Gratitude and Thanks and Tears, Oh my!

So one of my more ardent fans (I love saying that, even though it's a pretty big stretch of the imagination for me to consider a friend who reads my blog as a fan..humor me) read my last post. The one about waking up one day to find that every cent in my checking account, and then some, had been sucked out and put into a cold frozen limbo.

She read it and in her very special-to-her way decided to help me. She posted about it on my facebook wall and I'm pretty sure she spread the word in other ways.

At first I was horrified. Seriously horrified. Not at her, no way, I was touched so deeply by her simply wanting to help. It's just that when I logged on to fb and saw her rally cry to help, I felt so..so...

lame. I felt like the consummate loser, yet again. The plucky divorcee with the heart of gold who just can't catch a break. The squeaky wheel who never gets the grease...you know the type. The Erin Brockovich of our little suburbia (minus the big rack but you get the gist of it).

I felt shame, partly because what happened to my money was due to my stupidity. I should have filed for bankruptcy a long time ago. I kept putting it off in hopes that things would miraculously turn around. I kept thinking that maybe, just maybe, Big Daddy would pony up some of what he owes, and that I could get things in order the civilized way. The dignified way.

I have always been an optimist. And sometimes that isn't a good thing.

The past three days have been intense, to say the least. Wednesday was hard. Brutal, in fact. My darling ManChild missed his bus by mere seconds, and as we drove to the high school I was crying. Not due to the inconvenience, not because I was mad at him. Wednesday morning I was about 99% sure that my life was kaput. I thought, briefly, that my being on this planet wasn't helping anyone, that I was dragging my kids down the drain with me, that I have been nothing but a big, fat burden on all of my family and all of my friends.

I was crying as I thought about how it was going to feel to tell my landlord, the sweet and kind and trusting Dan, that I couldn't pay my rent. I pictured his face, remembering how he took a chance on me, and me promising him that I'm a good trustworthy person, and not to worry. I imagined trying to get all of our belongings packed up, again, and tried really hard to imagine where we'd end up this time.

I was overcome with a dark, oppressive sense of doom. Like this was the one, the kick in the pants that would finally cause my Jenga life to come toppling down. I told Charlie that I was sorry. Sorry that I can't be the kind of mom I had set out to be. I told him that I wished things had been different, I wished that he could have had a carefree, relaxed and happy mom and an easier life. I told him that I loved him. He looked at me kind of funny, kind of scared like. "Mom, are you going to be ok?" he asked. I couldn't even look at him, all I could do was stare straight ahead, looking at the tiny random snowflakes (!!!!!) that were flying onto the windshield, dissolving the second they landed. "Mom, seriously. Are you ok?" he asked again, this time the worry was audible. "I'm fine, I'm fine. Have a good day!". Looking back now, some 48-odd hours later, it was actually almost comical, me sitting there white-knuckling the steering wheel, sobbing, telling my high schooler to "get out there and have a great day, why dontcha!" (say that with a deep Minnesota accent and you'll see the funny). But Charlie didn't see the funny.

About an hour later, as I was getting ready for work and getting William ready for school, the doorbell rang. William ran to my side and whispered, "It's the cops!". In my head I thought, "Oh my sweet Rainman" but lo and behold...there were two young cops on my front steps. First thought? They're here to arrest me for being a load.

Cop #1 said, "Are you Jenny XXXX?". Me: "Yes, that's me." Cop #2: "We received a call from the High School, a guidance counselor has your son in his office. Your son said you weren't yourself this morning and he's worried about you." At this point I'm putting things together. Cop #1 says: "Are you ok?". I took a deep breath. And I said, "I'm fine. I'm just having a hard time of things." I told them a tiny bit of what had happened (basically the "I'm on my own with the kids and life is kicking my ass" version). I told them that yes, I had been crying and sad that morning, and that I had probably come across as despondent. I asked if Charlie was ok, and they assured me that he was fine.

"Ma'am, you aren't feeling like you want to hurt yourself, are you?" oh-so-young Cop #1 asked. I realized how I must have looked, as Cop #1 and Cop #2 stared at me through the screen of the front door. My crazy lady hair pulled up in a haphazard bun, my eyes puffy and red from almost 24 straight hours of crying, wearing big girl jeans and bright red Danskos and a pajama top (the ensemble I picked out in the dark before driving Charlie to school). I looked nuttier than a shit-house rat. I'm pretty sure that these smooth-faced baby boys in blue had looney-bin nets clutched behind their backs, now that I think about it. But I mustered up all the dignity I had left in my size 16 body and told them that "I'm ok. I have to work in Special Ed. today...those kids need me." The boys at my door smiled. Cop #2 said, "You're a saint."

Oh no, Cop #2. No, I'm not. I've somehow made my 16 year old son think that I'm going to do something awful to myself. That's not exactly Mother of the Year material, let's not even get into sainthood.

I'd been called to sub for the entire day, thank God, and so William and I went to school. I helped kids with their homework, took kids to the bathroom, high fived a hundred of them and got hugs from another hundred. I gabbed with my son's math teacher and we talked about the frustrations of having a kid who just doesn't quite "get it". I helped a very sweet and very special girl color a big picture of her bike. I pushed all of the worry and fear aside and did what I had to do.

I got on with my life, and helped a wonderful group of kids get on with theirs.

And when I got home, I found a gift bag waiting for me. "You are what you drink!" it said on the outside.

Inside was bottle of wine, with one word on the label: BITCH. My unsinkable friend, my biggest fan, had stopped by while I was at work. There was also a gift card to Davanni's (the pizza I had intended to treat my kids to the Day Before) and some $$$.

I laughed out loud when I put the message on the bag together with the name of the wine. I laughed really loud.

Over the next 24 hours, I found little envelopes here and there. I was halfway home from work yesterday when I realized that there was a pink envelope stuck underneath my windshield wiper. The secretary at our school handed me an envelope: "Someone left this for you, Jenny." It was a Costco card. We now have toilet paper, thanks to whichever one of my beautiful, anonymous friends did that. There was a $50 bill tucked into my front door. One of my eBay hens sent me some money she said she didn't need (four kids and a teacher husband..you know you need it too, my friend).

And last night, as I was walking around the grocery store, getting a few things for William's lunch (they're going on a field trip today and he said all he wants for the next "three months" is one of mom's brown bag lunches...weep!), I spoke on the phone to a friend I've never met. We have a mutual friend on facebook, and she reached out to me a long time ago. She is a fighter and a warrior, and has given me a lot of inspiration over the past year or two. I won't divulge too much, but she told me that I needed to accept help. I told her how guilty I feel, how stupid and embarrassed I am to be stuck in such muck at this point in my life. You know what she said?

