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Category Archives: Crazy Little Thing Called Life

Separation Anxiety

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Sharing a silly moment

Sharing a silly moment

The Girl Child is leaving for camp tomorrow.

A week long sleep away camp.

Her first time sleeping away without a family member.

And it will be the longest I have ever gone without seeing her.

Ironically, she is the one who is doing fine.  Granted, she is a little nervous.  After all, she isn’t even 9 yet.  But, she is excited about all of the fun things she will get to do (it’s a performing arts camp – so, she will be in her element).  Just as long as she gets to bring her beloved Kitty Kat, life will be fine.

I, on the other hand, am trying to stay calm.  I am going to miss my Littlest Monkey.  My little doppelgänger.  My little blonde bundle of unbounded energy.  I am going to miss the way she will come up to interrupt me from what ever it is I am doing, and when I send her away – she says, “I just wanted a hug.”  I am going to miss her high-pitched little “Yes, Mommy!” when I ask her to help me make lunch.  I am going to miss how she snuggles up next to me.

Oh, sure, I am NOT going to miss her bossiness.  Nor will I miss her screaming and stomping and slamming whenever I have had the NERVE to ask her to do something she doesn’t want to do.

But, I do know I will spend nearly six days – 140 hours – 8,400 minutes – 504,000 seconds – wondering what she is doing.  If she is homesick.  If she is ok.

I know she will be.

She’s just like that.


It’s a Summer Solstice Miracle!

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Summer officially arrived at 1:04 Eastern Standard Time.

And here in Happy Monkey Land we did not celebrate it with dancing nekkid in the sunshine, as per the druids of ancient days (or even as some of those who gather at Stonehenge even now).

It instead was met with a series of what will now be known as the Miracles of the Summer Solstice.

Miracle #1 – The Three Monkeys let me sleep until NINE!  Well, technically, it was only The Little Monkeys, as Monkey #1 was himself still sleeping.  No yelling.  No screaming.  No fighting over which channel to watch.  No peeking into my room and then jumping onto my bed.  Just sleep.  Heavenly sleep.

Miracle #2 – I had mentioned to The Monkeys that the inside of my car needed cleaned out.  Well, Monkey #1 and the Girl Child take it upon themselves to get my spare key, clean out the car AND THEN VACUUM IT.  It is important to note that this was completely unprompted.  Later in the afternoon, we all decided to go out and wash my car.  Big fun was had by all.

Miracle #3 – After cleaning out my car, Monkey #1 handed me some mail he had retrieved from inside.  I thought it was all junk.  Until I felt one, opened it, and discovered my new debit card inside.  I have been without it for three weeks, after SWEARING to the bank I never got it.  Just in time too.  The Netflix account ran out today.

Miracle #4 – We ate dinner together, at the table, with my mother, with no screaming, no yelling, no meltdowns, no screams of “SHUT UP!”  Just talking and laughing.  Oh, and they all ate without my having to nag or set the kitchen timer.

Miracles one and all, I tell ya.

You know, summer always has been my favorite season.  The sun beating down, warming me.   I feel like a little hot house flower, soaking up the rays.  And I know not every summer day will be as lovely as today.  But, today?  It was truly a miraculous day.

Summertime and the Living Is Easy… Says Who?

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Kickin’ up my heels at the beach. LAST summer.

With all due respect for the geniuses that are the Gershwin Brothers and their masterpiece “Porgy and Bess,” but – that line is wrong.  On so many levels.

Oh, I know most folks believe that us teachers just spend all summer long laying out in the sun, workin’ on our tans.  Kickin’ up our heels enjoying our two month vacation.

I hate to burst that bubble, but that just ain’t true.

I use my summers to attempt to get caught up on all the things I can’t manage to get done the other ten months out of the year.

You know, when my days start when I get up at 5:30, and don’t end until I put aside my work and turn out the lights at 11:30.  And where my weekends are spent preparing lesson plans, and running errands – oh, and trying to spend time with The Three Little Monkeys.

