How I Grieve

There are several normal ways people process terrible news.  Some people get angry, some people cry and get depressed, some people get drunk so they don’t have to think about it.

Always the rebel I don’t do any other that (at least not at first), I have my own system.

First, I have a small break down where I twitch, laugh like a crazy person, and talk about what’s happening very loudly and making inappropriate jokes.   Usually I can contain this enough to only do it in front of people who know me well enough to not be horribly offended, which is good.

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Then I get a hold of anyone and everyone I know going through something rough who don’t know what’s happening to me, and coax them into telling me everything about their terrible situation cause I feel a lot better being the comforter than the comforted.

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Finally, I go about my normal life, but insert whatever’s happening in my life into every conversation in my mind.

(Anyone who knows my family, my grandpa did not die and my mom does not have cancer.  I'm just using them as examples.  Don't panic.)
(Anyone who knows my family, my grandpa did not die and my mom does not have cancer. I’m just using them as examples. Don’t panic.)
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Come, let me gently stroke your lifeless feathers.

My kids are masters at entertaining one another.  Don’t get me wrong, they have their super clingy moments… but now that it’s nice out they’ll spend hours in the backyard just moving dirt from one place to another (I’m convinced there’s some super fun angle to the game I’m just not aware of yet) and since the yard is all walled in so they can’t escape all I have to do is poke my head out every few minutes or check on them through the kitchen window to make sure one of the new dirt locations isn’t an oraphis in someone.

This afternoon while they put dirt on each other’s heads and giggled I used the opportunity to make my house look less like a disaster zone, until Verona walked in cuddling with a new special friend.

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Yep.  A dead bird.

Now I am not the germaphobic mom… not by a long shot… I think running around like a half naked dirty little monster for the first couple years of your life is the way it should be.  I even consider the 5 second rule germaphobic, in our house we have the “If I remember how it got there you can probably eat it” rule instead.

But even so, there are some lines that just cannot be crossed… and carrying corpses into my house is one of them.  I threw up in my mouth a little bit and my one eye started twitching uncontrolably, but I wrestled all of that down and I kept it cool, didn’t freak out, and said “Ah, a dead bird.  We need to go wash your hands… like a bazillion times.  So go put it back outside please.” in the best not-freaking-out voice I could muster.

But instead of going and laying it back on the ground outside like I meant…

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It’s tiny bird body sailed through the air in slow motion, wings and head contoring in horrifying angles, until it hit the ground with the most horrifying thud.  I let out a long, drawn out note in my crazy opera voice because, for whatever bizarre reason that seems to be my default freakout noise.  With that toss Verona crushed not only that dead animals tiny bones, it also crushed my ability to keep not losing my shit.

When things get crazy I get weird… specifically I sing weird things about what’s going on in the afore-mentioned giant crazy opera voice.  Seriously,  it’s weird.  I can’t explain it.  But it was on.

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and sometimes random phrases on one single high pitches note,

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as I led the kids to the bathroom (them staring at me like I’d totally lost it the entire way) where I started to throw them in the bath but after a short vision of them sitting in stagnant dead bird ick threw them in the shower instead.  Then covered them in about half a bottle of body wash each and gave them the shower head to play with while I went and called the west nile virus hotline.

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On the upside, (at least I think it’s an upside because it smells better than bird death) in my crazy freak out state I used David’s body wash instead of the baby soap because I figured it’s meant to handle man sized messes… or something like that… so after marinating it in for half an hour the whole back part of my house smells like man land and my kids smell like tiny frat boys who bathed in Axe before hitting the club.

My biggest accomplishment today was that I didn’t smack anybody.

Verona and I have had a rough week.

Girlfriend is two… and she is very, very two,.  And this week has been a clusterfuck of all the awful stereotypes about two year olds.  Most of the days I have spent almost 100% of my time either dealing with chaos or attempting some serious deep breathing and have gotten absolutely nothing else done.  But I’ve handled it all fairly well.  There has been the most minimal amount of yelling, soooo much deep breathing, and a level of patience that made me wonder where regular Jenna went.

One of the things that happened at the beginning of the week was after explaining that we could use the glitter in a few minutes as soon as I put the baby down for a nap, she climbed up the craft shelf, got all the glitter we had in the house, and emptied it all on the back porch.  So the whole rest of the week every time she wanted to do a glitter craft (which was all the time) I got to explain that we have no more glitter because you were being totally crazy sauce the other day and wasted it all, and she would start crying and be downright heartbroken that she couldn’t do a glitter craft… her absolute favorite thing in the world.  Natural consequences and all that.

But last night I decided she’d suffered enough, and in an attempt to mend the bridges and start the weekend on a good note we made a special trip to the craft store together, a fun mom and daughter only trip, and she got to pick out a giant container of glitter in whatever color she wanted.  A giant, very expensive container that should have lasted us a very very long time.