"Get over it."

Last night I slept, finally, without waking up every hour or so with a tornado of anxiety whipping around inside my head. I've always known that I am loved by my friends, and that I'm incredibly lucky to have so many.

But over the past 3 days, I've felt it, almost like a warm blanket around my shoulders. It's hard for me to take charity, it's difficult for me to swallow my pride and just accept a helping hand when it's held out for me.

Difficult, yes. But I'm going to take my far-away friend's advice, and I'm going to get over it. And someday, hopefully (like crossing fingers and toes and everything else hopefully) soon, I'll be able to start paying it forward. Because I know how it feels to be on the receiving end. It's indescribable.

Thank you.


And this may be all she wrote, folks.

I think I've reached my breaking point.

Yesterday morning, I woke up in good spirits. Since I've been working so many extra hours at the school, this was the first time in AGES when I didn't have that sick worried feeling churning around in my stomach as the end of the month rolled around. Those extra hours at work were really paying off. I even told Henry, "Maybe we can get Davanni's for dinner tonight!" (Davanni's is our favorite local pizza place...pricey, so it's a rare treat for us).

And then I checked my email.

I have a notification setting on my checking account. It lets me know when my account dips below a certain amount, just so I can be sure everything is hunky dory in my little financial world.

Apparently it wasn't.

With a dull ache starting behind my eyes, I immediately logged onto my Wells Fargo bank account...and just about shit my pants when I saw that it was not only below what I thought it would be, but $50.00 negative. I had almost $800.00 in there. That was going to help cover part of my rent, all of my electric bill and provide one more small grocery trip. Was.

Trying to avoid having a complete freak out, I called Wells Fargo. The person I talked to was very friendly, and told me that my account had been frozen. "Frozen??" I said, "frozen how? By who??".

I obviously didn't start thinking about the bankruptcy process early enough. A law firm representing Discover Card filed a levy against my pitiful "earnings" and was able to go ahead and have Wells Fargo empty my checking account.

At this point, I decided "fuck it" and let the freak out begin.

The guy at Wells Fargo gave me the number to their Legal Department, unfortunately that Department is located in Arizona and therefore wouldn't be open for another two hours.

I had nowhere to turn, so I called my pro-bono attorney.

And she calmed me down. She told me exactly what information she needed, and said she'd help me.

So yesterday, which was the day that I had originally thought was going to be spent doing a grocery trip (of course this is the week we are completely out of dishwashing liquid, laundry detergent, soap and have one roll of toilet paper left in the house), shipping out some eBay purchases and maybe, just maybe ordering some take out for my kids was spent on hold for a total of 2 1/2 hours (yes, 2 1/2 hours. I counted.) waiting for a representative from the Legal Department. I also spent over an hour sitting in a banker's office at my local Wells Fargo branch. A wonderful, 25 year old banker who showed more compassion than I thought I would ever see from a bank.

As I sat in his office and wept, he handed me a tissue and didn't say much. When I was done relaying what had happened, he asked me, "Can I ask how all of this happened, Jenny?". So, weeping some more, I told him the whole story (condensed version, of course). How I used to be a stay at home mom of four kids, married to a real go-getter who was just about to grab the brass ring in the business world. I told him how my go-getter got up and left, and how things were ok for a bit. And then I told him about the last two years, how I watched as everything I had slipped through my fingers: my credit, my house, my sanity.

He handed me another Kleenex and said, "My mom raised my brother and me all by herself, with nothing. And I want you to know that someday your kids are going to realize all that you've done, all that you're doing. I'm going to do whatever I can to help you, Jenny."

Fresh tears started then, and all I could get out was a muffled, "Thank you."

So he and I sat in that office, sharing stories, talking about life. He showed me pictures of his mom and brother, told me about his amazing family and how he hasn't talked to his dad in over ten years.

That kid (yep, I'm calling him a kid. Realistically, I could have birthed him) made me feel a tiny bit better. Not all the way, not by a long shot, but for that hour or so I spent in his office, I felt better.

I talked to my attorney later in the afternoon. This law firm that had authorized the garnishment of my pathetic pile of "earnings" never gave me notice that they were about to do so. If they had, I would have had a chance to claim exemption from having my money taken. You see, I get my health insurance through the state of Minnesota. It's not free, I pay for it every month, but it's good insurance and it's cheaper than anything I would be able to get on my own.

The fact that I get my insurance through this state-run program means that I am receiving "Relief based on need". And that means that I'm poor. It also means that a giant faceless, nameless law firm or collection agency cannot go into my bank account and take the money that I have worked so hard to get. The money that is supposed to keep my kids fed and keep my rented roof over our heads.

But if you've ever dealt with the legal system, you know that the words "fair" and "swift" aren't tossed around too much.

And so I wait. As of right now I have two overdrafts, and my account is due to be charged another $125.00 for my electric bill tomorrow. I scraped together $100.00 to cover the overdraft that was in there this morning. It was a check I had written to Costco, to get my daughter's glasses fixed.

Rent is due on the 1st. Cell phone bill comes out on the 2nd. And so on, and so on.

And I think I have finally found out exactly how much I can take. If I lose my checking account, I've officially lost everything. I'll have lost my ability to pay for necessities, pay my rent, buy gas, buy food, buy anything. I keep thinking, how on earth can I be in this situation, when Big Daddy hasn't paid child support in over two years and hasn't had his checking account so much as sneezed at? I slept for a couple of hours tonight but woke up a bit ago feeling sick and fearing that my heart would literally beat out of my chest.

This may be it.

This may be what breaks me.

I'll keep you posted.


Crack Babies

Do you have any? I do. No, not the poor doomed souls who had the misfortune to end up in the womb of someone who has no business becoming a pet owner, let alone a parent. I'm talking about kids who have the very real potential to fall between the cracks.

Blissfully average babies.

It struck me last night at hockey. William loves sports. Loves them. He's the kid who checks the calendar himself, every morning, to see if there's a game or practice. But he's never been the one who excels, the one who is the SuperStar, the one who people stand by and watch and say, "Go ahead and spend that college fund on something else. That kid's going to have scholarships."

