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Monthly Archives: May 2013

The Cleaning Bug

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As I have stated before – numerous times – I really hate cleaning my house.  I understand that it is a task that must eventually be done, because who wants to continue to live in filth?  Or in my case, clutter.  Lots and lots of clutter.   Not quite needing a Hoarders intervention, but still.  I am not the most organized person in the world.  I blame it on my ADHD.  I start organizing and I see something else to be done and I start on that and OOOOOO look! a book I haven’t seen in a while and OH!  before I put that up I need to clean out that cabinet and… SQUIRREL!  I am like a crow.  Easily distracted by bright-shiny objects.  Who am I kidding?  They don’t even have to be all that bright and shiny.  Dark and dull will do the trick equally as well.  In my mind, there is ALWAYS something more important to do.  ANYTHING!

Eventually, the clutter becomes overwhelming (like I said – messy…not 4 foot tall piles of crap like on Hoarders…), and we have marathon cleaning sessions.  This week has been one of those weeks.  The Monkeys and I have been attacking the house (well, I have been attacking the yard) with a vengeance.  Monkey #1 has cleaned his room and has attempted to help the Middle Monkey with his.  (Unfortunately, The Middle Monkey seems to take after me, and when faced with a big ol’ mess just gets overwhelmed and doesn’t know what to do).  I have been dealing with the yard and the loads and loads of laundry.

That leaves The Girl Child.  My lovely, adorable Final Monkey.  The Girl Child seems to have contracted some sort of  illness.  Oh, it’s not contagious and it is not life threatening.   She seems to have caught some sort of Cleaning Bug.  I have no idea where she caught it.  It certainly doesn’t seem to be going around.  The other three of us in the house appear to be immune.   But this little 8-and-a-half-year-old dynamo has not just been picking things up – she has been CLEANING.  Like getting out the cleaning products, mopping the floors, loading and unloading the dishwasher cleaning.  The child even CLEANED AND ORGANIZED THE INSIDE OF THE REFRIGERATOR!!!!

Who is this child?  She kinda looks like my daughter – but surely something has happened to my little girl.  She must be terribly sick or something.

Oh, wait.  Now she is asking me how to run the washing machine.  She.  Wants.  To.  Learn.  How.  To.  Do.  Laundry.

Oh.  My.  God.

If this child has been bitten by some sort of Cleaning Bug, I can only hope there isn’t an antidote.

I could get used to this…

Weeds Never Die – Or Life Lessons Learned From My Yard

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As I posted yesterday, I have a love/hate relationship with my yard.  I am constantly fighting with SOMETHING growing in my yard.  Those damn weeds are the most resilient things!!  It seems like no matter what I do, they keep coming back!

I can dig them up.

Pour full-strength professional grade weed killer directly on the roots.

Sprinkle them with “pre-emerge.”

Mow over them.

Fertilize the grass so it will grow and choke out the weeds.

But, NOTHING stops them from coming back.

I wish I was as resilient as those damn weeds.

I wish that no matter how many times some one attempted to destroy me by pulling me out by my roots, that I could continue to come back…just as strong as before.

I wish that no matter how much poison is poured on me that I could continue to not have it kill me. (Metaphorically, of course).

I wish that no matter how many times some one cuts me to the quick, that I could continue to grow.

I wish I could live my life like NOTHING could stop me.

It’s hard for me to hate the weeds.  After all, they are only quite literally fighting for their lives.  It is survival of the fittest.  They are bigger and stronger and more resilient than the grass.  It is their nature.  They were here first.

Why. then, can’t that be my nature, too?

It’s an interesting thought.

So, dear readers, before I leave you to continue my attempt to exert my dominance over the weeds in my life, I leave you with this quote:

“You fight dandelions all weekend, and late Monday afternoon there they are, pert as all get out, in full and gorgeous bloom, pretty as can be, thriving as only dandelions can in the face of adversity.”
–  Hal Borland

I should learn from the dandelions (and poke berry and mimosa and privet and ivy) in my yard, and thrive in the face of any and all adversity.

But, I still don’t want them living in my yard…

 

 

Homeownership vs. Dating…

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I have had a love/hate relationship with my house since the summer after we moved in.  Ten years ago.

My ex-husband and I bought the house when The Middle Monkey was just about a year old.  We were living in a two bedroom/one bath/1,000 square foot house.  It was cute, and it was on almost half an acre.  But, let’s face it – it was a TINY house.  So, we figured we had two choices.  1.) build on to the existing house, or 2.) buy a new one.  We decided that since we had an infant and a not-quite-3-year-old, it made more sense to buy a new one.

