Wednesday, October 13, 2010

30 Days of Truth

Admittedly, I'm totally stealing this from an awesome blogger.  If you're not reading Adam's blog, well, you should be.

So basically, it's 30 days of me answering questions truthfully (duh).  I'm going to try to be very diligent about keeping up, but between family, work, school, etc, it may not happen everyday.  And I don't think I'll have internet on our vacation in 20 (!!!) days.  So there you go.

And with that, away we go!

Day 01 Something you hate about yourself

Just one thing?  Golly.  It's so easy to hate things about yourself.  Most are trivial, but some are not.

I think the one thing I hate most about myself would be my lack of motivation to work towards being healthier.  Losing weight.  I want to.  But let's be honest.  It's easier to be overweight.  I keep wanting to work out or eat healthier.  But I just don't.  

And it's lame, lazy, pathetic on my part.  I can do it.  I've done it before.  It's not that I can't do it.  So that's what I hate most about myself at this moment in time.

That said, all I want is a cool pair of tall boots.  That fit my freakin' calf.  I don't have a huge calf, but obviously, it's larger that the "standard" size.  And it's just frustrating.  ARGH! Clearly, losing weight would help with this issue as well.  

Monday, October 11, 2010

Wait, where did summer go?!?

Bah.  Fall is here.  It's been beautiful this past week, absolutely gorgeous.  Which has been nice.  Prior to that, we were panicked about getting the boiler working so we actually had heat in our house.

They were never really able to test the boiler during our inspection, but presumed because it was new from 2004, that it would probably be OK.  Yeah, not so much.

Gumby and my FIL had to replace the motor in the boiler and then some pump thingy (I know, very technical of me.  You're astounded by my in-depth understanding of a radiant heating system, aren't you?).  Then there needed to be some repairs made to the copper pipes they replaced (apparently they sucked at unions, so it leaked at each of the unions).

So voile!  One night, they got it going.  And then left for the Home Depot.  And I was going through Baby Girl's dresser with her going through summer and winter clothes to see what we should keep, what needed to be donated, etc.  And it was getting hot in her room.  And then it really started to get hot.

At which point the puppy barked to go outside (oh, yeah, we got a puppy, more on that to come).  So I took Sparky out and when I walked back into the house, it was like a freakin' sauna.  I checked the thermostat and  it was set at 80 (holy crap people!).

Turns out someone (honestly, not us!) painted over the thermostat several times.  So it couldn't accurately detect the temperature.  So, we now have a new thermostat :)

The kids are in school full time.  Baby Girl seems to be having a touch of trouble with behavior.  We've had to have a discussion at least once a week since she's returned.  Thankfully Little Man had one instance of not behaving, I had my discussion (Ok, more of a Come to Jesus discussion) and he's been sweet as can be since.

But Baby Girl is trying my patience.

School started back up for Gumby and I.  And let me once again declare my hatred for group projects.  They suck in general.

We have adopted a black lab mix from the Humane Society.  He's adorable, growing at a freakish rate (perfect fit in this family!) and too smart for his own good.  We will need to start puppy school when we get back from our vacation next month.

Gumby and I went to Farm Aid last weekend.  It was amazing and I'm glad we went.  Any excuse to see Dave Matthews, right?

With that, I must return to homework.  Ugh.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The move is complete (mostly)

Well, we moved this past week.  A frickin' nightmare, but it always is.  We hate moving.  The only things worse are dead brothers and cancer ;)

The bathroom is mostly done.  Still can't shower, but that it OK for a few days.  Hopefully by the end of the weekend, we'll be able to shower.  When Gumby and his Dad started to do a few tweaks to the bathroom, it turned it a full-on gutting of the bathroom.  There was mold everywhere.  Alas, it's looking great and we're just waiting for the dumb tub enclosure to finish adhering to the wall correctly.

I did manage to get the living room, dining room and all bedrooms painted before we moved in.  There is still trim and cutting in to be done, but that can be done while we're here.

Our new refrigerator is being delivered this morning.  Very exciting.  Plus it will be nice to finally have a fridge and we can eat at home rather than going out to eat for each meal.

All in all, there are hiccups, but the move has been positive.  We have too much shit, but we knew that.  But I'm very content and exciting for what the future holds.

