Time Flies

The alarm went off this morning. I checked my watch and saw that it was a quarter to six. I rolled over to nudge my husband- after all, it’s his Darth Vader alarm clock, telling him to get up. He bonked it on the head for one more snooze and a last few minutes cuddling his wife.

He’s off on the start of a business trip, before the rest of the house is awake. My alarm is not a clock. It is the sound of Ghenghis, howling his head off. As I entered the kitchen/dining room, I saw the back door was open, and he was running in and out. The puppies and Victoria, frothing at the gate, jumped up and down like popcorn to be let out. Ghenghis sleeps with my oldest, which means my oldest in a zombie state put him out this morning. Ghenghis turned the latch and opened the door. Oh joy!

We survived last week’s antics with some very tired boys. I thought last week would be a once off. Sometimes, I wish my calendar would tell the future. This week will be twice as crowded, but a bit more organized. Two field trips, all three boys to the dentist, one boy to his pediatrician, five nights of ABA (Applied Behavior Therapy) with only three people, school supply give away to attend, and my birthday, which will not be celebrated this year. Oh yes, and Hubby will be gone, so I’m on my own.

But on top of all this, I found out we’ll be having a flea market at the end of September. A glorified yard sale. I’m working on two baby blankets, a hat and a sweater. Now, I will also be knitting up quick doo-dads and what-nots, to put on display. Of course, I also have two bikes with helmets, a bike buggy for two and a bunch of baby stuff to sell. I’d like to get the garage cleaned out 🙂

Yup, us housewives, we sit on the couch eating Bonbons and watching soaps 🙂 The funny thing about that- I do kind of watch tv, but not really. I think the old radio shows from the 40’s and 50’s would be better. I sit and knit, or iron, or even get on my exercise bike and knit while I play some show off Amazon or Netflix. I listen more than I watch. I rarely do just one thing. What happened to letting your imagination fill in the pictures? I knit while reading a book on an e-reader. I have to multitask. There are not enough hours in the day. It’s a shame that audio books are so expensive, as well.

I’m still wearing the brace on my hand. I’m knitting much less, right now. Two more weeks, and I will quit wearing it. I suppose I should schedule my follow up with the doctor. Maybe I will. I’d like to see the look on his face when he sees that I’ve dropped a bit of weight.

Before he called my kids obstacles, I’d already taken care of how to get my exercise in. Putz. I was waiting on this new thing called a FitDesk. Bike and a desk, low rate cardio, I can hang my knitting bag from the desk, watch my laptop, and knock-out 45 minutes of work. No need for the gym, which won’t watch my special needs kids. I’ve also been taking the boys on outdoor bike rides, to prep for riding to school. Yup, I suppose there’s room in there for Bonbons, but I’ll settle for my morning latte- cut down from two or three to just one. I’ve been tracking my calories and increasing water. So far I’m down five pounds.

Our house was rented as of the first. School starts next week. Hubby’s gone this week, then the last week of August. There’s another trip planned in September. Strangely enough, I’m a bit less stressed. Ready to take control of all the things hubby’s been doing for the the last few months. It’s been a nice break, not doing all of the appointments or fighting with the insurance company, but all of that is mine again. Of course, the sound of Beethoven’s Fifth, I have to do the grocery shopping too. Ugh.

They say time flies when you’re having fun. Time just flies, especially if you are busy. I will be very busy!

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A Marriage of Words

Somewhere along the way, I might have mentioned that I was in the Air Force. Eleven years of my life were dedicated to Arabic and then Azerbaijani. Six of those years, I was also a supervisor. I can’t say that I was a good supervisor, but I tried.

The most amusing and uncomfortable moment happened when I told a guy that he was finally getting a supervisor in his section. He asked me out on a date. Definitely awkward.

One of the most challenging aspects was writing evaluations. Two of my airmen won quarterly awards, both going up for Airman of the Year. One lost by one point, the other, while being outstanding, could not compete with other career fields. They made my job easy. Their evaluations could be written off of their award write-ups. The others, not so easy.

The Air Force was using a bloated method of eval. Everyone got fives across the board, unless they were dirt bags. Heaven forbid you give a mediocre airman a four. You were saying that they weren’t ready for promotion. You were holding them back. Even if you were playing by the rules. The unwritten rules would bite you in your bottom. They did mine.

In the eval, you had to take a brag sheet of all their duties, volunteer work and whatever else you could fit in, to turn a mouse into a lion. I was a used car salesman, selling a Ford as a Cadillac. It was inflation on a grand scale. But, I learned to write. I became a very good bullshit artist, studying under some of the best. The bs was a great mask of poetry, covering up whatever needed to be hidden.

