Archive for June, 2009

More about co-habitating

On Father’s Day, the girls asked J, “Are you a father?”

And he kind of looked at them with a divided expression and said, “Well, no, not officially or technically or anything.”

As he said this, both girls were in their assumed positions.

The minute he is on the couch, Red, the ever-present non-cuddler, at his side, and Blue, the mega-star-cuddler, sitting right on top of him, her face inches from his.

They all looked at me and out of my mouth came, “well, he’s kind of like a step-dad.”

It’s true.

I’ve been a single mom for four years now and  now we have this amazing man with us every day who not only relates to, communicates, negotiates, disciplines, distracts and loves, my two little girls.

I’ve been doing everthing on my own for so long now, including drivel like getting up in the morning no matter what, no matter the flu or a migraine or lack of sleep or depression…to feed them and hug them and get them what they need to start their day…break up fights and brush their teeth, or help them change their socks.  I take out the trash and move furniture to clean and shop and juggle appointments and clients, all around these two little girls, all on my own.

With J here, he often stops me and says, “let me do this.”

On Saturday, we woke up at 7am. I was up the night before not feeling all that great, kind of trying to wait for him to get home from his gig at 1am, but fell asleep at midnight. When he got in bed, I woke up and we talked for an hour. In the morning, I was dead tired, but he was the one who’d played piano and entertained for six hours the night before. I struggled to get out of bed. He pulled me down and said, “go back to sleep, I’ll do it.”

There was NO way I was letting him do that. But in the end, I could hardly move. He told me he would be back in an hour with coffee and to go back to sleep…which I did.

An hour later, Blue was at my side with a cup of coffee and her face up close to mine. “We’re bringing you breakfast, Mommy. Do you want sausage?”

When I said “yes”, she smiled and slowly drawled out, “and would you also like some gum?”

The four of us ended up on my bed with french toast, sausage, syrup (note to self, put down shower curtain on bed when syrup enters the equation) and hashbrowns…with a side of gum.

After the meal, he wouldn’t let me out of bed to do the dishes, something I felt I should do, since I not only slept in, but had breakfast made.

After my final protest, I receded back against the pillows when he assured me I would not want to go downstairs and see the state of the kitchen..

At any rate, the day ended with the kids freely using the word “fart” instead of the term “toot” that we’ve used for the past eight years. I blame it on J, who, upon meeting them last year, started a game on a pad of paper (which I just ran across in my office) with lists of all the names for our rear ends, “tooting”, vomiting, and poop.

The girl’s favorite has been: “Hurl”.

Now, it’s “Fart”.

Thank you, J.

I am not really certain what ex husband is thinking or feeling about all of this, but unless he is a really good actor, I think he is just going with it. He’s pleasantly surprised at Red’s progress on the piano, seeing we have four keyboards in our tiny abode, as well as our built in piano man.

I find myself kind of walking on egg shells around him, not wanting to upset him by the fact that there is another man here around the house, other than him, taking a big roll in the girls’ lives. What I do know is this, and hope he agrees….the more love, the better.

J is pretty darn sensitive towards ex husband’s feelings and I really appreciate that. He is alot more nice to him than I am, and I suppose that is something I am learning to do. To just be “normal” and extend myself further than I usually do.

A few nights ago, I was downstairs getting a game to bring upstairs for us all to play, and the girls’ dad called. They were upstairs with J at the time. J repeated the dialog to me after they hung up.

Ex Husband: Blue, what are you doing right now?

Blue: Sitting on J’s belly.

Ex Husband: Oh. Well, is your mom there?”

Blue: Nope. She’s not here right now.

And then she hung up.

I called him back and made up some excuse for needing to talk to him about the upcoming 4th of July schedule (since they are leaving Thursday for ten days with their dad) just to be sure he knew I WAS there. It’s crazy how I tiptoe around, not wanting to rock a boat. Kind of also a bit like when I was married to him and realize not alot has changed.

Busy, not painting

I haven’t painted in a long time.

Here’s what I’ve been up to.

Keeping track of kids who are out of school for the summer.

Making sure the basement doesn’t fill with water due to all the rain.

Writing a business plan with J.

Gettin’ Lucky with J.