We go camping next week, which will be nice.  State Fair starts in 5 days.  Summer is winding down.

It's gone by much too quick.  I'm signed up for classes in the fall to continue for my Bachelor's degree.

The in-laws celebrate their 39th anniversary today by going to a funeral for their friend's grandson that committed suicide.  There's so much wrong with that statement, I will leave it at that.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Welcome summer, how I've missed you old friend.

Summer finally arrived.  And a lot has gone on in the past few months since I last blogged.  I just haven't been able to face it.  But it's time.  We are moving on, which is a good thing.

Let's see.  I graduated with my Associate's degree in May.  With honors and everything!  Gumby realized that he graduated with higher honors than me (which I had immediately realized, being much too competitive!  I just chose to not mention it ;)

We bought a house.  It's super-cute and very much a fixer-upper.  I'm not even sure how we're going to fix it up by the time we move in at the end of July.  We are in the process of getting a grant from the city of Milwaukee to help with the rehabilitation.  Hopefully by this week we'll be set with that as it's going to pay for our new windows and roof.  There's a lot of other putzy stuff that needs to be done, but it will be great when it's finally done.  And it's OURS.  No more rent.  No more landlords.  It's very exciting.  A tad smaller than where we currently live, but we'll survive (though, the 1 bathroom situation may kill me!)

The children had their birthday's and Baby Girl graduated from K5.  Next year they will both be in school full-time, which is hard to imagine.  I'm not ready to not have a child home with me.  But I guess with all the work the house needs, it's not the worst thing in the world!

My hours will be cut next week at the Pharmacy.  Well, not just me.  The entire Pharmacy lost almost 40 hours per week, so a lot needs to be cut.  Unfortunately, I think I shall be hit hard.  Eventually it will turn around, but in the meantime, it will be a touch brutal.

We have started swim classes again.  They are both doing amazingly well.  And I love the time at the park to just read a book and enjoy the summer sun (which I did get yelled at last week by my doctor for...oh well).

Yesterday we went up to the Dells.  We had free coupon books from the radio station.  As we arrived at the Ducks I heard my name and knew I was being yelled at by a family member, but didn't know who.  Suddenly I saw my Aunt in the van that had just pulled in, waving and laughing.  So we met up with a good chunk of family, completely unintentionally, but had a blast.  We did the Ducks, the Robot Exploratory and the Jet Boat tour with the family and had a blast.

They headed home and we headed for dinner (curse my weak had been a few hours since we'd eaten and I normally get sick on boats.  I seem to do OK on the calm Wisconsin River, but the lack of food, I was getting ill).  We were going to go home, but the children were set on going mini-golfing, so we did.  I actually did well and kicked Gumby's butt for once at it.  I got a hole in 1 on the last hole.  Baby Girl got a hole in 1 on her first hole and Little Man also had one somewhere in there.

It was a long drive back (2 hours).  Baby Girl made it the majority of the way before she passed out.  Little Man didn't even make it out of the county before he was asleep.

I realized on the way home that it was almost 15 years to the day of our fateful first date (and nearly our last) to Noah's Ark in the Dells.  It's interesting to think of where we started and where we are now and Lord only knows where we're headed.

We ended last night's adventure by coming across a drunk driver.  We called 911 and followed them.  The operator had us and the car that he nearly hit kind of corral him to help the Sheriff's Deputy find him.  He was arrested almost immediately.  Gumby said to the Sheriff, "I didn't know you could fail a field sobriety test that quickly."

"Oh yeah." was simply the response from the Deputy.  We gave a statement and headed home.  Trying not to ponder it all too much.  Because really, that was not something I wanted to ponder last night.

I still miss Patrick.  But I don't find myself in a crippling depression anymore.  Which is a good thing.  I know Mother's Day and Father's Day were the worst for my in-laws.  We celebrated the days on the Saturday before this year (as I had to work on both days and then hang with my family).  That seemed to make it easier on them to not have to pretend on the actual day that everything was OK and they aren't missing 1/3rd of their children.  My MIL shared this with me a few days after Father's day.  I think we will do this in the future so they can have their day's to mourn, which is inevitable.

