Saturday, July 25, 2009

MOVIE NIGHT: CORALINE...IN 3-D, NO LESS

It's movie night. And the monsters finally convinced me (read: whined, whined, whined, whined, and whined) to buy Coraline.

Now, we didn't go see it in the theatres when it was first released because, well, because it looked freaking scary. And, honestly, the "other mother," "other better mother," and then, ultimately, "other psycho mother" concepts happen to be particularly awkward in a two-mother family. Not to mention a family so thoroughly engulfed in our current situation.

But they are persistent little creatures. And an unfortunate side effect of our familial circumstances has made me way more accommodating these days than I normally would be. So it wasn't a huge shock to anyone that Mama picked up not only the movie, but the 3-D edition, no less, complete with 4 sets of those goofy 80's red-and-green velum glasses and all.

So, Mommy made her popcorn. Everyone strapped on their glasses, which Chago and Saia immediately proceeded to shed less than 5 minutes into the flick, and then we dealt with the nightmares and a totally sleepless night that ensued.

What finally seemed to work was my scouring through my sewing box for two of the biggest, blackest, creepiest buttons I could find, climbing up into the top bunk with him, handing him the buttons to put into a box, and then having him close it tightly so I could throw it away.

A song, a backscratch, and a sip of water later, and the rest of the house was finally released...at least until 6-O-O, of course.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

ONE MAN'S LIMA BEANS...

Packing up pictures, call the kids over to see themselves at 7.5 weeks. Tiny little lima beans they were.

"Where, Mama?" asks Saia. "I don't see us."

"Right there, babe. That's Chago on my right and you on my left."

"But all I see are your tee-tees (aka, boobies)."

[Er, I mean, I know I'm 39, but, geez...I sure as hell hope they don't really look like THAT!]

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

THE SAIA AND CHAGO SHOW: EPISODE 10 -- FLUSHED AWAY

video

In which the monsters attempt to rationalize their OCD over watching Flushed Away at least a bezillion times since Saturday night's movie night. Personally, I still don't get this one.


Monday, July 20, 2009

THE NOT-SO-GREAT SWITCHAROO

Overheard from the monitor upstairs:

"Let's switch making beds today, Saia."

"Um...why?" she asks, likely glancing back at her always perfectly coiffed spread.

"Just 'cause. Come on!"

"Hmm...well...okay," she acquiesces.

And then from his room I hear her yell back at him, "But I'm gonna have to check to see that you did a good job, and if you didn't, you're probably gonna have to redo it, 'kay?"

And then from her room, sounding just a little bit defeated, "Um...let's just switch back then."


Sunday, July 19, 2009

ATTACK OF THE HUNS

"Okay, now Saia, you be the hun," he says.

"But I don't want to be the hun by myself. I thought we were both huns," she replies.

"Oh, alright, we can be huns, but not really, just for pretend 'cause you're my sister."

[Get it? It's "hons" as in "honey," not "huns" as in Attila. Yeah, took me a while, too.]

Saturday, July 18, 2009

ANOTHER MARTHA IN THE MAKING

On our way to a birthday party for which we hadn't yet picked up presents.

"We'll just stop at Barnes & Noble or Toys 'r' Us on the way, okay kiddos?"

"Okay, Mom," he says.

"Saia?"

"Saia, did you hear me?"

"Yes, Mom, I heard you. I was just making a list of all the things Jenna has ever said that she liked, so that we can get her just the right present and not something just 'cause we're in a rush."

[Man, total proud mama moment, that one.]


Thursday, July 16, 2009

low maintenance program

Shaved my legs today, toes to crotch. Underarms, too. Even trimmed and sculpted my happy place. Sea salt scrubbed and exfoliated. Tweazed and shaped. Blew dry and curled. Moisturized, shimmered, and even bronzed. Put on my face, viagra'd my lashes, and adorned my limbs with jewels and bangles.

Stood in front of the mirror and could see nothing but the missing ring.

All dolled up. All supple and shiny. The faint smell of honeysuckle wafting over me. The shimmer catching the sun coming through the blinds.

For who? For what?

That's two hours of my life I'll never get back.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

time to blame the media -- and maybe mom a little bit, too, for good measure

Am I a hater?

Because it makes my skin crawl to see couples be all mushy over each other when you know, you just know, it's not the whole truth? Someone's lying. Someone's cheating. Someone's suppressed something somewhere. Someone's relying very heavily on cheap brandy and Ambien.

Because I'd rather claw out my eyes with a mai tai umbrella than see any more of those teddy beary, sugary sweetness, rainbows and butterflies blogs about perfect little families and their perfect little lives when I know, and would bet money, that at least 37% of them are destined for the next episode of SNAPPED!?!?

Because I'm finally beginning to wonder if this entire nauseating idea of true love and soul mates and forever was not just some big marketing ploy concocted to continue to sell Bonnie Raitt and Keith Urban albums?