And I'm ok with that. I think I am probably the least competitive person around (at least where sports are concerned. We'll talk about Scrabble later.) I'm thrilled when one of my kids shows any interest in anything, quite frankly. Just so long as they're doing something that gives them some joy. If it's getting lost in a new book? Yay. Discovering their inner Trump and grooming their entrepreneurial streak? Go for it! I want my kids to do what they want to do. If that makes sense.

William wants to play sports. Last night the teams for hockey were decided. The whole way to the rink, William was babbling about how he didn't want to be on the C Team. "I'm better than most of the guys that were trying out, Mom. All of the 4th graders at least." Granted, there are some SuperStars in our league. A few of them are in William's grade, one is in his actual classroom. These kids were blessed by the sports gods, I'm sure, and I can guarantee you that there was no fretting about being placed on the C Team for these boys. And that's wonderful. Really. They have found their passion early, and I think that rocks.

So we get to the rink, look for our team. A Team? Nope. That's ok. Hey, here's the B Team list. Auughh. Check with one of the coaches...he barely looks up from lacing his kid's skates and says, "William's on C."

I looked at my little guy's face. For a flash of a second I saw the disappointment. I felt my own.

And then I stymied it. How foreign this feeling was in me, this feeling that my son wasn't placed on the "good team". I felt like a traitor to my boy and to myself. But then the old Rallying Jenny appeared and I did what I do best: I encouraged my kid.

Until we accidentally opened the door to the wrong locker room.

One of William's classmates burst out and said, "This is for A Team only!". That's when I saw the disappointment in my son's face again, and one more time I felt that icky primal mama bear growling from deep within myself.

We found the correct locker room, the room for the C Team. William was silent as he started layering on his equipment. The other boys in the room were, too. I wondered if any of them had made the mortal mistake of walking into the "wrong" room.

As I watched him practice that night, my mind started whirling. I wondered if the fact that none of my kids have ever been The Golden Child in any of their fields of interest was my fault. Was the divorce to blame? All of them were at such impressionable ages when the shitstorm occurred, and the fact that we are still tripping over debris from the fallout afterward makes me worry that they have all suffered too much for too long.

Is it because I don't have a lot of money? Surely camps, clinics, one-on-one lessons would have given my kids a leg up in any arena. But I can barely pay for things we need every month, finding the money for lacrosse camp, violin lessons, hockey coaches? Please.

Is it because those who do excel have two parents, not one exhausted mom and one dad who spends the majority of his time playing house with someone who has zero interest in my kids? The kids I know who are the best at things have at least one parent who lives and breathes their passions with them. I want to be that parent, I want to be the one who has sweatshirts covered with pins showing my kids in various sporting garb, the one with the "MY KID IS SMART AND YOURS ISN'T" bumper stickers. I really do. But I have four kids, and I'm doing this basically all on my own. I'm grateful if I've made a good dinner at least 2 nights a week.

Or is it because my kids are average? Wonderfully, sweetly average.

I think it may be a big messy combination of everything I've listed, and a few more that haven't occurred to me yet. Like natural ability, funky mental stuff that's been handed down to them from both sides, inherent personality traits that cannot be changed by anything.

And it's ok. But I find that it's harder and harder to keep my wonderful, average kids involved in activities when only the best of the best are rewarded, only the SuperStars get the locker rooms closest to the rink, only the kids who test well on one certain test can get placed in the challenge classes (please don't get me started on what it's like to have a kid with an IQ in the stratosphere not getting placed in any challenge classes due to the fact that he didn't score well on a classroom test. Please.).

So you know what I've decided? I've decided to do what Mary Engelbreit has been telling me to do for years. Bloom where you're planted. And I'm going to keep encouraging my kids to do what they love, and do it to the best of their abilities. They're going to be rubbing elbows with the SuperStars for the rest of their lives, they need to learn how to accept it, to deal with it.

And maybe, just maybe? Give the SuperStars a run for their money now and then.

Mommy will be there, cheering them on, loving them no matter what. Telling them that they are SuperStars, always have been and always, always will be.

I'll be the one sealing up those damn cracks with some heavy duty grout. Grab a trowel and help out if you'd like.


Can a tequila bar double as a time machine? Yes. Yes it can.

So the big reunion was this past weekend. I had colored my hair, found some clothes that I felt semi-human in while wearing and was super, super excited. Molly stayed home from Big Daddy's (yes I know, I need to grow a set and force her to go, but when you see your 14 year old daughter turn into a sobbing trainwreck over the thought of seeing her dad, the mama bear instinct kicks in) and she spent almost an hour of her precious teenager time helping me straighten my hair. I think she did it out of guilt more than anything. I thought I was looking good and was ready to head out the door when she said, "Are you seriously going with your hair looking like that?". You know what I want for Christmas? Smooth, straight hair. Curls are nice but....

She did a great job. And then I left. I was nervous, of all things. It's kind of silly to be nervous, especially since I see quite a few of these people on a regular basis, but I was feeling the butterflies nevertheless. My fellow organizers were there, and we began the prep-work. Part of the prep included some tequila shots "on the house" (I highly recommend being part of the organizing committee, folks. The entire night was pretty much on the house). Finally, the parade of ghosts from my past started trickling in. And then gushing in. And I would say that seeing 98% of these people again made me feel happy. The other 2%? A couple of people who I had just never liked, period. And apparently 25 years doesn't change some things. It's funny, when you see someone from your past, someone with whom you hadn't ever felt anything other than some slightly shivery creepy feelings, those feelings can come bubbling right back up to the surface. No names, of course, but there is one guy in particular whom I never, ever liked (no mean girl crap, it was mutual) and the second his mug appeared in front of the welcome table I felt like a bitchy 16 year old again, drawing pictures of him on the front of my Civics folder and cracking up over my best friend's imitation of his stupid walk and hillbilly-like demeanor.

Wow. How's that for repressed?

But, luckily there were only one or two experiences similar to that. There were, of course, some stand-offish people, some formerly sweet and lovables who have become not so sweet and lovable, but for the most part it was a joyous and laugh filled night.

One friend, a girl who has grown up to be a wife and mommy and regular reader of this little urp of my life I throw out into the universe, was one I was really looking forward to seeing. She and I were never particularly close. Never enemies, never anything hinky between the two of us. We were friendly. Over the past year we have chatted via facebook and email a few times, and even through some comments on here. I like her. I wish we had been closer back in the day.

So, she walks in, we hug, I meet her adorable husband, and then she tells me that she has a birthday present for me. "For moi?" I was touched, seriously. So we strolled out to the parking lot where her hubby had already headed to retrieve the gift.