So we continue to try to side-step the pain that will sometimes sneak up on us, but all in all, we're doing quite well.  I'm sure Patrick is very proud of us, wherever he is stirring up trouble now. ;)  But at least he knows he is loved and remembered.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

You know, guilt and everything

Last week I traveled with my Mother-in-Law to California. Patrick's killer was being sentenced. We were going to speak at the sentencing (which really, was a waste of time, but whatever. I'll get to that.)

It was a bit of a hellish trip there. The airline was late on both portions of our flight. We started traveling around 1 PM, CST and were in our rental car by 8:30 PM, PST. With a 2 hour drive ahead of us. Ugh.

We stayed at a Casino that was about 45 minutes outside of Joshua Tree (good thing too, there is not much in Joshua Tree, much less anything comfortable enough for my somewhat fragile know, whole neck and back fusions and all).

The Casino was comfortable, though I was a bit appalled when they had a game room for children. Mere feet away from the gambling floor. Start 'em young I guess. I'm pretty sure children are not allowed anywhere near the gambling floor here, but I don't frequent Casino's enough to be certain.

It was nice to wake up and be outside without a jacket and be comfortable. The air was chilly in the morning, but the equivalent of a late spring morning here. The courthouse was woefully small. I think the city of New Berlin has a bigger courthouse.

We met immediately with the Victim Advocate. Eventually we met with the District Attorney who went over everything. And it turns out that he was not serving 3 months in jail like we were lead to believe. No, he's going to serve 6 months of house arrest with a SCRAM bracelet.


Say what?


Yeah. So, he was drunk and killed someone and is getting 6 months of house arrest. 3 years of probation. He has lost his driver's license and will never be able to drive anywhere again. That would be a blow to me, so I that's appropriate in my mind.

But no jail time.

It was a bit of a blow there in the little room we were sitting in. And at the same time, acceptance. Because really, what are we going to do? Scream at the judge how unfair it is? Hardly.

Instead, we walked into court and saw his killer.

And he was alone. No family supporting him. No friends. Simply his attorney.

He stood before the Judge and said he understood what he was pleading guilty to. He stood at military attention as the Victim Advocate read my Father-in-Law's statement.

He stood alone as I read Gumby's very angry statement, as I tried very hard to not sob too much.

As I read my own statement.

And as I read something from a dear friend of Patrick's. It was well written and more positive than anything else I could have written before that moment. They are words that I knew going into this that I had to accept as what I needed to do.

I struggled through it all, turned to see most of the courtroom crying (ha! See, I can do dramatic! I'm no one-trick comedic pony!)

When it was done, we were asked if we wanted a personal apology, "Fuck no" was my immediate response (ok, I'm not always the most gracious creature). But my Mother-in-law said yes. Damn it.

We were taken back to the small office as we went over everything and then the Victim Advocate noticed his attorney left before he apologized. She went and checked and it was decided he much not be "able to do it". So that was that. He's not allowed to speak to us.

Well, that's a little anti-climatic.

So, you know. I don't like open ends. I excused myself to go to the bathroom. And when I came out, there he sat. Completely alone. Even his attorney left him. You see where this is going, right?

Again, not one to let sleeping dog lie, I walk up to him. He sees my shoes (because he stared at the floor the entire time) and looks up at me.

"You need to do right by him for me."


"I'm sorry, ma'am?" (good Christ, do I look like a ma'am?!?)

"You need to do right by him for me."

"Yes ma'am, I will."

I turned to leave and he said, "I really am sorry."

I somewhat snorted, looked back at him and said, "Yeah, I'm sorry too."

Because I'm sorry for vilifying him for the past year. I'm sorry for all the bad thoughts.

Because Uncle Kage is right. He is a young man that made a seriously horrible mistake. That we have paid dearly for. That Patrick paid dearly for.

But this young man has lost his future.

I hope that he will be able to move past this. To never forget, but to learn from it and have a meaningful life. To not let that mistake be his defining moment.

And so the hatred turns to compassion.

Which is good. Hatred and anger are not good for my constitution. It's never really been something I'm good at.

And I miss Patrick so much. And I just don't understand why Jason's family was not with him. We would give anything to have Patrick back, to hold him, to support him. And I hope them not being there was for a good reason (though, there are few that come to mind). I hope they have not turned their backs on him. Because he needs them now, more than ever.