But does that make me a hater?

I mean, granted, my glass is a little less than half full these days. And yes, that does tend to weigh slightly on a girl's natural optimism and hopelessly romantic ideals.

But give me a break, people. Maybe if I wouldn't have been raised in a society that glamorized Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella and Joanie loving Chachie and Danny going nerdy for Sandy and Sandy going ghetto for Danny and An Officer and A Gentleman swooping up Debra Winger and Bud swooping up after whooping up Sissy (who also happened to be Debra Winger -- the 80s were definitely good to that girl) and Richard Gere sacrificing his gerbil-lovin' tendencies for a two-bit whore with a four-bit smile and Harry finding Sally and Sally finally letting him after giving all passive-aggressives a bad name for eternity but then going on to find Tom Hanks in Seattle but also in a volcano and on email, slut that she is, and all the other inane displays of happily ever after, maybe the shock of being dumped at 39 with two 6-year-olds, two dogs, and a lifetime of empty promises and dreams wouldn't hurt so fucking much today.

You think?


paralyzed

the to-do lists are getting longer and longer.

and i just want to crawl back under the covers and watch bad B movies.

he's asking her for her t-shirts to sleep with every night, and wakes up before dawn to sneak into bed with her.

she has no sense of urgency to help us get packed because as far as she's concerned, there's no reason for us to leave.

and i look at the calendar and can't believe how slowly the month is oozing by. we still have nearly three weeks here. and with neither of us working, it's like a stay-at-home vacation. only not. all four of us. all the time. all within 4 feet of each other. all the time. but no longer the same. and still the same. but not.

and i just can't kick it into gear. i can't seem to find that push. so i wake up alone under a pile of pillows and a tangle of sheets and blankets. good god, what the hell do i do when i finally get to sleep? but at least i've stopped reaching across the bed for her. and i lie there wide awake listening to their sounds downstairs. cataloguing all the noises. saving them for a rainy day. and then i make breakfasts, and lunches, and dinners, like always. and we say our good-mornings, and excuse me's, and thank you's. and we chat about her job search and her apartment search and her new impending life, which i just can't manage to do without gritting my teeth and snarling. sorry.

and i move a few boxes from here to there. and then, if i'm really feeling it, i'll move them from there to here. and maybe i'll sort through some old clothes. and start that little pile for the salvation army. and i piddle. and i putter. and wonder at what point i turned into this pathetic invalid.

i'm just not really sure what i was thinking anymore burying myself in this deluge of never-gonna-be. 'cause i'm really struggling to paddle through the quicksand of this dying relationship to get to the other side, you know? and i know i gave us this time to transition. and i know i wanted the kids to have some time to digest and settle into the decision. and i know i wanted to give her the time she needed to adjust and start to pull her own life together before we just up and left. and it all made sense when i said it. and in those twilight moments of rational reasonability, it still does. but you know, i'm not entirely certain what it was i did exactly that landed me in this purgatory. and i guess i'm just not doing as well as i thought i would with my finger stuck up my ass.


Monday, July 13, 2009

beware the moments of weakness

"I'm gonna go for a drive," she says.

That's code. For I'm gonna go talk to someone that you said I can't talk to as long as I'm in this house.

And the mildly warm fuzzy I'd been cautiously wrapped in all morning that made me second-guess my decisions and vacillate between my needs and hers suddenly felt like a million tiny daggers.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Plan? Plan? We don't need no stinking plan!

This isn't how it's supposed to be. This isn't my life.

We told the kids this morning. Sitting in the big bed together. They seemed nervous and giggly, not knowing what to expect, but understanding that we obviously had something big we were trying to say.

Neither one of us could even get started. Where do you fucking start?

"Can I stay with Mommy?" he asked. She'll be all alone. Maybe one of the dogs should stay with her, he suggested. She'll be lonely without us.

And I was just so crushed. Like my insides were seared with acid. And I was so proud. Of his loyalty. Of his compassion. Of his sense of family and love and caring.

And then we go into the hows and whys of it, the trying to explain that we would all be happier one day, that we really were trying to make the best decision for all of us, that we were trying to think about what was right, what was best...and all they could say was that, obviously, Mama, this wasn't the best decision, this didn't feel right, and no one was happy, so how did this make sense to anyone?

And how do you argue with that?

I was sitting right next to her, arm against arm, trying to put on a united front, trying to show them we were in this together, trying to show them that nothing had changed, but I was just so fucking angry inside, biting my lip, and just so infuriated that I was even having to search for the right words to explain to our children why their family was falling apart. That I was even being put in this position. That this was the only possible solution at this point. That it had to fucking come to this.

I couldn't believe half the things that were coming out of my mouth. How was I going to convince them of any of it?