During my summer “break,” I use the time to:

Attack my yard.  Landscaping.  Pulling up the ever-present ivy.  Cutting down wayward bushes.  Preparing the yard to TRY to get grass to grow.  Dirty sweaty work.

Clean my house.  And by cleaning – I mean THOROUGH cleaning.  Top to bottom.  Pulling everything out of cabinets.  Wiping the walls.  Reducing the layer of life that builds up during the school year.

Organize.  The storage room.  Closets.  Everything.

Paint.  The house I mean.  Not like PAINTING painting.  This summer, the Middle Monkey and I are going to finish turning his room into a solar system wonderland.

Make things for the upcoming school year.  Posters.  Charts.  Games.

Oh, and try to spend time with The Three Little Monkeys.

And before I know it, my summer break is over, and it is back to school I go.  And the cycle continues.

Well, back I go to continue my summer “vacation.”

I gotta say though, I’m getting one bitchin’ tan from all the yard work.

Reflections On a Nest

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I was working in the yard again today.  Yes, again.  Today’s task was to cut back the giant shrubs on the side of the house.  I cut them back once a year, basically using the loppers to reach as high as I can.  Not the best method, as there are always some branches that are too high for me to get to.  And of course, by the time they get that tall, the branch is also too thick for me to use loppers.  I decided this was the year that I needed to get those tall branches.  After all, some of them were reaching the second floor roof line, and nearing the power line into the house.  Time to lop them off.   The other day, in an act of desperation,  I even tried to STAND in one of the shrubs in my quest to reach those pesky tall branches.  Not one of my brightest moves.  My foot slipped and I now have three nasty bruises on my thigh.  I look like I have been mauled by some beast.  And yes, I was holding the loppers – and yes, I do realize I was lucky to only receive some bruises…

New plan.

This took me up to Home Depot to get one of those tree trimmers on a pole.  EXCELLENT!  So, today I was busily cutting away.  I mean some of these branches were at least seven feet long!  Whooo Hoooo!  Mission accomplished!

In one of the taller branches (one directly outside my bedroom window), I found this:

It is gorgeous.  Made completely of grasses.  Intricately woven.  Easily eight inches tall from its base to the rim.  Inside as smooth as glass.  I marveled at its complex simplicity.  Then brought it in to the house for The Monkeys to see.  My first thought was that we could save it to put in our Christmas tree (a tradition in my family since we found a nest in our tree one year).  But, truly, this is a work of art.  So the decision was made to let it dry out (we’ve had a LOT of rain and everything is wet) and display it in the house.  As the art that it is.

I returned outside to continue working.

And there on the ground, right were I was working, were three little turquoise blue eggs.

Two of them had broken in the fall.  The third was intact.

The guilt washed over me.  That beautiful nest had been a home to these eggs, and I had destroyed them.

Of course, the teacher in me also found it a bit fascinating.  I mean, you can see the little embryonic birds.  But still.  I feel bad.

So, I bring the eggs into the house to show The Monkeys.

The Girl Child had the kind of predictable response of “EEEEWWWWW!”

The Middle Monkey – my little scientist – observed them, poked at them, and simply said, “Huh.”

The response of Monkey #1 was perhaps the most interesting.

He felt sadness.

Sadness for the death of the little birds.  Sadness for the mother bird at the loss of her babies.   “After all, the worst pain any mother can have is the loss of her babies.”

Here is a child who with his Asperger’s is not “supposed” to feel empathy for others.  To not to be able to relate to others’ pain.  But, Monkey #1, always different, seems to feel it more.  As I sat there on the stairs, showing them the eggs, he hugged me and said, “I hope you never have to know how it feels to lose one of us.”


Me too neither.

So, my sweet, sensitive, Asperger-y Monkey #1 is insisting we bury the little ones.  To honor them.

And so we will.