This girl gets me. She really, really gets me. I'll post a picture of the gift at the bottom of this post. It's funny stuff. And don't think I won't be using it sometime in the near future. But for now it's holding a high-visibility spot in my kitchen. Thank you Deb and hubby. You are kind people.

And so the conversation turned. Until the sun went down. And many fantasies were learned...oops sorry. Did I mention that the bar played nothing but 80's music all night? They did. Human League, where did you go?

It's funny, how people change and how they don't. I wish I could go back in time and get to know my classmates better. I wish I had branched out more, tried more things, made more friends. I went through those four years of my life feeling like the odd man out, like I was never pretty enough, smart enough or funny enough to really make an impression on anyone's life. But in talking to loads of different people on Saturday night, I came to the realization that I went to high school with some pretty amazing human beings and that maybe, just maybe, I was amazing too. Perhaps 25 years apart is what some of us needed in order to be chums? Whatever. I'm just grateful that our paths have all crossed again.

Before the actual reunion there had been talk (on facebook) about an after party. And somehow my big mouth opened and suggested that I host it. After all, the bar we were all gathering at is a mere 2 blocks from my house. And so it came to pass that Jenny was hosting the magical after-party. Because that's what a bar full of tipsy 40-somethings need, is a place to drink more after a night of carousing.

The only problem, of course? No booze at Jenny's house. I had thought about it during the day Saturday, and was just about to head over to Trader Joe's to stock up on some wine and beer and munchies, but then I remembered..."Expired license". In all honesty, I didn't think that the party would actually happen. We're old, for God's sake. So I didn't give it another thought.

Until 1:45 a.m., when there was a line of cars forming down the street in front of my house and a throng of middle-aged partying fools starting walking through my door. Not only did I have no alcohol, I had nothing other than skim milk and water to drink. Oh, and one Diet Vitamin Water.

Luckily, one of the revelers was a guy who happens to live just down the street from me. He hightailed it home and came back bearing an arm load of half-full bottles of gin, vodka and whiskey. It seriously was like being in high school again, and some brave soul had raided mom and dad's liquor cabinet. I still don't know if or how this particular friend explained this booze raid to his lovely wife, or if he wants it all back. I had to hide it the next day, teenagers and all ya know.

Another reunioner/ party-goer had thought ahead and packed a cooler with beer in his vehicle. This smart fellow also happens to be a former lovah of mine, from last year. The lovah formerly known as The Artiste. What's that you say? How grown up and mature I must be to hang out with someone I've hooked up with? I know!

The night went on, for a few more hours. There we were, a crew of 43 and 44 year olds, laughing and partying. Wearing our mom jeans and dad shirts...our mullets and Farrah hair and adolescent bodies replaced with receding hairlines and thicker middles. But for a few hours that evening we stepped into a magical time machine and we were all 16 again, free on a Saturday night and wringing every last sugary sweet second out of it.

I woke up the next morning (actually the next afternoon, if you want 100% disclosure) with a slight headache and puffy eyes. After the fog in my brain cleared a bit, I also realized I was without pants and snoring next to me was a boy from high school.

My first thought was "Great Zeus! Am I still 16??".

Second thought: "There goes my celibaversary."


Here's my birthday present:

Does waking up pantless next to a childhood friend qualify as an emergency?


Top that, cashier!

I went through the grocery store checkout tonight with the following things in my cart:

one package of sushi
one L'Oreal Preference box of color (Medium Brown! Andie MacDowell's shade!!!)
one refill pack for my Clorox Toilet Wand
one bottle of Drano (Liquid Plumr didn't work. Since the name reminds me of an awful rapper's moniker I'm not surprised)

and one Diet Dr. Pepper.

I looked at the cashier and I said, "Can you see the fantastic night I have planned? All that's missing is a package of AA batteries."

She laughed and said, "What comes first? The hair or the drain?"

I replied: "I haven't decided yet. All I know is that this is going to be a spectacular evening."

And so far, it is.

I invented Post Its.

Ok, I didn't. But my high school 25th reunion is tomorrow and I'm totally in Romy and Michelle mode.

Somehow I was roped into being part of the planning committee for this thing, which is actually a good thing. I'm feeling rather motherly about it now, sending out invites, etc. Having this tiny bit of responsibility will hopefully keep my lushy party girl tendencies at bay tomorrow night...we're having it at a tequila bar, for God's sake. If I have to stand at a table checking people in all night chances are slim that I'll be able to stumble up to the bar as often as I normally would during such an event.

Our 20th reunion landed smack dab in the middle of My Big Fat Fake Reconciliation summer. I put my wedding ring back on, slapped a smile on my face and walked around effusing the joys of my life to people I hadn't seen nor heard from for decades. It was like wearing big fake boobs. I felt like a poser, an impostor.

But not this year. Over the past 4 years I've been through adultery, separation, divorce, foreclosure and bankruptcy. And head lice. Walking into a class reunion sounds like a walk in the effing park. The fact that I am now Jenny, SuperSized doesn't bother me at all. Once you find out that the person you had oodles of babies with and who holds your retirement funds in his name has been humping a secretary, you realize that things like being silently judged aren't that big of a deal.

Besides, thanks to the sick and wrong wonder that we call facebook, and this blog, most of the people I'll be air kissing and laughing with tomorrow night know all there is to know about me. And I them. This whole airing of the dirty laundry thing is very liberating.

So tonight I will be coloring my hair, catching up on the new season of Dexter and enjoying a fine glass of Trader Joe's Three Buck Chuck merlot (still haven't renewed my license but a kind and empathetic fellow boozer took pity on my ass and gifted me with a few bottles) while getting myself into "reunion mode". I'll also be trying to figure out the best way to camouflage my hamhock arms and front butt. Not that I care, but still...you never know who you'll bump into at one of these things.

Hopefully I'll get some interesting blog-fodder out of the deal.

Like I won't, right? Let's hope it's juicy.


Who knew?

Apparently my driver's license is expired. And apparently you can't buy booze with an expired license.

I discovered this tonight. I got a call at 7:15 a.m. this morning to sub as a Special Ed. para at our elementary school. For the whole day. I of course said yes, and then started screaming at the manchild who had missed his bus (again. Because he thought it was a good idea to take a nap on the couch downstairs after eating his breakfast and before taking his shower. God help me.) to hurry the hell up.