Making paper mache bowls. (yes, you heard me right, that’s a whole ‘nother post)

Last month I had a big art show and it was very exciting. I sold a bunch of work at it an was flattered since I was just one of 150 artists to hang work at the show. (in a bunch of barns near a river)

Anyway, I thought I would post some newish stuff, even though they have been sitting here, finished, for a while now.

Sitting Still in Rockport

yellow boat

yellow boat docked

boats at night

Leaning Buoys

Where were you when?….

Sunshine‘s post reminded me about alot of things.

I even remember specific conversations with people over time who ask, “Where were you when 9/11 happened?”

When I was a kid, my mother used to tell us about when JFK was shot (and I remember when his son was killed in the plane that went down on the same weekend my mother was flying to Martha’s Vineyard, in the same area) and they were all sent home from school. I have visions in my head of my mom in her saddle shoes, walking home from school because the president has been assassinated and how scary that must have been. I hope to GOD my kids don’t ever hear about the assassination of a president, the same way I hope they are never ever exposed to a hellacious ordeal as what happened at Columbine.

I remember where I was when Columbine happened.  I was in bed, married and sick, and although I had no children, I vowed to never ever ever let my children wear flip flops to school…because the media was saying that kids who were wearing inappropriate shoes to school tripped an fell on them and ended up killed.

Granted, now that we are in our little neighborhood school here in our seaside town, although I know anything can happen, my girls are now wearing flip flops to school on non-gym days. This is after much arguing for the last few years, where I WOULDN’T let them wear flip flops to school. Because of Columbine.

As Sunshine mentioned Princess Diana in her post, I remember I was in Vermont when she was killed. I wasn’t married yet. It was raining. I was dating my now-exhusband. He could care less. I felt a little sad, because I had grown up with her story.

When 9/11 happened, I had an infant. I nursed her every morning while watching Regis and Kelly (for some gawd-awful reason) and they interrupted the show to show that one plane had hit the tower. And then suddenly, I watched with the rest of the world, the second plane hitting.  I called my husband at the time and told him, “something’s happened and it’s not just an accident.” He was watching it in his office, along with the rest of the employees, all in the security business.  I took off for a walk shortly after that and when I came home, he called and told me the towers had fallen.

Our city was quiet that day, and the next. No planes flew overhead and we lived on a dead end street and everyone had been sent home from work. Lawn chairs were brought out on the sidewalks and folks hung out and ate lunch on their laps and dinner on picnic tables and talked about what happened, merely because they couldn’t stand watching it anymore on the extended coverage on tv. It was all too devastating.

I know it impacted people in so many different ways, loss of loved ones, changes in careers, phobias and sicknesses. I have friends who left the city for good an moved to the country. I have a writer friend who joined the police academy and was an NYC police officer after 9/11, merely because of the impact of witnessing it from his office window. This year, his successful book was published (See Bad Cop by Paul Bacon) about his time on the police force after 9/11.

Yesterday, I was online and saw the news that Farrah Fawcet had passed away after being sick for so long. Later at night, J and I were in bed and looking for the weather forecast on the television and saw one of those running banners on the news channel, that goes along the bottom of the screen. I saw “Jackson died at 50 today…” but had missed the rest of the text. I looked at J and said, “Oh my gosh, do you think that’s Michael Jackson? He shook his head, “there is no way Michael Jackson is dead. There is no way.”

I got on the iphone and googled Michael Jackson and there it was.

The king of pop.

The man who sang the songs we moonwalked to, break danced and did 7th grade aerobics to.

In college, a boyfriend gave me a mix TAPE  with Jackson’s “Will You be There?” on it, and I have to say, it is probably the only song I could stand to listen to more than a few times.

Michael Jackson has been in the interest of many, (and despite my indifference to his music, including me), because he was this fascinating figure who somehow knew how to use his talent and triumph and shine, until something made him fall.

It makes me happy to see his life celebrated by so many, despite some of the downfalls. It makes me sad to think he never came back from that. But I think, in a way, the celebration of who he was, is just that.

I cringe to think that in our lifetime and even more-so in our children’s lifetime, there will be more, “where were you whens”.

I hope it is never anything too close to us, but I realize as we are going through our lives here, there are little things that happen that do have an impact. Here in our little community, in our families, in our lives. They don’t necessarily have to be in the media, even.

But still, the images of what can happen, that are far far from us, yet touch us very hard because we have some way to connect with them, stay with us forever.