And as their sobs and heaves began to subside, and they curled up into little balls on our laps, and we rocked them and stroked their hair and scratched their backs, and promised them the earth, moon, and stars, the flood of questions came...

When do we leave? Is it tomorrow? When do we have to start packing? Can we not pack today? Can we spend as much time as we can with Mommy? Why can't we just move next door? Do we still get the rest of our summer break? Are we still going on vacation? Are we going to Adam's pool party? Are we still going to be here for Mommy's birthday? Are we still going to go see Harry Potter on opening day together?

Followed pretty quickly by "Can we just stop talking about it now?"

Such his Mommy's mini-me.

And then this evening, all tuckered out after a long hot day in the pool, she comes up to tell me that he can't sleep and he's upset and that I should probably come down for this.

So I get down to his room and crawl up into his top bunk along with he and Amy, who are already tucked under the blanket and all wrapped arm in arm, and am thinking at least twice that this little bed is soooo not gonna hold us, even despite our break-up pounds lost, when the emotional terrorism begins.

And we spent another half hour or so trying to reassure him that the world still sits on its axis, that it still revolves around the sun. We try to reassert our position from earlier today, try to maintain our parental status, and try to comfort and reassure and support as best as we possibly can.

But I got my fifteenth fucking call/text/email asking if I'm okay and what the plan is, what the plan is, what the plan is. Yes, I get it. There should be a plan. But you know what, there's not. There's fucking not, and I don't really know what else to say to say about that except to say fuck off.

There is no plan. Don't you get that? This...THIS...this is not the plan. The plan does not include separating from the woman I thought I'd spend the rest of my dying days with. The plan does not involve walking away from the person I've loved, and worshipped, and adored, for every last moment of the last 11 1/2 years. The plan does not involve two households, shared custody, visitation, and extended family.

I don't know what this is. I don't. I don't have any idea where this fits in. But let me just assure you, in case there was any question, that this, people, this is NOT the fucking plan!!!


Friday, July 10, 2009

sanity is just overrated

More than just brief moments of sanity. Of actual sane, rational, cooperation. Of easy, fun, and comfortable, even. And we're friends again. Strong again. Supporting each other through the best of times, worst of times.

Sprinkled, of course, with tinges of jealousy and suspicion and finger-pointing and biting remarks. I mean, I am still me after all.

But more and more frequently tempered by compassion, and caring, and empathy, and love.

In and out. Up and down.

But I still walked out of the room angry, falling back on words and phrases I've used a thousand times, waving my hands, slinging accusations that I don't even think I believed. And I felt the tears well up, and my face redden, and the tips of my hair set ablaze...

...and then it was gone.

And then I grabbed a box of tissue in anticipation of the flood, prepared for it to overcome me, maybe even welcoming the release, but it didn't happen.

There was no feeling of strangulation around my heart. No lump in my throat. No gritting my teeth when she came back up to apologize. No gut-wrenching pain when she walked back downstairs. There was just...nothing.

And I came into the bedroom and turned on the TV, and wouldn't you know that damn Jennifer Aniston break-up movie was on again. For like the 50th time this week. Seriously.

I get it.

And I know that it's not that there's nothing there. But it is that there's nothing there right now. And maybe, at least for tonight, that means I'll sleep.


Thursday, July 09, 2009

thank god for mac 'n' cheese and playdates

They actually had me laughing out loud on the drive home today. The three of them all lined up in the backseat, arms all intertwined passing toys this way and that, singing in unison (and I use both those terms verrrrry loosely) at the top of their lungs, "GOD BLESS AMERICA, LAND THAT I LOVE, STAND BESIDE HER, AND GUIDE HER, LA-LALA LA-LALA LA-LALAAAA..."

Ratcheting up their already squeaky voices into these uber-falsetto-make-your-ears-bleed tones. Giggling and squealing in that infectious, pee-your-pants sorta way, and snorting as they laughed because it's just so uncontrollable.

And that laugh, that belly laugh that rattles the back of their lungs...

...I covet thee. I want that laugh. I want to feel that free and honest and real.

Man, it's just about the best thing I've heard all week.

[Updated to add picture.]

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

VERBAL DIARRHEA

God, make it stop. The verbal diarrhea. The "why don't you love me anymore?" and "what more could I have done?" and "why didn't you even bother to try?" and...

Just somebody please shut me up. Because I can't take it anymore. I can't take the look on her face. And the sound of her voice. And the roll of her eyes. I can't continue to chip, chip, chip away at any tiny shred of friendship we might have left.

'Cause the answers don't really matter at this point anyway. Not even to me.

I mean, they feel like they do. They sure as hell feel like they're ALL that matters. It feels like knowing the answers to those exact questions RIGHT NOW IN THIS VERY SECOND while she's craiglisting for a place of her own, and the kids are upstairs watching Phinneas & Ferb, and the dogs are terrorizing the gardeners, and I'm standing here with mascara running down my cheeks again (yes, really, you'd think I'd clue in to the waterproof at this point) is the one and only thing that might make the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach stop.