And then I remembered that my car was on empty. Like, "15 miles to empty" empty. Please tell me I'm not the only one who does that? Drives until you are literally skating down the road on fumes? This was a huge point of contention in my marriage. And yet I still do it.

Anyhoo. So not only did I have to get Nappy McApnea to school, I also had to go get gas, get the 5th grader up and ready AND get this: take a shower and try to look human. All in the span of 1 1/2 hours. All I had going for me was half a Diet Dr. Pepper, an Adderall and the thought of a whole extra day's pay in my next paycheck. So off I went.

Things went fine. Got the sleepy genius to school, got the sweet one up and ready, took a shower, found clothes that looked halfway decent (and by halfway decent I mean clothes that didn't have a team name emblazoned across the chest and no yoga pants) and headed off for my first full day's work in years.

Working in a school is kind of like going to Vegas. What happens there, stays there. I can say, however, that this one day totally reaffirmed my thoughts about working in the Special Ed. area full time. I loved it. It was challenging at times, but I loved it. I think the high point of my day was playing "Sorry" with the cutest first grade boy in the world and seeing the light in his eyes when he pulled the Sorry card and sent me back to Start.

So after the school day ended, I grabbed William, waited the 10 longest minutes in the world while the giant cluster-fuck known as the "Parent Pick Up" line in the parking lot dispersed, and high-tailed it to the music store to pick up his French Horn practice book which finally came in after being back-ordered for 2 weeks.

Hurried back home from that because it was Big Daddy's "Dinner Hour" night and he was due to pick up the kids at any minute. He shows up and two of the kids decide that they're not going. Alrighty then. Make them a gourmet dinner (actually chicken nuggets and apple slices but given the fact that it was Big Daddy's turn for dinner they're lucky I made anything...they're 14 and 16 for God's sake), and sat down for the first time all day.

And then realized that I had promised to go color my mom's hair today. So I called Mom, gabbed with her for a bit and then sat down.

Only to have that "somebody's watching me" feeling. Turn to my left to see the world's angriest dog looking at me with a mixture of pity and contempt in his lovely brown eyes. Or maybe it was just a blank stare. Who knows. It worked. He was pissed about being left alone all day. So I changed my clothes and took Walter for a 3 1/2 mile walk. By now it was dark and I was thinking to myself how nice it would be to sit my ass down with a glass of wine and watch Sons of Anarchy. That sounded just so nice.

So I get home from the walk, clean the kitchen, fold a load of laundry, put the folded stuff away and put in another load. Still thinking that a glass (or three) of wine would be awfully nice after such a busy day.

Took a pork tenderloin out of the freezer for the next night's dinner and realized that I didn't have any rice or potato thingy to serve with it. Made a little list for the grocery store, told Molly I was leaving and then headed out. As I was driving to the store, my phone rings. It's the sleepy kid from this morning! He forgot to tell me, he's supposed to have 3 or 4 menus from various restaurants for his FACS class (that's Home Ec to us fossils) and he was supposed to have them 2 days ago. And hey, Mom, would you mind stopping at a few restaurants and grabbing take out menus for me?

This time I laughed. "I'm wearing a dirty sweatshirt with sweaty armpit marks, Charlie" I told him. "How about I turn around, pick you up and I'll drive you to a few restaurants?". The smart child agreed that this sounded like a plan, and so I turned around and picked him up. Drove him to some eateries, got his menus and then, since he had to do an assignment with these menus that was due a few days back, drove him back home.

I was debating whether or not a trip to the grocery store was still necessary. I mean, I had the next day off, why not just go home and get my jammies on? But the thought of a glass or bottle of merlot still sounded really nice. So I went to the grocery store.

Got the starchy sidedish for the next night's dinner, got a few other odd'n'ends and then headed over to the booze section. Perused the selection, made my choice (by this time I was so excited to have that merlot my mouth was watering. Seriously. I am that pathetic.) and headed up to the counter.

It was the hoarse-voiced butchy lady working. She and I have chatted before, and we did so again as she took my sweet purple merlot and rang it up. "I just need to take a peek at your license, dear" she said. I wrestled it out of my wallet and handed it to Raspy Lady. "Ummm...can you see when this expires?" she asked me. I felt a little twinge, because that's when I remembered that it was expired. My birthday was 2 weeks ago, and I'd had the little renewal form next to my computer for ages...

"Oh well" I thought. She knows me, she knows I'm legit. We'll have a laugh about being absent-minded middle aged women, she'll give me my bottle of wine and I'll be on my merry, thirsty way.

But no. Raspy's tone changed. Got colder. "Well, if your license is expired, I can't sell this to you." I said, "Seriously?". Raspy pulled the already-bagged bottle of sweet sweet relief out of my hands. "Seriously" she said. "And you are really lucky that you haven't been pulled over, missy."

She called me missy. And she took the wine OUT OF MY HANDS. I played it cool. "I'm sorry" she said, "it's the state law." I shrugged it off and said, "Oh that's ok. Maybe this is a sign from God." That warmed her back up a little and I was just getting ready to head out when I saw a mom from school looking in at me through the glass doors that separate the grocery part of the store from the liquor part of the store (for my out of state friends, in Minnesota you can't buy groceries and booze together. Also, no booze is sold on Sundays. Ever. I don't know how we have alcoholics in this state. Sundays must be a sad, awful hell for some people present company sometimes included).

So anyways. There, watching me get rejected at the counter of a liquor store was a friend from school and her son. Nice. Because as if being the Village Sob Story isn't stigma enough, now I'm the poor chick getting turned away at the bottle shop. She came in and we laughed about it, she even offered to buy it for me (by this time I was seriously starting to feel like an 18 year old desperately trying to get alcohol but being busted with a fake I.D.). I decided that this was, indeed, a sign from the Almighty One and told her that this was going to be an ice water night for me.

And that's what I had. After I got home and did 2 more loads of laundry, helped Molly fill out a worksheet that she's had for a week but all of sudden realized that it's DUE TOMORROW, cleaned the kitchen again (because while Mommy was out getting humiliated at the booze store someone decided to make Dinner Number 2 for themselves), let the dog in and out (because I must have superpower ears, no one else can hear him clawing at the door), poured some Liquid Plumr into the upstairs bathtub (I pulled what looked like one of those shrunken head souvenir things out of the drain this morning and the water was STILL backing up in the shower), got the little guys prepped for bed, tucked in and kissed goodnight, warned ManChild that a repeat of this morning was not going to be accepted....