Some favorite things…

…about my family.

1. The way Blue absentmindedly rubs her hand along the stubble of J’s shaved head while they chat. Last week, we were driving and he decided to get in the back seat with the girls. In the rear view mirror, I watched them play a numbers game and while Blue was “thinking” she was playing with his ear.

2. That my girls get excited about books and reading. We’re finishing Little House in the Big Woods and going to take a “Little House” breather and read “Cricket in Time’s Square” next.

3. Upon visiting J at the piano bar last Friday before bedtime, the girls asked him if Mommy could sing a new song. So we tried Dido’s “Thank You”. And it worked. Next thing we knew, Red was at the piano playing a song she just learned in her lessons this week with J. The man actually stepped aside from his piano at his gig and let 8 year old Red, play her piece. (with two hands, might I add)

4. J has no problem helping me enforce a time out with the kids. And when the girls are not listening to me, his famous phrase is, “Hey Red, GUESS WHAT? It’s time to brush your teeth!” (or whatever it is I am asking them to do). He always starts with, “HEY, GUESS WHAT!?!?!?” when they are misbehaving. (which isn’t often, but it’s often enough)

5. I mentioned this before, but I love that J doesn’t mind sleeping in a girlie bed. That being said, he brought in his packed things, some awesome green manly sheets. I put them on the bed today and mixed them with my pink quilt and pink and yellow pillow cases and it looks like it stepped out of a Pottery Barn catalog.

6. That J can get the kids to eat egg rolls at a Chinese restaurant.

7. Piano Lessons

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Choices

A good choice would be to just eat the blueberries and not make a cobbler…

…to eat popcorn in the movie instead of a pint of icecream…

…have a bowl of cereal instead of going out to eggs, toast, hash browns, and bacon….

(after thought, two hours later…probably should have had a salad instead of ordering Dominos…but it’s two-fer-Tuesday which means ya must order Cinnastix too)

Summer

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  • School is officially out. we had a half day today because of friggin snow days.
  • Today we are having a Nor’easter. Which means it is friggin’ rainy and windy and miserable. But we’re enjoying being indoors and organizing and watching tv and eating snacks all day.
  • The girls will be playing tennis almost every Monday afternoon for the next ten weeks. Except today’s first class was cancelled due to the friggin’ rain.
  • We are also going to be taking a ceramics class together, the three of us, starting Thursday. I pray my kids don’t make two dozen clay seals. I don’t have enough space for that in my house.
  • I met J last year, a week before July 4th. Which means, today is the year anniversary of when we met. He never remembers things, dates to things. In fact, he often asks, “is today Sunday?” when it’s Wednesday.  I decided I will remind him when it comes time for the anniversary of when we first made whoopie. Because I thought he’d get a bigger kick out of that and feel less pressure about being sappy about it all.
  • Last night J and I went to Boston to a club to see a band play. Although I am hard of hearing, I think I am now completely deaf. I was reminded that in college, I spent alot of weekends in clubs with live bands and possibly is another reason I wear hearing aids. We stopped at a pharmacy and got ear plugs which was the smartest thing to do. The guitarist and lead singer in the band (this was a lesbian band by the way, not that it has anything to do with it) is a fellow musician of J’s as well as the tenant in his house in Austin. Her girlfriend was there too. Along with about twenty other lesbians.  Since I had to pick the girls up at 7am for school in the same area, we used Priceline for the first time and got an amazing room for $50!!!!  We rolled out of bed and drove down the road and picked the girls up (as opposed to driving south an hour from my house at the crack of dawn). It enabled us to partake in some good whiskey all night.

The last sunny day for a week

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We had the last sunny day that the weatherman planned for the week.

It’s been raining since Wednesday night.

We’re both wiped from end of the school year events and task items.

We’re writing a business plan for something special. 

We’re trying to network our computers so we can use the new Apple 20 inch flat screen.

I’ve discovered he’s a genius.

So on Wednesday, after a ton of work and running around, the girls took off for a two hour dinner with their dad.

J had run out to Radio Shack real quick and came home with some groceries.

When the girls left, he goes, “let’s go down to the beach”.

He made a wine cooler in the thermos and brought some raspberries  and an amazing chocolate dessert he picked up somewhere near Radio Shack.

It was the most relaxing two hours we’d had in weeks.

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It ended only because I had to pee really bad.