And every time I look at that nest, I will remember that moment, and smile.

Crash! Bang! BOOOOOM!

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Not my picture – thank you Bing…

I’m going to let you in on a little secret.

I may look all calm and cool on the outside.  But, thunderstorms make me a nervous mass of goo.

I know that sounds a little strange coming from someone who spent the first 25 years of her life in South Florida.  I mean, in the summer, you can virtually set your watch to the 3:30 thunderstorms that roll through town.  There are horrible booming bursts of thunder and about a billion gallons of water falling from the sky for about 15 minutes, and then as quickly as they came – they are gone – and the sky goes back to the bright blue and everything becomes even stickier from the humidity left behind.  Ah!  Nothing like feeling as if you have just stepped out of the shower and into your steamy bathroom – but, you are standing outside and you are fully clothed.  It is sooooo refreshing (cue eye-roll).

I don’t know why I get so nervous.  It’s not like I have been struck by lightning or something.   Although, there was this one time when I was in junior high school (Go, Conniston Blue Devils!), that a lightning bolt hit the ground about 20 feet away from the portable classroom I was holed up in.  Talk about scary!

Maybe it is a sensory overload thing.  My ADHD makes me pretty sensitive to LOUD noises.  Particularly unexpected ones.

Maybe it is that lack of control thing.  Not that I am a control-freak (STOP LAUGHING!  I’m not!  I swear!), I just hate situations when I feel completely out of control.  And that happens during thunderstorms.  I don’t know what is happening – or what will happen – or for how long it will be happening.  Everything is left up to the weather gods.  Or Mother Nature.  Or that damn water cycle.

Maybe it is that my father will send me messages saying, “Bad weather coming your way.”  Keep in mind Daddy still lives in Florida.  He goes on-line and checks the weather up here.  Not that he notifies me of EVERY storm, but if he does, it is generally a doozie.

Maybe it is that I am worried that the storm will knock down one of the trees in my yard and it will fall on my house.  Although, come to think of it – that might solve A LOT of my problems with my house!  Heh heh… (Be gone before someone drops a house – er, um, a tree – on you, too.)

This afternoon brought one of those everything turns black and buckets of rain cascade from the sky and the thunder doesn’t just boom it BBBBOOOOOOOMMMMMMSSSSS!!! storms to the Atlanta area.  The Monkeys are at the Monkey Daddy’s, so I had to brave it alone.  That’s one nice thing about having children.  You can disguise your own dislike of thunderstorms by pretending that you are cuddling with them to keep them from being afraid.  So, I curled up with my laptop (which I remembered to unplug…like I need to be electrocuted by my laptop), played games on Facebook, and tried to not obsessively watch The Weather Channel.  In about 45 minutes, the worst had passed – although, I can still hear thunder rumbling in the distance.

Another thunderstorm faced by Susan the Destroyer…

Uh oh – the sky is getting pretty dark again… more bad weather is on its way…

Gulp…did I just hear thunder?



Falling in Love Again? The Update

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Princess - Blurry because she wanted to go to The Monkeys - not stand still for a picture...

Princess – Blurry because she wanted to go to The Monkeys – not stand still for a picture…

Well, we did it.  The Monkeys and I went to meet the two dogs we hope to adopt.

Needless to say, it went well.

Very well.

The Monkeys covered the girls with hugs and kisses, and received doggy kisses in return.  The girls were sweet and gentle and not in the least bit shy (which in our house is a REALLY good thing).  It was love at first sight.

Two dogs.  Three Monkeys.  Only two leashes.  Three Monkeys all wanting to walk the dogs.  It is an exercise in time-sharing.  “Ok, Monkey #1, it is your sister’s turn to hold Princess’s leash.  You can take Baby from Middle Monkey for a while.”

Baby - smiling

Baby – smiling

I knew we were done when I looked over at Monkey #1, and he was crouching in his little “Gollum” pose – with a shy little grin on his face.  That little smile said it all.  “Those are our dogs.”