So, we put the house on the market.  THEN we started looking for a new house.

We looked for MONTHS.  And nothing was “perfect.”  But, we thought we had time.

That is, until an offer was made on our house and we had a month to vacate.  Suddenly, we had to find something new AND FAST!

When we toured this house, we fell in love instantly.  Four bedrooms (sure one is really closet sized, but we only had two children at the time), two and a half baths, big fenced yard (necessary as Duffey was still around).  Perfect!  Oh sure, it needed some work.  But, it didn’t seem like things I couldn’t handle.  (I love my ex-husband with all my heart, but a handy man he is not.)  Oh and, sure it had been a rental property for eight years.  No problem!  This was it.  Our HOME.

We moved in on a cold February day.  It was during the school year, so I didn’t have time to really work on it.  Until summer rolled around.  I decided to tackle the yard.  The huge mess of a yard.  And I have been working on the house and the yard ever since.

As I have been tearing up the yard, it occurred to me that the lessons I have learned about owning a home, I could apply to dating.  No, really.  Just stick with me here.

So here they are, Susan’s Lessons on Homeownership and Dating…

  1. Beware of love at first sight.  As I said, it was love at first sight with the house.  And love at first sight usually means you are not thinking rationally – and you are seeing things with rose-colored glasses.  Had we REALLY looked at the house, we might have seen the problems.  The same holds true with dating.  ‘Nuff said about that…
  2. Watch out for “fixer-uppers.”  Yes, I knew the house needed work.  But, my thought was, “with a little bit of elbow grease, it will be FINE!  I can make it PERFECT!”  Ok, now, ladies and gentlemen, let’s admit it.  We’ve ALL said that about someone we have been interested in.  Every last one of us.  And what happens when we can’t “fix” them?  Or they don’t WANT to be fixed…
  3. Bigger is not necessarily better.  My house sits on a BIG corner lot.  I have a front yard, a big side yard, and a back yard.  It’s like a yard and a half.  Seriously.  Oh, sure.  It LOOKS good.  And it really seemed like an ideal situation.  Lots of room.  But, really.  It is just a whole lot of work.  Smaller would be easier.  And how does this fit in with the whole dating thing?  Well, ladies…I am sure you get my meaning behind it.  And gentlemen?  Think about it.  😉
  4. Things may look great on the outside, but watch out for hidden problems.  Jumping right in on the dating part here.  Haven’t we ALL dated someone who on the outside looked PERFECT?  And WAS perfect.  For a while.  Until the CRAZIES come out.   Same with the house.
  5. Problems that you THOUGHT were taken care of, may come back to haunt you.  When we moved into the house, the whole backyard was COVERED in English ivy.  It slopes and until we took out 5 trees, it was very shady.  Our first summer here, I started pulling out the ivy BY HAND.  Yanking it out of the ground.  It was backbreaking work.  And you know what?  It STILL COMES BACK!  I am still pulling up ivy from the yard.  I hate that freakin’ ivy.  And in relationships, haven’t we all had to deal with a re-visited issue?  (“Yes, damn it!  I got upset when you said we were just having fun.  I had been drinking.  Let it go!”)
  6. Just below the surface there are roots to some long dead things that is damn hard to get rid of.  In preparing the backyard to seed with grass, I have been clearing out a bunch of stuff.   Digging in the dirt.  Smoothing things out.  I’ll dig down just a bit, and find a root.  To what?  I have no idea.  There is nothing near it.  Absolutely nothing.  So, I start pulling up the root.  And pulling.  And pulling.  And pulling.  And the next thing I know, I have pulled out an inch thick, 12-foot long root.  Oh – and there’s another one.  And another one.  What the hell?!?  I have dated men like that.  Scratch the surface and there is a loooooooonnnnnnnggggg root to some long dead relationship.  Whomever messed them up REALLY did a job on them.  And no matter how much I try to pull out that damn root, there’s another one I have to contend with.  It is unending.
  7. If you aren’t willing to put in the work, you might as well just walk away.  Homeownership and relationships are both HARD WORK.  You really have to work at it.  Period.
  8. Once you have everything just right, you have to make sure you maintain it, or everything will fall apart.  I hate cleaning my house.  I really do.  With a passion.  It never fails, I ignore it for a bit, and all hell breaks loose and I have to spend DAYS cleaning it again.  Ugh.  Same with the yard.  Relationships also need maintaining.  When things are going smoothly, we tend to slack off.  Next thing we know, someone feels neglected.  And you start arguing.  And well, all hell breaks loose.

