when he had health problems, she took him back into her home to care for him. She thought he was in his last days, but he rallied and regained some health. Although he has a job he has started drinking again.

She wanted her children to attend college, but she didn't have the means to provide it for them and they chose to work instead. Her daughter finally enrolled in college but became pregnant in her first term. Now daughter and granddaughter are living at home. The oldest son lives at home as does the louse of a partner and a sister and niece. She lives in a tiny house in Pacoima that backs to the freeway. The neighborhood is not good and she worked her butt off to make sure her kids stayed out of trouble and stayed in school until they graduated. She fretted about the hooligans roaming the streets and her worst fear was that one of her boys would be a victim of violence. Her dream was to rent an apartment in a safe area, but her husband wouldn't sell the house and she didn't make enough money to start over again.
I remember so many times her talking about her baby boy -- she had a very special relationship with him and she and I talked so much about the similarities about her boy and my boy. My boy and I also have a very tight bond.

Just last Monday she told me her youngest son was so excited because he got a new puppy. I can't believe it was just over a week ago. And now he is gone.

This post is rambling, but I am still stunned. Amanda wrote a sweet note to my friend to say that she "hopes your son is doing better in heaven," but I don't know if I will deliver it. It might be too painful.

I remember once I was on vacation with some friends in Palm Springs when Amanda was just about a year and a half or two years old. Some of our friends didn't have kids yet. I was hitting the sauce quite hard (as we do on this adult vacations) but I remember sitting with two friends who didn't have kids. They asked me what advice I had about having kids. I didn't hesitate. "Don't do it," I said. "It opens you up to experiencing the worst pain you could imagine. I love my children and now that they are here I wouldn't wish that they weren't, but I can say that I would tell someone contemplating it, not to do it. The pain that I can only just try to imagine is too much to bear." I distinctly remember that conversation and I remember thinking about it over the years. I don't know why but it just popped out and I felt so strongly about it that I actually wanted to grab one of my friends and shake her and scream, "Don't do it! The potential for pain is too great!" There has been so much joy with our family, but that lingering "what if" is always there.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Matriarch Gone

Today I received very sad news. The mother of a childhood friend passed away. Normally this would be sad news that I could put on the shelf after passing on condolences. Parents die, it is part of life. If they aren't your own parents, you hurt for your friends as you think about the mortality of your own family. If you have already lost your parents you perhaps have more empathy and more insight and know what to say or do. But this woman was also a mother to me during the tender years from 5 to about 15. Those are some pretty important years and her guidance cannot be discounted because she wasn't my biological mother. She made her mark. She wasn't afraid to mother a child who wasn't her own.

Mary taught me lessons right along with her daughter, my bff in childhood.
I should let you know that Jenn and I were bosom buddies in the style of Anne and Diana of Anne of Green Gables. We were together all the time. I was usually at her house to escape the chaos of my own. We told each other all of our secrets. We created elaborate plays and had some pretty hot dance moves. We watched hours of Little House on the Prairie and watched the movie Annie at least 20 times. Her mother passed on to Jennifer the gory details of the birds and the bees and Jennifer of course passed this information on to me... otherwise I would have been in the dark. I learned about tampons from Mary, about how to soften your heels with a pumice stone and the importance of washing your dirty feet (because kids did not wear shoes in the summer back then... EVER) before you slipped them between your clean sheets.
Mary's house was a "door open" type of place. You peed with the door open or changed in front of others. This was in stark contrast to my puritan-like household where doors were closed and no information about personal body habits was ever shared. I model my own home after Mary's.
Oh, and pies. That woman could make some mean pies! There was always pie and tea. I remember Mary with her big mug of tea. Tea always makes me think of Mary. The woman also made her own jam and took her kids -- and me! -- berry picking so she could make her awesome jam.

There was an incident when I took one of Jenn's round hairbushes and it got all tangled up in my hair. The brush was not moving. Mary walked me out to the backyard sat me down in a chair and worked that thing out. I still look back on that day and I am amazed. She didn't call my mom -- a few blocks over -- she just took control like I was one of her own and got me all fixed up. She was like that. When I was in her house, she was responsible for me and she took that role seriously. I think about that all the time with my own kids. When they have friends over and play gets a bit rough and someone comes with a cut finger or they've lost a tooth (not an adult one thankfully) I take them and care for them like my own. I learned that from Mary.

Mary was a wonderful, loving mother and friend. I will forever be sorry that I didn't get a chance to say goodbye. Jenn and I went our separate ways around the college years. There was no falling out, just distance and I'm not good at all with distance relationships. I didn't put in the effort and lost touch. Through the magic of facebook Jenn and I got in touch again and I had the chance to meet her and her husband and beautiful daughter (there is now another pretty girl added to the mix). We trade notes on facebook, but it can't compare to real friendship. And now Mary is gone and I realize that my own inability to reach out to those not in my immediate vicinity has robbed me of so much.

My heart breaks for my friend who first lost her father a decade ago and now has lost her mom. I have lost something, too. It can't compare, but it feels like the fabric of my own history has been ripped.

I know that I was given a gift in Mary. I hope my own children can know that gift. That beyond their immediate family, there are others out there who care for their well-being. It is a really good feeling, I can tell you. It means so much.