My husband, although his research skills are great, he can’t lie or exaggerate very well. So after many moans and groans, as he wrote evals and awards, we found that together, we make a good team. With the boys in their beds, we’d stay up all night to write. My career was gone, but I still had the magic. He’d do the layout, and then we’d match wits to do the write ups.

While Navy and Air Force evals are completely different, their goals are the same- to accurately proclaim the good deeds and job performance of the sheep in our flock, within a word limit and preset stylized writing. As linguists, we value the use of words. We are exacting in our meanings. We portray a picture of an individual.

Every year, I help my husband on his brag sheet and eval. Not only to help him, but get an idea of what he’s doing at work. A big picture, if you will. I’ve learned to pull out the details and polish them into shining jewels. After all, he brings home the money. It’s one of my favorite times a year. We stay up late, reread sentences over and over, tweaking each word, getting the exact meaning that we want to convey. We’ll bandy synonyms from room to room. We test meanings, so that a stranger could understand what we are saying. Not too long, not too short. We’re Goldilocks on the quest for perfection.

My hubby is a wall flower. He doesn’t brag or boast. Really, he’s quite self-effacing. But that doesn’t get you promoted. These days, it might not get you retained. New policies require a supervisor’s recommendation to reenlist. We have four years left. I’ll bullshit with the best, I love it. I love working with my hubby, even more.

After the finished product is submitted, his supervisor makes changes, then his supervisor makes changes. Eventually, the final product goes into his file. Last year, only superficial changes were made. This year, we’ll see.

But it was fun. I look forward to next year.

The Long Game

Have you ever heard of chess players who can keep the game in their heads, so much so that they can keep the next 20, 30 or even 50 of their next moves in their heads? They play the ‘long game’. Their objective is clear. They aren’t surprised or distracted. Each move played against them has a counter move. They may win or lose, but the idea is to hold on to that goal. A child prodigy could lose to an old fox, not by lack of intellect, but experience.

Chess can be a short game or a long game. Knitting is the same. Your first goal is the knit stitch, then the purl. After that, the world is your oyster. You can make scarves the rest of your life, or you could learn to knit in the round to make a hat. From there, sweaters with cables and then lace… the possibilities are endless.

At some point, you may want to sell what you make. Maybe you want to do your own designs. You start to play the long game. What do you need to do, to make your ends look good, hide your loose ends, tighten up your ladders. You find yourself drooling over technique books, not just patterns. You start playing. If you can afford it, you take classes. All of this is a long game. You have a goal- to make the best, maybe even to be the best. Or, you could just be a very good hobby knitter. It’s up to you.

To play the long game, you have to have a goal. As knitters, we tend to find one thing and repeat. Generally, we call them our hat phase, top down sweater phase. Some knitters become spinners. There are distractions, some new yarns that call to you, some pattern you have to knit. That’s okay, as long as you refocus back to your goal. Or maybe you find your goal needs to change. Knitting, like life, is adaptable. Sometimes your chess piece disappears. You adapt and go on.

My right hand is in a brace. My chess piece got swiped. I spent the weekend watching knitting classes. I can always improve my technique and learn new tricks. One of the instructors had a funky left handed purl. I copied it, adjusted it to my needs, and while not perfect yet, I’ve adapted.

So what about the sly old foxes? In this long game, it doesn’t hurt to shut up and learn, to ask questions. Sometimes losing teaches you new tricks. In knitting, you learn as much as you want to. That’s the beauty of it. The game can be long or short, takes twists and turns, but it never ends. You are your own competition.

Dear Lt. Jones

Dear Lt. Jones,

You walked into your chop shop of a medical clinic, with your uniform looking like you’d slept in it and unshaven, to find a fat housewife with two kids, one wearing a portable EEG on his head. She had a brace on her arm, and hey- a little overweight. Okay, a lot overweight. You made assumptions. And while you were being politic in your phrasing, you called my kids obstacles. Impediments to me getting excercise. Let me tell you about those obstacles you nodded at.

I have three children. The oldest is 13. He has autism and ADHD. He is also behind on the growth charts. We held him back a year due to his difficulties, but he’s too smart for his own good.

The oldest twin has a portable EEG once cause we are trying to catch him having a seizure. He also has autism, but he can think at logic levels that would astound you.

The youngest twin has already been diagnosed with seizures, and you guessed it, autism. He’s the drama queen and prankster. He also had heart surgery at 33 weeks, 2 weeks after he was born. I’ve watched him quit breathing and turn blue time and time again.

