Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Body count

I just found the most interesting site called Iraq Colition Casualties. This site lists the casualties and injuries for the US and British troops and civilians in Iraq. According to this site to date 2803 American soldiers have died and 44,779 have been wounded. Isn't that something? So far we have wasted the lives of almost 3000 people to supposedly avenge the death of 5000 civilians killed in the 9/11 attacks ~ when in reality Iraq/Sadam did not have anything to do with 9/11. A site that links to the Iraq Colition Casualties site, www.IraqBodyCount.org estimates that anywhere between 44,661 to 49,610 Iraqui civilians have died in this non-war. These statistics are staggering and, to me anyway, infuriating.

Weren't we supposed to be making their lives better over there? How can that be when we are killing them by the truckload on a regular basis?

When will the death of innocents end?

Hello again!

Hello, Blog World! I bet I fooled you into thinking I dropped of the face of the blogosphere, didn't I? Well, I did, kind of. I have been dealing with some fairly sucky shit here in the real world that I can't write about because much of it revolves around the whole custody battle for my step-son, so I have basically thrown myself headfirst into the land of denial as a fairly decent coping mechanism. Despite it's bad press, denial really can be great when you have those pesky long-term problems ~ you know ~ the No End In Sight variety. I highly recommend it. Plus, who wants to read a bunch of wimpery-whiney bologna anyway, right? You probably want to read it as much as I want to put it to ~ um ~ paper (digital paper anyway), and that is abaout as much as I want to stick a pin in my eye, so onward with some fun stuff!

It was recently Eighty-Eight Fingers' fifth birthday, and I truly was meaning to write something for him until I found myself immersed in a shit storm. And I will write EEF his ode. He deserves it, and it is coming, I promise. Basically, his birthday has been a huge distraction in a good way from some of the negativity and stress around here. I spent hours shopping online for the most awesome present I could find for him. I finally settled on a wooden castle with knights on horses. He and the Fellers (the two-year old twins) love it! They have been waging wars on dragons, mastodons, dinosaurs, cows, pigs, Shrek's Puss 'N Boots minus his hat and ears and some GI Joe-like guys on motorcycles. Also, I managed to get EEF alone one day, leaving the shadows (fFellers) with Daddy, and we took Great Grandma shopping. We went to Toys 'R Us and signed EEF up for the birthday club. He got to be a king cruising around the store with his tricked out cart complete with horn and a paper crown on his head that kept falling off. Never mind the presents, the cart and crown was a blast! It felt good to let him be the star of the show for a change. With all the kids in this house, he unfortunately sometimes gets lost in the shuffle.

However, soon he will be getting much more Mommy and Me time because I enrolled the Fellers in preschool at the high school where Hubz teaches (He teaches at a small school and the students are very excited to have Mr. X's twins in class). There are thirteen 1 1/2 hour sessions until the semester ends in the morning before EEF goes to school, which works out perfect schedule-wise. The challenge for me is to get three boys dressed, bundled up, buckled into car seats and ready to go by 8:15 AM two days a week. Yikes! The pressure! It takes me almost twenty minutes to load the car with Fellers, and we don't move too quickly in the mornings here anyway (Mommy must be fortified with gallons of coffee before rapid movement is even a remote possibility), so getting out the door so early should be interesting. One funny thing about this is it is for a child development class, so there will be a test at semester time. Apparently, in one part of the test the students must name the child from a picture. Boompas and Stink are identical twins. While I have no trouble at all telling them apart, most of their relatives have to guess when the see them and give themselves a pat on the back and a big hoorah if they get it right, so it is unreasonable to expect kids who will only see them for a grand total of thirteen sessions to get it right from a picture (2-D is much more difficult. I even have to think a little when presented with a picture). The teacher is thinking of only putting one of their pictures down and accepting just a last name. I don't know how I feel about that. I mean, it is her class, obviously, and she can do what she wants, but this class is a two period elective for juniors and seniors. For them to devote that much time to the class, one might assume that it is a potential career choice or at least a major interest for many of these students. One might also assume that if it is a career choice, that this is not only a unique opportunity to experience twins and learn first-hand that even though they look alike they are two astoundingly different people, but also that they will potentially experience twins in the future and must figure out how to distinguish them. In any event, I will have my first real opportunity to give my schpeel that although they are twins, they are individuals ~ please treat them as such and do not expect them to be alike or clump them together as a set. They are not always going to want to play together, stand together, or do the same things. In fact, they might be happy to have a break from one another and that is okay. Please don't treat them as "twins", but just as two different people, kids, who happen to be the same age and have the same bad haircut.