Unfortunately, we couldn’t bring them home with us today.  Princess will have her final heartworm treatment Monday, then she needs a period of calm (which of course she wouldn’t have here).  So, we scheduled for the dogs to come visit the house in two weeks.  If that goes well, they will come home to stay the next weekend.

The Monkeys wanted them to come home with us today.  And really, who could blame them.  It is hard to fall in love and then have to be separated from your love.

Oh, sure, the girls will need a little training.  Namely, pulling – Princess nearly dragged The Girl Child.  But then again, I am going to have to train The Monkeys on how to walk a dog on a leash!

As we were driving home, it occurred to me that I am not replacing Duffey.  He is still with me.  Instead what I am doing is allowing The Monkeys to have doggy memories of their own.  Their memories of Duffey are hazy.  And he was old in those memories.  These dogs are young and vivacious and playful.  Just what my silly monkeys need.  And THOSE are the memories that will hold them for the rest of their lives.

Memories of two dogs.  And love at first sight.

Falling in Love Again?

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PrincessToday’s the day.

The Monkeys and I are going to be meeting the dogs that just may become the newest members of our family.

Yes.  You read that correctly.  DOGS.  As in more than one.

I never intended on adopting TWO dogs.  I mean, I haven’t had more than one dog since I was a kid.  And they were mother and daughter.  But, apparently, these two come as a package deal.

As I mentioned in a previous post, it has taken me 4 years to feel ready to bring a new furry friend into our home.  But, then I saw Princess.  And I felt those familiar feelings of doggy love.  I fought that feeling for months.  It was a valiant fight.  But, I continued to feel “called” to her.  About a month ago, I sent an inquiry to the rescue group about her.   Was she still available?

Yes.  She was.  She was very much available.  She was undergoing treatment for heartworms, but her prognosis was fabulous.  She would be ready in a month or so.

The Monkeys and I were ecstatic!  We were going to do this!

Then came the news that they were hoping to adopt Princess out with Baby.  You, see the girls were rescued out from the same situation.  They had been kept outside – on four-foot long chains.  They had been kicked and beaten and all round mistreated.  That is until angels intervened and they were saved. (Yes, the woman was arrested).  And because of this, the girls were strongly bonded and they really did not want to separate them.

I was crushed.  Two dogs.  TWO DOGS!  I couldn’t do that.  I mean, it’s so much.  And the expense.  And TWO DOGS!

Reluctantly, I sent a message to the foster mom telling her that while I felt such a strong calling to Princess, I just didn’t think I could swing the second adoption cost.  She sweetly replied they were a package deal.  Buy one – get one, if you will.

Well, there went that excuse.

The Monkeys and I talked about it.  Needless to say, they don’t have the same qualms I have.

I told the foster mom that before we made a decision we needed to meet the girls.  All of us.

Well, today is the day.  Today, The Monkeys and I will be driving the 50 miles or so to meet the girls.  And while I am trying to keep a level head about it, I am afraid, I am alone in that.  As far as The Monkeys are concerned, the girls are already ours.  The Girl Child in particular.  This morning when The Monkey Daddy dropped them off, she came RUNNING upstairs and FLUNG herself onto my bed screaming, “WHEN DO WE LEAVE TO SEE THE DOGS!!!!??????!!!!!”

My fear is, what happens if we get there, and it doesn’t work out?  What if we don’t feel that connection?  What if?  What if?  What if?!

In case you haven’t noticed, sometimes I can over think things…

This feels like a first date.  A first date with someone I’ve met on-line, seen pictures of, chatted on-line with, but am just now meeting in person.  I am nervous and excited and terrified and hopeful all at the same time.

The Monkeys, on the other hand, have already decided this will be their happily ever after.

In a way, I guess they just may be right.  I mean, in most fairy-tales, there is a Princess…and after that – a Baby…