My husband serves in the Navy and has done so for the last 16 years. He periodically travels for his job, and until this post, he had been absent 65% of our marriage.

Yes, I see how you, maybe a year out of residency might think they are obstacles. But for me, I have sacrificed my career, my needs for them. So when I actually make an appointment, it’s because regardless of those obstacles, I hurt and made the time to come in.

I dare you to carry my load and maintain a perfect body. I dare you to see what’s in front of you. You can’t even look presentable in uniform, how would you deal with the blows I’ve been dealt?

I know I’m fat, or if you want to call it medically, obese. I’ve gained and lost with the ups and downs. I’m just like anyone else with obstacles. Either help or don’t. You just told me I can’t knit for the next 6-8 weeks.

You are an obstacle, not my kids. You are an impediment. You have no clue. I’d tell you to go to hell, but I don’t want company.

Sincerely,

The Fat House Wife

My hubby wouldn’t let me email the bastard.

Sitting on the Water’s Edge

My right hand is in a brace. You might ask ‘why’ or ‘oh no!, What did you do?’. Those are the most common questions.

I could tell you that it started with a baby blanket and ended with a hat, but that might not make sense.

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I could also say that it began with an act of kindness that bit us in the ass. That would be the truth, as well.

The baby blanket is for a friend, who is due next week. All I have left is the sewing and stuffing. The blanket is a crochet confection made of cotton candy. It looks that way.

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Please note: it ain’t done yet- these are just the pieces. Designed by Linda Cyr with Red Heart’s Baby Clouds in Pink Lemonade. It’s a fairly quick project, although I used almost 6 skeins, instead of the 3 the pattern called for. I did check gauge, but I must’ve been off.

I haven’t crocheted that much in years. I normally only do lace borders or neck lines.

I stress at night. While my body likes a 9 o’clock bedtime, my mind really gets going after the sun goes down. Maybe that’s why I like sunsets so much. The calm before the storm.

So- due to some unwanted stress, I made a hat for my hubby. I knitted almost an entire night, then finished the hat in two days. One skein of Paton’s Classic Wool, the Naturally Comfortable
slouch beanie pattern by Lisa Gentry, and a trip to Alaska for my hubby this August, resulted in this…

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Hubby prefers it snug, and I will have to sew up the center hole a bit better. We don’t want him to have a cold spot on his q-ball. Better to find out now, but it IS supposed to slouch. Oh well, it’s his to wear.

So that act of kindness… We are not business people. We see the people renting our house (in Maryland), as a family. We let them out of their lease early, because the dad got transferred short notice. No 60 day notice for us, and we were out $800. They moved in with a 9 mo old baby, and apparently had a newborn while they lived there, as well. Dad had already left, and the mom was packing, by herself. We took pity on them.

I remember moving into that house with 6 mo old twins and a 7 yr old. My mom came out to help, and I was still overwhelmed.

We thought if they got out 2 weeks early, we could do a quick clean and turnaround. No such luck. They had trashed the house to a tune of $3300. new carpet, new paint over the three rooms they painted, new bath tub, minor repairs, including damage to the brand new kitchen cabinets we had just put in.

Before they moved in, that house looked better than it did when we lived there. All in all, a single act of kindness, totaled up around $6,000 of loss to us. We thought we might lose the house.

So I knitted my hand into a brace. It was bugging me before, but I pushed too hard.

We had put money aside, in case we lost our renters. Our realtor, who helped me carry the twins from house to house searching for just the right one, is still our realtor today. She cut her commission. Our property manager also cut her take. One act of kindness, leads to another. It may just be a house, but it was our first home, and may be again, in a few years. Everything goes full circle.

These were my thoughts, as I sat at my knitting spot. Not being able to knit, one handed. But I think I may have a new pattern in mind. If I can find the right yarn. If my hand gets better. I do my best thinking on the water’s edge.

It’s 3 AM

It’s 3 am, and I’m wide awake. I went shopping and picked up a couple of pattern books today. After taking my boys out of the house for a treat, I came home and my hubby dropped a bomb. Just more of the usual.

He could lead with decent news, but he doesn’t. He always throws the worst at me first. I just go numb. It doesn’t matter if there is a solution or not.

On top of that, my ABA tutors seem to be taking over my house. One makes veiled requests. The other tries to manipulate. And they think I’m dumb enough to not notice. Really, they don’t know what they say with their faces. I know there are no replacements. I will have to put up with them for now.

So I don’t sleep. I knit. I knit till my hands hurt. My fingers swell and my wrist refuses to bend. I’m knitting a hat out of one of the books I bought. I had some wool in my stash, just perfect for the pattern.