I love Halloween, so another distraction for me lately has been constructing costumes for they little guys. This year, they are going to be knights (yes, I know I just gave the whole individuality speech but in this case all three must have similar costumes or there will be a fight guaranteed ~ the compromise is a different colored t-shirt/tunic). I found a website that gives instructions for making a helmet from poster board. I made the helmets and painted them silver. Too bad they weren't really metal ~ keeping paper helmets safe from this set of knights until Trick or Treat is like trying to keep a dog from wagging his tail. Wish me luck! I also painted their wooden swords and shields. They will dress in gray sweats and hoodies for the "armor" and have oversized t-shirts with a cool dragon crest I designed as the tunic. I can't wait to display the finished product here! I will (hopefully) also display some pictures of our jack o' lanterns. *Hopefully* is the key word here because my digital camera is acting sort of hokey and is probably dead. The odds of replacing it any time in the next five years is slim to none.

Edited to add: Four of the pumpkins we grew in our own garden, so that made carving them all the more special...


Apologies for being all over the place here ~ I have a lot to say and not so much time to say it. In fact, I have to get moving, get this sucker posted so I can fit in another load of the never-ending heap of laundry before Feller Lunch Time so we can get EEF of to school on time...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Bad Trip Down Memory Lane

This weekend I felt a sick sense of deja vous. I visited one of my very best friends for her daughter's sixth. I would like to say it was pleasant: all balloons and cake and children laughing with glee. Of course there were those things. But there was another scenario unfolding beneath the surface joy and laughter, a darker drama playing out that spoke of pain and disease to those who could listen. The main character in the co-drama was played by my friend's current-ex-fiancé/boyfriend/not-boyfriend (if that description confuses you, you are not alone--guys like that thrive on ambivalence because it means they are neither gone yet nor expected to actually do anything real about the shabby state of their souls). There he sat, stone faced and sullen, chain smoking and mumbling derisive comments under his breath when he was not flat-out ignoring the world--a big worthless blob of human flesh that occasionally made itself known with the nastiness that spewed from its mouth. He sat and stewed and ached for a drink--any drink would do. At least he didn't show up to this family gathering wasted. No doubt he thought that will earn him some points--manipulation via Caring for the Children, Doing Good Deeds for the Kids, is a big item in losers like his bag of tricks. The sad thing is that if my friend doesn't get her head out of her ass, she will credit him those pints and he will be back more permanently in her life soon for Round III + of this melodrama so he can administer the necessary emotional abuse that she is so sorely in need of since she has finally gotten her act together and kind of (at least with some small success so far) realized she can make it without him. She made a big mistake: she got sick of his drinking and gave him half of a boot. She told him "if" ~ If he stops drinking... Guys like him know that only means they have to pretend long enough, convincingly enough to get his foot back in the door. If is not a very strong world. If has no walls. And no walls means you can walk right back back in and start right where you left off.

This Blob was the love of my friend's life. Doesn't it bring a tear of joy to your eye?

The worst thing about the scene is the eerie feeling that I had been there, done that. I had co-starred in that play before. Unfortunately, I know the role like I know the feeling of the ridges of my teeth to my tongue running over them. I know it so well I could almost mouth the lines along with the whole rotten B film. Although I have only met the guy two times, I know him all too well. His motives and actions are as predictable to me as that since today is Tuesday, Wednesday will follow. No, I did not play the alcoholic, thank you very much. No, I played the dumb fool responsible for his drunk ass and lost soul, or who at least for some warped reason felt like she was. And my friend was there on too many occasions as I sobbed and fumbled through with my drunk ex, her arms around me as I cried, her shoulder beneath me as my tears drenched her shirt. She lived those darkest moments of my life with me. You could say she had a supporting role in that fiasco.

So she saw the film, was a key player in my recovery from him ~how then could she have fallen for the same type of man? That was such a rotten story, why waste your time and effort on a remake? There are never any winners, never any awards in a play like that, and it takes too much of your time, energy and strength. There is no return on investment, and actually, a story like that leaves you in a sucking, empty ruin.

But, as the story goes, you always think your situation is unique ~you are unique. You will fix him. He will get off the drink for you and you will be a family and everything will be shiny and new and you will have the big house in the ‘burbs with the white picket fence and the dog chasing the Frisbee in the back yard, the kids on the swings laughing and getting As in school. You will slay the big bad wolf like none of the other princesses before you could. Sure, you will take a few shots in the process. He will call you a whore for no reason, tell you you are worthless. He will take your pride. The disease, through him, will eat your soul. Small price to pay. But you are more powerful than a silly little thing like alcoholism and he is too wonderful deep down that none of those things will matter. He will get better and all because of you.

Yeah right.