I fixed myself a giant glass of ice water and sat down to check emails. And here I am, 11:30 at night clickety clackety typing away.

I'm off to get my license renewed tomorrow. And I'll have to watch Sons of Anarchy then, too.

Maybe with a nice glass of wine?


Music and Memories

Last night a dear, sweet friend took me on a date. Calm down! It wasn't that kind of date. This was a chick date. She had tickets to a benefit concert here in the fair city of Minneapolis at the famed bar, First Avenue. The concert was to help raise funds for a sound guy who had been hurt in an accident (good cause) and featured some amazing acts. Among those performing were a couple of groups made up of some guys who went to my high school. Back in the 80's and 90's they were in a band called Trip Shakespeare, and they ROCKED MY WORLD.

I'm not a psycho-crazy uber-fan, but I loved, and still love, their music. I have all of their CDs (all of Trip Shakespeare's, that is, and most of their other "separate" works). Play them in the car almost constantly. My kids know most of the old Trip stuff, enough so that they roll their eyes and quickly reach for the knobs in the car to turn off my old fart music and find something more hip like Rhianna or Justin Bieber or Eminem (and shhh don't tell them but I do love Eminem).

Last night was like laying on a beach. A beach that butted up to a sea of memories. And from the second my friend and I walked through the entrance of the bar, I was pummeled with wave after wave of them. My friend and I found the spot under the a/c vent and got ready to be entertained...and as we waited, chatted, I remembered.

I remembered walking into that bar for the first time to see The Violent Femmes back in 1985 (all ages show, don't think I was into that whole fake ID thing. Not me, no! Never. ). And I remembered the last time I'd been there...Big Daddy and I had gone to see a Trip Shakespeare reunion concert right before things got really bad between us. It was the last time I remember enjoying his company.

Then I started running into people I knew. A girlfriend from high school and her husband, another girl from high school who I'm pretty sure doesn't like me, still. Another girlfriend and another husband (this particular girlfriend was a major, major part of my life, love her. And she bought me drink. Really love her). And then a tall, lanky bearded fellow approached me and said, "Jenny!". I had no idea who he was until he introduced himself and damn if it wasn't the boy I had taken to a Sadie Hawkins dance back in the day. He then positioned himself ahead of me and slightly off to the right, so for the rest of the concert every time I looked up and off to my right I was awash in memories of giving my first hand job. Nice, huh?

And then. Then the Golden Wilson boys took the stage together and played two little morsels of their wickedly good old stuff. And the very first song was one of my favorites. I really, seriously teared up a little. Listening to the music, I had a slideshow playing in my head...blurry faces, muffled conversations, the feeling of being young and free...all of it surrounding me, demanding me to recall every last delicious bit.

For a few transcendent minutes I was hurled back in time. I closed my eyes and I was 20-something again, standing up in a packed bar, singing along to songs I loved. Leaning back into the arms of a boyfriend, making eyes at cute boys, standing next to my beloved girlfriends, crying in the bathroom, wondering if there was going to be an afterparty at someone's house, bumming smokes, scrounging up a couple bucks for one more beer...it was heavenly.

And then the music stopped. I opened my eyes and I was 44, wearing comfortable shoes and mom jeans.

But I was happy. And the smile has been on my face all day, the music playing in my head, my ears ringing and my feet sore from standing on the hard floor for so long, even in my sensible and comfy Danskos.

The present and the past slammed into each other last night, and it was sublime. In fact, it needs to happen more often.

Rock on.


Observations from my morning walk with Walter

First one was, don't forget to check your plastic poop bags for holes. I thought having a teenager tell me to "shut the f*ck up" was the low point of my morning (yes, one of mine, and yes, he's still alive). That is, until I found myself with a handful of dog feces. Good thing I'm not a germaphobe.

Next observation: 90% of the people driving by were on their phones. I'm not judging, since I myself have committed this unlawful act, I'm just saying. Remember when car rides were tiny little solitude vacations? Just you and your music, or just you and the silence?

Thirdly: I thought of a little girl at our school and smiled. She looks exactly like Tracy Morgan (SNL, 30 Rock). I want to put a safari hat on her head and have her say, "I'm Brian Fellows" but I think that would get me fired. And I'm not saying that in a demeaning way, she's absolutely adorable. But if she walked up to Tracy and said, "I'm your daughter" I doubt he'd even go for a paternity test.

Fourth observation: I live in a beautiful part of the world. Three times I had my breath taken away by trees with changing leaves that were so unbelievably gorgeous it was almost like they were some computer-generated special effect plopped down in the grass.

Fifth: This particular morning walk was with my William. He's taken a liking to walking to school and we have done so 3 times this week. As we walked side by side this morning, I realized that these moments in time are the ones that make up one's memories. And this is a golden memory, at least for me. Hopefully for him.

I hope the fact that I had dog poop under my fingernails doesn't detract from the goldeny-ness of it all.


Blogger's Remorse?

I think I have a bit. Last night I was fueled by raging PMS and lingering anger over my lack of child support and I wrote a bitchy, mean post about Big Daddy.

But I'm not going to pull it.

As immature and vitriolic as it is, I'm going to let it stand. It's how I feel. My emotions may be screwier than a 2 year old who skipped their nap and took a few nips off of Mommy's Red Bull, but dammit, they are real.

I think it's wrong that a man can owe his ex-wife so much money and just blithely go about his life, acting like he's Da Man and everything is hunky dory. It's wrong that his kids, who are wonderful, smart and good people, are going without just because their dad decided to call it quits. There are sports they'd like to play, camps they'd love to attend, activities they want to be involved in, but can't, because they have a mom who is doing all she can just to keep a roof over their heads and food in the fridge. Yeah, there are scholarships and hardship things out there, but come on. Those are for kids who have two poor parents, or one poor/one absent/deceased. My kids should be able to do some of these things and have them paid for by their parents. Especially when there's one parent who has some extra silver jingling around in his pockets.

I'm not naive, I know that divorce is rarely pleasant and almost never fair. But I think that, after the dust settles, it's not ok for one person to be sitting in a house with a pool, watching cable on a 50" flat screen t.v. with a cold beer in his hand and the other person basically homeless, penniless and raising their four kids with little more than the skin of her teeth and the help of some amazing family and friends.

When Big Daddy's Titanic started sinking, he ran straight for the lifeboats. And didn't look back to see how anyone else (aside from his partner in crime) was faring.

I think what's been done, and what continues to be done, is a reprehensible, ugly thing.