I'm such a freakin' Mom. Ugh.

So it was a hard day. And I took the Mother-in-law to do the one thing that always makes her smile, YARN SHOPPING!!!! Oy.

We stayed at a very nice Hilton in San Diego. The next day we were going to go to Downtown Disney, but holy cats did it rain. We didn't get very far and there were minor mudslides (ah, you know, trees slid down onto the freeway). We turned around and went shopping at Horton's Place in downtown San Diego. Which was weird because Lynne immediately realized she had been there with Patrick when he was stationed there. and then I looked at the bank in front and realized I had been there when Patrick was stationed there. Very trippy.

The next day we went to Disneyland. It was time for some fun, to try and relieve the stress and sadness that the trip held to that point.

Disneyland was cool. It's very bizarre, because it's set up very similar to DisneyWorld, but some is different, so I would get confused when trying to navigate. It was crazy busy, but thanks to my MIL being gimpy, we got priority on most of the rides. Yeah to disability! (kidding!)

I will say, I think Pirates of the Caribbean is cooler in DL than in DW. And I almost think the Haunted Mansion is better there too. I have a slight tan, which is cool. Got a very cool "Jack" hoodie from "The Nightmare before Christmas". I had wanted it desperately in DW, but could never find a 2x. For whatever stupid reason, both my MIL and I left our jackets in the rental car and it did get cold that night so we were "forced" to buy something warm. I still never found the "Jack" hoodie in bigger than an xl, but sucked it up. It fits, I just don't have as much room as I normally like in a sweatshirt. Hopefully it won't shrink ;)

We came home yesterday. It wasn't so bad coming home, though we didn't have time to eat lunch in Denver as our plane was late arriving, so our layover was pretty much gone. Luckily we had snacks in our carry-on, so we survived on Cheeto's until we got back.

Final note...holy crap the airport in Milwaukee is getting busy. It was like Chicago busy last night. It's good for the economy, but annoying as shit when all you want to do is get out of the freakin' airport.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Year One

At approximately 5:52 PM, PST we lost Patrick one year ago today. In many ways, the year has been a paradox. Sometimes the time has just flown by, so much madness, craziness, sadness.

Other times, the year has been the longest of our lives.

I'm tired of harping that this was such a senseless and unnecessary loss. No shit. But I still can't wrap my head around it sometimes.

But I don't need to wrap my head around it. Because it doesn't make sense. And it isn't fair. And yes, it sucks monkey-butt.

I leave with my Mother-in-law in exactly one week for California. For what I expect will be the most difficult trip of my life, thus-far (and hopefully, will remain my most difficult trip for the rest of my life!)

I will face Patrick's killer. I will do my best to remain composed, to honor Patrick's memory.

And when it's done, he'll serve his 3 months in jail and then go about his life. Maybe he will live a better life as result. Maybe he'll rise to the occasion and honor Patrick's memory and attempt to give back to the world a little bit of what he took from it.

But after Friday, I don't care anymore. I don't have to. He will officially be part of the past and something I cannot dwell on. I need that piece of this cluster-fuck to be in the past.

God-bless my in-laws for being so much more gracious than me in all of this. For having forgiveness in their hearts.

But I still don't. I'm not angry anymore (much), but I simply cannot forgive him for what he took from me, from my family and from this world.

And for now, I'm OK with that.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

February midpoint

Things have been crazy with school and work and an internship and everything else that is going on in our lives. I'm doing well in school (though, I should be doing homework right now, not goofing off on the computer). Alas, the kids are adjusting as well.

They are with Grandma and Grandpa on Tuesday nights until about 6:30 and then Grandma and Grandpa come to our house on Thursdays. I'm only working one night during the week, which sucks financially, but is really nice on every-other front ;)

I have signed up for 2 more sewing classes (since stinkin' Joann canceled my fleece robe one! Jerks.) Hopefully they will come to fruition (doubt it only because they are day-time classes during the week).

Gumby and I are dominating our Marketing class. It's actually rather entertaining. Normally it's one or the other when we have classes together, but we're tag-teaming this one.