That knowing that you have a rare genetic brain disorder that simultaneously sucks you dry of sane, rational, intelligent decisions, while making you an emotional zombie who shuts down the very moment I reach for a salvavida (I've just always seen that word on the backs of airplane seats and wanted to use it in a sentence; it IS a lifejacket, so it's not like it doesn't fit or anything), and that you've been suffering in stoic silence to protect me from the burden for these past 4 years is really the only thing I want to hear.

Because I'm not understanding and I'm not hearing anything else that I can actually digest.

That you're addicted to heroine and oxycontin and Flinstone vitamins all at once and preferably through a feeder tube would make more sense. That you had your heart surgically removed years ago and donated to a dying quadriplegic child in Africa would be completely reasonable. That you're not really the Amy that I fell in love with, but that she's currently away from her desk right now and will be back shortly. Please leave a short message after the beep. That...that I could take.

Other than that, there's not really anything else that I want to hear.

And if I can just find a way to magically wire my mouth shut for the next few weeks, maybe, just maybe I can somehow manage to stop spewing this filth at you, too.


Tuesday, July 07, 2009

just one more day

I don't know how to do this.

I don't know how to blog about this.

I feel an overwhelming sense of obligation to document this. Well aware that this blog is for the kids. That they'll look back some day. That they'll want to know.

And I want to leave that trail, as best I can. Breadcrumbs of whys and hows. Something that shows them who we were, and not just what became of us. Something that might give them some sense of comfort or closure. Something more than knowing that they've become just another statistic.

"My parents split when I was 6."

Just another kid on another playground in America from another broken home. Times 2.

Fuck.

Fuck.

Fuck.

I don't know how to do this.

I don't know how to walk away from everything I've ever known. From everything I've fought so hard for. From everything I thought was real and true and right.

I don't know how to leave her. How to let her go. How to suddenly stop caring about whether or not she's eating. How to not reach out to hold her when she's sad. How to not want to crawl into the crook of her arms, to take in the smell of her neck, to feel her hair brush across my cheeks because the pain of her absence is just too much to even conceive and she's the one, SHE'S the one, who's supposed to take that pain away.

How the fuck do I do this? How do I stop trying? How do I stop worrying? How do I stop making it work...just enough...to get by...just one. more. day?


Thursday, July 02, 2009

WELL-WORLD WEDNESDAY (ON THURSDAY): PASSING THE BUCK

Read an amazing response to the question, "Does Giving an Allowance Send the Wrong Message to Your Kids?" on the Momversation site this morning.

Essentially, this woman replied that not only did her mother give her an allowance and expect her to do chores, BUT she then actually billed her for wasting resources, like leaving the lights on, or leaving the water running, or holding the fridge open for 20 minutes. I mean, it was only a tiny portion of the actual bill itself, but still, it makes a great point, and likely serves to prevent (or at least temper) that sort of behavior going forward.

Her mother is a freaking genius, I say!

As parents we tend to just give, give, give, and then, you know, give some more. We live in a land of excess. We grew up in an age of mass commercialism. And we're raising our kids in a world of instant gratification.

And as much as we try not to, I'll admit I'm just as guilty of buying things for the kids that they haven't quite earned, of letting them have that little thing they want "just this time," of allowing them to push the limits of behavior beyond what my grandmother would have thought was acceptable because they're "just kids," you know?

And while I think we're among the majority who do try to tie financial rewards to chores or good grades or good behavior, a part of me truly does feel that kids should get to be kids while they're kids, and only have to deal with grown up responsibilities once they're adults. Part of the amazing thing about being a kid is that feeling of being free, you know? But that feeling doesn't usually last long.

Because, ultimately, we don't want to raise spoiled, ungrateful, irresponsible, inconsiderate, unruly children in a world where those qualities have become not only the norm, but even revered. And I don't care if we never see our kids on Sweet 16, or NYC Prep, or Lindsay Lohan's Top 8. These are not goals. These are symptoms of a disease.

And I'm saying I know how to prevent that from happening irrefutably. And I'm not saying that wanting to give more to your children than you had as a child is a bad thing. All I'm saying today is that this...this freaking phenomenal kid's invoice idea...this is a simple matter of give and take.

If you're wasteful, you need to be responsible for that loss.

That's a lesson for the ages, people. And one that, as a global community, we could stand to heed before it's too late.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

THE SAIA AND CHAGO SHOW: EPISODE 9 - THE UBER-LONG TAILED CAT AND THE TAIL-LESS MOUSE

video
In which the kids attempt to explain their current game, which turns into a story, which turns into an epic, with no discernible beginning, middle, or end, which then quickly sounds like any member of my mother's family around the dinner table over the holidays.