And I'm going to write about it, because at this point, that's all I can do.

Thank you for hanging in there with me while I sort out my crazies. I have a funny post brewing about facebook, romance and where I decided to draw the line about what I can and cannot take in a relationship.

Stay tuned ♥


My Job(s)

I have two jobs. One is the kind of job that when you call it a job you use air quotes around the word. Yeah, that's my "job", get it? The other one is actually a job, that people understand. I go there in a car, I punch in, I get paid...that whole deal.

The "job" is eBay. I started doing it about 8 or 9 years ago, back when you'd read news stories about this website called eBay where women were selling Gymboree blankets for hundreds of dollars. Back when I used to really care, I spent way too much money on clothes for the kids. Like fightin' money. "God, how many clothes do they need?" Big Ray of Sunshine Daddy would say when the Amex bill arrived. This, coming from a man who bought big ugly mandals (sandals that I swear to GOD looked exactly like giant Stride Rite shoes) that cost a couple hundred bucks. What can I say? I never met a Gap Kids clearance rack I didn't like.

Don't get me started on Hanna Andersson. I get weepy thinking about the days when I would go to the Hanna outlet (long gone) and swoop around the store like a huge bird in a field full of worms. Molly was head to toe Hanna for quite some time. I think she put her foot down (a foot clad in striped tights and lime green clogs, sigh) in about 5th grade. That's when the travesty known as Limited Too came stomping into our lives and I spent the next couple of years trying really hard to find clothes for her that didn't look like they came from Hookers 'R Us.

Anyhoo. So one day, Henry's preschool teacher stopped me on the way out of class. "Your kids have the cutest clothes" she said, "when they outgrow them you could make a ton of money on eBay." That lit the fire within. The rest, as they say, is history.

For a long time eBay was like my hobby. When my kid's clothes no longer were cute enough or clean enough to sell, I started selling women's clothing. I'd go to thrift stores, garage sales, consignment shops and find things for pennies, bring them home, snap some photos and *poof* those pennies turned into green fluttering dollars. That was back in the days when really, all it took was a digital camera and a measuring tape to make some excellent walkin' around money on eBay.

When Big Daddy left for skankier pastures, it became my "job". Before the movie star alimony/child support kicked in I made ends meet with my eBay money. I devoted many hours a week to the procuring of and listing as many items as humanly possible. I branched out and began selling pretty much anything that wasn't nailed down. A portable dishwasher (a woman drove up from Iowa for that one). Breast pumps (seriously. You can buy them for a few bucks at thrift stores and sell them for $$$$. Just don't think about the whole bodily fluid thing.). Shit that Big Daddy left behind (yeah, I went there). Things were humming along nicely. I even paid taxes on my profits, like a real businesswoman.

After Big Daddy experienced the Extreme Deadbeat Makeover, eBay fed my kids. I will always be grateful for the faceless strangers who bought things from me during that time. They did more to support my little family than the one who left us did...sad, really. But true. If it wasn't for the little bit of income that my "job" brought in, things would have been even worse than they were, which is terrifying to think about.

Then eBay kind of went to hell. Some yahoo took over at the helm and now it's kind of dicey for sellers. I still do it, but nowhere near to the extent that I used to. For me, going to the thrift stores used to be like a compulsive gambler going to a casino. I'd spend hours in there and then stumble out, parched with thirst and wondering when the sun had gone down. I'd come home and revel in the glory that was my thrift store bounty. I'm not feeling it anymore.

The thrill is gone.

And then I became a playground lady. This is the job that I wish was full time. I had no idea it was a paid position until the time our school secretary approached me about doing it. It was love at first day. I zipped on my giant reflective safety vest, clipped my walkie talkie on and stepped out onto that social petri dish we call THE PLAYGROUND. I soon discovered that I am somewhat of a child whisperer...I have groupies who bum rush me the second their classes are released. I give piggy back rides, build snow-cats and snow-babies and snow-men, push swings til my shoulders ache...it's awesome. Best of all? I can stalk my kids.

Working at school means I know every single kid that my angels interact with every single day. I know every teacher, I know every custodian, I know most of the lunch ladies. If one of the kids comes home with a gripe or a good story, I have faces to place with the names. It's a priceless thing, being able to watch your children as they go about their day. Most parents don't get to see what I do. It's eye-opening, and it's wonderful. I think if more people worked around kids, the world would be a happier place.

Dream job? Yes. But unfortunately it's very part-time. I'm barely bringing home cocktail weenies with that money, never mind the bacon. A full time position for a special-ed paraprofessional opened up at the junior high earlier this fall, I applied for it and got a couple of follow up calls, had an interview scheduled and wouldn't you know...they hired the first chick they interviewed. That would have been fun, a whole new school, a new opportunity to check in on Henry and Molly (they were so super thrilled about mommy maybe working at their school. Yep.). But it wasn't meant to be. I'm able to sub for other paras now, and hopefully one of these days something more substantial will open up.

Until then, I dabble in my "job", do my real job, and wait for the checks that Big Daddy throws my way. I'm fully aware of the fact that I need to find something bigger, better paying, more permanent. I know that what I'm doing now isn't going to cut it much longer. But I even start to think about having a 40-hour work week and the panic kicks in. Who's going to be there for the kids when they get home? What about early release/late start/holidays? What about that 3 month stretch of free time affectionately called summer? School's only been in session for a month now and I've already had kids home sick. Just now, in the middle of typing this, I got a call from the junior high telling me that one of my babies has a fever.

And aside from the kids, what about EVERYTHING ELSE? I can hardly keep up now. Laundry, cleaning, cooking, shuttling people around, scheduling appointments, sports every other night, church, etc. How do women do it? More specifically, how do single women with four kids do it? Do they?? I'm digging my heels in this little nook of time for now. There's an ancient poem that I used to think was dumb and cliched but now I think it perfectly sums up how I feel about being a parent and savoring the morsels we get while our kids are young. Here's a little snippet of it:

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
for children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

The only thing I'd change would be:

So quiet down, creditors. Bills go to sleep.

That'll do.


Happy Celibaversary to Meeeee

If the title of this post isn't enough of a hint, I'm going to talk about sex.

Or in my spinster case, lack thereof.

I'm coming up on my one year Celibaversary. That's what I'm going to call it. My Celibaversary. Get it? Because I haven't have a roll in the hay in ALMOST A YEAR.