This morning she asked if she could do a craft with the new glitter and I said yes, that was a marvelous plan!  Give me just a moment to get our stuff together for it and we’d go outside and do it together.

But in the five minutes it took me to do that she climbed like a monkey, got her hands on the glitter, and I came outside to find this.

The entire container.  The entire giant container.  And one very unhappy boy with glitter in every crack and crevice in his body.  And one very unhappy mother over the fact that glitter is the herpes of the craft supply world and what gets tracked into the house will never, EVER leave.

I gritted my teeth and said in the least nasty voice I could muster “BED.  NOW.  GO.  NAP.  GO.”  After I took care of the saddest/sparkliest baby in the world and cleaned everything up I went in to the bedroom where she was still crying a little and said “We can’t talk right now.  I’m still too angry.  I just wanted to come cuddle with you because I still love you so much even when I’m angry.”

Which brings me to this moment, writing a story that I’m 97% sure we’ll all laugh about later.

Now who wants to bring me a margarita?

The Five Stages of Presidental Debate Watching

Stage 1: Denial

When the presidential candidates take the stage and you think to yourself this might be ok, maybe these guys will be ok. Just because they’re politicians doesn’t mean they can’t be reasonable, logical people… right?  Just because every experience in your entire life indicates otherwise this time could be different… right?  Right?

Then they start talking and the first couple things out of their mouths aren’t terrible.  Political rhetoric that doesn’t mean anything yes, but it’s not SO bad, and you’re getting more and more convinced that this time, for the first time in memorable history, this debate is going to be an exchange of ideas between two reasonable people with the good of the American people at heart.

Stage 2: Anger

With each passing word you realize it didn’t sound that bad because they were just setting the metaphorical table, now that the forks, knives, and plates are down they can get onto the main course; a nonsense burrito smothered in crazy sauce and served with a side of WTF.

Stage two is when you start getting pissed.  Screaming at the TV, throwing things across the room, until eventually you’re so upset and flustered you’re mixing your profanities around until what you’re saying makes as little sense as what they’re saying.

That’s when stage 3 sets in.

Stage 3: Bargaining

“I can deal with economic policies that screw us all over in the long run, as long as you keep half heartedly attempting to fight for civil rights I’ll still vote for you.”  “On a 1-10 scale of awful, as long as your main talking points are a 6 or below I promise I won’t move to Canada.”  “God as long as you don’t let that jag win I swear I will… oh I don’t know just please don’t let it happen.”

If any of the above phrases sound familiar you’re in stage 3.

Stage 4: Depression

Despair sets in.  All the swearing has worn you out and all you can do is melt into the couch and groan while occasionally muttering things like “We’re all so screwed.”, “Why do we even try?”, and mumble a sentence nobody can decipher with the word “hopeless” in the middle of it.

You remain a semi-catatonic lump of anguish on the couch, broken pieces of hope scattering the floor around you, occasionally punctuating the TV noise with a dejected cry of “Ugh, no!” followed by burying your head further in the pillow until…

Stage 5: Acceptance

You remember these are just a couple political chimps throwing bumper sticker slogan feces at each other, and while it does impact your life this is also something that you have to go though every four years and something that they and a couple hundred other poo-flinging mamals we elected do every single day in Washington.  And the world hasn’t come crumbling around you yet, so it’s probably ok to peel yourself off the couch now.

Moral of the story: You should never watch political debates unless you’re going to turn it into a drinking game, the stress isn’t good for you.

That time I attempted to see a doctor, and ultimately failed.

My to do list today had exactly one thing on it, get an xray of the leg that I royally jacked up this past weekend in the mountains.  (I hurt it while scaling the vertical side of a cliff trying to rescue a pair of baby eagles from imminent doom.)  I really should have gone when it first happened, but I didn’t want to miss any of the fun so instead I got really good at putting anything I needed to carry on a plastic chair and pushing it along while I hopped on one foot behind it.  My own upcycled white trash walker… I’m the classiest person you know.

My insurance is a super pain in the ass about never letting you see anybody unless you get a referral from whatever doctor they tell you to see first, so my first item of business was finding out who that was.  I called the office I was supposed to call, listened to the phone ring for about two minutes, then heard the distinct sound of someone picking up the phone and immediately hanging up.  It had to be a mistake so I called again.  This happened four times.

So I called the office above that one and got an automated message that told me,


The bastards didn’t even have the decency to put me on hold, they just hung up on me.  But I only had one day of guaranteed childcare and the only thing that sounded like less fun than hopping on one foot to the doctor is to do it with two small children in tow… I was determined to get in today.  So I continually called that number again and again and again for an hour and a half, always getting that same message until finally I got through to a real live person who told me,

I told them I couldn’t get anything from the regular office on account of them continually hanging up on me so they told me to call another number.  The next number, of course, told me the exact same thing and gave me another number to try.