You might think knitting is a stress reliever, but it isn’t. It isn’t an attempt to make the world quit spinning, quite so fast. It is production. Making something. Creating.

Everything works to destroy. I like to make things. The duality of it, doesn’t escape me- in order to create you must change or destroy something else.

Funk Busting

I hate inactivity. As a housewife, or stay-at-home mom, or even a Career Child Development Explorer, there’s not usually an opportunity to be inactive. There’s always something going on. But given the last few weeks’ funk, inactivity has been the big problem.

I woke up this morning feeling like I had an extra twenty pounds tied to my extremities. My head was swimming through molasses. Really. I know it’s the new regime of meds, dehydration and all other sorts of things, but that first latte took forever to make.

The problem with being a SAHM is that the entire house is my area of work. Hubby is outstanding when it comes to helping out, but the work is all mine. I’m glad that routines are established. Everything has its place. A few weeks of my inertia, and it doesn’t come tumbling down, making things worse. Hubby’s kept the ship going, and if I can get back in the saddle, things will be fine.

My twins are eating breakfast now- 2 hrs later than usual. They weren’t hungry, and I was working on a clear head. I’ve updated my “On The Needles Page”. I could do that sitting down, coffee in hand. The pups got their romp at 0830, sprinklers on in full force. We’re supposed to hit 104 on the mercury today. They won’t be romping outside again until the sun goes down. It’s 10 now, and I think I actually escaped the molasses.

So funk busting plans…

1. Water the dying flowers out front. We planted them a few weeks ago, and the thirsty little beasts require water twice a day. I do not have a green thumb! I’ve barely been getting to the front door, much less, out of the house.

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2. Work on the puppy blanket, which is not on my “On The Needles” page. I didn’t want to get up and boot the computer to get all the info I needed for giving credit. The blanket is in that awkward stage, between looking fantastic and looking like a yarn tangle. My goal is to finish up the blanket portion and start the head and ears tomorrow. It is doable, but it’s only a goal.

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3. Laundry. We had a serious leak from our washer, which Hubby fixed last weekend. I think I can get a few loads through the machine. That still leaves the folding and putting away. 7 baskets and growing. If I can get the kids to help, I should be able to knock out 3 or 4. I’ll hide the rest. Hubby won’t notice. Well, probably, anyway.

4. Dishes- the other never ending battle. I might be able to convince the twins to help, before lunch time. Might.

There are half a million things to do. Vacuum, mop, clean the bathrooms, clip puppy toe nails, not to mention getting an ad in the base paper. Baby steps and goals. That’s how I’m gonna roll today. Baby steps… and coffee. Funk busting at its best.

In A Funk

I’m in a funk. Knitting gone wrong. House in a mess. Clutter is accumulating at twice it’s usual rate. Puppies getting too big for their britches. Hot weather and swollen limbs. Nothing but pain. Well, and poo. Lots of puppy poo.

I got a massage yesterday. Normally you walk out feeling good, but after three months of playing hookie, my back was in knots. For a few days, I will be hurting until the soreness goes away. I go back in two weeks. Maybe the rest of the knots and kinks can get worked out.

So… Why all the stress

Lukas, the oldest twin, has been having seizures. Itty bitty ones. Jamie has them on a bigger scale, but he’s diagnosed and on meds. Lukas is new to the seizure thing. Nothing showed up on the normal EEG, so he’s going to have to do a 48 hour backpack EEG.

He’ll get a few dozen wires stuck to his head and wear a backpack with a little data recorder in it, connected to the wires hooked to his head. Doesn’t sound too bad, does it? Unless you are an active 6 yr old who has better things to do. I’ll be chasing him around with the pack.

Then there’s the mysterious diagnosis on the referral. I’ll just have to wait till August to find that one out. But I have new and old meds to try out. I went of the Butran patch a week ago, but I can’t drive until I know how I will be on them. I’m phasing them (the new drugs) in this week. The kids had Superhero camp last week, and I was too paranoid to risk driving them on unknown meds. I slept most of today, because of them.

I wasn’t allowed to drive for a few years due to my epilepsy. For me, that is torture. I hate asking for help. I couldn’t ride my bike everywhere. Most bases and forts are set a ways from town, and Ft. Gordon, GA was no different. The whole base sprawls. As a single mother, it was hell. The worst thing was not driving off my stress.

I love highways, and Highway 20 is an incredible drive on nice days. Atlanta is only an hour and a half west, and Savannah (not on 20) 45 minutes East. For a girl from West Texas, trees still are a novelty.