What you don't know when you enter that fractured fairy tale is that in this case the demon is alcohol and the person who becomes its slave enters a partnership with it. Alcohol promises to make him the man he thinks he can't be without it. It makes him so strong. He can call you a slut and it takes away his pain so he feels nothing except the warm glow of his partner ~not you, the alcohol ~enveloping him and telling him everything is all right. You may think you are his lover; that is why he'll change for you. But you are never going to be half the lover alcohol is, no matter how much of your soul you pour into fighting for him. In fact, your job is to take is punches (figuratively and sometimes literally) to show him physical evidences of his all-powerful manliness brought to you by his lover, alcohol. You don't realize the warped thing is you don't have to slay the wolf or dragon, you don't have to fight the disease. No. The miserable fact is the only way to survive that battle is to close the door behind you with him on the other side and never look back. Leave him with his lover, his drink. You've got some living to do. Sadly, it is often easier to fight the alcohol, easier to say he has a disease and will get better, than to face the fact that you don't have the power to save him. It is not your battle to fight ~it's his.It is his. And most of the time, alcoholics stop wanting to fight it. Losing a girlfriend, a wife, a job, your home, the respect of your family ~those things are only a little bad, not nearly bad enough to give up his man-making lover, the alcohol. Most of the time, those guys have to crash and burn hard, harder that you can imagine, to finally give it up. It is not pretty.

So time has turned the tables on us. Little did my friend know she was looking in a crystal ball, holding her future in her arms as it ruined her shirt. Little did I know I would get through it alright and move on to happier times, happier than I could ever imagine, only to watch her take my role and suffer as I suffered, walking the dark road that I once travelled.

I have tried to tell her, to coach her through. But when you are in a situation like that the well-intentioned words of family and friends fall on deaf ears. As I said, you feel like you can fix him, you are the one in a million who has the power to straighten a loser like that out, and the feeling that you are not enough, that alcohol means more than your love is too much to bear since you have poured so much of yourself into the whole ordeal already. You think you don't have the strength to face that sad truth, although somewhere in your heart you know it is true. I know she is not hearing me right now saying her lines from so long ago. But I keep saying them. My role here is to wrap my arms around her tell her she is more than strong enough. My role is to tell her she can do it. A million times if necessary.

A little spoiler here for those of you watching a drama such as this: There are happy endings, but sometimes you need to take on a new role to get them.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Conversations with EEF #2

Eighty-Eight Fingers (upon racing into the kitchen at top speed, running over the fat cat causing her to shriek with rage): That cat needs to go to the plastic surgeon and get some new ideas!


(Fragment of a conversation with EEF where Mommy is enquiring about his friends at school...)

Mommy: EEF, do you have any friends at school?

EEF: There is a girl on the bus who always tells me to shake my booty, booty! and I don't like that very much!

Mommy: Is she your girlfriend?

EEF: No I don't like her because she always tells me to shake my booty (shaking his booty). I like her friend the other girl.

Mommy: Oh, you like the other girl. What's her name?

EEF: I don't know but she doesn't want to be my girlfriend.

Mommy: She doesn't? How do you know?

EEF: I asked her and she said No.

Apparently to EEF, names just aren't important in the whole relationship business.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Welcome, Fukuoka!

Today's post was going to be another Conversations with EEF--he said something absolutely hilarious yesterday, but, due to my head exploding the other day, I completely forgot what it was.

So in lieu of Conversations, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome the visitor from Fukuoka, Japan who found my site when he or she came here searching for the answer to the question, "Why are babies crabby?" This is a very important question to the aspiring parent or caretaker, the answer to which can assure hours of peace and tranquility. It is an answer that I, as an experienced parent of--er--way too many children to count (especially as they are zooming through the house, climbing the draperies, chasing the cats, and frantically knocking furniture out of their paths), happen to know to the very marrow of my being. And today my dear readers, on this monumental occasion where some poor lost soul from across the globe came to my lowly site seeking answers, I will share the answer with you.

Babies are crabby because...

It is a conspiracy. That's right--a conspiracy! When Mom or Dad or whoever the primary caregiver happens to be, the child will choose the moment when that person has the lowest energy, spirit, and endurance to become insufferable. It amuses them to see Mom/Dad/Other dragging our asses, hacking up a lung, bags under our eyes hanging down to our toes fulfilling their slightest whim. The louder we sigh, and beg and plead for them to please be quiet, settle down, be happy, please be happy for the love of GOD!!! the more amused they are and, therefore, the crankier they become~like some kind of warped cyclic phenomenon. They know that we will do anything, anything, dear lord!, in those weakest moments for precious, precious quiet. And that is the absolute last thing they will let us have.

So, if you want my assvice, the next time your wee ones are crabby appletons, I say let them. Find yourself a good pair of earplugs, crank up the tunes, and let the little rascals scream it out. The storm will blow over in no time, and you will get your much-deserved rest.

Hah! And if you believe that, I have some prime ocean front real estate to sell ya...


I am sorry about this, all of you who come here in search of mature intellectual stimulation, but did you happen to notice that Fukuoka could be broken down to this:
I think we need a town on this side of a globe named Fuk-u-oka. Maybe our capital city? Replace Washington DC with Fuk-u-oka? It definitely has a ring to it, don't you think?