This pattern continued for the next four hours and involved me calling nine different places just trying to get the name of one freaking doctor that they wanted me to see.  When I finally got the name I called Dr. SoAndSo’s office and explained what happened, hoping to either get a referral to the xray place over the phone to save myself some hopping or get an appointment in the next few minutes.  The woman laughed at me when I asked if I could get in before 3:00.

They told me I could go to Urgent Care instead, but when I got to Urgent Care the receptionist told me,

So I ended up going to the clinic by the hospital.  Not the real ER, more like the ER’s illegitimate younger brother that nobody likes to talk about.  A place with a disclaimer prominently displayed  in the waiting room letting you know they were staffed by doctor-esque people, but no real doctors ever.  So if you needed a for-really-realz doctor you should probably leave now, cause you were going to be disappointed.

I got in and a guy who reminded me Guillermo from Weeds (in the good cute-charming-smile ways, not the shady-human-trafficing-and-murdering-gang-member ways) checked everything out, took some xrays, and said it wasn’t broken I had just torn ligaments (which he then explained was actually worse, lucky me).

“Here lady, put this led blanket over your stomach while I do the xray… you know, incase you ever want to have babies again that don’t glow in the dark or have two heads.”

He even gave me my drugs (pain med prescription) without making me do a brick dance first.  Chivalry might be dead elsewhere, but not in Not-Quite-A-Dr. Guillermo’s office.

Morning Hooping

We have a new tradition in our house.  Morning hooping in the kitchen.

My kitchen is the bane of my existance.  It’s that boyfriend who treats you like a princess but cheats on you every weekend; it’s the job that you love but doesn’t pay shit; it’s the margarita that is so delicious you (figuratively) can’t see straight but turns you into a blubbering drunk mess who (literally) can’t see straight and can’t find her shoes.

I adore it because it has tons of cabinit space, funky green counter tops, and because cooking makes me happy.  But it drives me completely insane because it’s the one and only space in the house I can’t stand not being clean and I have two kids and two  dogs(at least one of whom is almost certianly requesting food at any given moment) so it is never clean.

It’s the Romeo to my Juliet.  The love is real but like seven people are probably going to die before the story is over.

And now I’m rambling.

Anyway, one day the kitchen was already a hot mess when I woke up so instead of getting depressed I made my “summer of whimsy” project for the day officially telling the kitchen mess that I did. not. care. and that it could go fuck itself because I was having a first-thing-in-the-morning dance party with my little monsters instead of getting all twitchy looking at it.

Which turned into a hooping party for one.

And you know what?  The mess didn’t both me so much after that, and it was a lot easier to find the motivation to clean all the things when I’d had a blast in the space already.  Positive vibes and all that jazz.

So the morning hooping became a thing.  After we all get up I make them some breakfast then crank up the tunes, Verona giggles and Finn dances in his high chair, and I get my hooping on while they eat.  Morning hooping, making mornings and kitchen suck a little less, one rotation at a time.

Age Defying Lift

I would rather have a root canal than go bra shopping.  (Full disclosure, I’ve never actually had a root canal.)

But seriously, I hate it so much it makes me swear… but not swear normally, I’m so full of hate I spit out weirdly put together swearing phrases that make me sound like a Persian immigrant.

As if having to stare at myself topless in all my stretch marked glory under the outrageously unflattering flickering fluorescent lights of a smelly beige Kohl’s dressing room weren’t enough, if I grab a bra that’s slightly the wrong size/wrong cut/wrong color/wrong anything all of a sudden I’ve got bulges where bulges just. shouldn’t. be.  There is the double boob or side boob or weird empty space where the bra fabric sinks in like the sad sad windless sails of my womanhood.

I make it a point to only go bra shopping on a good hair day so I can try to focus on that instead of the afore-mentioned unfortunate bulges, but after pulling my shirt over my head ten times even that goes away and I’m left looking similar to when Verona rubs balloons on my head.

I thought it couldn’t get worse… but then I had kids.  Now that I’ve got two pregnancies behind me I have to get bras with tags that sport phrases like “reverse gravity!” and “age defying lift!”  Yes, I have procreated, but I am still much too young to need age defying anything (or so I like to tell myself).

But despite it all I end up in that stupid beige changing room in Kohl’s under those god awful fluorescent lights, staring in rage at what can only be described as a reverse muffin top created by an underwire out for vengeance because the years of “just free balling it” are behind me (thanks kids… you owe me) and now the only alternative to this scenario is to strut around looking all National Geographic.

Damn.