Having only two kids at home and one surly teenager out of my hair, is supposed to be less stressful. But I called to check up on Sebastian, who is at his Gammy’s house, and my mom tells me that my Dad had an angiogram this week. His heart isn’t great, but they think the meds he’s on are doing their job. So nothing further is to be done for now. That’s what I get for waiting on my kid to call. He and Dad are doing fine, I guess. I could wish I was closer, but if wishes were horses…

Superhero Camp was a bit stressful, too. The first two days were particularly difficult. Camp was two hours every morning for a week. The boys were introduced to new people and things to do. They settled in on the third day, but I had to stay for most of the first two days. I also had to rescue Jamie from an ABA tutor, who went with physical prompts before she should have. We only touch the boys for positives- hugs and high fives. That got settled quickly.

The twins did end up having a great time. Lukas loved the capes that were made for them. Jamie did not. They loved gymnastics, flying and water play. It ended up being a wonderful experience for them. Just a wee bit stressful for me, especially after being called a ‘helicopter mom’ indirectly. Labels and more labels.

Knitting wise, I’ve been a bit stymied. I made a dress for my niece. It’s cute and lacey, but for some reason I just haven’t blocked it. It’s hard to let things go. I don’t by not finishing them. Just like the baby blanket that still needs its ends sewn in. It’s sitting on my machine. I’m working on a baby blanket, yes another one, but it is crochet.

I also have hubby’s ‘Aran’ sweater in my knitting bag. I’ve reached the front shoulders, and I think I found a mistake in the pattern directions. I worked on it tonight, but had to pull out two rows. I’m frustrated with it. I did go to catch the sunset while working on it.

The biggest knitting factor has been pain. When the heat kicked in, my hands and feet got big. Swollen. Every joint in my body let me know how unhappy they were. It makes for hard working conditions. That’s on top of all the other things that normally hurt. (Fibro myalgia, back aches, etc). Really, how much stuff do I need to put up with?

Then there’s my side job- Puppies. At ten weeks old, they are cute and cuddly. If you walk up to their pen, they sit. We’ve been working in the ‘sit’ command with treats. If you put your hand in, the little rascals are like piranhas, tugging and pushing for treats. Horrible little cads. But cute. They’ve decided playing and chewing on the poo pads is a sport. Like we don’t have enough toys in there? They are terrific and funny, running so fast they collide. I will not miss the poo though. I am having trouble putting an ad out for them. I wonder why?

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Needless to say, writing anything down has been difficult. Sometimes just moving, is difficult. Losing my muse, has been difficult too. I’m in the down and outs, but I’ll claw my way back up soon.

Things That Make You Wonder

Somebody wrote something about me. Not good or bad, just a diagnosis. Although “just” doesn’t describe what those few words made me think.

Normally, when you see something written on a piece of paper with your name on it, you already know it. You know how doctors and people label you. I’m used to hearing labels. With three kids on the Autism Spectrum, I’ve heard lots of labels.

I knew nothing of this one. So now, I have to find out where it came from. I know it’s not from me. Did the doctor call another doctor? Did the doctor not hear me correctly? Where the hell did this label come from? Did he make it up? Lovely.

It’s one thing to know you’re a bit different, but to label me a puzzle piece, well, I’m not too sure what to think about that. At least they don’t think I’m crazy. I guess.

I’ve already talked to my oldest about Aspergers and ADHD. He knows that he’s a bit different. So if I tell my kids that a label is just a label, why does it bother me? Because no one said to my face, “I think you have this… And here’s why…”. Seriously? It’s worse than spreading rumors.

Sooooo a hunting I will go. Too bad Coffee Guy is gone, he’d have some input for me. His ideas and all.

One of Them

I used to work in a place where you would often see guys walking down the halls in blue jeans, T-shirts and tennis shoes. Everyone else was in uniforms or suits. These guys would drag their fingers along the wall, be staring at the floor, and talking to themselves. It wasn’t weird, just a little different.

Then, one day, I found myself walking down the hall, head down, working on an argument for something or other. Half way down the hall, I realized I was not just arguing in my head, my lips were moving, and I had actually vocalized what I was prepping for my speech.

It’s that moment, in a crowded hallway, filled with groups of people talking, that I realized I was quite alone.

It happened again today. I was sitting in my house, sitting across from my hubby, listening to music and playing a game on my phone. I was elsewhere, alone, talking to myself and actually saying words. And no body heard them. Quite alone.

I’m not sure if it’s just sad or what. Is it a life of quiet desperation? Hell if I know. I’ve already given all my secrets away. No need for a secret keeper anymore. It’s just me and these four walls.