I have not gotten very far with the Victim Impact Statement. Not exactly easy. Plus I can't remember where I saved what I already started, heh. Gumby upgraded all the computers which wiped out the normally "recently saved docs" paths that I leave all over. Time to do a search, I guess.

Thursday is the anniversary of Patrick's death. This isn't going to be easy. The realization that it's been a full year. A year since I spoke to him (which that's probably today...I think this was the last time I spoke to him).

And at the end of the day, we still miss him terribly. While it's gotten easier, it's certainly not easy by any stretch of the imagination. Which sucks.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Quiet Moment

Gumby took the children to his Fantasy Football meeting and I left work a few hours early, so here I am ALONE. This doesn't happen often, unplanned alone time. When I'm done with this post, I'm moving to laundry and packing up some things I've sold online over the past few days (woo hoo!). Then it will be time for the piles of homework that I have waiting for me.

I have a marketing paper due this coming Thursday, homework for my Tuesday writing class (which, I have not received my book yet and subsequently cannot do my homework, damn it) and then lots of studying and homework for the pharmacy tech certification. Oy.

It was a panicked, crazy week. We got word that the driver that killed Patrick has pleaded guilty *FINALLY* to the charges and would be sentenced this Monday. I quickly made reservations for my MIL and I to go to California only to find out there was a mistake in the system and the actual sentencing isn't until February 26th.

But the development of his guilty plea and the sudden realization of it all was overwhelming. I have to write my "victim's impact statement" that I will read before the court. That in and of itself is such an overwhelming thing to write. The eulogy was hard, but requires me to quantify HOW his actions have impacted the family. This is not easy to do. But I trudge on.

It's been raining here for the past few days, which is very unusual for Wisconsin, especially in January. It's depressing in one way, but nice because it's melting all the shitty, dirty snow. The hope for warm weather is reinvigorated by the melting snow.

Of course, traveling to California next month, while difficult, will be nice to experience some warm weather. The MIL and I have some ideas of what to do in our spare time there, which is exciting. I've always had crazy love for California, not quite sure why, but it will be nice to return again.

I'm watching Wisconsin Foodie, a new food geek show on a local channel. The owner from Meritage is currently on, which is interesting as we'll be eating there next Friday with friends. We desperately need a night out, a night of laughter and good company.

I must get going on my piles of laundry and homework now.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Split Pea Soup

It's cold out. It's been cold as hell the last few days (which, is that even possible? Modern theology would have you believe Hell is hot, a burning inferno....but we often say cold as that a simile?!? Damn, I should have paid more attention in English)

Anyway, I made a gigantic pot of split pea soup today with the leftover ham and ham bone from Christmas. I managed to do it before it got funky! Yeah to me! But it turned out very yummy; quite like my Grandma's. Which is awesome. There are somethings you just have in your head how it should taste and when you do it right, it's such a feeling of accomplishment.

I still have a bit of ham leftover, so I'm going to check for recipes for scalloped potatoes and ham; a favorite of my Dad as I was growing up. He always just used the boxed scalloped potatoes, but I'm interested in testing if homemade scalloped potatoes are worth the extra effort.

I've worked everyday since the 1st and have 2 days left in my marathon. Then I'm off most of the following week due to asking off for my birthday.

I turn the big 3-4 on Friday. It's funny, going through all the old photos, I see how 'young' Gumby and I looked when we had Baby Girl. And then I look at myself now. And holy shit, I look old. The little badgers have sucked the life right out of me ;)

New Year's Eve was a quiet night with the in-laws. We had fillet, lobster tail, crab legs, shrimp, baked potatoes, roasted carrots and hot cabbage salad. I remembered to pick up some sparkling juice when I ran into Walgreens, so we did a nice toast at midnight and the boys handled the pyrotechnics.

We are going back to school. I feel like I've wasted the past 6 months, not being in school. But with everything going on, it was for the best. Hopefully I'll be able to get classes that affect the kid's minimally. I'm hoping Thursday night works for Gumby and I to take a class together. Perhaps a Saturday morning class too, but I won't hold my breath. Those are hard to come by.

It will be nice to be back in school, finishing the seemingly never-ending degree. It's time. Time to be done, time to move on to the next part of my 30's.