Mary, thank you for being such a great second mom. I will always remember you and will continue to share stories of you with my children.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

He's Seven Today

The little boy is 7 today. I really can't believe it. Unfortunately, the boy is sick today -- came down with a fever yesterday and it has continued today. He's doing OK, though, happily working on the Lego set he received for his big day.
When I peek at him while he works -- he barely needs any help now -- I'm amazed that it's been 7 years since Lucas joined our family. Seven years ago my world changed forever.... for the better. I bonded with him pretty quickly and although we had a rough few months in the beginning, things smoothed out and he is such a wonderful boy. I'm so lucky to have a loving, thoughtful, smart and funny child. Yes, he does drive me bananas when he teases his sister or when he takes 20 minutes to put on his shoes, but mostly he just loves us and we love him right back.

Luc came in our room at about 5 this morning because he wasn't feeling well. He snuggled into our bed and I told him happy birthday. "Mommy," he said, "you are the best mommy in the world and I'm so lucky to have the best mommy."
No, Lucas, I'm lucky I get to be your mom.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Sickness and theft

We've had a pretty shitty week here at the Crouse Haus. Last Wednesday I decided to take the kids to get their h1n1 flu shot. We waited in line for almost 2 hours and I was blown away by how great the kids were. They didn't fight and they just climbed on the railing or looked at books and didn't even ask once for a snack (although I did have some in my bag).
About 4 hours after we got home, Luc was running a temperature. Great! Now the mommy-guilt kicks in. Did I cause him to get sick by taking him to get his flu shot? What kind of mother am I? I lay awake a good part of the night going back and forth over my decision.
He was sick for 3 days and still has a bad cough. We thought Amanda was in the clear, but late Saturday she started complaining of a headache and when I felt her forehead, yes, she was warm.
As Lucas was on the mend, Amanda was heading downhill. She'll be home from school for at least another day... that means at least 4 days with only minimal time put in at work. Ack!!! Don't these kids know I have to save up for Christmas???
I took Amanda to the doc today and doc suspects she has croup. She's not positive for flu, so the kids didn't get anything from the vaccine -- at least I can put that guilt to bed. It was just circumstantial because a lot of shit is going around right now.

Well, thanks to all the running around I've been doing trying to keep the house disinfected and my own compromised immune system (been fighting a cough for a couple of weeks), I've been hit with whatever the kids have. I feel like crap and I am letting the kids take out whatever toys they want and leave everything lying around. I just don't have the energy to clean it up. Phil is going to have a big surprise when he gets home tonight:)

Oh... on to the car. That's a beautiful thing. I packed the kids in the car to drive Lucas and our carpool kids to school this morning when I noticed a police officer talking to my neighbor. I rolled down the window to find out what was wrong. It seems her car was broken into, as were several other neighbors cars. The rascals only hit unlocked cars and apparently just took items out of the vehicles and threw said items into the middle of the street.
"Oh," the police officer said, "and we're trying to find the owner of this inflatable bed..." and he pointed to an aerobed lying in the gutter. Shit! That was in my car. It is my brother's aerobed (Tom, it still works, I'll dust it off, but it is okay, I swear!). I don't lock my shitty van because who would want to steal it... and I don't have automatic locks. I have to lock my back hatch with a freakin' key! Anyway, I guess I'll be locking up from now on.
The officer said for me to check my car and make sure nothing was taken. At first glance, nothing was. I had just cleaned the car out the day before. But then my heart sunk. I had left my flip camera in a little compartment up front. I opened it and sure enough, the jerks took it. Damn them!!!! I loved that little camera and I kept it in the car for when the kids and I made an impromptu stop at the park or something.
Anyway, I chose not to report the stolen camera -- too much work for the police and they won't recover it. It didn't cost that much, but it's not in our budget to buy a new one. Phil is going to be really pissed when he gets home. Shit... and it's going to be all my fault for not locking the damn door.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Neighborhood smells and Questionable Children's Literature

Phil was home late tonight and then headed for a jog, so I decided to take the kids on an evening bike ride. I put on their gear and added a few of those glow necklaces just to make sure they could be seen riding ahead of me. As I trailed behind them with the dog, I smelled something familiar -- Italian food! That's what we had for dinner and I stopped to pat myself on the back for successfully getting the kids to eat meatballs laced with pumpkin puree. We traveled on and more delicious smells permeated the air... was that taco seasoning I smelled coming from the house with the spooky Jack-O-Lanterns? Further down the block I heard the clearing of plates and determined that the family had just finished a nice dinner of BBQ ribs. One good thing about this recession... people are eating at home more and that makes my evening walks smell really great.

After returning home and getting the kids showered, Lucas and I settled down with more of his required reading -- Junie B. Before the boy could read, I might have thought this was a cute book that appealed to kids, but now it makes me squirm. I mean, the book is teaching really bad English. I don't have the best grammar or spelling skills, but I do know that "runned" and "getted" are not real words. The book is supposed to be in the voice of a kindergarten-age girl so, yes, that's how she may speak, but I don't want to confuse my new reader into thinking these words are real. It's just really annoying. Yes, I know Dr. Seuss has lots of words that aren't real words, but his words were completely made up -- of his imagination. Junie B.'s words are just real enough to confuse a kid. I can't wait until we're done with this book. On a good note, the boy is doing excellent with his reading. I'm constantly blown away by how well he is doing.