And while my house makes me nuts, and I hate it at times (like now…my hot water heater just died), I continue to have faith that ONE DAY it will be exactly what I want it to be.  Kinda like the hope I have that ONE DAY, I will find a relationship that is exactly what I want it to be.

Optimist or delusional?

You be the judge.

Susan…That’s Not My Name (ame, ame, ame)

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Write about your first name: Are you named after someone or something? Are there any stories or associations attached to it? If you had the choice, would you rename yourself?

via Daily Prompt: Say Your Name.

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With all due respect to The Ting Tings…  but, that’s not my name…

Reportedly, as I was but a wee little 6 pound 11 ounce bundle of joy in the hospital, my mother wanted to name me Karen – but, pronounced Kah-rin, not the more familiar Care-in.

My father hated it.

If I have been a boy, things would have been easier.  I would have been named after him.  George Charles the IV.  My brother got that instead – 4 1/2 years later.

I almost went home without a name.

The nurses pushed and prodded and cajoled until finally my parent’s chose a name.

Susan Katharine.

I have no idea where the Susan part came from, but I have my suspicions.  My father’s best friend’s wife’s name was Susan.  My mother denies it, but come on, it is just too much of a coincidence.  And while at one point in time, Susan HAD been a VERY popular name, this was 1966 – and it’s popularity had waned.

Katharine, however, has a story.  It was my mother’s middle name (she has since had her name legally changed to have it as her first name).  And THAT came from her father’s mother.  That Katharine, was originally Katharine Jung, which became Young when her family emigrated from Germany.

I have never felt like a “Susan.”  Don’t ask me what a “Susan” is supposed to feel like, but alls I know is that I have never particularly liked it.  On the other hand, I also do not think I would have particularly enjoyed having the name “Kah-rin.”  I can just imagine having to have spent my whole life correcting the pronunciation!  As it is, with my middle name being Katharine with a “K” and an “a,” and the fact that my last name has a capital “B” in the middle of it, I have had to have every diploma (and driver’s licenses and social security cards etc.) I have ever received redone because one or the other or both have been misspelled.

Even though I don’t really “feel” like a Susan, I am pretty sure I would never change it.  Despite the fact that it is complicated to do (well, the changing is easy – it’s all the other stuff and getting other people to call you the new name), I am Susan.  It’s my name.  Like it or not.

An Unexpected Love

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Duffey was always in the middle of everything.  Every Christmas I would have picture of him buried in wrapping paper.

Duffey was always in the middle of everything. Every Christmas I would have picture of him buried in wrapping paper.

via Daily Prompt: I Want to Know What Love Is.

Some of the most amazing relationships in my life have come about when I wasn’t looking for one to happen.  The night I met the Monkey Daddy.  My former love.

Such a happy dog...

Such a happy dog..

My first baby…

No.  I didn’t have a child I haven’t talked about before.  This baby wasn’t a “human” child.  He was a furry one.  A VERY furry one.

He was a dog.  Duffey.

The day I found Duffey (or I should probably say, he found me), I wasn’t expecting to fall in love.  I was just looking at the puppies.  And then he looked up at me from out of his cage with his silly little grin and that right ear flopped over his head – and his chocolate-brown eyes locked with mine – and I was lost.

I actually walked out of the store, got into the car, and started driving away.  Then the tears came.  I knew I couldn’t leave him.  He was mine.  So, I turned around and walked back in and didn’t leave again until that 11 pound 11 week old collie/shepherd mix was with me.

He was the sweetest dog.  Always happy.  Playful.  A tiny bit mischievous.  And BIG.  85 pounds of love.

Duffey was in my life before The Monkey Daddy.  Before any of the Three Monkeys.  But, Duffey welcomed each one of them into our lives like they were meant to be there.  He was so good with the Monkeys.  They crawled on him.  Used him as a back rest.  Fed him from their high chairs.  Every night we would hear him make his rounds into each of the children’s rooms – checking on them – making sure they were safe.

The Girl Monkey with her two best friends, Duffey and Kitty Kat (the rabbit)

The Girl Monkey with her two best friends, Duffey and Kitty Kat (the rabbit)

His bond with The Girl Child was the strongest.  She loved him almost as much as me or her father or her brothers or even her beloved Kitty Kat (her lovey…yes it is a rabbit – long story).

I knew he wouldn’t be around forever.  After he turned 10, I pretty much considered every additional month with him a gift.  After he turned 13, he started aging more rapidly.  Within 6 months he lost most of his hearing, had doggy dementia, became incontinent, walking became harder.  I stopped letting him go up and down the stairs.  In this same time period, my marriage was coming to an end.  I couldn’t bear the thought of losing Duffey, too.  But it was coming – faster and faster.