My very last coital experience was a messy, merlot-fueled booty call with John McCain. It was horrible. Not the actual act, I am like a man in that respect (even bad sex is good sex), but the conditions and the aftermath were just icky. I haven't done anything dumb and drunk like that in a good long while (I think it was actually the night I got Professor Plumb to drive from Wisconsin for a quickie) and I will never do that again. I hope.

Anyhoo. I have a gyno appointment in a week or so, and I have been having these horrible images of me laying back on the table, feet up in stirrups, and as I "part the curtains" I imagine an ancient mausoleum creaking noise will erupt from my nether-regions and a large flock of moths will come fluttering out from the darkness.

My doc is a wonderful chick, I'm sure she'll have some sort of pesticide/WD40 type stuff for me.

So, just in case you were wondering, yes you can survive for a year without nookie. It's not going to be a super relaxing year, nor will it do wonders for your self-esteem, but it's survivable.

I guess it could be worse. I could still be married to Big Daddy and have the fun of hearing my husband sneak in at 4:00 a.m., reeking of a bar. Or I could be celebrating my 5 year Celibaversary.


A Good Cry

So this morning wasn't so different from most school days. I got up at the ass-crack of dawn (actually like 5:45, which is when SOME of my friends are just getting home from their a.m. runs...overachievers), put on my big slippers (yay fall!) and started waking the babies.

If you know me, or have read my earlier ramblings, you know that morning time with my teens is a wee bit stressful. Especially with Charlie, the 16 year old. This is the 5th year he's had to wake up in time for a 7:00 a.m. bus, and this is also the 5th year I have cursed the powers-that-be for thinking 7:00 a.m. is a good time for teenagers to be up and awake and functioning.

But I have to give the manchild some credit. He's been way better so far this year. Today was ok..he was up, ate his oatmeal he ordered and then took a diva shower (my term for an overly long shower...I don't think the place to linger is under a shower head spewing out gallons of water). As he was doing this, my budding manchild, Henry, slept. I have never had a problem with Henry not getting up before, so I didn't bother to check in on him after my initial "Wakey Wakey eggs and bakey" reveille.

So, 7:00 came and went. Molly made it, she always does, always has. She really is as close to perfect as a 14 year old girl can be. Love that girl. Anyhoo...so Charlie/diva was ready to go at about the same time Henry had wiped the drool off of his cheek and put on some clothes. MomTaxi, again.

Only this time, I was berated the whole way to school. Charlie insisted that his tardiness was somehow my fault. And you know why he thought that? Get this: "You didn't make my oatmeal fast enough."

For real. If we hadn't been out in public, and if there weren't child abuse laws, I seriously think I would have smacked him, hard. Head, shoulder, kidney area, whatever. I wanted to pummel him. Five long years I've been dealing with this morning bullshit, five long years I've tried every trick in the book to get this kid awake, clean, fed and ready for school on time. I've tried the hardass approach, the soft and gooey approach, the bribery approach, the "ship 'em off to daddy" approach. Everything. I have accepted the fact that he simply is not going to be easy. Stop laughing, bitches! Yes it's taken me 16 years to realize/accept this fact. What can I say, I'm a natural optimist. I love the kid, but he's a tough one.

So I get them dropped of at their respective schools, and I'm feeling ragey. Perfect time to call Comcast to downgrade, right? Right. So I call up Comcast and start the downgrade process. Yes, I am admitting it here in black and white: I was on the phone while driving. Sue me.

Comcast lady answers the phone and right I away I get a mental picture of her: older black woman, maybe mid 50's or so, short hair, warm eyes, sitting at her Comcast desk, cup of coffee off to the right, computer screen with all of my information on it in glowing in front of her. "What can I do for you today, Jennifer?" she asks me, and something in the timbre, pitch, tone of her voice makes me want to lean my head on her shoulder and cry. She sounded a little like Maya Angelou. I wanted to tell her about my morning, about my life. I wanted to hear this voice say to me, "Girl, it's all going to be ok." I wanted her to tell me that I'm strong, that I can do this, to not give up.

I have always had an affinity for black women. God, I hope this doesn't sound racist or creepy or anything like that, but I have always, always felt this way. I think I can trace it back to the first time I read Maya's work. I was about 10 or 11 at the time, and going through some icky stuff (I love my mom, and I won't go into detail about my tweens/teens and things that happened out of respect for her. But lets just say that being a young girl is hard, being a young girl who has a home life that is less than ideal, a life that hurts and scares her, makes it even harder.). One of my teachers read "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" and I remember sitting at a desk and feeling like someone, somewhere, knew how I felt. Looking back, it almost makes me laugh...I'm most certain that Ms. Angelou didn't write that poem for a scared, lonely 5th grade white girl in the suburbs of Minneapolis, but her words fit me. They worked. They soothed. I became a wee bit obsessed with Maya, and from her I found the works of other African American women and loved those as well. I know good writing isn't a matter of what color the author is, but I do find comfort in the stories this particular group of ladies have written. I also have a girl crush on Queen Latifah, but I won't get into that now.

So anyways. I'm on the phone with Comcast Maya, and she's explaining the whole downgrade thing to me in just the way she's been trained to do: "Well if you do downgrade and get rid of your landline and keep basic cable and internet, you will save money initially but 6 months from now you'll end up paying almost what you're paying now." You know the drill...I know the drill. I am not the smartest bear when it comes to figuring out how to save a buck. All I know is that I want to lower my bill. I started to explain this to Comcast Maya, and all of a sudden I felt hot tears well up and start leaking out from under my sunglasses. I felt my throat constrict and found myself explaining to Comcast Maya in a strangled, chokey voice that I really, really need to cut my bill.

She could have been a corporate wench, she could have gotten all "we can only do so much for you, you poor slob". But she didn't.

Comcast Maya, sitting at her desk, talking to this sobbing chick on the phone said, "Jennifer, it's going to be alright."

She told me what to do. She figured out a way for me to save a nice big chunk every month but still have internet and still have "good" channels for me and my babies (and by good I mean Bravo for me).

She was my Maya for a little bit this morning. I didn't catch her name, but God, I wish I had. She should know what a kindness she did for a stranger.

After we hung up, I cried some more. Cried all the way through the McDonald's drive through (I quit my coffee habit about 3 weeks ago but cheat every once in a while with some cheap Mickey D's java...judge me all you want), cried through some annoying construction near my house, cried in the driveway for a few minutes before composing myself and walking in to get my 5th grader ready for his day.

It was a good cry.
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