Then came the day when he could not stand.  At all.  Not even with help.  He wouldn’t eat.  He barely drank.  And I knew it was time for us all to say our final good-byes and with love let Duffey go.  It was the day before Monkey #1 was to come back from his trip to France with his grandmother.  So I had to make the agonizing decision to either wait until #1 came back, or have him not be able to say good-bye to his beloved dog.  I decided to wait until he came home.

I still miss him.  And I swear, even four years later, I still find some of his long hair in corners of closets.  (Every summer he would blow that double coat – and we would be knee-deep in fur. )  I know that dogs like him don’t come along every day.

It has taken me four years, but I think I am ready to enter into a new furry romance.  Ironically, it has taken me longer to feel ready to “replace” Duffey than The Monkey Daddy… Please don’t take offense to that when you read that, Monkey Daddy!  🙂

The Monkeys and I have been searching for the perfect rescue dog, and we think we might have found it.  Her picture stirred the same feelings in me like I had with Duffey,  Something is pulling me to her.  We will meet her for the first time next weekend.  We are all nervous.  We want it to go well, but we also all know that we can’t let pure emotion rule this decision.   With any luck this furry baby will be with us for a long time, and we have to make sure she will make a good addition to our family.

Of course, the last time I was in this position, I did let my heart rule my head – and look how beautifully that turned out.

Maybe this will be just as grand.

Monkey #1 and Duffey

Monkey #1 and Duffey

The Middle Monkey with his favorite pillow

The Middle Monkey with his favorite pillow

Milestones

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wpid-CAM00120.jpgThis has been a week of milestones here in Happy Monkey Land.

The Middle Monkey crossed over from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts, earning his Arrow of Light.

He also “graduated” from elementary school.

One of my favorite classes EVER graduated from high school.

The group of students that I “looped” with for three years, “graduated” from middle school (as I watched some of them at their ceremony, all I could see were the scared little third graders that walked into my class on that first day of school six years ago).

But, on this, my 100th post (such a milestone in itself), that I write about two HUGE milestones happening today.

1.)  Monkey #1 is turning 13 today.

2.) Thirteen years ago, I started this magical mystery tour of motherhood.

Both momentous in their own right.  Yet, neither one could have happened without the other.  And ironically, both of them almost did not happen.

The day of his birth was a difficult one.  Very difficult.  His labor wasn’t easy.  For two and a half hours, I tried to push him out.  I can remember watching the monitor and seeing his heart rate drop dramatically with every contraction.  The nurse was busy with two other births.  So, she was not as vigilant as she could have been.  I was a first time mother.  So, I didn’t know what was normal.  But, for two and a half hours, this continued.  Finally, the nurse sees what is happening on the monitor, and decides to get the doctor.  And with a little bit of help, my monkey was born.

My baby was here!  Finally!

But there was a problem.  His cord was wrapped around his neck.  Four times.  It had been impeding his progress – as well as slowly choking him.

And now my sweet monkey was not crying.  And he was bluish.  And he was limp.

For 20 minutes the team worked on him.  Suctioning.  Pounding.  Massaging.  Thankfully, I remember none of that.

All I can remember is saying, “Can someone please bring me my baby?”  Over and over and over.

And then after 20 of the longest minutes every recorded, his cries became stronger, and my little bundle of monkey was brought to me.

And he was pink.  And he was healthy.  And he was strong.

In the past thirteen years, I have frequently thought about the bullet that was dodged that day.  I think about the what COULD have beens.  But, each time I do, I thank God that all of the could have beens didn’t happen.  And that my sweet monkey is everything he SHOULD have been.

Quirky.  Creative.  Brilliant.  Curious.  Active.  Asperger-y.

Some think of the number 13 as a terribly unlucky number.  One to be avoided at all costs.

I chose to think of it as very VERY lucky.

So, happy birthday, my dear Monkey #1.

Rawr, rawr, baby Dino.  I love you more.

At this moment…

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At this moment, thirteen years ago

My life was about to change forever.

At this moment, thirteen years ago

I was (not so) patiently awaiting your arrival into this world.

At this moment, thirteen years ago

I was both excited and terrified.

At this moment, thirteen years ago

I thought I knew what it meant to love another person.

But,

At this moment, thirteen years ago

I  did not know that I was terribly wrong.

Because,

At this moment, thirteen years ago

I had not yet held you in my arms.

And, once I did

I would see

That there is no love

Like the love

Of a mother for her child.